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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 13 – The Edge of Hope and Despair and USS Mackenzie: Mackenzie Squadron : The Edge of Hope and Despair

EHD 007 – A Shakespearean Summit

USS Mackenzie - The Wardroom
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“It’s a bit early for a chief counselor.”  The gruff voice of Master Chief Henry Wyatt interrupted Juliet Woodward’s thoughts as she sat along in The Wardroom.  “0600 isn’t your usual time, Lieutenant.”  He accepted a cup of coffee from the lone kitchen staff and slid into the seat across from the bleary-eyed officer.

She sipped at her cup of black tea, aware she looked like she’d rolled out of bed and down the various corridors to the officer lounge on deck 1.  “It’s been a rough night.”  She slid her PADD across the table, “I’m part of the team working to establish cause, effect, and the various rulings that could come out of this case.  I tried to get it out of my head but kept circling the proverbial black hole in my mind.  Tossed and turned, and here I am.  I couldn’t sit at my desk in my quarters one more hour.”  A replacement cup was pushed before her, and she thanked the woman.  “It’s early, but I’m not finding the usual loopholes.  Both colonies were deliberate in their writing…they’d seen the worst of each other.”

Wyatt dropped a lump of sugar in his cup, “You don’t seem to think we’ll be able to stop them from trying to kill each other.”  He shrugged at her accusing glare, which softened as she spent more time considering his response.

Juliet settled on a shrug as her initial reaction.  She swirled her tea, staring at the growing darkness of the water.  She locked her eyes on his, “Do you think we can?”

The El-Aurian echoed her shrug, and she rolled her eyes.   He sipped at his coffee, “I’ve seen the impossible become possible with just seconds to spare.  I’ve also seen the destruction of failure tear entire worlds and people apart from stem to stern.  Nothing is truly decided until the last seconds of the last moment.”  Wyatt asked her, “You ever read the story that has your namesake?”

She chuckled, “Romeo and Juliet.  My parents named me after a great-great-great-grandmother who was named after the character.  The story isn’t kind to Juliet.”

“Shakespeare wasn’t kind to a lot of his characters.  The stories of Lear, Othello, Hamlet, and Macbeth are just some examples of the blood he spilled on his pages.  Nobody was safe in his tragedies.”  He asked her again, “You have read it?”

“I know what you’re saying. We’re living in the middle of the story with these two.”  She grumbled, “The trouble is, the play ended with both dead and the families realizing their mistake.  We can’t kill them to force these two colonies back to the peace process.”

Wyatt raised both his eyebrows, “I wasn’t suggest…”

She waved him off, “It’s six in the goddamn morning, Wyatt.  My dark sense of humor hasn’t been locked back in the closet with the rest of my questionable qualities.  We have to find a way to make it possible for these two to spend consistent time together to see if they love each other…or love the idea of each other.”  She downed the remainder of her tea, “We could fake their deaths like they did in the play, but then they’d really want to kill each other.  If only we were back in fair Verona, and nobody had starships.  We might have a chance.”

He frowned as his mind worked, then gestured at her, “What if…as a part of our trial process, we performed Romeo and Juliet?  Translated it for this audience?”

Woodward mirrored the frown, a thousand issues with the idea flooding her mind.  Then she snapped her fingers, “Oh, Henry Wyatt, you are a genius.  You remember in Hamlet, they performed a play within a play?  We could cast our two lovers as Romeo and Juliet…and perform the play with a few adaptations…and cross every finger and toe that it has an impact!”

He nodded along as she ran through the plan.  “I think it’s got some merit.  You have to get Captain Walton to sign off on it…and figure out the rest of the cast.”

His eyebrows returned to their perched position, and her grin became maniacal as she replied, “Wren appreciates a good stage show or two.  How do you feel about playing Capulet?”

Wyatt immediately regretted giving her the idea.