Tag Archives: Nightstalkers

What do Nightstalkers do? Area 51 Nightstalkers: Coming 11 December 2012

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Order your copy now at Amazon

Moms sat behind one desk, Nada taking his place behind the other. They were standard government-issue gray desks and they faced the door from opposite corners of the CP. Surprisingly a plump armchair was in the center facing them.

Kirk suspected a trap, perhaps no support in the seat, and sat down gingerly. But the chair was firm. Even comfortable, which further aroused his suspicions.

Moms started. “Every unit I ever went into, when I met the CO, it was always a series of warnings. Don’t fuck up. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Behave. And I’ve walked into a lot of units in my time. Your experience?”

Kirk ran his career reel through his head. “The same, Ms. Moms.”

“Save the Ms. shit for Ms. Jones. There’s no Ms. Or Misters here. I’m Moms. That’s it. You’re Kirk. He’s Nada. I heard Doc out there. Just Doc. Got it?”

“Just Doc. Got it.”

Moms smiled slightly. Kirk noticed a bend in her nose and knew it had been broken and badly set a long time ago. Dee’s nose had the same crook. From Pads’s fist. Kirk pulled his mind back to the present as Moms continued.

“The ceremony outside is real. The people are real. We’re very happy to have you on the team.” She glanced to her left. “Right?”

“Oh, yeah,” Nada was pulling open a drawer in his desk and glanced up. “Thrilled beyond words.”

“If you notice, we don’t wear rank, we don’t have patches or tabs or badges. I know you’re proud of them, but we don’t do that stuff. We don’t do medals, we don’t do plaques or memorials or any of that. But you are still in the service, okay?”

Kirk nodded.

“We work for Ms. Jones. Who exactly she answers to, we don’t know and we don’t have a need to know. She did the ‘things that go bump in the night’ schtick, which she alternates with some other stuff for new people, but officially Nightstalkers is on call to deal with extraordinary emergencies. That includes incidents involving nuclear, chemical, and biological material. Doc will get you up to speed on what you need to know in that area and our special gear to deal with contingencies. A lot of the times we bring scientists with us. Nada interrupted him, but putting it simply, Doc is a genius in a whole bunch of fields I can’t even pronounce.”

“Yeah,” Nada snorted. “I remember you wrote Genius on the board when he in-briefed with Ms. Jones.”

Moms ignored him. “Doc has what we call the Acme list, after that company the Roadrunner always bought his stuff from in the cartoon.”

This time Nada actually laughed as he started piling up binders on his desktop. “Yeah, Mac wanted to call him Roadrunner. Beep beep. He’s always interested in figuring shit out. Keep an eye on him with that. You can get killed while figuring shit out.”

Moms continued. “The Acme list contains the names of a whole bunch of scientists who are on call to the government. We Zevon them—”

“Excuse me?” Kirk said.

“Zevon,” Moms repeated. “It’s an alert ring tone on their phones. You’ll understand soon enough; hopefully not too soon.”

“Good luck on that,” Nada muttered as he took out an alcohol pen and began thumbing through a pocket-sized acetated pad.

“Working with those from the Acme list can be a pain—”

“Working with Doc can be a pain,” Nada said to himself, checking the binders against his small pad.

“—but they’re the experts. They tell you don’t touch something, don’t touch it. They tell you to flame something, flame it. They tell you to run—”

“You’re fucked,” Nada said.

“True,” Moms said. She stared at Kirk as if reading him. Seeing how he was taking it. She must have liked what she saw. “Okay. There is an event that’s our primary mission, and actually prompted the founding of this unit many years ago. Something you’ve never heard of.”

“Join the rest of the world,” Nada said.

“Rifts and Firelies,” Moms said.

Kirk blinked and hoped for amplification.

“No, I can’t tell you what a Rift is,” Moms said, deflating his hope. “No one can.”

“Not even Doc,” Nada added.

“But Fireflies—” Moms began.

“We kill,” Nada finished for her.

“Fireflies come through Rifts,” Moms said. “Anywhere from one to fourteen, which happened back in ’68, and is the record.”

That must have been a motherfucker of a firefight,” Nada said enviously.

“Doc will give you more info on this topic,” Moms said, “but simply put, Fireflies are things that come through Rifts, and our best guess is that they are some sort of energy being or probe that can take over an animate or inanimate object.” She stopped because of whatever she was reading on Kirk’s face.

