New Beginnings Book II: Dogs of War
Copyright © 2015 by Roland and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved
Tuesday, Nov. 13th, 21:15
Bermuda UNIT Base
Colonel Shelton was impressed, that's all there was to it. Even the rapid response teams he commanded could not have done better than these kids did when the alert was called.
By the time they made it to the hastily erected command center, the different teams were already starting to report in, and head to their designated helicopters. After hearing that one of their attack helicopters was about to lift off, he spoke up. "Hold fast!" Everyone in the room stopped and looked at him.
"Would you care to explain?" Logan said with an irritated tone.
"Listen, I know it's your commander out there. If I were in your shoes, I'd be wanting to go as well. But you have to understand, the US Navy has very tight contingency plans for incidents like that. If you send up your helicopters, there could easily be a friendly fire incident. Remember the pilots on the Reagan are every bit as punchy as you guys are right now."
Logan thought for a second before nodding. The sour look on his face told everyone that he did not like it, but he would do it. Picking up the mic, he spoke to all the UNIT troops that were getting ready. "All personnel, hold position until given clearance. Repeat, all personnel hold your positions."
Col. Shelton nodded then stepped closer to Logan. "First off, please forgive me taking command and issuing orders like that." He paused, and after a moment Logan nodded to him. "Second. As I said, the US Navy has very strict protocols for things like this. Imagine how you all are feeling right now, and then realize that over five thousand people are feeling the same thing. You and they have not had a chance to integrate yet. Just imagine if one of your helicopters had not had the proper IFF codes... one of their fighters would have shot first and asked questions later."
The man watched as all the kids in the room paled slightly, and he knew that he had a moment here. One of the things that General Larkin told him, when he was briefed on these kids was that, while their skills are amazing, they still needed someone to guide them. Since Col. Shelton had a kid the same age as most of those here, he knew that they needed someone who could understand them, but also be somewhat of a father figure to them as far as dealing with the other branches of the military. So, seeing that he had an opportunity here, he decided to take it, and make the most of it.
"Just imagine for a moment that this incident happened here. Where Adam, Admiral Norris, and the rest were injured. You guys would not want anything unknown coming anywhere near this place until you knew everything that was going on. The Navy is the same way, except they have more and bigger guns." He said the last part with a grin, and knew he had struck the right cord as several of the kids started laughing. "Now, if you would allow me the use of your radio, I will get on the horn and bitch out some swabbies for not thinking about you guys."
"Sir! Yes sir!" Logan said with a cheeky grin as he handed over the radio.
Tuesday, Nov. 13th, 21:20
Bermuda UNIT Base
"Remember guys," Logan said to the Chipmunks as they got loaded up into the helicopter that would take them, as well as Janet, to the Reagan. "I'm leaving it up to your judgement on how much you explain to Payne. Since he's the intel officer on the Reagan and trusted by Norris, he is cleared for anything you think he may need to know. As much as we may want to, we're not gonna be able to keep ourselves secret here. Just don't say more than you have to."
"Yes mommy…" Alvin said with a groan.
"We know the drill." Theodore said with a grin.
"Remember, we wrote most of the intel book your talking about." Simon said, than danced out of the way of Logan's slap. "Still too slow old man!" He said while getting ready to run up the ramp.
"Children…" Janet said with a tired smile. "If you want them to go we're leaving now. If you want to kill them, just don't make it too messy."
"HEY!" The Chipmunks cried.
Janet laughed as she shook her head. "Get your asses on the bird so we can go."
"Yes Mom!" The triplets shouted, then turned and ran up the ramp.
Janet turned to Logan and shook her head. "I blame you…"
"What did I do?!" Was Logan's indignant reply.
"They're just like you were at that age… only there's three of them!" Janet said with a laugh as she trotted up the ramp leaving a stunned Logan standing there. Speechless was not a condition Logan was used to.
Tuesday, Nov. 13th, 22:30
Bermuda UNIT Base
"Colonel Shelton, I think you need to see this." Logan said as he turned from his monitor.
"What have you got, Logan?" Logan smiled knowing that it took the man a while to get used to the fact that the UNIT people preferred their names used rather than their ranks.
"This is a Zulu message from the Speaker of the House. Transmitted on all radio channels in the open and clear, released to all Government Bodies worldwide." Logan said as he typed in a few commands on his terminal. "Would you like it up on the main screen?"
Shelton took a deep breath, then let it out slowly before nodding. There was not a sound heard in the rest of the room, as everyone stopped and looked towards the main screen.
