Ahh… I do love the storm hawks… Ever since I was a child :) Here's to trying something different.

I do not own the Storm Hawks.

It was dark and he couldn't see. Nor did he want to see. Because there was nothing to see.

There was no sound; just him suspended in an empty shell of darkness. Suffocating. He had to keep looking, keep conscious, though he had long forgotten what he was supposed to be looking for. In despair he gave up, and then he was falling, falling through the darkness.

Aerrow woke up with a gasp. Radarr, who was curled up at the foot of his bed, grumbled, annoyed at being so rudely awakened and went back to sleep.

What… the hell… was… that…

He knew the answer of course. Plagued by nightmares constantly, though 'nightmares' was a little inaccurate. It was the same nightmare, recurring over and over again.

After the first few nights, he'd trained himself not to scream when he woke up.

Aerrow studied the clock, staring at it before the numbers made sense to his sleep-deprived brain. It was four in the morning. He could hear Junko's snores in the cabin next to his and concentrated on the ticking of the clock, trying to soothe himself back to sleep; to no avail.

He rolled off his bunk and padded lightly towards the window. It was a clear night; Aerrow could see the stars but it was also dark. And it reminded him of that dark. The dark which was terrifyingly empty of everything.

He shuddered as he remembered the dream. What could it have meant? He'd been having the same dream ever since Carver's attempt to murder him, not consistent at first, but after a while filling every single dream.

The sky was streaked with pink and orange; the sun would be rising soon. Aerrow shivered though it was not cold, he felt as if there was something…

A shadow whipped quickly out of sight in the corner of his eye. Instantly on high alert, Aerrow reached for his blades. He slipped out of his room and down the corridor, into the hangar bay. There was no one there. The door slid shut without warning.

"Master Cyclonis."

"The Dark Ace. Well. Did you complete it?"

"No, Master Cyclonis. I am deeply sorry."

The young woman's smile widened.

"It matters not; the Nightcrawlers can follow them to Terra Atmosia where there will be a little surprise waiting for their sky knight. Count on it, Dark Ace, Aerrow will not elude the Nightcrawlers."

The Dark Ace fidgeted slightly.

"Your highness, will I…"

"Once I have finished with him, Aerrow will be yours to do as you wish."

"Thank you, master."


The sky knight lifted his head and looked at Piper tiredly.

"Are you OK? You seem a bit… out of it…"

She trailed off, knowing that Aerrow would deny what she'd just said. She put a hand on his arm. Why don't you go and rest for a bit? I can take care of things for a while."

Aerrow blinked and shook himself.

"No, it's fine, I just didn't sleep very well last night." The moment the words left his mouth, Piper threw him a scrutinizing look.

"Mindworms cause insomnia," began Stork in a knowing voice.

"Dude… You don't really think that Aerrow has mindworms," snorted Finn. He laughed and fell off the chair he was lounging on, onto Radarr.

"I don't think it; I know it. You should be tested." Stork turned back to the helm, pointedly ignoring the yells coming from Finn as a furious Radarr attacked him.

"Even if it is mindworms, what's the worst that could happen? Like today, now." Aerrow put on his classic grin despite the headache which was consuming him. Stork examined the ship's radio.

"What about the fifty two distress calls coming from Terra Atmosia and sky knight squadrons?"

"Oh man… I was gonna suggest we all go to Tropica for a surfing break!" Finn moaned as he drunkenly wobbled towards the helm; the chair had hit him on the head.

"What is it? The Dark Ace? Ravess, Snipe or Master Cyclonis?" Aerrow forced himself to concentrate on the situation though his mind kept wandering.

"I don't know. None of the messages say…"

Piper threw a map onto the table and studied it carefully.

"Stork, go forty three degrees north, then bypass Terra Blusterier on our way to Atmosia. If we increase our speed by sixty seven percent, we can be there in three hours."

"Piper, if we go that quickly for that length of time, the Condor will probably overheat," Stork said with a look of morbid happiness on his face. "In which case we would fall into the wastelands and-"

"Stork, just go!"

Aerrow turned and walked briskly out the door.

"Aerrow, wait up!"

Piper sprinted after him into the corridor. She put her hand on his arm again.

"I know you're tired…"she held up a finger as the sky knight began to protest. "…but don't push yourself too far. That's when accidents happen and I don't think any of us could do without you…" Piper blushed, then quickly added: "Just be careful. Sky knights are disappearing and if the Cyclonians are targeting anyone, it'll be you."

Aerrow nodded, then pulled away and ran into his cabin. He haphazardly pulled on his armour, dashed for the door, promptly tripped over Radarr and they both landed in a heap.

"Oops. Sorry Radarr." Aerrow grinned then scratched his co-pilot behind the ears to which Radarr responded happily. "Come on, we've got work to do."

The Nightcrawler waited until Master Cyclonis had turned to face him, then kneeled on the ground with his head lowered.

"Master Cyclonis, we have found the sky knight and his squadron. They have fallen for the distress signals."

"Good. By this time tomorrow, I want Aerrow here, in Cyclonia, alive."

"But we have also caught a few extra squadrons."

"Use them as bait. And then? Well, I don't really care what happens to them then."

"And what of Carver, master?"

"Tell him that it is time."

She smiled as the Nightcrawler bowed and disappeared into the long winding corridors of her castle.

Wow. This will be... tough…