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AR-558
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AR-558

When the Allies captured the Chin'Toka system at the end of 2374, one of the planets seized was AR-558. The Starfleet contingent which invaded the planet found that it housed a communications array, the largest in the entire sector. Starfleet realised it had a possible way to access Dominion communications over a wide area, gaining vital intelligence.

Unfortunately, the Dominion was just as aware of the array's importance. Even five months after the Chin'Toka invasion the entire system was a battleground, with space and surface battles on a daily basis. Starfleet ordered the USS Defiant to land some supplies on AR 558, scene of some of the fiercest ground fighting.

The Defiant was attacked by a Jem'Hadar ship on the way in, but was able to destroy it and reach orbit safely. Captain Sisko beamed down to find the situation on the planet desperate. Starfleet regulations require troops to be rotated off the front lines after 90 days; those on AR 558 had spent five months on the planet without relief. Starfleet had assigned 150 troops to protect the array - they were now down to 42, having suffered 72% casualties. Those remaining personnel were both physically and mentally exhausted. Communications within the unit were breaking down, resulting in friendly fire incidents. Both senior officers had been killed, leaving Lieutenant Larkin in command.

When the Defiant again came under attack, Captain Sisko chose to stay on the planet and take command of the situation. The Jem'Hadar landed troops some nine kilometres from the communications array and began to organize another attack. When the assault came, it at first appeared to be poorly executed and easily defeated - unfortunately, the Jem'Hadar were using holographic soldiers in order to provoke the Starfleet soldiers into opening fire and revealing their location and strength.

Sensor jamming was common on the planet, so Captain Sisko sent out a three man scouting team to locate the enemy. Ensign Nog used his Ferengi hearing to locate the Jem'Hadar base three kilometres from the array. Unfortunately the scouting party came under attack, resulting in the death of Lieutenant Larkin and severe injury to Ensign Nog, who later lost half of his left leg. Meanwhile, Sisko was faced with constant attrition by anti-personnel mines within the compound. The Dominion had deployed devices nicknamed 'Houdinis'. These mines sit within subspace, rendering them invisible and all but impossible to detect. They reappear at random, killing whoever disturbed them.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Dax and one of the local Engineers was successful in disabling the Houdinis and gaining control of them. Commander Sisko moved all of the devices to the ravine leading from the Jem'Hadar camp to the communications array. When the Dominion forces launched their own attack they lost one third of their forces to the Houdinis.

Despite this, the Jem'Hadar attack on the communications array pressed the Starfleet forces to their limit. There was no attempt at complex tactics - the Jem'Hadar simply attacked en masse. The fighting rapidly degenerated into bloody hand to hand combat, with casualties heavy on both sides. Despite being heavily outnumbered, somehow the Starfleet forces somehow held onto the array.

Shortly afterwards, the USS Veracruz arrived with replacement troops. The wounded were evacuated to Starbase 371, leaving AR 558 in the hands of the reinforcements.1

Yellow text = Canon source Green text = Backstage source Cyan text = Novel White text = DITL speculation

References
# Series Season Source Comment
1 DS9 7 The Siege of AR-558
Series: DS9 Season 7 (Disc 2)
Source: The Siege of AR-558


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 3,730 Last updated : 27 Mar 2000