Castle Roland

Changing Connections

by Eric Aune

In Progress

Chapter 15

Published: 28 May 15

Changing Connections

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

All Rights Reserved

Changing Connections LogoThe next day at the UNIT base was a day of mixed feelings for the family members left behind. They understood why they couldn't go along, but that didn't make it any easier. Sunday was a busy day at the base. There were a lot of things going on, and since they were basically guests here at the base, and not part of the UNIT and not part of Bryce's Administration, they were not privy to what was going on. They were treated courteously, but they were barred from some places on the base, especially the area where President Bryce and his advisors were located.

The kids that had been rescued from George Air Force Base were a little jumpy with all the soldiers around them and they stayed close to the family. Plus they had seen so much and come from a terrible situation that forced them to lose their parents and then be used as they were at the base. Then being rescued and seeing some very strange creatures, it was almost too much, but Stephanie Badger made sure that she spent a lot of time with them to help them cope with what had happened to them. With her help and the care given to them by the other parents, they were doing okay for now.

After breakfast, the family once again made their way down to the recreation facilities and they helped the rescued kids to relax more and just spend time being a kid with little worry. They were able to forget what was going on at the base. The parents did what they could to make sure that the rescued kids were cared for and comfortable, but they were a bit anxious as well. Their boys had gone in harm's way and they had no idea what was going on. About the middle of the morning, they were joined by Linda Bryce and her children. She was sitting in a wheelchair as she had been the evening before.

They were glad to see her and went over to sit with her so that her boys could play with the other kids there. Chris was still healing, so he stayed with his mom. He hated that he couldn't go and play with the others, but the doctors had said that he still needed to take it easy for a while before he could do anything strenuous. As they sat and talked to her, they tried not to burden her with their concerns, but she could tell something was bothering them.

"It's your boys isn't it?" They looked at her and after a moment nodded. "Yes Ma…I mean Linda." It was Russell, Ethan's dad who spoke up. "We haven't heard anything and we're worried about them. We know this is not the first time that they have had to do something like this. I mean, it seems like every day or so, since we arrived here, that they have had to fight against someone who wants to hurt them or us. I've already lost my wife and I have my little boy Paul, but I don't want to lose Ethan too. I think it's just the not knowing that is really worrying us."

Linda reached over and laid her hand on Russell's arm in sympathy. "I'm very sorry about your wife. I didn't know." She looked at the other adults and she could easily see the concern on their faces. She looked over at Chris. "Honey, how are you feeling?"

"I'm okay, Mom." She smiled at him. "Do you think you could ask your Dad if he could let us know how things are going with the teams that went on the mission? Tell him that there are a lot of very anxious parents down here that have heard nothing about their boys." Chris nodded and got up from where he was sitting next to his mom and left the room. She looked at the adults. "We should be able to learn something. I'm sure Jack will let us know something. He probably has gotten so busy with what is going on that he forgot that you might all be worried as much as he is." They thanked her and turned to watch the kids. A few of the parents decided to get up and go shoot some hoops with the kids. They were willing to try anything to take their minds off of their worries. The rest stayed with Linda.

Chris made his way back up to where his dad was and the guards waved him through, since Jack had made it plain that his family was allowed to visit him whenever they wanted to, when he wasn't involved with something happening right then, and even if there was something going on right then, he would try his best to make time for his family. Chris found his dad sitting in his office looking over some papers. The Secret Service agent at the door opened it and poked his head in the room.

"Sir, your son Chris is here to see you." Jack looked up and smiled. He waved his hand to tell him to let Chris in. He had a big smile on his face as Chris entered the room. Chris came over to his dad and leaned down to give him a one armed hug. "Hey buddy." He was careful of Chris' injured side as he hugged him. "So what brings you up here?"

"Mom is down on the gym floor with the other parents of the guys that left on that mission yesterday. She sent me to ask if there was any news about what was happening with them."

"Hmmm, yes I can see why they would be worried. I guess I sort of forgot about them in everything that is going on." Jack checked his watch. "You go tell your Mom that I'll get someone to come and talk to them as soon as I can. I have a meeting with some of my advisors or I would do it myself. But tell her that I will send someone down to the gym floor to talk to them soon." Chris nodded. "Okay Dad." Jack gave him another hug and kiss on top of his head. "Thanks for coming by Son. You made my day." Chris smiled and turned to leave. At the door he turned and waved to his dad before he left the room and headed back to the others.

Fifteen minutes after Chris returned to the recreation room, a young man in a US Army uniform entered the recreation room where they were sitting and watching the other boys playing. The adults were relaxing a bit having been a little bit worn out by the boys. He saw them and walked right over to them.

"Ma'am, I'm Lieutenant Estrada. I've been directed to brief you on what we know so far about the operation and I'm prepared to answer questions as well."

Linda smiled at the young officer. "Thank you Lieutenant. I'm sure my friends here are anxious to hear what you have to say. Go ahead." The young man nodded.

"I'm not sure what you do know, so I'm going to start at the beginning. Forgive me if you know any of this, but it may make everything clearer if I start there and go through what I can tell you." Linda glanced at the parents around her and nodded for the officer to continue.

"Very well. The operation's main objective was to secure the safety of the members of SCOTUS and members of Congress…" Patrick Kelly raised his hand. "Scotus?"

