The Siege of AR-558
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|"The Siege of AR-558"|
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||Winrich Kolbe|
|Written by||Ira Steven Behr,
|Featured music||Paul Baillargeon|
|Original air date||November 18, 1998|
"The Siege of AR-558" is the 158th episode of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the eighth episode of the seventh season. The number 558 is also the production code of the episode. First aired November 18, 1998. It was written by Ira Steven Behr and Hans Beimler, and directed by Winrich Kolbe.
The planet AR-558 is notable only for being the site of a major Dominion communications relay. It has already been seized by Starfleet soldiers, and paid for in blood; of the 150 sent to the planet, 43 still live. They have not been rotated off-duty for over five months; a contravention of Starfleet regulations which insist that infantry be rested every 90 days.
The USS Defiant arrives carrying supplies and replicator rations. Captain Benjamin Sisko commands, with Worf as executive officer, Ezri Dax and Dr. Julian Bashir along as tech and medical support, Ensign Nog as a crewmember, and Quark, sent on a "fact-finding mission" by the Grand Nagus.
After an abortive error involving friendly fire, Sisko lands on the planet and begins to assess the situation. The Jem'Hadar are interested in regaining their communications relay; Lt. Nadia Larkin, ranking officer, is just as insistent that Starfleet keep it, but with the Dominion supplying fresh troops and Starfleet doing no such thing, the odds are poor. Furthermore, Bashir's professional medical opinion is that the soldiers are in bad need of being replaced, a fact simply not logistically possible. Ezri becomes an ad hoc assistant to the garrison's engineer, Kellin, in helping him decode and decipher the comm relay. Nog looks up to the battle-hardened veterans as heroes, to Quark's consternation; the elder Ferengi has seen the brutal, nastier side of these "hew-mans," and he warns Nog not to become too enamored of them. Finally, Sisko is pushed into a decision when the Defiant comes under attack. He orders Worf to take the ship to safety; he and his men are staying to fight.
Sisko begins by fortifying the garrison's defenses. The Dominion have left a set of booby-traps: "Houdini" anti-personnel mines that can pass in and out of subspace at random. Kellin and Dax work out a way to force them into normal space, so that they can be moved out of the camp and used to stop attacking Jem'Hadar. He also sends out a scouting party to locate the Jem'Hadar base; Lt. Larkin leads, with Reese as survival expert and Nog as talent: his Ferengi ears will work where jammed tricorders will not. Quark naturally objects. The party gains the needed intelligence but is ambushed; Larkin is killed, and Nog is shot in the leg, which he ends up losing.
The remaining Starfleet personnel prepare for the upcoming fight. Quark guards Nog in sickbay. Bashir sets up an audio broadcast of holosuite singer Vic Fontaine as Houdinis begin exploding. In the ensuing battle, many Starfleet personnel are killed, including Vargas and Kellin, and Quark kills a Jem'Hadar threatening Nog.
In the aftermath, most of the Federation personnel are dead but the station is held and the relay is tapped. New supplies of troops arrive via the USS Veracruz, as well as a dedicated tech crew to commandeer the relay station; the Veracruz is also evacuating the wounded, including Nog, who will be fitted with a prosthetic limb (Nog's recovery is detailed in the episode "It's Only a Paper Moon"). With control of the comm relay, Starfleet will be able to tap into Dominion communications throughout the entire sector.
The script changed several times during pre-production, with minor edits being made.
"The Siege of AR-558" featured Bill Mumy in a guest role as Kellin; the actor had previously appeared in the science fiction genre television series Lost in Space and Babylon 5. He had previously passed on offers to appear in Deep Space Nine due to his appearances on the latter show. He was offered another role once the series was finished, but turned it down as it would have involved wearing prosthetics in order to appear as an alien - something he didn't want to do, as his appearances as his Babylon 5 character, Lennier, required him to wear them. But Deep Space Nine producer Ira Steven Behr offered him a human role in this episode, which Mumy accepted after reading the script for an hour. Once on set, he found that the script could not be changed at all, unwittingly delaying a morning's production because he added the word "well" to a line. He was happy with the death scene of his character, also adding that Behr "got a kick" out of killing Will Robinson from Lost in Space.
This episode of the series was not shown on the BBC terrestrial premier of the show, possibly due to its violent nature. The show returned with the episode "It's Only a Paper Moon", which left viewers in the dark as to why Nog had lost his leg.
- "Yesterday's Enterprises: Bill Mumy". Star Trek Explorer 3 (1): 16 – 17. 2001.
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