Castle Roland

Dawns Early Light
Book II
Broad Stripes
and Bright Stars

by Ken Barber


Chapter 3

Published: 29 Oct 15

Broad Stripes and Bright Stars
Dawn's Early Light Book II

Copyright © 2015 by Ken Barber and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Broad Stripes LogoBucky just stood there, the words playing over and over again in his head. "He's gone Bucky."

"SEAL, snap out of it."

He shook his head to see General Lamont staring at him. "My apologies sir." He keyed his mic.

"Understood, Godfather is KIA, Snoops, you are now Number 2, I want the snipers' weapons free. Hit anything that moves out there."

"Got it, snipers in position, now. Boat crews moving into positions to augment Mike November Gulf."

"Romeo, this is Juliette we need a priority put on counter battery. We are getting shredded out here."

"This is Romeo, priority on counter battery. We are using drones to attempt to identify enemy arty and take them out."

"Juliette, this is Redcoat 1, first wave en route."

"Roger Redcoat, have 1st Company move to 310829, link up with the Maine State Guard and reinforce the right flank. That's our escape route, hold it to the last man."

"Understood, Juliette, No Retreat. No Surrender. Redcoat 1 will advise when in position, out."

Bucky looked around the room and spotted the governor talking with what appeared to be the state police commander. "Excuse me, Governor, may I have a moment of your time?"

The Governor looked up and started to get pissed. "What do you want?"

Bucky nodded. "First sir, allow me to apologize for being so rude, that was uncalled for and unprofessional. Our interactions with politicians of late have been less than helpful. I can see sir, you are committed to your people and are doing everything in your power to protect them. I respect that sir."

Governor Masson softened a little. "Thank you Commander, I appreciate that. We are all under a lot of stress and we all need to remember we are on the same side."

"Thank you sir. Now I think there is a way for you to be very helpful."

"How is that, Commander?"

"Well sir, the right flank is weak and if the enemy hits it again before we get serious reinforcements in place, it will collapse. If that happens we will be cut off and the enemy troops will have a clear shot to the very civilians we are trying to protect here."

The Governor stood up. "That's not an option, what do you need me to do, Commander?"

"Law enforcement sir. Pull every state, and local cop you can get your hands on, get them here to this area. Understand they are going to be forward of our lines. Set up an ambush along this power corridor, it's the most likely route. Hit them fast and then fall back through the lines to here, set up a reserve here. If they start to break through we will use the cops as a Quick Response Force to plug holes."

The governor looked at the map and then at Bucky, he smiled and turned to the commander of the state police. "Major Vitec, you heard the man, let's get moving and for god sakes someone get me a weapon." He didn't wait for a response but ran out of the command center with the cops chasing right behind him.

The general looked at Bucky and smiled. "Commander, you got a talent, that man, while a friend has been driving me crazy."

"I just hope he does what he has to."

The radio distracted them. "This is Redcoat 1 on the ground with 1st Company. We should be in position in about twenty minutes."

General Lamont picked up the MIC. "Roger Redcoat, glad to have you with us."

"Wouldn't miss it for anything, it has been every Royal Marine's dream since 1776 to reinvade the colonies."

"Funny, Redcoat. You're moving into a hornet's nest and be advised you have a delaying force to your front, comprised of civilian law enforcement. We expect the heaviest attack to hit you."

"Bloody Hell, are your coppers going to give the enemy speeding tickets."

"That's our plan."

"You Americans are nuts. I love it, Redcoat out."

"Juliette, this is Romeo be advised mechanized infantry to your front and a heavy armor battalion with infantry support approaching your right flank. Fifteen minutes out."

Bucky took a deep breath and keyed the radio. "Here they come, get your heads down, artillery will come first and when it stops they are going to attack. Redcoat you need to pick up your speed. Romeo focus on counter battery and then the line troops. Take care of the artillery."

"Romeo roger. We have a shit load of enemy air coming right at us, you have no air support until we clear it."