A brief moment later, the recorded image of Haley Burruel looked into the camera and started to speak. He paused and began reading. "The Congress of the United States Assembled, declares that former President Ashwood is in a state of insurrection against the lawful authority of the United States, and further that this Congress declares the current actions of the Administration of former President Ashwood to be in a state of insurrection against the People of the United States.
"Therefore, this Congress Assembled, hereby authorizes and directs the President to employ the entire military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to suppress this insurrection. To bring the conflict to a successful termination, all the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.
"Given this day,
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 AD"
Speaker Burruel closed the folder. "People of the United States make no mistake, the United States is at War. Not a war to be fought by sending our young men and women halfway around the globe. Not a war we will watch safe at home on our TV's. No, a war right here in our streets and our yards. We are fighting against a most terrifying concept, a dictator attempting to set up his rule in the United States. We will defend our homes, our churches and yes even our schools. As former President Ashwood has displayed already, in his desperate attempts at control, he will use every tactic available. This Congress has also declared the following."
Speaker Burruel re-opened the folder, "The Congress of the United States Assembled, declares any United States Government Agent, Officer or Member of the Armed Forces that attempts to stop the lawful execution of the previous order shall be arrested, detained and tried for treason. Any of the above stated persons that lay down their arms and surrender within twenty-four hours will be granted clemency."
It took almost a minute before anyone spoke, finally it was Shelton that did. "Well, I guess that makes it official. The United States is once again at war… this time with itself."
"You know, I'm still more than a bit surprised Admiral Norris allowed you guys in here." Lt. JG. John Payne said as he smiled at the Chipmunks when they stopped outside of a secure room on the Ronald Reagan.
"It must have been our charm" Theodore said with a chuckle.
"No one can resist the power of cute, and we got that in spades!" Simon chipped in right after his brother.
"Actually it's all about the mad skills." Alvin giggled. John was happy to see these kids being just kids. He still had a hard time believing everything he had learned about them, but after working with them as they tried to locate Cadet Peters, he knew they were as good as they said. Honestly, they reminded him of what he was like at that age, except there were three of them.
"I'm sure it is." Payne said with a chuckle of his own as he turned towards the door, and using his own body to block the view, he entered in the cypher code to the Operations Center. "Gentlemen, welcome to Ops Center." He said as he opened the door to the room and motioned them in. "Since we are still at General Quarters, the room has a lot more people in it than we would if we were not. Normally there is only two or three of us in here, but when we are at battle stations almost every terminal is full."
Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and looked with a little surprise at the three eight-year-old triplets that were just allowed in. Before anyone could say a word, Payne stepped forward, focusing all eyes on him. "First off, I am sure you are all wondering about three kids being allowed in here. You all have top secret security clearance, so you know how to keep your mouths shut. These three fall under clearances that are need to know only. Speaking about them or anything you hear them say, is enough to get you thrown into the brig. Is that understood?"
"Yes Sir!" Several of them answered, then turned back to their stations.
Payne then turned towards the Chipmunks. "The same goes for you three. Anything you see or hear in this room is not to leave this room without my written consent. Do you understand?" The Chipmunks nodded in unison.
Payne walked over towards one terminal near the center of the room, and the young lady that was sitting there quickly got up and left the room after nodding to Payne. "This is the commander's station." Payne said as he sat down and started to log in. "On a carrier, all information is directed here where it is our job to funnel communications and data received over multiple channels, which is then organized; evaluated; weighted; and arranged, to provide ordered timely information flow to the battle command staff." Payne explained.
"That sounds basically like our job, except we're not on a floating city." Alvin said as he looked around and nodded. The 'children' were now gone, replaced by officers who did much the same job.
"Normally there would be no chance of something like this happening, but Admiral Norris asked that you guys be given full access to our system to aid in the search for Cadet Peters. With that in mind, I am setting you up a single account with the same security level that I have." He shook his head for a moment, not really believing that he was giving eight year old boys almost unrestricted access to the Reagan's systems, but orders were orders.
After a few moments, he sat back. "This will be the login and password you will each use. Take a moment to memorize it, as you are not allowed to write it down. If, after thirty days, Admiral Norris still wants you to have access, the passwords will rotate, and you will have to learn a new one."
"Got it." Theodore said confidently. Payne looked at all three of them who only nodded.
"Okay." Payne said as he cleared out the screen, and brought up the main operating system control panel. "This is where you will first log into, and from here you can access just about anything you need to. Do you want me to give you a rundown on where you have to go..."
