Castle Roland

New Beginnings
Book I

by Roland


Chapter 12

Posted: 18 Dec 14

New Beginnings

Copyright © 2012 - 2015 by Roland and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Friday November 9th 0640 (6:40 am) Mountain Standard Time
Friday November 9th 0840 (8:40 am) Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base, Utah

New Beginnings LogoJory smiled to himself before entering the conference room. He was wearing his full dress uniform, complete with every medal he was ever awarded. When he opened the doors there were several different people, all standing around and talking to each other. Jory took stock quickly of those that knew about him and his family, and those that didn't. Those that knew, quickly quieted down and moved to their seats, those that didn't, remained talking, at least until they noticed the others.

Seeing Tom and Trent both make their way to their seats, Jory sent them both a quick message. 'I wanna have some fun with this, please don't interrupt unless I ask you to.' Both men looked startled as they looked at Jory, then smiled slightly and nodded.

"Please take your seats." Jory said over the din of conversations. "I would like to begin and we have a lot to go over."

"Uh son, we're waiting for the person who's supposed to be in charge of the military assets and security of the base." One of the 'suits' said gently while he took his seat.

"That's why I am here." Jory said with a grin as he took his own seat. He couldn't help but snicker to himself when he realized that his feet didn't touch the floor as he sat in the executive chair at the head of the table.

Several of them started to open their mouths in protest when Jory spoke over them. "Let me introduce myself. I am General Joris Casey, better known as Jory. I am officially the demolitions and ordnance officer for the UNIT, but I am now acting as Base Security Commander under General Joseph Casey."

Jory wanted to chuckle as he looked around the room and saw a few things that made him want to laugh outright. It seemed Tom and Trent must have warned the military people, since none of them said anything, and were all waiting to see what Jory would say. Every single one of them were willing to accept what he had said, and none of them were letting his age bother them.

The rest of them looked like they wanted to sputter and start to shout. Besides the military being there, Jory knew that there were representatives from the CIA, FBI, NSA, and the Secret Service. All four of those were the suit wearers, as well as the ones who were going to be fun for Jory since they all thought that they should be in charge of this new base.

"Let me make one thing clear right from the beginning. A few of you think that this base should be under your control, for whatever reason. Well, I hate to break it to you, but this base is under the control of the UNIT, and no one else. We are the ones that decide who is allowed here, and who is not. And if you guys decide to try and make too much of a stink, I will have no problem escorting you to the front door myself." Jory noticed, while meeting each and every one of their eyes, that they went from amusement to being somewhat bemused. He did notice, off to the side, the military men looking at the suits and smirking.

"I don't know who you think you are, kid…" One of the suits started to say before Jory interrupted him.

"Sir, before you write a check your ass can't cover, I suggest you sit down, and watch a small video presentation that President Bryce put together before he had to leave so he could get installed as the President." Before anyone else could say anything, Jory pressed a button on the table. Behind him, a screen opened up on the wall, while small screens popped up out of the table in front of each of them.

A brief moment later, Jack's face appeared on each of the screens, sitting on the corner of the desk that was in his office right off the command center.

"Gentleman." He started out, "In about thirty minutes, I am going to be taking the Oath of Office. During this time, Jory will be speaking to you all about security duties for this base. Let me make one thing perfectly clear, this is their base. I don't care what anyone else says or does, this base belongs to the members of The UNIT. I want each and every one of you to treat this as if it were an embassy that I am staying at, because it is. Earlier this morning, I wrote up an Executive Order that will officially recognize the U.N.I.T. as a Government in Exile, included in that Order are instructions to the Department of State to recognize this base as their Embassy."

He sighed deeply for a moment before he continued. "I know this doesn't make much sense to many of you, and I apologize for that. However, that does not change a few basic facts. This base is theirs, and they are letting us stay here. They did not need to save me nor offer me sanctuary here, but they have, and I will respect their wishes on many things. The biggest one being that this is their base and they are in command. Do not let their age fool you. During a training exercise, I personally witnessed one of them, only one of them, take out over one hundred and fifty Russian Spetsnaz troops, as well as the original twenty Secret Service and military that fled with me from Texas."

I know many of you find that hard to believe and had I not witnessed it with my own eyes, I would find it hard to as well. Feel free to ask any one that was here at that point. They all saw it. They are soldiers of the finest caliber, and frankly, they have skills and abilities that make them downright scary. Also, let me say right now, do not even bother to ask who they are, where they came from, and how they do what they can do. It is Top Secret, beyond ANY of your clearances. That is an order directly from the President of the United States. If you cannot follow these orders, then please let me know, and I will have you re-assigned. Thank you and good day."

The screens went dark, and retracted back to their original positions. Before anyone could say anything, though, Tom spoke up. "Before any of you get it in your heads that the message we just saw was fake, it wasn't. I personally witnessed President Bryce make that recording."

All the suits shut their mouths, and looked towards Jory, still not believing what was happening. Jory sighed and spoke softly. "Look, gentleman, I can very easily appreciate how difficult this is for you, don't think I can't. But it does not change the facts. So, before we continue, is there anyone here that cannot live with the chain of command that is in place?"

Jory waited a few moments and no one said a word. Finally he smiled. "Great! That solves that issue, now, let's move onto the next one. The number one job of this base is actually twofold. It is the main base of operations for President Bryce, and those that are fighting Ashwood. It also serves as the Bryce family bunker. That means that the primary job of all those who are stationed here is to make sure that President Bryce and his family stay alive. To that end, we'll start with the security procedures that are in place by the Secret Service. I am sorry, sir, but they are just not good enough."

Jory had really just gotten into it when suddenly he shot to his feet. "FUCK!" He said before he was sprinting to the door. Everyone else in the room jumped to their feet wondering what was going on when a klaxon started to sound.

"Alert Level Alpha. All staff report to duty stations. All non-essential personnel please report to the closest common area or to your rooms, and do not leave until given the all clear. This is NOT a drill. Repeating Alert Level Alpha."

The fastest of the adults had followed Jory outside, and were racing to try and keep up. Several of them were able to make the elevator that Jory was in. One of the Secret Service members looked at Jory hard. "What's Alert Level Alpha?"

"It means there is an attack underway, and we may well be the target." Jory said as the door opened, and he was again off like a shot.

Friday November 9th 0640 (6:40 am) Mountain Standard Time
Friday November 9th 0840 (8:40 am) Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base, Utah

Chris walked into the medical center with his twin brother, Andy, right next to him. Doctor Janet had told him to come down this morning to have his shoulder checked up on. He was really starting to feel the effects of what was done for him, it was small already, but still the blood that the UNIT boys had given him was starting to have an effect.

The room was a lot busier now than it was Tuesday afternoon when Dr. Janet had released him with severe orders to take it easy. For any nine year old boy that is a tough order to follow, but Chris was making sure he followed it, and so was Andy.

The twins had been inseparable since Chris got released, even going so far as to be sleeping in the same bed. Both brothers had been scared by the incident, and their frantic flight to freedom. Thankfully, the only nightmares they had, had been while they were separated, hence the sharing of one bed.

Even though the medical center was jam packed with people and equipment, it wasn't hard for Chris to spot Chang in one of the back rooms. He looked over at Andy, and nodded towards Chang. With that, the two boys tried to make their way to him.

When they got close, they heard that Chang was actually speaking to several people, all in military uniforms. "I know this is difficult for many of you to understand, however, many of the children here are genetically very different from your normal human. If you plan on being a doctor here, then you will need to learn how to treat a Genesis Augment."

"How different are you?" One of the younger doctors asked skeptically.

Chang looked at him critically then asked the man a question. "How long would it take for a cut, 8 centimeters long, by 1 centimeter deep, made by a scalpel, to heal?"

The man thought for a few moments before he answered. "The bleeding should stop within a few minutes, after that, the cut itself should close over in about 5-6 hours, and be completely healed in about a week. That is, of course, assuming there is no underlying reason for healing to be delayed."

Chang nodded seriously, he then reached down, picked up a scalpel, placed it to the side of his arm, and everyone gasped as he drew the blade across his skin, parting the skin, 8cm long, and 1cm deep. He then let everyone watch as the bleeding slowed and stopped in under thirty seconds, less than two minutes later, the cut had covered over, and the scab had formed. "If you wish to continue to watch, within ten minutes, there will not even be a mark left."

