Castle Roland

And Justice For All

by Eric Aune, Ken Barber, Roland and Al Norris


Chapter 1

Posted: 19 Jan 15

And Justice For All

Copyright © 2014 - 2015 by Eric Aune, Ken Barber, Roland and The Revolutions Universe Partnership
All rights Reserved

I Pledge Allegiance

And Justice For All LogoThe blond haired 13 year old boy, was standing with friends after their soccer game. They were in a circle and were keeping the ball up in the air by using their feet, knees and heads while they waited for their parents to pick them up. There was a lot of laughing going on between them and name calling when someone dropped the ball or made a bad hit that caused the ball to drop to the ground or fly off in a random direction. It was all in fun and there was nothing mean spirited about it.


The boy turned his gray-blue eyes in the direction of the shout and smiled and waved. As he looked away, the ball hit him on the side of the head. It hadn't been kicked hard, but it surprised him a little and caused him to stumble back a little. One of his friends next to him, reached out and grabbed his arm to steady him.

"Oh shit! Um, sorry Ivan."

Ivan looked at Brian and waved it off with a smile for his friend.

"It's no trouble. I got distracted. My dad's here so, I gotta go. See you guys at practice."

Ivan picked up his gym bag and Brian tossed his soccer ball to him as he turned and jogged over to his dad's Camaro. He tossed the bag and ball in the back seat and climbed in the front passenger seat. Once Ivan's seatbelt was secure, his dad, Tom Callum, gave him a grin and headed out of the parking lot.

"So how was the game?"

"We won 3 – 2. I scored once and got two assists."

"Good job. Sorry neither of us could make it today. We both had important meetings in DC that we couldn't get out of."

Ivan gave an absent nod.

"You know we would have been there if we could, right."

Ivan looked at his dad and saw that the man was looking at him with a worried look on his face. Ivan nodded and gave him a little smile.

"I know Papa. At least you guys make it to a lot of the games. Not like some of the parents of the other guys."

Tom reached over and tousled the boy's hair.

"Ken and I will try to arrange our schedule so that both of us can be at the next game. With the way the election looks to be headed, hopefully we'll be rid of the idiot in the White House soon and we can get a decent president in there."

Ivan scowled at the mention of the president.

"On nekul'turnyy." [He is uncultured.]

"Da, Syn. On nekul'turnyy." [Yes son. He is uncultured.]

They pulled into the driveway of their large house on the north side of Clover Hill, Maryland. Ivan dropped his backpack on a chair in the dining room and carried his gym bag upstairs to his room. He stripped off his sweaty uniform and tossed it into the hamper, on his way into his bathroom to clean up. After his shower, he pulled some jeans and a T-shirt on and went back downstairs to get working on his homework. An hour later he heard the front door open and Ivan was soon enveloped in a hug from behind followed by a kiss on the top of his head.

"Vanya, how was the game?"

"Fine Dad. We won."

"Great Vanya. So, I forget, are you guys in first place in the league then?"

Ivan looked at his other dad Ken and gave him a nod and a smile. Ken gave him another quick hug.

"How'd you do?"

"A goal and two assists."

"Good job. By the way sorry, I couldn't be there for the game, but with the election and all the idiotic things that Ass….um, Ashwood is trying to pull, it has been pretty hectic at the capitol."

Ivan giggled a little at his Dad's slip of the tongue and he could see the twinkle in Ken's eyes as he shrugged apologetically. Tom came up behind his husband and snapped him on the butt with a kitchen towel.


"Watch your language!"

Tom was rubbing his butt where the towel had found its target.

"I know it was just a slip of the tongue, but you know that he is."

Ken nodded.

"Yeah and the sooner he's out, the better it will be for all of us. Anyway, go clean up and dinner will be ready in a few minutes."

Ken gave him a quick kiss and then headed up to their room, giving Ivan's shoulder an affectionate squeeze as he walked by. Ivan looked between the two men and smiled. He knew that they loved him a lot. They showed it all the time.

If it hadn't been for them, he would probably still be living in that orphanage in Smolensk where he had been born. He had ended up there after his mother had died of pneumonia when he was seven. His father had died in a truck accident when Ivan was six. He remembered what it had been like in the orphanage before these two men showed up. He was hungry most of the time, but at least he wasn't really mistreated, not intentionally. It was just that the life of an orphan wasn't a pleasant one in Russia.

He had been at the orphanage for a little over a year when the two American men showed up at the door. Ken was a new junior congressman and was part of the Energy and Commerce Committee visiting Smolensk to see if there were opportunities to arrange some trade agreements with some of the technology companies that were based in Smolensk. Tom had just started working at the State Department at that time and at Ken's request he was brought along as an interpreter. When they knew that they would be visiting the area, an idea that the two men had been discussing for some time began to firm up. They had done some research and made arrangements to visit a particular orphanage while they were in Smolensk.

Because they had made prior arrangements to visit, they were welcomed in and given a tour. The place was not as bad as some orphanages that they had heard reports about. The only problem with these orphanages was that there wasn't a lot of money coming in, so supplies were sometimes inadequate, but the administrators did the best that they could with what they had. During the tour they had noticed Ivan and something drew them to him. Before they left, they asked about him and were told his name was Ivan Petrovitch Desnova. He was 8 years old and that he had been here for about a year. Ivan was conducted to the office where Tom talked to him and interpreted for Ken, when he asked a question. Both men became enchanted with the boy that day and before leaving the orphanage, they made inquiries about the possibility of adopting Ivan. They visited him every free moment that they could while in Smolensk before they had to go back to the states and even took the boy with them on outings in the city.

