Hello and welcome.

starskulls and thelittlebird4; you have reviewed every single chapter so far and I love you for it. Here is a line of hugs and kisses:

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Thank you also to Mememe who has suddenly inspired me to do something I would not have included otherwise :D

It was the same dream as ever. The darkness; the emptiness. But then there was a light in the distance. He reached out to it, hungry for the light to wash over him but suddenly the light was fading.

"No," he sobbed, "Don't go. I need…"


She seemed familiar…


"Aerrow! I'm…"

Cold water splashed over him, jolting him awake. Aerrow spluttered then sat up. The Dark Ace was leaning over him leering.

"Master Cyclonis wants you moved from this room. She needs it for other… purposes." He flashed a grin at the last word.

He pulled Aerrow roughly to his feet.

"Don't worry. We're not going to kill you… at least… not today. And when we do, we'll make sure that you'll have plenty of companions in the afterlife."

His grin widened. And that one smug smile; that one complacent gesture was enough to anger Aerrow so completely that he lost all rationality which he may have held onto.

"You wouldn't dare hurt them!" Aerrow lunged forwards, ready to fight, to rip the enemy in front of him with his bare hands.

"Oh but I will. You see, I, unlike you, am free and powerful. With Master Cyclonis' help and you out of the way, all of Atmos will kneel before me."

The Dark Ace grabbed Aerrow by his hair and forced the young sky knight to his knees.

"And once that is complete, you will be useless and you will be able to join your friends in wherever you think you go after death."

The Dark Ace laughed humourlessly.

"But for now, it is time to show you how to break a sky knight."

Stork steered the unusually quiet Condor around the Terra which had they had circled for thirteen hours, for want of a better route to take. The sky was devoid of life though the rain pattered relentlessly down on the windows. Occasional flashes of lightning passed too close for comfort but for the most part, the route was monotonous.

Piper had a map opened on the table and appeared to be studiously examining it, though Stork noticed that once in a while, her concentration would slip and she would gaze aimlessly out of the window. Finn was apparently still asleep though Stork wondered whether it was just an excuse to remain in his room. Junko had taken up the monotonous task of checking all the air vents and other various jobs. Radarr was yet to make an appearance.

The team was dead. There was no other word for it. Stork knew that they were all worried about their leader and even he himself had begun to feel anxious; albeit for Stork, personal preservation still ranked highest on his priority list.

"OK. I have a plan."

It was the first anyone had spoken since they had taken to circling the terra.

Junko and Stork both turned to look at Piper. She seemed tired but alert and possibly more determined than she had been since Aerrow's disappearance.

"We'll need Starling to help and possibly some unorthodox tactics."

She smiled for the first time in hours.

"In other words, as I said before, exactly our style."

The Dark Ace stopped suddenly and faced what seemed to be the wall. Aerrow squinted to see what was so special about it but could see nothing. He expected the wall to be a secret door in fact and was more than a little disappointed when they moved on.

"Why did we stop?"

The Dark Ace did not answer. He mentally made a note to inform his master of the weak point in the wall where the Storm Hawks had once destroyed before.

After a little longer, they came to a stop outside a battered looking door which looked as if it could be destroyed with just one push.

The Dark Ace cleared his throat.

"The Dark Ace, with express permission to enter Room 273 to drop off the priority prisoner."


The voice which answered was like the whisper of an ancient insect. Aerrow strained his ears to hear more but was met with silence. The Dark Ace pushed Aerrow roughly.

"Good luck, Aerrow. I will come and collect what's left of you."

He closed the door and Aerrow was left in absolute darkness.

Never had he been so alone yet he sensed that this darkness was different to the darkness in his dreams.


His voice rebounded off the walls. There was no response. He licked his lips and tried again.

"Please may I have some light?"

Scarcely had he finished speaking when the light clicked on. It was not a modern crystal powered light, nor a fire based light. It filled the room with a harsh, brash brilliance which created the illusion of a wall-less prison; the light seemed to stretch further than the eye could see.

"Where am I?"

Again there was no response.

"I want you to tell me where I am!" he ordered.

The voice hissed through the chamber.

"Wherever you wish to be, young sky knight. My wish is your command."

"Then let me out!"

The silence filled the air like the humid wind of a summer night.

"Please. I want to see my squadron."

And then his squadron was there and he reached out to them. Piper laughed and held out her hand to him. Finn, Radarr, Junko, Stork… they were all there, unharmed. And he walked towards them until they were only a few metres apart.


"We're all here, Aerrow. We're all fine."

The voice rang out again.

"The first hour is past. The second hour is to begin. Have you everything you wish for, sky knight?"

Aerrow turned apprehensively.

"Yes. I have everything I need."

There was no reply.

He turned back to face his squadron but they only watched him with expressions of horror on their faces.

"Guys, what's wrong?" He stepped towards them anxiously, before the screams began and he paused in shock.

Major writer's block…

The next one will be more substantial (and filled with more tortures :D)