Dawns Early Light
Copyright © 2012 - 2015 by Ken Barber and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved
15:15 GMT (10:15 EST) 08 November 2012
USS Ronald Reagan.
Off the Coast of Bermuda.
"Bermuda Harbor Control, this the United States Warship Ronald Reagan with escorts, requesting permission to approach Castle Harbor for refueling and resupply. Over." The radio was silent for a few minutes.
"USS Ronald Reagan, this is Bermuda, Castle Harbor Control, switch to frequency 11.62 and contact HMS Illustrious. Over."
"Harbor Control, This is USS Ronald Reagan switching to 11.62 Thank you. Ronald Reagan out."
"HMS Illustrious, This is the United States Warship Ronald Reagan on 11.62 Requesting permission to approach Castle Harbor and conduct refuel and resupply operations under the international safe harbor laws. Over."
"USS Ronald Reagan, This is HMS Illustrious. Stand down; do not approach the harbor. Commanding Officer Ronald Reagan may approach HMS Illustrious via helicopter to make the request for safe harbor in person. Over."
"Understood, Illustrious. Command will be in route in 10 minutes. Ronald Reagan out."
Captain Norris looked around. "Sinclair give me Gonzalez and one more Marine. Myers the ship is yours, Captain Miller you are in command of the Battle Group. I am stopping to pick up Commander Rosewood. Radio him and tell him to be on the helipad ready to go."
A few minutes later an MH-60 Seahawk departed the Ronald Reagan and made a quick stop on the Fort Worth. The pilots flew low and fast until they reached visual range of the HMS Illustrious. Two armed Lynx helicopters met it and escorted it to the helipad on the Illustrious. Captain Norris, Commander Rosewood and the two Marines jumped out as the chopper was shutting down.
They were met on the deck by two British Naval Officers and two Royal Marines. As soon as Captain Norris looked up, one of the British Officers began laughing. "Well, Shit, Aggy, if I had known it was you we wouldn't have had to go through all this." Commodore John Chase stepped forward and reached out his hand.
"Jesus Christ, John, when did the Royal Navy start promoting lunatics to Commodore?" Captain Norris returned his hand shake and pulled the lanky Brit into a hug.
"Aggy, let me introduce you to the commander of the HMS Illustrious, Captain Michael Barnes. Captain Barnes, this is Captain Augustus Norris, commander of the USS Ronald Reagan."
Captain Norris shook his hand "Pleasure to meet you, Captain. Permission to come aboard sir."
"Permission granted, sir."
"Thank you. Gentlemen, this is Commander Ted Rosewood, Captain of the USS Fort Worth."
Commodore Chase put his arm around Captain Norris' shoulder. "Aggy, where is your Admiral? You know I love to see you but it's kind of insulting that he wouldn't come himself."
Norris stopped in his tracks. "John, Admiral Buchinski and 16 other officers are in the Brig on the Ronald Reagan, and are being charged with mutiny, sedition, and treason."
Chase stood looking at him. "Aggy, you know I have to ask?"
"Commodore Chase as of this moment, The USS Ronald Reagan Battle Group has no command structure above it. The Ashwood administration has proved its intent to start a civil war and was behind the attempted mutiny on my group. I have taken command of the entire group and we are headed to the East Coast of the U.S. in an attempt to find out what the hell is happening. We have reached out to President Bryce but haven't received a response yet. Of course, legally I don't know what he can do as he is not commander in chief yet."
"Let's go inside and have some tea. Captain Barnes would you do me the favor of contacting the USS Ronald Reagan and let them know they are granted safe harbor and make sure we do whatever we can to assist them in refueling and resupplying."
"Right away, Commodore."
Captain Norris looked at Ted. "Commander, work with Captain Barnes in getting our group set up."
Norris and Chase went to the Commodore's Office. After they reached the office a steward brought in a tray.
"Commodore, Captain, I brought tea and coffee I wasn't sure which you would prefer, Captain."
"Thank you, tea will be fine."
"That's all for now, Casey, Thank you." Chase closed the door behind the steward as he left and began fixing tea.
"Cream and sugar?"
"That's fine, John, thank you."
"Ashwood has made a bloody mess of things. The Queen Regent ordered the HMS Queen Elizabeth to blockade the St Lawrence. Plus she is deploying a couple more infantry regiments to the Canadian Border."
