Castle Roland

Dawns Early Light
Book II
Broad Stripes
and Bright Stars

by Ken Barber


Chapter 12

Published: 22 Sep 16

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

Copyright © 2015 - 2016 by Ken Barber and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved

1605 EST 22 November 2012
USS Ronald Reagan
Off the Coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Broad Stripes LogoAdmiral Norris stared at the name on the screen for a few moments before looking down at the file in front of him.

Operation Starshine

He looked up as the president began speaking again. "Ladies and Gentlemen we now have the upperhand. We know the enemy's objectives and let me tell you it's terrifying. I am going to pass this off to Gregory Penn, the National Security Advisor. The file in front of you contains all the Operation Objectives we have uncovered so far, but Mr. Penn is going to highlight some and explain their impact on us. Mr. Penn."

Norris leaned over and whispered to Myers. "Who is this guy?"

"Sir Mr. Penn was Deputy Director of CIA, Intelligence, during President Bryce's last term, last time." She got a slightly confused look on her face. "That's weird to say, anyway you met him yesterday when the president's advance team arrived."

"Oh right, he looks like a mouse."

Myers suppressed a chuckle. "You said that yesterday sir."

They both looked up when Mr. Penn cleared his throat. "Mister President, ladies and gentlemen. The enemy as we know them have been planning this for much longer than Ashwood has been President…."

Bucky raised his hand and Penn seemed confused to be interrupted already. "Yes sir, you have a question."

Bucky smiled. "You do mean longer than Ashwood WAS President, right."

"Umm. Yes my apologies." He paused and took a deep breath. "As I was saying. The plans predate Ashwood's Presidency. There have been people in place pulling the strings to line this up for decades if not centuries."

Norris looked up. "Centuries? How is that possible."

"Sir, in order for this to happen the way it did all the pieces of the puzzle had to fit and the timing had to be right. We can trace the puzzle back and see things lining up, back at the turn of the 20th century. Now I think Ashwood is the perfect storm for this group. However…."

Lieutenant Payne stood up. "Mister Penn, when you say this group I presume you are referring to this God's Army?"

"Yes... also known as Army of God and AoG. Some of you may have already gotten wind of this group but the actual details are slim, basically we know they exist and that's about all. Ashwood is obviously a member, if not the current head. Their first mistake was they started this too early and they didn't count on President Bryce re-entering the picture. Take for instance Objective 1 sub entry D, the removal of military opposition. We have all seen this happening but it was not complete, as is evident by you Admiral Norris and your people being here today. Basically what it boils down to is we interrupted their plan, more specifically President Bryce did. Their second mistake was their plan is too rigid. Take for instance this point here…"

The screen changed and one of the objectives was enlarged.

Use of Strategic Nuclear assets to prevent outside interference is authorized and essential.

Use must be limited to prevent all out exchange of nuclear weapons.

Carrier Task Force 9 should be only battle group authorized to use strategic Nuclear assets. (This task force is like super Ashwood loyal from what I am hearing.)

Use of strategic Nuclear Assets will be limited to the European theatre.

"The note following this bullet point here…" He used a laser pointer to indicate the third bullet. "Is from our main source, he was deep inside the Ashwood administration. You, Admiral Norris, really messed up their plans. Once they disrupted communications and we were able to gain control over the Nation's Nuclear Arsenal there was no way to keep the British Empire, France and Canada out of the fight."

Norris looked at the file in front of him. "Mister Penn, excuse the interruption, but are you telling me we have control of the Nuclear Arsenal?"

Penn smiled. "Yes and no sir. President Bryce's staff was able to access NORAD controls and manipulate the date to January 20, 2013 at 11:45 am."

Norris chuckled. "Well damn that was brilliant, during the inauguration NORAD controls the arsenal. The outgoing president's codes are deactivated and the incoming president's codes are not yet active."

