AREA 51 & THE HOLY HAND GRENADE OF ANTIOCH
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.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish