Broad Stripes and Bright Stars
Dawn's Early Light Book II
Copyright © 2016 by Ken Barber and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved
1500 EST 21 November 2012
USS Ronald Reagan
Off the Coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts
The helicopter landed smoothly on the deck to allow the Admiral and his staff to exit. Captain Hollway raced up to meet Norris.
"Welcome back, sir. We are set to go with Operation Nor'easter. The Canadian Units with the New Hampshire and Vermont Guard Units are almost in place. HMS Illustrious with escorts are off the coast of Rhode Island ready to support the Marines landing on Long Island. HMS Queen Elizabeth is on station off Cape Cod."
"Thank you Jay, any word from Bucky and crew?"
"Last check in was two hours ago. They should start to move into positions in about a couple hours."
"Good, let me get settled into my quarters and then I will meet with senior staff in my office."
"Aye, Aye Admiral"
Norris pulled his overcoat tighter around him as uncommonly cold winds blew across the open deck. His staff, or Zoo as he liked to refer to them, hustled into the superstructure and on to the Admiral's Suite.
After a few minutes of everyone running circles around him and not letting Norris do anything, he gave up and walked to the observation deck. As he stood there watching the flight ops prep for the upcoming operation he felt someone walk up behind him.
"You looking for me Leo?"
"Not really Aggy but thought I would check in with you before I headed back to shore."
"It's gonna be strange not having you on board for combat ops."
"The facility we set up in Portland is much more capable of handling this massive of an operation and now with both of the civilian hospitals up and running at almost 90% we have a better support system."
"I know, I know, but it's still odd. Did you find a Chief Medical Officer for the USS Constitution?"
"No, but I am sending a crack corpsmen team to run the sickbay. Aggy, have you considered moving your flag to the Constitution."
"I have but this is my baby here."
"Aggy you're not a Carrier Captain anymore and you're not even a Carrier Group Admiral anymore. You need to appoint someone as Strike Group 9 Admiral and get the hell out of their way. The Constitution is far more capable as a Theater Commander's Flagship."
"I will give it some thought Leo."
Leo reached over and shook Aggy's hand. "Fair winds and following seas, Admiral."
"Thank you Leo, be safe out there. See you tomorrow afternoon."
Leo left and Norris heard someone walking up behind him.
"Admiral, you're needed in CIC."
"Thank you Perez. Lieutenant, do me a favor and get with the SWAT Team from Orlando and see if you can help plan for the President's visit."
"I am already working with them sir."
"Now I see why Lieutenant Colonel Rodriguez chose you for the assignment. Come on Lieutenant let's go find out what's going on."
Norris walked into the CIC and looked around and took a deep breath. The organized chaos was a relief for him. Captain Miller spotted him and walked over.
"Welcome back to the Bat Cave Admiral."
"Thanks Miller, what's our status?"
"The HMS Achilles and Atlas are on station overlooking the mouth of the Thames River near New London, Connecticut. They both report massive demolitions operations underwater at the mouth of the river."
Norris nodded and walked to the electronic map. "They are trying to clear the tanker we sank." He stood there and stared at the map for a minute before he turned around. "Hit the entire base, retask the AC-130 to New London. Level the base and take it out of the equation."
"That's going to take the support away from Boston."
"Once the base is out of operation, the AC-130 can support the attack on Boston. We cannot let them get those ships and subs out on the open water."
"Got it Admiral. Bucky checked in and his ad hoc teams are ready. The Rhode Island and Providence are on station at the mouth of the Lower Bay to support him."
"He is in the most precarious position, so make sure we have air elements to assist as well."
"HMS Illustrious's Avenger Squadron is tasked to SEAL Team 4."
"Sounds like everything is ready to go."
"As ready as possible, Sir."
"Now we sit back and wait."
1615 EST 21 November 2012
USS Ronald Reagan
Off the Coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Norris looked up from his files as Myers and Lieutenant Perez came in with Lieutenant Gary Pearson from the Daytona PD SWAT Team. "Myers, Gentlemen, come in and have a seat please. I was just going over the reports from Jimmy Horne on the UNIT's activities and Colonel Shelton's report from Orlando. Adam and his team are pursuing some leads on the research labs. Shelton has me worried. He has run into a lot more resistance than expected in Orlando. Looks like a lot of gangs from South America and Miami have taken up residence in and around Orlando and Shelton has been slowed to a crawl. We needed him to push faster but his hands are tied until I can get him some help. Lieutenant Pearson, you will be happy to know the French sent the Fusiliers Marins to assist and Daytona is back in our hands."
"Thank you Admiral that is good to know. My men will be happy to hear it."
"Lieutenant, I asked you to see me for a very specific reason. This war has created some very strange bedfellows and I am about to create another. I would like you to join us permanently. You have a ten-man crack urban combat team with you and when we start going door to door in cities like Boston we will need your expertise. Governor Masson has already authorized the Maine State Police Emergency Services Squad to join you. That will give you a total of twenty-five men and the President has authorized me to give you the Brevet Rank of Marine Major for the duration of the conflict."
"Admiral, we left Daytona and came along because we wanted to be a part of this fight. I am in sir, whatever it takes. If I had my men that relieved your Marines and SEALs from the security detail for the Supreme Court I would be even happier."
"I will look into getting them back to you. Thank you Major. We will be creating a specific task force for you. Your unit will be designated the Urban Rangers and you will fall under operational control of Lieutenant Colonel Rodriguez but under my tactical control. We will have others to join you as we go. Brigadier General Lamont is waiting in Hangar B with Maine ESU. Tomorrow you are on Presidential Protection Duty. The day after you will be in Charlestown, Mass, hopefully. Perez will accompany you to review the security plan for tomorrow. That is all Gentlemen, thank you."
"Myers, send a message to Jimmy Horne and tell him I want more info on the UNIT's activities, also let Shelton know I am trying to get him some more help."
Myers stood up. "Yes sir. Sir, Seaman James has your dinner ready. I know you told him you were not hungry but I had him make it anyway. It's going to be a long night and you need to eat."
Norris slowly set the pen he was writing with down and took off his reading glasses. He rubbed the bridge of his nose and looked up at Myers. She was standing at attention ready to get cussed out. Norris couldn't help but laugh. "Yes Mom, I will eat my vegetables, now go send those reports."
Myers turned without saying a word and started to dart out of the office but was stopped by Lieutenant Payne coming in. He nodded to her. "Admiral, Commander, you're both going to want to see this." He handed a communication slip to Norris. Norris started to take a sip of coffee as he read the page. He stopped in mid-sip and slowly set the mug down.
"Fuck! Myers read this on the way to CIC. Payne I need Miller and Hollway in CIC now." He got up and almost trotted out of the office with Myers following.
Halfway to CIC Myers let out with "Fucking Shit," causing a couple of sailors walking by to do a double take. They arrived in CIC at the same time as Captains Hollway and Miller. "Gentlemen we have another huge storm coming that will be impacting us late Friday night early Saturday morning. Potential for blizzard-like conditions."
Miller looked at the weather report. "If we proceed with the attack tonight, we may not be able to provide air cover for the ground units."
Myers stepped up. "Sorry for the interruption gentlemen but if it's a blizzard and our units are spread from New York to Boston, some of them may end up cut off from any chance of resupply."
Norris looked at Miller and Hollway. "I need solutions gentlemen."
Hollway nodded. "Finish off the fleet in Long Island Sound and the New London Naval Base. That will give more air cover to Bucky to get his end of the operation done. Have the ground units circle the wagons until after the storm."
Norris looked at the map. "If we do a feint towards Boston, drawing attention to us, we very well could give Bucky more time. If we time it correctly we could control Manhattan and Long Island before the storm arrives and that could prevent the enemy from responding."
Captain Miller looked over his shoulder. "It might just work. If we use some of the Marines in an air drop to augment Bucky and his team, that would give us a sizable force on Long Island that we could use to start affecting the mainland."
Admiral Norris turned and looked at both of them. "The key is to make sure that the naval force in Long Island Sound and the submarine force at the Naval Base New London is eliminated. Myers get me Colonel Rodriguez and Major Sinclair so I can brief them on the changes."
"Aye aye sir." she responded as she walked away.