"Right Admiral, there is a one hour window from 11:45 am to 12:45 pm during every transition where our nuclear arsenal would be offline. Except NORAD takes control. They do not have preemptive strike authorization but they can counter strike. The point is the old codes are deactivated and the new codes are activated. The issue is we do not have a launch control panel and no matter how much we try, we cannot hack into launch controls."

Norris stood and started pacing. "So Ashwood has the control panels but not the right codes, President Bryce has the codes but no panel."

"Correct Admiral, so the nuclear arsenal is out of play."

Norris stopped pacing and looked right at President Bryce. "No it's not. The Ballistic Missile Submarine fleet still has the manual override. In times like these, if the automated launch system is down, the sub will receive a manual launch code. The captain and XO will authenticate the code and use the dual key launch system to launch their missiles. Any change to the codes at NORAD creates an automated repeating message. The next time any sub in the Ballistic fleet raises its antenna, the authorization codes are changed automatically and the system sends a signal back to NORAD letting it know it received the codes. The crew on the subs have no control over it." He turned and looked at Payne. "Payne I need to know if NORAD is still transmitting the message. It will continue to transmit until all the subs automated systems acknowledge receipt. Fort Worth is a relay, as is Jason Dunham, pull their ELF logs and see if there is a message from NORAD hidden in the background and see if it's still repeating."

Payne stood up, walked to the side of the room and picked up a phone. He began speaking in a hushed but hurried tone.

Norris looked back up to Penn. "Mister Penn, Lieutenant Payne will let us know the status of our Fleet Arsenal in a moment, would you continue please."

"Umm of course Admiral. Ok... so the rest of the objectives are pretty shocking. It appears they intended to create an economic collapse in the United States and then rush in and act the saviors. The only issue is this will create global economic collapse. Some of our allies and other private entities are holding the value of our dollar up but they can't hold it forever. It's already starting to put a strain on the allies' currencies."

"How do we stop that?" The question came from General Rose.

"There is only one answer to that General, win the war and fast. Admiral Norris is already re-creating infrastructure here in the Northeast. We need to get the West Coast back up and running. Agriculture and manufacturing need to get started ASAP. For example Raytheon Industries here in Massachusetts is a strategic and economic powerhouse. They not only make and supply missile guidance systems to the US, they supply avionics and guidance worldwide, most importantly to our allies. Each and every industry we get back up and running bolsters the GDP, which bolsters the dollar."

Norris rose and looked at the map on the side. "Waltham Mass. is just outside our line, we could push in and secure it."

General Rose walked over to the tactical map. "Shit Admiral you need more troops, you're stretched thin already."

Norris looked over at him with his eyebrows raised. "Tell me something I don't know."

"That I am working on gentlemen." Both turned and looked at President Bryce. "Secretary Gutierrez is in route to India, right now to try to get them to assist. The Israelis have already committed to intel gathering. I was going to save this for a surprise later but the German Army has committed the entire 21st Panzer Brigade and they will arrive early next week, all 4100 men with their equipment, including the 203rd Panzer Battalion with all forty-four of its Leopard 2A6 tanks."

Norris turned and looked at him with a smile. "That's damn good news sir."

Payne walked over and whispered in Norris' ear. Norris nodded "Even better news the NORAD message is no longer repeating, so all Boomers have acknowledged receipt. Mister President you control the nuclear arsenal afloat."

Bryce nodded and smiled. "That's the best news I have received in a long time."

"Excuse me Mister President, if I could get back to Operation Starshine."

Bryce looked back to Mr. Penn. "Of course Mister Penn, our apologies."

"Thank you, in the objectives outline you will notice the terms; peasants, class etc. Now this is hard to imagine but all the analysts agree they are trying to create a feudal system."

The room was silent, no one dared to say a word. Finally Norris looked around the room. "Mister Penn I think you have all of our undivided attention at this point please continue."

"The only way to truly control the population is to recreate the class systems and start an aristocracy. We have evaluated multiple scenarios and this is the only one that fits. This Operation Objective reinforces that theory."

