Castle Roland

And Justice For All

by Eric Aune, Ken Barber, Roland and Al Norris


Chapter 9

Posted: 27 Jan 15

And Justice For All

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

And Justice for All

And Justice For All LogoOut of the corner of his eye, Norris spotted a huge plume of light way to the north almost on the horizon. Followed a few seconds later by a near deafening thunderclap. He searched the horizon through the binoculars but could barely make out two giant thermal silhouettes. The entire CIC was silent, as if the battle stood still. Time started again, as explosions around the position of the USS Clifton Eastwood Battle Group shattered the night.

"This is Big Brother 4, USS Farragut hit by heavy naval fire, she is going down fast. The Eastwood is damaged, we see smoke but no secondary explosions."

Norris was searching the horizon through binoculars. "By what? Who? What the hell just fired?"

The standard maritime radio channel blared to life. "USS Ronald Reagan, USS Ronald Reagan, this is USS New Jersey and USS North Carolina carrying full combat loads. Looks like you guys could use some help."

The CIC was silent for a minute while everyone tried to process what they just heard. The USS New Jersey was an Iowa class battleship and USS North Carolina was the lead ship in her class. All the battleships had been retired, except the New Jersey and North Carolina. They were staffed by retired veterans and were used as active combat ready training ships, however the USS North Carolina had not fired its guns in hostility in over seventy years.

Norris grabbed the radio, "Jersey, Carolina this is Reagan. Welcome to the war gentlemen. Thanks for the assistance. Miller, get Lancer Squadron over there to give them some air cover."

Myers looked up at the Admiral and shook her head. "Sir, Gravely is bad, her skipper is dead. Lieutenant Costa is in command. She is taking on water but he thinks he can keep her up. I have him making for Bermuda."

"Miller get some choppers over to Gravely to start getting the wounded off."

″Yes, sir."

As soon as the wave off order was given, Jimmy jumped on the mic and spoke to the passengers. "Hang on tight back there everyone. This is gonna get bumpy."

Will was actually sweating by this point, he pulled the C-5 into a steep climb, and started taking evasive maneuvers. He was so hoping that he could just land this bitch and get the fuck off it, but now... nope. "Someone is gonna pay for this shit." He muttered under his breath.

Apollo started to chuckle, but was interrupted by the shrill alert in the cabin. By instinct Will started to look around for it, but of course he couldn't see anything. Meanwhile Jimmy was already on the radio. "Reagan. Justice One. We have multiple missile locks. Sir we need help here."

Will put the plane into a hard bank at the same time that Apollo deployed the chaff. One of the missiles blew up in the chaff, and Will banked hard the other way. He cringed when he heard the plane creak as he punished the air fame, almost beyond what it could handle. "Careful..." Captain Diego said softly.

Will didn't respond, he was too focused on trying to make this big pig dance.... and not break apart while doing it. "Down Vampire 2!" Apollo cried out, as the second missile was taken out, this time by a flare. "Only one left!" Will dipped the nose down and started to descend to raise his airspeed. There was no way that a C-5 could do a loop, but Will was going to try and fool the missile into thinking he was going to try one.


Acting on instinct, Will pulled back hard on the controls and rotated the craft to the left. Jimmy was immediately on the radio responding. "Justice One banking hard left, climbing to 10,000 feet. Missile is still on us deploying countermeasures." Even as Jimmy was saying it, Apollo was firing the chaff and flares, trying to get the missile to divert.

Will was doing everything he could think of, but in the pit of his stomach he knew the missile was going to hit. If they hadn't shaken it by now, they weren't going to. The only thing he could do now was pick where the thing hit. Hoping that he might still be able to get the passengers to safety. Some of them anyways.

Suddenly the plane was rocked by an explosion, but it was too soon. Will figured they had another 5 seconds before it hit.

"Sabre 12 is hit! Sabre 12 is hit! Sabre 12 going down."

