"As First Officer, it's my job to interject when the Commanding Officer does something I feel is a mistake, sir."
—Will Riker, Star Trek: The Next Generation
Cmdr. Piker: Captain, this might not be the right time but could you stop calling me Number One?
Cptn. Pinchhard: Ehh? Why's that?
Cmdr. Piker: The other day I heard an ensign saying he was going to the toilet to do a Piker.
Cptn. Pinchhard: Whatever you say, Number One.
— Sev Trek: Pus in Boots
The name's Boss Wolf. I don't even know how I got that name, but yeah, that's it. People call me that, even though I'm not the actual boss. In some ways I am a boss ó I lead the pack on hunts, I get the kills done, I earn my own keep, I make sure everyone's fed and clothed and that no one goes hungry. Anything that needs addressing comes to me. If there's a problem here or anywhere, I make it disappear one way or another. I've got my subordinates and soldiers and orders, and when I howl, my word is absolute. I am the one who takes charge, and I am the law.
Oh, yes, I am a boss. But I'm not the boss around here.
I'll tell you a little secret about wolf packs ó the alpha is everything. (...) Then comes the beta, the second-in-command. Like the alpha, there's only one beta wolf in any one pack. When the alpha isn't around, the beta is the de facto leader of the pack and assumes command. He or she is the alpha's right hand and disseminates orders whenever the alpha gives them, and ensures that they are always followed up on. So, the beta tends to be very bold and forceful in nature, unyielding in character, and unquestioningly loyal.
Sounds a lot like me, doesn't it? Yeah. Figured it out yet? I'm the beta wolf. I could never be an alpha. The alpha wolf has to be more than just strong or authoritative. If you can get people to listen to you, so what? If you make fouled-up plans or stupid command decisions then you may as well go be a peddler or a trader. If you're strong, sure. Tell that to snare traps and spike pits and midnight ambushes in the dark. It's more than that. The alpha has to be astute, sure, and most of all capable of protecting everyone in the family. When all else fails, family is the only thing we've got left.
Here's another secret ó what do you think happens when you lose the alpha?
It's a lot more complicated than one might think. Most assume that there's a chain of succession, that once the alpha's gone, the beta wolf rises to the top of the pack and becomes the alpha. Ha. We're not royalty. You could say the exact opposite, as a matter of fact. Remember what I said? An alpha can be a beta, but a beta can never really be a true alpha. It doesn't work like that. It's all nice and dandy to think that if you do your homework and practice being a strategist then an omega can become an alpha over time, but it never happens in reality. Leaders are born, not made, or else just about anyone would be an alpha.
"Iím number one, Youíre number two. Thatís it kid, there you go. Now step aside this ainít your show!"