Dissemination of propaganda to cast Ashwood as exalted one.

"Coupled with the class terms used already, everyone on my team agrees that Ashwood and this God's Army intend to install a monarchy right here in the US."

A murmur ran through the room until Norris held up his hand. "Mister Penn, your theory reminds me of what we used to call conspiracy theory lunatics…" He paused and held up his hand again "...Hear me out. If I were not sitting here on a carrier surrounded by an international task force fighting a Civil War in the continental United States, I would probably brush this off as insane. But this whole damn thing is insane and we can no longer sit back and pretend it's not happening. Mister President, with your permission I would like to use all available assets to hunt down and arrest former President Ashwood and put him on trial in a federal court. I believe we have the best intelligence assets available and I also believe we have enough friends out there, both here at home and internationally, to find him."

President Bryce stood. "Aggy, I agree but I am concerned about taking the focus off the war."

"Understood Sir, but if we find The Exalted One, try him and send him to prison then this will be all over. He is just a power hungry, greedy little man and we will prove that. No one is going to become King of the US on my watch, no one."

General Rose pounded his fist on the table. "Absolutely right Admiral we can find him and prove to the people and his God's Army that we are Americans and we will not take this lying down."

Bryce smiled. "Very well. Do what you have to and find him."

"Thank you sir. The hunt for Ashwood will be designated Operation Moonlight."

General Rose smiled and nodded. "I like it, moonlight drowns out starshine."

Norris looked up at the mousy little National Security Advisor. "Mister Penn you and your people have done great work so far. What else do you have for us?"

The briefing droned on for another hour and a half and by the end, Norris was ready to drive the entire task force right up the Potomac and bomb the shit out of the White House. As they were breaking up, President Bryce grabbed Norris, Rose and Adam.

"We are going to have a private meeting with Secretary Larkin, and Adam has some interesting intel we need to hear."

Norris looked back. "Myers can you make sure the Captain's Wardroom is cleared for the President please?"

"Aye, Aye sir." She quickly walked out of the room.Norris looked back at Bryce. "Whenever you're ready Mister President."

In the Captain's Wardroom, Adam looked over the assembled people, and sighed. How he wished Logan would be here to do this briefing. Adam always detested politics, and even if he liked Jack, the man was still a politician. Aggy he understood, and even liked. He was a military man, just like Adam was. Thankfully, the other men in the room, General Rose, Secretary Larkin, and Lieutenant Payne, were all military people. Jack used to be military, so he was better than most. All in all, Adam was okay with what he was about to do, even if it wasn't something he liked doing.

"Gentlemen, what I am about to go into will delve into secrets that my family and I keep, about how we were created, and what we can do. The reason I am doing this, is we have hard intel on the fact that the Army of God is attempting to create genetically augmented humans."

"We're aware of this already." Norris said in an even tone. "The three children from Orlando are proof."

"Yes they are," Adam agreed. "However, we did not know how close they were until recently." Adam stood up and then moved to the map of the United States that was on the wall. "Mr. President, I know you are familiar with Brett MacLeod, but for those that are not…" He broke off, then located Coeur d'Alene, Idaho on the map. "Mr. MacLeod, besides being a major supporter of President Bryce, he is also a brilliant man, dabbling in computer technologies, human genetics, as well as several other areas. At his property in Coeur d'Alene, he had a genetics lab set up there. Earlier in the week, when some of my troops escorted Mr. MacLeod to his lab, they encountered Army of God operatives that were stealing the equipment for their own use. Most of it was gone by the time we got there, but we were able to capture a high ranking doctor. After some intense questioning, we've found out that they are much closer to a breakthrough than we previously imagined."

"How close are they?" Jack asked softly.

Adam sighed, and shook his head slightly. "They were close to a small breakthrough even before we arrived. They would not have been able to create anyone like what we are, but they could have augmented humans. However, and we are still not sure how it happened, but... when UNIT troops were in Breckenridge Texas, trying to save as many as we could, one of my brothers, Juan, got severely injured."