"You're preaching to the choir John. You should see the shit he is doing. Fucking Disney World is a concentration camp for what he calls undesirables."
John just looked at him for a minute then regained his British composure. "I wouldn't put it past the chap. I dare say we are looking at another Nazi like rise to power."
"I agree, but I think Bryce running again threw him off. He doesn't have full control of the Military yet. I think he is accelerating his plans."
"I thought you Americans had it set up so this kind of thing couldn't happen."
"We thought so, John. We really did. I am concerned that Ashwood is not the mastermind here."
"Well then who is?"
"I don't know who, it's just this nagging feeling I have. I don't think he has enough influence to do this by himself."
Just then the door opened and Captain Barnes and Commander Rosewood barged in.
They both spoke at once. "Captain you have to see this." "Commodore, you're going to want to see this."
They turned and left the room. Captain Norris and Commodore Chase hurried after them to the CIC. As they entered there was a BBC reporter on the Screen.
"We have not received confirmation of these reports, but it has been leaked by a high ranking US State Department official that President Ashwood has given the order to fire chemical weapons at US Cities. The Ashwood administration is refusing to comment at this point. The world is watching carefully as the tension in the United States increases." The reporter paused and touched her ear. "What was that? Oh my god. Ladies and gentlemen, we have just received a report that there has been a large explosion in Kansas City, Missouri. We are trying to get a live view of the city from satellite, Where we are told the entire downtown corridor has been decimated. There is no doubt that the casualties will reach the thousands."
Captain Norris grabbed Ted. "Get the group watching this and tell the chopper to be on standby."
Norris returned his attention to the screen, just as a satellite image appeared. The smoke and flying debris made the picture nearly unrecognizable. The Wind shifted slightly and the screen showed a skyscraper laying on its side, smaller buildings crushed below its weight. The debris field encompassed the entire city.
Commodore Chase stepped back. "My God. Aggy, I am so sorry."
The Reporter came back on the screen. "We have confirmed reports of Cruise Missiles being fired from ships in the Gulf of Mexico. We are being told the intended target is Austin, Texas. We do not know if these are chemical weapons or not. People of Austin, Texas please seek shelter.
"John, go to Chemical Weapon Response readiness. If he knows you are here he might try to hit here, too. I have to get back to my ship." Norris was jogging to the helicopter with Rosewood right behind him. As soon as he got on the Chopper he grabbed the headset and told the pilots to patch him to the Reagan.
"Ronald Reagan, all ships to General Quarters. Set Condition 1 Charlie. All personnel prepare for chemical weapons attack, This is not a Drill."
"This is Ronald Reagan. Acknowledged."
"Reagan, How long until we can have missile intercept capability in the Gulf of Mexico?"
"Sir, it would take close to an hour to get assets in position."
"Get the Hawkeyes up and ready Flight One. I will be on deck in 2 minutes."
Captain Norris and Commander Rosewood jumped off the chopper and two sailors met them with chemical weapons protective suits. They hurriedly pulled on the protective gear and then Captain Norris checked Ted's seals and Ted checked his. They ran as fast as the suits would allow to the CIC.
"No inbound on radar."
Norris pulled off the head piece. "Stand down to Phase 2 chemical response. If we pick up anything on radar, go to Phase 1. "
The MC1 blared out "Chemical Response Phase 2, Chemical Response Phase 2." Phase 2 allows the wearer to remove the cumbersome head piece but keep it in a pouch at their hip.
"What's the status in the states?"
"We haven't heard anything yet. The missiles should have hit Austin but we have nothing on any news channels or the internet." Payne was obviously very disturbed.
"Ensign, are you holding up ok?" Captain Norris put his hand on his shoulder.
"My sister and her kids live in Austin, sir."
"Son, let's pray and hope that they made it out safely. As soon as we can find out more I promise we will."
Myers called to the Captain. "Sir, we are getting an update via BBC."
