Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 7 Episode 8

The Siege of AR-558

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Nov 18, 1998 on Syndicado
out of 10
User Rating
166 votes

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Episode Summary


Stardate: Unknown
Sisko plans an attack that will allow them to tap in to the Dominion's communication array in the Alpha Quadrant on the planet AR-558. He must also find a way of revealing the 'Houdinis'; mines which hide themselves in subspace and explode without warning.

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  • Ground-based war story

    In the spirit of Zulu (1964), Platoon (1986) and Saving Private Ryan (1998), DS9 presents this ground-based battle story featuring Sisko, some of his people and several guest stars. Similar to "Nor the Battle to the Strong" (and, like that, taking place largely in the cave set), it's gritty, depressing, and sometimes doesn't make a lot of sense. In other words, it's a lot like war.

    Directed by Vietnam Veteran Winrich Kolbe, the story takes place on a small planet where a demoralized group is defending a MacGuffin. Sisko takes over as the military leader, often voicing his thoughts to Quark who has tagged along to please the Nagus (and because the writers want him there as a civilian surrogate). Nog, Bashir, and Dax are also included (also chosen by the writers because of their lack of battle experience) and as the story moves along, the regulars become entangled with the guest stars. Bill Mumy (who played Will Robinson on Lost in Space as a child and Lennier on Babylon 5 as an adult), guest stars as Kellin, a good natured crewman, while Patrick Kilpatrick plays Reese, a tough guy, and Raymond Cruz plays Vargas, an officer suffering deep psychological trauma. They're all one time appearances, but its clear these aren't people who will suddenly be okay at the end of the hour, and these aren't situations that will suddenly be forgotten next week. While DS9 will move on to tell other stories, the trauma of what is essential a mini war movie is something that lives on far past its screen time. It's the sort of Star Trek episode only Deep Space Nine could do, because of all the captains only Sisko would get his hands so dirty.

    Scored by Paul Baillargeon, the music serves the episode like Adagio for Strings serves Platoon, a melancholy overlay that enhances the action through its disconnection. It's a fitting choice, because the episode itself, like Adagio for Strings, is not intended to be enjoyable. In the end, the various elements come together to create what the writers are really shooting for: poignancy.moreless
  • A rare look at the land battles of the dominion conflict very much a classic trek episode

    The chintoka system is under constant attack from the dominion.The defiant is on a resupply mission to asteriod ar-558.

    Sisko and crew decide to stay to help out the over whelmed and shell shocked troops.

    what follows is a graphic and gritty education in the true nature of warfare.

    Not only the daily reality that people die

    but that it changes the people who go off to fight it forever.

    The job of a soldier is to kill the enemy and bring his people home alive but harsh and immoral choices get made along the way


    this episode is as close to perfect as it can be.

    Unfortunately it does of course have sisko as one of it's main characters.Avery brooks was always to my mind the joint worst actor on the show (bashir )

    any episodes featuring him kinda get down graded slightly.

  • Star Trek shows us (for the first time) the real side of the Dominion War and that is a horrible thing to witness indeed.

    Before this episode aired all of the battles in Star Trek took place in space between ships. The only exceptions were the ground war with the Klingon seen in \"...Nor The Battle To The Strong\" and General Martok mentioning he would send groud forces to the planets in \"Tears Of The Prophets\".

    This episode sheds some light on the hardships of the Federation\'s grounforces. Well light, thier life is pretty dark and horrible if you ask me.

    I really liked the atmosphere in this episode whch is dark and moody and befitting the episode. It starts with Sisk looking at casualty list and commenting to Odo how he used to read every name to honor their sacrifices but after so long the names began to blur together.

    The reactions from the Federation troops in response to the Defiant crew really make sense given how demoralized and beaten they are.

    Sisko of course decides to help and in order to do so he sends out Nog along with 2 others on patrol. Quark responds that Nog is only a kid and that Sisko would never send Jake on patrol like that.

    When Nog is critically injured and loses a leg, Quark wants Nog to be taken to a hospital which Sisko is unable to honor earning him a scalding comment from Quak who feels Sisko does not care about Nog.

    Eventually Sisko managed to develop a plan to beat the Jem\'Hadar using their own mines. While the Defiant crew and ground troops wait, Bashir plays Vic\'s \"I\'ll Be Seeing You\" for them which is soon drowned out by the sounds of the mines. I was really impressed by that.

    Equally impressed was I by the following battle which was brutal and unforgiving. It eventually ends and the Defiant crew and surviving soldiers are replaced by a new crew.

    Back on Deep Space Nine, Sisko is at work when Kira brings him a new casualty list. The following conversation is among the best in Star Trek.

    Kira: Sir the latest casualty lists have been posted.

    Sisko: How many did we lose this time?

    Kira: 1730.

    Sisko: *mutters* 1730.

    Kira: That is a lot of names.

    Siso: They are not just names, it is important that we remember that. We have to remember.

    It illustrates that behind every name, every casualty in a war there is a story and it is important that we remember them. At times we tend to forget that and this episode reminds me that we should not.

