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Trading Places

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Prince Tiberius of planet, Woldron, was feeling restless and bored. Actually for a long time. Which had been why he agreed to accompany his father, King George, to Terra in the first place. Unfortunately, Terra wasn’t any more exciting than Woldron had been, and on Terra, Tiberius had more guards. It would be terrible for both the Federation and Woldron if Prince Tiberius managed to get himself assassinated on Terra.

He’d wanted his freedom. At least for a little while, but so far he hadn’t made it out of the hotel. Thanks in large part to his personal valet and guard, Zachary. He’d been shadowing Tiberius like the snitch he was.

Oh, sure, Zachary was great on the eyes. Dark hair, dark eyes, that sexy stubble thing going on. But he was a big giant pain in Tiberius’ ass. He’d fired Zachary at least ten times and every single time Father had hired him back. It was simply maddening.

“It’s a beautiful day,” Zachary said from behind Tiberius where he was standing looking out through the sliding glass door of their suite.

“Is it?” Tiberius scowled. “I wouldn’t know. I haven’t been allowed outside.”

“You can go out on the balcony through those doors you’re standing at.”

“Really? Aren’t you worried a sniper might be in the building across the street?”

“It’s been thoroughly vetted and the floor directly across from ours is occupied by His Majesty’s security force. It is safe, Your Highness.”

Tiberius always detected just the barest hint of mockery when Zachary addressed him. He’d mentioned it to Father, but Father had insisted he was wrong and that Zachary was the epitome of respectful.

“Be still my heart,” Tiberius said, placing his hand on his chest. “I get to go out on the balcony.”

Zachary shrugged. “Suit yourself if you’d rather stay inside.” He walked away, leaving Tiberius in peace for the moment.

With a heavy sigh, Tiberius opened the slider and stepped outside. His knee-high boots sounding loud on the cement. He walked to the edge and peered over. Then he glanced across the street and saw several recognizable guards waving at him.

He looked back over the edge again, trying to calculate if he could climb down from his position to a few floors below and out through the doors of that floor before the guards would alert the guards in this building. Probably not. Which meant he’d have to find another way if he was going to get a few hours to himself in San Francisco.

He waved back at his audience and then went back into the suite. It was pretty quiet today, which no doubt meant Father had already gone off to his meetings.

“Zach!” Tiberius yelled as he walked through the suite.

“It’s Zachary,” the man corrected as he appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

“Right.” Tiberius rolled his eyes. “Is my Father gone?”

“Yes. He left an hour ago.”

“And did Cupcake go with him?”

“If you are referring to His Majesty’s guard, Mr. Hendorff, then yes.”

Tiberius smiled and Zachary’s eyes immediately narrowed with suspicion. “Where’s everyone else?”

“It is only you and me.”

His smiled widened. “Is that right?”

“Yes, but…wait. No. Tiberius, no!”

But Tiberius had already raised his left hand and waved it in Zachary’s direction. “Sleep.”

He watched as Zachary collapsed to the floor with not a very gentle thud.

“Sorry,” he said softly. “You’re going to be pissed later.”

Tiberius stepped over Zachary’s unconscious body, pleased with his handiwork. Okay, sure, his Royal magic was kind of lame compared to Father’s and his older brother, but it did come in handy on occasion.

This being one of them.

He went to the front door and opened it, peering right and left to see if there were any more guards. Apparently they all thought Zachary could handle him because Tiberius spotted none. Just to be safe though, he went down the stairs, rather than the lift. They’d no doubt expect the prince to take the easier way and normally, he would.

When made it outside of the hotel, Tiberius stood on the sidewalk for a moment not sure he could believe his good luck. He’d pay for it later, of course, but for now he was outside, breathing fresh Terran air. Okay so it wasn’t that fresh. But still.

Finally unfreezing, Tiberius turned to the right and started walking down the crowded streets. He wasn’t even sure where he was going, but he didn’t care. Sure, he got a few funny stares. He didn’t know why for that either. As far as he knew Woldronians looked Human. In fact it had been speculated that the first settlers had been Human. Or Human hybrids.