"Sabre 12 eject! eject!" The command came across the radio, but it was exactly the same thing that everyone in the cockpit was saying. All four of them instantly knew what had happened. Sabre 12 had flown into the path of the missile, sacrificing themselves to save them.

"Sabre 12, Ejection malfunctioning. We are going in hard." The pilot said over the radio before there was nothing but static.

"Sabre 12 is down! Sabre 12 is down, no chutes." Will heard it, and had to wipe away angry tears as they fell down his face. Last time something like this happened, he had watched as Dennis and the crew of the Bam Bam, did the same thing for their family. This time though, the pilot did it because the cargo on board was the Supreme Court of the United States.

Next to him Apollo crossed himself while silently saying "Greater love hath no man, than to lay down his life for his brother."

"This is Ronald Reagan, all fighters move into escort positions on Justice One. Get her clear, now." Came over the radio jarring everyone back to the fact that they still had a mission to fly.

"Come on guys, get yourselves together, get this bird to Bermuda." Captain Diego said pulling Will and Apollo back.

"Eastwood and escorts are pulling back!" Another voice came over the radio. Followed by another. "Enemy fighters pulling back!"

"YES!" Will cried as he slammed the throttle controls as far forward as they could go. The big jet nearly jumped forward, as Will turned east, and made their way to the open water. A few seconds later, as Apollo was scanning the controls he went a bit white. "Uhhhh... what's this flashing red light?"

In the CIC of the Ronald Reagan everyone was cheering, and Admiral Norris gave them a minute to relish this little victory. A victory that cost the lives of young Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Aviators. Norris touched the black icon that was the indication of where Sabre 12 went down. The details popped up, Pilot Carlos Sanchez, RIO Mitch Blare, to Norris their sacrifice would never be forgotten. He tapped the icon and closed it, spun around and walked over to the radio.

"Justice One, you are clear to make your Bermuda run maximum speed." He released the transmit key. "CAG keep as many squadrons on Justice One as possible." Norris breathed a sigh of relief, looked like they pulled it off.

"Aye Admiral."

"Ronald Reagan, this is War Eagle 6, we are getting pounded down here. Can you hit that artillery with something please?" Felix's voice while urgent, was steady and even.

Norris looked around and then smiled. "War Eagle 6, we are on it." He switched radios, "Big Brother 3, get me targeting on the artillery unit north of War Eagle's position."

"Stand by Reagan."

"Reagan, Big Brother 3, coordinates 345897, M109 Battery in firing positions east of Interstate 95, south of Florida Medical Center."

Feeling it was time for some revenge Norris grabbed the radio mic. "USS New Jersey, Fire mission over."

"Fire mission, roger."

"Coordinates 345897 M109 Battery in the open over."

"Roger, loaded, ready to fire."

"One round, fire." Norris felt a little rush of relief after giving the fire order.

"On the way." Norris saw a small flash of light, followed a few seconds later by the thrilling thump of the 16-inch gun firing. Norris almost felt like Zeus throwing lightning bolts from the top of Mount Olympus.

"New Jersey, Big Brother 3, adjust 100 meters south, 75 meters west."

"On the way." Again the lightning bolts flashed out followed a few seconds later by the crash that was the sound of vengeance.

"This is Big Brother 3, Target. Fire for effect."

"Roger, firing full broadside."

This time the flash of light was huge, the night sky lit up bright as midday for a second before crashing back into darkness, followed by an almost deafening crescendo of thunder, as the ancient battleship showed how much destruction she could still unleash.

"This is Big Brother 3. Targets destroyed, end fire mission. Jesus Christ Jersey, I think you just sank Florida!"

"This is War Eagle 6. What the Fuck was that? Over."

"War Eagle 6, you asked for counter battery fire... you got it."

"Out Fucking Standing! Can we hit the mechanized unit on the west?"

Norris couldn't help but laugh a little. The battle was definitely turning to their favor. "War Eagle 6, go to frequency 198.5. Call for and adjust fire."