"Damn it, make it quick Romeo and get me the rest of the troops on the ground asap."

Just as he said it, a sound similar to a distant thunderstorm peeled through the night. The general picked up his radio. "INCOMING!"

The rounds started to land and the radio became a jumble of reports all at once. Then the artillery stopped. Bucky looked around. "That was way too short."

"This is Romeo artillery neutralized with naval guns."

Bucky was close to screaming. "That's what I am talking about Romeo."

The sound of small arms and heavy weapons fire started slightly and picked up in speed and intensity all across the front. The one thing Bucky did not want to hear came across the radio.

"Maine State Guard to command we cannot hold, we are falling back."

Bucky glanced over at the general. "Sir, right flank is close to collapsing."

The general didn't respond but kept giving orders to the those around him.

"Maine State Guard, this is Governor Masson you hold damn it, reinforcements are right behind you. Hold with everything you have."

"Maine State Guard this is Redcoat 1 we are coming in on your six. Hold your positions."

"We are trying but you better hurry up."

"Maine Law Enforcement engaging enemy infantry we will try to delay them as long as we can."

"This is Maine command. Law enforcement do not get pinned down, hit and move before the enemy can react."

"Roger command falling back to secondary positions."

"This is Juliette, law enforcement pull all the way back, I am going to let them feel the big guns."

The general picked up his radio. "Governor you need to fall back to 303517."

"Understood falling back."

"New Jersey, this Juliette fire mission, over."

"Juliette, this is New Jersey fire mission."

"Grid 305814 enemy armor in wood line, over."

"Grid 305814, roger."

"Fire when ready."

"One round on the way."

"This is Maine State Guard. North 100, west 175, over."

"Roger, north 100 west 175." The radio was silent for a moment. "On the way."

"Target, target fire for effect."

"Fire for effect, three rounds HE on the way."

"Holy Shit that's artillery, enemy tanks deploying linear. That slowed them a bit."

"Redcoat 1, we are in position now and 2nd company is coming in fast, I am deploying them a little closer, need air cover to get the choppers closer to the front lines."

"This is Maine Air Guard we have your birds on radar and are moving into escort positions."

"Juliette, this is Romeo. Mechanized brigade to your direct south moving fast into attack formation."

Bucky and Lamont grabbed thermal binoculars and looked out. Lamont turned around and looked at the staff. "The right flank was a feint, we need everything we can get on our center NOW!"

Bucky grabbed the radio. "Romeo, we are in trouble here we need suppressive fire and more troops on the ground, we cannot hold."

Norris's voice came across the radio. "Roger Juliette, help is on the way, hold as long as you can."

"Sir, it won't be very long before we are seriously outgunned here."

"I am on my way. New Jersey is tasked with your right flank. All other ships will concentrate fire on the center and left flank."

"Roger Romeo."

Bucky and the general began to maneuver the bulk of their remaining troops to face the biggest threat. The navy ships began shelling the advancing enemy and it was helping to slow them, but they just kept coming.

The enemy commander sent in his attack helicopters to hit the Maine front line. The Navy SEALs and Maine National Guard used every air defense tool they had and knocked a few down before they withdrew.

The choppers had done their job, the enemy Bradley's were now in range and their 20mm chain guns were tearing into the hasty defense structures like they were made of cardboard. The enemy infantry began deploying as the armored vehicles kept the defenders heads down. The sound of the naval gun fire continued and strangely sounded like it was getting closer.

Just as the enemy was about to breach the center of the defenses, Bucky heard a strange buzzing sound getting closer and closer from behind. It sounded like chainsaws, hundreds of them. He spun around just in time to see a large mass of ATV's break out from between the houses to his rear and race to the front line. They flew over the defenses with rifles, pistols, shotguns and assault rifles firing.

Bucky almost laughed as he watched the startled infantry attacking his front falter a little as the strange mounted charge cut right through their center and kept going right past their armored vehicles, throwing a couple improvised explosives and knocking a few out of the battle as they passed and then they disappeared into the woods.

