In Africa in 1943, Air Force Captain James Embry wakes up next to King Nine
, a medium bomber that has crashed in the Tunisian desert. He vaguely recalls the bomber going off-course after a hit and crashing in the desert. However, he can't find any of the other crew even though he's sure they were all aboard when the bomber crashed. He calls out for the crew but gets no answer. He tries to piece together what happened in the crash and concludes that he was thrown clear during the crash and was knocked out. He assumes the others started walking to civilization, but can't figure out why they didn't take him.
Embry hears static on a radio and tries to get a signal with no success. He insists he has to get his crew to safety. He hears a sound outside but it's only a metal flap blowing in the wind. He finds his captain's cap and dons it, then spots a canteen lying in the water with the name of Kline, one of his crew, on it. He starts to drink from it but then sees one of the crew, Blake, laughing at him from the cockpit. Embry runs to the plane but Blake disappears. Almost hysterical, Embry rants that he's responsible for them. He tries the radio again without success and wonders if he's hallucinating from a concussion while dying in the desert, or maybe drunk. However, he insists that he saw Blake and calls out for him again along with the others. He orders everyone to assemble but then sees a grave in the desert belonging to Kline.
Embry hears a sound overhead and sees jet aircraft flying overhead. Puzzled, he thinks that there were no jet aircraft in 1943... but doesn't know why he recognizes them. He tries to get their attention without success and tries to ask his "crew" what they are and if they've heard of them. He tells his crew that they're going to have to fly out and tries to start a propeller. Embry then notices the blade is bent and starts laughing hysterically,claiming King Nine
doesn't exist and he's dead or in limbo. Then he sees the assembled crew sitting on a dune, laughing at him. He runs to them but they disappear and he wonders if anything is real. He collapses to the ground, sobbing and begging for someone to explain things to him...
A doctor and a psychiatrist in a hospital are reviewing Embry's case: the captain is lying in a bed. Embry went by a newsstand and collapsed in shock after seeing a newspaper. The newspaper's headline: "World War II Bomber Found Intact." The bomber has been missing for 17 years. Embry was discharged from the Air Force after suffering from fevers, and he never went on King Nine
's final mission. Embry wakes up and says that he was dreaming, and explains that he was in the desert but no one was there. The doctor assures him it was a hallucination but Embry insists that he should have gone on the mission and chickened out. The psychiatrist tries to reassure him that he can finally come to terms with his guilt, and Embry wonders if he actually went to the site of the crash in the present day. The psychiatrist notes that he only went back in his mind and Embry accepts it. However, as they leave, the nurse comes up with Embry's clothing... and finds desert sand in his shoes.