She remembered the stories that her father used to tell her about the construction of the moon bases throughout the solar system. Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, was their first attempt to build something more than just a base, it became a city, a ‘metropolis’. It spanned a huge part of the moon’s surface and housed well over fifty-thousand sentient life forms.
She continued to walk towards the port to meet up with her Uncle Martin and her two cousins. Kayla loved to spend time with them. They were her only family left, and she shared a special, though tragic, connection with her cousins since they had all lost their mothers at a young age.
“Kayla,” she heard Rebecca’s sing song voice carry as she turned to see the three of them walking towards her.
“Hi guys,” she responded. She quickened her pace towards them taking her Uncle into a tight hug. “Hi Uncle, thank you for coming.”
“Hey kiddo,” he said as she loosened her grip. “You look more like that brother of mine each time I see you, and you still got your mother’s eyes.” Kayla blushed at the compliment.
She proceeded to embrace her cousins, noticing that, while he was a not that much younger than her, William had grown a great deal, since they last saw each other. “Boy, Willy you have grown.” William scrunched his face at the nickname.
“Oh don’t call him that,” Rebecca said in mock horror. “He hates that nickname, right Willy?” She started to laugh, she was the youngest there.
“Shut up Becca,” William said sternly.
“You two cut it out,” Martin Sr. spoke from behind them. “Kayla, would you mind if I left these two with you for a short while, I have to check in on something.”
She smiled and shook her head in acknowledgement. “Of course,” she said. Martin looked them over and turned towards the exit. “You guys hungry,” Kayla asked.” We can grab some lunch and we can go back to the garage and I can show you my ship.” Both William and Rebecca nodded with excitement at getting to finally see the ship.
“Lunch sounds great,” Becca replied. “I’m starving.”
William just nodded and they walked towards the station’s food court. William and Becca ogled the options, some not even human. They were used to a very limited selection having been raised on a transport ship their whole life.
“What do you guys fancy?” Kayla inquired with an amused smile on her face seeing her two cousins taking it all in. She enjoyed the distraction, even if it was only for a short time, as they walked down the rows of vendors offering their special flavours.
“Are there any burgers?” William asked, Becca echoing his choice.
She looked at them quizzically. “You guys have been stuck on a spaceship you entire lives and you want a burger?” She shook her head walking ahead of them. “Incredible, don’t you have any sense of adventure?”
“I’m kidding,: Kaylay said at her cousins protests, “It’s just, you could have anything, look around you there is so much to choose from”
“Ok,” William answered. “What would you suggest?”
Kaylay remembered that this was not only her first race and the inherent dangers she faced because of this, but also her search for answers. She took in all the options, realizing that this might be her last meal, if not ever, at least on Titan, a faint sadness fell upon her. “Well since today is a special day, why don’t we get an assortment and just pig out?” They both seemed amiable as they followed her, letting her place the orders as the filled trays with all sorts of food.
Soon enough, they were all sitting down at a large circular table outside the station, stuffing their
faces. “So Becca, how has school been? What is your major?”
Before Becca could get a word in edgewise a voice called from behind. “She`s going to follow in her mother’s footsteps.” They turned to see Martin Sr. approach.
“Dad,” Rebecca called out in mock upset.
“It’s true, right,” Martin Sr. said, joining them. “Do you mind if I join you?”
“Yeah of course not,” Kayla responded.
“You’ve got to try this dad,” William said as he pushed one of the dishes towards his father. “I don’t know what it is, but is it ever good.”
After Kayla went over all the items across the table for Martin Sr. the group sat back and feasted, sharing idle chit chat.
“So yeah,” Becca started. “Before I was so rudely interrupted.” She looked over towards her father with a huge grin across her face. “You asked what I was majoring in. Well, I am going to major in both vocal arts and harmonic engineering.”
“Impressive,” Kayla said. “So you want to be a singer?”
Rebecca blushed, “Well yeah, I mean I’ve been working at it and well –”
Before she could continue William interrupted. “Kayla you should hear her sing, she is good, and I’m saying this as her brother.”
“I would love to hear you sing,” Kayla replied. “Do you have anything recorded?”
A frown crossed Becca`s lips. “Yes, I didn’t think to bring any recordings with me.”
“That’s ok,” Kayla said putting her arm around her cousin. “You can send me some when you get back to your ship.”
Martin Sr. got up first. ”Well since it is still a couple hours before you have to get to the race and set up, why don’t you show us this beast you are going to be using?”
“Ok,” Kayla said as they all got up. “Let`s take the tube back to my place. It`s a bit of a walk and we just ate a ton of food.” They all laughed heading towards to closest track.
After the twenty minute tube ride and another short walk they reached her garage. “Welcome to my humble home.”
“You mean you live here?” William said in astonishment.
“I have been for the past few months while putting in time on The Hammerhead,” she answered as she waved in the direction of the small ship. Both her cousins ran over towards the ship in awe.
“Kayla can I talk to you for a couple minutes?” Her Uncle asked, a concerned look on his face.
“Yeah let`s go to the shop area.” She motioned with her head to the other end of the garage.
“You two be careful,” he warned William and Rebecca, their attention focused on the Hammerhead.
They walked in silence for a moment until they were out of earshot. “Kayla, what are you up to?” he asked her.
“What do you mean?”
“I know you have been looking into what happened to your father, I know you have been digging into the circumstances around what happened,” he said.
“No matter what they say happened, I cannot believe it.” She paused briefly before speaking again. “There is no way that my father would just leave me, and, and if he’s dead then I deserve to know.” Tears streamed down her face as she looked away. She turned away not wanting to see the look on her Uncles face, fearing it would bring her to tears.
Her Uncle took her in his arms. “Kayla, I don’t for a second believe that my brother would leave you like they say he did.” He stood there in silence gathering his thoughts. “You have to understand that he disappeared, if he is dead, we should have been able to find something. The wreckage of the ship, some debris, something.”
“I know,” she said. “You have to understand, I can’t believe any of it, not until I see it with my own eyes.”
“I just want you to be safe, you are family.” He looked her straight in the eyes. “I can’t lose you.”
“Help me,” she pleaded.
She stepped away from him. “If you know what I am up to, let me do it, don’t stop me, and don’t tell anyone, let me find out for myself.”
“I don’t know if I can.” The look she gave him destroyed his resolve. He looked at her deeply and sighed, “Ok, what do you need from me?”