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Number One
Number One (2254)
William Riker, 2366
Commander William T. Riker (2366)
You may also be looking for Pike's first officer, Number One.

Number one is a title affectionately given to an officer who is second in command, literally because the first officer is, in name, the commanding officer's "number one" man or woman. This stems from an ancient Human naval tradition from the days when sails were state-of-the-art propulsion systems. The name originates from ancient earth where a ship captain was assisted by several (usually three) lieutenants. The most senior would be known as the first lieutenant, hence the "Number One."

Notable Uses of "Number One"

  • In 2365, when the crew prepared their ruse against the Ferengi, Picard said "Are you ready, number one?" and both Riker (on the Hathaway) and Data (as acting first officer) answered him. (TNG: "Peak Performance")
  • After Sarek and Picard mind-melded, Sarek referred to Commander Riker as "Number One".
  • While age regressed, Captain Picard posed as Commander Riker's son in order to route access to the ship's systems to the school classroom. When Riker agreed to do this, Picard slipped out of character and said, "Thank you, number one." However, he realized his mistake and recovered by saying, "He's my number one dad." (TNG: "Rascals")

Appendices

Background Information

When Crusher and Jameson referred to Riker as "number one" during the first season of TNG, the producers probably weren't yet sure how they wanted to use the term.

Apocrypha

In Peter David's novel Vendetta, Captain Morgan Korsmo, captain of the USS Chekov referred to his first officer, Commander Shelby, as "number one."

In her novel "Vulcan's Glory", TOS writer D.C. Fontana suggested Captain Pike called his first officer this because she was an Ilyrian colonist who was named "Number One," because she was the best intellect among her generation. There has been no on-screen evidence to this as canon, however.

In novels set after Star Trek Nemesis, Worf has become Picard's first officer on the Enterprise and Picard immediately started referring to Worf as "Number One," which privately made Worf a bit uncomfortable at first, as he thought of Riker when Picard would say that.

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