"I remember that." Jack said softly. "He took a large caliber round to the chest, if I recall correctly."

"Yes he did." Adam confirmed. "What we found out from the doctor we captured was that the Army of God was able to find some of the blood from where Juan got shot. They were able to analyze it, and are very close to decoding the key to Genesis Augmentation."

The room was silent for a moment, before Adam said in a very soft voice. "My deepest apologies for allowing this to happen."

"General Casey?" Norris asked in a somewhat irritated voice, causing Adam's head to snap up and look the man in the eyes. "Your soldier got wounded saving many, many children. There is NOTHING to be ashamed of there. So the AoG managed to get some of your blood, and are trying to use it to perfect their processes. That's a small price to pay for the lives of all the children he saved."

"Thank you sir." Adam said, gratitude evident in his voice. Before he could continue though, a knock came from the door, which opened up almost immediately. "Logan?" Adam said as he quickly moved over to the boy who entered the room. "What are you doing here?"

"We got a lot more to discuss than just what you know Adam." Logan said in a grave voice, then looked around the room. "I am sorry to interrupt, but this is information that you all need to have, and have now."

"Please." Jack said as he motioned to where Adam had been standing. Logan handed Adam the packets he'd had made up, and asked him to hand them out. Once he was done, Adam moved back to his own seat, and looked at Logan expectantly.

"First off, the file that you have all been given holds the names, faces where we could, and the description of what that person is doing for the Ashwood administration, as well as some of the very few Army of God operatives we could pin down." Everyone looked at the folder and began to leaf through it. "Those are yours to have, so you can refer back to it at anytime. Of course, you all realize that we have the upper hand, only because the AoG doesn't know that we know about them."

Logan got nods from everyone, who turned their attention back to him. "Now, please understand that this information comes from a source that, while not a part of the AoG, knows a great deal about them, since he was trusted by Ashwood."

Getting nods, Logan once again spoke off the cuff. "I came into this information only a few hours ago, and spent most of that time putting together the packets you have in your hands. Meaning I have not had a chance to really put this information into any sort of order, I'm just going to have to wing it."

He smiled, and got a nod from Bryce, so he continued. "First thing is that we know who the foreign powers that are assisting Ashwood are. From South America we have Venezuela and Argentina. Some of the other countries are assisting in other minor ways, but those are the two that are supplying troops and material. The idea is to have released prisoners wreak havoc, and then Ashwood would step in and restore order, being seen as the savior, even though he is using foreign troops. You already know this part, but what you may not know is that Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, among others are also supplying troops. Also, we know that many of the troops have been here for a while, others though are still being brought in. The worst part is that they are being shipped in actual shipping containers on ships. They're being locked in, most of the time with little extra room, and most of the time, the food and water runs out before they are let out. One of the rescued talked about how they had to resort to drinking their own urine, and cannibalism to survive."

"Jesus…" General Rose breathed out in horror.

"It only gets worse General." Logan said gravely. "We are currently trying to find out information about those from the undesirable camps being shipped back down to South America. The men for work camps, the women for sex slaves, and the young children… well they are being shunted off to the AoG's genetics labs… or sold to the highest bidder..."

"When I get my hands on that…" Admiral Norris said under his breath before he stopped himself. "Sorry Logan, please continue."

"Believe me Admiral, I fully agree. As soon as we have information on the method and destination of those being shipped south, we will let you know so a rescue can be effected." Logan said, to which Norris nodded hard.

"Next, and again, I know you are aware of part of this, but to make sense I need to go over it again. Ashwood needs to collapse the US economy for everything to work. Now, many foreign countries, as well as several large corporations are stopping the collapse, but Ashwood needs to have it all fall apart, so be prepared for him to do anything and everything he can do to make it all fall apart. To this end though, over the last several years, he has turned most of his wealth, and the wealth of his friends into gold. It's being stored in Venezuela. And yes, we know exactly where. However, we've already been told that it will be well guarded since it is also likely a hold for the AoG itself."