Everyone there was stunned, but Chang was feeling a little bit mean, so he continued. "Okay, earlier this morning, Mr. Jackson assisted me in gathering X-rays, MRI scans, as well as CAT scans on my brother Juan who had been injured. All the results have been uploaded into the medical database, under Juan's name. Please feel free to familiarize yourself with everything that was done on this patient, and I will ask you all some questions when you are done."

The doctors nodded, and everyone went to a workstation in the new nurse's area, and began to look through the notes. Chang spotted Chris and Andy standing there, so he came over to them, with a smile.

"Hi guys, how are you doing?" He asked, and both boys smiled back, then Chris took the lead, like he usually did.

"Doctor Janet told me to come down this morning. She said she wanted to check my shoulder over, and also take some blood to see how things are changing." He kinda blushed at that, since he still wasn't too sure about the whole change thing that was gonna happen.

"As you wish." Chang said with another smile. "Shall we go into one of the treatment rooms and take a look?" He said while motioning both boys to one of the smaller treatment rooms.

Over the next 30 minutes, Chang outlined what would be happening to Chris over the foreseeable future, of course since this had only happened once before, Chang made sure to let them know that it was only his best guess.

"I know you are very concerned by what I have said so far." Chang said more to Andy, than to Chris. "But I am sure your brother will quickly learn how to handle the increase to his strength, as well as the other items we spoke about. However, you are just as important to what we are doing here as he is. What I mean by that is...." Chang was saying before he suddenly stopped talking and peered up towards the ceiling.

"SHIT!" He said loudly before he stepped forward, grabbed both boys, one in each arm, and hurried from the room. "I need you boys to hang on to me for a moment." He said as he rushed down the hallway. Chris was about to reply when a Klaxon started to sound overhead. Chang pushed his way into a break room, just as several doctors were jumping to their feet. He set the boys down on their feet, and waited as Theodore called the base to Alert Level Alpha.

When the alert announcement ended, Chang looked at the boys and then to the doctors. "We need to prepare for possible incoming casualties. That alert was to let us know that a major assault is underway, and we are possibly a target. I know many of you have not had training in our procedures, so please follow my instructions until the all clear is given. All non-trauma and non-critical patients need to be moved to the ambulatory wing as soon as possible. All visitors are to be escorted out and to the cafeteria. If we get a large number of inbound patients I will assign two doctors to triage. The rest will be working on whatever they can find. Questions?"

It was silent for a moment before Chris raised his uninjured arm. "What can we do to help?"

Chang smiled down at the two boys and patted them on the shoulders. "Very good lads. I know you are scared, and still you want to help. I will take you to one of the guards who will be escorting people to the cafeteria. I want you and your brother to do what you can to keep the people there calm. You will be in charge there, and if someone asks for a report, one of you are to give it. Simply let them know how things are going on. Can you do that?"

Both boys glanced at each other nervously before nodding. "Yeah, we can do it." Andy said, causing Chang to nod and smile.

"Come with me then." He led the boys and the other doctors out of the break room, and moved to the main nurses' station, while waving one of the youngest Russian guards over. The other doctors immediately ran to do what Chang had said, leaving the station pretty empty. Chang reached into a drawer and drew out two small ear pieces, much like what the Secret Service would wear, and took a moment to place them in both boys ears. "This will allow you to hear what is going on, please understand that this is information that should not be shared with everyone. However I trust you both enough to know what should be shared and what should not. If you need to speak to someone, and ONLY if it is an emergency, or someone speaks to you first, simply depress this button and speak. Do you understand?" Both boys nodded, so Chang looked up at the guard. "These are the President's eldest sons. They will be the communications group for the Cafeteria, and also the ones trying to keep things organized. I want you to stay with them, help them, teach them, but let them learn how to be in charge. They may be young, but they need to learn, and learn quickly."

"Yes sir." The guard said, not about to question the order of the boy that took out his entire company only a few days before. "Let's leave the doctors to their work." He said to the boys who quickly followed him out.

Friday November 9th 1100 (11:00 am) Mountain Standard Time
Friday November 9th 1300 (1:00 pm) Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base, Utah

Daileass was working hard on his terminal in the command center. It had been hours since the missiles hit, and while others were busy trying to get help to all those that needed it, he was busy on another project. They had been told that the SCOTUS, (Supreme Court Of The United States) had been 'placed into protective custody'. In other words they had been arrested, and were being held somewhere.

It wasn't just SCOTUS either. Many lawmakers and staff that were not able to get out of Washington quick enough were also arrested. Not to mention a number of Pentagon officials. It was his job to figure out who had been arrested, and where they were being held.

So far he had made a list, and was almost certain it was accurate. Now though, he had to figure out where they were. That was proving to be rather difficult. At least it was until he found one little piece of evidence in a military report. A report that spoke about 'guests'. That led Daileass to the gold mine, even though it took him almost an hour to get a fuller picture of what was really going on. And that led to him gathering his brothers together to go over the information.

Once they were all gathered in one of the smaller conference rooms, Daileass started up. "Okay, good news and bad news. I've found everyone that was arrested. That's the good news. The bad news is this. They are being held at two different locations. The first one is a smallish prison in northeastern Virginia. It hasn't been used in about seven years, but Ashwood sent most of them there."

"Most?" Logan asked.

"Yeah. At that facility they are holding one hundred and thirty two people, mostly the clerks and staff. The actual SCOTUS, as well as several Military personnel, and a few of the lawmakers themselves, are being held elsewhere. At Fort Detrick, Maryland."

Logan looked at his brothers and sighed. They LOVED making him ask questions. "Okay, and what do we know about Fort Detrick, Maryland, since there wasn't one where we came from."

"Here, it is used for the storage of Chemical and Biological weapons, as well as other such weapons of mass destruction. It is a very secure base.... to say the least." Daileass said with a frown.

Logan thought for only a moment before he turned to his four brothers. "Okay, I want a plan... using whatever assets you deem necessary. The SCOTUS and those with them are top priority, the other base, secondary. When you're ready, I'll get everyone together to go over and modify the plan. We need to do this as quickly as possible."

Logan's four brothers grinned, almost evilly. This is what they did best. As Logan left the room, they were already well into the planning.

Friday November 9th 1230 (12:30 pm) Mountain Standard Time
Friday November 9th 1430 (2:30 pm) Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base, Utah

The Honorable Judge Albert T. Ralkin, stood off to the side and watched. Watching is what he did the best. It's what propelled his earlier career. It helped him land the best jobs, and then, to become one of the youngest federal judges in history. Of course, that was all many years ago, but still he watched.

He learned early on that watching how someone acts means a whole lot more than what they are saying. Often, when he was on the bench, he tuned out most of what people were saying, and just watched how they acted, how they moved, when they were emotional, and when not. It served him well, even when he took his position as the head of the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals. Of course that life was gone now.

His life had been based in Los Angeles. His wife had died several years before. His children, grandchildren, and even his first great grandchild all lived in LA. Now, well now he had nothing left. He knew, deep down in his gut that none of his family had survived. He'd seen the reports coming in from California. He knew what was destroyed, and knew where his family had been at. Unless a miracle happened, they were all gone now. But as the young man had said earlier, words that kept going over and over in his mind. "...the United States that you knew is over. What is being fought over now is the future." Ralkin thought the boy, no, young man, had been a bit over dramatic, but what he had witnessed over the last several hours told him that, no... if anything, the young man understood what was really going on here better than many of the adults.

Now, after several hours of watching, he knew that the 'kids' here were something entirely different from what he was used to dealing with. One thing that Ralkin prided himself on was his ability to adapt, his ability to discard his own preconceived notions and deal with what was actually happening around him, rather than what he thought should be happening. In this case it showed a group of youths that were used to dealing with things that they should not have been by their ages. But he also saw that they were pretty used to having adults discount them. The way they went around the adults, the way they phrased the conversations that he had overheard, and how they got what they wanted by making the adult they were talking to think it was their idea, and, since the idea came from an adult, it was easier for them to accept. More than once Ralkin had to stop himself from laughing out loud, as he watched these kids easily manipulate the adults around them.

