In a year's time, she would say that Captain Pike had ambushed her in the Officers' Lounge, where she had been attempting to catch up on neglected correspondence in a time of relative peace. Enterprise was docked at Luna Base, run on a skeleton crew, and the captain himself had been about to disembark.
Or so she had thought; what she put on the ship's duty rotation did not always translate into reality.
He said, "Here."
Immediately, Number One found herself lap to haunches with a small, purring, excessively fluffy ball of fur. The kitten padded in a circle on top of her thighs, and then settled into a ball of contentment. It flexed its tiny claws into her trousers, rested its head on top of its paws, and looked up at her with one excessively green eye, commanding that she indulge its every wish.
It looked, perhaps, three or four months old.
Not being a foolish woman, nor prone to acts of wanton self-maiming, she stroked its tiny head with her thumb, and scratched behind its ears with her fingernails. The kitten closed its eye and purred more loudly. Its entire head was orange, its body white with black and orange patches. A female, if she the examples from her early genetics courses correctly, and she did.
The kitten rolled over, ridiculously, and sprawled. Also ridiculously. She stopped petting for a moment, and the kitten perked up, grabbed her thumb with her paws, digging in tiny claws. Only enough to punish her, she noted.
Captain Pike smiled at her. Number One smiled back.
"What is this?" she asked, and resumed scritching under the kitten's chin.
Number One was, at the end of the day, perfectly capable of recognizing and obeying a reasonable order.
"Ship's cat," he replied. "Starfleet Medical Department of Psychology is rolling out an animal therapy program. She's genetically engineered to be hypoallergenic and avoidant of people who dislike cats."
"And I'm your test-subject?"
"It was you or Mr. Scott, and I guarantee that if she wound up in Engineering we'd never see her again."
"And does she have a name?" Number One asked.
"I thought you ought to have the honor."
She considered this, her hands going still. The kitten batted at her again, and Number One turned her over so that she could take full inventory of her charge.
(Ambush, and one which made use of a truly unfair advantage, at that.)
"Cytosine," she said, pointing toward a roughly hexagonal orange patch at the base of the kitten's tail, with one thick and one thin orange streak coming off of the appropriate corners.
"You occasionally give me reason to believe that you are a strange, strange woman, Commander."
"Oh," she said, "Could you do better?"
Captain Pike considered at length.
Number One found a sweet spot on the Cytosine's ribcage, and the kitten collapsed again in a jelly-like heap on her lap. It was deeply, inexplicably satisfying.
"Spot?" he suggested.
"Absolutely not, Sir."
The captain shrugged, bid her farewell, and somehow she was still left with the impression that she had lost. For a very specific, very narrowly-defined value of "lost" which involved primary possession of a tiny kitten.