"This is War Eagle 6, on fire control. Fire mission over."

"This is North Carolina, we are loaded and ready."

"North Carolina, this is War Eagle 6. Boy am I glad you boys are on our side. Fire mission. Coordinates 557894. Mechanized infantry in the woodline."

"Roger on the way." Again a single flash and thump. By this point Norris could clearly see the two behemoth floating death machines as they charged into battle.

"Target. Target. Fire for effect." Felix's voice sounded excited.

"Roger. Fire for effect, full broadside." Norris had to blink the spots away from his eyes after the ship fired all nine guns. The New Jersey and North Carolina were out to prove to the world they were still the rulers of the sea. He looked around the deck to see huge smiles on the faces of most of the crew. Having the Jersey and Carolina on their side was a huge morale booster.

A few seconds later. "This is War Eagle 6. Out Fucking Standing! That is how you win a war gentleman. Targets destroyed. Shit! The whole damn woodline is destroyed. Remaining enemy elements are pulling back and regrouping. You can bet your ass they will be back with friends."

Norris grabbed the mic. "War Eagle, hunker down, once Justice One is clear, we will have air cover for you."

A shrill tone over the emergency channel made everyone freeze. "Ronald Reagan, this is Justice One, we are declaring an emergency! I say again, we are declaring an emergency!" The CIC went dead quiet and everyone turned to Admiral Norris.

Captain Miller physically pushed the tech out of the way, took her place and grabbed the mic. "Justice One, switch to 153.5 and broadcast your emergency." Admiral Norris was standing right behind him.

"Ronald Reagan, Justice One on 153.5, we are losing fuel fast, we will not make Bermuda. That last missile was too close and must have punctured our left wing tank."

Norris closed his eyes for a second, the tension of the moment overwhelming him. To have come this far and a fuel leak could end the entire mission in a disaster. The C-5 Galaxy needs almost two miles to land, there are very few runways that long.

"Sabre 1, this is Ronald Reagan, take a look at Justice One's left wing and let us know how bad it is."

"Roger. Stand by Reagan."

Norris waved Peterson over. "Find me another place to put her down, fast."

"Reagan, this is Sabre 1. It's not pretty. She is trailing fuel like a leaky sieve. We need to get her down fast."

"Justice One, this is Ronald Reagan. We are trying to find an alternative landing spot."

"Reagan, understood, but make it quick please."

Peterson tapped the Admiral on the shoulder. "There is no where that can handle the C-5 sir except Gitmo. That would be turning them back over to Ashwood."

"Might be the only option." Norris reached over Miller and grabbed the radio. "Justice One, there are no runways in range, except Gitmo. We can retry for Daytona, but if you turn back the enemy air assets are going to overwhelm us."

"Stand by Reagan."

Norris and Miller just looked at each other as they waited.

"Ronald Reagan, this is Justice One, we have about 45 minutes of fuel left. We have two options. A water landing, or put this down on your deck."

Norris and Miller just stared at each other for a second, there was no way a C-5 could land on the deck of an aircraft carrier, it would hit the deck, crash into the superstructure and end up in a ball of flame, probably killing everyone on board and seriously damaging the carrier. "Justice One, that's not possible we only have 1000 feet of effective runway, we do not have a long enough runway for a C-5, that is not an option."

"Reagan, this is the C-5Xray prototype. Check the specs."

Myers was instantly pulling up the specs as Miller looked up. "Its got some sort of rocket assisted takeoff and landing mechanism."

Myers shouted out. "Got it. Holy shit! It only needs 450 feet max to land."

Norris looked at the specs. "What about the wingspan? Her wings will slam into the superstructure."

Miller stood up and stepped back and looked out to the flight deck, he paused staring at the deck. "Not if she comes in from the bow. Shit, it's still going to be tight."

