Friday, March 1, 2013

The Siege of AR-558

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Quark offers his two slips on the well-known Rule of Acquisition #34 "War is Good For Business"... but only from a distance. The Nagus wants a Ferengi-eye view of the front, so the luckless bartender enjoys a field trip with the Starship Doom-N-Gloom.

Here's some shell-shocked Starfleet soldiers now! Reese, the Steve McQueen of the gang. Even the Jem'Hadar don't want to meet this thug in a dark alley. Vargas, who won't change his bandages because they are all he has left of some jerk he didn't like. Oh, that's just the space gangrene talking! Kellin, the soft-spoken Enginerd. Descended from the great early galactic pioneers called the Space Family Robinson. Identical cousin to Lennier the ever-faithful Minbari aide. I'm trying to say the man likes Roly Poly fish heads. It's Bill Mumy! He's worth two stars just for showing up!

The enemy is using Houdini mines- deplorable, underhanded sneak attack weapons that appear without rhyme or reason from that domain of the demonic, subspace.  Their use is condemned by Starfleet types... mainly because they didn't have any before now.

If you ever got the impression that Nog was promoted too fast, then it should be noted that there's no better on-the-job training than a horrific interstellar war. No better for teaching people how to die in droves, with or without dignity. How to be maimed- Like a Man! You get the picture.

"The Siege of AR-558" went as badly as the earlier sieges at AR-557 and 556, and there aren't any lovely spaceships exploding serenely against the void. Just a bunch of scared, filthy people getting screwed up. Or deceased. For other mid-90s space war drama commemorating the 50th anniversary of the miserable debacle at Guadalcanal in 1942, please see the Space Above and Beyond episode with the more evocative title "Sugar Dirt". If you like. They're both good, just gloomy.

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