“They can go into things and animals,” Nada tried to explain. “And take them over. So anything around you can be under the control of a Firefly.” He thumped his desktop. “A Firefly could get into this desk, then slam shut the drawer when I put my hand in to get something. With enough force to chop my hand off, ’cause they enhance whatever they’re in. You kill an animal they’re in, it ain’t enough. It’s got to be flamed to cinders. Roland does most of the flaming. Once the creature is reduced to pretty much nothing, the Firefly floats out of the body and dissipates.”

“They can’t jump from one place to another,” Moms said. “Once they go in they’re stuck—”

“Until we obliterate what they’re in,” Nada said.

“They can’t go into people,” Moms said.

“Not that we know of,” Nada warned. “Or yet. Whichever.”

That one stopped Moms for a second, then she went on. “If they get into an inanimate object, then we have to blast it, break it down, crush it, blow it apart—whatever—depending on what the object is. There is a critical point at which the object no longer has what Doc calls a sufficient level of integrity that the Firefly can survive in, so it finally just lets go and leaves and dissipates. I know this is all a bit much, but like I said, Doc can explain it better and more thoroughly. Okay?”

Another Nightstalkers Excerpt: Things that go bump in the night…

“You’re meeting Ms. Jones,” Nada said, stopping in front of a surprisingly flimsy and ill-fitting door, the antithesis of everything Carter had seen since entering the complex. “You listen to her very carefully.”

The door to the left opened and a tall woman in fatigues stepped out. The way Nada shifted his posture, Carter realized with surprise that he answered to her, so he stood a little straighter.

“I’m Moms,” the woman said.

Moms? Carter was trying to take it all in.

“I was just telling him to listen carefully to Ms. Jones,” Nada informed her.

Moms nodded. “Listen to her offer. Then you get to say yes or you get to say no. There’s no shame, no blemish on your record for saying no.”

“No is the easy way,” Eagle yelled from across the room.

“No is back to the world,” Mac added.

“Hush,” Roland scolded the other two. “Moms is talking.”

Moms put a hand on Carter’s shoulder. “You understand?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Mac laughed. “He ain’t got a fucking clue.”

Moms nodded at Nada. He rapped on the flimsy door, rattling it on the hinges. Then he swung it open and indicated for Carter to go in. “Take the seat in front of the desk. Do not get out of the seat until dismissed, then come straight back out here. Anything else and I’ll kill you.”

He said it so matter-of-factly that Carter only realized he was serious after taking three steps into the room. A hard plastic chair faced a massive wooden desk. The smooth surface of the desk was unmarred by any phone, computer, or knick-knack. Behind the desk was a huge wing-backed chair, the occupant completely in the shadow cast by the large lights pointed directly at the plastic chair.

Carter sat down, hands on his knees, feeling like he’d been called into the principal’s office and he’d done something really bad—like burn down the school.

The voice startled him, not only with the accent, but the suddenness. “You do know, of course, that someone has to man the walls in the middle of the night? The walls between all those innocents out there who lay their heads down on their pillows every evening, troubled by thoughts of such things as mortgages, or their pet is sick, or their child is failing in school? The normal things people should worry about. There are even those who have grave, serious worries, such as just being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given weeks to live. But the things we, here, worry about, they are far graver than any of those worries.”

Carter didn’t know if she was really asking or if it was a test, so he followed Uncle Ray’s advice and said nothing.

Ms. Jones continued. “Someone has to worry about those things that go bump in the night, and let me assure you, young man, there are things that go bump in the night.”

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Area 51 Nightstalkers by Bob Mayer

Area 51 Nightstalkers

by Bob Mayer

Giveaway ends November 24, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Area 51 Nightstalkers by Bob Mayer

Area 51 Nightstalkers

by Bob Mayer

Giveaway ends November 24, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

To Carter, it just looked like an old deserted filling station out in the middle of the desert. Colonel Orlando was driving the battered Jeep, which was the latest in a bunch of strange things to happen ever since he’d been “tested” back in the ’Stan.

Since then, Orlando hadn’t said two words, ignoring every question Carter had thrown at him, and using the defense of that silver oak leaf indicating his rank to treat Carter like the staff sergeant he was.