"We have a confirmation that cruise missiles fired from US Navy warships in the Gulf of Mexico have impacted in Austin Texas. We cannot get a satellite feed at this time but we do have confirmation that the missiles were carrying Sarin gas warheads. To the people of Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, Missouri our hearts and prayers are with you. We will continue to keep you updated as we receive....." The reporter was handed a tablet and looked at it. "Is this confirmed?" She was still looking off screen. "I just received a report of a radioactive explosion in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma." She nodded to someone off screen. "Okay its confirmed a low yield dirty bomb has been set off in Oklahoma City. Initial reports say casualties are low but the residents of the city are in panic. We are receiving reports of a couple of fatal traffic accidents as a result of people fleeing. Authorities are asking everyone to stay calm and return to their homes. The three incidents seem unconnected, but all three happening at the same time in areas that have been very outspoken of the Ashwood administration is just a little much to be coincidence. We are being told that the number of causalities in Kansas City is expected to reach several thousand. Emergency crews are asking for all the assistance they can get. We have on the phone Dr Elliot Marks, a retired RAF chemical weapons defense researcher. Dr. Marks can you tell us what we can expect from the Sarin Gas attack in Austin.
"Of course, Kelly. Sarin Gas is one of the most effective forms of chemical attack. Like other nerve agents, Sarin attacks the nervous system. Death will usually occur as a result of asphyxia due to the inability to control the muscles involved in breathing function. To make a comparison Sarin is 10 times more deadly than Cyanide. Even at very low concentrations, Sarin can be fatal. Death may follow in 1 to 10 minutes after direct inhalation of a lethal dose unless an antidote, typically Atropine, is quickly administered. The process is....."
"Doctor I am sorry to interrupt but we have another report coming in." The reporter was reading from her tablet. "At 12:30 US Eastern Time a Chemical Blister agent has been discovered in Boulder Colorado. At this time we do not know the method of delivery or what the agent is."
Norris stepped back. "Get the Battle Group ready to move. I want targeting solutions on every military installation on the East Coast. Tell the Providence, Rhode Island, Olympia, Tupelev and the Ramies to begin moving north. I want the Rhode Island in range of DC, the Providence in range of Annapolis, The Olympia in range of Norfolk, The Tupelev in range of Parris Island, and the Ramies in range of Jacksonville. Once we have all five subs in place we will start a cruise missile barrage on military targets. I want to cripple the military infrastructure on the East Coast."
Commander Myers stood. "Clear the room. Everyone out, now."
Captain Norris just stood there looking at her as the room cleared. Once everyone was gone, she turned to him. "Captain, I understand your reaction but I am concerned about a few things. One, once we make these attacks we will not be able to hold off the counterattack. Two, we do not have the ability to replenish those missiles as of yet. Three, that massive of an attack will endanger innocent civilians. Four, Bryce maybe planning a massive counter strike and we are not aware, if we wait to strike back we have a better chance of making an impact...."
Norris held up his hand. "I knew I picked the right XO. You're right, but I want all targeting information uploaded and put on standby."
"Get everyone back in here."
She opened the door and motioned everyone back in; they all entered and took their places silently. Myers stood in the middle of the room. "Let's get the targeting data for East Coast military installations loaded and set up. Hold any movement until we refuel and resupply here in Bermuda....."
Payne held his hand up. "Sorry to interrupt. This might be unrelated but..." He paused as he sent a news broadcast to the main screen.
A male reporter was standing in front of what looked like the Golden Gate Bridge swinging violently. The entire picture was shaking. "We are being told the seismic activity started suddenly and is of an unprecedented magnitude......" The screen went black.
"What just happened?" Norris spun towards Payne.
"We lost the satellite feed."
Myers jumped over to a console. "Trying to link with another satellite. Payne are you seeing this?"
"Yes Ma'am. Checking the US Government owned sats now."
Myers pushed a comm tech out of the way. "Checking status of all satellites. I can't link with any."
"They're gone. They're just not there."
Norris leaned between the two. "What do you mean they are gone?"
"They are just not there anymore. There are no satellites in the northern half of the Western Hemisphere."
Norris very calmly put his hand on Payne's shoulder. "How is that possible?"
Payne turned to him with a frightened look in his eyes. "It's not, sir. We are talking about probably around 350-400 satellites just gone and I don't mean offline they are physically not there anymore."
Norris looked around the room. "Ashwood?"
Myers got up from the console visibly shaken. "I don't know how, sir, but it's the only logical solution."
Norris walked carefully to the middle of the CIC. "Get all the ships in the Group to connect me to their 1MC, I want to address every sailor and officer in the Group."