"Sorry sir. The military and government love our acronyms. Supreme Court of the United States. S.C.O.T.U.S., SCOTUS." Patrick nodded. "As I was saying besides SCOTUS, we also learned that there may be other members of the government held with SCOTUS. So the mission was to get as many of them out of Ashwood's custody and bring them to safety. They are being held at Fort Detrick in Maryland. The plan was to have an advanced stealth team jump into the Detrick area, while the majority of the team would take Camp David as a staging area. That is what happened last night or actually very early this morning, the team dropped into the Camp David area and took control of it with minimal casualties."

"Casualties!" Stephanie Badger stood up. "How many, who?" Her husband Charles stood up and put his arm around her to guide her back to where she was sitting. "Let the man finish what he's saying." She turned to him. "But he said casualties. I said that our boys should not have gone on this. They are not soldiers."

"Stephanie! Now stop this!" She stopped and looked at Wyatt. "Stephanie. I know you're worried about Logan. We all are worried about our boys, but they are part of this now. They have certain ab…" He glanced at the Lieutenant. "um, they know what they're doing. You know that. I understand what you're saying." He gestured to the other parents. "We all do, but you know our boys are special and they are going to be part of this, no matter what you or any of us say. Unless you and Charles decide to leave with your two boys and keep Logan and Chris out of everything that is going on and hope everything turns out okay. Deep down, you know you can't do that. Logan is part of all of this and the boys need him to be part of this. He is an important part of the team, and that's not even saying anything about what that would do to Ian if you took Logan away or to Chris if he was taken away from the three brothers he knows. He grew up with them and is closest to them. Now let Mister Estrada finish. I'm sure there is more for him to tell us."

Stephanie looked at him and then glanced around to the other parents and saw that they agreed with what Wyatt had said. She could tell they were just as worried as she was, but they had decided that they would not stand in their boys' way on this. She remembered what Janet had told them back in California about not daring to stop them from doing this. A moment later she nodded her head. "Sorry, I'm just worried about my son." Lieutenant Estrada nodded his head. "I understand, Ma'am. I'm still trying to get my head around these kids fighting in a war myself. As I said, there were casualties but not among any of your kids. Your kids were in their helicopter, Dragon, during the attack and came in after the main fighting was over. They are reported to all be safe and unharmed." There were several sighs of relief that could be heard.

The Lieutenant gave them a brief smile. "To continue. The plan will conclude tomorrow with the move to Fort Detrick to rescue SCOTUS and the other members of the government that are being held by Ashwood. From there they will be flying SCOTUS and the others down to Daytona Beach, where they will be then transferred into the hands of military forces loyal to President Bryce. The rest of the forces that are not going to Daytona Beach will then be heading back here. That includes your sons."

"Are our boys going to be part of this operation at Fort Detrick?" Lieutenant Estrada shook his head. "The actual attack, no I don't believe so. Their helicopter is a command and control helicopter and so it will stay in the air and coordinate things on the ground. Once the operation is over, they will then head back here at the end, while others go south with SCOTUS."

Wyatt stood up and shook the officer's hand. "Thank you, Lieutenant. We're very grateful for you taking the time to let us know what was going on." He shook Wyatt's hand. "I'm glad to have been of help sir." He looked at the others. "If there is nothing else?" He glanced around at them. "Thank you." He came to attention, facing Linda. "Of course, Ma'am. I'll return to my duties." The Lieutenant strode from the room. Linda looked at the others. "You know, I'm feeling a bit hungry. We should head to the mess hall and see what's for lunch." Now that their stomachs didn't feel like they were tied up in knots, they were starting to feel hungry as well. They called the boys over and the group of them headed up to the mess hall.

The rest of Sunday was pretty much the same. Linda went back to her quarters to rest and take care of her new baby, little Theodore. The family members either wandered around the base in the areas where they were allowed to go or they made use of the recreation floor, especially the pool. Some went back to their quarters. Wyatt found that there was a place where he could practice his bow skills, so he went to the range and lost himself in firing the bow. There was no one else there so he had the range to himself. The constant drawing and letting the arrow fly gave him a Zen like feeling of peace. It was like meditating in a way.

The base was bustling still as the day wore on. After the evening meal, the family headed back to their quarters to rest. For the youngest, it was getting close to bedtime and with all the swimming and playing that they had done during the day, they were getting tired. Tim and Sara did not want to be in their new parent's quarters by themselves, so they joined the family. The other kids rescued from George Air Force Base were with the family as well.

The family was awakened by a chime at the entrance to their pod. As it was repeated, they slowly began to wake up. Dylan's dad William was the first to get up and slip on the pair of jeans he had been wearing the day before. He checked his watch and found that it was two thirty in the morning. He made his way to the door and opened it. Standing on the other side of the door was a teenage girl in a UNIT uniform. She was pushing Linda Bryce in a wheelchair. The girl smiled. "Good Morning. I'm Staff Sergeant Amanda Casey. Sorry to wake you folks, but we just got a call from General Logan Casey and I need to give you some information." William nodded and stepped aside to let her and Linda into the pod. As she entered the pod, a few more of the adults and some of the kids began emerging from their rooms. Amanda turned to William. "Sir if you could ask everyone to join us here, so that I can brief you."

William nodded and with the help of a few of the others, they made sure that everyone was awake. The inhabitants of the pod started making their way into the central living area. The adults had taken time to get dressed as did most of the kids. Some of the younger ones came out in their underwear and would climb into the lap of their parents still yawning a bit. Amanda waited patiently until everyone was there. Wyatt looked around and nodded to her. "It looks like everyone is here." Amanda looked around and nodded.

