Castle Roland

Dawns Early Light
Book I

by Ken Barber


Chapter 1

Published: 8 Apr 14

Dawns Early Light

Copyright © 2012 - 2016 by Ken Barber and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

08:45 GMT (03:45 EST) 06 November 2012
USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier
On Patrol in the Strait of Gibraltar

Lieutenant Commander Albert Buchinski, Bucky to his teammates, looked at his father hard for several moments without speaking. Finally he shook his head in disgust. "Admiral..." Bucky started. The fact that he used his father's rank spoke volumes to the tense nature of the conversation. "What you're talking about is treason." He pointed to the file on the Admiral's Desk. "This is treason!" He said, still keeping his voice low.

"Al, It's not treason, it's making sure we're on the winning side." Admiral James Buchinski said equally as soft. "There's a new order coming, and we need to make sure we're on top."

As Bucky shook his head, he saw his father slowly bring the 9mm pistol to rest on the table. "I've taught you that family is the most important thing, now I am telling you that our family is going to back President Ashwood. Everything will be over quickly, and then those who supported him will reap the rewards."

"Yes, Admiral, that's what you taught me. However, the Navy taught me duty to my country, above all else." As soon as the words left his mouth, he was moving. His father may have had the gun, but he was a SEAL, in prime physical condition.

Bucky had his hand on the gun before James knew what was happening. Even though the Admiral may have been older, he was still in great physical shape, and knew how to throw a punch. The punch was hard enough to rock Bucky back, but not enough to make him stop trying to gain full control of the gun.

Unfortunately, the Admiral's first shot slammed into Bucky's left shoulder, but with the adrenaline pumping through his body he ignored it. The second shot embedded into the wall of the Admiral's state room.

Bucky slammed his elbow into his father's stomach twice, and finally knocked the wind out of him. Causing the Admiral's hand to slip from the gun. One more elbow separated the two men. Bucky spun, now in control of the gun, and pointed it at the Admiral just as the ship's Marines kicked open the door.

Immediately, Bucky tossed the gun aside, as the Marines ordered him to get down. Bucky fell to his knees, then onto his stomach with his arms spread wide.

"I WANT HIM ARRESTED FOR ASSAULTING A SENIOR OFFICER!" The Admiral screamed as he got to his feet, just as the ship's Captain walked into the room.

"What the HELL is going on in here?" Captain Augustus Norris demanded.

"Isn't it obvious?" Jim shrieked.

"Captain Norris, please look at the files on the desk." Bucky said without moving. He was starting to feel the effects of the gun shot, even as blood began to pool beneath him.

"You will not!" The Admiral commanded. "I want him arrested and thrown in the brig."

"He will be dealt with properly." Captain Norris said as he slowly stepped towards the desk. "As soon as I see what he is talking about."

The Admiral stepped forward to try and block the Captain, only to have one of the Marines, turn his weapon onto the Admiral. Captain Norris turned and looked at the Admiral coldly "Step back, Admiral. I don't think the guards are in a very forgiving mood."

"HOW DARE YOU POINT YOUR WEAPON AT ME!" The Admiral cried out in complete indignation. "I will have you all thrown in the brig!"

"This is MY ship, Sir. The only ones going to the brig are who I say, not you." Captain Norris stated calmly as he made his way to the desk, finally, making sure to never get between the Marines and either of the other two men in the room.

"Captain Norris. If you look at the paper on the top of the file, the one marked Top Secret. It's a radio communication that just came in. The cipher is in the upper right hand drawer." Bucky said calmly, although he knew the captain had better hurry, cause he was starting to see spots.

"Captain... I'm warning you." The Admiral said in a dangerous voice. "If you so much as touch anything on that desk, I will have you before a courts-martial."

Completely ignoring the Admiral, Captain Norris picked up the piece or paper, and then found the cipher key in the desk drawer. He studied it for a few moments. His face never betrayed what he was thinking, except the fact that his jaw tensed up as he read. After a moment, he walked over to the phone, picked it up, and spoke into it. "I want the communications officer on duty to report to the Admiral's stateroom immediately."