Except after landing at some incredibly long runway in the middle of Nevada, the colonel had gotten in the driver’s seat of this old beat-up Jeep that had been waiting for them. A colonel driving for a staff sergeant wasn’t normal, even for the elite army. They’d been bumping along for over an hour now, leaving the runway and the hangers, and the guards and all that far behind.

Two minutes ago, Orlando had turned off the hardtop road onto a dirt road, passing a plywood sign spray-painted none too steadily with the warning No Trespass: We Will Shoot Your Ass along with a skull and crossbones also crudely sprayed onto the wood next to the words. Now the old gas station was ahead on the right and Carter could see three guys shooting a beat-up basketball at a metal rim set about eight feet off the ground on a leaning light pole. He knew right away they were Special Ops, even though two had long hair. It was the same way at Bragg, where you could always tell the difference between guys in the 82nd Airborne, not exactly slouches, and someone in Special Forces. They looked different because they were different.

The three didn’t even look over as Orlando screeched the protesting brakes of the Jeep, bringing them to a halt a hundred yards short of the station. Carter saw the reason. Two men had materialized from spider holes, weapons at the ready. Carter blinked as a red laser designator wavered over his face, settling in between his eyes. Shifting his glance to the left, he saw Orlando also wore a red dot.

A third man, who must have been in a hole, too, came up from behind. He held some weird device and flashed it in Orlando’s eyes. It beeped, and since the colonel wasn’t shot, Carter assumed that was a positive beep. All three wore ghillie suits with black fatigues underneath and no sign of rank or unit, so Carter figured they were contractors. He’d seen a ton of them in the ’Stan and Iraq. The guard started to go around the rear of the Jeep—not crossing the line of fire of the others—when Orlando spoke up.

“He’s the new one.”

The guard nodded, looking vaguely disappointed for some reason, as if Carter were stealing his role in the school play. “Proceed, Colonel.”

Orlando put the Jeep into gear, the clutch protesting loudly.

One of the three, a tall black man whose left side of the face was terribly scarred, took a long shot and it flew past rim and pole into a pile of old tires, sending them tumbling. A rattler came buzzing out, trying to see who’d interrupted its late-day nap.

“Yo!” one of the others, a big hulking guy with what Carter initially would have called an honest, happy face, yelled. “Eagle got a snake.”

“I hate fucking snakes,” Eagle said.

“Tell Doc about snakes,” the third guy said with a Texas drawl. He was a young Tom Cruise look-alike, handsome in a way that initially irritated almost every man who met him.

“Fuck you, Mac,” Eagle said to him as he drew a Mark-23 from under his T-shirt and fired, hitting the snake in the head, and firing again, hitting the stump.

“No one would think you were any army of one,” Mac said. “Afraid of snakes.” He stepped over the body and retrieved the ball. “We used to eat rattler back home in Texas. Tastes like chicken.”

“Bet you had to eat rattler,” the big guy said, with all seriousness. “My mom used to make us pine bark soup flavored with pine needles.”

“You had one fucked-up childhood, Roland,” Mac said. “We ate it ’cause we liked it.”

Carter got out of the Jeep as Orlando did. Now that he was closer to the big man, he could see that thing deep in Roland’s eyes that belied his genial face. The man was a killer.

The three finally decided to notice the newcomers.

Eagle nodded at Orlando. “Colonel.”

“Eagle. Roland. Mac.” Orlando nodded three times, like he was blessing them or asking permission to pass, it was hard for Carter to tell. “Been a while.”

“It has indeed, sir,” Eagle said. He looked at Carter. “Must be an officer. He isn’t covered in shit.”

Orlando was the only one who got it and he laughed as he got back in the driver’s seat. “You gentleman have a fine rest of the day. Until next time.”

Carter hastily grabbed his duffel out of the back of the Jeep. And then the colonel was gone in a cloud of dust. Carter stood there, uncomfortable in the late-day sun, duffel bag weighing on his shoulder, his camos drenched with sweat. He knew they were reading the cues on his fatigues: Ranger Tab, left shoulder; Ranger Regiment scroll, right shoulder, meaning combat service with the unit; Combat Infantry Badge; Master Parachute Badge; Freefall Parachute Badge; Scuba Badge.

Most people were impressed.

These were clearly not most people.

“Where do I report?” Carter asked.

“Get a grape soda,” Mac said as the other two turned back to the basketball and their game.

