StarCrossed – Chapter 1: Of Pride and Politics
Teaser: Taking out the trash has never been so important!
Rated T: Some descriptive violence and politics. No adult situations, swearing, or fluffy pink bunnies.
A spaceship drifts through the heavens, thousands of miles away from Earth. From inside, a young girl and her father look out of at the vastness of space. Thousands of stars wink, and the moon casts its pale light towards the Earth. The space station Verona, their new home, gleams on the horizon, the destination of their spaceship. He is Thomas Capulet, the new governor of the Station's 6th District, a man of much prestige. She is Juliet, his only daughter, and is about to have her fifth birthday. Their spaceship is preparing to enter the docking facilities at the center of the doughnut-shaped Verona.
"Papa, what is that?" asked the little girl, pressing her face against the window to look at the torus which was Verona.
"That's the Space Station Verona, honey," her father replied, "That's where we are going to live now. It's our new home."
A sad tone entered her voice. "Home?" she murmured.
"Yes Juliet, home. This will be our home now. But don't worry, living in the Space Station will be wonderful! You'll meet new friends there."
Juliet frowned, seeming to remember the many friends she left behind in kindergarten on Earth. "I don't want to have new friends! I want Joey and Samantha and Monica and Paul to be my friends! I want my old friends!"
The man sighed. This was going to be more difficult than he had planned. "You remember why papa was sent here, right?"
"No," she mumbled, a hint of grumpiness apparent in her voice.
"Honey, I have work which I have to do on this space station. I'm one of their new governors."
Juliet looked perplexed. "Governors?"
"Yes, honey. As a governor, my job is to help other people. But I have to be in the colony to help them. That's why we are coming here, it's my job. You want papa to have a job, don't you?"
"Yes," mumbled Juliet morosely.
"And that's why we are coming here, sweetheart. I know it's new for you, and a bit scary, but I think you'll grow to like it here."
Juliet considered the thought for a moment, and then, a mournful look appeared on her face. A single tear ran slowly down her cheek. "I don't like space, papa. I just want to go home. Can you take me home papa? Please."
"This is our new home Juliet," Capulet whispered gently, "We can't go back, honey."
Juliet let out a small sob, "I don't like it papa! Not one bit!"
"We'll see honey. We'll see," Capulet murmured in a consoling voice.
The capsule jiggled as several mechanical arms gripped it tightly, and guided it into a slot in the docking facility. Juliet and her father began to float as the ship lost its momentum, and the artificial gravity disappeared.
"Ah! We're here Juliet. Wipe those tears, and take my hand, sweetheart. Put a smile on that beautiful face of yours."
With reluctance, Juliet grasped her father's hand, her somber mood apparent on her face.
"Cheer up honey. Please, Juliet… for me?"
With a click, the airtight seal around the spaceship was completed, and the capsule door hissed open. Juliet and her Father pushed off a wall, floating out of the capsule, and into their new lives.
The docking station is quite clean, and surprisingly small. The circular room has four doors in it, one in each polar direction. Reflective white walls help the small bulbs embedded in the floor and ceiling light the room completely. Workers sit at several computers, managing the arms of the central docking station. The man taps his foot impatiently, waiting for the attendant which has been promised upon his arrival. His daughter stares at the floor, a sad shadow behind her face.
"Welcome, Mr. Capulet."
Juliet's father looked around trying to see who called his name.
"Over here, young one," a rather serious looking elderly lady wearing a rose-colored dress greeted him. She was floating upside-down.
"Ah, I am guessing you must be Justice Prince," said Capulet, flipping himself so he was oriented the same way as the woman.
"Indeed I am, but please, just call me Verona." She smiled when Capulet gave her her a confused look, "Ah, sorry, it's just that I just abhor formalities. Of course, it's unavoidable when I work, but outside of work, it's just an annoyance. So please, just Verona."
"But isn't that well… a bit rude?"
"Please Mr. Capulet… I know the rumors that go around about me on Earth. And trust me, despite what the stories may say, I'm not as strict as they make me out to be. I may be a Justice, but when I'm not in a council meeting, I'm anything except serious. So just relax… it'll be good for you… and for me."
"It shall be as you say, fair lady", Capulet gave an exaggerated bow.
"Fair?" laughed the Justice, "Haha! Maybe when I was younger. Luckily, however, my humor hasn't aged as much as I have."