When the trade delegation left, Tom was able to arrange to stay behind and continue the process. It took about another month but Ivan was soon flying off to his new life with his new Papa. It was difficult at first, as it was for many foreign adoptees, but with the help of tutors and his two parents, he soon fit in and thrived in his new life. He had different likes from many of his peers, such as liking classical music more than the other kids his age and Soccer rather than other 'American' sports, but he was a friendly and athletic kid and got on well with the others of his age.

He still had a little bit of a Russian accent and probably always would. Tom made sure that he didn't forget his language or culture, and conversed with him in Russian all the time, mainly when it was just the two of them. Speaking the language all the time probably also contributed to him keeping his accent. Ken had picked up some ability with the Russian language, but he was by no means fluent, nor could he read it. So they tended not to hold long conversations in Russian when he was around, so as not to be rude. Although, it was handy when the two of them were arranging a surprise for Ken. They could speak about such plans or write notes in the Cyrillic alphabet and leave it out for the other to find and Ken wouldn't know what was going on. He would usually give them a scowl when they did that, but he eventually figured out that it was their way to make plans, without him knowing any specifics and he was never truly upset about it.

The next day was the election and Tom and Ken decided to stay home when they heard about the attack on Bryce and his family. They saw Ashwood's press conference reporting the death of Jackson Bryce and they were nearly in tears, but then following right after that, was the pirate press conference that showed that Bryce was alive and well. They became angry as Bryce explained about how they were shot by Ashwood's agents and then shot down by military aircraft under Ashwood's orders. They were shocked at the blood covering his clothes that he said was from his wife and son. The pirate feed was cut off and they wondered what in the hell was going on in this country. A sitting president was making false accusations and attacking a candidate and former president and his family, causing the serious injury of his wife and one of his children.

Throughout election day, they tried to get any information that they could and were able to get some information by contacting friends who seemed to be getting real information from someone. From what they could find out, it looked like Bryce was winning the election, especially in the west. Ashwood was winning more in the east, but he did not appear to be leading the vote. Although that wasn't what the local newscasts were saying. It was only because of the info that they could get from other sources that gave them the true count and it was evident that Bryce was winning and by a good margin. Anytime they tried to get on the internet, they got notices saying that there were technical problems preventing access. As the day went on, they were sure that it wasn't true. Ashwood's administration was controlling access to information. That night, the news reports were that the election was too close to call.

They tried to get through to friends and they found that it wasn't easy to do. Occasionally they could get through, and they were able to hear stories of some pretty bad things going around the country. On TV, everything was fine and there was no result due to the close election results. By the time they went to bed, there was still no declared winner. After Ivan went to bed, Ken and Tom decided that perhaps they should stay out of DC for a few days, until they found out what was really going on in the capitol.

The next day, they let Ivan go to school while they stayed home. There were still no results, so they split up and went out to make contact with different friends that they trusted and were able to get an idea of what was going on. From what little they could find out, it appeared the Bryce had won, but there was still no concession from Ashwood. In addition to that, there were stories about an attack on a school in Breckenridge, Texas by federal agents again under Ashwood's orders. Ashwood's people put out the word that it was Bryce's terrorist friends who had done it. Another pirate broadcast broke in and told the real story, until all TV communications were lost once again. When they got back home, they started talking about maybe taking a little vacation and getting out of the area for a little while.

That evening after dinner they talked to Ivan about the plan for a vacation. They kept from him that they were a little worried, so that their worry did not get transferred to him. They had decided that Friday would be the day that they would leave, and drive west. They didn't have a particular destination in mind yet, but they'd figure it out once they got going. Maybe they could get better information once they got away from the DC area, which was more under Ashwood's influence. Another thing that happened was at almost ten pm. They suddenly lost all power in the house. They checked the breaker box and everything was on, so it had to be in the area. They went outside and saw that there were no lights anywhere. They could see some of the neighbors moving around and they talked to a couple of the closest and found that their power was out as well.

The next day, Thursday, they had used their battery operated travel alarm and got up early to check if the power was back on yet. They usually got up at 5:30 am to get ready for work, so they had set the alarm to the same time, since they were used to getting up at that time. They were awakened before the alarm by Ivan coming into their bedroom and shaking them awake. He pointed at their alarm clock and they could see the blinking lights.

"I woke up because I had my lights on last night and they suddenly came on and woke me."

Tom looked at the travel clock and saw that it read 5:20.

"Okay Vanya, if you want to go back to sleep, go turn off the lights in your room and get back in bed, we'll wake you in time for school."

Ivan hesitated a moment before he nodded and headed back to his room. Tom and Ken got up and quickly used the bathroom. They didn't take long and were on their way downstairs shortly before 5:30. Ken headed to the living room and turned the TV on while Tom went to make some coffee. Ken saw snow when he first turned on the TV and began to switch through channels trying to find one of the news channels somewhere that may be showing something. Moments later, an image popped up and it was the Seal of the President.

"Tom, something's coming on, I think Ashwood's going to make a statement."

Tom came into the room with a couple of cups of coffee and handed one to Ken as he sat down next to him on the couch. It was only moments later that Ashwood appeared on the screen and began to speak.

As he started and began to lay out his case, they couldn't help but sit there with their mouths hanging open as he lay the blame of the slaughter of children in Breckenridge on President Bryce and his supporters. Over and over he stated that Bryce and his supporters had done everything that the two men had learned from friends who they trusted, were at Ashwood's orders. They could easily believe that he was lying, because the information that they had gotten, was in their minds, completely true; and because of what they knew about him, there was no doubt he was lying.