Norris stepped beside him and looked out. You could almost see both men measuring the runway with their eyes. He shook his head. "I can't believe we are going to try this. Miller get everything off this deck now. I want a fully cleared deck. Get all rescue choppers in the air and standing by, fuck it, get all available choppers in the group in the air, I want eyes everywhere."

He walked over to the mic and picked it up. He brought it to his mouth and paused, took a deep breath, "Justice One, this is Admiral Norris. Listen carefully pilot. We are going to do this, but if we do not succeed you will not get a second chance, failure is not an option. Do you understand what I am saying?"

"Stand by Reagan." Jimmy said before he cut the mic. "What do you guys think? Can you do this?"

Apollo looked at Will who was staring straight out the windshield. After a few seconds he spoke, but kept his eyes forward. "If we attempt a water landing, people will die, there is no question about that. The members of the Supreme Court cannot move fast enough to get out of this plane before it goes down. Then the shock of the water, and the rescue. Some of them won't make it."

"Yeah, but if we screw this up, we all die, and so do people on the carrier." Apollo said just as serious as Will was.

"Boys..." Captain Diego said as he struggled to sit up, with only one useable arm. Most of his face was now covered with blood soaked bandages, and the tone of his voice easily spoke to the pain he was in. "I've been a pilot for close to thirty years. I have tens of thousands of hours flying cargo craft. Thousands of hours flying experimental aircraft, and hundreds of hours flying this plane. You MEN may not have flown something like this before, but you have done better than almost any pilot I have ever known. I know I can't be much help, but I know this bird inside and out. If you want to land this on the deck of the Ronald Reagan, I will help as much as I can, and I know.... I KNOW you can do this.″

It was silent for a few seconds before Will nodded to Jimmy. "We're doing this. Tell them to get ready to receive Justice One."

Admiral Norris walked back to the center of the CIC and turned to Miller. "Their lack of response is not instilling confidence."

The radio cut through the deafening silence. "Ronald Reagan, this is Justice One. We understand, we have one shot at it but we are a go for the deck landing. I say again, we are going to land on your deck."

Norris nodded and picked up the mic. "Justice One, Roger. To keep you clear of the superstructure you have to come from the bow, this means you will have a very narrow landing strip, so this is going to be the most precise landing anyone has ever done. Captain Miller, my CAG is going to walk you through this. First question is, have you have made a carrier landing?"

Jimmy looked at Will with a question, Will thought for a second and then spoke. "Jimmy, repeat what I am about to say please." Jimmy nodded and Will thought through how to word this. "Admiral Norris, please remember the conversation you had with General Adam Casey. Our pilots have never made a carrier landing before, but they are both part of General Casey's team." Jimmy nodded, keyed the mic, and repeated what Will had just said, word for word.

Everyone in the CIC looked at Norris with a question on their face. Norris took a deep breath and picked up the mic. "Justice One, I understand. Pilot, the CAG is in command, you will follow his instructions to the letter. First we need to take care of a couple of things. You need to dump as much fuel as possible. I want that thing running on fumes when it hits the deck. You also need to toss as much unnecessary cargo overboard as possible. Lighten the damn plane. That will reduce your stopping distance. And Justice One whatever you do, do not tell your passengers what you are about to attempt. Do you understand?"

"Understood Reagan."

"Justice One, this is Captain Miller. Winds are from the west. We are heading east with the wind so you are landing into the wind. You need to come around to bearing 115.34 and start your approach from a mile out."

"Roger Reagan. Approach from bearing 115.34, starting at one mile out."

Norris grabbed Peterson by the arm, "Get to the bridge. Full stop and full reverse. We need to create as much speed in reverse as possible."

"Admiral that's going to take time, but I will get right on it."

Norris took another deep breath added some steel to his resolve and walked over to Payne. "Tell the Group to set station keeping on Reagan, but way back, keep them clear. Myers get fire control teams and damage control teams standing by, and get the superstructure empty. Have Doctor McCray standing by with medical teams." He picked up the 1MC, "Attention on deck! Set condition 2-echo emergency landing. No personnel on the flight deck. All personnel report to your emergency duty stations. Fire Control and Damage Control stand by. Set condition 2-echo emergency landing."