“I don’t want a grape soda.” Carter regretted the words as he spoke them.

Mac laughed. “Buddy, no one wants a grape soda, but one time me and this hot little cheerleader, all we had was some Jack and some grape soda, and it worked then. It’ll work now,” he added, nodding toward the rusting soda machine leaning against the side of the station.

Carter went over. The peeling labels indicated he could get Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, Orange, or Grape. Twenty-five cents. He reached for his pocket, then realized he didn’t have any change. Before he could turn, Eagle called out.

“Just push the button. And make sure it’s grape. You don’t want the orange, trust me.”

Carter hit the grape button.

With a hiss of escaping air, the soda machine slid to the side and a stairway beckoned, cool air blasting out.

Carter hesitated.

“You got eight seconds,” Eagle added as he took a shot. “Or it will shut on you.”

Monty Pythons Annoying Peasant:

Area 51: Nightstalkers: The Courier

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Area 51 Nightstalkers by Bob Mayer

Area 51 Nightstalkers

by Bob Mayer

Giveaway ends November 24, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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It started with the pretty postdoc who was the point of contact at the University of Colorado.

The Courier had been up all night partying at one of the frat houses, only two years removed from college himself. Or, more accurately, two years removed from his single year of college. After being kicked out of college, he doubled down on that year sucking dirt in the Marines, including a year at Bagram Air Base on the perimeter guard post, shooting at a whole bunch of nothing and basically being bored to tears. The stories he’d told the wide-eyed rich kids at the party were true—that is, if the older grunts who’d told the stories to him in the first place had been telling the truth.

So at the end of his year in ’Stan, when the contractor came calling with offers of big bucks and lots of time off for combat-experienced Marines (they considered a year in-country combat experience, so the boredom counted for something), the Courier had signed on the dotted line and kissed the Corps good-bye. The deal had turned out sweeter than he’d expected. They didn’t send him back to the ’Stan but rather to the Depot.

Like any other gig, though, there were drawbacks. One was the implant. The gruff retired gunny sergeant who’d taken him through Depot processing at Area 51 had told him it was a minor physical procedure—he wouldn’t feel a thing—and the actual device only had to be worn during the time when he was working. During his two months off for every one on, why, no problem, he could leave it at the Depot. That was where guys like him, the Support for a bunch of high-speed people called the Nightstalkers, were stationed. Underground on the Area 51 military reservation in the middle of no-fucking-where, Nevada. It sounded a lot cooler than it was, both figuratively and literally.

The gunny hadn’t been totally up front. The actual procedure was sticking some long, really thin wire into his chest. It left the tiniest of nubs sticking out just center and below his left nipple. That wasn’t coming out as long as he was in Support. Then when he came on duty they strapped a belt around his chest that had a matchbox—scratch that, he wasn’t old enough to have used matchboxes—an iPod Mini–sized device right over the nub and connected it to him.

When he’d asked what the device was for, the old gunny had told him: “So we can track you and make sure you’re okay. We don’t want nothing to happen to you, sonny-boy.”

So, okay, for one month’s work and two off, he could deal with it. And, of course, for the pay. That was ten large every month, even the ones he wasn’t working. The Tea Party would have a fit.

They gave him some guns, a souped-up, armored van, a thick binder full of what they called “protocols,” and a handheld device the gunny called an Invoicer (the way he said it indicated it was capitalized, like a lot of stuff around the place). It contained his deliveries for this tour of duty.

“Like a FedEx driver?” the Courier had asked.

The gunny had just glared at him for a moment, then shook his head. “Read the Protocols, sonny.” The gunny had looked about as if the walls had ears. “You do good on Support, there’s a chance you make the team out at the Ranch. They’re short one body on the ’Stalkers. Been short a while. Ms. Jones is real picky about who makes the team.”

What are we, back in high school? the Courier thought but did not say, having had experience with gunnies in the Corps.

The key to being a Courier, the gunny explained, was to keep a low profile. A single panel truck, a single man, playing it cool, wouldn’t draw attention the way a clearly armored vehicle and escort convoy would.

Whatever, the Courier thought.

Area 51 Nightstalkers: Special Ops: Why We Are Here

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Nada went into a long (more than two sentences) explanation of combat fatigue and how it happened occasionally that a guy lost it on a mission. And might even want out.

