This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
back to Character Insight! This week, we profile Ensign Ashmore, a recurring background character from Voyager.
("This poor guy, always going through some hell even in a bad screenshot!")
Ashmore is one of the faces in the crowd of Voyager, not receiving many speaking lines but appearing down corridors and serving in engineering on numerous occasions. He is often seen during crises in engineering being one of B'Elanna Torres's best assets in the department.
However, like many bit characters in Voyager, he also takes a fair share of abuse. His favorite food is macaroni and cheese, but when he asks Neelix to make it, the bacteria cultivated to make the cheese infects the ships Bio-neural gel packs. For those who don't speak technobabble, this is a fancy way of saying the mac and cheese almost ruined much of the food supply on board the rationing ship!
In other episodes, Ashmore is traumatized by an alien beacon causing horrific flashbacks of a slaughter of Nakan colonists, he attacks Neelix with a carving knife when under Bothan influence, and he gets into an altercation when Seven of Nine after she unexpectedly attacks a guest of the ship. It's not easy serving on the final frontier, even as a low level engineer.
Ashmore is one of many crewmembers who receives letters from home when the Hirogen communications network is developed, so it is clear he has a big goal to get back home to that family. One of his regular expanded roles to help Voyager get back home is as a specilaist serving on the Delta Flyer, such as when Captain Janeway finally goes on a temporary shore leave with the Flyer. By the time Voyager returns home, he is serving as a background bridge officer, a fitting promotion for a good recurring character.
He is mentioned multiple times in the first three seasons of the show, but he has all of his on-screen appearances from Seasons 4 through 7. Once again, this is the type of character that had to be developed for this show because new crew members could not come on every week. That said, we unfortunately don't learn much more about this family man due to limited speaking roles. This was a nice payoff role for a background actor who really paid his Star Trek dues over many years as a regular stand-in.
From the Killing Game
"We need an isolinear emitter form Engineering"
Ashmore was played by David Anderson, who is a regular background actor and body double in Star Trek. He appeared in bit roles in Star Trek VI and several TNG and Enterprise episodes, but his most notable work outside the Ashmore character was as a stand in for Levar Burton, Tim Russ, and Anthony Montgomery. He was mainly a professional dancer and he continues to teach dance performance in Hollywood today.
Feedback can be sent to me with future segment suggestions on Twitter @BuckeyeFitzy. Until next time, live long and prosper...