"USS Ronald Reagan, This is HMS Illustrious, we have search and rescue choppers in flight to your location." Commodore Chase's voice revealed his concern.

"HMS Illustrious, roger. Thank you, let's hope they are not needed."

"Ronald Reagan and Justice One, may God watch over you. Illustrious out."

Norris walked over to Captain Miller and put his hand on his shoulder. "Josh, are you ready for this?"

Miller looked up at him. "As ready as I will ever be. Are you ready?"

"Fuck no, but what choice do we have. That's a monster bird landing on a very small rectangle, if we all live through this I am retiring. Light the deck up with everything we have. I don't care if you have to use chemlights I want the moon to see this ship!"

Miller chuckled. "Aye, sir."

Norris nodded and walked away and started pacing. Everything that could possibly go wrong was running through his head all at once, and it was a long list. He finally shook his head. "Status from all departments?"

"Deck is clear, all search and rescue choppers taking up positions to port and starboard. Air wing is ready."

"Bridge reports engines at all stop forward inertia should stop in about twenty minutes. Bridge is ready."

"Escorts report at station keeping. Strike group is ready."

"Damage and Fire Control on standby; Superstructure is clear. Ronald Reagan is ready."

"Medical is on standby."

Norris took another deep breath. "Miller get me a status report from Justice One"

Meanwhile, Will called out through the link. {Adam, I need Chang up here now. I also need you to lower the back ramp, and ditch the vehicles.}

{WHAT?} Adam exclaimed over the link. {What the fuck's going on?}

{Adam... not right now, I am preparing to land this bitch on the deck of a carrier. Just do what I tell you to, then get your ass up here!} Will slammed closed the link on his end, so he couldn't hear any response Adam gave. He'd never done that before, but right now, he needed absolutely no distractions.

Moments later Chang came running into the cockpit. "What do you need?"

Will glanced over at Chang, then to Captain Diego. "Chang, I need the captain here, as clear headed as possible. We're about to do something that only he knows how to do, and I need him to walk me through it."

Chang knew by the agitation in Will's voice that now was not a time for questions. He sighed deeply, then looked around until he spotted a jump seat out of the way. He sat down in it, and strapped himself in tight. He then let his mind slip into a deep, meditative state. A brief moment later, Captain Diego yelped a bit, as suddenly all the pain left him. Chang was pulling it all into himself.

Will then spotted an indicator light start to blink, and the plane shook slightly. Before he could say anything, Diego spoke up. "They opened the bay door." Seconds later, the plane shuddered again. "And there went something pretty big."

Adam came stalking into the cockpit about then and glared at Will. "Care to explain?"

Will kept both hands on the controls as the plane shuddered again.

"When Sabre 12 sacrificed themselves, the explosion shredded one of the fuel tanks. We don't have enough fuel for anything other than a water landing, which people will die on, or we try to land this on the deck of the carrier. If I am off by even a meter, we're all dead. So for now, I am in command."

Adam inhaled loudly, then let it out. Then spoke. "Agreed, you have command. What do you need?"

"Since we don't have Logan here, you and Juan are the only telepaths strong enough to do what I need. Juan's gonna freak when he finds out what's going on, so it's you." Will then looked at Captain Diego. "I need him to be able to see. Chang's already pulling all of his pain, but he needs eyes. I can't do this alone. I need his help."

Inside Adam was shocked. Will was always the calm and cocky pilot. Now he was scared, and scared bad. He knew that Will being this scared could easily get them all killed, so he smiled and nodded. "You do what you have to, I'll get Captain Diego seeing." Adam then moved over and helped the man sit in his seat, and strapped him down tightly. He had already pulled from Jimmy's mind what they were going to attempt, and from the Captain's mind how hard it was going to be. He could have beaten past Will's blocks, but that would have been too much effort, and killed Will's concentration.

