Vir had been, as Londo would have put it, ‘Emperor of the Great and Powerful Centauri Republic’, for exactly seven days before the news broke; dominating the ISN news cycle for almost a full day before a scandal involving an Earth senator took over.
Personally, he blamed Commander Ivanova. No, she was a General now. But either way this had her sneaky fingerprints all over it.
Londo’s obstinate defiance of the Interstellar Alliance would probably go down in galactic history, and it wasn’t hard to imagine Ivanova leaking this in order to establish his credentials as a very different Emperor.
The headline was simple and to the point.
EMPEROR OR EMANCIPATOR?
Vir had always known that his activities during the second Occupation would eventually come to light, that Abrahamo Lincolni couldn’t stay buried forever. He wasn’t ashamed of what he had done, far from it, but it was certainly making things…. interesting.
The news might no longer dominate the galactic news cycle, but it had far from died down on Centauri Prime.
The Royal Court had been abuzz ever since the news had broken, and Vir had been quietly informed that there were movements afoot to have him removed from the throne as unfit to rule.
They’d been happy to have Cartagia sit the throne, but he was unsuitable? He would never understand his fellow Centauri.
The Centaurum had all but demanded he attend them, which would have been unthinkable until recently, and he summoned the Royal Guard before leaving his suite. He wasn’t Londo, but he could still demonstrate that he was no pushover.
They were walking down a deserted corridor when the two guards suddenly collapsed. Vir didn’t even have time to check on them before a hooded figure lunged out of the shadows, coutari in hand.
Vir fell back, almost stumbling over the prone body of one of the guards, and the assassin was upon him. The first lunge missed and Vir was suddenly close enough to wrestle for control of the weapon.
For a long second, they struggled together, but Vir dug into reserves he had all but forgotten about. He had faced down beings that would make this fool soil himself. Mr. Morden. G’Kar. Timov. What was an assassin in the face of that.
Slowly, Vir gained the upper hand, until the point of the coutari was aimed at the assassin’s own chest. As the blade slid home, for a second he was back on Narn, plunging the needle into Cartagia, then he was wrenched back to the present and he fought not to vomit as the assassin collapsed.
Stooping, he took the comm from the belt of one of the fallen guards, calling for reinforcements. Once they arrived he was going to have a talk with the Centaurum.
Five days after the attempted assassination of the Centauri Emperor once again propelled Vir into the news cycle, an unusual vessel arrived at Centauri Prime and requested permission to land.
No Narn vessel had been to the Homeworld since the Narn/Drazi fleets had devastated the planet, and it was sheer dumb luck that a trigger-happy pilot hadn’t shot them down on reflex.
Vir himself had to overrule the military and grant the vessel permission to land once he heard why, and he travelled out to the (distant) landing platform they had been assigned with a retinue of sycophants and guards.
The vessel’s hatch opened with a soft hiss as Vir walked out onto the platform, and a dozen Narn slowly filed down the ramp.
None of them could have been much older than Vir himself had been when he had first been assigned to Londo on Babylon 5, but their eyes were far older than his had been.
Vir wished he didn’t know why.
The oldest looking of the Narn approached him slowly, and to his eternal surprise raised both closed fists to his chest in the Narn gesture of respect, bowing his head slightly.
Slowly, Vir mirrored the gesture, and heard the susurration behind him as all the courtiers started to whisper at once.
The Narn raised his head again, and spoke softly.
“My name is G’Von. During the Occupation you saved the lives of me and my family.”
He paused and swept his hand back towards the other Narn,
“You have touched all our lives. Either you saved us, or you saved members of our families. We swore an oath that if we had the opportunity, if we ever knew, truly knew, who had saved us, we would repay them.”
His eyes held a conviction that Vir recognised. It was a mirror of that which had always filled G’Kar’s. After a second he also recognised a faint hint of humour, and decided to play along.
“I once overheard G’Kar say that anyone with a Narn bodyguard would live to be one hundred and fifty years old.”
G’Von’s eyebrow tilted upwards, a sardonic gesture that was one of the few to truly translate across the boundaries of race throughout the galaxy.
“A challenge from the Prophet himself? We accept.”
The courtiers whispering suddenly silenced as the Narn moved as one unit, supplanting the Royal Guard to surround Vir in a defensive cordon.
Vir thought somewhat uncharitably that they were suddenly re-thinking any attempts on his life. G’Kar had firmly impressed on the Royal Court exactly how seriously Narn took their duties as bodyguards.
A vicious smile played at the corners of his mouth. Well wasn’t this going to be interesting.