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Sneak Peek: Dystopian Twist on Shakespeare's Classic - Verona Outpost Prologue & Chapter 1 Unveiled!

By: Robert Jerome Pagan



PROLOGUE


10 years before the Journey of Rylex and Salmont, when the remnants of humanity clung desperately to the last outposts of knowledge among the hills overlooking a dilapidated San Francisco Bay, a child sprinted through the ruins of what used to be a metropolis now overgrown with the fluctuation of time into rugged fields. The child's dark black hair flapping in the wind leaving behind only fleeting traces in the wild grass. With purpose the kid made his way to his important lesson with a great elder of the outpost. 


In a secluded shack perched on the hills, the aged Friar toiled amidst the dust and decay of  days he barely could remember. The years had not been kind, leaving him weathered and beaten, yet there was a resilience in his eyes that spoke of pain, love and stories that must be shared. 


The Friar was part of a sacred order called The Order of Knock. This order is bound to hold the knowledge of the outpost, its boundaries, its creation, and its history sworn to follow the Space Druids and the Yadox as an embercary to the Tribe of Mantague. 


Abruptly, the creaking door to the Friar's shack swung open, revealing a fleeting glimpse of a young man he once knew in the flickering light. However, the apparition transformed into the young boy who had been running in the fields, Odisi, a boy of mixed complexion with dark hair and striking bluish-purple eyes — a unique blend that mirrored the unique tapestry of his creation.


"What brings you here in such a hurry, young Odi? And where is your brother?" questioned the Friar, peering through his glasses gently placing the glass pipe he was toke-ing from on his side table. 


The answer came in the form of a coin, gleaming like a relic from a time when the Friar was much younger. Odisi recounted his discovery in the olive grove, unveiling a connection to a time when the crest and name it bore signified greatness.


As the Friar reminisced, images of his middle adulthood flooded his mind like a sepia-toned film.


On the other side of the Outpost in a grand tower of white movement is frantic as the Sisters of the ‘Womb of Capulet’ prepare for the impending departure of their Supreme Mother.  The Supreme Mother, in her weakened state, layed in her bed in the room she had spent years waiting to inhabit; she muttered incomprehensible words, her thoughts adrift in the currents of time.


Like a clock door swinging open, a young Sister entered her long brown hair messily astray under her white flowing hood of her ceremonial cloak, disrupting the silence by dropping a bowl of soup. "Mother, you must eat. Yadox still needs our light," implored the young Sister.


Yet, the Supreme Mother's fragmented mutterings persisted, echoing the fragments of her waning memories.


“I won't be here much longer. There are things you must know,” the Supreme Mother said sitting tall now in her bed having a strong sense of presence in her eyes that had been lost over the last few days in decline.


“Come sit, as you will be our next Supreme Mother you must know what I have done. Sona, I implore you to sit.” The Supreme Mother’s voice ordered the young Sister. Sona, not wanting to argue, sat next to her Supreme Mother's ears ready to hear her confession. 


“It was 25 cycles ago. Before the time of the great erase,” The Supreme Mother said, her words striking fear into the eyes of Sona who had quickly risen from her seat and made her way to the door.


“Supreme Mother, the Yadox does not allow us to speak of these things,” Sona said firmly as if she wondered if the Supreme Mother was testing her. 


“You must know what I have done. Hear my confession and all will make sense. Sona, there is much that will need to be done,” the Supreme Mother’s voice wavered with sadness—this raw emotion causing Sona to pause from opening the door. 

Seizing the moment, the Supreme Mother shouted,

“There were two tribes in the Outpost before. TWO TRIBES.” Her words seemed to be carried through the wind and landing directly into the heart of the Friar who stood tranced looking out his window as Odisi watched him. 


"Two tribes both alike…" the Friar mused, his gaze distant.


Odisi echoed, "Two tribes both alike…"


The Friar, now caught in the cadence of ancient words, looked at Odisi and knew that with his birthday of 8 approaching it was time to tell him the truth, the story he and all had kept from him. The Friar beckoned Odisi to come sit next to him and began to recite the prologue of a timeless tale—of star-crossed lovers, of an enduring feud, and the tragic dance that would unfold in the hours of Odisi’s lesson. The story  takes place 20 years prior to Odisi’s era. 



CHAPTER 1

QUARREL IN THE OUTPOST


Within the walls of Verona Outpost a gigantic explosion reverberated through the air bouncing off the 100 story walls that enclose the tribes that inhabited the outpost together peacefully. Both tribes in status and both touched by the Space Druids who granted them this alcove of safety from the 7 tribes of Trump which laid waste to what was once a country of ideals and promise. 470 years since the Great Sealing when the First Man of Mantague and The First Sisters of Womb of Capulet swore an oath to Yadox to be ruled by one bloodline, the Authority. That each tribe would have a leader that would represent them to Yadox and his physical representation the Authority, if they agreed they would be allowed to continue their cultural practices and have the freedom to create new ones.


