Dawns Early Light
Copyright © 2012 - 2015 by Ken Barber and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved
11:30 EST 13 November 2012.
USS Ronald Reagan
International Task Force Neptune
Castle Harbor Bermuda.
Admiral Norris watched as massive deck plates were being pulled off the Ronald Reagan, some would be repaired and reinstalled and some new plates were being constructed. The C-5 Galaxy landing on the deck caused more damage than expected. The replacement catapults were already pulled out of storage and were waiting to be installed. The heat from the rockets had scorched many places on the deck and even melted quite a few lights. The C-5 had been lifted off the ship by crane late Monday night and was being reassembled in a hanger not far away. The Supreme Court Justices were getting ready to move to the Rosewood Tucker's Point Resort with an entire company of Marines, plus one Navy SEAL boat crew guarding the resort.
After negotiations with the Bermuda Royal Governor and the Parliament, housing had been established for all the US Military personnel. The old US Naval Air Station Bermuda, recently decommissioned by President Ashwood, was still present on the Island. While the equipment had been removed, most of the buildings were still there. Norris, Adam and Dr. MacLeod decided that was the best place to put the UNIT. It was very remote with access only by a single road over a causeway or by air. The buildings were all being retrofitted and upgraded. It looked like the UNIT was considering maintaining a base there.
Admiral Norris stood there on the pier watching all the activity as Bermuda was being turned into a fortress very quickly. Norris had already decided with input from Commodore Chase and Countre Admiral Surrette, to leave the Charles De Gaulle and all of its escorts behind to protect Bermuda. They would also leave behind the USS North Carolina and the Gravely. The Carolina was too slow to keep up with the fleet and would be an invaluable asset in protecting the new International Task Force's main base. The Gravely had sustained too much damage to be seaworthy, however her Cruise missile launchers and air defense system were still operational. She would be the Carolina's air defense.
The plans for Orlando were being reviewed with all the elements; Bucky was in command of the operation and was laying a solid plan. He had sent two boat crews back to Orlando to get more intel, he also sent a boat crew to the Heart Island resistance camp to set up a quick Forward Operating Base, with one boat crew protecting the Supreme Court, that left one boat crew here in Castle Harbor.
Norris reached up and patted his left breast pocket, the memory card with the video was still there; strange how he felt like it was weighing heavy on his heart. The only people who have seen the video so far, were the two Battleship Captains, Captain Hollway and himself, he still wasn't sure what to do with it, the ramifications of getting it out to the public was pretty intense, it could even end the war but at the cost of how many innocent civilian lives? He took a deep breath just as Bucky stepped up beside him.
"Admiral, President Bryce is on the vidcom and needs to speak to you."
"Hmm, Navy SEAL commander as a messenger." He smiled at Bucky and they both started walking together. On the way to the carrier they discussed the upcoming Disney World mission. As they were walking up the gangway, Norris turned to Bucky, "Any Idea what the President needs, Bucky?"
"No sir, he just said he has a big problem he needs you for."
Norris nodded. "I swear if he says, 'Take care of the this for me Aggy', one more time I will strangle him."
Bucky laughed. "Isn't there something to be said for being the President's go to man?"
"Yes there is, it says my stupid ass joined the Navy. Bucky I need a private moment with you and Adam after I am done." They both were laughing as they entered the CIC. Norris immediately noticed the Presidential Seal on the vidcom, he sat down and nodded to Ensign Payne. A minute or two later, President Bryce appeared standing talking to SECNAV, Norris waited patiently until the president turned and sat down.
"Good Afternoon Mr. President."
"Aggy no time for pleasantries, we have a situation developing and need Commander Buchinski to take his team and pick up some packages for us."
"I understand sir, can you give us any more details."
President Bryce took a deep breath. "An hour ago we were contacted by the Director of the National Archive, President Ashwood ordered him to destroy a group of original documents, including the United States Constitution, The Declaration Of Independence, the Gettysburg Address and the list continues."
Norris and Bucky's mouths were hanging open in shock, Admiral Norris started to stammer. "Are you kidding? He can't be serious, why... What the Fuck sir!"