2348 EST 21 November 2012
US Navy SEAL Team 4
Brooklyn, New York
Bucky could hear the distant rumble of what sounded like thunder but knew that it was the air attack on the naval base in New London. He turned and looked up towards Long Island Sound just in time to see the series of explosions, signaling the air and missile attack on the fleet in the sound. The radio startled him out of his thoughts.
"Juliette this is King 1, there are a bunch of trucks moving out of the base and it looks like they are headed west toward the Verrazano."
Bucky keyed the mic. "Roger King, stand by. Ghost we have some travelers that don't want to pay the toll."
"Got them Juliette, calling in an airstrike on the bridge now."
Bucky watched and waited. A few seconds later Bucky saw the trucks move up on the bridge and just as they made it up onto the center of the bridge a flight of F-18's screamed overhead. He could see the flashes of light as the missiles streaked out. The noise was deafening as the explosions rocked the bridge. Seconds later the bridge began to collapse. The scream of metal and concrete ripping apart pierced the night air. Even at this distance the dust and smoke created a terrifying scene.
A fraction of a moment later a second flight of F-18's screamed in and repeated the scene with the Bayonne Bridge, effectively cutting Staten Island off from Manhattan and Long Island
The radio burst to life as all the teams began their assault. Explosions and gunfire could be heard echoing throughout the city. It seemed as if World War III had come to New York. Bucky's team surged forward with the members of the gangs to take Fort Hamilton. The fighting was fierce and the small rear guard held their ground for what seemed like forever. They fought in a classic delay style, falling back closer and closer to the main headquarters. They held their ground there but they were no match for the sheer number of gang members reinforced with a Navy SEAL Team and eventually were overwhelmed and began surrendering. Bucky looked over at Rico. "How many did you loose?"
Rico stuck out his chest. "Damn gringo's are tough mother fuckers. Ten of my homies are hurt or dead."
Bucky put his hand on the gang member's shoulder. "Get the wounded back to St Paul's, the medics will meet them there."
He turned around and started shouting at his men in Spanish, they didn't even hesitate to obey him.
"Juliette this is Sabre Flight, looks like you have everything covered here, we are diverting to cover Redcoat. Avenger Squadron is hitting the western side of the river. Friendlies at the Holland Tunnel are bogged down on the eastern side. Anvil is hitting the reinforcements at the tunnel opening."
"Roger Sabre, keep them pinned down and I will see if I can get some help to the boys in blue."
Bucky looked at Rico. "Who do you have near the Holland Tunnel?"
"Carlos and his boys were sweeping city hall but it's empty and Jose and a couple of his peeps are keeping an eye on the 5-0 at the Holland Tunnel for me." He shrugged his shoulders when Bucky glared at him. "Hey sorry, ese old habits die hard, man." He jumped on his radio and gave some orders in Spanish. "They are headed there now. Jose said it looks like a couple small tanks are still holding the New York side and 5-0's armored car is toast."
Bucky thought for a second and grabbed his radio. "Fuck it. Rhode Island this is Juliette, I need a missile strike on the Holland Tunnel over."
"Juliette be advised that tunnel is at least seventeen feet below the riverbed, a Tomahawk won't do it but if I hit the upright ventilation tubes on each side with a wire-guided torpedo we would at least flood the tunnels, if not cause a complete collapse."
"Roger Rhode Island, whatever works just get it done."
"Stand by. Have all friendlies pull back, it's gonna be ugly."
"All units fall back from the Holland Tunnel entrance, we are taking the tunnel down."
"Juliette this Anvil, Bradleys moving into the tunnel from the west entrance."
"Roger Anvil. RI do you copy?"
"Roger, Armor in the tunnel, we have a firing solution standing by let's let them get a bit further in."
Bucky smiled and thought to himself, 'Captain Cole is one evil man'. "Fire when ready Rhode Island."
The seconds ticked by. Everything was starting to get quiet, even the gunfire was slacking off.
"This is Rhode Island, Fish in the water impact in 15 seconds… 10 seconds.... 5 seconds."
The columns of water that rose out of the Hudson River were almost as tall as many of the buildings. The ensuing rush of water back into the tunnel made the ground shake like an earthquake and the roar was deafening to everyone in Lower Manhattan."This is Rhode Island, two direct hits."