"Sounds like a ripe target." Norris said with a malicious grin. He than turned and looked at Adam. "I assume you and yours wouldn't mind a little trip."

"Not at all sir. And if you don't mind, I may ask Bucky and his team to tag along. They look like they could use a bit of R&R in a tropical country." Adam said with a grin that caused everyone else in the room to break up laughing.

"Next…" Logan said when the laughing stopped. "Over the next few days, you may start getting reports that New Orleans is a major shipping point for Ashwood, and that it may be a prime target for us to take out. Do not, it's a trap, meant to draw us in, and then crush us."

"Colonel Shelton sent me some intel earlier that pointed to the need to shut down the New Orleans port." Norris said, letting his voice trail off.

"Yeah… don't. This way we keep the troops pinned down, since they want to use them for a trap, they can't be used elsewhere." Logan said, to which the men in the room nodded.

General Rose stood up. "I am going to need to commit some troops. Maybe a battalion to start moving aggressively towards New Orleans. That should make them think I am sending an advance guard. Texas National Guard can move a couple heavy companies to the Louisiana border to add to the feint."

Admiral Norris nodded. "Trap or not, we are going to have to shut down New Orleans at some point. My group in Florida is seriously bogged down and most of the reinforcements are coming from New Orleans. We could…."

"Admiral, General, New Orleans is important but I can count on you two to figure it out. Let's not lose track of the more important issue, the Army of God."

General Rose sat down. "Admiral we will get together and come up with a plan for New Orleans."

Norris was leafing through the file again. "Cut off the head and the snake dies."

Adam looked at Norris with a puzzled expression. "Excuse me Admiral?"

"Operation Moonlight, take out Ashwood, 'The Exalted One'. We don't know if he is the leader of the Army of God or just a figurehead but it shows they are vulnerable, if we can get to the most protected person in the world, we can get to anyone."

General Rose smiled, "I do like it but I am concerned about how we pull it off."

Admiral Norris rose and went to the map on the wall. "By running the most comprehensive manhunt ever attempted. All intelligence assets will work together channeled through my intel team."

Bryce looked up. "Where do we begin?"

Lieutenant Payne practically jumped out of his seat. "That's easy, communication signals. We start tracking every communication signal we can find. Radios, satellite, fiber optic, cell phones, land lines. Whatever is still up and running. We gauge the amount of activity coming from individual locations. We rule out friendly locations and known enemy military locations. That should give us a short list of possible locations, then we will need to get dirty. Ground recon with the SEALs..." he paused and looked at Adam and Logan. "Or the UNIT, is an option but we may need to find a way into the location or recruit someone on the inside. I can tell you this, Ashwood is not hiding in plain sight. I am going to get a list of all underground bunkers the US military has ever made and overlay the communications map that should really narrow it down."

Jack stood up and walked over beside him. "Sounds doable. The part about getting someone inside is a little shaky but we can prepare for that as we start the hunt. The big question is what do we do with him when we find him."

"Put him on trial." Everyone turned to Secretary Larkin. "The biggest trial in American history. Let the people see that the system works for everyone. Show the world we stand by our founding concepts."

Norris nodded. "I agree with Secretary Larkin. A trial is the right thing to do."

President Bryce sat down and rubbed his hands together. "No United States President has ever been tried for treason."

Norris leaned in, "No one is above the law. Set the damn precedent so this doesn't happen again."

Secretary Larken leaned back. "It's a huge deal and I think the Supreme Court should hold the trial."

Norris shook his head. "No there is no room for the appeals process. We cannot fast track this. Federal court and then let him appeal to the Appellate court and then take it to the Supreme Court."

