"They're set to take exposures every fifteen minutes. They even record the date and time at the bottom of each negative."
"Incredible," Nancy said, then pointed to the hut. "Is that where Brad was hurt?"
"Yeah," Ned replied. "We keep a few snacks and drinks in there. Apparently, Brad was heating water for coffee. When boom! I heard the explosion and ran up the hill. Brad was lying across the doorstep, unconscious."
Nancy shook her head sympathetically.
"The force of the explosion must have blown him out the door. He's lucky he wasn't killed."
Inside the hut were two chairs and a folding table covered with computer printouts and camera gear. Several bags of food pellets and a stack of traps lined the far wall. Above it was a shelf with a canister of sugar, instant coffee, and tea bags.
Nancy pointed to a blackened object in the comer of the room. "Is that the stove that blew up?"
Ned nodded, and she went over to it. The stove consisted of one burner attached by a copper tube to a canister of propane. Nancy checked the propane tank. The fitting between it and the tubing was tight, but when she traced a path up the tubing to the nut that connected it to the burner, she let out a gasp.
"Find something?" Ned asked.
Nancy held the tubing and the bolt up to the light. "Look at this," she said. "See those scratch marks? Someone's tampered with the nut,"
Ned's eyes narrowed. "That means when Brad turned on the stove, propane started escaping."
"Exactly," Nancy agreed. "And when he lit the match, there was an explosion."
Ned straighted up. "So it wasn't an accident.
Someone deliberately tried to hurt Brad!"
Or kill him," Nancy added as she de- tached the tube and put it in the pocket of her jacket. "This is our first piece of evidence."
From the doorway, someone spoke up.
"What's going on here?"
Nancy turned and saw a lanky man of about fifty, whose black hair was sprinkled with gray at the temples. He had a deeply tanned face and a wide, unsmiling mouth. A tall, dark, good-looking guy in a ranger uniform and a young woman clad in blue jeans and a purple Emerson College sweats.h.i.+rt stood just behind him.
Ned moved toward the group. "I was just showing my friend Nancy around. Professor Trainey, this is Nancy Drew." He gestured to the two people behind Trainey and added, "That's Jack Billings, a park ranger, and Alicia Nivel, from Emerson."
"Hi. You're Ned's girlfriend from River Heights, aren't you?" A brief smile flashed across Alicia's face. "He talks about you a lot."
For a minute no one said anything. Then the professor turned to Ned. "Did anything new turn up on the computer?" he asked.
Ned ran his hand back through his hair nervously. "Umm-I didn't get a chance to look. Nancy showed up just when I got to the command post," he explained.
"I see," Trainey replied. He crossed his arms at his waist and star
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