Giving Payne and Myers something to do helped them shake off the shock. "This will take a few minutes, sir."
Norris nodded. "Good. Because I have no idea what I am going to say."
The CIC was eerily quiet with everyone just looking at the empty screen. Norris looked at Ted. "It's about time we start testing the unorthodox communication systems."
Ted nodded. "I will start working on it as soon as I get back to the Fort Worth."
Myers nodded to the Captain. A boson's General Call was heard before she spoke, "Attention All Hands of Strike Group 9." Again, Myers nodded to the Captain as she handed him the mic.
He raised his shoulders and his voice took on a deep note. "To the Officers and Crew of Strike Group 9, this is Captain Norris speaking." He paused and swallowed hard. "Since Monday night we have been witness to the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the start of the Second United States Civil War. Our civilian government has collapsed. Martial Law has been declared. On one side, President Ashwood is refusing to honor the democratic process; he has chosen to ignore the election process and has suspended the Constitution of the United States. On the other side, President Elect Bryce is scrambling to thwart his actions and reestablish Civil law."
"Today President Ashwood had the audacity to use chemical weapons on several U.S. cities. Kansas City, Austin, Oklahoma City, and Boulder. On top of that, this damaged infrastructure also has to deal with a massive earthquake in California."
"I know all of you are concerned for your family and loved ones in the states, as am I. However, we are members of the United States Navy and will have a new job to do. We are responsible for the safety and defense of all of our fellow Americans."
"Today, we have a choice to make. Do we stand by tradition, and return to our AO at Gibraltar and wait until it's all over? Or do we say the hell with tradition, and like our forefathers, stride into battle against tyranny and oppression. Throughout the history of the United States, the armed forces have been called to action to defend this great nation's interests and to defend her borders. Today we face what soldiers only once in our history have had to face. Do we stand ready to do battle with fellow Americans?"
"A Tyrant has grasped the reins of our beloved country, and used its time honored military corps to threaten and harm the civilian population. It is our responsibility, to do everything in our vast power to stop him. It is our duty, to defend the citizens of our country. In the oath we all took, we vowed to defend the Constitution against all enemies, Foreign, and Domestic. Never, did any of us think, we would have to go to war with our own government. What choice does President Ashwood leave us? The use of weapons of mass destruction on U.S. soil, against our fellow Americans is the most vile, and treacherous act anyone could fathom. And yet a sitting president has done just that. President Ashwood has shown his contempt for our democracy. He truly believes he can harass, cajole, and force the American people to his will. I know one group of Americans that will say, 'Hell no you won't!' The Crew and Officers of the United States Carrier Strike Group 9 will say, hell no you won't!"
"So I ask again: Do we sail to the comfort of the Mediterranean Sea, and wait and watch the horrors unfolding at home, or, do we sail up the Potomac and ring the doorbell at the White House, and demand the Tyrant to leave! I leave it to you. This is your nation splitting apart, your homes being destroyed, your families being threatened. To the USA, or do we retreat and hide?"
He let go of the handset and looked around the room. Everyone was staring at him. All he could think was, what the hell did I just say!?
A noise was coming from the flight deck of the Ronald Reagan. Most of the crew had gathered there to listen to the Captain and a large number of them were chanting "U.S.A! U.S.A!" the chant grew louder and louder as the crew of well over 2000, chanted in unison. Then they heard the same chant coming across the water. Norris grabbed his binoculars and could see the crew of the Fort Worth chanting. On the Jason Dunham a crew member had used a piece of cardboard to make a sign "U.S.A. or bust." soon all the crews were chanting and the noise was deafening.
Sinclair put his hand on the Captain's shoulder and yelled into his ear, "I think they are telling you what they want, sir."
Norris turned with a smile and nodded. He went over to the comm station and grabbed the line to the bridge. "This is the Captain, three full foghorn bursts and three red flares, please."
The fog horns stopped the chanting and the flares got everyone cheering again. All the ships in the fleet acknowledged the signal with 3 foghorns and flares. And then a series of foghorns and flares erupted from the British fleet.
Norris turned and looked at Myers. "Did that go out to the Brits, too?"
"I didn't scramble it, captain. So they may have picked it up." She was smiling.