Then he gave out the information about the executive orders and they couldn't believe it. They knew that his orders were allowing him to take over complete control of the country or at least where he held more control. They had found out from friends that that meant anything east of the Mississippi River. So although he was trying to lock down the entire country, it looked like he could probably get control of half the country with these orders, and the rest of the country was standing against him.

When he finished they weren't sure what they could do and suddenly they saw another image come on TV. It was Jackson Bryce, his family, including all of his kids and his wife. They saw that Linda was in a wheelchair and held their two youngest and a baby that was obviously a newborn. They could also see one of his sons with his arm in a sling and a large bandage under his shirt. There were a couple of soldiers in full military uniform standing behind Bryce's sons, and a woman doctor standing next to Linda. To round out the image, were a small group of what looked like young teens, who seemed to have been injured, as they sported bandages and one even had a cast on his arm. Then President Bryce began to speak. They began to smile as the import of what he was saying came to them. Bryce's broadcast was picking apart every lie that Ashwood had stated as fact and went even further. They wondered what he meant about Orlando and Newark. They listened as President Bryce laid out his final points and they agreed that Mister Ashwood was indeed screaming for someone to cut the power and suddenly all power went out.

They looked at each other. Tom was shaking his head in disbelief

"Damn, who the hell does that bastard think he is, one of those dictators of the past. That bastard is trying to take over the country and rule like he was some sort of king."

"I think you were right the first time, not a king, a dictator. Yeah, we need to rethink our plans a little bit. We should take the truck and put our three motorcycles on the trailer and haul that. We need to get to the west."

"Why the bikes?"

"We may need to go cross-country and we may not be able to make it all the way to the Mississippi with the truck. We'll go as far as we can in the truck. We'll take the extra gas jugs on the trailer. Maybe we can find some station where we can refill the truck. If not, we'll make sure the gas tanks on the bikes are full. Then we'll use them, once we can't get any further in the truck. We're going to have to take back roads as much as possible to get there. The hardest part will be anytime that we have to cross any large rivers and most especially when we get to the Mississippi. We may need to find someone who thinks like we do, that will help us get across. There's got to be a lot of Bryce supporters out there, otherwise he couldn't have won the election with just the western states, so I think if we're careful enough, we'll make it."

Tom was silent as he thought through what Ken had laid out and nodded. From what Ashwood had said, it was looking like there would be no school, so they let Ivan sleep. Eventually even the young teen woke up and started getting ready for school. He quickly realized that the power was out again. He went downstairs after brushing his teeth and cleaning up. He was dressed for school when he came to the kitchen to get something to eat before leaving for school. His dads were sitting at the kitchen table and had something spread out on the table as they talked quietly.

"Dad, Papa? Is there something wrong?"

The two men exchanged glances and Ken nodded.

"Sit down Vanya."

The boy sat across from them and dropped his backpack on the ground by his side. He was worried now. Tom reached across the table and took Ivan's hand.

"Vanya, something is going very wrong right now. From what we have heard, it appears that Jackson Bryce has won the Presidential Election, you know we've told you about him. He was a good president, but Ashwood is saying that the election was invalid and that he won. He appears to have decided that he is going keep control of the country and we think that we need to head to the west. It looks like he's setting himself up as a dictator. We're worried about what is going to happen. We don't know what is going to happen, especially this close to the capitol, but we think that getting out of the area, at least for a few days will be a good idea. So that is what we're going to do."

Ivan was quiet for a little bit and he remembered hearing his dads talk about President Ashwood's order to remove any children from those households with gay parents. Living in a house with his dads who were part of the government, he had heard more about such things than your average 13-year-old. In the past couple of years his dads had started to talk to him about what was going on in Washington, because they knew that he was intelligent enough to understand and they thought he was old enough to be included in such conversations when he wanted to take part. When they first told him about that, he was scared he would be sent back to Russia, but they assured him that the Supreme Court had ruled against Ashwood and that his order was unconstitutional and that he was safe with them. They would make sure nothing like that happened. He looked at his dads.

"Are they going to take me away?"

Both men got up and went to his side, to hug him.

"No Vanya, we won't let him. You are our son and will always be our son. We will do everything we can to prevent that from happening. That's why we are leaving on a trip. In truth we don't know where we're going to go, but we decided we're going to drive west and we'll see what happens. If it means we drive all the way to California, we will. We will do everything we can to protect you."

Ivan nodded and enjoyed the embrace of the two men. After a few moments the men stepped back. He looked at the table and noticed that the paper that was on the table was a map.

"What's the map for?"

The men sat down where they were and waved for him to come over and take a look."

"We're taking a look at the map, to plan the route we're going to take to get to the west. We are going to try to get all the way across the Mississippi. It's about a 700 mile trip from here. We're going to take the truck and the motorcycle trailer…."

They continued to lay out the plan that they had for getting out of the area and to what they believed would be safety. When they were done, Tom folded the map up.

"Why don't you take your school stuff upstairs, get your backpack out of the garage and pack some clothes and things for a week or so."

He nodded, grabbed his school backpack from the floor and headed up to his room. In the room he dropped the pack on his bed and went out to the garage to get his backpack so that he could pack it with enough clothes for a few days. He looked around the room and went over to his desk, where he grabbed the bag for his laptop and put it into the messenger bag and put that with the duffel bag on the bed. He put his iPod in the computer bag as well, along with his ear buds. He looked around the room and nodded to himself that he thought he had what he needed, so he went back downstairs. Before he left his room, he looked at his backpack on the bed and decided that he wouldn't worry about homework right at this time. He wanted to be with his dads right now. The way they were acting, worried him a little, and he wanted their reassurance.