Adam bent down and spoke softly to the Captain, while Will, Apollo, and Jimmy were discussing what they were going to do. "Sir, my name is Adam Casey. I know what I am about to tell you is going to sound impossible, but please believe me, it's possible. What I am going to do is allow your mind to see, and hear what I am seeing and hearing. My voice will be your voice. This is not good enough for me to sit in the cockpit and allow you to land, because you would not be familiar with the way my body works, but I can let you see. Do you understand?"

Diego was silent for a moment ... struggling to come to grips with what the young sounding boy in front of him was saying. "I can't understand how it is possible, but if you can do it..."

"Good, just sit back, relax, and whatever you do, do not fight this. I don't know how long I can keep this up, and if I have to fight you to do it, it will be an even shorter time, okay?" Diego nodded, then relaxed. Adam stood up and then moved to stand between Apollo and Will, behind the center control station. He closed his eyes, and pulled Diego's mind into his own.

When he opened his eyes, they went wide with wonder. "Holy shit!" Adam/Diego said. "I have no idea how this is possible..." He trailed off as he looked at the instruments. "Okay, you're looking good. Wait to shunt the fuel until we are lining up for final. You'll want to bring it down to no more than two percent capacity, but no less than one percent, okay?"

"Yes sir." Will said immediately, the relief evident in his voice.

"Justice One, this is Ronald Reagan. What is your status."

"Reagan, this is Justice One. We are lining up for our final approach. Uhhh... could you do us a favor?" Jimmy asked in an innocent voice.

"Name it Justice One." Came the reply.

"Is there any chance you can move the superstructure back a bit?" He was serious in his tone which caused Will to almost choke on his laughter. Jimmy got the reaction he wanted as the tension in the cockpit dropped a few notches.

They heard a chuckle over the radio. "Justice One, this is Ronald Reagan, we threw this bitch in reverse. That's the best we can do for you."

In the CIC of the Ronald Reagan Captain Miller stood up and stretched. "Listen up everyone at this moment I am in command. I want a quiet CIC, we have no room for errors here. Jackson and O'Brien you handle the Chopper traffic. Tavares, you have Sabre Squadron, Kline you have Black Knights, Mason, you have Anvil and Lancer squadrons. Ok people, keep your eyes and ears open, if we don't get this right, we don't get a second chance." He leaned over to Norris and whispered, "I am going to need time to grab some new boxers when this is over." He sat back down and put his headset on.

Norris couldn't help but chuckle.

Miller took a deep breath and looked around to make sure everyone was in place and ready. "Justice One, this is Ronald Reagan, let's do this. You need to set your false horizon to 200 feet above sea level and reduce airspeed to 165 knots."

"Roger Reagan"

Miller looked out with the binoculars and could see the giant plane's lights. From this far out it looked tiny, and for a second he thought, no problem, but quickly erased the thought from his head. This was a problem, the carrier was never designed to handle such a large craft and the plane was not designed to land on such a small runway. He shook off the negative thoughts and brought himself back to reality, whether or not designed for it, they were doing it.

"Okay we have you in visual. Can you see the deck?"

"We have visual. Thank you for turning the porch lights on."

"Justice, landing on a carrier is a little different than a runway. You're going to come in five feet above the deck level. So on your false horizon you will be flying at five feet. This makes many pilots nervous their first time but remember you have a full 200 feet below you. Don't panic and stay calm. This will actually make it easier on you. But you have to keep level. Pilot and Co-pilot will both be needed to control the craft. Other than the rocket assist I want you to run through normal landing procedures. Justice One Pilots, I want you to know we here on the Reagan have complete confidence in you and when this is over we are going to share a beer in Bermuda. Now this plane was built to do this kind of thing all you have to do is guide her in. Justice you're drifting left. Come right three degrees..."

"Roger, Reagan, right three degrees."

"Okay you're looking good. Dump all your fuel now, take her down to one percent."