"Okay, there has been a change in plans. We don't have all the information yet, except that it appears someone else had the same idea as we did and they moved in to help rescue SCOTUS. The UNIT teams had to move up our timetable and go into Fort Detrick a little earlier than we had planned. We know that they were successful in the operation and that they have left the area. We have been instructed to have you pack all of your belongings, the UNIT is moving to a new base. They are turning this over to the President's use, so all of their equipment is being packed up and sent to them. You will first be flying to CFB Kingston."

"CFB?" Amanda nodded. "Canadian Forces Base. Kingston is in the province of Ontario."

"They're moving the base to Canada?" Amanda shook her head. "No sir. That is just a waypoint. Most of those that took part in the operation will be heading there first to meet up with you and their equipment that will be going with you. Then everyone, well except for my team, we have been tasked with the protection of President Bryce and the others here at this base, will be making their way from there to Bermuda. The plan is to have everyone down at the new base in Bermuda by tomorrow morning at the very latest."

"Is that where our boys will be, Kingston?" She nodded. "That is my understanding." The adults of the family looked at each other with relief evident on their faces. It looked like their boys were okay.

Linda smiled at them. "It has been so good to get to know you all. I look forward to seeing all of you again. There is one other thing." She looked at the rescued children who were sitting together. "The children that you rescued from George Air Force Base will be staying here." She saw the look of surprise on Tim and Sara and as Tim started to open his mouth to protest, she smiled at him. "Except for Tim and Sara since they have been adopted by Christina and Oliver, they will be traveling with you." The two of them hugged in relief getting a smile from Linda.

She smiled at the rescued children. "We expect to be able to reunite you with your parents once we find out where they are being held in California and can get them freed." She turned her attention back to the adults. "We thought that if the children were in Bermuda or even Kingston, it would be a bit more difficult to get them back to their parents once we find them. By staying here with us at the base, they will be much closer to wherever their parents are and can be quickly returned to them. I will take charge of them and care for them until that is done. So you don't need to worry about them." She once again turned her attention to the rescued kids. "Is that okay with you guys?" The children grinned at the thought of seeing their parents again and nodded enthusiastically. She smiled at them. "So that means that you will need to pack your things up and bring them with you. I'm going to have you moved into our family's quarters." She looked at the rest. "You will need to pack all the gear for those who are not here."

Amanda spoke up with a quick look of apology to Linda. "Sorry ma'am, but I need to add something." She looked at the family. "I have one word of caution. When you pack the gear for the UNIT members, don't be surprised by what you may find among their gear and be careful of what you find. It is not unknown for us to have weapons including grenades, guns of various types and maybe some other weapons in our personal gear. Just handle whatever you find with care. Once it's all packed, let me know and I'll make sure it all gets loaded onto the plane that you will be taking. We've got breakfast being made in the mess hall for all those that are flying out. I will meet you there and you can tell me that you have everything packed and ready to go. After you have eaten, we will get you on board the plane and have you on your way to meet your sons. Any questions?"

"So your group is moving to Bermuda?" Amanda nodded. "Yes we have been told that Generals Hayes and Casey are establishing the main UNIT base there."

"Bermuda? Why there? Not that I mind much. I've always wanted to go, but why Bermuda?" Amanda chuckled. "That information has not been passed down to us yet. Perhaps when you get to Kingston, they will let you know. But first, we need to get you folks packed up, fed and then on your way there. Anything else?" No one said anything. "Okay, just leave your bags in here except what you wish to carry with you and I'll see you at breakfast." They thanked her and Linda before they left.

The pods were a whirl of activity for the next hour, as they packed everything that they could find. What Amanda had told them about the gear of the UNIT members did turn out to be true when they packed the gear for the Red Dragons. They did find a few surprises. They made sure that everything was carefully packed and ready to go. Once the baggage was ready they made one last sweep through the pods to make sure everything was packed and then headed to breakfast.

They saw quite a few soldiers eating as well and some of the civilians who were part of the Bryce administration grabbing a bite, too. Linda and Amanda were sitting at the end of one table and they waved for them to join them.

After breakfast it was time to go to the airfield and board their plane. At the bottom of the ramp of the helicopter that would be taking them to Hill AFB, the rescued kids went to the members of the family who had been taking care of them for the last few days and they hugged them all, thanking them for everything. There were a few tears. Lastly, they hugged Tim and Sara goodbye, before going over to join Linda and Amanda.

"Thank you so much, Linda. I hope we get to see you again."

"It was my pleasure. Say hello to your boys for me." The family turned and was directed up the ramp into the Chinook that they would be using. They were shown to some seats and had to sit there for a little while as more equipment was loaded into the main cabin. There were a couple of airmen who made them comfortable. Once everything was loaded, they heard the engines start up and soon enough they were on their way to Hill AFB.

It was only a half hour flight before they landed at Hill AFB. Once they were on the ground, they were directed down the back ramp to the tarmac. Looking around they could see a couple of Chinooks that were parked nearby and they saw equipment being unloaded from the Chinooks and loaded into C-130 cargo planes. They were directed to one of the planes and up the boarding ramp into the plane. Their carry on baggage was stowed by the airmen and they were made as comfortable as possible while some more equipment was loaded onboard, including the rest of the baggage. It was done quickly and they were soon given priority to take off and get on their way on the first part of the journey.

