Number One (Star Trek character)

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Name: Number One (aka Una Chin-Riley)
Occupation: helm officer and First Officer
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series; Star Trek: Discovery
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Number One is a supporting character in the unaired first pilot of Star Trek, "The Cage". Footage of that appearance was incorporated into the two-parter, "The Menagerie". She was played by Majel Barrett, but credited in the two-parter as M. Leigh Hudec. The character's home planet of Illyria is suggested in the D.C. Fontana novel, "Vulcan's Glory". Number One's real name was not revealed canonically in TOS, although several licensed novels and comics have suggested some possibilities, including Timothea Rogers, Morgan Primus, Diana Winters, Lefler and Robbins (Pike is interrupted saying her first name and only verbalises "Eure-"). In the Greg Cox novel, "Legacies: Captain to Captain", she is referred to as "Una". The name "Una" was also used in the David Mack Star Trek: Discovery novel, "Desperate Hours".

The character returned in Season Two of Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Short Treks, now played by Rebecca Romijn. She refers to herself as Number One in a briefing by Starfleet, but Captain Pike also calls her "Una", thus canonizing the name in the finale of the season, "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2". "Una" also appears on a PADD in "Q&A" (Star Trek: Short Treks), but she requested that Spock call her "Number One".

A spin-off streaming TV series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, has been developed.[1] Her name has now been canonically given as Una Chin-Riley.

Articles about Number One

"It's a Small Galaxy" by Ruth Berman, in Inside Star Trek #5, is a 1968 article about 'Star Trek' actors who play more than one role on the show [excerpt: "In the first pilot, 'The Cage' (later used in the two parts of 'The Menagerie'), Majel Barrett played 'Number One,' Captain Pike's second-in-command. NBC executives — liked the idea of the show but none of the characters, and told Gene Roddenberry to get rid of all of them — especially Spock, Roddenberry managed to keep Spock, but lost the rest. Miss Barrett became Nurse Christine Chapel. The departure of Number One (no doubt promoted to command of a ship of her own) [2] meant a promotion for Mr. Spock. He was already Science Officer in 'The Cage,' but, by the time of 'Where No Man Has Gone Before,' he had become second-in-command as well. Between the first and second seasons he was promoted again, from the rank of lieutenant-commander to commander."]

See also Star Trek Format: The Original Star Trek Idea As Submitted To NBC by Gene Roddenberry.

"An Afternoon With NUMBER ONE" and "Majel Barrett interview' by Barbara L. Snowberger, are included in Elysia #2, 1987.

The Fanon Number One

Number One has more alternate names in fanon, including the fan-created zine, USS Enterprise Officers' Manual by Geoffrey Mandel, and a Leslie Thompson article in The Best of Trek paperbacks (reprinting the prozine, Trek), which both suggest that her name is "Leigh Chapel", and that she is the elder sister of Christine Chapel.

In "The Last Talosian" by Ian McLean, a fanfic published in both Beyond Antares and Katra #8 (1986), the enigmatic Number One is now known as Admiral Leigh Certaine.

Other appearances of Number One in fanfic include:

Online comic strips:

Fan Comments

From a fan, DebbieB, in 2000:

I am a sucker for a what-if story. And The Cage's Number One is the biggest what-if in the history of Star Trek.

She started out as the first officer of the Enterprise, in a time when it was not considered realistic for a woman to hold such a major position of command. She was portrayed by Majel Barrett (billed M. Lee Hudec) as a strong, competent, no-nonsense kind of woman who commanded with quiet authority.

In her only appearance, we saw many aspects of her personality that might have been fun to explore -- her frustration with Pike's somewhat patriarchal attitude, her strength of character (she was ready to die -- and take the others with her -- rather than allow humans to be bred as slaves), her intellect, her fantasies. The male crewmembers deferred to her judgement -- her gender seemed irrelevant when it came to command. She was cool, smart, and tough.

In other words, a rich, textured character that would have been fascinating to watch unfold.

Of course, in 1965, nobody was going to let this character on the air. According to Gene Roddenberry, some of the most vehement critics of the Number One character in the test audiences were actually women. "Who does she think she is?" was a comment made several times. I guess the world wasn't ready for Number One.

On the one hand, I regret that her character had to be funneled into that of Spock, and Number One became merely a footnote in Trek history. I would have liked to learn more about her, to see her deal with Starfleet's glass ceiling, to watch that dead-pan humor develop over the course of episodes.

On the other hand, maybe it's for the best that she was not developed in the 1960s. I have this image of the perfect, beautifully - scripted Number One episode -- you see her in all her depth and humanity, brilliantly played by Majel with warmth and passion and emotion. (Number One's own personal City on the Edge of Forever, if you will.)

Then I see this episode being followed-up with mediocre copy-cat episodes: Number One falls in love with alien, but has to destroy him to save the ship. Number One gets impregnated by alien energy being, but has to give up the child to save the ship. Number One gets offered a promotion, but passes it up when she learns it will destroy the ship. (Sort of like the slew of third-season Spock-loses-control-of-his-emotions episodes. One is good; many are unbelievable.)

The character of Number One died in the cradle, so to speak. But the very lack of exposure she got on screen and in most fanfic and pro novels has made her one of the most wide-open characters for me to write. I created an entire history for her in my novella "Shayla." I've seen other writers do the same. And it doesn't bother me that the histories conflict. It's not necessary to stick to canon for her, since relatively no canon actually exists!

If any one character sacrificed for Star Trek, it was Number One. She was cut so that Spock could survive. She was an empowered woman before empowered women were cool. She, through her one almost-forgotten appearance, paved the way for the Kiras and Janeways and Seven of Nines. And for that, she is definitely my favorite character. [3]

Number One Gallery