He didn't see anyone downstairs right away, but soon found his Papa in his office, sorting through some papers.

"Papa, where is Dad?"

"He went out to try to find out about a few things for our trip."

Ivan went over to Tom's side. Tom turned and faced his son. He could see the worry that was evident in Ivan's face. He held his arms up and Ivan sat on his Papa's lap. Tom held him close as he silently gave Ivan the comfort that he needed.

"What will happen Papa."

Tom let out a little sigh and gave Ivan a kiss on the side of his head.

"I don't really know. I think there are going to be some bad times here for a little while. I think it will be much worse back here, than in the west and that's why we're going. I think we need to find President Bryce somehow, or his supporters so that we can be a part of the legitimate government of the country. There is no way we can be a part of Ashwood's dictatorship."

"Do you think we'll be able to get there? I'm afraid of what will happen. It's a long way to where we want to go and I don't want anything to happen to you."

"We don't want anything to happen to you either. So we'll do everything that we can to make sure nothing happens to any of us and once we're safe, then it should be better for us."

Ivan didn't say anything, he just tried to get what comfort he could get from his Papa.

"Vanya, why don't you help me get some of our camping gear and stuff loaded into the back of the truck? We can also make sure the gas tanks on the bikes are full and get them loaded on the trailer so that we're already to go."

Ivan nodded and got up off of Tom's lap. The two of them went out to the garage and started packing up, like they were going on an extended camping trip. They got their helmets and leathers loaded into the truck so that they would have them with them when they needed them. They got some food loaded into the back as well. That is where Ken found them, when he got home. The garage door opened and Ken smiled and waved as he drove his car into the garage.

"Hey guys, what're you doing?"

"We thought we'd get most of the stuff we're going to need loaded up, so that we can get out of here quickly. The only thing left is for you and I to get our backpacks loaded up and put them in the back of the truck."

"Sounds good. Vanya, would you take our backpacks up to our room for us."

Ivan wanted to stay, because he could tell that his Dad wanted to talk to Papa. Ken noticed the hesitation.

"It'll be alright, just bring them upstairs. I want to talk to your Papa for a moment and we'll be right in."

Ivan finally nodded and went over to the shelf where the packs were stored and pulled his dads' packs and left the garage. Once Ivan was gone, Tom looked at his husband.


"So, I was able to get some information. My friends are able to get some information but they say it is real hard. They are getting it from something called the Underground Net or something. There seems to be a group of hackers or some group of people or something or someones, that are doing what they can, to help those who are against Ashwood."

"I can't see the majority wanting to support him, unless they just don't know or they're sheep and think that because he's the president, then whatever he says must be true, because he's the president."

"We'll just need to be careful. There are still a lot of people out there driving around, so I'm not too worried about us heading out."

"Do you think we should leave today?"

"No, I think our plan to leave early tomorrow still works. In fact I'd say let's get up early, maybe around five. We just make sure everything's loaded in the truck tonight and then we'll head out as soon as we grab something to eat. We'll follow the route we worked out and I think we can get a lot of miles covered before it gets too late. We should keep driving as long as possible. We can keep switching off. I checked both tanks and one is full, but the other is about half. It should get us a few hundred miles before we have to try to find a place to gas up or abandon it all together. Plus we have the 4 jugs full, so we may even make it really near to the river."

"Sounds good. Let's go in and talk to Vanya. I know he wanted to hear what we were talking about, so let's let him in on it."

The two man went in the house and found Vanya getting a coke from the kitchen. With the power out, they couldn't watch TV. The phone wasn't working as well, and it appeared that traveling around was being discouraged, so they couldn't go anywhere. They wanted to be together so, they ended up pulling out some of the old board games that were in the closet and played them. It took their mind off everything that was going on for a little while.

After dinner, Ivan went up to his room to see if you could find anything on internet. When he tried to log on, he found that there still seemed to be a problem with the internet and he couldn't get online, so he turned off the laptop and went over to his bed to relax for a little bit. He got his iPod out of his laptop bag and plugged the ear buds in, so he could listen to some music and grabbed the current book he was reading.

Downstairs his dads were enjoying a glass of wine while they talked over some final plans for the trip. Because there was no power, they were using candles to light the room. They saw a flash of headlights in the living room window. Tom got up and looked outside. He saw a black SUV pull up in front of the house and stop.


"What's the matter?"

"We've may have some trouble. A black SUV just pulled up in front of the house."

Tom went over to the closet near the front door and reached up to the shelf for a small steel case. He fit his fingers into the grooves made for it and there was a click. He pulled the small vault door open and pulled out a handgun. He pulled the slide back a little to check if a bullet was in the chamber and then took the safety off and slid the gun in the back of his jeans. Right about that time there was a knock on the door.

"Homeland Security, Congressman Armstrong!"

Ken got up and went over to join Tom at the door. They grasped each other's hands for a moment before Tom put his left hand on the doorknob and his right hand casually rested on his hip, just a few inches from the secreted gun. The two men exchanged a nod and then Tom opened the door to see two men in dark suits standing in the door. The one in front was holding out his Homeland Security badge. Ken stepped forward into the entrance. The man had opened the screen door.

"What business does Homeland Security have with me?"