The radio was quiet for a few moments as an engineering marvel built in the 1930's filled with water and debris. The enemy units inside the the tunnel never had a chance. Bucky could picture them trapped in armored vehicles as the water and silt rushed through the tunnels filling them to capacity, destroying everything inside and ripping the tunnels apart.
"This is NYPD Team 6, enemy units surrendering on this side of the tunnel. We just captured two Bradleys."
Bucky couldn't help but smile. "I guess they never expected an attack from within the city. NYPD, can you confirm, do you have all the western bridges and tunnels secure?"
"Juliette this is Shield 1, all bridges and tunnels from New Jersey to Manhattan are secure, be advised there are two large ships moving from Jersey City. Looks like the enemy troops are attempting to stop them."
"Anvil this is Juliette, clear the enemy troops near those ships. Snoops, get Blood's Honor on the radio and tell them to move with all speed to Montauk Point and link up with the Illustrious."
"Shield 1, I am sending Green 1 and his team to help you get those Bradleys moved to the Lincoln Tunnel."
"Juliette this is Redcoat 1. We have the enemy main body pinned in North Montauk. Montauk Airport is secure. Awaiting follow-on forces."
Bucky smiled. "All units this is Juliette, New York City is under our control."
0255 22 November 2012
USS Ronald Reagan
Off the Coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Admiral Norris stood in the CIC sipping his fourth or fifth cup of coffee. Myers walked up beside him. "Sir, the 5th Battalion 20th Infantry Division landed at Montauk Airport and is beginning to deploy to sweep the rest of Long Island. Manhattan and the island is essentially under our control."
Norris smiled "Good, once the Infantry and Royal Marines link up and relieve Bucky let's get his team back here and get them rested, they have been running nonstop since we got here."
"Aye sir. Also President Bryce has moved his arrival up to be able to get cleared out before the storm hits. He is arriving at about 0950 hours. We rearranged and put the hospital tour first, lunch in the mess hall after and then private dinner with senior officers afterwards and have him out by 1900 hours. Sir, may I make a suggestion?"
"I know Myers, go get some rest."
Myers smiled as she walked out. Norris looked around and waved Captain Miller over to him. "Josh, we can let the young hands handle the mop up. Today has been a very successful day but we both need rest before the boss arrives."
Miller chuckled. "Gotta love a dog and pony show in the middle of combat ops."
0800 22 November 2012
USS Ronald Reagan
Off the Coast of Massachusetts
Norris heard the alarm go off and sat up. He looked around and picked up the watch that had belonged to his father. Four and half hours of sleep, that was probably the most he had gotten since this all started. He looked over at his dress uniform hanging, cleaned and pressed. There was a soft knock on the door, Norris threw on a pair of sweatpants. "Come in."
Seaman James entered with a tray of coffee and some fruit. "Admiral, here is your coffee and breakfast."
Norris looked down at it. "Fruit? Where is the bacon and eggs?"
"Doctor McCray insisted on the healthier option for you sir."
"I swear between him and Myers it's like serving with my mother and wife."
James snickered. "Yes sir."
"James, is everything set up for the President's dinner?"
"Yes sir. Governor Masson procured some Maine lobsters. I am not sure how, but I didn't ask."
Norris smiled. "The governor can be a hard-headed son of a bitch but he is resourceful. Tell Myers I want a quick update before I head to the mainland to meet Air Force One."
1005 EST 22 November 2012
Portland International Airport
Norris stood in the frigid cold air watching the big plane come in for its landing. He looked around and could see the dozens of fighters and helicopters in the air around the airport. He knew the entire 1st Squadron of the 2nd CAV was deployed around the perimeter. His security team, augmented by the Urban Rangers, Maine State and local police were deployed in a tight circle around the hangar.
Myers stepped up beside him, "Sir, the UNIT helicopters are in route after a small diversion in the Mid Atlantic States and are expected to be arriving in a couple hours."
Norris looked at her. "What sort of diversion?"
"I don't know sir but they did say they are bringing wounded."
Norris looked out as the plane was approaching the runway. "Divert them directly to Reagan, have Dr. McCray get out there and handle it. Once they are settled they can catch up with us."
