Star Trek has finally given a name to one of its first Starfleet officers. Number One was Capt. Christopher Pike’s first officer aboard the Enterprise in the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage.” She was played by Majel Barrett, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s future wife, but the character was removed from the series when changes were made for the show’s second pilot. Pike was replaced by James Kirk as the ship's captain, Spock became the first officer, Barrett was recast as Nurse Chapel, and Number One disappeared.
Number One has long been referred to as “Number One” because “The Cage” never mentions her name. Her name may have come up in later episodes of the series if not for the changes going into the second pilot, but because this was her only appearance for 50 years (besides "The Menagerie," which repurposed footage from "The Cage") her lack of a name is kind of a legend in Star Trek fandom.
Number One returned to action in Star Trek: Discovery’s second season as played by Rebecca Romijn. She was aboard the Enterprise when it and the Discovery battled Section 31’s fleet. She was deposed by Starfleet Intelligence after the battle and stuck to the story that she, Pike, Spock, and Ash Tyler agreed upon, that Discovery was destroyed and its crew did not survive.
At one point during all of this Number One finally reveals her first name: Una. As the Star Trek wiki Memory Alpha points out, Una is a Sweedish name, but it is also the feminine form of the Spanish word “uno,” meaning “one.”
That’s clever stuff, but the name has another origin. Though Number One’s appearances in official Star Trek canon have been few and far between, she has continued to appear in Star Trek apocrypha, including several novels. There have been a handful of explanations for her being referred to as Number One instead of by name including that she’s an alien with a name too long to pronounce, but in the novel Captain to Captain, writer Greg Cox gave her the name Una.
On Twitter following the episode, fellow Star Trek author David Mack revealed that he suggested the name Una to Cox as a way to honor another Star Trek author, Una McCormack. Cox, Mack, and fellow Trek novelists Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward continued to use the name in other novels — Number One is called Una in Mack’s Star Trek: Discovery novel “Desperate Hours” — in order to further solidify it in expanded Star Trek canon and it seems they did a good enough job of it that the producers of Discovery noted it and chose to run with it.
Re: Number One's name "Una" being canonized on @startrekcbs: Pretty darned sweet! As Greg Cox notes, I first suggested the name "Una" (partly as an homage to our friend & peer, @unamccormack), but it wouldn't have stuck had he, @daytonward & @kevindilmore not all concurred. pic.twitter.com/X6RZ3ndLfh— David Mack (@DavidAlanMack) April 20, 2019
This isn’t the first time that a Star Trek novel has named a Star Trek character before the TV shows and movies got around to it. Mr. Sulu is referred to only as "Sulu" in Star Trek: The Original Series. Novelist Vonda McIntyre revealed his first name to be Hikaru in the novel The Entropy Effect and it was later accepted into Star Trek canon.
What do you think of Number One finally getting a name? Let us know in the comments. Star Trek: Discovery will return for a third season on CBS All Access.
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