Published Nov 6, 2023
Top Una Chin-Riley Reveals
In celebration of Rebecca Romijn's birthday, we look at all the reasons Number One is number one in our books!
By Christine Dinh
First introduced in the un-aired pilot, "The Cage," in Star Trek's original run, Number One (portrayed by Majel Barrett) was lieutenant and second-in-command under Captain Christopher Pike on the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701. Written specifically for Majel, Una boasted a confident, unflappable manner, even in dangerous situations. The expressionless, efficient, and cool character traits would later be adopted for Leonard Nimoy's Vulcan Spock when the series framework was reworked for NBC.
Rebecca Romijn would later reintroduce the character for Star Trek: Discovery, as well as Star Trek: Short Treks and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, with her character fully fleshed out as Una Chin-Riley.
In celebration of Romijn's birthday today, we're looking at the top reveals about the lieutenant commander who prefers to play things close the vest.
The Hidden Freaky
On Spock's first day serving aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, as seen in the Short Treks "Q&A," Una shows the new officer around, encouraging him to take advantage of the opportunity of asking all the questions while he can with all officers he comes across. Unfortunately for the pair, they both end up trapped in the turbolift, for quite some time.
The ship's first officer asks one of her own questions — was the ensign smiling on the transporter pad upon his arrival — before strongly suggesting he learn to keep his "freaky" to himself. In a moment of bonding, Una reveals her own freaky, as she begins to sing the classic Gilbert and Sullivan "I Am the Very Model of a Modern-Major General." Spock agrees to not reveal this secret, until he's forced to out Una's secret during her court-martial trial in "Ad Astra per Aspera."
The Augment Among Them
When the Enterprise is ravaged by a virus in "Ghosts of Illyria," and Captain Pike and Spock are trapped on an abandoned Illyrian colony, Una is the only crewmember unaffected. Her undisclosed status as an genetically-engineered augment, which is strictly prohibited in Starfleet, risks exposure as the cure to the outbreak relies on her bio-engineered blood. While her colleagues keep her secret, Starfleet puts her under arrest in "A Quality of Mercy." It's this secret that forced her and her family into hiding and cost her childhood best friend when she was younger.
However, the biggest reveal occurs during Una's court-martial trial in "Ad Astra per Aspera," where everyone learns it's Una herself who turned her into Starfleet. Jeopardizing her status, the first officer acted in a way so her crew can better know her and for Starfleet to better understand Illyrians and other augments.
Where Fun Goes to Die
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds - Enterprise Bingo
While most Starfleet officers enjoy "Shore Leave," Una and La'An prefer to "Shore Stay." However, when they discover their nicknames among crew is "Where Fun Goes to Die." Unhappy with that label, the duo tackle Enterprise bingo, an activity played by ship's ensigns during their Shore stay, with tasks including sitting in the captain's chair, an unsanctioned space walk, and signing the scorch, in "Spock Amok."
Despite not experiencing any of its purported fun, Una pushes for them to complete the entire list in order to better understand the crew.
Starfleet's Poster Girl
In "Those Old Scientists," Una becomes increasingly concerned why Ensigns Boimler and Mariner are uncomfortable around her while having no issues lavishing praise towards her colleagues until she discovers Boimler has a poster of her in his bunk.
Before parting ways with the Enterprise crew, Boimler clarifies that it's a Starfleet recruitment poster featuring Una and the phrase Ad Astra per Aspera, which inspired him (and countless others) to join Starfleet and find their place among the stars.