The first part of the flight was due north into Canada. Heading east first would bring them too close to the battle lines. They had been flying for about an hour when the passengers felt the plane begin to descend. The pilot came on the speakers.

"Ladies and gentleman, this is your Captain speaking. We are landing in CFB Suffield in the province of Alberta, Canada to top off our fuel tanks for the flight to Kingston as we do not have the range to fly the entire distance from Utah to Kingston on one tank of gas unless we go straight. We do not want to fly through an area that is now a war zone, so the Canadian Armed Forces are allowing us to land, top off and then continue our flight. We will then be flying in Canadian Airspace from here to CFB Kingston. Once the tanks are topped off, we'll soon be back in the air and on our way. Just relax, and we'll get you to your destination as quickly and safely as we can."

Each plane was parked and fuel trucks came alongside and the passengers were escorted off the planes and into a nearby building while they were refueled for safety and because it was very cold outside. Within half an hour, the tanks were topped off. While the passengers waited for the fueling to be finished, they watched the sun come up. Once the fueling was done they were escorted back aboard the plane. They thanked the Canadian Airmen who had been so nice to them. With the tanks topped off, the planes were once again taxiing out to the runway and taking off and turning east. Once they had leveled off the Captain came back on the speaker.

"Good morning folks. Our flight to CFB Kingston will be about four and half hours. So relax and enjoy the trip. We do not anticipate any delays and should be touching down in Kingston at one thirty local time since they are two hours ahead of us. Sit back and relax, we will do our best to make your flight a pleasant one."

Once the speaker went off, the adults moved the time on their watches two hours ahead, so that they would have the correct time when they arrived at Kingston. The flight was uneventful and due to their being awakened so early, the younger ones were soon asleep in their seats. The plane had been set up more for cargo rather than people. Their seats were nylon fold down seats, attached against the sides of the plane, so not the most comfortable way to travel. There were no reclining seats on this flight, but that didn't keep the kids from being able to sleep, held in place by the seat belts. They usually leaned to the side against one of their parents. Tim and Sara leaned against each other as they slept. Some of the adults were able to doze off for part of the flight. Down the middle of the plane was where the cargo was strapped down, including their luggage. They were allowed to get up and move around if they wished, but they needed to have their seat belts on when they were in their seats. Finally those who were awake felt the plane descending. They began to wake their neighbors who were still dozing. The speaker came on.

"Good Afternoon ladies and gentleman. We are currently on descent into CFB Kingston. Local time is 1330 hours. It is a cool fifty-five degrees outside or as they measure it here in Canada, thirteen degrees Celsius. Once we land, someone will be at the back ramp to assist you. Thank you for flying with us and I hope it wasn't too unpleasant a flight."

People began to wake up once the Captain's voice had come on the speaker and they were looking around and getting their bearings. A short time later they all felt the slight bump as the wheels touched the ground. Once it had slowed down enough, they felt the plane turn as it was directed to a place to park. Once the plane was shut down, they were allowed to get up from their seats and deplane down the back ramp. Once outside, they looked around and noticed a huge plane with US Air Force markings parked nearby. Wyatt was about to ask why the US plane was here on a Canadian Base, when several of them noticed something else. Parked near the large plane were four helicopters, one was black and had an unusual shape to it and the other three had US Army markings, except there was small round yellow insignia underneath the pilots window. They recognized the four helicopters. It was the Black Ghost, the Guns a Go-Go Chinook, the Hind and Dragon. They started looking around and a couple of UNIT soldiers came up to them.

"Ladies and Gentlemen if you will follow me please. The cargo needs to be unloaded and loaded into the C-5 over there." They waited for the family to follow them before they walked off and the family followed them to a nearby building."

They were directed away from the plane toward some nearby buildings. As they neared the building, they heard the sound of airplane engines. They turned to look and another of the C-130s that had flown with them from Utah came in for a landing. All of the kids wanted to stay and watch it land. The adults had to nearly drag them to the building. It took promises that they could watch from inside to get the younger kids to allow themselves to be brought to the building.

As they walked across the tarmac, the family noticed that around the buildings and the landed aircraft, were a large number of armed adults and kids. They saw that some of them had the UNIT crest on their uniforms and they were used to seeing UNIT kids in military uniforms, but there were also a bunch of young people of a similar age who were dressed a bit differently and had different insignia on their uniforms. They were curious about them and wondered if they were another part of the UNIT that they hadn't seen yet. They were stopped at the door and one of the UNIT soldiers escorting them spoke briefly to the men who were guarding the entrance to the building. The men nodded and stood to the side so that they could enter. As they passed the men, they saw that the insignia on their uniform said Blood's Honor, not the UNIT crest.

Inside the building they were taken up one flight of stairs into a lounge area with large windows looking out toward the runways. There were soon several young noses pressed against the glass to watch the other planes come in for a landing. "Please wait right here, someone will come to collect you in a moment." The boy then turned and left the room.

The youngest four boys were the most excited about watching the planes land. Sara soon got bored and turned away. Tim glanced at his sister and he seemed to be trying to decide whether to continue watching or sit next to his sister. Watching the planes land won out and he stood with the other boys watching them come in.

The adults had turned to the windows as well and watched when they heard a voice behind them. "Well is that any way to greet your parents?" Everyone turned around. Tim and Sara jumped off their chairs and ran across the room to where Christina and Oliver had just entered the room. The two younger kids jumped into the arms of their barely older than them parents. The adults of the family smiled at the family reunion. They looked beyond them, expecting to see their boys behind these two, but no one else entered the room and that caused them some concern. Chris noticed it and whispered something to Sara who nodded and let Chris lower her to the ground but held onto Chris' hand.

