Brian swings his craft around Sherman's Planet, re calibrating his sensors and smoothly dropping 20 degrees to port, to achieve maximum velocity from the planet's gravity. A blinking light on the console catches his attention, and he smirks as one of the other racers blasts past his starboard engine, thrusters glowing brightly.
"They never learn," Brian comments to himself, bringing up the auxiliary thrusters on the console. "And 3… 2… 1…" He watches as the blue glow of the other ship's thrusters sputters, engine stalling as the ship gets caught in the gravitational pull of Tiny one - one of Sherman's Planet's 8 moons, and laughs.
Brian taps in the command and his craft surges forward, auxiliary thrusters engaged and easily passes the other racer. As he passes the final sensor relay his console lights up, signaling his first place finish, and Tej's voice filters over the comm.
"That's right, Bullet wins again --- shut your mouth and pay up, you damn fool --- all racers return to the station! Next up, we've got --"
Brian mutes the comm as he plots the course back to the Deep Space Station K-7 and Docking Bay 2. No need to listen to Tej anymore, since he's the last of their crew to race tonight. Dom and Letty already won, and Vince hasn't finished making the repairs to his fuel converter and driver coils. Which means all that's left to do is return to dock, collect his winnings, and join the others in enjoying the after party.
Brian grins as he guides his ship into the bay, casting his gaze over the crowd of racers and fans at the far end of the docking bay, partying on the other side of the force-field. It's a good life.
Tej claps him on the back as he hands over the money, though it's only a second before he goes back to watching the display of the current race, chewing hard on a toothpick. Brian leaves him to it - Tej is impossible to talk to until he's dispensed with his hosting duties - and heads back towards his ship, wanting to get the self-diagnostics running before he hunts down Dom and the rest of the crew.
He glances up at the screen, curious to see who's in the lead, and immediately collides with another person. Brian grabs at the person's shoulders to steady them and keep them both from crashing to the ground.
"Shit I'm sorry, I--- " Brian's apology cuts off as he gets a good look at the racing bunny he bumped into. Or rather, the *not* a racing bunny. Because there was no way in the galaxy that the woman standing in front of him, scowl on her face, was a racing bunny.
Lt. Uhura smiles tightly at him, and Brian feels his insides go cold. Because if Uhura is here, that means Starfleet was stupid enough to send her undercover. And if Uhura had been sent undercover, Brian's willing to bet all the latinum that he has stashed away that she's not alone. Which means all those rumors he's been hearing about a new racer -- the one no one can stop talking about because he's Vulcan-or-maybe-Romulan is actually--
"Hello Lieutenant," Brian hears from behind him, and his eyes close briefly as he lets out a large exhale. Fuck. He turns slowly and smiles weakly at Commander Spock, glancing around to see if anyone overheard.
"Yeah… we can keep that on the DL…" Brian says, and Spock inclines his head slightly.
"As you wish, though I feel I must inform you that it is common knowledge amongst most of the members of the racing subculture in this quadrant."
Brian's not sure how to respond to that and shoves his hands in the pockets of his jeans. He shifts so he can see both Uhura and Spock at the same time, and tries to think of a way to extract himself from the situation without causing too much of a scene. It shouldn't be that difficult; the station's sensors would have detected if any vessels were in the area, and no way would Tej have run the races tonight if Starfleet was within range, even if the races themselves aren't illegal.
There's no way Brian can even let himself think of the other possibility; of which ship, exactly, would most likely be in the quadrant, with Spock and Uhura here. Because that ship - his ship - is supposed to be near the frontier, nearing the end of a five year mission, and no where near the Neutral Zone and Brian.
"Seriously?" Brian cuts off the Vulcan, unable to help himself and not wanting to hear what he'd started to say. "They sent you? I mean, her I understand," he says, flicking his eyes to Uhura. "She's hot and she speaks like, every language, so she fits but you," Brian continues, gaze coming back to meet Spock's. "You… you're just…. You're… Do you know everyone thinks you're Romulan?" he says, unable to articulate the extreme wrongness of the idea of Spock as a racer.
Spock lifts an eyebrow slightly, but otherwise his expression doesn't change. "Not a completely illogical assumption," Spock replies. "Though obviously incorrect."
Uhura rolls her eyes. "Yes, I am here because I can speak 'like, every language'" she mocks him, "and Spock is here because Starfleet felt he was the most qualified. He has technological and anthropological knowledge of over a dozen races and their spacecraft." She smiles at Spock and Brian is surprised to see Spock smile - slightly, but still a smile - back.
"Really? Even more than Hikaru "I can fly anything" Sulu?" Brian asks, skeptical, and Uhura coughs into her fist, stifling a laugh.
Spock looks away from her, back to Brian, and raises his eyebrow higher. "As you are aware, there are other officers with more experience with spacecraft and shuttle flyers," he allows and Brian snorts, because that's an understatement. "Some more appropriate for fitting into the racing scene than others," Spock continues, eyes narrowing pointedly at Brian, and he winces. "However, after the way the last undercover mission ended, it was determined that someone less likely to, 'go native', I believe is the term Admiral Hammel used, would be a more suitable candidate."
Brian flushes. "Right." He goes to take a step back and looks around the crowd, relieved to see that Dom's gotten tired of waiting for him and come to see what's holding Brian up. "About that…"
"Your brother wants to see you," Uhura says, and Brian's head whips around to stare at her, eyes wide, even as he see Dom slow to a halt a few feet away, confusion on his face clear.
"Brother?" Dom repeats, confusion and something like betrayal in his voice, and Brian feels a cold chill go down his spine as Dom turns his glare on him. "You got a brother, Brian?"
Brian starts thinking rapidly, looking for an explanation other than the truth, any explanation, but it's the night at the Tran's docking bay all over again and he can see that Dom knows it.
"O'Conner…" Dom growls lowly, hands tightening into fists.
"Kirk," Uhura stresses, and Brian curses, throwing up his hands as Dom turns his gaze to her, eyes wide in shock.
"It's not Spilner, it's not O'Conner… what the fuck, Bri? Still just another job?" Dom glares at him and Brian doesn't have an ounce of Betazoid blood in him, but he can feel Dom's betrayal. "Or is Brian not even your name?"
"Dom, listen to me, I swear, I haven't been lying. Okay, yeah about my name -- it's actually George,but I've been going by Brian for years, I swear. And everything else is true, I promise you, Dom," Brian pleads, but Dom's expression is closed off, and he's already pulling away.
A beep comes from the pocket of Spock's jacket. Brian sees him exchange a glance with Uhura and suddenly he's not as confident in the station's sensors. Brother wants to see you… damn, Uhura didn't mean in general, she meant Jim fucking-Captain Kirk and little brother extraordinaire was in the area right now and wanted to see him, and that meant-
"Really? Brian groans, defeated, as Uhura grabs his arm. He has only a second to feel a little hope as Dom steps forward, hand outstretched, before Dom and everything around him -- his new life, new family - disappears in a swirl of orange light.