The last part caused each of the listening men to look into their own psyche for a moment. They had all been special before coming to Nightstalkers: Green Berets, Rangers, CIA, Black Ops—it ran the gamut. The fact that Ms. Jones picked them meant they had something that went beyond special, into unique. The thing was, none of them were exactly sure what made each one unique.

Ms. Jones: “You believe Misters Burns should be separated, Mister Nada?”

Nada: “I never really trusted him.”

Mac snickered because they all knew Nada wouldn’t trust a Girl Scout leading a nun across the road. He’d figure there was an angle to it, and it wasn’t a good one. In Nada’s world, the Girl Scout would throw the nun under the bus, then steal her rosary beads and hock them, using that—along with the money from her cookie sales—to feed her gambling addiction. But Roland frowned at both the snicker and the comment. He knew Nada meant something deeper, something real. Because the funny thing was, no one on the team had ever really trusted Burns. Well, they had at first. You had to. But something had been brewing between Burns and the rest of the team for a while.

Ms. Jones: “Mister Burns was an experiment on my part. I was trying something different and I take responsibility for the decision and the result.”

Mac choked down another snicker because Ms. Jones always took responsibility for everything on the team and even Mac couldn’t laugh at that. They all knew she had their backs.

A record-setting second sigh came from Ms. Jones.

Ms. Jones: “Mister Burns will be out-processed.”

Moms and Nada were silent; the decision had been made.

Ms. Jones: “It could have been worse.”

All three men in the outer room—even Mac, who hadn’t been there—were nodding, because they all implicitly knew Ms. Jones knew what “worse” was.

Then Ms. Jones began speaking, almost like Moms, except she wasn’t detailing a mission, she was talking about the Mission. It was pretty close to what she’d told each of them individually when they in-processed and it was similar to what they’d all heard when they’d volunteered and made it into whatever high-speed unit they’d come from. It had a catch phrase in those elite organizations: Why We Are Here.

That’s why Roland and Eagle and Nada, and even Moms—though she wouldn’t admit it—had known Burns was done when he’d been screaming with an ass full of spikes: “Why am I here? Why the hell am I doing this crazy shit?”

They all knew why they were here and they all knew Ms. Jones was repeating it as much to them as to Nada and Moms.

Ms. Jones: “We are here because the best of intentions can go horribly awry and the worst of intentions can achieve exactly what it sets out to do. It is often the noblest scientific inquiry that can produce the end of us all. We are here because we are the last line of defense when the desire to do right turns into a wrong. We are here because mankind advances through trial and error. Because nothing man does is ever perfect. And we are ultimately here because there are things out there, beyond mankind’s current knowledge level, that man must be guarded against until man can understand those things. We must remember this.”During the in-brief, she’d then ask each prospective team member: “Can you live with that?”

And they’d all said yes. But every once in a while that yes turned into a big NO, like it had with Burns.

Nightstalkers: Is Ms. Jones Real?

Another taste of latest release NIGHTSTALKERS coming 11 December 2012.

Pre-Order your copy here!

The central room they were in had originally been called the Bunker. It certainly fit the moniker. Depressing, gray, steel-reinforced concrete walls, curving to a popcorn ceiling that had another twenty feet of concrete pressing down on it. The Den was the center of the facility, the team room. Besides Ms. Jones’s office, Moms’s and Nada’s Command Post (CP) was adjacent to it along with the weapons room and the team living quarters.

Unfortunately “bunker” had sounded too last-days-of-Hitler and someone had started calling the room the Zoo. As in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, when the Cold War was still chilly. But then that era passed and the allusion faded.

So it had morphed from Zoo to Lions’ Den, in a time when perhaps a fiercer leader than Ms. Jones reigned, but that was too much work to sustain, so now it was just the Den.

It was a heavily fortified Den though, surrounded by layers of security that would make Fort Knox weep with envy, so it always struck each new man as weird that the door to Ms. Jones’s office was a flimsy, hollow-core affair, poorly hinged, leaving an inch opening above the floor. The reality, though, was that the office was more a sanctum. At least that’s the way every team member thought of it. It was Ms. Jones’s sanctum, one from which she had never come out. Each member had only been in once, to meet her when they had been in-processed.

Only Moms, occasionally with Nada, got to go behind the door more than once. This was one of those times.

