Castle Roland

Dawns Early Light
Book I

by Ken Barber


Chapter 4

Published: 8 Apr 14

Dawns Early Light

Copyright © 2012 - 2015 by Ken Barber and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

07:00 GMT (02:00 EST ) 07 November 2012.

USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier. 
Atlantic Ocean.

Dawn's Early Light LogoAfter reviewing the current plans and giving the Russian Captains their marching orders, Captain Norris had Rosewood see them off to their boats. He asked Rosewood, Myers and Sinclair to meet him in his office. Once they had assembled he sat there staring at them for a minute.

"Biggest issue I have right now, other than I don't know what the hell I am doing with two Russian subs, is we need to figure out what we are going to do about communication. If we use our satellite system with anyone other than the group, we run the risk of telling Ashwood exactly what we are up to."

Rosewood looked at the Captain. With a bit of pride he said, "sir, the new comm system on the Fort Worth has very unique communication protocols. We have enhanced satellite communication using a new data stream filter, we also have the ability to send and receive data via magma displacement."

Norris looked at Rosewood, "Did you really just say magma displacement?"

"Skipper, I'll try and make this as brief as possible." Began Rosewood, "We know that sound waves, essentially pressure waves, travel faster in a denser medium, such as water, than it does in air. We also know that sound waves travel faster as the medium’s temperature goes up. This has to do with the kinetic energy of the medium. Higher temp, higher energy level. Higher energy level, the easier it is to propagate the waveform. There are other variables, but let's leave it at that."

"Now magma has a density somewhat between that of Iron and Granite. However, it has a very high temperature, thus ensuring that the wave travels faster than in either of the solids, by themselves."

"Magma Displacement Communications was developed from the science of monitoring earthquakes. Early on, we noticed that with every earthquake, there was a corresponding displacement of the magma underneath the quake. It was the sound of this displaced magma that allowed us to 'hear' the quake."

"The question is how to go about transmitting sound from here, to there. The answer was found, some years ago. We use sonar. We also use the nature of the seabed. That is, the crust is thinner here, than on the continental land masses."

"Using a highly directional sonar transmitter, we can transmit information using our dorsal antenna through the water and into the magma, beneath the crust."

"To receive, we essentially use a reverse process."

"The real limiting factor is the speed at which these pulses travel. We have calculated that the sonar pulses travel at about 23,700 miles per hour, or 6.58 miles/sec. That means there would be about a 10 minute delay between transmission and reception between us and say the West Coast.

Norris just stared. "When did we get a Greek language specialist?"

Myers laughed and mock whispered. "Sir, we don't use the term speaking Greek anymore. It’s speaking Geek, now."

Everyone laughed except Rosewood who just stared at Myers with a smirk.

Norris regained his composure. "Ted, so are you telling me you have a way to send messages through the earth's magma layer?"

"Yes, sir I do."

"Who can we reach with this Lava talk?"

Rosewood chuckled. "Sir, anyone that has a magma displacement receiver."

"Who the hell has one?"

"Ours is the only shipboard system and there is a land based system in San Diego. We tested the system with them. I am very certain the company that made them for us has a couple of test systems as well. There may be some private research systems as well."

"Any way to find out how many there are and who has them?"

Rosewood paused for a minute and reflected. "Sir, If I can reach my brother then yes. Hydracom is the company that developed, designed and built this for the US Navy. Hydracom is a subsidiary of Hydradyn Industries, My brother Tom is the CEO. I promise you he will know where the other transmitter/receivers are or he will know how to find them."

Myers jumped in. "Wait a second Ted, didn't I read somewhere that Hydradyn is a supporter of Ashwood's?"

Ted nodded. "I know my brother and my family. While it looks like Hydradyn is a supporter of Ashwood, I assure you and promise you that they are not. It is a business and political tactic."

Major Sinclair leaned forward. "No offense, Commander Rosewood, but that is one hell of risk."

Captain Norris held up his hand and everyone paused. "I know it's a risk, but we are going to have to take risks. We are on our own out here and we need to start trusting someone. We need to establish lines of communications and supplies. We cannot sit out here like an island fortress while the world falls to shit around us."

Myers nodded. "I agree, sir."

"Ted, How do you reach your brother?"

Ted paused for a minute. "I have a scrambled Hydradyn Sat phone. I could call him to set up the video conference."

"Do it now, We can discuss why you have a commercial Sat phone later." Norris ordered

Ted reached into his bag and pulled out an unusually small Sat phone and dialed.

