"I was a crewmember on a survey ship that crashed here when I was young. Long ago."
Columbia encampment

A Talosian illusion of the Columbia encampment

The SS Columbia (NC-5940-1) was a 23rd century Federation survey ship. The ship was launched from Earth prior to her disappearance in 2236.

The research scientists on board, led by Doctor Theodore Haskins, were employed by the American Continent Institute. As the ship was launched before the breaking of the time barrier, it was considerably slower than later Constitution-class ships. The Columbia used a radio wave transmitter for distress signals. The signals were keyed to cause interference that registered on starship sensors as unidentified objects traveling at the speed of light.

In 2236, the Columbia crashed on the planet Talos IV, with crewmember Vina the only survivor. Eighteen years later, the starship USS Enterprise detected what appeared to be a distress signal from the Columbia, coming from Talos IV. Beaming down, the crew discovered a group of survivors, but it was soon revealed that they were elaborate illusions created by the Talosians, for the purpose of kidnapping Captain Pike. (TOS: "The Cage", "The Menagerie, Part I")

The Columbia's registry number appears on the printout containing the ship's mayday.

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