By this point the Admiral's face had turned red with rage. Just as he was about to blow his top, the Captain looked at one of the guards and spoke softly. "Place the Admiral under arrest; if he so much as resists, I want him beaten down until he can't resist any longer." He then turned to the other guard, who was about to speak, when he heard running feet coming towards the room. He moved over to stand in front of the door. "Summon the Doctor, and secure this deck. No one gets in without my direct authorization. That means NO ONE!"

"YES, SIR!" One of the guards said then moved off barking orders.

"Let him in!" The Captain called as he saw the communications officer being stopped by the Marines.

"Ensign Collins." The Captain stated as he handed the man the paper he had picked up off the desk. "Is this the communication that came in for the Admiral?"

The Ensign took it looking rather nervous, but as soon as he saw it, he nodded. "Yes Sir. It came in about forty-five minutes ago. I personally delivered it to the Admiral, as was ordered in the communication."

The Captain nodded and turned. "That will be all." He didn't even look, knowing that the Ensign would leave now that he had been dismissed. He looked at the Marine Guard that was still covering the Admiral, and then to the one that still had his weapon pointed at Bucky. "Let him up. Place the Admiral in solitary, he is not to speak to ANYONE, and no one is to speak to him." As soon as he was done giving the order, the Marines moved, taking a screaming Admiral Buchinski into custody.

Captain Norris knelt down next to Bucky just as the Doctor and more guards came into the room. "You did well, Son, that had to be one of the toughest decisions of your life." He said softly, then backed off to let the doctor get to work.

Bucky was taken to the sickbay where the ship's doctor began treating his wound. At that close range the bullet went clean through, so they packed the wound and stitched it up. By the time Bucky was coming to, the sickbay was under guard by his SEAL Team.

The Doctor came to his side as he started to try to sit up. "Commander, under normal circumstances I would not allow you out of bed for at least a week and I would never allow this many armed guards in my sickbay. However, Captain Norris ordered these men to protect you at all cost and if Aggy is going to break protocol, there is a damn good reason for it."

"There is, Doctor, and at this point I think the less you know, the better."

The Doctor leaned in and whispered. "Son, I have been serving with Aggie for almost 16 years, I have seen a lot. I know a hell of lot more than you might think."

Bucky leaned into him. "Well then, Doctor, where do your loyalties lie?"

He chuckled. "Wherever Captain Aggy Norris tells me they lay."

"Good to know, Doc, I have to see the Captain right now."

"I don't think I could stop you if I wanted."

"Germs... Tigger get over here and help me."

Bucky's two team mates practically carried him towards the Captain's office. When they arrived two Marine guards barred their entry and told them the Captain was with the Executive Officer and was not to be disturbed.

"You wanted to see me, Skipper?" Commander Tyler Victon said as he walked into the Captain's office. He started to sweat when he saw the two guards inside the room, neither of them looking very happy.

Captain Norris stood and tossed the Admiral's file on the desk casually. "Commander, recite the Oath of a Commissioned Officer, please.


"Commander my patience is very thin this evening. Recite the oath."

Commander Victon stood at attention . "I, Tyler Victon, having been appointed an officer in the United States Navy, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; so help me God."

Captain Norris sat down behind his desk. "Commander, I think you know why I asked you to come see me, and why I asked you to recite the oath.

Commander Victon paled a bit as his eyes darted around the room. "How'd you find out?" He asked, defeated.

"Does it matter, did you really think you would get away with treason and mutiny? Now, you're going to tell me who else on my ship is involved." He looked at the two Marine guards "You two are dismissed, send Commander Buchinski and his team in."

They both snapped to attention and exited as Bucky and his team entered.

Captain Norris signaled Bucky to sit. "Commander Victon, you are familiar with SEAL Team 4, right? It is my understanding that SEAL Teams are expert in getting people to cooperate and give the information needed. Now I am a little concerned as the team leader, Commander Buchinski, was wounded while apprehending his father, the Admiral. He is not in a very good mood tonight."