"Tom." Ted began with a formal tone to let his brother know this was business. "I am on the USS Ronald Reagan with Captain Norris. In the room with me is Captain Norris, His XO Commander Myers, and the Marine Commander Major Sinclair. We need some Help"

"How might I be of service, Ted?"

"Tom, the Captain was wondering if you are available to do a video conference with him. We are very concerned about the situation in the states and we are looking for intel and help reestablishing communications"

"Of course. You know what you need to do. I am ready on this end when you are."

"Thank you, Tom, Give us a couple of minutes to move to the CIC. Can you have your guys set up a secure satlink while we are headed there. Oh and Tom, this needs to be kept off the radar of anyone in DC."

"Sure thing, Ted. Secure line is already established with the Ronald Reagan."

"Thanks Bro, I owe you one see you in a few." Ted disconnected the call. He looked at Captain Norris. "He has a secure line established and is waiting." Just then the phone rang and Captain Norris answered it and listened for a second.

"We are on our way." He looked at Ted and smiled. "Your brother works fast. The link is up and running." He turned and headed out and the rest scrambled to follow.

As they were walking, Norris looked over at Ted. "The radioman in the CIC is very confused, he can't trace the signal."

The four walked into the CIC and on the screen was a distinguished looking man in his mid fifties sitting at his desk waiting. Captain Norris sat down and motioned for Ted to sit next to him.

"Mr. Rosewood, I am Captain Norris in command of the Ronald Reagan Battle Group. First let me thank you for taking this call at this time of night. We Navy guys forget that the rest of the world does sleep."

Tom smiled and with a wave of his hand dismissed the notion. "Not a problem, Captain. These are crazy times we find ourselves in. I am sure we are both very busy with many things going at once. How can I help?"

"Thank you Mr. Rosewood. I hate to be blunt or rude but please understand we have seen quite the mess out here in the last 24 hours. I am sure that a man of your position must see the writing on the wall and have come to the same conclusion we have, Civil War is imminent in the United States. Mr. Rosewood where do your loyalties lie."

The smile and look of congeniality that was on his face at the start of the call disappeared and was replaced by one devoid of any emotion. "Captain Norris, my brother would not have contacted me if he did not feel that you and your people could not be trusted. My loyalties lie with my family. As to whom those loyalties lie politically, that is with whomever has the best interest of this nation in their heart. Frankly, right now that is not Ashwood."

Norris looked around the room."Clear the room please." He waited until the room was clear. "Mr. Rosewood that was the answer I was hoping to hear. And I trust Ted, I trust him enough to give him command of the USS Fort Worth. Please accept my apologies for being rude."

Tom's face lost a little of its edge. "No apology is necessary, Captain. I am pleased to hear that Ted has his own command. He will serve you well." He looked just past Norris at Ted. "Proud of you, Ted." He smiled and then looked back to Norris. "So, you have a problem and Ted seems to feel I have the answer. What can I do?"

"We need intel on what is happening in the US. Just to give you an update we departed the Med a few hours ago with the entire carrier group. We are headed to somewhere off the southeast coast. At this point we have no idea who is loyal to Ashwood and who isn't. We intend to insert some recon teams to get a better look at the ground picture but that will be localized. We currently have no communication with anyone other than you. I cannot reach out to President-Elect Bryce until he is actually the President again." Norris took a breath. "I don't know what your connections are or what capabilities you have, so I am not really sure what to ask for?"

Tom sat for a moment thinking and looked away from the camera. He reached out for a tablet that someone was handing him. "Captain, I am sending you a data dump. It contains reports that have come in from various locations around the country. As for your communication issues." He tapped on the tablet a few times and then looked to Captain Norris and his staff. "I have just authorized you to access HydraCom satellite network. Ted will be able to setup the protocols you need to relay between the sats and your fleet. The Fort Worth also has a new comm system built by HydraCom, and it can be used for unorthodox communications if necessary, I am pretty sure Ted is fully up to speed on the system. I am also downloading our new security protocols to the USS Fort Worth. This will allow you to transmit between your ships without anyone monitoring it. Ted can get all your assets set up on that network pretty quickly. Captain, we at Hydradyn Industries are very concerned about what is happening in the states as well and we are willing to provide you whatever assistance we can. As we receive new reports and intel we will forward it to you via the Fort Worth."