Bucky looked at the general. "What the fuck was that?"

"Hell if I know, but let's take advantage of it....HOLY SHIT!" He pointed to their east out to the port area and there streaming to the port was the Carrier Group HMS Illustrious with her escorts and the troop carriers. The guns from the escorts keeping up a constant rate of fire as they moved. The enemy brigade saw this also and the troops faltered and started to fall back.

The troop carriers turned toward the shore and a mass of amphibious vehicles began pouring out of the bows. The vehicles raced to the shore and flew up onto the embankment. As they approached the defensive line, they stopped and the troopers of the 1st Squadron 2nd ACR stormed to the front line and added their firepower to help push the enemy back.

Bucky almost chucked as he watched one vehicle break from the rest and head towards the command center. A traditional Red and White Cavalry Pennant flying from the antenna. The vehicle stopped and Colonel Rodriguez jumped out. He looked at Bucky and smiled and then walked over to the general.

"General, Lieutenant Colonel Felix Rodriguez, Commander 1st Squadron 2nd Dragoons. You picked a fine piece of land to defend, General."

The general chuckled."Never did meet a Cav trooper without a flair for dramatics and you're no different. But I am damn glad to see you."

Felix smiled a big one. "Sir, my Apache and Bull troops are reinforcing the front line and Comanche and Delta troops are moving to the right flank. My artillery and helicopters are setting up near the airport and will be ready to join the battle soon."

One of the general's staff walked over. "Sir, reports from all units, enemy is pulling back and in full retreat. Should we push them sir?"

The general stood there staring out at the battlefield. "Sir, should we push them?"

"No, all units stand fast. Refortify and resupply."

"Yes sir."

Felix nodded. "The Royal Marines are almost fully deployed, if we can hold here until the 32nd Marines arrive we will be ready to counter attack."

General Lamont nodded. "Make it happen, gentlemen."

0947 EST 18 November 2012
Portland, Maine

Governor Masson, General Lamont, Bucky and Felix all stood watching the helicopter come in for a landing. A light snow had started to fall right before sunrise and the air had that early winter chill.

As the chopper touched down Governor Masson started forward but stopped when Bucky grabbed his arm. He pointed to the security detail pouring out of the bird and establishing a perimeter. A few seconds later Admiral Norris, Commodore Chase, Commander Myers and a team of staffers disembarked from the helicopter and started walking toward them.

Bucky nodded to the governor and all four met the Admiral's team halfway.

"Admiral Norris, I am Governor Masson and this is General Lamont." The governor reached out his hand and shook the admiral's.

"Governor, I would like to say it's a pleasure but when the United States Navy invades the State of Maine I just don't see any pleasure in that. This is Commodore Chase, commander of our British allies. I assume we have somewhere we can get out of the snow to get down to business."

Bucky waved and a group of Humvees pulled up. The group piled into them and raced off to a hangar that had become the new command center. When they arrived, Norris pulled Bucky and Felix aside and waited for everyone to go in before them.

"Gentlemen, as soon as we are done here, Bucky I need a boat crew to meet Commander Rosewood at the airport and accompany him to Bath Iron Works. Felix I need you to get some recon behind enemy lines and see if the General Dynamics Ordnance plant in Saco is still standing. Assess damage and usability, we have to start looking at logistics."

They walked into the hangar and Norris paused to look around. He shook his head and walked over to where the governor and general were talking.

"Governor, General can we get started?"

General Lamont nodded. "Of course, Admiral." He walked to the front of the room. "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN FIND A SEAT. NOW!"

Norris smiled and nodded. "Thank you for your attention everyone. I will have a tactical meeting with just the military personnel when we are done. But first we need to look at reviving infrastructure with an emphasis on power, heat and medical."

"I need the best and brightest people to look at the power issue. How did Ashwood cut it off and how can we take control of the grid?"