Bryce pushed back his chair. "Agreed. Now find him. Lieutenant Payne use whatever intel assets you need. If anyone does not cooperate let the Admiral know and if his boot cannot shake them loose, MINE will. Adam your people are tasked with hunting down all known and unknown Army of God operatives. Shut that shit down. Logan I need you to channel all info to Payne. If there are no more questions I am starving and from the sound of the Admiral's stomach so is he. I expect regular updates. Let's go eat."

The president and Admiral Norris sat in Norris's office waiting to be told to head to the main mess for dinner. The formalities required all attendees to be seated before the Commanding Officer introduced the president.

"Aggy, this is some crazy shit. Never thought I would see our country go down this rabbit hole." Jack stood as he spoke and walked over to the map of the original thirteen colonies hanging on the wall. "To think it all started with a bunch of farmers that wanted a say in the laws that ruled them."

Norris rose as well and stood beside the President. "The Crown called them Rebels, history called them Patriots."

Jack nodded. "What will history call us, Aggy."

"If we succeed, Patriots. If we fail, Failed Patriots. If we succeed and allow something like this to happen again, Fools."

"I have an idea on that, Presidential term limits. Two terms in a lifetime."

"It's been discussed before but everyone saw the benefits of having longer term leadership. I think you might be right but you need to get Congress to enact term limits for them too."

"That will be a tough sell Aggie."

"Jack, stop playing this political game. Tell the people what needs to be done and go do it. Now that Congress has seen what can happen when the country becomes divided they are going to have to accept working solutions not Band-Aids."

"The whole world has changed. Genetically engineered soldiers and technology designed to destroy whole cities. Aggy we created Ashwood."

"You're right we did, Jack. But we also created life saving medicines and medical procedures. We created institutions of higher learning, we created technology to see the stars and the means to reach out to them."

Jack smiled. "This country needs more men like you Aggy, men with vision and not afraid to reach for that vision."

Norris turned and walked to his desk and opened the bottom drawer and pulled out a bottle of Scotch and two glasses. "Dalmore, 25-year-old Scotch." He started to open the bottle and pour two glasses.

Jack laughed. "I thought alcohol was forbidden on US Navy warships."

Aggy held out a glass to him. "I won't tell my boss if you don't." He raised his glass up and Jack followed. "To the future of the United States of America. It may look bleak at the moment but we will do everything in our power to restore it to greatness or die trying."

Jack nodded and they clinked their glasses and sipped the Scotch. "Damn that is some of the finest Scotch I have ever had."

Norris sighed "It better be seeing as it's worth about $1200 for a bottle. My wife gave me this bottle for my birthday two days before I lost her and Justin. I have never wanted to open it but today seemed right. It's time to leave the past behind and forge a new road, one never taken before."

Jack raised his glass higher. "Like the Patriots of 1776 we set out into uncharted waters. We can't look back as the only way open to us is forward."

They downed the glasses just as there was a knock on the door. Norris put the glasses and bottle back in the drawer. "Enter."

Myers opened the door and stepped in. "Mister President, Admiral they are ready for you. Admiral you will enter first and say a few words then introduce the president."

The president and admiral stood at the door to the crew mess waiting for Myers to open the door. Norris looked over at Jack and said sarcastically. "I have always loved these dog and pony shows."

Jack laughed. "Me too."

Commander Myers looked back at them. "Admiral you ready?"

Norris nodded and she opened the door and stepped in. With a surprisingly loud voice announced. "Admiral on deck."

All the military personnel snapped to attention and the civilians tried to quickly follow as Norris marched to the podium at the head table. "At ease, please take your seats. Thank you for joining us on this very American Holiday. Today is a day we celebrate this country's beginnings. Throughout history and as early as the very first pilgrims the citizens of this nation of faced hardships and strife with a straight back and our heads held high. Our nation is considered young but we have created the strongest, most powerful nation in the world. Today we face more strife and hardships and over the past few weeks I have been inspired to see how the citizens of this nation have banded together to help each other, support each other and even fight for each other. But one man stands out amongst the rest of us. He risked his life and the lives of his wife and children to take a stand. His character has come under attack and there have been attempts to kill him yet he has not shied away, he has not run in fear, he has stood tall and loudly declared not in my country. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Commander in Chief, President of the United States, Jackson Bryce."