"Nah, we'll figure it out." Simon said with a smile. "It's a little slower than what we are used to working with, but still not bad." Payne gave them a weird look, than stood up from his terminal, and went over to one that was nearby.
"Henderson… go grab some lunch." The man nodded, logged out of his terminal, then left the room.
Payne nodded towards the station, and immediately, Simon sat down. "He's the computer geek out of the three of us." Alvin said with a chuckle when Payne looked at them.
"I thought you all were." Payne said confused.
"We are." Simon responded, "But out of the three of us, I'm the best. Alvin's the best when it comes to fieldwork, and Theodore… well, let's just say, he can get just about anything needed."
"I see." Lt. Payne said with a shake of his head. "I guess that makes sense. Okay, so you know what we're doing here: trying to find any and all information we can on the whereabouts of Cadet Peters."
"Yup, we gotcha!" Alvin said as Simon was already moving around the system. Payne watched for a few minutes before he moved over to check up on everyone else in the room.
"Captain Rushtev, I want to thank you again for transporting us." Major Tony Guilipo said as he offered his hand to the man.
"You are most welcome, Major." The captain of the MI-26 Transport Helicopter said in perfect English. "When young Mr. Hayes said that you needed a ride, we offered to come get you, since the base has only limited accessibility. Plus, after your flight, we figured it would be easier this way."
"Either way it is most appreciated." Tony said with a nod. "I'm just grateful there was something this big to move our equipment."
"Well, to be honest. It is also our hope that perhaps some of your people may want to learn to fly this bitch. We're only on loan until we train another crew."
"I am sure we can figure something out." Tony said as he saw the last of their equipment get off loaded from the transport planes to the helicopter. "It looks like it's time for us to load up." He said with a nod to the captain, then walked away to make sure that everything was indeed loaded up. It still surprised him every time that he had to look over all the equipment they needed to bring with them for missions. Not only were they a full Special Forces Group, with five full A-Teams, but they also had four Super Cobra Attack Helicopters. As it was, only he, his command team, and Paul were flying on the Halo, the rest would have to go over ground to get to the new base. Even the huge Halo wasn't big enough for all of them.
Mac was the first one off the plane when it landed. He walked down the stairs, to be met by a man in a Naval Uniform. "Master Sergeant Macallister?" The man asked.
"That's me." Mac said as he stuck out his hand.
"Welcome to Bermuda, Sergeant." The man said. "I'm Seaman Decker. I've been asked to make sure you have everything you need, and bring you up to speed on what is going on here."
"Thank you very much Decker." Was Mac's response. "Please call me Mac." He said which caused the young man to grimace.
"With all due respect Sergeant, I can't do that." He then turned and motioned to a helicopter that was sitting off to the side. "The Army sent one of it's Super Stallions full of equipment for you to use. It's ready to take you to the new base that's being used."
"Thanks Decker. Do you know who we will be working with?" Mac asked. They had all been briefed on the flight down here, including watching the videos that the military had on this group. From the rescue that saved the life of President Bryce, the fight in Texas, and then the attacks on both Camp David, and then Fort Detrick. Finally they all listened to the radio traffic when one of them landed a C-5 on the deck of the carrier. Even though he knew the military did not make jokes, he was having a hard time believing this was anything but.
"Only the scuttlebutt Sergeant." The seaman answered. "I've heard they are first rate ass kickers and can do some shit out of sci fi books. I've also heard that they're kids. But you know how much stock you can put into the scuttlebutt. What I can tell you is I watched the landing. Whoever that pilot is, has a big old bucket of steel balls."
"That I'll agree with Decker." Mac couldn't help but laugh at the colorful way the young man put it. "I can't wait to meet them, that's all I can say."
"Okay, so if you'll give us about ten minutes, we've already begun transferring your personal items from the plane to the Stallion. Once that's done, we'll get you on the way."
Before Mac could answer, his eyes caught another helicopter taking off from down the runway. "Jesus that's a big bird." Mac said to himself.
"So how are you guys doing?" Payne asked as he got back to where the Chipmunks were working.
"Good. We just got done accessing the back doors put into MIL NET, as well as the ones into the Reagan itself, making sure we could access them." Theodore said without looking up from the terminal he was working on.
He looked up after about thirty seconds of nothing but dead silence in the room. "What?" He asked as he looked at the disbelief in Payne's face.