Myers smiled. "I will make all the arrangements sir." Norris nodded just as the plane touched down and the lumbering giant howled as the pilot began slowing the craft. It took a moment for the plane to stop and then taxi as close as it could get to the hangar. Airport personnel quickly put the rolling stairs in place and the door opened. A group of Secret Service Agents moved out of the plane and took up positions around the waiting group. After a moment President Bryce appeared in the doorway and quickly walked down the stairs and over to the Admiral and his group.
Norris stood at attention and saluted. "Mr. President, sir, welcome to Maine."
Bryce returned the salute and stuck out his hand. "Aggy it's damn good to see you."
Norris shook the President's hand. "You as well sir. Sir may I introduce Governor Masson of Maine, Senator Sheila Horne representing the State of Maine, Commodore Chase of the HMS Illustrious, Captain Miller USS Ronald Reagan Air Group Commander, Captain Hollway, Commander USS Ronald Reagan, Colonel Huet, Commander of Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment from Canada, Lieutenant Colonel Rodriguez, Commanding Officer 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Major Sinclair Commanding Officer 32nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Lieutenant Commander Myers, my Flag Aide."
President Bryce shook hands with each one and thanked them for their contribution so far. "Aggy, this is General Andrew Rose commander of the Western Theater, Admiral Cathcart you know, Secretary Larkin you know as well. This is my Chief of Staff Alexander Lovell and Press Secretary Lily Manning. Now can we get out of the cold?"
"Of course sir. We have Strykers ready to take you to the Maine Health Center for a tour there before we come back here for lunch with some of the troops.
As they began walking Bryce leaned over and whispered. "Aggy you know I don't need a dog and pony show, right?"
Norris smiled. "Of course sir, and you know the dog and pony show is not for you. It's for the men and women fighting and dying for their country right now and the civilian doctors and nurses that are living off scraps and working around the clock without pay. Some of them sleeping in offices and storage closets. They want to show you how much they have done, they want you to be proud of them. So no offense Mr. President but smile, stick out your chest and shake some hands and if someone shoves a baby in your face, kiss the goddamn thing."
Bryce let out a hearty laugh causing the entire entourage to pause for a moment. "Admiral you are very right and thank you for pointing that out. However if I now have to go through with this dog and pony show I expect my escort to be a bit more pleasant."
Norris smiled. "Fantastic sir, you brought my replacement with you?"
Bryce laughed again. "You son of a bitch."
Norris couldn't help but laugh a little just as they were entering the hangar where three Strykers and four Maine Highway patrol cars were waiting. The President, Secretary Larkin, Admiral Cathcart, General Rose and Admiral Norris were all loaded in one Styker, after being outfitted with flak vests and Kevlar helmets. Norris took his helmet off as soon as the hatch was closed.
President Bryce followed suit. "Aggy tell me your impression of Sheila Horne?"
Norris crinkled his brow for a moment and thought. "She is tough as nails and has been a major player in helping us get the infrastructure back up and running. She is cunning and resourceful. Why do you ask, sir?"
"I am considering asking her to be my Secretary for Health and Human Services."
Norris nodded. "I can tell you this, our health system will not be the same when she is done with it."
Bryce laughed. "Let's hope so. It's going to be a tough job and I need someone that can handle the stress. Most hospitals are barely able to keep up as it is. Social Services is all but defunct at a time when we need it most."
Norris looked at him. "Mr. President if you want someone that isn't going to take any shit and will cut through red tape with a flame thrower, she is perfect."
Bryce smiled. "I will talk to her this afternoon. General Rose you and the Admiral have a lot to discuss I am sure."
General Rose smiled. "Actually I couldn't ask for anymore. We are technically in a better tactical advantage with the enemy pinned between us."
Norris frowned. "Except our forces are stagnant on the Western Front and the enemy is starting to pull forces away from that front and send them east. I have a much smaller ground force and don't know how long I can hold off a full scale counter attack which will come soon."
General Rose nodded. "I understand Admiral and that is kind of what we are hoping for. The enemy is responding to you and exposing themselves to us. We are preparing a major offensive in the Midwest and will be freeing Chicago. That should cause the enemy to turn and redirect back to us, giving you an opportunity to surge forward."
Norris looked at President Bryce. "So we are finally going on the offensive?"
Bryce smiled at him. "Well shit Aggy, we are just following your lead, you have been on the offensive since you arrived off the coast of Florida."