He paused and waited silently for a few seconds. "That is your cue to give me answers."

A man in a dusty sport coat stood up. "Admiral sir, Mark Wright, Chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission. I am not sure if this is the answer you are looking for but I do not believe we can disconnect ourselves from the grid."

Another man stood. "That's not entirely accurate, Admiral."

Norris nodded at the man. "And you are?"

"Sorry sir, Jerry Brent, Chief Engineer at Cape Gas Turbine Power Generating Station in South Portland."

"Tell us what you're thinking, Jerry."

"The American Grid system is designed to push power to areas as it's needed. The failsafe comes into play when a power generator goes down or offline, the grid shifts power to that area leeching off other areas. If the blackout area grows, due to overuse or further failures, the relay stations start auto tripping and shutting the power flow to the blackout area. We are not sure how, but it looks like someone ordered all relay stations to trip off at once."

"Can we turn them back on?"

"Sure, but it's not that easy, we would have to deprogram each station and then reprogram it to not accept power requests from outside our area."

"Who can do this reprogramming?"

"Well, my team and the team from Westbrook Energy could reprogram all the relay stations around Portland. There is one problem, though, sir, my facility is pretty badly damaged and I can't get it up and running without a major overhaul. The Number 2 turbine took an artillery shell that was being fired at your ships as they came down the channel."

"Can Westbrook Energy provide enough power for the city?"

The woman sitting next to Jerry stood up. "Admiral, we could give you emergency power for a few weeks, but it will put a strain on our natural gas generators. If we could get the hydro electric generators near Lewiston running, we could keep basic lights and some heat for the winter."

"Thank you. You only need to get us some power and keep it running for a week. I have some assets en route that will augment your power capabilities. Jerry, I need you to figure out how to get your facility online as quickly as possible. We need to get Portland powered and then work north from there. Canada Power will begin to supply power southward once you have Maine's power grid separated and under our full control."

"That's going to be the other part. In order to remove the transfer stations from the grid, we have to do it manually. We will need a team to go to each station and physically disconnect from the stations outside of our area."

"We will make that happen. Jerry, you are now in charge of power supply for the State of Maine."

Norris noticed Governor Masson bristle a little. "We don't have a lot of time and I expect everyone to work as quickly as possible. You will be assisted by US Military. Remember, these ladies and gentlemen are warriors first and foremost; they operate in the most efficient way possible. They don't tolerate squabbles and political drama, so bear with them if they seem abrupt and demanding. Any questions on power?"

"Very well. Medical services. Maine Medical Center will be our top priority to get back to fully functioning. Doctors and nurses from other hospitals and medical centers will be reallocated to MMC until it is fully staffed. We will then turn our focus to Mercy Medical. Let me be clear to all the healthcare providers, you are volunteers. We need every medical expert we can find to treat the injured and ill. The Health Care Systems of Maine are now under control of the US Navy."

There was some murmuring in the group.

"If you have a problem with this, you can join the refugees in Canada, if you stay you will be overworked, understaffed and undersupplied. But if you stay you are helping to secure your great state and this great nation.

"I will remind you that I have over 7500 soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen now stationed in Maine. Not one of them has received pay since this war started and yet not one of them has asked for it. Every day they go into combat and risk their lives to right the wrongs done to you, the people of this country. They haven't heard from their families and loved ones in weeks, and have no clue if they are alive or dead. So I am going to ask this simple question, are you going to give your all to help us restore the United States to its greatness?"

Governor Masson walked up to Norris and stood beside him. "YES WE ARE!"

Jerry Brent stood up, "YES WE ARE!"

A few more people stood up. "YES WE ARE!"

More and more people stood and soon the whole room was standing and chanting "YES WE ARE!"

As the meeting broke up, Governor Masson approached the admiral as he was talking to Myers.

"Admiral, have you ever considered a career in politics?"

It took Myers everything she had to not bust out laughing. Norris just looked at her and then the Governor. "Not my game, Governor."

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