"Captain, please, I was just following the Admiral's orders. I don't know anything."

"Tyler, you have been a Navy officer for a long time and you are well aware of the fact that the Admiral's orders were illegal. So don't give me that bullshit. He is all yours, Bucky, leave enough to stand trial." He stood and walked out of the room.

Bucky stuck his head out the door about a minute later and nodded to the captain. "He is ready, Skipper."

"Damn, that was fast." 30 minutes later, Victon was in the brig with every single one of his accomplices. And Captain Norris and Bucky were sitting in the Captain's office discussing their next move.

"Skipper, you're the senior officer now for the Battle Group. All you have to do is give the order and SEAL Team 4 will go out and capture the rest of the mutineers in the group."

"I know, but if they get word of what's happening, we could have innocent sailors caught in a crossfire."

"What if you sent a message from the Battle Group Commander and told Captain Wills on the USS Jason Dunham, since he is the only ship's Captain involved in the treason, SEAL Team 4 is in route to escort him to the Reagan."

"He might buy that, but how do we retake the ship. All his officers except two ensigns are in on it. We can't lose that ship; it's our newest guided missile Destroyer and I won't fire on it."

"If I stay aboard with most of the team, I will tell Captain Willis I am using his ship as my staging point, if my team is needed on board any other ships. He is going to believe I am backing my father."

"Once he is gone, I will ask the XO to assemble all the officers that are part of the mutiny in the Officers' Briefing room. I will place them under arrest and you can send a Marine platoon to secure the ship. Once the platoon arrives, we will transport the traitors back to the Reagan and move on to the next ship."

"Okay, slow and methodical. We have the list of the officers involved in the treason, but can we trust the noncoms."

"Skipper, if there is one thing I have learned about noncoms, is that they would rather cut off their nuts than be called traitors. Some of them may have considered joining my father, fuck that, the Admiral, but I don't think they will stand by him once they see you and me taking control."

"We are going to have to trust that loyalty. We have no idea where Admiral Davidson, the Med Fleet Commander stands, so I can't go up the channel on this."

Bucky stood up and began pacing. "Do we have any Intel on what's going on with the rest of the fleets, shit the Army or Air force, even?"

Captain Norris shook his head then picked up the phone. "Send Lieutenant Myers to my office right away." Bucky was staring at him. "She is my senior intel officer, we have no choice but to start trusting some of our officers."

"Okay, Sir but this makes me nervous."

"Bucky, I have known you since you were a kid and since you joined the Navy, how many times have you told me to trust your gut. Now I am telling you to trust mine."

"Aye, Aye Skipper."

There was a knock on the door and the Marine guard poked his head in. "Lieutenant Myers to see you, Captain."

"Send her in, please."

Lieutenant Myers walked in and stood at attention. "Lieutenant Myers, reporting as ordered, sir."

"Relax, Lieutenant, sit down; what I am about to tell you may come as a shock."

Myers sat down in one of the chairs but remained very stiff. "Sir, if you're planning on telling me why you have the Admiral under arrest, I already know."

Bucky sat down beside her. "Really Lieutenant? Why don't you enlighten us."

Captain Norris leaned over his desk. "Easy Bucky, it's her job to know."

"Captain, Commander, this is bigger than you think. Captain, all info coming out of the states is screened and controlled. SECNAV has ordered us into radio silence."

The Marine guard knocked on the door. "Captain, Ensign John Payne has an urgent message for you and Lieutenant Myers."

"Thank you, Vance, show him in."

"Captain? My apologies, but you have to see this."

He set a laptop on the captain's desk and pulled up a video. The time stamp on the Video was 10:15 GMT (05:15 EST). The Captain, Bucky and Myers all stood there watching silently.

Captain Norris looked up. "Payne, what the hell are we watching here?"

"Captain, this is a recorded video from about 45 minutes ago of President Ashwood attacking President Bryce's base and shooting his plane down. The actual attack took place at 09:15 GMT (04:15 EST). Keep watching and you will see a press conference by President Ashwood announcing President Bryce's death. Then immediately after, President Bryce does a press conference and refutes his death and blames Ashwood."