"In my experience, humor is a rarity among the elderly, Grandma Verona. It is good to see you haven't lost yours," said Capulet, suppressing a grin.
"Hah! I am old enough to be your grandmother. And a great-grandmother too, by the look of it," she said jokingly, smiling at Juliet, "Ah... being a judge has consumed my years like nothing else… I remember helping to build this space station with my own hands, and yet, it was such a long time ago.
"The curse of public service" quipped Capulet with a smile.
"The blessing, you mean," said Verona, her eyes crinkling, "Though I wish I had more years to live, I don't regret the years I have already spent. You have a long path ahead of you. I hope you come to a similar view when you are old as I am."
"We'll have to wait and see what the future holds for me."
"Yes, indeed we will," Verona chuckled, "In any case now would be the time that I would be showing you to your room, except that a meeting has come up. And it is one I think you should participate in as a new governor."
"I am at your disposal, Justice."
"That works out great, since the meeting is concerning public waste management. Although, it will be the trash which we want to get rid of, not you."
"Duly noted!" laughed Capulet, "Well, let's get on our way. No use holding them up. I'm late am I not?"
"Indeed you are. It'd be best if we got started. The council of governors doesn't like being held waiting."
Capulet picked up his daughter. "Is it fine if I take Juliet with me?" he asked.
"She will have to come with us if we wish for the council to not be vexed at our lateness," frowned Verona. "I do warn you though, the meeting may get a bit… contentious. Not suitable for a young girl, innocent of the complexities of politics."
"Well, I was considering leaving her just outside the door, but maybe having her with me will help keep the peace. Nobody wants to argue in front of a child."
"I'm not so sure about that… I'd really suggest not exposing her to this. Anyways, let's get going," said the Justice, pointing at the door. "I'm sure they are just anxious to begin discussing garbage disposal. You should be too."
Capulet snorted. "Woe befall those who aren't anxious to discuss the trash!"
"Indeed," laughed Verona, "and you can say that again."
Justice Prince, Governor Capulet, and his daughter arrive at the meeting hall. The thirteen others who make up the council are waiting for them. Capulet takes the empty seat for the 6th District governor and Justice Verona takes her seat as a judge, next to her two brothers, Escalus and Paris. Escalus looks serious, whereas Paris looks slightly amused. Several of the governors have sour looks on their faces. Escalus motions Capulet that he should send his daughter out of the council room, and Capulet obliges.
Judge Escalus glanced at his sister. "Can we begin?"
"Yes. Sorry for our lateness, it was unavoidable."
Escalus blinked, frowning slightly. "Then I call this meeting to order. The issue we will be discussing is the management of our public waste. We were previously under negotiations with the government of the United States of America, but that, unfortunately, has fallen through. We have about a month before the issue will become critical… at which point we won't have any more storage space. So the issue needs to be discussed here and now to leave sufficient time for negotiations with other interests. The floor is now open for discussion."
The room was totally silent. Finally, one of the governors spoke up. "Well, what sort of options do we have? Surely you are already looking into things."
"Well," Verona said, "we have been considering several options, but nothing is looking too promising. One of the options was to make an agreement with a different nation on Earth. However, it is pretty likely that bad relations would develop between the US and that country, so it's unlikely any country would treat with us. As for those who already have poor relations with the US, I'd really rather avoid that option, as they have problems all of their own which could make the situation dififcult. So sending the waste to Earth isn't likely to be our solution."
"What about sending it into deep space, or towards a non-habitable planet?" asked another governor.
"That would be possible, but the environmentalists would be all over us, and probably turn it into a political issue on Earth. Humans have already littered the space around Earth with lots of satellite debris… to start littering deep space seems provocative, to say in the least. And though sending it to be captured by the gravity of Jupiter would certainly get rid of it and make it non-visible, I doubt the reaction would be much better than if we sent it into deep space. Environmentalists would still object to pollution of such a planet. So we are unable to use either of those solutions, really. And now you can see our dilemma… no matter what our choice, we will probably provoke somebody."
"Justice," said Capulet, "How do you know the United States would react badly to us sending our waste to one of it's allies?"
Verona hesitated, "Well, we don't know, but…"
"I see that our new governor is unfamiliar with our history," a deep voice sneered.