"I had the same response Aggy and yes it's serious. The director, with a small security detachment stole the documents and are now in hiding. Aggy, we need to get those documents back."
Norris sat there thinking for a moment, he looked over to Bucky who shook his head no. "Sir we have an issue, SEAL Team 4 is spread out all over Florida. We have three boat crews in the Orlando area and one on SCOTUS Security. That only leaves one team, we could pull the SCOTUS team but I am not sure that will be enough."
Bryce was sitting quietly as Norris worked through it. "Aggy, there is more, we don't know where they are. Director Reed sent us a location but it's cryptic. 'Highlanders to the north. Rebels to the south. The Widow Moore stands between them, The deeds to the lands in her hand.'"
"What the hell does that mean?"
"We have no idea, that's the problem."
Aggy sat there thinking and then grabbed a tablet and started typing the cryptic riddle out. It showed up on the screen next to the president. "Okay, Sir let's dissect this. Highlanders to the north. Scottish to the north? Rebels to the south, the Confederacy? Did any Scottish Highlander's fight in the Civil War?"
"Not that I have ever heard of, I know the Brits used Highlander groups in the Revolution."
"So why north and south?" Both sat thinking for a second before President Bryce continued. "Unless he is talking about a battle in the Revolution where Highlanders attacked from the north and the Rebels defend the south."
Norris was nodding."Rebels could refer to the Militia, as that's how the Redcoats referred to them. But the Widow Moore... Unless he is directing us to something that was separating the two named after a Widow Moore."
Bryce was making notes. "A mountain or river or something."
Norris jumped up. "Son of a Bitch, the Battle of Moores Creek Crossing."
Bryce started laughing. "Of course, we were there for the groundbreaking of the new museum. Director Reed was the lead in the getting funding for the project, way before he was Director of the National Archive."
Norris was laughing. "Reed gave us a tour of the ground during the cocktail party and you had a few too many and slipped and fell in the creek."
"If I remember correctly you fell in with me."
Norris stopped laughing for a second but still had a huge grin. "Mr. President your memory is getting foggy. You fell in and when I reached to help pull you out you yanked me in with you. We both went back to the party soaking wet and laughing our asses off. Your tux and my dress whites were covered in mud."
"The look on those stiff ass's faces as we came back across the lawn laughing hysterically was the best part."
Norris got serious. "Mr. President, sir. I will retrieve this nation's treasures no matter what it takes."
Bryce nodded and looked into Norris eyes. "Aggy, take care of this for me please."
Admiral Norris almost laughed. "Of course Mr. President."
The screen went black and the new International Task Force Neptune logo came on. It was the traditional rope circle, inside the circle was Neptune's Trident with the globe behind it. Norris stared at it. "Damn, someone came up with that fast." He turned to see Bucky staring at him. Norris nodded. "My office."
The two walked to the office without saying a word. When they sat down, Bucky started right away. "Admiral, I don't have the manpower to pull this off. We could send some of Flex's troops, but they just got their noses bloodied and need to regroup."
Norris ignored him and reached into a drawer in his desk and pulled out a file and slid it across the desk. "What's that?"
"It's my file on the U.N.I.T. There isn't much in it, but I think these kids can handle this pretty easily."
Bucky paced back and forth. "I am not sure I like it, but I don't see any other options." He paused and thought for a minute. "I am taking a boat crew and going with them. It will let me see how they operate before we go into Orlando."
"Works for me. Get us a Humvee and let's go have a chat with General Casey."
The two left Norris's office and split up. Norris headed to the bridge to find Captain Hollway. He noticed Commander Rosewood was on the bridge when he arrived.
"Admiral on the bridge." A seaman called out the traditional command.
"As you were. Captain Hollway I came to check on how your search for an XO was going."
Captain Hollway smiled. "Funny thing Admiral, I was going to come speak to you about that. I was discussing with Commander Rosewood the merits of being a carrier XO."
Admiral Norris just stared at them both for a second. "Well Ted, what do you think?"