The other thing he was doing was listening. Primarily to what the kids were talking about. Most adults didn't bother to listen in as the kids were talking, which is something they knew very well. Most of them did not even bother to speak softly, since they knew most adults wouldn't bother to pay attention. Ralkin did though. What he heard shocked him. That's also what prompted him to write up what he just finished.

"Sir." He said as he saw Jack walk past. "May I bother you for just a moment?"

Jack looked over at him and smiled. "Of course, what can I do for you?"

"Well sir," Ralkin started off. "I know things are in much turmoil right now, but I fear that something may be lost in all of this. That is the children. So, in order to help things along, I wrote up a proposal for you and your staff to look through that federalizes the Children's Services. Normally sir I am very much a State's Rights kind of person, as I know you are as well. However, I think in these times, it may be be needed. I also placed a sunset clause in there so that the federal agency in charge of this will be disbanded within 6 months of the end of the civil war."

Jack's eyes went wide as he took the sheaf of paper and looked at it. "This is the entire proposal?"

"Yes sir." Ralkin said with a grin. "I have always been a minimalist at heart."

Jack smiled, looked it over for a few moments, then reached into his breast pocket and shocked the hell out of Ralkin by signing it. "Now obviously this will have to be ratified by what's left of Congress, but with my signature, we can start to implement it now. That's the good news. You ready for the bad news?"

Ralkin nodded nervously. "Well you brought it up. You wrote it up. That means, for now anyways. You're in charge. If you want to get someone to replace you. Find them, train them, and let me know."

"But.. but... Sir... Ummm." Ralkin sputtered.

"Look we are beyond short handed right now. Since you brought this up, it means you care. I have no one else I would trust with something like this, because, you're right. The kids were getting lost in everything. You are 'ordered'," he said making hand quote signs, "to come to me, no matter when, if you feel you need something, or someone is in your way, from doing what you think needs to be done. Can you do that?"

Ralkin stood there thinking for several moments, finally he nodded. "Sir, I'm 78 years old, so I don't have much time left on this world, I don't think. But until that time is gone, if this is to be my calling, then so be it."

Jack grinned and patted the man on the shoulder. "Thank you. Thank you so very much." He shook the man's hand, and then Jack rushed off to deal with the 'next' thing.

Logan grinned as he walked up to the man. "Ahhhh... the power of volunteering." When Ralkin tried to glare at him, Logan couldn't help but laugh. "But... since you are now a cabinet level secretary..." Ralkin blanched forgetting that his proposal called for the creation of such... "I think you may be able to help me with a little issue..." Logan took the elderly man's elbow and led him away, talking the entire time.

Friday November 9th 1600 (4:00 pm) Mountain Standard Time
Friday November 9th 1800 (6:00 pm) Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base, Utah

"Okay." Jack said as he sat down heavily in his chair at the head of the conference table. Well, it might as well be his chair with the amount of times he'd been in it over the last few days. "It looks like things are calming down some, now that night is starting to fall in the east, so lets get an idea where we stand."

Jack stood up and looked around the room, full to capacity with high ranking military members, Jack's Presidential Cabinet, high ranking UNIT members, and staffers, lots of staffers. All eyes were on Jack, but even as he looked around the room, and met eyes with all of them, he saw the fear and stress that this war, this civil war, was causing all of them. He sighed deeply then spoke, "I know each and every one of you is being torn apart by this, just as much as I am. I don't think any of us expected to be neck deep in a war right now, especially a civil war in the United States. But we are, and we need to do everything in our power to win. Yes, it's not looking good right now, but the war is still young." He looked over at Andy Rose and nodded. "Andy, I asked you to be the coordinator between the military units and myself. Can you please give all of us a brief recap of where we are right now?"

"Of course, Mr. President." Andy Rose said as he stood up, but Jack held up his hand, causing Andy to stop halfway out of his seat.

"For those that are new to working with me. When we are in private, with no cameras around, like we are here, I would prefer to keep things as informal as possible. Which means everyone in this room, please, call me Jack." His warm smile, even with the tension in the room, caused most of the people to relax, and even a few to smile.

"Of course, Jack." Andy said as he finally stood tall, then moved over to the screen at the back of the room, while Jack retook his seat. The screen itself was split into many different screens, all filled with people who were 'attending' the meeting from all over the country, and even a few from outside the US. Only a small number were on screens, the rest were simply watching and listening. All told, there were close to 300 people attending this meeting.

"Okay, the first thing I want to show you all is a map that I made quickly, about 30 minutes ago. It's not the best quality, but it will give you an idea of what is going on." He pressed a button on the remote he held, and a map came up on the screen.

alt text

"As you can see from the map, there is a lot going on. For ease of explanation, I am going to start on the West Coast, and work my way east. The reason for this is simple. Most of the information we have in the west is reliable, most of what we have from the east is not." Andy paused as he pulled up a map of California, and the surrounding area. "As far as we can tell, San Francisco is almost a total loss. We have no real idea of the death toll yet, but I have heard numbers as high as 80 percent."

Many people around the room gasped in shock at that number, but Andy ignored it, and continued. "Due to the total devastation, as well as the rest of the issues from the Civil War, we do not have an exact magnitude of the quakes yet, and yes, there was more than one, but we know that at the moment the state of California is in a world of hurt. Not only do they have the problems from the quake itself, but also the wildfires that have been started; there is a lack of electricity, and a lack of water. Our friends in Japan have already started mobilizing their resources to help in California, all of it humanitarian. Also, Jack has ordered all National Guard and Federal military in the state of California to not worry about the war, and to deal with the problems there."

"Next, I will get into the missile attacks from this morning. Due to the lack of satellites, as well as other detecting equipment, most of the missiles were lost shortly after they were launched. However, thanks to Texas' state of readiness, they were able to shoot down a few of them, as they crossed the State. We also managed to shoot down a good number of them as they crossed the countryside. Unfortunately, we did not get them all."

"All the missiles that hit were targeting infrastructure. Mainly road ways, railways, power plants, water treatment plants, and the like. The cities that we have confirmed reports on are Billings Montana, Cheyenne, Denver, Albuquerque, Wichita, and Tulsa. Salt Lake City was nearly carpeted, we think because Mr. Ashwood assumed that's where we were at. Besides the infrastructure, we know that Temple Square was hit hard, which of course, means downtown is nearly gone. All told, more than thirty missiles struck Salt Lake City in a ten minute period."

"There was also a rather sizable air battle over Fort Hood Texas. Not only did Ashwood fire missiles at it, but also attacked with fighters and bombers. None of the missiles hit, however, a few of the fighters and at least two bombers were able to attack the base itself. While Ashwood lost all of his planes, Texas also lost a good number, and there is significant damage to Fort Hood. However, the Base Commander has assured me that they are not out of the fight. As a matter of fact, he was spitting nails and says he wants orders to strike back, and strike back hard." That got a few nods of encouragement from those in the room.

"Next we'll move onto the oil fields, mostly in North Dakota, but also in Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. Sometime overnight, they were infiltrated and timed charges were placed. When the time came, several explosions destroyed the pumpers, as well as cracked the pipelines. They are still trying to shut some of them down, and until they do, there is oil flowing on the ground there. On top of that, many of our nuclear tipped ICBM missiles were launched, however, none of the silos were open, so they all exploded inside their shafts. At the moment we think most, if not all, of the silos are containing all the radiation, but we won't know how bad it is for a long time." By now most people were simply too stunned to react, so Andy continued. Even though he'd been reading the reports for several hours, the scope of all of this was still mind boggling to him.

"Right now, most of the ground fighting is along or around the Mississippi River, although the Southern Theater is being fought over hard, since Ashwood seems to want to control the oil that is coming in from that area. He has damaged several of the offshore oil rigs, which is another problem that we will have to deal with at some point. Thankfully most of the rigs were able to shut their drills down before the pipes burst. So the ecological damage is not as bad as it could have been, but it is still bad."

"That about wraps up the attacks from today. The fighting is still fierce on the front lines, and we are getting a lot of help from local law enforcement, and civilians. However, Ashwood's troops are not only holding their own, but in many places, are actually gaining ground." With that little bit of news, Andy pushed the button on his controller one more time, bringing the screen back to his overview map. He then set the controller down on the table, and returned to his seat. By that point, all eyes were on Jack, wondering what he was going to do next.