Smoke from the explosion cascades through the streets as women, children and elderly scramble to get away from the continued sparks and explosions of crucial transformers dispersing energy through the outpost. With one final explosion all the lights and power on the centrix downtown plaza is cut off casting all into darkness. 


Like clockwork two acolytes of the Womb of Capulet unleash light from their Covent Bands both holding their Sacred Staffs of Yadox prepared or and anxious to use them.  


“ Damned “Mantague” dogs. Their control over the power grid must be challenged. As they twiddle their swords and imbibe in pleasures of the flesh, we are devoted to the cause. US chaste vessels of the Womb of Capulet suffer, but must the people of our fair city? Their actions in-rage me.” Shouted the first and shorter acolyte. To which her much more centered sister in training replied.  

“To move is to stir, and to be violent is to stand. We have been taught to fight, but not to quarrel, so therefore we run.”

“If a Mantague is to arise now, I would not run, I would stand and fight.” scoffed the first acolyte.


“Mervil, That shows thee a weak slave, for the weakest go to the wall. This dispute is for Capulet, our Supreme Mother and leader. Her whispers reach the Authority and our regent.”  the sister calmly assures Mervil. With her word however came a sight that would stoke the fire once more. Benvolio, Balthasar and their manservant Ferix arrive all sons of Mantague and all perfect targets for Mervil’s rage. Quin the sister who had been tampering Mervil’s rage spoke again.


“But hold truth, the power will be restored. No need to quarrel with these men of Mantague. We shall frown at them as they pass us and they can react how they wish”.


“I will spit at them as my insult. If they do not react, they will be seen for the Trimps they are.” with those words Mervil spit towards the three men, a great sign of disgust that Ferix could not ignore.


“Do you dishonor my masters in such a blatant way? '' Ferix shining his flashlight on the faces of Mervil and Quin. 


“No dishonor on you…” Quin quickly responded. 


“But on my family?!” bellowed Benvolio who draws his clever sword.  “Dishonor us again! For we know that your womb will never bear the heirs of this outpost. Leave now and run to your cloister, or put those staffs to work.” Challenged Benvolio, insulting the Wombs most sacred vow of chastity, each sister being created inside the White Tower genetically made and born into pods.  


Quin’s calmn deniner dropped with such a grievous insult and is driven to provocation  “Are you trying to start a fight?” She asked Mervil who was ready to pounce like a predator on its prey. 


“No, but one has come upon us.” Mervl swings her staff at Benvolio who is not taken off guard rather they move with quick meeting Mervils staff with their sword. 


Balthasar whos frame and appearance would lead to perceptions of their female birth, but their mind and will renounced the confines of gender and took the place of thier father along the men and with their fellow male cousins found themselves.  


“Stop this madness. Put down thy swords! Our house has lost enough by these witches’ hands.” Balthasar demanded finding strength in their voice from deep within. 


With the sound of wind rushing and shockwave of air Tybalt was thrust from the sky into the midst of the embedding battle. Her landing pushed members of both sides back as she willed two half staffs that sparked with the light of the Yadox. The weapons now pointed in the direction of Benvolio Mantague. 


“Benvolio! You draw your sword on my protected again? Turn thee, Benvolio, and look upon thy death.” Tybalt's voice is as striking as the electricity dancing on the edge of her staffs. 


Balthasar, knowing the cracking ice on which the peace within the walls of the outpost stands on replied “Tybalt, we were walking in peace and are now cornered by honor, by your fellow Capulet.”


“Do not speak to me of peace, Balthasar.” barked back Tybolt whos aggression was quickly ended by the sound that blasted throught the outpost the sound waves themselves felt as if they were waited pushing all to their knees. This intrusion on the outpost has a familiar feeling as it announces a message from the Authority. With the amplification of 50 thousands speakers the Authority Spoke.


“Enemies of the outpost, halt. Lay down your weapons. Three times over the past year, your tribes have brought blood into our streets. Mantagues and Capulets are ENEMIES of peace. Your animosity has teetered for the past 500 years since the collapse of the New World Order. Your war will not drive Verona into the chaos that is the Badlands, like other outposts. It is now decreed- the next tribe to draw swords and disturb our balance will be punished by death and their tribe be stripped of power rights. Mantague and Capulet, your presence is expected at tonight's ball and your hands shall remain clean. Spirits come with civility.”       


“SPIRITS COME WITH CIVILITY” the echo of every citizen's voice rang in the air as the power was restored. Without hesitation Tybalt gathers her acolytes and brushes past Benvolio and Balthasar.

“We will see you at the ball” Tybalt said, her cloak smacking near the face of the Mantague man servants. 


“Come let us find Romeo” Balthazar instructed ushering the fellow Mantagues to their ancestral home. 


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