This underlying fascination with minor and largely unseen characters is likely owed to the same impulse that makes Wedge Antilles from the Star Wars universe so compelling. These are characters we can identify with, not because of their archetypal nature, but because it is easiest to imagine that if we were somehow transported into these universes, we would find ourselves on the lower decks (or, if you prefer, flying support to Skywalker's grandstanding). Moreover, these characters reflect our level of involvement with the ongoing stories. Most decisions made may end up affecting them, but ultimately, they are precisely like us - observers of an unfolding narrative.
This is on my mind this morning because I received a letter this morning that confirmed my real world status on the Lower Decks. Today, this junior officer was told:
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the position you currently occupy has been included in the [Department]'s Emergency Personnel Plan as non-emergency. This means whenever the Governor declares that the Commonwealth is in a state of emergency or when adverse weather situations are declared by the [Department], you will not be required to report to work.
Perhaps that Lt. Picard thing isn't all that far off. I'll be in 10 Forward if anyone needs me.