Finally after several moments of silence; he stood up and started to pace the room. "Let me tell you some of the things that I know. Before all of this started, Ashwood was moving commanders and military members around, stacking the eastern US with his troops. We know that many of the federal law enforcement agencies are being run by his hand picked people. We also know that Ashwood is being given help from people outside of the United States. So, here are the first steps I am going to take. As of this moment, the following agencies are suspended, pending a full investigation, and adjustment as needed. From the Department of Homeland Security, there is the US Coast Guard, the Secret Service, Border Patrol, and of course officers of the Department of Homeland Security itself. From the Department of Justice, the FBI, DEA, and ATF. We know for a fact that they were involved in the assault in Breckenridge Texas. Until the people who ordered it are found, and brought to justice, all of them are to be considered suspect, save for those that are here, who have already been cleared."

"Now, onto the new war with Mexico. It is completely unacceptable, so as of right now, DAC 5 & DAC 6 are ordered to retake military control of the annexed areas. We will not allow Mexico, even with Ashwood's help, to take back the Annex Zone." He paused as he looked at the screen where the DAC commanders were, and they both nodded in understanding. He paused for a few moments, as he looked around, then asked. "Are there any questions?"

Tom Larkin nodded, raised his hand, and when Jack nodded to him, he stood up. "Jack, what should we do about the 'front line'?"

Jack sighed deeply as Tom sat back down. "I know it will be difficult, but we need to concentrate on military encampments only. I can not and will not be responsible for the deaths of United States citizens. We can not strike civilian targets, or anywhere that we may hit civilians."

"Mr President." Adam said seriously as he stood up. "If that is the way you are going to prosecute this war, then we have already lost, and you may as well surrender now."

Jack spun on Adam, anger clearly written on his face. "I will NOT be a party to killing innocent American lives!"

"Jack!" Tom began, "This is a war. If you tie our hands like this, forbid even the possibility of civilian casualties, which Ashwood has proven he doesn't care about, if it serves his purpose... How are we to win?"

"These are Americans!" Jack started as he turned on Tom. "How the hell can you sit there and tell me that we need to target civilians!"

"Tom never said to target them." Mike said from the screen that he was watching from. "But if we do not cripple the east, then we will lose. I am sick to death, thinking of the people that are gonna be killed in this war, but think of how much worse things will be for the people that live, if Ashwood wins."

"Mike! If I condone the killing of US citizens, then I'll be no better than Ashwood!" Jack said as he started to pace again. No one said anything for a moment as Jack paced down one side of the table, then turned around, and stopped short. Standing there, right in his path was Adam.

"Sir, I applaud your misguided thought that you can save people. But this is a war, like it or not, innocent people will die. Hell in EVERY war ever fought, more noncombatants, and innocents died than soldiers... in EVERY war. That is a sad fact of life, but like it or not, it is a fact. So you have two choices here. And only two." Adam's eyes never wavered from Jack's as he spoke. "You can either lay down, and let Ashwood win while you cling to your so called morals. Clinging to them all the way to your grave, but not before a whole lot of innocents die in Ashwood's attacks. Or you can take the fight to the asshole, crush him as quickly as you can, and save a whole lot more lives. The choice is yours, and it's a choice that needs to be made now. Frankly, no matter what you choose, Ashwood will die, it's just a matter of how much damage he can do before I get to him."

Adam then turned on his heel and walked towards the door. When he got there and opened it, he stopped, and turned. "Frankly sir, if you choose to cower behind your morals, I pray that someone here has the courage to replace you, and put someone in place that has the balls it takes to win a war like this. One thing I learned very young. You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once." With that he walked out, and slammed the door behind him.

Friday November 9th 1615 (4:15 pm) Mountain Standard Time
Friday November 9th 1815 (6:15 pm) Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base, Utah

Runt looked around and smiled. Then after a few moments he began to speak, the fact that he was speaking in Russian was not something that he really even realized. "First off, I want to thank all of you for the incredible amount of work you have all put in over the last several days." He paused for a moment to let those that did not speak Russian have what he said translated to them. "It has been amazing to see what this group of people have been able to do over such a short period of time."

"I would like to especially thank Comrade Deschovic from the Kamov Aerospace development corporation. Had it not been for his input, as well as the schematics that he had for an experimental helicopter, we would not have been able to accomplish what we have." Runt started to walk around the smallish helicopter that was currently sitting under a large sheet. However, his voice was loud enough to still reach everyone while he spoke. "To be able to take an air frame, strip it down to its base, and then rebuild it, using several pieces of equipment that you guys had never even dreamed of before, is a testament to how much hard work and love that each and every one of you have put into this project."

Again Runt paused as he stopped next to his new best friend, Tommy. They knew each other before they came here, but the last several days of working with each other had made them much closer friends. "In less than an hour we will unveil the helicopter to the rest of our team, as well as a few select dignitaries. As you all know, much of the technology used is not something native to this universe, so the fact that many of you got to work with it, and really get to see how it is designed should help you all in the future. Of course we can not give you any of this, but you will each be receiving a packet with some helpful hints on how to develop this yourselves, given enough time and effort." He chuckled at the last part, since most of these people have been begging to get their hands on some of the tech, especially the micro fusion generators, and the Enhanced Stealth Package. Logan had made the decision that while he could not just give them one, since the UNIT only had a limited supply, he would give them help in building their own, eventually. Of course there was an agreement that if any of them could build it, the UNIT would get some for free, if they needed them.

"So why doesn't everyone take a little time off, get cleaned up, and we'll meet back here in 45 minutes." The assembled techs applauded briefly before they went off. Since they started this project none of them had had more than a few hours off for sleep and food, most of the food was brought to them, and they ate when they could. Everyone was exhausted but happy.

"Come on Tommy." Runt said as he threw his arm around the younger, but almost as tall, boy. "Let's go get showered, then dressed in our new flight suits."

Friday November 9th 1620 (4:20 pm) Mountain Standard Time
Friday November 9th 1820 (6:20 pm) Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base, Utah

The room was silent after Adam stormed out, but then Mike could be heard over the speaker, first it was a soft chuckle, then it turned into a full bellied laugh. At first Jack stared at the phone with disbelief, then he finally barked out. "Just what the hell is so funny Mike!"

"Sorry Jack.. but. Well I think that is the first time I ever heard a young teen quote Robert Heinlein." Mike's snicker only made Jack frown deepen. No one said a word as Joe left the room after Adam. Most didn't even notice.

"I can't believe he spoke to you like that!" One of the women in the room said scandalously, causing several nods of agreement, and even some verbal. Jack was going to reply but a quiet, but discernable, voice spoke up from the table.

"You guys really don't have a clue do you?" Will asked while shaking his head in disgust.

"Young man, when we want your opinion..." One of the generals started to say. That was until Tom spoke over him.

"General Casey, would you mind explaining your comment to the rest of us?" Will met Tom's eyes, and stared for a long moment before he nodded. What he saw in the man's eyes made him realize that out of everyone there, he truly did understand. Some of the people in attendance grumbled, but Tom was the highest ranking Military man there, and the only one who could override him was Jack. While Jack may have wanted to, his long time friendship, and respect for Tom, told him that this was something he needed to hear.

Will sighed and finally stood up. He took a moment to push his fire engine red hair back away from his eyes. Even though he was only twelve years old physically, he was tall and lanky, so he didn't bother doing what Juan likes to do, and step up on a chair. When he spoke, he didn't bother to raise his voice, it wasn't needed. "Some of you here have been in a war, and even some I would classify as a true warrior. So to those, I ask this question. What does it take to win?"

Will hid his smile as many of the military people, and some of the non military people started throwing out comments like, better technology, better weapons, better training. Even some said the 'will to win', when someone said 'moral high ground', Will's impassive face almost slipped into a giggle, but he was able to resist. The thing he found most interesting was that neither Tom, nor Jack said a word while people were throwing out answers. Finally Will had enough, and raised his hand for silence. Once he got it, he spoke, just as soft as he had earlier.

