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Part of USS Daedalus: Mission 2 – The Edge of Hope and Despair and USS Mackenzie: Mackenzie Squadron : The Edge of Hope and Despair

DEHD 007 – To Be or Not to Be

USS Daedalus
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Calog glanced up from his PADD. “I think we’re close.”  He went down the list. Capulet would be Hasara, and his wife, Rosaline Capulet, would be played by a very unhappy Helena Dread. This would be on brand, as they had slotted the Capulets as the family to stand in for the Cardassians.  On the other side would be Montague in the acting hands of an equally cranky Henry Longfellow, married to Lady Montague in the person of a delighted Thasaz. Friar Laurence would get a turn through Kondo De La Fontaine and his brooding exterior, while Hiro Asato would provide Juliet’s Nurse and the comic relief.

Paris was stretching the limits with Milton Ford, but the Chief Counselor had shared that his early life had involved some not-so-official acting jobs. A nervous Parica would play Romeo, and Kartika would portray Juliet.  “Rounding out the cast is Mercutio, played by Charles Hargraves, and Benvolio, by William Prentice.  The remaining roles have been picked up by the small ensigns and crewmen building a theatre group onboard the Mack and Dad.”

Walton’s face on the screen caused Tir to panic until he realized, “Ah, yes.  Some have taken to calling the Daedalus the…Dad.”

Wren stared at him for a moment longer but decided to let it slide, “We called the Olympic, Oly, so I can’t get upset.  The Dad was the best they could come up with?”

Tir shrugged, “It was either that or The Ded, and…that wasn’t going to work.”

“Smart man, Lieutenant Tir.  Assemble your cast, get your crew together for a dress rehearsal…we’re running out of time.”  He nodded and closed the channel.

Hasara stood from his chair, “I must prepare, my friends.  The stage can be fickle…and I must put my best face forward.”  The Cardassian walked out the door, leaving Tir and Koerner.

Koerner looked at Tir and shook her head. “If we pull this off, it will be a miracle.” 

Calog felt Tir frown, and he fought the urge to replicate her feelings on his face.  Tir wondered how Koerner looked at them since they’d stepped back aboard.  He admitted she wasn’t terrible to look at, and what was available from her dossier indicated this was a serious woman.  He moved her from the back of their mind to the backburner.  There was a play to play and two colonies to save.  “Then someone had better start praying to whatever gods are left.”


“Once more, on pain of death, all men depart!”  The ensign playing Prince Escalus forcefully ordered the two families to leave the stage.  Tir stood backstage, next to the stage manager.  Ian Croft, a science lieutenant on the Mackenzie, masterfully moved the actors and scenes.  In Tir’s ear were various voices stationed around the theatre, watching and listening.  There were translators in the ears of the Bajorans and the Cardassians.  The research into context and content had pushed even the most sterling researcher on either ship.

“Everybody’s still seated.  A few glances from one to another, but nothing yet.”  Juliet Woodward from the Mackenzie was pulling duty in the wings of the seating area, reporting what she could hear and see.

Tir took a deep breath.  The show continued.


“My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me That I must love a loathèd enemy.”  The curtain fell slowly as the last lines from the Nurse echoed off the crowd. There was a wave of words and sounds in both groups.  They had woven in Bajoran and Cardassian imagery and symbolism into the lines, pushing the metaphor and symbolism to what they felt was just before the breaking point.

Woodward reported in Tir’s ears, “Cardassian delegation is agitated….but they’re split.  We’ve got some tears wiped away, balanced with many crossed arms.  I’m not saying we’re screwed…but we’re on our way if we can’t turn those arms out and open.”

Tir set his jaw.  He had hope, and it was being held together by the action dancing across their stage.


The fight had been altered.  Romeo had no part in the death of Tbalt in the rewrite.  The crime had been done by a chorus of players dressed to replicate the Bajoran look.  It had been changed to reflect the chorus as the more conservative group, and in turn, led by their beliefs to end the life of Tybalt.  Tir was anxious – it had been the hardest part of the rewrite to find the right balance with the various histories of the people.  He waited as the scene closed, and they moved into the scene with Juliet and the Nurse.  Woodward hadn’t reported in, and he tapped his earpiece, “Juliet?”

She clicked back, “There were many side conversations in the Bajoran group. No movement. Whatever you did, I think it worked.”

He mumbled, “It only works if this play pulls off the miracle we need.”  He watched as the curtains pulled back, and the play continued.


They’d rewritten and reworked much of the script. Paris remained, and the plotline to marry him to Juliet was still there, but they’d worked with Kartika to incorporate her own words into Juliet’s protest of her father. The emotion that rushed out of her was real, and it rumbled across the stage and into the audience, who, for once, was silent in the face of the young Cardassian woman’s bare feelings.

The ending was also changed – they would appear dead to the audience and the family who would act as the original play had them – regretting their actions that had pushed their children to death.  The change was that Kartika and Parica would awaken after their pseudo-family was offstage.  They would talk about the sadness of lying to their families and the hope of a future together in a far-flung city far from the influences of the world they’d grown up in and into.

They walked to the middle of the stage, looked out to the silent crowd, and spoke their soliloquies, each speaking to the other family. Their soliloquies were short, brief, and simple: Their worlds must change for a brighter future. At Parica’s last word, the lights faded out as the curtain fell.

Everyone held their breath.  There was no applause. Woodward reported, “They’re all just sitting there.  Nothing.”

Tir wondered if they’d made any difference.

“Wait…we’ve got movement.  The head of the Bajorans is walking across the aisles…to the head of the Cardassians aisle.”  Tir couldn’t resist.  He slowly slid out onto the side of the stage, watching with fear and terror inching up the back of his neck.

The lead Bajoran stared at the Cardassian for several minutes, the silence aching and arching through everyone. Finally, he said, “We…would like to accept the invitation to share dinner with your people.”

The leader of the Cardassians stood, his stance heavy.  He stared back at his enemy, waiting the same minutes before he spoke, “We accept as well.”

Tir hadn’t smiled that big in a long time.


  • This is an excellent post. Using *Romeo and Juliet* to show the Bajoran and Cardassian groups that it's time to move forward from past hatreds to form a better future, was a clever and creative idea. They're going to talk, but will something good come from it? Well done.

    March 15, 2024