The man started to step forward, but Ken had not moved aside to let him in, so he stepped back, the man's partner was holding the screen door open. Ken had his arms crossed and was looking at the man with a serious look on his face.

"Congressman, there is the possibility of a threat to you and your family. All members of Congress who are in the area, and the Supreme Court Justices are being taken into protective custody for their own safety, until that threat has passed or been neutralized. If you will let us in, we'll explain in more detail. Your front porch is not an ideal place to discuss matters of national security."

The man gave Ken an attempt at an intimidating glare, but since Ken was taller and like his husband in good physical shape, it didn't work on him and he just gave the agent a blank look as if he were sizing him up and found him wanting.

"What is this threat?"

The man looked around and looked back at Ken.

"Please sir, can we come in and discuss this, instead of out here where someone might hear what we say?"

Ken looked at him calmly for a few more moments, before stepping back and letting the men in the house. Tom closed the door behind them. Ken went over to sit in a chair and Tom stood behind him, placing a hand on Ken's shoulder. They couldn't see that his other hand was again in place, where it was close to the butt of the pistol at his back. The two agents sat on the couch opposite the two men.

"The President has received credible evidence that a terrorist threat exists that is directed at members of Congress and possibly the Justices of the Supreme Court. We are here to take you into protective custody for your own safety."

Ken looked up at Tom before turning his gaze back on the agents.

"Thank you for your concern Agent….?"


"Matthews. Well Agent Matthews, I'm sorry you had to come all the way out here for nothing, but I think that Tom and I will decline the offer of protective custody. I think we'll be fine."

"Sir you don't understand, this is a credible threat. We have evidence….."

"So what is this evidence that you have?"

"We don't have that with us, but when you come with us, I'm sure they will reveal all that to you."

Ken nodded sagely as if accepting what was being said. The Agent began to think that he had won them over and gave them a small smile of satisfaction.

"We have an SUV out front. Why don't you gather some things and we'll get you to safety right away."

Ken looked at him and stood up. The agents got up as well. Ken held out his hand for Agent Matthews to shake.

"Well thank you for coming Agent Matthews. I'll see you out."

The agent dropped Ken's hand.


"Oh. Wasn't I clear? We are declining your offer of protective custody."

"You can't do that. We have direct orders to take you into custody for your own protection. You're not going against a Presidential Order are you?"

Ken's eyes got hard.

"Agent Matthews. You have offered protective custody, and we have declined. Please thank the President."

"I don't think you understand. You will be coming with us."

Agent Matthews reached into his jacket and froze when he saw that Tom had pulled his gun out and had it pointing at him.

"I wouldn't. You heard my husband. We decline the President's offer. Now I think you should both go."

"This is going to go bad for you."

"We'll handle it. Now I think you need to go…now!"

Agent Matthews glared at them for a few moments, and then he nodded to his partner and they both headed to the front door, his partner in front of him. Tom had the gun out, but he did not have it up now, since it seemed that the agents were leaving. He looked at Ken and missed the movement of the other agent. He looked up in time to see the agent bringing his gun up. Ken was in front of Tom as they followed the agents to the door. The other agent fired his gun and Ken fell back against Tom. Tom stumbled a little but was able to get a shot off at the agent. He had aimed at the agent's chest but the weight of Ken against him, threw him off balance and his bullet tore through agent's head, splattering the door behind him as he fell. Matthews had by this time drawn his gun and fired. He hit Tom in the upper chest. Tom raised his gun and fired twice, striking Matthews in the chest and stomach. The agent dropped to the ground but was groaning and still moving. Tom aimed and fired again. Matthews went still. Tom glanced at the other agent to make sure that he wasn't going to be getting up and then he carefully lowered Ken to the floor.

Upstairs, Ivan was reading his book and moving one of his legs in time to the music. His leg stopped moving because he thought he heard something like a car backfiring a couple of times. He pulled one of his ear buds out of his ear and seconds later he heard three more similar sounds, but with the ear bud out, it sounded louder and closer. He jumped up and went to his door. He heard one more explosive sound from downstairs and he crept forward quietly to the top of the stairs. He could hear one of his dads speaking, but nothing else, so he went downstairs. Partway down, he saw his Papa leaning over his Dad. He could see the red stain on his Dad's shirt. He practically flew down the rest of the stairs to get to his dads. He saw the two men in dark suits lying near the front door. He went down on his knees next to his dads.

Tom was looking down on Ken, whose eyes were closed. Tom was stroking his hair as he murmured to him.


Tom looked at Ivan and reached out to him. Ivan took his hand seeing the tears in Tom's eyes.

"Papa, what happened? Is Dad going to be okay?"

Tom looked down on Ken and a moment later he shook his head.

"No Vanya."

He motioned at the two men in suits.

"They were coming to take us all away somewhere. They said it was for our safety, but it looked more like we were being arrested. When we said no, they shot at us. Your Dad was hit right away. I don't think he even felt it much and died right away, protecting me."

Ivan lay down on his dad and began to cry. Tom stroked his back as the boy sobbed. Ivan heard his Papa cough and he felt something wet hit the back of his neck. He sat up and looked at his Papa. He saw his dad wipe his mouth and his hand came away with blood on it.

"Papa, are you okay?"

Tom put his hand up to his upper left chest and shook his head.

"I don't think so Vanya. One of them hit me."

Tom went into a coughing fit and more blood came to his lips. Ivan jumped up.

"I'll call 911."

Tom grabbed his arm and shook his head.

"No Vanya. Go over to Brian's house and tell his mom and dad what happened. They'll get help."

Ivan hesitated for a few moments.