    That is why I like this episode so much and why it is one of the best Star Trek episodes ever.moreless
  • Why we fight

    This is one of the darkest episode ever it's also the first episode that deals with the concept of war with honestly and most of all reality. This episode is simlar to the war films "Zulu" or "Black Hawk Down". In the first and some of the middle half it's litterally the calm before the storm. We see the outpost and what it has done to everyone. You can't help but feel almost everything that the chracters in it are experences, from the neverending darkness of the planet, seeing most of the Starfleet officers unconfortable (You can see dirt or even some tears in uniforms), tired, hungry, their internal alert levels up high. Some of their hardened attitudes refect their physical likeness. And just hearing news about most of what happened in the outpost and the Gemadar odds that everyone is up against gives you a sense of dread, doom and uncertainity knowing that our good guys are going to be fighting a battle that could be impossible to win. The interactions also work, Quark is a representation of anti-war and Sisko pro-war. Both of them have a conflicting dynamic on why people should fight and why they shouldn't thoughout the episode and Nog is sort of in the middle of both, Nog's attitude some what reflects the conflicting dynamic. There are no answers to the ongoing arguement because both are right.

    There's even a little interaction between both Ezera Dax and Sci-Fi TV alumni Bill Mumy playing the part of Chief Engineer Kellin. Their interaction represents the human aspect of war because we actually get to know this guy and like him. And feel sad when he meets his tragic demise in the battle.

    The battle at the very end of the show is shown with brutal honesty and it's another one of my personal favorate visual medium battles. Everyone fights with guns, knives, and fists just left and right, the cinamatography worked well it had sort of a documentry style to it constanly moving to one character we know after another, seeing Gemadar everywhere it really had that feeling of a real battle and being overwelmed by overwelming odds that just constantly came with no end. And there was tragic music which also fit well with the scene simlar to the music in "Platoon".

    We never really cheer about the fact that the good guys won the battle because we know there will always be another. I honestly felt emotional drained in the end from the final shots seeing some of the new Starfleet soilders coming in most of them looked young and Sisko getting a casuilty report back from Kira about the total of people that died.

    Sisko gives a rather good speach about the importance of why we must remeber those names, because they were important lives that died defending the innocent. There are no answers in this episode, instead it's all really just a mediation on pro and anti war, but shows that there really is no victory in war it's survival that is the true victory.moreless
  • An Inspired Effort By the DS9 Creators

    What an incredible episode. Over the years, we\'ve never really seen the intimate, down and dirty side of hand to hand combat in the Star Trek universe. The climatic battle was expertly choreogrpahed and written. We truly get to see the horrors of war and post traumatic syndrome. Tremendous. Bravo.
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt. Commander Worf (Season 4-7)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Alexander Siddig

Alexander Siddig

Dr. Julian Bashir

Patrick Kilpatrick

Patrick Kilpatrick


Guest Star

Raymond Cruz

Raymond Cruz


Guest Star

Bill Mumy

Bill Mumy


Guest Star

Max Grodenchik

Max Grodenchik


Recurring Role

Aron Eisenberg

Aron Eisenberg


Recurring Role

James Darren

James Darren

Vic Fontane

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The Away team for this episode is quite odd. The Captain of the ship, The counselor (even as a host, Ezri is a little immature and only just joined), A Doctor, A Ferengi bartender and a junior Ensign. Where were the security members?

    • Quark makes his way to the bridge during an attack by the Dominion on the ship, and has a conversation with Worf even though they are under red alert. But no Captain would allow a civilian to get in the way and distract one of his officers at such a time.

    • Quark tells Ezri that the closer to the front lines an entrepreneur gets, the less profitable it is. It's certainly more dangerous, but it's also more profitable, since services and goods are rarer, and that means that those who provide them have a monopoly.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Sisko: (after he asks Ezri to reprogram the mines to target the Jem'Hadar) What's the matter, old man? Don't you think it will work?
      Ezri: It's not that. It's just that a few hours ago we thought of these mines as the kind of ruthless weapon only the Dominion would use. And now...
      Reese: They become a whole lot friendlier.

    • Quark: We've got to get Nog to a hospital.
      Sisko: We will, as soon as we can.
      Quark: That's not good enough!
      Sisko: I'm sorry.
      Quark: Sorry. If you really cared about Nog, you would never have sent him out on that patrol.
      Sisko: Now you listen to me, Quark, because I'm only going to say this one time. I care about Nog and every soldier under my command, understood? Every single one.

    • Worf: This was a great victory. Worthy of story and song.
      Sisko: It cost enough.

    • Quark: Let me tell you something about hew-mons, Nog. They're a wonderful, friendly people - as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts... deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers... put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time... and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people will become as nasty and violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon.

    • Nog: That soldier over there... you see his necklace? Those are Ketracel White tubes.
      Quark: So?
      Nog: You know how he got them?
      Quark: Mail order?

    • Vic: You know, pally - sometimes being a hologram, can be a real pain in the asymmetric photons.

    • Sisko: I think that's what I'm going to remember most about this war... looking through casualty reports. Sometimes it feels like that's all I do... stare at the names of the dead. When the war started, I used to read every name... I felt it was the least I could do to honor their sacrifice. But lately, all the names have begun to blur together...
      Odo: That's understandable.
      Sisko: Maybe...

    • Vic: I need someone to warm-up the audience for me - you know, a comic.
      Rom: A comic?
      Vic: A comedian - someone who can make people laugh.
      Rom: I can do that. My brother tells me people are always laughing at me.
      Vic: Well, that may be true, but this is a holosuite program, capice?
      Rom: So?
      Vic: So, you're not a hologram.
      Rom: Life can be so unfair!
      Bashir: (entering the holosuite) Vic, you got a minute?
      Rom: Forget it, he's not hiring.

  • NOTES (8)


    • Kellin: I'm sorry, Captain, but I'm an engineer, not a magician!
      This hearkens back to the classic Star Trek lament of Dr McCoy, who frequently told others that he was a doctor, not a "fill in the blank".