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What Does AR-558 Mean to You?

by Lucas Thompson, Designer

9th November 2020


The Siege of AR-558 is one of the darker episodes of Deep Space Nine. Part of what makes is dark is that it shows us the internal struggles of our heroes while they're facing a horrific enemy. We see these struggles from the perspective of those on the front lines, from a sharp-eared ensign, from the command staff, and from... Quark.

Probably my favorite part of the episode is when Quark gives one of his "Hew-mons aren't all that" speeches. Those are always great; his speech to Sisko in The Jem'Hadar ("We're nothing like you. We're better.") is my personal favorite. But what makes his speech at AR-558 really interesting is what he does afterwards. When the chips are down, he pulls out a phaser and defends his nephew with, dare I say, Hew-mon-like ferocity.

In the card, that's represented by him being all "high and mighty" when no opponents' personnel are around - his integrity and cunning are boosted while he's extolling the virtues of the Ferengi and looking down upon the Hew-mons. But when he's in the trenches, and is faced with the horrors of war, he loses his advantage and becomes just like everyone else. He's not any different; he has to resort to battle, just like those Hew-mons, to protect himself and his nephew.

Interestingly, the design team did not all interpret this scene the same way. Michael Shea felt that it's less that Quark gave up his ideals, and more that he showed real heroism. He may have looked down on Hew-mons before, but now he earns a different perspective when he is put to the test. And honestly, I can see it going both ways. I think that, if we didn't need another card on the "go away" side of the DS9E faction, he could be on the "come get some side".

So, how do you see Quark's role in AR-558? Is he betraying his ideals, succumbing to the same nasty, violent, bloodthirsty impulses that he derided in humanity? Or is he digging deep and finding a heroism he didn't know he was capable of?

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