"May have my ass. Well, at least they agree with us. Let's get refueling and resupply going. We have a war to fight. We need to push closer to Florida so we can give Bucky air cover if he needs it."
"Aye, Captain. Are we clear to stand down from General Quarters."
"Stand down from General Quarters."
The ComTech tapped Ted on the shoulder. "Excuse me, Commander but you have a priority one emergency message being retransmitted from the Fort Worth. It requires a personal encryption Key."
Norris watched as Ted headed over to the consul. He read the message on the screen. "Emergency Burst Message. -- To Commander Ted Rosewood -- Classified Foxtrot One." Ted typed in a series of commands then stopped and looked at the ComTech. "This is an emergency personal message. I need a little space, please Petty Officer."
"Of course, sir, my apologies." The petty officer stepped away and Ted glanced around to make sure no one was watching. He finished typing the decryption key and hit enter.
"Hydradyn Board of Directors attacked. CEO Tom Rosewood deceased. All communications redirect to Crystal Base. Use communication protocol Alpha Sierra. -- End message."
He fell into the chair and stared at the screen; after 15 seconds the message disappeared. "Oh God, oh no it can't be." He dropped his head into his hands and began to sob. Both Norris and Myers noticed and immediately walked over.
Norris put his hand on Ted's shoulder. "Ted what's wrong, Son?"
Ted just shook his head and sobbed. Myers knelt down beside him. "Ted, we can't help if you don't tell us." Norris and Myers were extremely concerned as this was completely out of character for Ted.
Ted looked up at Norris with red eyes. "Tom is dead."
Everyone just stared for a second. Captain Norris looked around. "Clear the room now." He knelt beside Ted. "I am so sorry, son."
Jessica put her arm around Ted's shoulder and he leaned into her. Norris looked around and the room was completely empty with Sinclair guarding the door. Norris thought to himself ever my faithful watchdog. He turned back to Ted. "Son, I am sorry and I know this is a shock to you, but do you know how?"
"It just said the Board of Directors was attacked and Tom was killed I am suppose to contact something called Crystal Base. Oh fuck Tyler, where is Tyler? Sir I have to get stateside ASAP. I need to know if my nephew is alive."
"I know, Ted, but slow down, maybe this Crystal Base will have more information on Tyler's where abouts? I am sure Tom made all the arrangements necessary to provide for Tyler's well being. I have been in the Navy for a long time and I can tell you Tom was not just the CEO of a major company. Tom is an operator, part of the clandestine community."
"Sir, why would you say that?"
"Son, don't think I am insulting your brother, but that man is one of the smartest, most connected, and most informed men I have ever met. I am saying this because the best operators I have met have layers and layers of backup plans. I am sure Tom made arrangements for Tyler to be taken somewhere safe. Once we know where that is, we will figure out a way to get him back to you."
"I hope so, sir."
"Let's get that communication link up."
"Yes, sir." he grabbed the radio handset. "Fort Worth this is Ronald Reagan."
"Ronald Reagan, This is Fort Worth go ahead."
"Fort Worth, this is Fort Worth Charlie, I need a TCC session set up and routed to the CIC on the Reagan. Fully secured and not monitored on your end."
"Roger, Stand By."
A few minutes went by and Norris quietly paced behind Ted and gathered his composure. Norris noticed the slight brushing of Ted's arm by Myers. Maybe this was more serious than he thought.
"Ronald Reagan, This is Fort Worth Secure TCC connection established; you have Control."
"Thank you Fort Worth, Ronald Reagan out." Ted leaned forward and began rapidly typing commands. "Okay, almost set. There, signal is embedded and transmitting this will take a second. Pinging receiving station and we are connected." The screen came on and all three saw a very young man in a strange all black tactical uniform, with what appeared to be Vice Admiral's shoulder boards, sitting at a desk.
The young man raised an eyebrow and then looked straight at them. "Identify yourself and explain how you were able to access this secure line?"
Ted's forehead creased with annoyance. "Young man, you need to get your superiors immediately."
A very stern expression came across the face on the screen. "I am Vice Admiral Mark Little, Commanding Officer of Crystal Base. Identify yourself or this conversation ends now."