"There are only two things you need to win a war. First, you must define the enemy. Then you must utterly destroy that enemy. Miss either of those two, and you have not won. If you are not willing to do either one, then you have lost before you even begin to fight." There was silence for almost a full thirty seconds before Tom spoke up.

"There is a lot more to war than just that." He said just as softly as Will did, but his comment made Will smile as he knew exactly what the man was doing.

"No, really there isn't. I mean sure, you have the logistics of HOW to do what needs to happen, but in the end all you have to do is commit yourself, and your troops, to the utter destruction of your enemy. Once you have done that, everything else is easy."

"But if we don't keep to our morals, then we will be no better than the enemy." Jack said softly, so softly that many people had to strain to hear him. Will of course did not need to strain, and almost grinned, since Jack had finally taken the bait that he put out there.

"Mr. President. Would you be willing to give your own life if that is what it took to win this war?" Will asked, causing many people to gasp.

Jack's head snapped up as he met eyes with Will. "Of course I would. How dare you doubt..."

"I am not doubting you sir, since I know you would. But would you be willing to sacrifice every man and woman in this room to do so?" Jack stared at him dumbfounded for a moment. Will continued.

"How about this Jack. What if you had to sacrifice Linda, or maybe baby Theodore? Would you be willing to make that sacrifice to win this war?" By now the room was deathly silent. Will's eyes never wavered from Jack's. The pain he saw in those eyes almost made Will feel bad for what he was doing, even though he knew this was what was needed. "Sir..." Will began. "Do not answer that out loud. Just by the look in your eyes, I know what the answer is. If the enemy is willing to hide behind the innocents, then you need to be willing to take those innocents out, to get to the enemy. Because trust me, the enemy will not hesitate to kill that same innocent when they are no longer useful. There is no such thing as fair, or morally right when it comes to war. The only morally right way to fight a war is to fight as hard as you can, to destroy your enemy completely, as quickly as you can. You did not bring this war on, but by God, if you really want to do what you say, then you need to be willing to make the hard choices, and do what it takes to win."

After a moment to pause, Will spoke again. No one in the room could miss the pain in his words as he spoke, nor the tears that fell. "In one battle, we lost almost half of our family. Some of them not having reached the same age as I am now. In one shot. That battle almost destroyed us. It almost made us falter in what our duty was, and is. But... But one of the kids that survived made us realize that if we gave up, if we faltered, then every single one of the kids that died, died for nothing. We could not, would not allow that to happen." Will paused, and looked Jack right in the eyes. "You have two choices right now. You can try to fight a war with both arms tied behind your back, a war that you will lose. In doing so you will, in essence, spit in the face of everyone that has died so far, and will die in the future. Or you can reach down, pick yourself up by the bootstraps, and fight this war to win. Fight it to destroy the enemy utterly, and in that way you will honor those that died."

Friday November 9th 1640 MST
UNIT Base, Utah

From the screen, Mike ordered, "All right. Everyone out. Now! I need a few words with Jack." Jack nodded to everyone, dismissing them.

After everyone had left, Mike continued, "Jack? You really need to rethink your priorities."

"Mike, I simply can't order the death of civilians!"

"Who said you are ordering their death? What you need to focus on is winning this damned war. Will there be civilian casualties? Yes, and it will be a sad, but unavoidable truth.

"Ashwood has already murdered countless tens of thousands, in his bid to become America's first dictator. Will you let him continue? Or will you step up to the plate and as Adam said, have 'the balls it takes to win a war like this'? Hit those military targets, yes. But if those targets have shielded themselves with civilians, then you will need to crush that shield to extinguish the menace. Will is correct, Jack. If you don't go through his shield of civilians, then Ashwood will kill those he no longer needs. He will have gained the knowledge of where and how to hurt you, and he will do it time and time again."

"Mike, do you really know what you are asking me to do?"

"Yes, Jack. I do. It's going to be the hardest thing you have ever done. You may even hate yourself, for awhile, but this is necessary to take back America and crush what Ashwood has started.

"All the people who have died, will have died in vain, should we... no... should you fail to take command and do what is right and what is necessary.

"Are you really the kind of man that will let children do the dirty work, just to keep your own hands clean? And how clean will you really feel?"

Jack Bryce looked up at his friend. There was a struggle going on in him, as he wrestled with what his morals told him, and what his old soldier's instinct told him he had to do. Mike looked back, reaching forward and shut down the connection with the Unit Base. Jack turned from the now darkened screen, walked over to the table and sat in a chair.

He hadn't known how long he had sat there. Thinking his dark thoughts, he hadn't heard the door open. He hadn't even heard the rustle of the chair next to him, when someone sat down, beside him.

"Jack? What are you thinking?" Linda softly asked. He looked at her with his face filled with pain. He had been crying, she could tell. "What are you thinking, Jack?" She gently asked again.

Jack looked at her, "Linda, if I fight this war the way everyone says I should fight it, I will be killing a lot of innocent people. Civilians… Citizens, who look to me, as their President, to protect them from the likes of Ashwood. I don't think I can command their slaughter, Linda. How could you possibly love a man who ordered their deaths?" Jack then turned his face away from her, ashamed he had just said what he was thinking.

Linda sighed heavily, as she reached out to stroke the side of his face. He caught her hand and held it tightly to his cheek. Turning, once again, to look into her eyes. His eyes now puffy and rimmed with red. It was a look that Linda had seldom seen on her husband.

"Jack, you didn't cause all those deaths. Ashwood did…" Jack started to protest, but Linda continued before he could say anything, "Ashwood did this. Sure, it wouldn't have happened in this exact way, had you not run for election. That made him move up his timetable. But you know, somewhere in you, that something like this would have happened anyway. He would have exerted his control, crushing anyone who would have stood in his way. You thought you knew what kind of man he was. You were wrong, you know? He is way worse than you ever thought was possible. What happened yesterday, only proves what a vile and evil man he is.

"Jack, you simply can't let him win. Even if that means more innocents may have to die. How many would have died, had we not won Vietnam, and had we not stopped the Khmer Rouge in its tracks? Ashwood, should he win this fight, will murder more people than those who will die in defeating him.

"Look at what this madman has done to us, and we merely stood up for what America means. How many more will die should we fail now? You have to know this, Jack."

Jack looked at Linda and wondered, not for the first time, how he deserved her in his life. He nodded slowly as a look of resolve came over him. Linda looked deep into his eyes and watched him process his thoughts. She knew the man she loved, and had married, had what it took to win this war. It was inside of him, he just needed to find it.

After a couple of minutes, Jack stood up and walked across the room. His shoulders were straighter his head higher. He turned and started to speak but stopped when his eyes rested on the American flag behind Linda. His eyes darkened for a moment. "Every American President, worth a hill of beans, has had those moments where they have had to make the hard choices. This is my moment. It's time to prosecute this war, as it should be fought. We must… We will win this war, and Ashwood will pay for what he has done to MY country!"

Friday November 9th 1800 (6:00 pm) Mountain Standard Time
Friday November 9th 2000 (8:00 pm) Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base, Utah

After the briefing, and the powerful words spoken by the children of the Unit, Tom Larkin took off to find Adam, and speak privately with him. It took almost an hour of searching, but he finally found Adam in a private training facility, that he had to go through six different people to get access to. The final one, the huge Cat Hybrid named Khan, only allowed him in after making sure the man did not have any weapons, as well as making sure Tom knew that he, Khan, would be accompanying him the entire time he was in the group's 'inner sanctum'. However, finally he was able to see Adam as he trained. Something that Tom would never forget.

A shirtless Adam was using two swords, but only one of them was in his hands. The other he was guiding with nothing more than his mind. He was sparring with an invisible opponent, as he and the two swords flew around the room attacking, parrying, dodging, ducking, weaving, all the while both swords were striking out against this unknown opponent.

Tom only watched for a few moments before Adam stopped, sheathed both swords, the airborne one going into it's own sheath still without Adam ever touching it. The boy then turned to him and smiled, walking over, he grabbed a towel and started to wipe away the sweat on his forehead and chest. "General, what brings you all the way down here? It must have been important, since you put up with my somewhat overzealous security." He said with a grin while motioning to Khan.

