The radar dish atop the van continues to rotate.
Inside the van, the radar oscilloscope shows a blinking target. A pen plotter draws an arrow on a United States Department of the Interior Geological Survey map labeled “Vandenberg AFB, Project: Scoop Satellite Recovery Chart (Classified)”
“Piedmont, New Mexico,” says Sgt. Crane, smiling. “Population, sixty-eight.”
Lt. Shawn turns up the volume on the oscilloscope, then grabs the night vision telescope. “Come on,” he says, headed out the door of the van.
Outside, buzzards circle in the night sky.
“I didn’t notice them before,” says Lt. Shawn, walking over to his rocky perch.
“That’s crazy,” says Sgt. Crane. “I didn’t know buzzards fly at night.”
“That’s what they look like,” says Shawn, scanning the night sky with his scope. “Here,” he says, handing the night scope to Crane.
Crane looks through the scope at the village below. “Boy, that’s some dead burg,” remarks Crane. Shawn lights up a cigarette with a Zippo lighter.
“Buzzards only come when something’s dead,” says Shawn.