"I think I have a lot to offer aboard the Reagan sir."
"Sounds like a transfer to me. Captain Hollway I expect you to figure out who is going to take command of the Fort Worth."
"I have that issue resolved as well sir. Lieutenant Adam Regis came with me from Detrick, his last posting was XO of the Freedom."
"Done. Have him meet with me later. On that note we are going to have to consider how to get reinforcements as we continue."
"I will give that some thought Admiral." He laughed. "Rosewood, that means I expect you to have some solutions for me."
Norris and Hollway laughed as Norris left the bridge and headed to meet up with Bucky for the drive over to the new U.N.I.T. Base. Bucky was waiting on the pier with Myers, Lieutenant Colonel Rodriguez, Sinclair and drivers for the two Humvees. The ride across the beautiful Island helped Norris to relax a little. The people of Bermuda had been extremely accommodating. They bent over backwards to make sure the military from all three nations felt at home.
They drove across the small causeway that connected the main island with the former Naval Air Station turned U.N.I.T. Base. They breezed past a couple of buildings and approached the parade field. The drivers slowed as the entire unit was in formation on the field. When they came to a stop Norris had them shut the vehicles off so he could listen to Adam addressing his troops. Adam was on a makeshift stage talking to a couple of Unit members. He looked over towards Norris and said something they couldn't hear and then stood up.
As soon as he did, a large cat, man-like creature, Norris made a mental note to not ask, who was standing next to the stage spoke loudly. "UNIT! ATTENTION!"
As one, everyone there jumped to attention. It took a moment, but then Adam called out. "Captain Legion Casey! Report for duty!"
Another cat-like creature stepped forward and saluted, he dropped his salute when Adam returned it and spoke. "Sir! It is my duty to report that Captain Legion Casey has fallen in battle. He is now taking up station with our other fallen brothers and sisters as they stand watch over the family here."
Adam nodded fighting back the tears. "So be it." He then turned to another boy. "General Hayes, please remove Captain Legion Casey from the active duty roster. His name will be placed next to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in our fight against those that willfully harm the innocents."
As this was going on Norris turned to Myers and whispered in her ear. She immediately jumped into the vehicle and got on the radio.
The boy saluted Adam, and held the salute as he spoke. "Sir! Yes sir!"
Adam then turned back to the troops, then called out again. The response was the same, the scene was played out five times. Adam paused as the Cat creature stepped back. They repeated the process three more times. He was really struggling at this point, as the tears openly fell down his face.
After the boy keeping the record responded for the last time, they heard the young Hispanic boy they had met on the Reagan call out from across the field. Adam and the boy beside him turned and saluted the Unit Crest that was flying on the flagpole in front of their new command and control facility. As soon as they did, everyone turned and saluted the embodiment of everything they believed in.
Admiral Norris snapped to attention and saluted the U.N.I.T. flag as well and he heard everyone in his group do the same. A moment later several rifle shots were heard. Exactly three seconds later, a second round of rifle shots were heard. Then finally, a third report was heard.
Myers spoke into the radio and a flight of F-18 Super Hornets screamed overhead in the missing man formation as a final salute.
Norris saw Adam glance in their direction and Adam smiled through his tears. Finally he let it fall, and turned. This was his family, and he would not hide his tears from them.
"UNIT! Parade Rest!" He called out. As one everyone moved to rest, and looked expectantly up at Adam. "Eight of our family passed their duty to those they left behind. We will not allow their sacrifices to be made in vain. We WILL be taking the fight to those that harm the innocents. We WILL be reigning death and destruction down upon our enemies. They may never know who we are, but they will NEVER forget when we strike!"
"UUUURRRRAAAH!" They all called out. Even though there were only a few, the sound they made would strike terror into the souls of their enemies.