He stopped when he came to the sign that read Starfleet Academy. He stared long and hard at the sign. He’d actually wanted to join Starfleet. Anything to put some excitement in his life. Father had squashed the idea like it was the most stupid idea Tiberius had ever had. And Father thought most of his ideas were stupid.

Biting his lip, Tiberius walked down the path that would take him into the campus of the Academy. It was swarming with Humans, Andorians, and other species he was not familiar with dressed in red uniforms. He could only surmise they were something required of the recruits.

“”Kirk? What the hell are you wearing, man?” Someone asked him as they brushed past him.

Since he was not Kirk nor did he know a Kirk, Tiberius ignored him.

“Hey, Kirk,” someone else called to him in passing.

Tiberius frowned.

“Oh, for God’s sake, Kirk, it’s not Halloween.”

Tiberius stopped as a tall thin woman dressed in the same red uniform as the others, hers a skirt, stood in front of him with a snarl on her face. She might have been pretty with her long dark hair and light mocha skin, but with the scowl she just looked unpleasant.

“Why have you accosted me?”

“Accosted you?” She shook her head. “What are you supposed to be?”

“I beg your pardon, madam?”

She rolled her eyes. “Putting on airs, Kirk?”

“I assure you, I put on no airs,” Tiberius replied.

She gestured to his clothes.

Tiberius looked down at his black pants and satin blue buttoned down jacket and cravat.

“What are you supposed to be?” she asked again. “A prince?”

He nodded. “Yes, I am a prince.”

“Oh, my God, you are like the biggest loser. I told Gaila to stay away from you.” She sighed heavily. “It would serve you right if you got thrown out of school. Whatever. It’s your problem.”

The bizarre woman hurried away from Tiberius. With a shrug he kept on walking, but as he covered the campus, he noticed more and more cadets called him Kirk. Some had even called him Jim. He found it most curious.

“Cadet Kirk.”

Tiberius almost didn’t stop. Because he was not Cadet Kirk. But there was something altogether alluring about that cool, snobbish voice. So he stopped. And turned around.

“Zachary?”

The man who had called to him stared at him as though he had two heads. And it was then Tiberius realized that no, this was not Zachary. He kind of looked like his guard and personal valet, but he had a really weird bowl cut and pointed ears. And his skin had a green tint to it.

“Oh.” Tiberius nodded. “You’re Vulcan.”

“I am indeed Vulcan, Cadet Kirk. Which has surely been established now. Why are you wandering the campus in that attire instead of your cadet’s uniform? And you should be in class. Physiology, I believe.”

Tiberius suspected this Vulcan could out snooty him. Which was quite a surprise. He could not resist a smile.

“Cadet Kirk.”

The Vulcan’s brow shot up. He wasn’t dressed like the others, Tiberius noted. His uniform was black, quite austere. And sexy.

“Are you a professor?”

“Professor Spock, as you well know, Cadet.”

“Kirk,” Tiberius said again. “Jim Kirk?”

“Are you asking or telling me your name?”

“Most curious.” Did Tiberius have a double? Oh, God, he hoped so. This could be so much fun. He had to find this Cadet Jim Kirk. Maybe he could even suggest they switch places for just a few hours? That would be great fun. He wondered if Father or Zachary would be able to tell the difference.

“Go change into your cadet uniform and go to class or I will report you,” Professor Spock said.

“Certainly. I’ll do just that. Certainly.” Tiberius nodded, smiled.

The Vulcan continued to stare at him.

“What?”

“Go and do as you are told, Cadet.”

Tiberius bristled at the tone. And being told what to do. He was a prince after all. He told others what to do. No one told him. Except for Father and George Samuel.

He straightened. “Very well. Good day, Professor.”

He continued walking in the direction he had been headed, determined to find Cadet Jim Kirk. Tiberius could hardly wait.