Has Anyone Seen Ensign Jones?

“It’s life Jim, but not as we know it”

— Star Trekkin' Across The Universe

It's not just Star Trek, but each incarnation of that legendary Gene Rodenberry creation provides a perfect example of the throwaway character - poor old Ensign Jones/Smith/Flengman 12 who is given no lines, but is a part of the away party/boarding group/recovery team - and is therefore, blindingly obviously, not going to make it to the end of the episode.

They are either eaten by this week's space monster, the first to succumb to a mysterious space illness, or disappear into a new planet's weird atmospheric conditions never to be seen or heard of again.

Until they pop up in another show.

As the rookie partner of the world-weary cop who just can't catch a break, but needs to emote for an episode.

Hey there Detective There'll Be No Nickname Necessary, cos you ain't sticking around.

What I think we fail to consider sometimes is how many people there are in our own lives whom we perhaps give an Ensign Jones role to - without recognising that in point of fact they are often a leading character whom we can't do without. And when they suddenly exit stage left - well, we suddenly realise that it is in fact Scotty or even Mr Spock who is missing in action.

So perhaps, just occasionally, take a look around you - and make sure that the quiet people in the corners who perhaps don't say much, but always have your back, don't get ready to beam out unexpectedly.

And express your gratitude to them.

Perhaps you could start by asking them about their day.

Maybe they actually defeated a space monster this week on your behalf.

That would be something to be grateful for.