Jimmy's voice was a little higher pitched. "Reagan that won't take long at all."

"Roger Justice. Keep it steady and watch your airspeed."

Tavares leaned over. "Sabre reports fuel dump complete."

Miller nodded without even looking. "Justice are you familiar with the rocket controls."

"Reagan we are prepared to use them."

"Good, gear down and deploy rocket packs."

"Understood Reagan. We have a green light on the gear and rocket packs."

"Justice One, your level is off. You are dipping right. Increase flaps to full."

"Roger Reagan, correcting level. Increasing flaps to full."

C5 Landoing on Carrier

Petty Officer Jackson whispered. "Choppers have visual. Report clean line up."

"Ok guys your are at the point of no return. We have barricades in place to slow you. Bring your nose up slightly... steady... as soon as the rear wheels hit I will give you the this command: Fire. You will then fire all your braking rockets."

"Roger, Reagan."

"Reduce airspeed to 135 knots, come down to fifteen feet on your false horizon. Good. Down to ten feet. Good...Good... hold steady...steady ..Down to five feet... You're right there... steady now." Miller was standing and using the binoculars not even looking at his control panels. "Put her Down! Breaking Flaps, and FIRE, full reverse thrust. Apply Brakes."

As soon as Miller gave the 'FIRE' command, the entire front of the aircraft seemed to erupt in flames like a dragon hell bent on torching the entire carrier. Norris felt a vibration radiate through the entire ship as the full weight of the huge plane slammed down onto the deck. He wasn't sure what was louder, the jets firing, the engines screaming in full reverse, or his heart beating inside his ear drums!

Time seemed to crawl as the fire breathing dragon raced towards them, spitting flames and screaming like a banshee, as she flew at the superstructure less than 600 feet away. He couldn't tear his eyes away from the monitor long enough to see who it was that was chanting, "Come on you bitch slow down... slow down... slow down...Jesus Christ slow down."

A huge cloud of smoke plumed up and obscured the view of the flying behemoth completely. Norris and Miller just stared at the smoke dreading the worst. The smoke began to clear and everything was silent, eerily silent. Nothing moved, and no one breathed. Norris had to blink his eyes, as the monitors showed him the most amazing thing, on his deck sat, the largest cargo plane in the US Air Force. His heart was beating so fast and hard he thought he might be having a heart attack. As a fighter pilot, he had been through some pretty hairy situations, but nothing in his career compared to this. Then time started again, as the room erupted in involuntary cheers, as they saw the plane was stationary on the deck with the left wing no more than twenty-five feet from the superstructure. Captain Miller thumped Admiral Norris on the back, bringing him back to reality.

Norris jumped up. "Damage Control and Fire Control deploy now! Get medical on that plane. Move!" He ran out of the CIC shouting as he went. "Marine Security Detail with me."

Breath exploded from Will as he realized they had stopped. He looked over at Apollo who stared back at him, both of them with expressions of complete disbelief. "Did we do it? Did we really just land a C-5 on the deck of a carrier?" Apollo asked, then looked down at his hands as they came off the controls, both of them shaking almost uncontrollably. Will meanwhile hadn't been able to let go.

"You're damned straight you boys just did!" Jimmy cried out as he jumped to his feet, reached over and tried to pull Apollo into a hug. Unfortunately the boy didn't move, since he was strapped down so tightly.

"I... I think I pissed myself." Will said softly, his hands still gripping the controls tightly, however he was starting to smile.

"You think?" Jimmy said as he laughed. "I know I did! And I ain't ashamed to admit it. Holy fuck...."

Finally Will pulled his hands off the controls and looked behind him. Chang, Adam and Captain Diego were all out, strapped into jump seats, but he had expected that. Will unhooked his straps and pulled himself shakily out of the co-pilots seat. It took him a second to get his legs working, but then he went over to Adam and bent down to lift him up. "Apollo can you grab Captain Diego, Jimmy, you get Chang. Suddenly I want to be off this bird." Not a word was spoken as they exited the cockpit, their burdens in their arms.

