I have to say, I agree with the OP about the part where Ashara is the weak link of the SI's story. I would have had no qualms shooting her out the nearest airlock of cutting her to ribbons while she slept. Utterly useless, utterly annoying. That said, I really don't feel the need for that Benikos woman either. I have no interest in her character either. This is just my opinion of course, and I know others love those characters.
I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I just wanted to agree about Ashara. I don't think my SI has even done the first of her personal missions. That's because shes so lame I don't bother to try and get affection with her.
The entire reason she joins the SI is weak, and then she spends the rest of the times saying stupid crap like "Don't make me against my teachings."....huh? What? You already have gone against them. Why bother saying that when you'll join me in killing republic troops? Its sad because there could have been a larger and more convincing reason for her to join the SI.