"Well, if you wouldn't try to get yourself killed all the time, then I would not NEED to be so protective." Khan said in his deep rumbling voice, one that was filled with humor.

"Well, it is somewhat important." Tom said still not really sure how to deal with these kids.

Adam nodded and motioned for them to leave the training room. "Let's go to my office then and chat. Can I offer you something to drink?"

Tom couldn't help but laugh, and finally he said. "Well I doubt you guys would have what I would truly love... I haven't been able to have it for a long time. Good strong coffee with a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream in it."

"Well I may just surprise you then..." Adam said as be detoured to the kitchen area. "Personally I love strong coffee, not that the caffeine really does anything for me, but it's one of the things I grew to like in the lab." He poured them both a big cup, then reached down, opened up a cabinet, and pulled out a big bottle of Bailey's. "And Dad happens to share the same love of Bailey's in his coffee. Personally I never cared for it, but then again, alcohol does nothing for us... although Juan seems to have gotten a taste for good home made beer. Not sure why. But he says he likes it, so... whatever." Adam spoke as he poured a healthy amount of Bailey's into Tom's coffee mug. "Now me on the other hand, I much prefer the taste of a nice spiced rum. It warms the insides, and has enough alcohol in it so that I can almost feel the effects of it." He laughed as he saw the look on Tom's face. "Almost." He finished as he handed Tom his mug.

Tom was dumbfounded. Here he was talking to a fourteen year old kid about alcohol preferences. The worst part was, Tom had had conversations that were along the same lines, but with men his age. He shook his head as he followed Adam into the small office. Just another thing he had to keep in mind with this group of extraordinary kids.

"So, what's on your mind?" Adam asked as he sat behind his desk, and motioned for Tom to take a seat as well. He took a moment to take a nice long sip from his mug.

"Well..." Tom started after he took a sip. He couldn't help but sigh in satisfaction as the hot coffee combined with the cool taste of the Bailey's slipped into his stomach. It was as if the drink alone was able to completely settle his nerves, and help him think clearer. "Well, first off, I guess I have made some assumptions about you and your team, and would like to know if they are correct. Would you mind if I explain what my assumptions are, and not get upset if I am way off base?"

"Not at all General." Adam said as he leaned back in his chair to get more comfortable, even going so far as to throwing up his naked feet onto the desk. "One thing you need to know is that, where we come from, you, or I should say the you from there, would be one of my mentors, and almost a grandfather type figure. I know you are not he, but in my mind I will treat you like that, until and unless you show me differently."

"That's high praise..." Tom said as he smiled, trying to make sure he stayed as relaxed as Adam was. "I hope to live up to it. Now, am I correct in assuming that you, and your team, are front line fighters?" Adam only nodded, allowing Tom to continue. "And that, even though that is where you are best, and most comfortable, you and your team have taken on a more command and training role, much like a soldier who can no longer fight on the front lines, but has the knowledge and skills that need to be passed on to the next generation of fighters?"

Adam sighed as he nodded. "Yes. That is true. Mainly due to the fact that we rescued so many kids that wanted to learn how to not only protect themselves, but also to rescue other kids. To make sure that the others didn't have to go through what they did. We could easily train them, but what we lacked was a command structure that not only could handle all the teams we suddenly had, but also allow us to do what we were designed for. Now don't get me wrong, I do not, in any way, regret what happened. My family grew and I loved each one of them. I have seen the best of humanity in those kids that were horribly abused. Even a small group of them that willingly flew their helicopter into the path of a SAM so that it wouldn't hit a larger helicopter full of younger kids. They never hesitated. They never stopped to think about it. They just acted." By now Adam was fighting the tears back. "I was never prouder of my family then at that moment."

Tom couldn't speak. He'd heard of people that had done something like that before, but this was kids here. Kids that sacrificed themselves. He watched as Adam pushed a button on the desk then looked up. "Every time I start to doubt myself, or what we are doing, I replay the tape. The recording of what they did." He pressed another button, and suddenly speakers came to life.

When the recording started, Adam couldn't help but remember the thoughts that went through his mind the first time it was played for him.

"Wow, it's getting pretty crowded up here." Seth's voice came out loud and clear over all the speakers.

"Yeah, it is, let's see if the boss will let us take HI-CAP." They heard next in Dennis' voice. "Viper 8, lead?"

"Yeah, go ahead, Dennis." Will responded.

"Hey boss can we kick it up to about 2.5 or so, it's getting kinda crowded up here."

"Sure Viper 8, you're cleared HI-CAP at 2.5 to 3 but be ready to come back down if we need you."

"Roger that, Viper lead."

Adam paused the tape there, hitting the button on the desk. "The first voice you heard was that of Sergeant Seth Hopkins, thirteen years old, and first officer of the helicopter. The second was Master Sergeant Dennis North, sixteen years old, and flight commander. The third one, as you know is Will, the air wing commander. We were on our way to a friend's home in Montana. We had been invited to spend some time doing training, as well as relaxing. Getting us out of this base. Half way there we received a call that the family was under attack." Adam hit the play button again, and they could hear the engine kick up a bit, and after a few seconds, Seth's voice came back over the radio.

"Ah, that's better."

"Yeah, it is." Dennis replied

"So you think they bugged out for good?" Seth asked next.

"Don't know, but I hope so."

"Yeah, but we missed all the action and I was hoping to get some." Seth said.

"Why were you hoping to get in the shit, man, I wanna stay the hell out of it." Dennis asked, and we could all hear the disbelief in his voice.

"Well…ya see, if we came back heroes and all, then maybe Sally would give me some." He replied, and Adam pressed the button again, stopping the recording. Even though he was fighting the tears, and losing, he couldn't help but smile.

"Seth was certainly a horn dog. But then again, he was thirteen and a pilot to boot. You know how they are." Tom smiled and nodded. Not sure if he really wanted to hear the rest, knowing what was coming. "You are also about to hear two new voices, the first one will be Private First Class Keith Serty. He was only ten years old, but he busted his ass to get to the position he was in, and he earned it. The second of the new voices belongs to Private First Class Eric Maro, only eleven, and Keith's best friend." He hit the button, and the recording started again.

"Jesus, Seth, is that all you ever think about?" We heard Keith ask disgustingly.

"Well…..yeah!" He said, and Tom swore he could see him grinning.

"Forget it, Sally ain't never gonna do nothing with you." Dennis said laughing.

"If that's all I'm gonna think about in a couple of years, then I hope I never grow up." Keith replied. Tom couldn't help but chuckle at that line, and so did Adam.

"Ah kid, it ain't that bad."

"Hmmmph" was the only response.

"Really, it's pretty neat." They heard Eric say.

"But that's all…." Keith started to say when a scream cut through his voice over the radio: "SAM! INCOMING!!!"

"Find it!" Dennis cried out, and Tom could just imagine the frantic looking around that was going on. He'd done it himself before.

"Oh Jesus!" Seth gasped.

"Dennis, it's going for 'Phantom'!" Eric cried into the radio.

Adam hit the button stopping it again. "The 'Phantom' they are talking about was an MI-26 large transport helicopter. On that day, it was carrying a lot of supplies, and many of our untrained personnel. See, we were already heading up to Montana before we got the call for help. We were going up there for a little vacation on the Reynolds property. Everyone was real excited about getting out of the base, and after over a year of hard work, we all figured the troops could use some rest and relaxation. We loaded everything up into the helicopters, and because we were also planning on doing some mock drills, we had a lot of equipment with us. It was supposed to be a time of fun for everyone where they could unwind after all their hard work." Adam wanted to say more, but he choked up, so instead he hit the button and the recording started again.

Tom heard them all gasp, and then Seth quietly chanting, "Climb, climb, climb," trying to make the helicopter move faster.

Then, as one, they all let out a strangled cry. Tom knew immediately what happened. It was as if he were in the helicopter with these boys.

"They're hit, they're hit!" Keith cried out.

"Oh God!" Seth cried.

And then there was silence, for many moments nothing could be heard but quiet sobs, both from the recording and from Tom and Adam. Finally they heard Dennis say quietly, "Viper 8 descending to one thousand and we're live." They could hear buttons being pushed and switches being flipped, they were getting everything ready for combat. "Look alive, we're hot and it's payback time."