Chris smiled at them and headed toward them. "Glad to see you made it. The others are in another part of the building." She paused a moment. "Some of our people were hurt and we're tending to them. The others are getting some rest before we head off to the new base. We were just waiting for you and the equipment that came with you to arrive. Come with us, we'll take you to where the rest are waiting."

"Is everyone okay?" Chris hesitated before shaking her head. "No, we lost some of our brothers in the fight and some of the others were wounded."

Chris didn't say anymore but quickly led them through the building. At the end of a hallway she opened a door and they entered a large room. It looked sort of like an arrival and departure gate area at an airport, except there was a more utilitarian feel to it and there was no doubt that it was a military building. Near every door there was a guard of some sort. Some of the uniformed people were UNIT members, some were these Blood's Honor people and the others were regular Army or Marines. There were plastic chairs in rows throughout the room. In various parts of the room, they saw that the chairs had been moved around to give them room for cots that had people lying in them.

There were a group of cots in one area that were being used for the wounded. They were easy to pick out because of the bandages on some of the people in the cots and in some cases IV bags hanging off IV poles nearby. They were being tended by a variety of medical people in uniform. Others were occupied by those catching some sleep. In another area of the room there was a long table that was filled with food. The sight of the food made a few mouths water since they hadn't had much to eat other than snacks since very early that morning. Moving among the wounded they saw a familiar face.

"Brett!" Brett looked up from the UNIT member whose bandage he was checking and smiled. He looked down and patted the boy on the shoulder and headed over to his friends. He looked pretty tired as he neared them. "I'm so glad to see you all. I know you just got here and all and I hate to ask but could you give us a hand just checking that the patients are okay. Just check them out and let Janet over there know how everyone is doing."

"What about our boys. Are they alright?" Brett smiled and pointed to a group of cots with sleeping forms on them. Nearby they saw a couple of Brett's men sitting among them. Brett led them over there and sat down on a cot where a blond haired boy was sitting up and rubbing sleep from his eyes. About that time they noticed that not all of their boys were there. It was Cheryl who noticed it first, because she didn't see Ian among the other boys. Knowing what he could do, she looked around the room expecting to see him working with the other medics. When she didn't see him she looked at Brett.

"Brett, where's Ian?" The others realized that a couple of the other boys, Jamie, and Ethan were missing as well. He looked at Cheryl. "Some of us got separated and they ended up on another plane. They're all right so don't worry about that. They are probably already in Bermuda by now waiting for us at the new base." He noticed her look of relief and patted her shoulder. "They're fine. Our boys were not involved with the ground action, but you know with Ian's ability, he was needed to help with some of the wounded. I think he was in the plane that was carrying the people we rescued, the Supreme Court and the other government officials."

"You think?" Brett looked at her and saw that she looked concerned. "Sorry, poor choice of words. I've been told that that is where he is. So he, Jamie, Apollo and Ethan were on that plane helping." She nodded. While they spoke, there were some reunions going on with the boys who were here and their parents and little brothers.

Once they were satisfied their kids were alright, Brett brought the MDs among them over to Janet who was reviewing something on one of the UNIT tablets. She greeted them warmly before asking them if they would just check to see if any of the wounded soldiers both adult and child needed anything and let her know. Most of the people except the wounded were up and about.

Logan entered the room from a far door. He had been conferring with the base commander to get an idea of when the loading of all the gear and equipment would be accomplished so that they could be on their way to Bermuda. The flight to Bermuda would take seven to eight hours and he wanted to get going as soon as they could. The C-5 could probably make it in less time, but even the UNIT helicopters as fast as they were, couldn't keep up with the C-5, if it used its normal cruising speed. He wanted them near it, to make sure it was protected, since it would be carrying the members of their extended family to safety. He had seen the C-130s land, so he knew that Brett's friends and family members had arrived. He went over to spend a few minutes with them to assure them.

Several minutes later a formidable looking older lady in an US Marine Corps greens with General stars on her collars was escorted into the room by one of the UNIT members. He brought her over to Logan. Logan had stood up when he saw her enter and was waiting for her. He came to attention and saluted. She returned the salute and laid a briefcase down on a nearby table. She unlocked it and pulled a large manila folder out of it and handed it to Logan. "General Hayes, President Bryce asked me to deliver this to you personally and no one else." He nodded as he took the envelope and opened it. He reached in and removed an official looking folder. He opened the folder and quickly paged through the papers that were inside before closing it and putting it back into the large manila envelope. He saluted her. "Thank you Ma'am." She returned his salute and gave him a quick smile. "Good luck, young man."

She turned away from him and looked over the room silently. Logan gave a command. "ATTEN-HUT!" Those who were not sleeping came to attention and some of them began to wake up at the command. The Marine Corps General looked around the room. "As you were. My name, for those that don't know me, is General MacIntosh. The President has sent me here to make sure everyone is being taken care of and to take charge of the Soldiers and Marines who will be heading back to Hill Air Force Base with me. We will be leaving on the C-130's that just landed as soon as they are refueled for the return trip. I need those going to Hill, to get their gear together and start heading out to the C-130s and go aboard. Make sure that our wounded are brought to my plane and made comfortable for the flight. Once everyone is on board, we will depart." She turned and left the room.