"Mr. Little, I am Commander Theodore Rosewood, Commanding Officer of the United States Navy Warship Fort Worth. Behind me is Captain Augustus Norris, Commanding Officer of the United States Navy Carrier Strike Group Ronald Reagan. I received a Foxtrot One classified message with instructions to contact this station. I don't know what the hell you're playing at, but if someone there knows what is going on with my family you had better get them. NOW!"
Mark seemed to be shocked for a brief second. He quickly glanced up and typed something into his keyboard. The look on his face changed to sadness and understanding. "My apologies, Commander Rosewood. I have summoned the Admiral. He will be here any moment. I am sorry for my earlier tone, but I was not aware that this channel had gone active till just now and I had to consider security first."
Captain Norris leaned forward. "Son, while we are waiting for this Admiral of yours, why don't you tell us who the hell you are and why you are impersonating A US Navy Flag Officer."
A small smile tugged at the corner of Mark's mouth. "Captain Norris, I have followed your career for some time, and I have a great deal of respect for you, sir. I am not impersonating a US Navy Officer. This organization just happens to use a similar ranking system to the Navy. And, sir? I earned my rank just as much as you have earned yours and I would hope that I am given the same courtesy as I have shown you." He looked off screen and back. "The Admiral is almost here, sir."
Norris just looked at Ted and Jessica, both just shrugged. "Very well, Admiral, we will wait for your Commander."
The very young "Admiral" looked away and then stood up and moved out of sight of the camera. Tyler in his own black tactical uniform with Admiral's shoulder boards stepped into the camera and smiled as soon as he saw his uncle. "Uncle!" His eyes misted up but the tears refused to fall.
"Tyler, Thank god you're okay. Where are you, is your mom with you?" Ted was barely able to contain his tears.
"I'm okay. No mom is not here. I do not know where she is. We have lost direct contact with home. As for where I am. I am at Crystal Base. Off the coast of California. You remember Dad talking about the R&D facilities on San Clemente Island? Well, it is so much more than that. Uncle Ted, I do not know how, but Dad seemed to know this was coming. God!! What am I going to do without him?"
Ted steadied himself. "Tyler, your father was a smart and powerful man, he knew a lot more than even I am aware of. As for what you're going to do without him, you're going to do exactly as he taught you. All the exercises and training he did was to prepare you for this day. Who is there with you and who is in charge? If I need to I will find a way to come get you."
Tyler took a deep breath and steadied himself. "The gang is here. As the Chief of Operations for Crystal Base, I am in command. Vice Admiral Little is my second in command. I have 5000 people under my command who are military, trained across all fields and that includes security forces and support personnel. In addition there are another 2500 civilians. Seems Dad left me with a military force."
Ted looked at Norris and Myers then back at the camera. "Tyler, buddy, I know you are more than capable but are there any regular US Military there with you?"
Tyler laughed. For a brief moment he forgot the pain of his loss. "Uncle Ted, with all due respect. With the special forces units I have here, one of them is more capable than two US SEAL Teams." Tyler looked to Norris. "No disrespect to your Lieutenant Commander Buchinski, sir. But my guys are just that good."
Ted chuckled. "I have a strong feeling Bucky will want you to prove that statement someday. But we can get into that pissing match later. Tyler, what capabilities does Crystal Base have."
"Well, I have only been here a day. So I am not fully up to speed on the full capabilities of the facility. We have an air wing, four subs, long range and short range offensive and defensive systems. We have the entire R&D division of Hydradyn, engineers, medical personnel and we have an expansive information infrastructure to boot."
"It's the information infrastructure we are most interested in. What is happening with the satellites?"
Tyler shook his head. "Beats the hell out of me. Chin has confirmed that the satellites are not just down, but they are all literally gone. We are reviewing what ground data we have just prior to them disappearing, but so far nothing out of the ordinary has been found to explain why, how or by whom."
"Same here, we can't find any satellites over North America. But you have TCC and Magma Coms still? Tyler, Captain Norris and Tom had an agreement that Hydradyn would provide the Ronald Reagan Group with Intel as it was received. Can you continue that agreement?"
Sadness crossed Tyler's face for a brief moment at the mention of his father. "Of course. The battle group will continue to use our secure systems and Crystal Base stands ready to assist you in any way possible going forward. You have my word on that."