The video ended and all three just stood there staring at the screen.

Bucky looked around the room in wonder. "First thing I want to know is what the fuck are those choppers. I have never seen anything like that."

Captain Norris closed the laptop."The first thing I want to know is what the hell is going on in our country and where the hell did you get this video, Payne."

Ensign Payne looked very nervous. "Sir, from an underground source. The teleconferences are on open networks, but the actual battle video I had to get from another source."

"What is the source, Ensign?"

Payne was breaking out into a sweat. "Sir, I have been monitoring this underground source for quite some time now, and they are all about trying to get out information that gets blocked by the government."

Myers turns towards Payne. "Payne, you are talking conspiracy theory stuff here."

"No offense, Ma'am but did that look like conspiracy theory?"

Bucky laughed. "He's got you there, Myers. I know exactly what he is talking about. A few guys in the Spec Ops world know about the Underground Net, but have never been able to access it. The only way to get access to it is if they post something publicly or you are part of it." With that last statement, he looked at Payne. "How long have you been part of it, Payne?"

"Sir, since high school. But I have never shared information from military servers. I only share information that is hidden in public servers anyone can find if they dig hard enough. I am pretty low level in the Underground Net."

Captain Norris came around his desk. "Ensign Payne, I understand the risk you have taken to bring us this. I trust that you did it knowing it could end your military career. With that in mind, I want you to handle gathering all intel from nontraditional sources. Do you understand what I am telling you, Ensign?"

"Yes sir, you want me to bring you anything from the Underground Net that could affect the battle group."

Captain Norris laughed. "No, Payne, I want you to show us anything that we don't have access to from normal channels."

"Yes sir, Captain."

"Myers, allocate whatever resources he needs to keep monitoring the Underground Net, and any other nonofficial information outlets."

"Yes, Captain."

"That's all, Payne, nice work; you are dismissed."

After Payne left, Captain Norris stood and started to pace. "It is our responsibility to follow the legal orders of the President of the United States. As of right now, that is President Ashwood. After the Election that is a different story. What we need to deal with right now is the mutiny aboard ships in the Battle Group."

Myers looked up. "Captain, I feel I should warn you that if President Ashwood wins the election, we could all be facing treason charges."

"Jessica, I understand that, and I know Bucky does, too. However, mutiny is mutiny and I cannot let it go unchecked. This shit does not happen in today's Navy, and I blame Ashwood. If he wins, I will resign my commission and go hunting in the Rockies."

"I am with you, sir."

"Thank you, Bucky, you on board?"

"Skipper, I just assaulted a Rear Admiral and we placed him under arrest. I think we have gone too far for second guessing now."

"So where do we begin? The Jason Dunham is going to be the toughest."

Jessica Myers took out her tablet. "The Dunham has no Marines on board, so she should be pretty easy to control. The Fort Worth's skipper Commander Sandra Peterson is a friend, and I know she will do whatever is needed to secure her ship. Her XO, Lieutenant David Buchannan, is on the list to be arrested. There is no love lost between them, but he is the only officer involved in the mutiny, on her ship. The others should be loyal. The Fort Worth has the newest jamming equipment and can jam all communications to and from the ships, as we secure them."

Captain Norris pulled up the fleet map on his laptop."The Fort Worth is close; we could easily go and arrest the XO and have Commander Peterson jam all communication in the battle group."

"Sir, if we do that, we need to have this planned out perfectly as we won't be able to communicate with each other."

"Let's get this plan set in stone; no room for errors here."

Bucky laughed. "Typical plan for a SEAL Team, we have no idea what we are up against or how many; we have no idea how we are going to accomplish the mission, and we have no way to get orders or intel. It's not ours to ask why, but ours to do and die."

Captain Norris just smiled at Bucky. "No hero shit this time, Bucky. Get the job done and get my Battle Group secured. I want all the traitors locked down.

Jessica Myers looked up from her tablet. "What's our time frame, sir?"

"I want the Battle Group secured before we get the election results tonight. Is that doable, Bucky?"