The weird thing was that the flimsy door and the inch gap let every person in the Den hear every word spoken in the office. But only the conversations with Moms, occasionally Nada, and the in-briefs of new personnel, from which the existing team members could generate the newcomer’s team name. Because other than when someone from the team was in the office with Ms. Jones, there was never a sound. One would think Ms. Jones talked on a phone, or radio, or to herself occasionally, but such utterances were never heard. There was never the creak of a desk chair, or even Ms. Jones breaking wind.

Some even speculated Ms. Jones wasn’t real. She was a holographic image with a voice. After all, they could agree that during in-processing all they had seen was someone—or something—sitting in a darkened chair on the other side of a massive aircraft-carrier-sized wooden desk that had absolutely nothing on top of it. Forced to squint into lights aimed forward from above and behind the desk, lights that made one long for the days of the Gestapo and bootjacks, it was impossible to determine who or what was in that big chair.

So, for someone so secretive, one wondered why she would allow every word she spoke to every guest to be heard by every team member in the Den.

And eventually each new team member silently realized what the others had already figured out: there were no secrets inside the Nightstalkers. Anything discussed in there with anyone was information the entire team was privy to. Ms. Jones might have her own secrets, but she made sure the team had none among its members.

Is Ms. Jones Real? The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch


Nightstalkers Area 51

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Area 51 is in the middle of nowhere on the way to nowhere. Worse, in most of the nowhere it’s on the way to, no one would survive long. To the west is the Nevada Test Site where the government—in the form of the United States Department of Energy—exploded 739 of the 928 nuclear tests it conducted over the years. Uninhabitable would be kind. No living thing being able to cross and survive long is more to the point.

To the north is the Nellis Range, where the government in the form of the US Air Force regularly drops bombs, big and small. Like most good pilots in the military, they often deliberately target anything moving out there, usually cattle or deer, since any kill is a good kill. The government pays the ranchers around the area a stipend every year for livestock that wander into the kill zone.

The deer are out of luck.

For most who cared, UFO enthusiasts among the most likely, the key to Area 51 is the world’s longest runway set on the dry bed of Groom Lake. Every day a plane carrying contractors from Las Vegas lands on that runway depositing workers for the facilities built into Groom Mountain and hidden from the probing eyes of satellites.

The Nightstalkers did not take the daily flight to and from Vegas.

Area 51 itself would have been much too public a place for the Nightstalkers to be headquartered, although the huge perimeter, the inaccessibility, and the built-in security, were all certainly enticements. The forerunners of the Nightstalkers had only been based at Area 51 because the scientists who conceived most of the problems they had to deal with were based at Area 51. Along the way someone realized that if everyone knew about Area 51, then it wasn’t the best place to keep the covert team. The unit had changed names many times, always at least one step, and hopefully a lap, ahead of scrutiny. Now the Nightstalkers simply stayed in the vicinity to use that great buffer of security to the west, along with being able to tap the resources of the classified facility. And, of course, because they also had to be close enough to go in and take care of the problems that occasionally cropped up from some experiment gone awry in one of Area 51’s many labs.

The new location, when they moved out of Area 51 proper, had been initially dubbed the Ranch and that stuck.

So the Ranch was across the road. Right across Extraterrestrial Highway, a.k.a. Nevada Route 375. The curious who came out there always looked west, where the base was. No one ever looked east, toward the Ranch. On private land. Registered in county records to the actual current owner: Ms. Jones.

This made the location even more secure than the government facility across the way, because Nevada’s Stand Your Ground Law, dating back to the Wild West of 1871, allowed Ranch security to gun down anyone who crossed its boundaries into the private property and represented what they considered a threat. The big, spray-painted plywood, No Trespass: We Will Shoot Your Ass signs around the Ranch carried a lot more weight than the fancy red-and-white metal warning signs posted around Area 51, where the occasional interloper got a six-hundred-dollar fine.

The main part of the Ranch was, of course, hidden underground. Inside the complex—inside the Den—Eagle and Roland were needling MacGyver, a.k.a. Mac, about missing out in the “Fun Outside Tucson,” as the latest mission had been labeled on the flight home. Mac had been off getting trained up in some other secret facility on the latest in demolitions, and Eagle told him they could have used the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch on the killer rabbit, which drew blank stares from Roland and Mac and a sigh from the older man.