"Go Vanya!"

He looked at his Papa and then jumped up and headed for the front door. He stopped when he saw the blood on the door and the man lying in front with part of his head blown off. He quickly looked away as he started to feel sick. He had to move the man out of the way to open the door. Bending down without looking at the man's head, he grabbed the man's leg and pulled him away from the door. He kept his head turned away as he pulled the door open and ran outside in his stocking feet. The area they lived in was a circular neighborhood, and was filled with large homes that were separated by at least fifty yards. There was one ring of houses around the outside edge of the road that circled the area and there were also homes in the central oval area as well.

Brian lived in the central area but around the north side of the neighborhood, from Ivan's house. As he ran out into the street, he ignored the cold asphalt and the questions of neighbors about what had happened. He didn't even notice any of them. They called out as Ivan went running by, but he didn't hear them, too intent on reaching his friend's house. When he got there he ran up to the door and pounded on it.

"Mister Davidson! Missus Davidson! Help!"

The door was pulled open and Brian's Dad was there.

"Ivan, what's going on?"

"You gotta help my Papa, he's hurt."


"Some bad guys shot him and my dad."

"What the hell?"

By this time his wife had come to the door. He looked at her.

"Denise, I'm going to go with Ivan. Something's happened to his dads. Honey, give me my phone there on table."


Ivan was pulling on Roger's arm to hurry up. Denise handed him his phone and he allowed Ivan to pull him. Once he was outside, Ivan started off to his house and Roger began running after him. The boy was a lot faster and he came back a couple of times to make sure Roger was still following him. When they got to the house, Ivan ran inside with Roger close behind. When he entered, he stopped in shock at the scene before him.

"Oh my god!"

Roger stood just inside the door and looked around at the carnage and then he saw Tom sitting next to Ken. While Ivan was gone, Tom had gotten a towel that he was holding to his upper chest as he sat next to Ken, holding his hand. The towel had a red stain showing through it. Roger moved over to him and knelt down next to him.

"What the hell happened Tom?"

Tom gestured to the two men.

"They're Homeland Security. They came here to take us into protective custody on orders of President Ashwood. Something about a credible terrorist threat to members of congress. We said that we would take our chances and told them to go. That one was reaching for his gun and I pulled mine out and told them to leave. They were just heading to the door, when that one pulled his gun and shot…..Ken. I fired back and hit him. The other guy drew his gun and I had to shoot him, but he got a shot off and hit me."

Tom began to cough a little. Roger reached into this pocket and pulled his cell phone out and dialed 911. There was no signal. He tried again, but there was nothing.

He closed the phone and looked around at everything. He saw that Tom was looking a little pale and dazed now.

"I can't get through because the phones still aren't working. C'mon Tom. Let's get you up on the couch. It'll be more comfortable."

He paused for a moment.

"Wait here. I'm going to go get my car."

Tom nodded and leaned his head against the back of the couch. Roger ran back to his house amid questions from neighbors. He put them off by telling him that he'd talk to them later. He ran inside the house, Brian and his wife Denise looked up from the living room where they were sitting.

"What happened Roger?"

Roger shook his head with disgust evident on his face.

"Some men from Homeland Security shot Ken and Tom. Ken's gone, but Tom was wounded, I'm going to take him to the hospital."

"You be careful."

"Don't worry. We'll be fine."

"Can I come with you Dad?"

"No, not right now. I'll probably bring Ivan back here after we finish at the hospital, because I'm sure they will probably need to do surgery. So why don't you get the guest room ready for him?"

"Kay Dad."

Roger kissed his wife goodbye and went into the garage for his car. He pulled into the Tom and Ken's driveway, left the car running and hurried inside the house.

"Okay, Ivan, let's get him into my car. We'll take your Papa to the hospital and make sure he'll be okay."

He and Ivan helped Tom get up and walked him out the door to his car. He had Ivan open the car back door and Ivan got in on the other side to help Roger get Tom into the seat. Once Tom was settled in back, with Ivan next to him, Roger went to close the door, taking one more look inside at the carnage as he closed it. He ran over to the car, got in and soon had it backed out and on the way to Frederick Memorial Hospital. It was less than five miles, and there were not too many other drivers on the road, probably due to Ashwood's announcement, so it didn't take much time to get there. Roger pulled up near the emergency entrance and stopped. He got out helping Tom, but seeing that he was passed out in the back, he looked at Ivan.

"I'm going to run in and get some help."

Roger ran into the waiting room.

"I need help. I have a gunshot victim out in my car."

The person at the desk immediately hit the intercom and called for a gurney. Two EMTs came out of a nearby door moments later and Roger waved for them to follow him out to his car. The two EMTs carefully got Tom out of the back seat and onto the gurney. Roger and Ivan followed them inside, but were stopped from following the gurney into the back.

The nurse at the desk called them over to get some information from Roger. When he finished telling her everything that he could, she told him that they would be contacting the police because it was a gunshot wound. Roger nodded his understanding and led Ivan over to a couple of chairs. Ivan stared off into space as he sat there. His face was filled with worry about his Papa. He was trying not to think about his Dad, because he didn't want to start crying again, not in front of all the other people in the emergency waiting room.

A few minutes later they heard sirens nearing the hospital. Moments later a couple of police officers entered the waiting room. They went to the desk and she pointed toward Roger and Ivan. The officer nodded and walked over to the two. The man announced himself as he neared them.

"Sergeant Grantland, Frederick Police."

Roger got up and shook his hand.