Admiral Norris stood at the back of the C-5 Galaxy. As the ramp started to descend, he looked over at the left wing and could see where the shrapnel tore into it. He turned to the Marine Lieutenant with him. "Find the Supreme Court Justices and escort them to the officers' wardroom. You do not speak with them, except to tell them I will be right with them. Doctor McCray there are injured aboard, get them checked and then I will need you in the officers' wardroom as well to check on the Justices. Any questions?"

Doctor McCray nodded. "None Admiral."

The ramp came down fully and standing in front of the Admiral was a boy, a boy dressed in full combat armor and carrying an assault rifle. The boy couldn't have been more than 10 and his face would be considered angelic if it wasn't for the armor and weaponry. Admiral Norris paused for a second and stared at him, he shook himself out of it.

"Soldier escort these Marines to the Justices please." He didn't watch to see if his orders were being followed, he just assumed they would be. He spotted another soldier, this one an adult Army Lieutenant. "Lieutenant take the doctor to the wounded." His teams began filing into the aircraft at a trot following their guides. Norris slowly walked towards the cockpit. He stopped when he saw the a body of an Air Force officer strapped down. He knelt and said a silent prayer. He followed the medical teams as they headed toward the cockpit as well. They had to step aside as the Marines escorted the bewildered Supreme Court members out of the passenger area. As soon as all the Justices were clear, Norris and the medical teams spotted two kids and an adult walking toward them carrying two more kids and another Air Force pilot. The medical crew raced forward to retrieve the wounded.

Will stopped and stepped back. "HOLD IT!" He said loudly. "Captain Diego is the only one who needs medical attention, the other two passed out due to exhaustion. Please just trust me on this."

Doctor McCray stepped forward. "I am the doctor on this ship son. I will make that call."

Admiral Norris put his hand on the doctor's shoulder. "Doctor take them to the infirmary, do not evaluate them, do not check them. Is that okay with you, young man?"

Will looked at the Admiral hard for a few seconds before he nodded. "I don't think I could stop you right now, even if I wanted to."

Admiral Norris nodded to the medical teams and ignored the glare from Doctor McCray, as they moved forward with the stretchers. "Which of you are the pilots that flew this thing?"

After Will laid Adam down on the stretcher he turned towards the Admiral and slowly raised his hand. Followed a moment later by Apollo after laying down Captain Diego.

Admiral Norris looked around and spotted a Marine helping to remove the passengers. "Marine, escort these two young men and Commander Horne to my office. Tell Myers to get them some jumpsuits they can change into and show them the shower facilities. Anything they want, they get is that understood."

"Aye Aye, Admiral."

Admiral Norris held up his hand to stop the Marine. "First I want to shake their hands." Admiral Norris stepped up to Will and held out his hand. "Son that was the most amazing fucking thing I have seen in my thirty-five years in the Navy."

Will shook the man's hand, and was slightly embarrassed to see that his hands were still shaking. "Thank you sir." Will pulled his hand back, and then gasped in pain, as the headache from his severe concussion came back with a vengeance. Before he knew what was happening, he was on his knees.

Admiral Norris grabbed him by the arm. "Get me a Corpsmen."

"I'm sorry Admiral." Juan said as he walked up to the group. "Will suffered a severe concussion yesterday. He wasn't supposed to be here. Mom... I mean our Chief Medical Officer is gonna be pissed! She grounded him from the rescue."

Norris stood there in shock not sure what to deal with first. The pilot, with a concussion that just landed a C-5 on his deck or yet another kid bristling with weapons coming out of the woodwork. "You did that with a concussion, unfucking believable. Corpsmen take him to my office and treat him for a concussion." He looked at Juan. "You stay with them and help the corpsmen, he does not understand how unique you all are. Jimmy, you and I will catch up later. I need to go debrief the Supreme Court."

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