Captain Norris nodded. "Mr. Rosewood, I can't thank you enough for your assistance. This is a huge relief to us, we have felt very isolated and in the dark since Monday. I don't know how I can ever repay the favor but for now I can let you have your brother for a few minutes privately so you can catch up."

"I am pleased that we can assist you Captain. We will continue to assist you going forward. If we can make it happen then we will."

"Mr. Rosewood, if there is anything that I can do, please do not hesitate to ask. I and the Ronald Reagan owe you a huge favor. I am proud to call you a fellow American."

"I will be sure to keep your offer in mind, Captain. Thank you for allowing me to have a word with Ted."

"Thank you again and have a good night. Ted, take all the time you need." Captain Norris stood and left the room with Myers and Sinclair following.

"Ted, how are you holding up?"

"Great, Tom. It's been an interesting 24 hours that’s for damn sure. How are you doing and how's my favorite nephew?"

"I am sure it has been. I am doing well all things considered." He raised a hand made a come here motion.

Tyler saw his father motion to him and walked around the desk to stand next to his father. "Hey Uncle Ted. Glad to see you are safe out there on the high seas."

"Tyler, damn it's good to see you. Holy cow you're getting tall. I hope you have been practicing, because as soon as I get home we are going to spar."

Tyler laughed. "I think you will be in for a surprise. Just how much practice are you getting on that tub of yours?" He had a cheeky grin on his face.

"Watch your tongue, young man, I will have you know you are now talking to Commander Ted Rosewood, US Navy, Commanding USS Fort Worth."

Tyler gave a sideward glance to his father. "See what happens when you give someone too much power. It goes to their head." He tried hard to not laugh.

"Very Funny. Tyler, it's really great to see and talk with you and I miss you bud, but I really need to talk to your dad privately for a bit."

A little sad shadow crossed Tyler's face and just as quickly a smile was back in place. "Sure thing, Uncle Ted. I love you and miss you. Oh and I am also really proud of you. Bye" He quickly hugged his father and left sight of the camera.

Tom smiled at the interaction between his son and brother. Their interplay never ceased to be a source of amusement. Trying at times but always amusing. He turned his attention back to Ted. "What’s up, bro?"

"Tom," Ted paused and looked over his shoulder to make sure the room was clear. "Ashwood, authorized the use of Nukes on the European allies. Captain Norris intercepted the order, but we don't know if it went to any other Navy units out there. Tom, this shit is getting bad. Norris is one of the good guys and wants to find a way to stop it. Please do whatever you can to help him out."

Tom fell back into his chair. "My God, the man has gone mad. Well, he was already mad, but this is fucking nuts. Not sure what I can do just yet. But I will do what I can, you can be sure of that. Any chance Keller could help?"

"I am sure he can," at that moment the ship’s speakers blared " "Flight Quarters! Flight Quarters! Set condition 1-alpha for flight operations!". Ted stood up "Tom, I have to go. I will reach out to you from the Fort Worth later."

Tom nodded his understanding. "Sure thing, Ted. Be careful out there. Check in whenever you need to."

"Thanks again, Tom. And give that dorky teenager a hug for me." Ted waved and disconnected the feed.

Captain Norris, Myers and Sinclair walked back to the bridge just as they heard 'Captain to the Bridge' from the 1MC, the standard means for ship-wide announcements.

"Already here. What's going on."

Captain Miller walked over to the board with Captain Norris. "Skipper, We have spotted the FS Charles De Gaulle, cruising south of us about 250 nautical miles. She looks to be at full speed with escorts."

"Has she seen us yet."

"We don't think so, she is moving so fast and all her aircraft are in a forward screen."

"Do we know why France is moving a carrier in the Atlantic?"

Myers looked at him. "Other than why we are in the Atlantic sir?"

"Fair point, XO. Miller get Flight two in the air and give me an air screen between them and us."

"Aye, sir" Captain Miller grabbed the 1MC. "Flight Quarters! Flight Quarters! Set condition 1-alpha for flight operations!"

A few minutes later, Rosewood entered the bridge and Captain Norris nodded to him. "Nice work, Ted. Get back to your ship and get us hooked up on the Satellite network as quickly as possible."

"Aye, sir." He headed to the chopper deck.

They monitored the French Carrier for a few hours but it was on a diverging course so eventually Miller pulled back the BARCAP and just had the E2C Hawkeyes keep an eye on them.

14:00 GMT (09:00 EST) 07 November 2012

USS Rhode Island.  
In the Atlantic ocean.

