Ames served in Starfleet from 2361 to 2369, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. He served as a Navigation Officer aboard the USS Guardian and USS Ashanti, both stationed along the Neutral Zone.
He began working as a private courier and transport pilot shortly thereafter.
In 2371 Ames pulled off one of the most daring drunken dares in Federation history. Using a small, one-man warp shuttle he spent a month hopping from asteroid to planetoid, nebula and anything else to mask his trail on his trek across the Neutral Zone and into orbit of Romulus.
Romulan Security Forces immediately took him into custody and claimed he was a Federation spy. Diplomatic intervention kept him from being executed and Fleet Admiral Edward Proudfoot Sr. negotiated his release with several high ranking Romulan Star Navy officers at Starbase 39-Sierra. ("Aiding & Abetting")
After being released he was immediately taken into custody by Starfleet Intelligence.
During the Dominion War Ames' commission in Starfleet was restored, though he was not eligible for promotion due to his legal troubles. He served as a courier pilot aboard the USS Harryhausen in the Eighth Fleet.