For a few brief moments there was silence, as they all were getting down to the job they had been trained for.

"Shit! They got another SAM! Helena, break left!" Tom heard Juan cry out, and one could only imagine the feelings that everyone else had at that moment. Adam hit the button again, pausing the playback.

"Helena was the pilot of one of the other MI-26's also loaded down with mostly non-combatants... mostly kids." Adam said no more as the recording started up again.

"Do something!" Seth screamed.

"There's nothing we can do." Dennis answered, and you heard the strain in his voice.

"There's gotta be something!" Keith cried out.

"Dennis, ya gotta save 'em; you can't let them die too!" Eric added.

"Guys, there's only one chance, and if we succeed, then we won't make it out alive." Dennis said.

"Do it." Both Eric and Keith said at the same time, and one could only imagine the looks on their faces as they said that - knowing that they were going to be sacrificing their own lives for their family.

"Are you sure?" Dennis asked.

"We can't let em die." Eric said.

They heard someone re-adjusting themselves in their seat. "Hang on to your balls, then!" Tom was actually crying now as he heard the engine wind up, and he could see Dennis swooping the bird down to try to save the precious cargo that was in danger.

"Viper 8! Dennis! What the hell are you doing? Get outta there!" Will screamed over the radio.

"What we have to." That was the response he got. There was nothing but peace and determination in that voice.

"Dennis, no!" Will cried again, but it was useless.

"I wonder if ya can get any up there?" Seth asked. Tom couldn't help let a snicker out through the tears

Keith moaned, "Leave it up to you to worry about that."

"I love you guys." Dennis said, in a voice filled with love, as the missile got closer and closer.

"Guess we're gonna find out, bro." Dennis said, and then there was static.

Adam let the silence linger for a few moments, as he tried to gather himself. He didn't bother wiping the tears from his eyes; it would have been pointless. Finally he looked up, and met Tom's eyes. Instantly he knew there was nothing that needed to be said. Tom knew... he really knew what it meant. What they had done, and how it affected Adam.

He cleared his throat, stood up, and took Tom's coffee mug into his hand. "Why don't I refresh these." He didn't wait for a response, just walked out of the office, and left Tom there to think, and to cry.

It took Adam almost five minutes to 'refresh' their coffee. But he knew he needed a few minutes to himself. He also knew Tom needed some time. When he finally walked back into his office, he saw that Tom was on the phone. The man looked up, and waived him in as Adam was starting to back out of the room. "You got it Tony. Make sure you get everything you need, even if you have to steal it." Tom said into the receiver as Adam set down the coffee. Tom grinned as he shook his head. "No Tony, there is no pulling out all the stops. There are NO stops with this. I don't care what you have to do, just get it ready, and get moving."

He paused again, and then smiled. "Great! I may not be able to see it for a while myself, but I have a few people that I know that will really like what you can offer. Look, I got lots of shit to do here, give a hug to Paul, and let him know he better be practicing!" Another pause, then he smiled. "You got it Tony. Bye." Tom then hung up the phone, and grinned at Adam. "Okay... I just put a hair brained scheme into motion, and here's where you and your family fit in..."

Friday November 9th 2000 (8:00 pm) Mountain Standard Time
Friday November 9th 2200 (10:00 pm) Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base, Utah

"It seems that my missing boyfriend has shown up again." Khan said, displeasure dropping from his voice.

"Oh?" Adam said as he and Logan looked up from what they were working on.

"Yes, it seems that whatever project that they have been working on since we got here, is finally complete. He and Tommy would like us to go the segregated hanger bay, so that he can show us what he has been working on." Khan's deep rumbling voice flowed across the room, and Adam, his best friend, could feel the displeasure in it.

"I'm sure whatever it is that they were working on is important. Hell, it maybe a way for us to get back home." Even though deep down inside, Adam knew it wasn't.

"Perhaps. However, I need to let you know now. After this is done, unless war is coming to our doorstep, you are not allowed access to either one of us for at least 24 hours." Khan grinned his toothy grin. "One thing people forget about cats is that we are possessive, and I have not 'possessed' Runt in way too long."

Logan just about fell out of his seat laughing so hard, and Adam just looked slack jawed at Khan, then down at Logan. "Holy shit Log!!!! Khan just made a joke. And a funny one at that!" Then Adam joined his own boyfriend on the floor in fits of laughter.

As Adam and Logan were laughing, all across the base certain people were getting asked to come to the hangar bay. Will and Billy were especially interested in what was going to be shown since they knew it had to have something to do with a helicopter. Not only that, but Will knew that part of what ever it was that Runt was working on, included fixing up the Hind, so he was really excited about getting his 'baby' back.

Along with those five, The Chipmunks, Janet, Joe, Ronnie, and the rest of the kids from the UNIT were invited. The only other people that were invited were Tom Larkin, and one of the Russian Military leaders. This was a secret to most people, and Runt wanted to keep it that way. He had learned from Logan after all.

When they all assembled in front of the door leading to the bay that Runt and Tommy had been using, they were met by closed doors with a sign asking them to wait, which they did. Finally Runt and Tommy with Fluffy clearing the path for them, moved to stand in front of the doors. "Okay everyone!" Runt said speaking loud enough for everyone to hear. "When we open the doors, please move into the bay, and close the door behind. There is a large moveable wall that I ask that no one goes past, or even peaks around. There is also two large monitors set up so that I can explain what has been going on. Almost as soon as we started working, we set up a time delayed camera that was set to take a single picture every three minutes. That way you can see how quickly everything came together." With a nod, Runt turned and opened the doors, and walked into the hangar bay.

Assembled in front of the moveable wall was all 47 techs that had been working with Runt and Tommy on the project, and to a man, and woman, they all stood at attention as their 'guests' walked into the bay. Once everyone was inside, Runt again took center stage as he began to introduce all the techs by name, as well as saying a word or two about each one. Khan was beginning to wonder where his shy little 'runt' went to, because the boy that was speaking certainly was not him. However, Khan could not say that he was upset in the slightest. Seeing Runt take command like he was, was stirring something deep inside of Khan that he had not known was there. Finally the huge Cat Hybrid was starting to understand why Adam did what he did.

Few people knew Adam as well as Khan did. Not only was he Adam's personal body guard, self appointed, since Adam was too stubborn to realize he needed one... But he was also Adam's best friend. Many nights, while Logan would sleep, Adam and Khan would stay up and talk. Since neither one of them needed as much sleep as a normal human did, it gave them lots of time to talk, and to get to know each other.

One night, as Adam was holding a sleeping Logan, the Commanding Officer of all UNIT troops opened up to Khan about his relationship with Logan.


'You know, I still can't understand your relationship with Logan.' Khan said mentally to Adam, since Logan was sleeping. 'I mean I see the love you have for him, don't think I am questioning that, however, you, Adam, you are the commander. I have seen several times where Logan simply takes over, and you step into the background. Why is that?'

Had the question come from anyone else, Adam may have been upset, but he knew Khan, his best friend, was truly just curious, and not accusing anyone of anything. 'I really can't explain it other than to say, I trust Logan. He knows when to step in, and when not to. Sometimes we do argue, but frankly, I know he sees things that I don't. He processes things in a way different from what I do. It took a while to see that, and to realize that I can be so much more than I am now, by leaning on him.' he paused as if deep in thought, before he spoke again. 'It's also nice to give up control sometimes. It took Logan a while to make me see it, but when I finally did, and relaxed into his control, it made me realize that I love him even more. Having someone that I can trust in the most intimate of ways, someone who I can willingly give up control to. It's... well it's indescribable.'

For hours that night they talked, mostly about Adam and Logan, but also about Khan and Runt. Khan was worried that Runt was so used to being in the background that he would never come forward. Adam, though, knew that sometime soon, something would happen that would bring Runt to the foreground, and force him to take control. Real control. And when that happened, their relationship would become so much stronger, and bring the kind of pleasure and comfort that Adam felt with Logan. Now, Khan was beginning to understand, and he was even more looking forward to their 'time off'.