"Ah, Governor Montague", interrupted Justice Verona, "I'm sure governor Capulet knows plenty about…"
"Silly," said Montague. "He knows nothing. He came from the very country which is giving us difficulties, and yet he doesn't even know our history with them."
"I know about the civil war," retorted Capulet hotly.
Montague's glare intensified. "Oh, I'm sure you know their perspective. But do you know ours?"
"Governor, please," began Justice Verona, "This is not the time or place to be..."
"Verona, I'm giving a history lesson. You know what they did to us."
"Verona, let the man speak," said Escalus.
"Thank you," said Montague coldly, turning to Capulet. "Our history started 65 years ago, when the Space Station's construction began. It was an experiment of sorts; to see if man could live in space, and deal with all of the hassles that come with it such as the generation of gravity, importing atmosphere, and feeding people without soil to grow plants in.
"Many workers were needed to build this station, and four are here in the room," Montague nodded at the three judges, and once more at the 9th District Governor. "Thanks to their efforts, we were able to make a life here in space, independent of the Earth except for our economy… and politics. All of the workers happened to be American, this project was funded by their government, and thus American politics came to have a large effect on this colony."
"And you became independent during the civil war, yes I know all that already!" retorted Capulet.
"Ah, but do you? What did they teach you landside about why the civil war happened?"
"It was caused by conservatives who wished to hold to their restrictive beliefs."
"Wrong, Capulet! It was caused by financial mismanagement. The social issues were just the last straw which broke the camel's back."
"Financial mismanagement? The finances were managed just fine!"
"You call the large public debt fine?"
"Plenty of countries have larger debt than us!"
"Regardless, that doesn't mean it's fine!"
"Having a small public debt doesn't matter if you are leaving people starving on the streets!"
"That rarely happened! And people still starve in the street despite the liberals winning the war. No, don't try and interrupt me! This is part of our history. After the war was lost, we had nowhere to go. Luckily, Escalus, and his family invited us up here. And so we came."
"So I'm surrounded by a bunch of addle-brained conservatives!"
Silence filled the room. Finally, Montague said, "Yes you are, Capulet Earth-born."
"Earth-born?" Capulet fumed, "Is that supposed to be some sort of insult? You lived on Earth too you know! Would you insult your own heritage?"
"Indeed I was, but I am no longer Earth-born. I no longer hold the perspective of those who live on the Earth. They shunned me, and I left. They were about to brainwash my children, and—"
"Brainwash? Honestly, how do you expect me to take you seriously?"
"Do you think their education system where they teach children contrary to the beliefs of their parents isn't brainwashing? Because that was what they did! If I hadn't left when I did, my children would have probably grown up with the same values you have! Being exposed to moral decay of all sorts!"
"It's a shame that they weren't. Your views have no merit whatsoever!"
"It's those very sort of opinions that forced me to leave! As I said, the judges had the mercy to allow us refugees live on Verona. The United States had lost hold of the colony during the civil war, so it was safe for us to have our families here."
"Lost control? As you even admitted, the people who built the colonies were Americans!"
"But thanks to some masterful lawyers, they have never been able to exert much control since the Civil War. Surprisingly, the courts ruled on our side. We've become sort of like Hong Kong before it was absorbed by China. Independent, but dependent at the same time."
"You depend on the U.S. completely!"
"And now you see why we abhor you! The U.S. took away our home. They tried to take our freedom away through the courts. They now try to make our life a hassle, by refusing to bury our waste, which we happily paid them to do. And now… now they force a governor upon us! No longer is it the people of the colony's choice. Indeed, they hope to repeat history once again!"
"Ridiculous! I refuse to take such an insult to my character!"
"You refuse to take the plain and simple truth?"
"If it's the truth, then why haven't I been briefed on their supposed plans which you insinuate exist?"
"I have no clue. But I'm sure they will brief you some time. And I'm sure you'll be more than willing to betray the colony to those lying—"
"Enough Montague!" Escalus glowered dangerously. "You explained our history. We don't need any more of a fight here in the chamber."
Montague stiffened, and glanced around the room, before finally taking his seat, continuing to glare at Capulet. Verona sighed, shaking her head. Escalus's voice boomed, "Continue the discussion of waste management please."
"Ah," said Paris, speaking for the first time, "I was just thinking, I may have the solution for our problems. As you all know, I have several contacts with those who dwell on the moon. I know that they have many depleted mines, which are unused for any purpose. Perhaps we could negotiate with them to use the landfills."
