Services and Research Areas
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Services and Research Areas

ated by bright orang

e pumpkins that had been planted in among the long, straight rows. Fat cattle grazed along fence lines in mowed fields, and in the sky above a black hawk, clearly identifiable by the broad white band on its tail swo

oped down toward the wooded stream bottom. Mountains rose up behind the hills, one peak soft as a rounded shoulder, another shaped like a citadel carved out of solid rock. Virden consisted

of several dozen t

EMRTCidy farms and houses that lined the roadway paralleling the valley floor or fronted several side lanes flanked by orderly rows of mature shad

e trees. The only business

in the settlement was a quilt shop in a single-wide trailer that stood near an old abandoned schoolhouse with a rusty, hipped metal roof, boarded-up windows, and an overgrown playground containing a broken swing set. Kerney c

ruised the area, loo

king for Shaw's van. He followed a farm road that led into the hills, where he found a derelict homestead and the hulk of an old tractor be

hind a locked gate posted with a

no trespassing sign. Back in the village he stopped on a lane where an older man was working on a truck parked under a shade tree in front of a ho

use. The man looked up fro

m the engine compartment and nod) is constructed specifically to NATO Standardization Agreement (ded when Kerney approached. In his late sixties, he had a

deeply seamed face and a

semicircle of thin gray hair that crowned his bald, freckled head. "Engine trouble?" Kerney asked w

ith a smile. "Busted the

rmostat," the man said. "You lost, or just passing through?" "Poking around is more like it." Kerney extended his hand and told the man his nam

e. "This is really an out-o

EMRTCf-the-way, beautiful valley you live in." The man put a screwdriver in his back pocket and shook Kerney's h

Ordnance Testing

and. "Name's Nathan Gundersen. |f you like the quiet life, it's the right place to be. You looking to buy some p

roperty?" Is anything

for sale?" Kerney asked. Gundersen shook his head. "Not really. Folks ere tend to hold on to what they've got." "Do you know Walt Shaw?" Gundersen leaned against the t

ruck fender. "He grew up i

n these parts. What's your interest in him?" "A friend of Shaw's, told me that he came here and went deer hunting with him," Kerney said, "so I thought I'd check out the area before the season got started." "Maybe they were hunting up in the mount

ains," Gundersen sai

d, "but not down here. We don't allow it. The whole valley to the Arizona state line is posted." Kerney shrugged. "I guess I must

have misu

nderstood." "Not necessarily," Gundersen said. "Walt owns a farm in the valley, about two miles down the highway toward Duncan. Little white house that sits ju

st back from the road.

He leases out the acreage and uses the place as a retreat of sorts. Don't see much of him. Comes here occasionally to check on things and stay ove

rnight. During de

er se is a research division of ason he sometimes brings a friend along to go hunting in the mountains." "He grew up in the valley?" Kerney asked. "He came here as a foster child the stat

e placed with an older couple. They adopted him and found ou