"Now that everyone knows who worked on this," Runt was saying, which brought Khan back around. "I would like to explain what has happened... what we've been doing. As some of you know, we had to 'lend' two of the Huey's to the Russians, so they could move around, and help our friends in Texas. Well, the Russian General thought it would only be fair, to not only send in the people, and equipment to fix up the damaged Hind, but also sent us another present." He pressed a button on a remote he pulled out of his pocket, and it was then that Khan noticed the flight suit he was wearing.

It looked like black spandex, and was very much form fitting. Seeing Runt in that made Khan want the boy even more. It took Adam elbowing him in the side to make Khan realize he was letting out a low growl... one that very few people knew the meaning to, and those that did would have blushed with the thoughts that were going through his mind.

Runt had a hard time ignoring Khan... he heard the growl, and he knew EXACTLY what it meant. He knew that tonight, if they could wait that long, he and Khan were going to get... reacquainted. "On the screen you will see a KA-52, Nato code named, 'Alligator'. It is a two seat assault helicopter, also designed to be a coordination hub for a flight of assault aircraft." The helicopter on the screen rotated several times so that they could all get a good look at it. Billy and Will were both drooling over not only the contra spin rotors, but also all the weapons the helicopter had on it.

"Well, not being one to leave well enough alone, and knowing that we would have to tear it down to the bare frame to do our upgrades, we decided to do a little bit more. When I started to discuss my ideas, Doctor Deschovic, one of the aircraft designers from Kamov Aerospace, stopped me, and then pulled out some blueprints he had been working on. They were of a new class of helicopter that he had designed, based on the KA 50 and 52, but had not yet gotten permission to build a prototype. So with his plans, and some tweaks by the rest of us, we built the prototype, KA-58, stealth assault Helicopter."

Runt paused for dramatic effect before he spoke again. "Ladies and Gentleman... well some of you...I would like to present to you, the KA-58... The Black Ghost!" With that, several of the techs pushed the wall out of the way, and there stood a sleek, black, heavily armed helicopter.

Runt turned, and still speaking led the group back to where the helicopter stood. "This is set up for two crew members, one gunner sitting above and behind the pilot. It has natural stealth abilities that will increase the effectiveness of our own stealth package. While it has not been tested, we believe that due to the small size, and natural stealth of the Black Ghost, the stealth package may be able to be extended to cover another aircraft while in flight."

Runt continued up to it, and stopped in the front, before turning around. "As you can see, the front has twin 30's on a rotational mount, much like the Apache." He then moved along the right side of the craft before he got to the weapons pylons. "As you can see, he's got three hardpoints on each side. The inner most will handle dual heat seeking, air to air missiles. The middle is designed to handle rocket pods. At the moment it has a pod filled with 19 laser guided rockets. The outside hard point holding eight anti armor air to ground missiles. The fun part is, the entire pylon can be detached, making this guy faster and even more maneuverable than it already is. "

He then paused as he squatted down and pointed to the underside. "It also has bomb bays that can be loaded with sixteen 250lb bombs and twenty six air to air or air to ground missiles." He stood back up and looked at the crowd. "So as you can see, this guy is heavily loaded to put a hurtin on the bad guys. But now for the best part. It's top speed is 390 miles per hour. And that's just what has been rated as safe. Personally I feel this thing could hit 450 before things get dicey." That brought a loud laugh from all the techs, which made Runt blush slightly. "Actually it's an ongoing argument between Doctor Deschovic and myself. However I have promised that I will not take it above 390 before we have a chance to test it in the wind tunnels."

"And you had better not." The doctor said in a serious tone, although the smile on his face said he wasn't as serious as he would like to make people think. He then turned to the crowd and spoke. His English was quite good, so everyone could easily understand him. "At this point I would like to share some of my own news." He looked at Runt who smiled, nodded, and stepped back.

"When I was first sent here, I was not too happy about the assignment. And then I met this little kid who thought he knew it all. Or at least thats how I perceived him. See, I was not.. ummm... in a good place when I was sent here. My wife of 47 years had just passed, and of our seven kids, only 3 of them made it to adulthood. They, of course, have their own lives, and their own problems." He paused as he refused to let any tears fall, then turned to look right at Runt. "Then I started to work with this incredible boy. I know now what your name means, and I have to disagree with it. While you may be small in size, you are not small in heart, drive or dedication." He turned away from the seriously blushing boy to address the assembled crowd again.

"He, and his friend, and gunner, Tommy, have had little sleep since this project began. As it was, Runt slept on a small cot at the back of the bay. And only when we forced him to sleep. Some of us were even thinking we would have had to drug his food to get him to sleep. Thankfully, we did not have to go that route..." That got another round of laughter from everyone.

"Past pilots that I know would not get into the dirty work of tearing an air frame down, and rebuilding it. But Runt was involved in every aspect of the craft's design. Even taking the time to explain what the new and wonderful additions that we put in there. In all my years I have met only a handful of people that I admire, and none of them are as young as our Runt." He turned and once again met Runt's eyes. "I would like to take a moment to personally thank you for showing us what dedication and drive can do. Most of us had lost that." He then stood up straight and began to applaud. Everyone joined in, but the loudest came from the techs that had worked with Runt over the last several days.

When everyone quieted down, the Doctor again spoke up. "I will end with this. To a man, everyone here wants to stay and work with you, and your family. However, most of them have family that they must return to. Seven of us though, have chosen to remain... If you will allow us."

Runt nodded through tears and a huge grin. He then moved up and threw his arms around the older gentleman. Runt didn't hear the rousing applause that broke out.

Ten minutes of hand shaking and back slapping went by before Runt found himself looking into the lower chest of Khan. He smiled as his head raised, and finally his eyes met that of his lover. They didn't speak for several seconds, before Khan finally spoke in his low rumbling voice. "I am taking back my possession..." With one hand he reached down, grabbed Runt by his black flight suit, and threw the boy over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He then turned and started to walk from the room.

Runt meanwhile sighed as he planted his elbow on Khan's back, and rested his chin on it. When they were almost to the door, he started to say in a dead panned voice. "Help... oh help me... He's going to do terrible things to my body." He then grinned as he added. "And I'm gonna love every minute of it...HEY!" He shouted out as Khan spanked his bottom just hard enough to sting.

Doctor Deschovic looked down at Tommy with a confused look on his face. "Uh. Where is Runt going with that... huge cat?"

Tommy looked up and grinned at the old doctor. "Runt's gonna get himself a piece of tail tonight!" He said, then bent over laughing. Every UNIT Member in ear shot busted out laughing. Well, except for the members of the G-6 Assault Team.

Friday November 9th 2215 (10:15 pm) Mountain Standard Time
Saturday November 10th 0015 (12:15 am) Eastern Standard Time
UNIT Base, Utah

"Thank you all for coming." Logan said as he looked around the room. "I know it's been a hell of a day for all of us, and I am sure that most of us feel like we've been kicked in the balls..." He paused and glanced at a few of the ladies in the room. "Figuratively speaking of course." That did get some laughs, but mostly people were wondering why Logan had called this meeting, especially this late in the evening, and especially with the people that were here. Not only Jack, and some of his political cabinet, but also all the senior military members that were in the base. "But I do have some good news, and frankly, I think it's time to kick Ashwood in the balls ourselves."

"Okay..." Jack said softly. "What do you have in mind?"

"Well... Thanks to Daileass' hard work, we have located SCOTUS and the others that were arrested." Logan said, causing almost pandemonium to break out in the room. When it calmed down, Logan spoke again. "Most are being held at a small prison in Northeastern Virginia. Whereas SCOTUS, some of the military officials, and lawmakers are being held in the bowels of Fort Detrick."

Logan was able to stop everyone before they erupted into questions by holding up his hand. When he was sure no one was going to jump in, he started to talk again. "We've developed a battle plan to rescue all of them. I will warn you... it's big... it's real big. But then again, can it be anything less."

For the next several hours, many pots of coffee, and more than a few heated exchanges, when people did not think the UNIT could do what they were saying they could, the plan was finalized. Now all they needed to do was get everyone else up to speed, the proper equipment in place, and the people prepared. Of course, the UNIT had something it had to do before this plan could take action.

Webmaster's Note: New Beginnings continues with a special nine Chapter mini-series, And Justice For All, which celebrates the second anniversary of the Revolutions Universe. Click on the link to read Chapter One.

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