"And I'm assuming you'd suggest we pay them for it?" asked Verona.
"Precisely. And since I know several influential people… I am thinking it won't be too hard to convince them that it's a good deal, especially if we pay. And I can't fathom any issues that could come up relating to the Earth… after all, the moon doesn't belong to any one nation, per se. I think we could avoid any conflicts in this manner."
"That sounds like an adequate solution. Could you look into it?" Verona asked.
"As soon as I can."
"Does the council agree that my brother should attempt to see if this path of resolution is open to us?" asked Escalus.
One by one the council members nodded their agreement.
"Then it is decided. We will reconvene in one week's time to discuss our progress, and to see if any other actions are necessary. Council adjourned."
Montague stood, and nodded once to Escalus, before scowling as he met Capulet's gaze. Capulet returned the scowl, glaring at his newly found nemesis. The councilmen began to slowly file out, attempting to ignore the resentment between the two men. Finally, Montague turned and marched out of the room, the epitome of disapproval and anger. Capulet waited a minute before following, and shortly later Escalus left as well, leaving the council room to his brother and sister.
"It doesn't look like those two are going to get along," whispered Verona to her brother.
"I think you're right on that one," laughed Paris. "But we can always tag along to prevent any serious damage. Observing hilarious disagreements can sometimes be so much fun."
"I'm not so sure this one will end up being hilarious."
"We'll have to wait and see, won't we?"
"Indeed we will, Paris, indeed we will. I just hope I don't regret not intervening right now. Should I mention the issue to brother?"
"To Escalus? Don't bother. He's already noticed and chances are he's planning for future conflicts between the two. You know how methodical he is."
"Unusual, isn't it?" mused Paris, "We all came from the same parents, but he's so serious in comparison to us."
"Yeah, it is unusual..." a faint smile crossed Verona's face, "Alas, I'm guessing that most of the stories about our supposedly 'strict' attitudes originate from people observing him, completely forgetting the possibility our attitudes might be a bit different."
"Perhaps we should ask him to relax a tiny bit."
"Forget it. He won't do it."
"I think you're right on that count."
"As I always am."
"Well, I wouldn't go quite that far..." said Paris, with a grin.
"Well I will. And you can't do anything about it because I'm your darling sister."
"Indeed you are. I'm already jealous of your power."
"If you wanted any of it, you'd just have to ask."
"That sort of power isn't something you can give, sister."
"Perhaps you're right on that count" conceded Verona.
"Yeah, I am," Paris said teasingly.
"Well, the day moves on," said Verona, "I have some things I need to do."
"So do I. I wish you well on your later things. Until then."
"Until then brother."
Paris gave a little wave to his sister, as he sauntered out the door, leaving Verona in an empty council room.
Author's Note: Thanks for reading my story! It's my first one in a long time. So thanks for spending your precious time to read through it. If you have any things you really liked or want me to improve, please leave a comment! I love to hear that people like my writing, and am very open to fixing things up in my already posted stories. I realize that this story format is a bit unusual, in the sense it is almost like a script except with story bits attached to it. I hope that doesn't bug people too much; it's just what I felt worked best for the story considering the original was a play, and thus, was in script format. So naturally, this fanfiction will contain a lot of dialogue, just like the original. I hope it works out better that way. I also apologize to those of you who are sticklers to the original story, or don't like OCs; I will be changing up some things quite a bit. But for those of you who like it, I'm glad it worked out from your point of view. If you really really like the story, it'd also be super-awesome if you not only favorited it here, but also on DeviantArt, if you have an account there. Again, thanks a ton for your support, and I hope you enjoy reading Starcrossed!
Best of Wishes,
P.S. I reply to all the reviews I get through PMs, so if you want hints, spoilers, etc, please leave a review and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!
Title Image: Open Source Picture from NASA, Edited with GIMP, I used a downloadable text called Spaceman.
A super big thanks to my beta-readers CakuRamen, MadameApathy, Kageriah, ArtsyChick, Smoochynose, Alsarnia, theperksofbeinganauthor, Euanonyma, and GratefulWhispersFindsTheTARD IS. Thanks to your help, I was able to catch a ton of errors and edit my story to make more sense! You guys rock!
Another big thanks to Shakespeare for writing the original story! Check it out if you haven't, it's online in a ton of places!