"Officially I didn't just hear that, and no one else did either. Unofficially, how'd you do it?" Payne said softly.
"Your military has the same problem that other militaries have. You use the latest and greatest interface systems, but the databases driving those interfaces are just bridged from the older systems."
"I know that." Payne said with a sigh. "It's one of the things that us nerds have been bitching about for years."
"Okay, then you should know what I mean when I say, I put the back door into the old databases that aren't very well defended, and then bored my way through to the interface systems." Theodore was grinning as he explained.
Payne got a half grin on his face as he moved over to the Commander's station and sat down. "Back out of the system, and when I tell you to, try your back doors." Theodore nodded at the challenge as his fingers flew over the keyboard. By this point, no one else in the room was even trying to make it appear as if they were not watching what was going on.
"Okay, go ahead." Payne said as he sat back.
Theodore grinned again as he set to work. Within a minute the grin vanished from his face, as he bent over the keyboard, hard at work. Simon whistled softly as he watched his brother work. "Nice…" Alvin said a few seconds later.
"I know about the backdoors, and while I can't do much for MIL NET as a whole, I did make sure to plug all the holes I could find in our network, especially when all this shit started to happen."
Theodore's fingers were flying over the keyboard for almost two full minutes with no one saying a word. Finally he sat back and cried out, "GOTCHA!" Payne's grin faded as he leaned forward, his fingers now dancing.
"How the hell…" He said softly as he found himself locked out of the system fully.
Theodore tapped a few keys then leaned back again. "There, you're back in."
"How the hell did you do that?" Payne asked staring hard at the three brothers.
Theodore opened his mouth to respond, but then shut it quickly while looking around the room. Payne got the hint quickly, as he sat up straight in his chair. "Everyone out!"
Disappointment was clear on all their faces, but no one said a word as they logged out, stood up and left the room. When the last one left, and the door was secure, Payne looked at Theodore.
"Before I answer that, let me ask you this. How much do you like Sci-Fi?" Alvin asked.
"I'm a geek!" Payne answered somewhat irritably. "I was president of the computer club in both high school and college, president of both debate and chess club, as well as captain of the bowling team. I am a geek with a capital 'G'!"
"I am sure you have already been told about how we were made, but what you couldn't have been told, because we have not told many people, is that the three of us, and one other, were changed a great deal more than just genetically." Alvin stated.
Simon picked up seamlessly, causing Payne's eyes to shift to him. "See we are genetic clones of our older brother Logan. The military saw how much of a genius he was with computers, and tried to replicate it. Unfortunately they failed. Unfortunately for us, when it became clear that we were not on par with what they wanted, they decided to replace our brains with a Positronic Matrix."
"That way we would be just as good with computers as Logan is." Theodore picked up. "Unfortunately, even with computers for brains, we still are not on the same level as Logan is. Hell! He's one of the ones that came up with an upgrade to our brains to make us even better than we were."
"That… That's not possible." Payne said softly. "More than that, it's beyond barbaric."
"Yes it is." Alvin said softly. "That's one of the reasons that we escaped, and killed everyone we could find that was a part of that project."
"Let me know if you find any more, I want a chance at them." Payne said with a venom that actually surprised the Chipmunks.
"Even if there were any left, you wouldn't be able to get to them." Simon said with a shake of his head.
"I really doubt you have the ability of going to the universe that we came from." Theodore finished up, causing Payne to be absolutely speechless.
Tony got up from the jump seat as the Halo's back ramp started to come down. He looked over at Paul to make sure he got out of his seat alright, but didn't need to worry, all the kids in BH knew how to do things like get out of a five point harness.
"So we're really gonna be working with them?" Paul asked as Tony threw his arm over his son's shoulder.
"Yes we are." The man answered with a chuckle. When the ramp was down all the way, they both saw four young boys and a man standing there waiting for them.
When the two of them, plus the rest of Tony's command staff, got to the bottom of the ramp, the group of five stepped forward, the man extending his hand. "Welcome to Bermuda." He said with a grin.
"Thank you for having us. From what I have seen and heard, there's gonna be a lot of action soon." Tony said as he shook the man's hand.
"It sure looks that way." Joe said with a grin. "By the way, I am Joe Casey, father to most of the kids here, and sometimes the base commander." He then indicated the boys with him. "This is Chang Casey, second in command of the combat forces, Daileass Hayes, second in command of the Intel Division, and the eldest of Logan's younger brothers. Next is Will Casey, commander of the UNIT's helicopter squadron, and the person that will help your pilots get settled in. Finally we have Ronnie Tompkins, the UNIT's quartermaster."