Ted tried to smile."Tyler, we are both going to miss him greatly." He paused to catch his breath. "He was more than just a brother to me and maybe someday I can share the story with you. But now we still have each other and I love you more than you can imagine. We may be on opposite sides of the country but I am still standing right beside you and so is your dad." He paused and wiped a tear. "Remember what I told you when I first left to go to the Academy, all you have to do is say I need you and I will dig a canal across the country to get to you."
Tyler smiled at the memory while reaching up to wipe away a tear that finally managed to escape. "Thank you. I do miss him, but I am going to try and not dwell on that too much and put to work what he has taught me. Thank you also, for being there for me even though it is not in person. It is still just as important."
"Buddy, I am glad you have the gang with you. Never let them leave your side, ever. You have to promise me that."
"Oh Dyson will make sure of that. Oh and he is Chief of Base Security so you can only imagine how protective he is going to be."
"Good." He turned to Captain Norris. "Captain, any questions for the Crystal Base Commander."
Norris leaned in. "No questions, Admiral. But maybe some advice, keep your capabilities a secret as long as you can. We don't know what NBC assets Ashwood still has in his control. The longer your base remains a secret the safer you are. If there is anything the Reagan Group can do to assist you or your people let us know."
"Understood, Captain. The plan for now is to stay on the down low and act in a humanitarian manner. For the time being that should not raise any eyebrows that a company such as Hydradyn is working to provide aide. Not sure how long we can keep out of sight with how fast things are going to hell."
"I can agree with that Admiral. The Ronald Reagan Group will not disclose your location to anyone unless you authorize it." Norris stepped back and let Ted continue.
"Okay Admiral Rosewood." his smile showed how proud he was of his nephew. "We are taking Daytona Beach tonight and need to get into position. If your guys have access to any Intel on that area of Florida we would appreciate the heads up. Tyler you know I love you and You're all the family I have now. Stay safe."
"Love you, too, Uncle Ted. We will continue the data dumps through the TCC and MDC. That should keep you as up to date as we are. Be careful out there.'
"You too, Tyler. Admiral Rosewood thank you for your assistance this is the USS Ronald Reagan signing off."
Ted disconnected the feed and sat back in his chair. Norris put his hand on Ted's shoulder. "Son, we need to get to work, you have a ship to command."
For the next couple of hours the diesel powered ships refueled and the supply officers procured foods and paper goods. No liberty was granted as the ships restocked and prepared to redeploy.
Captain Norris and Commodore Chase sat in the Captain's office.
"Aggy, I have permission from the Home Office to provide air cover for support and cargo planes only. I cannot commit to combat missions, yet. The King's Governor to Bermuda has been told to allow you access to use Bermuda as your forward operating base until you can safely maintain an FOB in the states."
"Thank you, John, we are going to need all the help we can get. My SEALS are going ashore in Florida tonight and will start to set up a base in Daytona Beach. Once we are sure the area is secure Friday night into Saturday morning, I will reinforce them with the Marine Unit. It doesn't provide us with a Harbor, but it's a foothold on the mainland at least."
"Well if it goes tits up for you, you can fall back here, which means I can provide cover for you. Make no mistake, Aggy, once it's been established Bryce is the legitimate president, The Commonwealth will provide support. We can't do anything until a legal Government asks us to."
Norris stood and shook his hand. "John, it's good to know you're at my back. We need to shove off and try to get closer to Florida to cover the SEALS."
"Aggy, you have other friends out here, too. The French are keeping a close eye on things and I have spoken with Countre-Admiral Surette. He is setting up a screen to the southwest and is available to the British Navy should we require assistance. I am ordering Illustrious Squadron to screen the northwest approach to Bermuda. Aggy, we have your flanks covered."
"John, you can't imagine how relieved I am to hear that. Thank you and my thanks to His Majesty and the Queen Regent. I must get underway if I am going to be in place tonight."
They stood, exchanged handshakes, and Captain Norris walked to the helicopter waiting for the Commodore. As Commodore Chase approached the chopper he turned and snapped a salute to Captain Norris."
Captain Norris snapped to attention and returned the salute. "Fair winds and following seas Commodore."
After the Commodore's helicopter departed, Norris returned to the CIC. "Has the Vicksburg finished repairs on the deck gun yet?"
Petty Officer O'Malley looked up. "Yes sir, she is pulling into formation now."
"Ok let's get underway. We have a beach in Florida to assault."