The desert holds many secrets. On a cool October day in 2003, I held one of them in my hand. A shard of titanium gleamed in the late afternoon sunlight as I examined it. The fragment was about six inches long and less than two inches wide. An attached clamp held a segment of metal tubing, probably part of a hydraulic line. There were no markings. It might not have looked very impressive, but, to me, it was like the Holy Grail. It was part of a once-secret airplane and it represented the end of a search I had begun ten years earlier, though the real story began several decades before, at the height of the Cold War.