Tony then went through and introduced his people, and handshakes were exchanged all around. Tony was glad to see that the boys didn't react much to Paul's presence, although having heard the story from Logan, he understood the sideways glances, and the nervousness of the boys to his son. When Tony shook Daileass's hand, the boy spoke up. "Logan wanted to be here when you arrived, but he needed to crash."
"That is completely understandable." Tony said with a smile. "I'm sure I'll see him again in the morning."
"Yes you will." Joe said with a grin. "I am sure you would prefer to have time to settle in, but not this time. There is a command staff briefing at 1000 hours tomorrow. If you and your second in command could meet here at 0915, we'll all ride over there together."
"That sounds good. I assume it will be held on the Reagan?" Tony asked
"That it will." Joe responded, then patted Ronnie on the shoulder. "If you would all like to follow Ronnie here, he'll show you where we have your teams housed, as well as where they can store your equipment." Joe then glanced over to where the four Super Cobras had landed. "You can also let your pilots know that, if they want, we converted that building over there to the pilot's barracks, so they will be near the landing field. If they want to stay there they are welcome to, or they can bunk in with the rest of your group."
"I'll leave that up to them. You know how pilots can be, always wanna be able to keep an eye on their birds."
"You have no idea what we have to put up with from this one." Joe said as he grabbed Will in a headlock and gave him a bit of a nuggie.
"I can only imagine." Tony said as everyone laughed when Will complained. Tony looked at Ronnie and smiled. "Lead the way?"
"Of course sir." Ronnie said. "If you would all like to follow me, I will first show you where you can drop off your personal items, and the building we have set aside just for you and yours."
Mac watched out the window as they settled in for a landing on a small peninsula. He was astonished at the number and variety of helicopters that he saw. He almost groaned when he thought about the amount of work he and his team would have, to keep up that many helicopters.
When they touched down and the ramp descended, Mac saw four people standing there, three boys and a man. When he got down to the bottom of the ramp the man stepped forward. "Master Sergeant Macallister?"
"Please call me Mac." He said as he extended his hand.
"As you wish Mac, My name is Joe Casey, father to most of the UNIT kids. With me is Chang Casey, second in command of the combat forces. Daileass Hayes, second in command of the Intel group, and Will Casey…"
"The young man I have heard so much about." Mac said as he offered his hand to the boy.
"Whatever you heard sir, it was all lies, unless it was good stuff." Will said with a grin.
Mac laughed, as did everyone else. "Well… I've heard about you taking on jet fighters with a helicopter, and then of course the landing on the carrier."
"Uggg…" Will whined. "I ain't never gonna live that down am I?"
Confused Mac cocked his head. "Why do you sound like it was a bad thing. That was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen!"
"I ain't NEVER flying anything that can't fight back! EVER!" Will said emphatically, which caused almost everyone there to burst out laughing. "It ain't funny!" Will whined again. "I'll swear to whatever God you want… I ain't never strapping that big of a target on my ass again! Especially when the fucking thing can't fire back! Ain't happening!"
"Don't worry son." Mac said as he patted the boy's shoulder. "We're here to make sure that all your nice attack helicopters are working as well as they can be. That way you won't have to do that again."
"God bless you!" Will said laughing. "God Bless you. Come on, I'll show you where you'll be staying and where we'll set up all your equipment."
"Logan… It's time to get up." Daileass said softly from just inside the room that Logan and Adam shared.
"Thanks bro." Logan said as he sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. "What time is it?"
"Just after 0700." Daileass answered as he stepped into the room and closed the door.
"Did everyone arrive okay?" Logan asked as he got out of the bed, stripped off his boxers and went about getting stuff ready for a quick shower.
"Yup, Mac and his crew are all set up in the pilots' barracks. Blood's Honor just got everything put away, and are retiring to their barracks to get ready for the day. Tony and his Second will meet us at the landing pad about 0915, to ride with us to the briefing."
"Any word on Adam?" He asked from the doorway to the bathroom.
"Yeah, just after you crashed, Mom called back to let us know that Adam is fine, but she kept him there so he could rest. He'll meet us on the deck of the Reagan when we get there." Daileass responded.
"Sounds good. Let me get cleaned up and dressed. I'll meet you downstairs in a bit. You can brief me the rest of the way, over breakfast."
"You got it." Daileass said as he slipped out of the room.