Everyone in the room stood and began applauding as President Bryce made his way to the front of the room. Stopping to shake hands and whisper to the people in the front of the room. When he reached the podium he and Norris shook hands and he turned to the crowd and took a few minutes to get them to stop applauding.

"Please take your seats everyone, Thank you, Thank you… Thank you, Thank you. Admiral Norris thank you for that introduction. I want to contradict something the Admiral said. He said one man stands out amongst the rest. I don't feel like I have sacrificed anymore than anyone in this room or across the country. I look out into this room and I see the loyal leaders of the most esteemed military in the world. I see doctors overwhelmed with patients and not enough supplies. I see civil leaders struggling to supply basic necessities to the people of this great nation. You are the heroes, you are the ones on the front lines everyday and night, risking it all to keep the world's greatest nation alive. Keeping this nation alive is the mission we have all undertaken. The principles of the United States are under attack. All of us as one looked at what was happening and stood up and said HELL NO"... He had to pause for the applause to die down. "The great state of Maine stood up to the giant like David did and said HELL NO. Carrier Strike Group 9 stood up to the tyrant and said NOT ON OUR WATCH." He paused again to let the group applaud. "Today we celebrate Thanksgiving, earlier I ate lunch with some of the enlisted and got to chat with a few of them. I want to tell you what I am thankful for today. I am thankful for those Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen out there right now standing on the wall and letting our enemy know we will not go down without a fight. I would like to dedicate tonight's dinner to all the warriors that have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Sadly there are too many to name here but they will never be forgotten. Today we are thankful for them. Chaplain Benito would you please bless the meal."

The chaplain rose and began his prayer as the president took his seat. When the chaplain was done the stewards began bringing out the plates. The president's table was served first and both Norris and Bryce took the lids off their plates. The food looked amazing. Norris looked up as he was sinking his fork into the gravy covered turkey and noticed Adam and Logan whispering, they got up quickly and walked over to Bucky. After a second of more whispering Bucky waved the Australian, Captain King, over. A few more seconds of whispering and they all looked up at Norris. Norris sighed and set his fork down.

"Excuse me Mister President but my dinner is about to be interrupted." As soon as he finished saying it Bucky was leaning down to whisper to him.

"Sorry sir but they found the train."

Norris nodded. "Ok make the arrangements and take whoever you need. Where is it headed?."

"New Orleans sir."

"Shit you need to stop it before it gets close. I want a full mission briefing before you leave."

"Aye Aye sir." Bucky turned and nodded to Adam, Logan and Captain King. They all began to gather their senior officers and leave the room.

Norris leaned over to Bryce. "We found the train and it's headed to New Orleans. They are going to stop it before it gets there."

Jack nodded while continuing to talk to Doctor Varner. He paused and looked at Norris. "Whatever it takes Aggy."

"Understood sir." Norris looked down at his plate and began cutting the piece of turkey again. He looked up to see Payne almost running through the room towards him. He sighed again and set his knife and fork down. Payne knelt next him and whispered in his ear. Norris sat up straight while Payne was talking. He stood up when Payne was done. "TASK FORCE WIDE GENERAL QUARTERS. Clear all civilians off the Reagan. Miller tell Air Force One to stand by for immediate departure. SOUND GENERAL QUARTERS."

Myers was already communicating to the Bridge and as if on cue the klaxons blared and the intercom came to life. "GENERAL QUARTERS, SET CONDITION 1 ALPHA, GENERAL QUARTERS. THIS IS NOT A DRILL, ALL PERSONNEL REPORT TO BATTLE STATIONS."

Norris looked wistfully at his turkey before turning and leaving the room.

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