A short time later, a US Air Force captain in a flight suit came into the room and went over to Logan. He spoke to him and Logan nodded. The officer left and Logan said something to Janet before he stood up.

"CAN I HAVE EVERYONE'S ATTENTION! Our ride out of here, the C-5 is loaded and we are ready to go. It's time to make sure we have everything. If we could have some help loading the wounded UNIT members into the aircraft, I would appreciate it." He looked at the Soldiers and Marines who were gathering their gear and the gear belonging to their wounded comrades. "I want to thank all of you men for helping us in this operation. We were successful even though we took losses. The next time we have to go into battle, I know that there will be men such as yourselves that we can depend on to help us accomplish what we need to do. Thank you once again for being with us and good luck."

He went over to the Blood's Honor guys and saluted their commander, Tony. "Thank you, sir. I'm sure we'll be seeing each other again. There is still a lot to do before we get that crazy jackass out of the White House and I'm sure both of us will be busy for a while yet until that is accomplished." They shook hands and then Tony pulled Logan into a quick hug. "Good luck." Logan nodded and went to help oversee the moving of the wounded UNIT members.

There was no shortage of hands to get the wounded out of the building and into the waiting plane. Janet directed them to take Khan into Dragon's treatment room and make him comfortable there. The rest were taken to the C-5. Janet conferred with the doctors among the family so that they had all of the information and supplies that they needed to care for the wounded that would be traveling with them. Outside, the parents once again were separated from their boys, since they would be traveling in the C-5 and the boys would be going in their normal transport, Dragon. Logan said goodbye to the base commander and gave him a final salute, before walking up the back ramp of Dragon and going into the command center at the front of the cabin.

In the C-5, the families at least had more comfortable seats than the ones that they'd had to use in the C-130. The C-5 had a passenger cabin with seats much like what would be found in a civilian airliner. The doctors among them, made sure that the wounded were comfortable before finding their own seats.

Once everyone was aboard and in their seats, the order was given. The four helicopters were soon rising into the late afternoon sky that was already starting to turn to dusk. They flew to the east where they took up position while the C-5 taxied to the end of the runway and took off. The helicopters took up escort positions once the C-5 was in at the chosen altitude of 7000'. Once they were away from prying eyes, the four helicopters turned on their stealth capabilities and took up escort positions. Dragon and Black Ghost to the front and the Guns a Go Go and the Hind in the rear. If anyone saw them, it would appear that the C-5 was flying alone. Back in the control tower at CFB Kingston, the radar operator called his supervisor over to his station.

"Sir, four of the aircraft that just left here have vanished from my screen. I see no other planes in the sky near to them. I saw no missile launches to indicate SAM activity." The officer looked at the screen for a moment before going over to the communications console. He keyed the transmitter.

"UNIT 1, this is Kingston, do you copy? Over."

"Kingston, UNIT 1. Read you five by five. Over."

"UNIT 1, Kingston. Is there a problem? We have lost radar contact with some of your aircraft. Over."

The officer thought he detected a quickly suppressed giggle over the radio before anyone spoke. "Kingston, UNIT 1. Negative. All aircraft are accounted for. Over."

"UNIT 1, Kingston. Very well. Safe flight. Kingston Out."

The supervisor went over to the radar console. "Run a diagnostics on the scope. It was probably a computer glitch or it may be because they are smaller aircraft. Maybe they are flying close enough to the plane that their radar signature has merged with it." The young airman nodded. "Yes sir."

At Fort Drum in New York, an Air Traffic Control Senior Airman called the watch officer to his panel. "Sir, I've been tracking a large aircraft that flew out from CFB Kingston. It has just turned east into US airspace near the Maine and Vermont border." He pointed at the radar signature on his screen. The officer watched for a few moments before straightening back up. "Do we know who they are?" The airman glanced at the watch officer and shook his head. "Not exactly sir. They do have the proper IFF, but since they have flown in from Canadian airspace, I thought I should bring it to your attention, sir. Do you want me to attempt to contact them, sir? The officer shook his head. "No, just in case they are not what they appear to be, we don't want to alert them that we've detected them." He clapped the Airman on the shoulder. "Good job Jenkins."

He walked over to his desk and picked up a phone. "This is Captain Landry. Contact Hancock Field and have them scramble four Falcons to check out an unidentified aircraft that just entered US airspace from Canada near the Maine and Vermont border flying east. Tell them to eyeball it and if necessary force it to land at the Burlington Air National Guard Base so we can determine who it is." The Captain hung up the phone, grabbed a headset and went back over to where Jenkins was watching the radar scope. He pulled a chair over to sit in, plugged his headset in and dialed in the tactical frequency that the F-16 Falcons would be using. Fifteen minutes later at Hancock Field, four Falcons took to the sky and headed east.

They had been flying east for a little while when Dusty spoke up. "Hey Sean. Y'all might wanna take a look to the south into New York. Drake just tole me that he heard something about some Falcons being ordered to fly east to check out an unidentified plane. Drake thinks they meant us." Sean glanced at his laptop where a young teen dressed up like a cowboy was looking at him from the screen and made some quick movements with his MYO. A radar screen popped up on the large central monitor in front of him. He looked at it for a moment and started to nod. He glanced at his laptop. "Thanks Dusty and you too Drake." He started to get up and walk over to where Eve and Logan were sitting, but Logan stopped him. "I heard Sean, thanks." Sean nodded and sat back down.

