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The Warriors

1 | Kangchenjunga

In nine years of flying, Captain Matao Iimori had never faced a storm with this power. Since encountering the blizzard two hours ago, the FW 200C Condor had lost three thousand feet to fierce wind and ice, dropping it dangerously close to the world’s most treacherous terrain. Blinded by snow, Iimori and his crew fought a desperate battle to hold the eastward heading that would lead them out of Tibet’s turbulent weather into China where a squadron of Zeros waited to escort them to Nanking. There was only one problem. They weren’t in Tibet...

Iimori rested his head against the black leather seat and stared at the snow striking the windshield. A sweet numbness crept through his limbs. His eyelids fluttered. Just a few minutes of blessed sleep. Not much to ask.

He was nodding off when something caught his eye. He glanced to his right and saw his co-pilot’s head droop forward, his hands barely grasping the control wheel.

Iimori cursed under his breath and seized the wheel and throttles. “I’ll take it, Fuchida.”

“Sir?”

“I’ve got the plane.”

Lieutenant Eiichi Fuchida slipped his hands off the co-pilot’s wheel and slumped in his seat. He rubbed his forehead, trying to clear his head.

Iimori glanced at the altimeter. “She’s too heavy. We need to de-ice again.”

No response.

“Fuchida?”

“Something’s wrong. Dizzy...”

Iimori glanced at the blue lever beside his co-pilot’s arm. He grimaced and flipped it on, sending a rush of oxygen into Fuchida’s mask.

Fuchida shook his head and looked down at the lever. “I must have bumped it with my elbow.”

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