Norris smiled. "Well then let's win this damn war."
Lieutenant Perez leaned down from the commander's cupola. "Gentlemen sorry to interrupt but we are arriving at the hospital."
The vehicle backed as close to the entrance and a literal phalanx of soldiers, police and Secret Service surrounded it before the ramp was lowered. As the President and his entourage entered the emergency treatment area, Doctor's Harkins, Varner and Campini were waiting and introductions were made. The doctors led the President off on a tour and the rest followed. Norris stepped up beside Cathcart.
"George, tell me what you know about General Rose."
Cathcart smiled. "He is a good guy overall. A little too optimistic for me but I think your cautiousness will balance that. You two have a lot in common actually. He lost his wife when his son was young and then his son was killed during a store robbery gone bad."
Norris nodded solemnly. "So he is a workaholic as well?"
Cathcart chuckled a little. "That is a good way to put it. He is a Bryce man through and through. He served with Vice President Reynolds and when he was a young Captain he was deployed to Somalia. During the battle of Mogadishu a British SAS group got pinned down by a .50. Rose led a small group around the side and rushed the machine gun emplacement. The Somalis were so shocked they couldn't turn the gun fast enough and all surrendered. The running joke in SF Group 1 is that he led the modern world's only bayonet charge."
Norris laughed out loud causing the group in front to all look back. He nodded to everyone and they continued on the tour. "Old fashioned charges are a desperation move and today would be fruitless."
"You never know Aggie, you never know."
The group turned the corner and entered the area where the kids from the bus incident were still being treated. Norris smiled when he saw Brett in a wheelchair next to Kyle's bed. Kyle was sitting up and the two were laughing until the group came in. The room got quiet as President Bryce went and spoke with each patient. He waved everyone back as he approached the first patient, having a private moment with each one. Norris noticed Dan Mobley from the new American Free News radio station talking with Lily Manning, everyone seemed to be focused on the President so Norris slipped over to Kyle and Brett."Hey boys, how are you doing?"
Both smiled at him but of course Brett had a smart ass comment. "Admiral we are fine but the President isn't, he looks super old."
Norris thought he would piss his pants trying to hold the laughter in. He regained his control. "Brett can I count on you to be on your best behavior?"
Brett smiled. "But I am always on my best behavior Admiral sir."
Norris shook his head. "That's what scares me. Kyle how you feeling bud?"
"Pretty good Admiral, Brett keeps me laughing. The doctors want to start me walking soon. Then I can help Brett when they fit him with those super cool racing blades."
Brett smiled. "I am actually getting excited about them. Doctor Campini says they will custom make some blades with different designs. Kyle's insisted on one set being red with a yellow lighting bolt, just like the Flash."
"Well that sounds kind of fun." The voice from behind Admiral Norris startled them all.
Norris snapped to attention. "Mr. President, my apologies sir. This is Brett and Kyle. Brett is the young man that we rescued from Orlando with Lieutenant Peters and Kyle was among the students that escaped from Boston."
Bryce smiled and sat on the edge of the bed and looked down at Brett. "So I have you to thank for that disc."
Brett blushed. "I just knew it was something important and needed to get it to the good guys."
Bryce smiled and looked at Norris. "Admiral can you excuse us for a moment please."
"Of course Mr. President."
Norris walked back to the group and everyone chatted for a minute, so Norris took the moment to say hello to Tiffany.
After a few minutes the President came back to the group. "Ok, are we ready to move on?"
Alexander Lovell stepped up. "Sir we would like to show you Doctor Campini's prosthesis work if you don't mind."
"I would love to see the work. Dr. Campini you have a huge advocate in that young man, Brett."
Doctor Campini laughed. "With the mouth on that kid, that statement frightens me. But he is a blast as a patient."
As they started to walk out Myers walked up and whispered in Norris' ear. Norris paused for a second and looked at her. "Are you serious?"
"Very serious sir."
"Shit. Mr. President, my apologies but we have a developing situation and need to get you aboard the Ronald Reagan ASAP." Without waiting for a response Norris started barking out orders. "Get the President to the Helipad now. Myers have all air assets form up and prepare to escort the President to the Reagan." He looked at everyone just staring at him. "NOW!"
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