Norris listened for a few seconds as they began to discuss organization and Unit makeup. He noticed Myers taking notes, so he let his mind wander as he looked at the ranks of kids lined up. It still didn't seem right, they are kids. We fight the battles so the kids don't have to. That's one of the points of being in the military, we stand on the wall and guard the rest, in hopes that they will never have to. Seeing kids, young boys and girls lined up in formation, receiving orders from a teenage commander was something he would never get used to. He glanced over to the cat-like soldiers and chills went up his spine. How someone could create such a thing was beyond him, but even that he could almost accept; turning kids into killing machines, never. His focus was brought back to Adam when he heard the giant cat-like thing call out.
"ATTENTION!" And the group snapped to attention and waited. "UNIT! FALL OUT!"
Adam, with the other young boy who was by his side, approached with two adults.
"Admiral Norris may I present, General Joe Casey and Doctor Janet Hayes."
Norris shook their hands. "General, Doctor it's a pleasure to finally meet you. I have heard a lot about you. This is, Lieutenant Colonel Rodriguez, Commander 1st Squadron 2nd ACR, Lieutenant Commander Buchinski, Navy SEAL Team 4 Commander, Major Sinclair, Commander 32nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and Lieutenant Commander Myers, my Flag Aide."
Joe nodded and smiled at the Admiral. "The pleasure is ours Admiral."
Adam put his hand on the other young man. "Admiral Norris this is Logan Hayes, the smartest man in the world, not to mention the cutest."
The Admiral and his entire entourage smiled and chuckled. It was nice to see the boy come out of Adam occasionally. It was also nice that Adam was starting to feel comfortable around the Admiral's inner circle.
"Mr. Hayes, it's an extreme pleasure to meet the young brilliant mind behind Adam. Behind every great warrior is a brilliant mind. I hope you don't mind me skipping any more niceties but I have a problem I need help with."
Adam nodded. "Understood Admiral, how can we help?"
"President Ashwood has given the order to remove and destroy some of the country's most valued treasures, amongst them the original copy of the United States Constitution." He paused and looked at everyone, the anger seething from their eyes was smoldering. "The Director of the National Archive secured as many of the treasures as he could and, with a small security team, is on the run with them. We know where to meet him but Ashwood's goons are right behind him and we need to move quickly. Bucky only has his boat crew available, I am here to ask for your help."
Adam snapped to attention, "Sir, it would be an honor to rescue these documents. Thank you for choosing us for this mission." He then turned to Bucky. "We will leave ASAP."
Admiral Norris turned to Bucky. "Commander Buchinski, General Casey is in command. Give him the mission details." He paused and turned back to Adam. "General Casey, when you have the documents in hand, could you please bring them directly to the USS Ronald Reagan for safe keeping."
Adam nodded. "Understood Admiral, the U.N.I.T will not let you or President Bryce down."
"Thank you Adam and thank your people for me. I am going to leave Bucky with you and get out of your way. " He snapped to attention and saluted Adam. "Fair winds and following seas, General."
Adam return the salute and smiled recognizing the very old fashion naval farewell. "Smooth terrain and fair weather Admiral."
Norris turned and climbed into his vehicle and headed out leaving Bucky to go over the mission specs. He turned to Myers, "I need to see Commodore Chase and Countre Admiral Surrette as soon as we get back. We need to figure out the deployment to Maine. As well as go over the Orlando raid."
"Got it sir.
The drive back through Bermuda was uneventful, leaving Norris time to reflect on the fact that he just gave the orders to send children into battle. It was painful, but it built his resolve. He turned and looked at Myers.
"Jessica when this is all over, and if we survive, things have to change permanently."
"How do you mean sir?"
"I will do whatever it takes to prevent hate from being the rule of the day."
Myers nodded. "Have you considered running for political office sir?"
Norris was silent as he contemplated the world in its current state. When they arrived at the pier the Ronald Reagan was moored to, the Royal Governor of Bermuda was waiting pier side.
"Jules, pleasure to see you, come on aboard and let's have tea."
"My pleasure Aggy, for an American you actually have decent taste in tea."
Norris laughed and led the governor aboard the ship and to his office. Obviously Myers was on the ball, as Seaman James was in the office already fixing the tea.
"Thank you James. The governor takes his with one sugar and cream."