"Let's see, sir, 1 Carrier, 2 Heavy Cruisers, 3 Guided Missile Destroyers, 2 fast attack subs, 1 Ohio Class sub, 1 Littoral Combat ship and the 3 troop transports, that's 13 ships under control in what 7 hours. Not a problem sir. If we do this right, it should only take a few hours to get boots on every ship. Even if we have to slug it out with traitors, we could retake the ships in 5 hours max. The issue is the subs. We need them to surface first."

"I trust Captains Davison, Grant and Cole with my life. Davison's Chief of the Boat is Steve Brown. I know Steve and trust that he will back Davison. Grant's COB is Henry Miller. Bucky, you remember Henry, he is the one that got you out of that mess in New Delhi. Cole's COB is Michael Crone. He is one tough son of a bitch, and the current crew is all loyal. The replacement crew is here on the Ronald Reagan that's where the mutinous officers are coming from, so we already have control of them. Remember, subs operate with their own security protocol. I will send a coded message to the Providence and Olympia that will include the names of the mutineers. They will have the COBs arrest the officers and then surface. I will then have all three Captains come to the Ronald Reagan to be briefed."

"That's a lot of trust, sir." Bucky was not pleased, but saw no other option. Capturing a submarine was something the SEAL team had trained on but it was nearly impossible to actually succeed.

"I know, Bucky. Myers, we need all the intel we can get; you have my authority to have your people start tapping other sources of info. We have to assume that all orders from the SECNAV are compromised, so we do whatever is necessary to get us the intel we need. Any questions?"

Bucky looked up. "Two, sir, How are we going to know who actually won the election, and what do we do if Bryce wins but Ashwood refuses to give up power?"

"Jessica, any answer on the first."

"Skipper, I will monitor news info coming from both the East Coast and West Coast. I would have to say if the West Coast declares Bryce and the east declares Ashwood then Bryce is the winner. Bryce would concede if he loses, and in my opinion, Ashwood will not."

"Makes sense. Bucky, to answer the second part of your question. If Ashwood loses the election and refuses to give up power, then he is an enemy of the American People and the USS Ronald Reagan and her Battle Group will use all the power it has to remove him from office."

"That's what I wanted to hear. Let's hope he is not as crazy as we are thinking he is."

Over the next hour they discussed securing the Ronald Reagan Battle Group. Eventually they brought in the Marine Expeditionary Force Commander Major Dixon Sinclair. Major Sinclair was shocked to hear what was going on and was infuriated by the video and information being leaked from the east coast. He and Bucky went to the tactical planning room and began working up a plan. They decided that they could speed the process up by splitting up and securing multiple ships at a time. They would use the same ruse to get aboard and then once aboard all the loyal captains would be taken to their office and shown the proof. The traitorous officers would assume the captain was being arrested. They would call all the traitorous officers into the captain's office and arrest them.

Right before they were ready to start the operation to secure the battle group, Captain Norris called all the senior officers from the Ronald Reagan into the briefing room.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we are about to undertake the most ridiculous mission this ship has ever had thrust on her. A number of officers in our battle group have decided that tradition and procedural processes for selecting ships commanders do not apply to them, and intended to seize power aboard those ships. Myself and Lieutenant Commander Buchinski discovered the plot aboard the Ronald Reagan and found its source, Rear Admiral James Buchinski. We have arrested the Admiral and the officers involved aboard this ship, before they could take action. However, this infection has spread to the entire Battle Group and even the Navy and possibly the entire Armed Forces of the United States. We are sending SEAL Team 4 and the Marine Expeditionary Force to secure those vessels and ensure their Skippers maintain control. All of you will question your loyalties and question what is happening here and in our homes. All I ask is that you do what is morally and ethically right and what is legal. God Bless you all.

"Sound General Quarters, Ronald Reagan Only."

Four MH-53J Pave Low IIIE helicopters took off from the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan enroute to the USS Jason Dunham, the USS Gravely, USS Ramage and the USS Fort Worth beginning Operation Dawns Early Light.

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