"Roger Davidson. I'm a friend of Tom Callum and Ken Armstrong. This is their son Ivan."

The officer nodded to Ivan.

"Do you know what happened here, sir?"

"I can only tell you what Tom told me."

The officer motioned for Roger to sit down and he took a seat next to him and took his clipboard out to take notes. He nodded for Roger to begin.

"Well according to what Tom told me, two men who said they were from Homeland Security came to their house. They said that they were there to take them into protective custody, Tom's husband Ken Armstrong…."

"Congressman Armstrong?"

Roger nodded and the officer made a note.

"Tom said that that when he and Ken refused the protective custody, they starting shooting and Ken was shot and killed. He said that he returned fire and shot both of the men, but he was wounded, defending himself. The bodies of Ken and the two men, are back at their house. All of them are dead at least that's what it looked like to me."

"Can I have the address?"

"2490 Meadowbrooke Drive."

Both of the men looked at Ivan. They had almost forgotten he was there. The officer turned his attention to Ivan.

"Did you see what happened young man?"

Ivan shook his head.

"I heard a noise downstairs, it sounded like firecrackers or a car backfiring. When I got downstairs, Da…Dad was lying on the ground and Papa was sitting next to him."

The officer made some more notes.

"I'm very sorry to hear about what happened. Your Dad was a good man. I voted for him, because I believed he was the best man for the job."

Ivan couldn't say anything, because he was trying to keep his emotions under control, so he nodded his thanks as he bit his lip.

"Okay, I guess that's it. I'm going to go to the house when I leave here. We have to look at the scene and gather evidence so we can see what we have. I'll probably contact you again."

"Okay, thank you officer."

"You hang in there son. The docs here are good, they'll make sure you Dad's okay."

"Thank you sir."

The officer looked at Ivan and then at Roger.

"Are there some relatives we can call for Ivan?"

"That's not necessary. Tom and Ken arranged with my wife and I to take care of Ivan in case anything happened to them. He stays with us when they are busy or out of the state or country with their government jobs, so he'll stay with us."

The officer nodded got up and went to the desk. He spoke to the nurse there for a few moments before thanking her and leaving the hospital.

Moments later a nurse came out and called for them. They went up to the reception desk.

"I'm Roger Davidson, this is Tom's son Ivan."

She gave them a reassuring smile.

"Ivan, you're Dad is doing okay, but we need to get him into surgery right away, so that we can repair the damage to his chest."

"Can I see him?"

She looked at his pleading eyes and nodded.

"Follow me. He's a little groggy, as we had to give him some medicine for the pain."

She led them to a curtained alcove. Inside, Tom was lying there with a large bandage on his upper chest and looked to be asleep. Ivan went to his side and took his hand. When he did, Tom opened his eyes. They were glassy, but he was able to focus them on Ivan in a couple of moments and he smiled.

"Vanya. You're okay?"

"Yes Papa. I'm okay."


He looked up and saw Roger there.

"Thanks for taking care of Vanya, Roger."

"Don't worry about anything Tom. He'll be fine."

"Good, thanks again. They're going to be taking me to surgery soon and they said I won't wake up until tomorrow, so you guys should go home."

"I want to stay with you Papa."

Tom let go of Ivan's hand and reached up to lay his hand on Ivan's cheek. Ivan brought his hands up to hold the hand against his face. Tears were dripping down his cheek.

"Ya znayu, druzhishche. Ya lyublyu tebya Vanya." [I know buddy. I love you Vanya.]

Tom moved his hand on Ivan's shoulder and pulled him to him. Vanya leaned down and gave him a gentle hug and kiss, before standing back up. Tom looked at Roger and held out his hand, they shook hands.

"Thanks again for taking care of Vanya. Could you bring him back tomorrow, once visiting hours are open?"

"No problem Tom. We'll be here tomorrow."

Tom looked at Vanya.

"You mind Roger and Denise. I'll see you tomorrow when you come and visit."

"Okay Papa. I love you."

Tom lifted his hand to wave goodbye and Roger led Ivan out of the hospital and to his car. The nurse had gotten his phone number so that they could give them an update on the surgery. He shook her hand and thanked her. The drive back to the Davidson home was silent. Ivan stared out the side window. When they got there, Roger let Denise and Brian know what was going on. Ivan thanked them both for letting him stay. Brian took Ivan up to the guest room. Ivan sat on the bed. Brian sat down next to him, not sure what to do to comfort his best friend. Ivan reached out and took Brian's hand and held it. Brian saw that there were tears in Ivan's eyes. Brian didn't know what else to do, so he lay down next to him and put his arms around Ivan. Ivan turned to him and he began to cry. Brian held him and stroked his back. Trying to do what he remembered his parents doing for him to comfort him when he had been sad or hurt. Denise looked in on them a little later and she nodded to Brian and gave him a smile. Eventually Ivan's crying subsided and he fell into an exhausted sleep. Brian continued to hold him and he dropped off to sleep as well.

Over at Ivan's house, the police sergeant pulled up in front of the house, another patrol car pulled in behind him. As he got out of his car, he noted the black SUV parked in front. It screamed government agent.

Even though he was told that there was no one left behind, he was still cautious as he approached the house. He tried the door and found it unlocked so he opened the door. As soon as he looked in, he saw the bodies. He looked outside and waved for the other officer to join him.

He looked over the scene. There were the two dark suited men and saw their guns near their hands. He noted the gun next to the other body that he recognized as Congressman Armstrong. The agent missing part of his head was obviously dead. He checked the other agent and the congressman, just as the other officer joined him. He looked up and shook his head.