Logan and Eve looked at the radar display in front of him and they found the symbols that indicated the fighter aircraft. They watched it long enough to be sure that the planes were heading their way before keying his headset. "All UNIT forces, this is Logan. We are tracking four F-16's heading our way. They will be here in a few minutes to look us over. I guess it was too easy to think we could sneak by. Runt, what is your weapon status?"

"Two AIM's and some ammo for the guns, but that's it." Logan grimaced when he heard the news. "I didn't even think to ask if the Canadians would let us rearm. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid." Eve punched him on the shoulder to get his attention. She was frowning at the younger boy. "Forget that General, find what assets you have and figure out how to use them." He rubbed his shoulder where she had punched him and gave her a quick smile of thanks. She winked at him and turned back to her console. "Veny, what do you have in the Hind?"

"Pretty much the same as the Ghost, a couple of AIMs and some gun ammo. I have a few 2.75 rockets left in one of the pods, maybe I can get lucky."

"Billy, what's your status?"

"Ammo bins for the guns are low, but that's it. Don't know how much we can do against fighters."

"Chris what about Dragon?"

"Ammo bins for the dual Gatling's are about half, maybe a bit less. No rockets or missiles."

Logan thought for a moment noting the approach of the fighters. He knew that they would be here soon. "Runt and Veny, bring the Black Ghost and the Hind in behind the C-5 and drop back a little. Dragon and Chinook will take up flanking positions on the C-5. Keep your stealth up and we'll try to ambush them. Runt and Billy, try to make your shots count and try to take them out with your AIMs. Maybe we'll get all four in the first pass if they look like they're going to be hostile. Your discretion as to whether they look hostile or I give you the order to fire. Dragon and Chinook will be back up with their guns, but we don't come roaring in to help unless absolutely necessary. Neither of us is built for Air to Air combat. Maybe they'll just take a look and see the Air Force markings and let us go. Captain Servin, continue present course and speed unless I tell you otherwise. We need to protect you. Remember you're just a harmless Air Force transport plane. Make sure you have your flares and chaff ready to deploy, just in case."

All of the pilots acknowledged their orders and they began to reorient themselves. The Black Ghost and the Hind fell back from the C-5 several hundred feet and then matched speed with her. Logan watched the radar as the fighters neared their position. When they were near, Logan keyed his mic. "Eyes open, watch your six, here they come."

Outside it was dark but the night vision capabilities of the pilots made the night bright enough to see the four jets easy enough to see as they slowed down to match the speed of the C-5 and slowly move forward.

Sean with Dusty's help, had found the frequency that the New York based Falcons were using. He monitored it and piped the information to the consoles that Logan and Eve were using so that they could hear what was going. "Logan. I have the pilots on channel 5." Logan nodded and switched to that channel

"Unidentified aircraft. This is Captain Ballard of the 138th Fighter Squadron. Where are you bound?"

"This is Captain Servin. We are bound for the Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth."

There was silence from the fighter for a few moments. "Negative Captain, you are directed to divert to Burlington Air National Guard Base. Acknowledge."

Captain Servin didn't answer right away. Sean suddenly spoke up. "Logan, um,sir, I was so focused on what was going on, I missed something." Logan looked over at Sean. "What is it?" Sean pointed at his screen. "There's four more aircraft headed our way from New York airspace. They'll be here in just a few minutes. They took off a short time after these four.

"Oh shit." Logan had a surprised look as he too had missed the other aircraft. Eight F-16 Falcons. He didn't know if they would make it out of here, but they had to protect the C-5. He keyed his mic. "All aircraft prepare to drop stealth and take out as many of the Falcons as you can. Captain Servin, when I give the order to fire, bug out and get your plane to Bermuda as quick as you can. We'll cover you the best that we can. Everyone remember what you did against those Apaches, blink in and out, keep em' guessing where we are. If any head after the C-5, take it down. Get ready."

"Captain, acknowledge or I will fire on you."

"All UNIT Aircraft, FIRE! Captain, get the hell out of here!"

The four fighters were in position, two to the rear of the C-5, one on each flank. Captain Ballard was just about to contact the C-5 and give them one more chance, when he saw it surge forward and at the same time, four more blips appeared on the radar, one on each side of the C-5, and two were behind them.

"Where the fuck did they come from?" Suddenly two bright flashes came from behind him and he glanced back for a second and saw two of his fighters explode. He glanced around as he tried to see what had attacked them. His eyes opened wide as saw a Chinook helicopter on his flank and then he couldn't see it. He saw another large helicopter near his wingman and saw the tracer rounds from the dual Gatling guns under the nose of it spit fire as it transected the cockpit of the fighter. Smoke poured out of it, as his wingman's plane turned and dropped off away from them trailing smoke.

"SHIT!" He made a quick turn to line up on the Chinook, but couldn't find it. There was a warning tone from his instrument panel and he fired flares and chaff as he made a sharp turn. The missile flew into the flares behind him and exploded. He was looking around trying to see who had attacked him. There was nothing that he could see or on his radar.

"Captain Ballard, this is Captain Daley. What happened to your flight?"

"I don't know. I saw a couple of helicopters and they fired at us, but I can't see them now."

"Helicopters? Are you sure?"

"That's what I saw, a Chinook or something like that with twin rotors and then another big helicopter."

"Hang tight, we'll be right there."