Captain Cole and Bucky were on the bridge as they reached Antenna depth. "Raise the antenna"

"Aye sir. Incoming transmission from Fort Worth. New communications protocol."

"What the hell is that all about." Bucky looked over the technician’s shoulder.

"Well sir, they have us linking to a network of commercial satellites."

Captain Cole nodded. "Looks like someone found a back door. Well at least we have satcoms now."

"Sir, we are monitoring local radio traffic and we are picking up a lot of traffic out of Bermuda."

"What do we have?"

"Sir, it sounds like there is a British Navy presence on the Island."

Captain Cole pulled up a chart. "We are about 6 hours out from Bermuda. Helm, plot a course that gets us close but not on top of the island."

Bucky looked over at him."Is that a wise idea?"

"The carrier group is going to pass right by here. They will need to know if there is an issue."

22:05 GMT (17:05 EST) 07 November 12

USS Ronald Reagan.  
Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.


Captain Norris rushed into the CIC. Ensign Payne was there working with the communication guys. "Skipper, I was getting some info from the underground about something strange in Texas. So I came up to see if our friends had a satellite in range. You have to see this, sir."

"What am I looking at ?" Norris asked just as Commander Myers entered the room.

"A school in Breckenridge, Texas. There was a weird report of a viral outbreak and all the kids in the area are being rounded up and sent to one high school, supposedly for 'testing'. It seemed weird, so we were keeping an eye on it...Holy Shit" Everyone just stood and watched as what seemed like a storm of small arms fire erupted. Parents were being fired on by what appeared to be federal agents. Some of the parents were armed and returned fire.

Captain Norris never took his eyes off the screen. "Get this out to all the ships, Live, Now!"

Moments later, the doors of the school burst open, and several children rushed the federal agents, trying to get them to stop shooting their parents.

Some of the agents turned their direction of fire on the children.

"They're shooting fucking Kids!" Sinclair yelled. Captain Norris hadn't even realized he had joined them.

"Are the Rhode Island, Providence or Olympia in Tomahawk range?" Norris looked over to Myers.

"At last contact, no."

"Damn it. Payne get this out to whoever you can without giving away our position."

"Sir, its already out there, no need to risk our location."

"Is this being recorded."

"Yes, sir."

"I want every angle analyzed and every lead followed. I want to know how the hell this happened, how it started and why it escalated."

Myers looked over at him."I will get a team on it, sir."

Norris pointed to one of the screens. "Holy Christ on a Cracker! Those are military APCs.”

Sinclair pointed at another screen. "Are those Apaches engaging each other?" Three Apaches began firing on some of the other aircraft in the area.

Everyone watched as an Osprey maneuvered into position, then opened up on the front of the school, ripping through the concrete just as easily as the bullets ripped through the children who were still trying to protect their parents.

One of the Apaches was hit and lost control and slammed into the school.

Everyone stared in silence at the horrific scene.

Norris looked at another screen "What the fuck is that?"

"Fuck, sir. That's one of the choppers that showed up at the attack on President Bryce." Sinclair pointed out.

They watched as the lead chopper, a Huey unleashed several rockets, hitting the Osprey that was still firing on the front of the school, causing it to split in half and break into smaller flaming pieces. Federal Agents and parents alike had to jump for cover as the debris started to rain down over the area.

Before the last of the debris hit the ground, the Huey turned to engage two Apache helicopters and two other Osprey and a Chinook came in low and fast, buzzing over the school flying NAP of the earth. They were watching a side view of the Chinook and could see the ramp open and two figures prepared to jump out. Then the screen went blank.

Norris looked around "What the hell?"

"Sir, we lost the feed."

"Well get it back"

All the technicians were scrambling. Myers pushed one out of the way and began trying to figure out what was happening. "It's being blocked at the source, sir."

"Well unblock the fucking thing then." Captain Norris was getting pissed.

Payne never looked away and didn't think when he responded. "I am trying."

Captain Norris's head snapped over at him but he said nothing as Payne was furiously pounding on the keyboard.

All of a sudden the video came back. The entire CIC went silent, everyone just stared at the screens looking at the carnage.

Captain Norris slammed his fist on one of the consoles. "FUCK. This is shit we see in third world countries not the US. I swear to fucking god if I get my hands on the fucking asswipe Ashwood I am going to rip his fucking throat out with my fucking bare hands." He stormed out of the CIC before anyone noticed the tears in his eyes.

Previous ChapterNext Chapter