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Cupid's Arrow

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Remember, Cupid's arrow kills Vulcans. -Eraclitus, Plato's Stepchildren

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At the tender age of two minutes and nineteen seconds, James Tiberius Kirk became the youngest living ruler of the Federation Empire. As he was cradled in his mother’s arms, his father was taking an arrow to the chest. As he was gasping his first breath, his father was gasping his last.

Prince George had ridden out with his father and a small army on word that mercenaries from the Land of Romulus was attacking in the Neutral Zone. They had been desperately unprepared to find the mercenary leader, Nero, had amassed an army of thousands upon thousands. Emperor Tiberius fell with the first wave. Crown Prince George Kirk was Emperor for all of twelve minutes, but in that second wave, with a handful of men that should have never been able to cow the Romulans, he succeeded. Before the arrow stole his last breath, he cut the head off the snake. Nero was mortally wounded, the men were retreating, and as George lay along the flank of his horse and watched the light fade from the world, he knew then was leaving a better place for his child to rule.

It would be several weeks before word reached the palace, that the infant James, who had just been presented to the Kingdom for his Name Day, was now the ruler. Winona Kirk would sink to the floor at the side of her bed, her hands fisted in the sheets, vicious sobs wracking her body. She would rise though, as Queen, and announce that her husband’s brother Franklin would rule as interim until her son was old enough to take the throne. And then she would lift what would be her first drink of spirits, though it would most certainly not be her last.

Those long years would see James beaten down by his uncle, sent off to the far off Kingdom of Tarsus and nearly killed by the madman governing. Those long years would see Winona drawing more and more into herself, and James growing more and more bitter and resentful of the throne he must take.

And it’s on his twenty-second birthday, when he has finally reached the age of coronation—surpassing his Uncle, surpassing the expectations of most—that his father’s former advisor, Lord Pike, tells him of what must come next.

“You’re young. But I believe in you. Your father was a good son, and an educated Prince, and he was the most successful Emperor in a long line of Emperors. He ruled the empire for twelve minutes, and he saved it.” He sips his wine and gives James an even look. “People called him the greatest ruler the Empire has ever known.” He leans forward slightly. “I dare you to do better.”

James’ hand curls into a fist over the stem of his goblet, and he stares at Lord Pike. “You know me, Chris. I’m never one to back down from a challenge.”