Ballard continued to look around and try to find out who was shooting at him. His eyes glanced between what he could see outside and what he could see with his radar. He saw a blip appear on his radar and then he heard a missile lock warning. He turned away firing flares and chaff once again. He looked and saw a another large helicopter, but this one was different than the other one who had shot his wingman down, this one was a Russian attack helicopter. What the hell was a Russian attack helicopter doing here? He quickly lined up a shot and fired one of his missiles at it as soon as he got a lock.

What happened next shocked him. Just as he fired his missile he saw four small rockets heading toward him and then the Hind disappeared. His missile flew harmlessly by where the Hind had been. He was shaken from his shock when he heard and felt some bullets hit his plane. He looked to his right and could barely make out the shape of another smaller fast moving helicopter shooting at him. He rolled left and away, unfortunately he rolled toward the rockets. When he realized what he'd done, he made a quick jink and he felt a shudder from the back of his plane. He glanced at his instrument panel and saw there was a warning light concerning his control surfaces. When he looked back up again there was nothing to see out there.

"Daley, get the hell up here quick. They're everywhere and I can't get a lock."

"We…oh shit!"

Ballard looked up and saw two fireballs that used to be fighter planes, just as he felt his fighter shudder again and felt shells hitting his fighter and red warning lights lit up his panel. He was going down. He pulled the ejection lever and shot free from his fighter as it plunged to the ground. A few minutes later he was looking up as four helicopters seemed to appear out of thin air.

Inside Dragon's command center, they saw two of the oncoming Falcons suddenly disappear from the radar. Logan looked around. "What happened? Where did that come from?" A voice came on one of the frequencies that they were monitoring. "Unidentified aircraft, do you need some assistance sir?" Logan quickly flipped a switch so that they could all hear the speaker and answered him. "Yes sir, we've got several fighters on our butts and we're nearly out of ammo."

"Well let me contact the aggressor and ascertain his intentions. Attacking aircraft, this is Major Dwight Smiley of the Maine Air National Guard. Do you wish to engage?" The two remaining Falcons turned around and lit their afterburners as they headed south. "I didn't think so. You are clear sir. We will escort you to international waters before we return to base."

"Thank you Major. One of their pilots ejected sir."

"Yes sir, we saw that. There is an SAR helicopter en route to his expected touchdown location. We'll take care of him, sir."

"Thank you Major." Logan switched to the UNIT frequency. "Captain Servin, come on back. All UNIT aircraft disengage stealth."

"Acknowledged sir. On our way."

A few minutes later they were back in formation with the C-5, shadowed by the six F-16s of the Maine Air National Guard. Once they were well off the coast of Maine, Major Smiley contacted them once again. "We're heading back to base sir. Next time contact us first before you fly through our airspace so that we can make sure you are properly escorted. So that there are no further such difficulties."

Logan smiled. "Thank you for the assist, Major. I'll remember that. Can I ask you, Major how you happened to be in the area?"

"When we detected the fighters flying east from New York airspace and entering Vermont airspace and turning north, my commander told me to fly up here with some of my pilots and find out what sort of mischief they might be planning."

"Understood, sir. Thank you once again. UNIT 1 out."

Now that they were well out to sea, they relaxed a little bit, but Eve and Sean both kept a close eye on all radars. Sean had Dusty and Drake keep their ‘eyes' open as well. Logan headed back into the main cabin to check on everyone, and make sure that they were okay. He checked with Janet, who was picking a few things up off the floor, where they had fallen out of one of the cabinets when they went into combat against the jets. She gave him a look that caused him to look down in embarrassment. She went over to him and hugged him. "Next time try to give me a little more notice, than ‘Hey Mom, you should brace yourself', then the next thing I hear is FIRE!"

"Sorry Mom. I almost forgot to warn you. Are you okay. How about Khan?"

"I'm right here Logan. A little bumped around, but I'm fine. I take it we won?"

"Yep. We were able to take out two of the four Falcons in the first pass. Then Dragon took out one of the fighters. Oh that reminds me, I should go up front and congratulate them on the good shooting. Then I think one of the other two helicopters, must have hit one of the last of the four fighters, because the fighter ejected and the plane went down. The problem was that there were four more Falcons joining the party, until six fighters from the Maine Air National Guard showed up and took out two of them, before the last two bugged out. We're over the Atlantic now and should be landing in Bermuda in about five or six hours. So try and relax and get some sleep. It should be an easy flight from this point.

The rest of the flight was an easy flight as Logan had expected. At about 2300 Atlantic Time, Captain Servin radioed that he had permission to land and the C-5 began its descent into L. F. Wade International Airport on Saint David's Island in Bermuda. As they neared Bermuda, Logan, ordered the helicopters to engage their stealth package once again. Once they saw that the C-5 had landed safely, the helicopters turned to the southwest and headed to the UNIT base in the Great Sound near Hog Bay. The base had been the Naval Air Station Bermuda Annex and had been abandoned for some time. Now it was to be the UNIT's base.

There was a small welcoming committee waiting for them when they landed. Adam was right in front waiting for his favorite guy. There were a lot of very tired people coming out of the helicopters. The wounded that still needed care were made comfortable. Everyone else was all shown to temporary housing for the night. More permanent housing would be arranged in the morning. Sean and the others were glad to see that their brothers were safe and sound. An hour later, their families were ferried to the base by bus from the airport. Once everyone was on base and settled in for the night, the base settled down as well for the rest of the night, except for those on guard duty or who were awake enough to indulge in other pursuits.

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