Lost and Found
Finn couldn't have told you what exactly he'd been expecting the Condor to look like, but logically, logically, cool, awesome, and babe magnet had been somewhere on the list of adjectives he'd had in mind.
"Resident of Atmos' biggest junkyard", on the other hand, had not.
"It's a piece of junk," he said, unimpressed. "This is the Condor?"
"Well, it says so right there on the hull," Junko pointed out.
The painted letters, scraped and scarred, were barely visible in the moonlight.
"I bet it sinks. We'll never get it up!"
"Oh, come on, Finn. Look at it! It's the real thing! We found it. We'll get it up, it can't be that bad," Aerrow said. "It doesn't look too damaged, Stork, what do you think? Stork?"
Piper ducked under the shadow of the ship, spread her fingers across the battered steel. "It looks just like in the pictures," she marvelled. "Can you imagine? It's the Condor! Think of the battles it's seen!"
"That," Stork intoned from the shadows of the hold, where he'd climbed up when the others weren't looking, "doesn't mean it'll be seeing many more."
His voice echoed and they jumped - Sky Knights or not, they were five kids sneaking around in a junkyard (Junk Terra, Finn called it) they weren't supposed to be in. Even the Condor was just one more mountain in an ocean of more junk and rubbish and debris than they'd ever been able to imagine.
"How's it look up there, Stork?" Aerrow called.
"Rusty. Mouldy. Unhygenic - be careful with that, I'm suuuuure we'll get tetanus just breathing this air. Here, have some garlic. It won't stop the agonizing blood poisoning but it'll give you a headache so at least you won't notice."
Finn sat on a tire with a gusty sigh. "So can we get this heap flying or not?" he asked and flicked a loose screw at the side. It ricochetted off with a crack he hadn't expected.
"Finn! Don't do that!"
"Alright, alright, I'm sorry! Not like they've got guards here anyway. Who's going to hear us?"
"Rabid tazer squirrels, vampire mosquito bats, sentient life-hating A679 navigation systems..."
Stork dropped out of the bowels of the ship and seemed to sink into the layer of trash under the Condor. "We're all going to die," they heard him mutter before Junko fished him out and helpfully dragged him back into the moonlight.
"We might as well start digging our graves because we'll be ready for them before the Condor'll be ready to fly," he elaborated with a portentous hand wave at the ship behind them. "We'll need to look at it in daylight, if we're still alive in the morning, and praying that the old Storm Hawks didn't make the mistake of using an A679, we'd probably still need to rehaul the engines and generators, re-fit the old exhaust and cooling systems - and let's not talk about making it livable. And if they did use an A679, then any minute now it's going to try and destroy us all for disturbing its slumber."
Aerrow scratched his head and darted a glance at the shadowy hulk behind them. "Well, if it didn't do anything when you were in there, I'm guessing we're safe for now..." he said carefully.
"The A679 was after their time, I think," Piper said, thoughtful. "Anyway, it's not true that they're sentient, don't be ridiculous, Stork! Just because a couple of ships malfunctioned..."
"Ooooh, that's what they want you to think--"
"Hey, hate to rain on the party, but so what Stork's saying is it's going to take us months just to make that thing move? Months where we'll be stuck in the middle of -" Finn indicated the rolling expanse of rubbish. Wit failed him. "All this junk. Not exactly my idea of a good time. And how're we going to put that thing back together anyway?"
"Well, we are in the middle of a junkyard," Aerrow said. "A junkyard full of other airships."
"Yeah, that're here because they're falling apart!"
"That doesn't mean we can't salvage some pretty good parts. This is the biggest junkyard in Atmos - if we could find the Condor, think what else must be in here!"
"Er. More junk?"
"Treasure," Junko said, reverent. His pockets were already bulging; squinting at the night sky through a broken eyepiece, he tucked it in to join the rest of the scrap metal he'd collected.
"There's no way we'll ever get an airship, we don't have the gold. Fixing an old one's our best chance. And c'mon, look at it! It's the Condor. We're the Storm Hawks. It's right! All in favour of saving the Condor, say aye."
Piper had two hands in the air before Aerrow could throw his fist up. Junko raised a hand. "It's kind of pretty, if you look at it," he said, shyly.
"It's beautiful," Piper said.
To the amazement of the rest of the Storm Hawks, Stork raised a finger. "Her hull's still in one piece. She's not infested with iron-eating limpets yet. I suppose it coooould be worse," he said gloomily.
Finn sighed. "Okay, okay! I'm in."
Five hands and a finger. Piper cheered and threw her arms around Stork. He barely failed to crumple under her weight and moaned. Junko slapped Finn on the back and he crashed into a tangle of tire irons.
"Ow! Ow! Ow!"
Aerrow grinned at them and let out a whoop, loud and clear under the night sky. "Storm Hawks! We have a ride."