The series serves as a biography for the character of Number One, showing her Starfleet career prior to serving as Christopher Pike's first officer on the USS Enterprise. The earliest issue saw Number One as a cadet, as the series progresses she moves through various postings until eventually serving as a lieutenant along side the young Pike on the Enterprise under Captain Robert April.
The series began life as a proposal by Byrne to IDW for a single graphic novel which would have depicted the shakedown cruise of the Enterprise, crewed by cadets and captained by veteran, to work out the kinks before the proper crew came along. IDW and CBS liked the general idea, but IDW prefers to produce miniseries and CBS suggested incorporating more familiar characters. The miniseries evolved from those suggestions with the original proposal becoming the first issue. The series was initially announced as six issues, but was reduced to five per IDW's preference to publish series of five issues in omnibus books.