Disclaimer: I don't own Titan A.E. or Akima. I do, however, own Jonah, the guys, and a bag of peanut M&Ms. Just thought I'd throw that in.
"I got it! I got it!"
"No, no! To the left!"
"Huh?" Akima looked up just in time to see the old baseball hurtle past her head. A few yards away, the guys gave her a blaming glance and threw their gloves to the ground.
"That was right at you! Are you kidding me?" Tag whipped the ball at Akima's feet in demonstration.
The other team of ragtag refugees sauntered toward home, swinging their bats and shouting variations of "Nice going, Akima," and "Better luck next time."
Akima re-tied her jet-black ponytail and leveled the boys with a challenging glare. "I didn't see you taking any dives, Tag."
Tag responded not to Akima, but to Jonah, as he often did. "Man, this is what you get for putting a girl on the team!"
The girl in question rolled up her sleeves and marched toward Tag, fists raised, but Jonah stuck an arm in her path. "Dude. She can take you. Just go fire up the bikes."
Tag and the rest of the guys made themselves scarce, and Jonah blocked Akima's path to the bike hangar. "What's with you?"
"Noth...wh...that pass was a mile wide!" he stuttered.
"You're not my mother, Jonah."
"Look," he sighed, running a hand through his gel-hardened red hair. "Maybe you oughta cool out here for a while. You know, give 'em a chance to cool off."
He turned and headed for the bike hangar, leaving Akima alone in the synth-steel alley. "Follower!" she spat at his back.
She slumped down against the wall and listened to the sound of five motors revving and five boosters powering on. Tag she was used to, but she expected better of Jonah.
After a silent minute or so, a small, red-headed human life form materialized at Akima's side. Then another.
She looked up. "Hi, Akima!" the twins chirped.
She stood from the wall and dusted off her red cargoes, wishing that Jonah's runt sisters would get sick of her once in a while.
"Where's everybody?" Kyn looked more amused than worried.
"They went out on the bikes," Akima answered, and began purposefully marching toward the hangar.
"Where you gonna go?" Bryn looked more worried than amused.
Akima yanked the rusty chain off her bike and tapped in the power code. "If you can't join 'em," she said, and gave the twins a conspiring glance, "beat 'em."
Bryn and Kyn, fascinated by the knowledge of a thirteen-year-old, watched breathlessly as Akima swung a leg across the seat and flipped a series of switches.
In the eight years since the destruction of earth, she'd grown more fond of her zero-grav bike than of any other advancement in the drifter colony. Now, as she pressed a hand to the palm scanner, she felt the arrival of her one best friend: that old familiar hum of adrenaline.
The motor started, the scanner began to glow, and the bike lifted two, three, six, ten feet toward the stars, leaving Bryn and Kyn behind like a shrinking pair of stick figures. Akima slammed on the boost pedal, and in a nova of blue flame, shot into the space ahead.
Colonies and debris and stars alike melted into retreating stripes of nameless matter as she flew past them, pushing the bike and its airshield to the top of their capabilities. She surrendered her mind into the void and relished the moment---this, more than anything, was her release. The bike hummed peacefully as it got used to fourth gear.
Until Akima spotted five bike-shaped specks up ahead.
And then she shifted to fifth.
The specks grew bigger at an alarming rate as she hurtled toward the boys, who heard her engines and looked around just as she sped over their heads, missing them by only inches.
"That's what you get for thinking boys know how to ride!" she shouted over her shoulder.
Of course, that was immediately followed by the sound of five motors jerking into fifth gear.
Oh well. Akima recited the commands in her head, 180, 180, manual, flipped the switches, and the bike followed; flipping, rolling, and jetting back toward the colony.
She heard the five behind her fall into pursuit, and could practically name the order they fell into: Jay, Tag, Jonah, Lon, and last of all Kyle, who couldn't pilot his way out of a trash can. Not that it mattered. She smoked them all.
Landing back in the hangar, Akima pulled heself from her galactic reverie and prepared her bragging rights while she waited for the guys to show. Within minutes, Jay, then Tag, Jonah, Lon and Kyle screeched into the bay, exactly as she'd predicted. But instead of the props she deserved, the first words they spoke were edged in anger.
"You just gotta do everything, don't ya?" Tag demanded.
"You don't know when to quit!" added Kyle.
Akima looked to Jonah.
Jonah said nothing.
At that, Akima stormed toward home.