"Number One" was the nickname given by Captain Christopher Pike to his first officer on the USS Enterprise. While Number One served in this role, she held the rank of lieutenant. She was noted for her exceptional intelligence and rationality, and Captain Pike regarded Number One as the most experienced officer on the Enterprise. According to the Talosian magistrate known as The Keeper, Number One's seeming lack of emotion was largely a pretense, however, and she often had fantasies that involved Captain Pike.
In 2254, when Captain Pike was kidnapped by the Talosians, Number One led the effort to rescue him, first by unsuccessfully attempting to use a laser cannon to blast open an entry to a Talosian underground lair where Pike was being held, and then by using the transporter in an attempt to infiltrate this layer. Number One was subsequently kidnapped, along with Yeoman Colt, for the purpose of providing Pike with a mate with whom he could procreate. In response to this, Number One set her laser pistol to overload, telling the Talosian Keeper that it was wrong to keep a colony of Humans as slaves, and that they would rather die. This, combined with an examination of the Enterprise's historical records, convinced the Talosians that Humans' unique hatred of captivity made them nonviable subjects, and they were subsequently allowed to return to the Enterprise. (TOS: "The Cage", "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II")
"It's wrong to create a race of Humans to keep as slaves."
"Who would have been Eve?"
It is rare that an officer with the rank of lieutenant serves as the first officer of a starship. The likely reason for this is that, when Gene Roddenberry first created Star Trek, the first rank structure he employed was based on the system used in the 18th and 19th century British navy, in which a ship's second in command was generally a First Lieutenant in the sense of the most senior lieutenant, rather than 20th century naval ranks we have come to associate with Starfleet.
In the original version of the series outline Star Trek is... (as reprinted in The Making of Star Trek, pp. 22-30), Number One is initially described as "a glacierlike, efficient female who serves as ship's Executive Officer." (The Making of Star Trek, p. 24) A more detailed description of the character from the exact same document reads as follows;
- The Executive Officer
- Never referred to as anything but "Number One", this officer is female. Almost mysteriously female, in fact -- slim and dark in a Nile Valley way, age uncertain, one of those women who will always look the same between years twenty and fifty. An extraordinarily efficient officer, "Number One" enjoys playing it expressionless, cool -- is probably Robert April's superior in detailed knowledge of the equipment, departments, and personnel aboard the vessel. When Captain April leaves the craft, "Number One" moves up to Acting Captain. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 29)
In the script of "The Cage", Number One is described as "Female, slim and dark in a Nile Valley way, age uncertain, one of those women who will always look the same between the ages of twenty and fifty [....] Almost glacier-like in her imperturbability and precision. From time to time we'll wonder just how much female exists under that icy facade."
The character was portrayed by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry.
Number One was dropped from the series, however, as NBC executives did not respond well to her character. Reactions to her in the screen test of "The Cage" were also poor (the women more negatively than the men, according to Roddenberry). Her highly-logical, steel-trap mind was given to the character of Spock in TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and maintained there onward.
Although Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was credited as Majel Barrett in "The Cage", she was credited as "M. Leigh Hudec" in "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II" (probably because the production team were endeavoring to hide from NBC the fact that the actress whose departure from the series had been demanded by the network was actually still in the series, recurring as Nurse Christine Chapel).
In the Marvel Star Trek: Early Voyages comic book series, this character is named Lieutenant Commander Robbins. Her first name is interrupted by other dialogue, but starts with "Eure-."
The novel Vulcan's Glory, by TOS writer D.C. Fontana, suggested this character's moniker was not simply a nickname or title – she was an Illyrian who was named "Number One," as the best intellect among her generation.
Peter David's New Frontier series of novels suggested that her name (at least in the 24th century) may have been "Morgan Primus," and that she was an immortal like Flint (from TOS: "Requiem for Methuselah"). She was the mother of Robin Lefler.