The agonizing conditions on the surface paled in comparison to the emotional turmoil that coursed through Kayla’s mind. Her hands methodically worked the welding torch in front of her. She remembered, down to the smallest details, when each and every part of the beast that stood in front of her was assembled. Sparks began to fly as the torch sealed the small invisible cracks that lined the outer hall of the ship.
‘The Hammerhead’ as named by Kayla and her father was a single pilot ship, built for speed. Ever since she was a child, Kayla was fascinated with racing. Kayla’s father used to show her old archival videos from earth of crude machines that would race around a circular track. It wasn’t long until father and daughter set out to build a ship in order to enter ‘The Titan Run’, one of the most insane space races ever.
Her father as well as The Hammerhead became legends in the ‘Titan’ circuit. During the races she would be seated in the control center, where she monitored the race. She could feel the excitement as if she wa a participant in the race, sitting next to her father. As the daughter of a high ranking military official, definitely had its perks, but more so than his official status was the fact that her father, despite the fact that he had only been racing for a short period of time, had become a genuine racing hero.
Her father had fallen hard, after all those years his hero status became tarnished. As rumours spread of a soldier not only abandoning his post, but also his daughter, the former being the most disparaging. Kayla didn’t believe either claim, what daughter would? Her father was her ‘hero’ and nothing would change that.
Sweat covered her face as the sparks continued to bounce across the surface. Kayla loosened her grip on the trigger and the flame dissipated. Dropping her hands to her side, she let out a long breath. Her eyes closed as she took a moment to reflect.
With the final touches made, she lounged on a cot in the garage, studying for the upcoming race. Each year the Titan Run changed, something was added, different patterns and obstacles were introduced in order to add unique challenges. After Kayla made notes and checked over the weather forecast for the next day, she tossed everything off the cot reached down and pulled up a pair of overalls much too large for her. They had belonged to her father and she used it as a blanket. She breathed in deeply and closed her eyes.
Kayla awakened suddenly, startled by something that had crashed to the floor. She found her footing as she got up and walked towards her work bench, flicking on the overhead lamps. Looking around, she noticed the darkness that seeped into her workshop. Feeling the chill of night invades her body, she released a yawn, followed soon by an uncontrolled shiver, unable to shake the thought of what was to take place later on that day.
“Oh dad,” she sighed out loud as she leaned on the workbench. As if on cue, she heard the beep that indicated that she had received a message while she slept. Kayla reached over and activated the console computer on the bench.
“One new message stored,” the computer issued. She requested the message be played.
“Kayla,” she recognized the voice that belonged to her Uncle Martin, her father’s older brother. “I just wanted you to know that your cousins William and Sarah will be joining me to cheer you on in the race,” the message briefly paused his voice before it continued. “I know how nervous you must be feeling about today, I just wanted you to know that your father would have been very proud of you.” Another moment passed until he finished. “I will contact you once we arrive and maybe we can grab lunch if you have time, bye.”
A smile creased on Kayla’s face at the thought of seeing her cousins and her uncle. Ever since her father disappeared, her Uncle Martin had taken it upon himself to help her where he could. She suspected he was the main reason she was given a chance to enter the race, as she considered just how much the league despised her father for his supposed actions.
She looked at the clock mounted on the wall above the workbench. She had slept for almost six hours, much longer than she anticipated. As early as it was, it was still racing day. Kayla walked over to the cot and changed. While studying at the academy, when her father was off on his missions, Kayla found that along with her interest in fast machines, she also loved to challenge herself to see just how fast she could be.
Opening a box she had tucked under the cot, Kayla pulled out a pair of running shoes, the last gift her father had given her, and placed them on her feet. “Time to work,” she said to herself as she walked over towards The Hammerhead. She ran her hands over its smooth surface. “Today we find dad,” with that Kayla headed out of the garage and onto the artificially created landscape that was Titan, and started to run.