"Yes Admiral." James finished fixing the tea as Norris took Governor Hadaway's jacket and hung it with his own.
"Thank you James, that will be all for now. Oh and James, the Command Officers will be having dinner with me, can you let wardroom know? And please invite Captain Hollway and Commander Rosewood."
"Of course, sir."
"Jules what can I do for you?" Norris asked as he sipped his tea.
"Aggy, please, I am here to make sure you have everything you need. I have received a personal message from the Queen Regent 'encouraging' me to be as cooperative as possible."
"His Majesty's government has been above reproach and as always we are proud to call ourselves your allies and friends. I presume you are staying for the memorial service?"
Governor Hadaway stood. "It would be my honor to represent His Majesty at your memorial service."
Norris picked up the phone receiver "Myers can you show the Royal Governor to the officers' wardroom and introduce him to the Supreme Court Justices, and members of congress waiting there for the service?"
A moment later Myers came into the office and after a round of handshaking and back thumping, she led the Governor off. "Myers, on your way out can you find Captain Swan's nephew, the paramedic from D.C, and ask him if he would meet with me in my office please?"
After she left Norris pulled the video card out of his pocket and stared at it. Still unsure of what should be done with it at this point. A few minutes later there was knock at the open door. A young man dressed as a paramedic stood in the doorway with a very nervous look on his face.
Norris stood, "Come in please. Aggy Norris, it's a pleasure to meet you."
The young man accepted the outstretched hand. "Ryan Swan sir, it's an honor to meet you."
"Ryan haven't we found you something else to wear yet?"
"Oh yes sir, I am helping over at the refugee center and working with Dr. McCray here in the infirmary. The Bermuda Emergency Services Unit has given me a few extra uniforms so I can change and I brought a small overnight bag of clothes with me."
Norris closed the door and motioned to the chair for Ryan to sit. Norris took the seat next to him instead of behind his desk. "Ryan, I want you to tell me everything you saw and know about what happen at the Veteran's Day Parade."
Ryan took a deep breath and a single tear rolled down his cheek. Norris reached over and grasped his shoulder, as the young man quickly wiped the tear away.
"It's ok, trust me I understand. Just take your time and start when you're ready."
An hour later Norris opened his office door and ushered the rattled young man out. "Ryan, will you be staying here with your uncle when we head to Maine."
"Yes sir, I would like to continue to work with the refugees and help my uncle out as much as possible."
"I am sure he will be please to have you around. Ryan, I can't thank you enough for the risk you took in coming here. We all owe you a debt of gratitude."
Norris returned to his office and changed into his dress uniform and started to make his way to the CIC to check on the current mission "Monuments Men", Bucky had decided on the name. Captain Miller intercepted him in dress uniform.
"Josh, how are our boys doing?"
"Admiral, we will brief you after the ceremony."
"Josh, I don't like the sound of that."
"I know Aggy and it's not good news, except for the fact that the mission was accomplished, just focus on that and we will deal with the details afterward."
Norris paused and stared at him for a minute then nodded his head, turned and walked back down the corridor with Miller beside him. They were met by Captain Hollway and Doctor McCray. Norris was surprised to see McCray was done with the surgery that was scheduled.
"How is he Leo?"
Doctor McCray looked up and shook his head no. "I am sorry Admiral, he didn't make it."
Norris sighed and lowered his head, the rest of the group was silent for a minute. Norris looked at them all, nodded and led the group back to his office. No one said a word as he took out four glasses and the bottle of scotch from his desk draw. He poured 4 drinks and handed each a glass. All four wordlessly raised their glasses in a silent toast to the fallen. The clink of the crystal, the only sound in the room was almost surreal as if that sound was just as impactful as the boom of a cannon and for those four it was. They set their glasses down and headed out to the flight deck where some of the crew and guests were assembled.
Commander Rosewood saw them approaching and called the formation to attention. He turned and saluted.
"Admiral, International Task Force Neptune assembled."