"Call the coroner."

He pointed at the two dark suited men.

"I was told that those two were trying to force Congressman Armstrong and his family to go with them into protective custody or something like that. They refused to go with them and those guys pulled their guns and started shooting."

He stood back up and looked over the scene again and shook his head.

"I suppose I'll have to call Homeland Security and tell them what happened."

The two officers went back outside to make their calls.

While Ivan and Brian were upstairs, Roger told his wife that he was going to go over to Tom's house to make sure everything was locked up. She nodded and he walked over to the house. When he got there he saw that there was quite a bit of activity going on. He saw the two police cars, a coroner's van and another black government SUV. As he started walking up to the house, he saw a man in a suit talking to the police sergeant that Roger had talked to earlier at the hospital. He saw that the officer appeared to be having a difficult time with keeping his temper in check. He overheard the end of the conversation.

"That's a load of crap. Our men were here to take them into protective custody because of a terrorist threat. They had no reason to shoot the Congressman and his….partner. They were probably part of one of Bryce's terrorist cells here in Maryland anyway. That's why they shot my men and I can assure you that when that fa…..bastard gets out of the hospital, he's going to be charged with murder and treason. These men were under a Presidential Order."

The officer noticed Roger but did not acknowledge him.

"I'm only telling you what I was told. Your men tried to kill these two men, when they refused to go into protective custody, and they defended themselves as any good American will do."

"We'll see about that. Be careful that you don't make any bad career decisions. We will take over this investigation and you are ordered not to discuss such outlandish theories with anyone or you will likely find yourself without a job and probably doing some federal time to boot."

The agent turned away and motioned to the other three who were there. After speaking to them, he and another agent got into their SUV and left, while the other two agents stayed to oversee the scene. The officer went over to Roger and pulled him aside.

"Those idiots are out for blood. It doesn't look good. It's their word against your friend. They've taken over the investigation, but if their son knows anything that can help, please have him contact me and I'll do what I can to help out. I voted for Congressman Armstrong, he was a good man and I can't picture him doing something wrong like they are saying. From what you told me, he didn't even have a gun. Anyway, good luck."


Roger hung around until the bodies were removed and the house was closed up. Yellow crime scene tape was across the door. Roger waited until everyone was gone before going up to the door to make sure it was closed and locked. He checked around the house as well, to make sure there weren't any open doors or windows, before he headed home. At home he told Denise what he had learned. They were both worried about Ivan.

The lead agent and his partner left the scene and headed to the hospital. At the hospital, he demanded to know where Tom Callum's room was located. They were directed to ICU. When they arrived there, the lead agent asked when he would be able to talk to Tom Callum. On the ICU floor, he was informed that Mister Callum was sedated and would be unable to speak to anyone until the morning. The lead agent looked toward Tom's room in frustration. He motioned with his head for his partner to follow him and the two left the hospital and went to their SUV. He opened the back and inside there was a case. Inside the case were a few different guns, some grenades, electronic surveillance equipment and another smaller case. He opened the smaller case and took out a vial of some kind of liquid. He closed everything back up and turned to his partner.

"Take this. Go back in there, get into Callum's room, you should be able to find a syringe in there and inject this into the IV line. I'll be waiting for you. In an hour, the faggot will be dead."

"What about the kid?"

"We'll get the little commie bastard later."


"He's some Russian orphan the two fags adopted when Bryce was in charge. They probably adopted the kid to be their perverted fuck boy. We'll pick him up later, once all this shit calms down. He's probably a fag too. Now get going."

The man went back into the hospital. He looked around thinking about how he was going to get into Callum's room. He saw several employees heading down a hallway. He followed them and saw the signs for the Operating Room. He went down one hall and saw a door that said Doctor's Changing Room. He went inside and saw that it was empty. There were some lockers and cabinets in the room. Several were locked. A couple of the lockers had white doctor's coats in them. He checked the cabinets and found some surgery scrubs. He changed into the scrubs and found a messenger bag in one of the lockers. He emptied it into the bottom of the locker and stuffed his clothes into it.. He pulled a white coat and stethoscope from one of the lockers. Hanging from the coat was a doctors ID badge. It was of someone older than he, so he slipped it into the pocket of the coat along with the vial of poison.

He left the room, carrying the messenger bag over his shoulder and went to the elevator. When he got to the ICU, he walked down the hall and glanced into the rooms. He saw the nurse that they had talked to earlier and he went into one of the rooms, so she wouldn't see him. Inside the room he acted as if he was checking the readings on the equipment. The patient was out cold, so it was simple enough to pretend he was checking on the patient. In a drawer he found a syringe and pulled it out. He took the vial out and while pretending to check the equipment, he drew the poison into the vial. He dropped the empty vial into his pocket and put the filled syringe in there with it. He left the room and headed toward Tom's room. He stepped inside and did the same thing as in the other room, checked the equipment. While in there he looked down at the patient. Tom was pale and there was a large bandage covering his upper chest. He pulled the syringe out of his pocket and keeping it low he inserted it into a port on the IV line and injected the poison. When it was all in, he slipped the syringe back into his pocket and left the room. He saw the nurse coming toward the room looking down at some paperwork in her hands, so he turned away from her and left the ICU. He made his way out to the SUV, where the lead agent was waiting. When he climbed inside the agent looked at his partner.


"Piece 'o cake."

He pulled the syringe and empty vial out of his pocket and laid it on the console between them. The lead agent smiled and started the SUV. They were soon on their way back to DC.

Battle-torn Flag

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