"Thank you Commander. Take your places please." Norris looked out at the soldiers in their dress uniforms lined up perfectly, the Justices of the US Supreme Court in their black robes, members of Congress, British officers, French officers and the Royal Governor of Bermuda. "AT EASE!. Your Excellency, Royal Governor Of Bermuda, Justices of the United States Supreme Court, United States Senators and Representatives, Officers of His Majesty's Royal Navy, Officers of the Naval Service of the French Republic, Officers and Sailors of the United States Navy, thank you for joining us today. Today we honor those we have lost, those that made the ultimate sacrifice." He paused and took a deep breath. "Lieutenant Jonathan Palmer, Co-pilot, Justice One. Lieutenant Sarah Garen, Saber 2, Pilot, Ensign Geoffrey Tao, Saber 2 Radar Intercept Officer, Captain Carlo Sanchez, Sabre 12, Pilot, Lieutenant Mitch Blare, Sabre 12, Radar Intercept Officer. Seaman Devone Forrester, Lance Corporal Jerry Lerue, Sergeant Kelly Ross, Captain Patrick Evans, Commander Kevin Fernandez, USS Gravely. All together we lost forty-one...." He paused, and caught his breath barely holding back the tears. "....forty-two...we lost forty-two Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and UNIT members. Forty-two men and women in uniform sacrificed their lives, so that this great nation may survive. Kevin Fernandez, Commander USS Gravely, left behind a wife and eight-month-old baby girl named, Celia. Celia will grow up without the comfort of her father's hugs, or bedtime stories".
The huge black scar and jagged wound in the hull of the USS Gravely, moored on the pier behind the Admiral, added a back drop that made the loss even more real to everyone assembled on the flight deck.
"Carlos Sanchez proposed to his fiancé four months ago. Right before we left the Mediterranean, Captain Sanchez shared a picture of the wedding dress she picked out. A dress she will never get to wear, yet he did not hesitate to throw his fighter between Justice One and a missile. And just moments ago United States Air Force Captain Caesar Diego, Pilot Justice One succumbed to his injuries. Captain Diego with only one uninjured arm and blinded in one eye still attempted to get Justice One in the air until relieved by Pilot William Casey. As Justice One is being refitted, I have asked that the names of the forty-two we lost be painted on the fuselage, forty-two names, forty-two faces, forty-two Brothers and Sisters.
I leave you with this.
[Do not stand at my grave and weep.]
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die."
Admiral Norris turned and nodded to Major Sinclair. The Major stepped to the front of the formation. "DETAIL ATTENT-TION!" The entire formation snapped to attention. "LEFT-FACE!" As if one person, everyone faced to the left where the USS North Carolina was waiting. "PRE-SENT ARMS" Every uniformed person on the ship brought their right hand up to their foreheads in a crisp sharp salute.
Seven of the main guns of the USS Carolina flashed with a near deafening roar, a few seconds later the seven guns lashed out again and then a few seconds later they fired again finishing the twenty-one gun salute. Just as the guns finished a flight of F-18 Super Hornets flew over their heads. When they were right over top, one of the fighters pulled up sharply, performing a perfect missing man formation.
A lone bugler stepped out from the formation and played "Taps", the sorrowful melody that everyone in uniform cringes when they hear it. The notes echoed over the harbor and moored ships. The quiet that settled over the entire area as the music reached everyone was almost bittersweet, "sleep in peace, comrades dear."
Norris dismissed the group and noticed Ensign Payne standing off to the side waiting. Admiral Norris excused himself from the group that was gathered and walked over."Admiral I have news on the person you asked me to track down."
"And?" Admiral Norris replied patiently.
"Well sir, he was taken to George Washington University and treated for multiple gun shot wounds to the torso and limbs. After six hours of trauma surgery they moved him to critical condition. He was medevaced to Johns Hopkins for an emergency kidney transplant, and another ten hours of surgery, after which, he was listed in stable condition. This it where is gets interesting, from there he was transferred to Bethesda Naval Hospital, but never arrived."
Norris looked annoyed. "So we still don't know where he is."
"I didn't say that sir. He was medevaced to Bethesda, so I figured since the John Hopkins flight log had the helicopter taking off, it had to land. I hacked into MILNET using a back door and started checking area military flight logs. The helicopter landed at Andrews and a medical transport was recorded as departing fifteen minutes later. Based on departure info and direction, I established they were headed south. I pored through a lot of flight logs from every military installation in the south and came up with nothing. So I started using Military reference codes to hack into civilian airports, the plane landed at Nashville International and changed its passenger manifest to include a doctor. The plane also had to register a flight path with the FAA and include a destination. The doctor by the way is Doctor Greg Bench one of the country's top trauma specialists..."
Norris interrupted him. "Payne are you going to give me a play by play. I don't give a shit what coffee brand they serve on the plane or the doctor's golf handicap, include that shit in your written report. Where the hell is the Cadet?"
Payne smiled. "Of course Admiral. The planes destination was logged as US Air Force Temporary Installation Orlando and the plane is transferring commands to Commander Operation Funtime."
"Fuck? The Cadet is in Disney?"
"Good work Payne, now find out exactly where. I want to know the color of the fucking wallpaper in his room."
Myers walked over and whispered into his ear. He nodded. "Thank you Myers, and see to it that Lieutenant Junior Grade Payne has all the assets he needs to get his job done." He spun and walked off, as Payne attempted to correct him about his rank but was stopped by Myers.
Norris shouted as he approached the crowd, "Incoming chopper. Doctor, there are wounded, get a medical team here ASAP." A flight crew raced onto the deck and began moving all the spectators away from the helipad. Within minutes the giant helicopter materialized out of the clouds and began descending to the deck. Once it touched down, the medical crews raced forward ready to take the wounded. As the back ramp came down, Admiral Norris and most of the command staff of the newly formed International Strike Team Neptune, standing there in full military regalia, as well as all the dignitaries, looked at Adam standing on the ramp. Adam kept his face neutral as he, Chang and Germs marched out of the back of the Dragon. When he was five feet away from Admiral Norris he stopped, came to attention, and saluted. "Admiral Norris, I would like to present you with the Constitution of the United States."
Admiral Norris returned the salute, and spoke. "On behalf of the President, and the People of the United States, I thank you." He then dropped the salute. Adam stepped crisply to the side, as Germs and Chang walked up and let Norris look in the casing that housed the single most precious document ever written in the United States. Norris looked at the Constitution and smiled, it was beautiful to see and reminded everyone, standing there with him, what they were fighting for; this single document, an experiment really, had created a great nation out of strife and war and now that nation would be reborn once again in the blood and sweat of true Americans.
Norris turned to Major Sinclair. "Secure the documents in an arms vault and put two guards on the vault."
"Yes sir." Sinclair signaled to a couple of Marines to take the document, just as Norris turned and saw a stretcher with a body bag being carried off the Helicopter. He pushed past everyone and walked to the stretcher just as Doctor McCray was reaching it as well. Norris unzipped the bag a little and looked down at the face of Tigger the youngest of SEAL team 4. He paused and took a deep breath, placed a hand on the young man's head. "Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep." He stepped back and let the doctor rezip the bag. A crewman appeared with a flag and started to cover the body bag but Norris stopped him and took the flag and covered Tigger himself. He turned back to the group and looked right into Germ's eyes. "Your brother will not be forgotten. May God have mercy upon our enemies because I won't." He looked around and spotted Miller and walked through the crowd to him.
"Prep me a plane I need to get in the air. A Charlie please."
"Yes sir and your co-pilot sir?" Miller understood perfectly what Norris needed.
Norris scanned the crowd and spotted the young boy, Will, hanging back by the superstructure where he had been during the entire Memorial service. He pointed at Will. "He needs it even more than I do."
Miller smiled. "Yes Admiral. I will have Myers and Rosewood make arrangements for a debriefing with Bucky, he will be here in a couple of minutes."
Norris nodded. "Forty-Three Josh, Forty-Three."
Miller just nodded and watched as Norris walked over to Will, and with one short statement Will followed the Admiral of the Task Force to the ready room.
"Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep" is a poem written in 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye.