Castle Roland

Dawns Early Light
Book I

by Ken Barber


Chapter 5

Published: 8 Apr 14

Dawns Early Light

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

All Rights Reserved

03:00 GMT (23:00 EST) 08 November 2012.

USS Rhode Island,
West of Bermuda.

Dawn's Early Light LogoCaptain Cole stood in the control center of the Rhode Island as she slowly edged her way closer to Bermuda. "Set Station Keeping. Silent running. Sonar, passive only. What's out there?"

"Multiple Surface Contacts bearing 245 range 4 nautical Miles. Signatures match British Illustrious Class Carrier, two Daring Class Destroyers and three Duke Class Frigates."

The Captain looked at the chart. "That puts them out in front of Castle Harbor, it looks like they are screening the Harbor."

Bucky walked over. "That's got to be the HMS Illustrious. She is a pretty bad ass ship, I remember when some of the Brits were talking about pulling back on the carriers and then the Queen basically laughed in their faces and ordered her built. At the time she was the biggest and best they had. Now Queen E is even bigger. You can bet your ass they are here to try to keep Ashwood in check."

Captain Cole handed a slip of paper to the communication guys. "Send this info to the Ronald Reagan, Providence and Olympia as soon as we get further out."

"Aye, sir."

Cole looked at Bucky. "Let's get you to your vacation in Florida." He laughed as they headed away from Bermuda.

06:00 GMT (01:00 EST) 08 November 2012.

USS Ronald Reagan,
Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Lieutenant Roland, incoming Transmission from Olympia."

"Let me see it."


"Mark this for the Captain to see as soon as he is in CIC."

"He should be there now. I know the satellite is coming into range over Florida."

"Bring it over to him and grab me another coffee on your way back, please."

"You got it, sir."

Petty Officer Walters walked into a crowded CIC and handed Captain Norris the transmission, who read it and nodded to him."Thanks, Walters. Your watch is almost finished right?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good, make sure you get some rest."

"Thank you, sir." Walters turned and headed back to the bridge.

Captain Norris handed the sheet to the XO. "Make sure we discuss that when we get all the commanders together this afternoon."

"Aye, sir." She slipped the paper into her planner.

"Captain?" Ensign Payne called from the control console "Satellite coming into range now."

Myers, Miller, Rosewood Sinclair and Sinclair's second in command Captain Caesar Gonzalez all found a seat.

"To the south you see New Tampa, and to the north is Homosassa Springs. Looks like the info from the underground is correct, there appears to be no power anywhere. Most of the reports are coming from the Orlando area, so I am going to zoom to Orlando and switch to thermal."

"Captain, this is Highway 429, just southwest of Orlando. Very close to Disney World."

Norris shook his head. "I don't think we need to see what's going on at Disney World."

"No offense, sir, but I think you do. If the Underground information is correct then Disney World is at the center of the problems."

Norris looked over his shoulder at Myers and she just shrugged."Okay, Ensign, show us Disney World." He paused. "Is that a military convoy?"

"Looks like five-ton trucks being escorted by Bradleys, sir, and there are a lot of people in the back."

"Zoom in on it." The screen fuzzed a little and cleared up. "Those are mostly kids. Where are they taking them?"

"They just turned onto Western Way heading into Disney World."

"This better be some army outreach program where they take kids to Disney World."

"Sir, they are approaching the main entrance now."

Sinclair pointed at the screen. "I am not sure but when did Disney World put two M1 Abrams on the welcome mat?"

"What the hell is going on here?" Myers stood and walked closer. "That's a hell of a lot of troops on the ground."

"Where is that?"

"It's the Art of Animation, sir."

"Can anyone tell me why its fenced in with guard towers and why there are Bradley's guarding the hotel? Is that an FLS?”

“Definitely is sir, there are C-130’s on the ramp.”

"Sir, the Underground is saying that this is where they are taking all the undesirables."

"How close can you get?"

"Would you like to see one of the rooms sir?" The screen got fuzzy again and then cleared up. Everyone was silent as they stared at what should be a hotel room designed to fit four people comfortably.

Gonzalez was the first to speak. "I count nineteen, sir."

Rosewood was gritting his teeth. "All fucking kids."

Norris looked over his shoulder at him and saw the look on his face. "Ted, are you okay?"

Ted snapped out of it. "Sir, Sorry, sir. It's just brings up some very bad memories."

Captain Norris had a very concerned look on his face, "I understand, Ted, just remember we are the good guys and it's our job to figure out how to stop this."

Everyone nodded as the screen slid to another room and showed more of the same. Room after room until they reached the end of the building."

"Hold up, what's that black spot right behind that building?"

"It's a cold spot sir. There might be enough residual light for me to switch to starlight."

The screen shifted from the bright colors of the thermal image to a grainy, black, white, green and gray image. Payne played with the controls and the picture came into better focus. Everyone gasped.

"That's a pile of bodies!" Sinclair said in shock

"Holy shit." Norris stared for a second. "Sinclair, do we have the assets to take Orlando?"

"Payne, can we see what other military assets are there?"

They scoured the resort getting a good picture of the military that was there and the number of prisoners. There must have been a few hundred already. Some of the area's were set up to hold prisoners but as of now were still empty. The picture was very grim. The Floridian Hotel seemed to be a command post and the Contemporary Hotel looked to be used as a barracks. Disney's Wilderness Lodge was the most heavily guarded but had the least number of prisoners. It appeared to have its own barracks in the adjacent villas. That meant they were splitting up the kids and parents. The center square of Magic Kingdom had about ten Apache helicopters sitting on it. Disney Motorsports Speedway had been turned into a motor pool stocked with four Abrams, ten Bradleys, and about twenty Strykers.

Norris was dumbfounded. "Walt Disney is turning over in his grave right now. Let's look at the East Coast of Florida and see if we can get Bucky inserted there. Sinclair, start figuring out what we need for an assault on Disney World. Shit that just sounds stupid."

The satellite slowly moved east and they began searching for insertion points along the East Coast. As they were scouring the coast they breezed right over Daytona.

Gonzalez pointed. "Wait go back to Daytona Beach International. Does anyone else see that?"

Captain Norris looked at him. "What are you looking at, Captain?"

"Sir, that's a small unit focused primarily at the airport. There really isn't anything else around."

"What size unit?"

"It looks to be about a battalion."

"So, what 2,000 men?"

Sinclair held his hand up to Gonzalez. "Captain, a Marine Expeditionary Unit is much larger than a standard battalion. We have close to 2,500 Marines but a standard battalion is between 1,000-1,500 men and equipment. Ensign could you zoom into the area just east of the runway. They have four OH-58D Warriors, six UH-60 Black Hawks, and four CH-47 Chinooks. Based on that and the fact that they only have a couple of Bradleys in the AO I would say that a squadron of the 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment is holding Daytona Beach."

"Major, are you telling me we can take Daytona Beach?"

"Yes sir. There is no way we have the assets to take Orlando, but we can certainly take out that squadron. With air cover from the Reagan and naval gunfire we could run them over pretty quickly. That would give us a foothold on the East Coast of the United States."

"How long can we hold it?"

"If we can dig in and get my heavy equipment off the floating docks. I am pretty sure we could hold for a few days without reinforcements."

"Where the hell do we get you reinforcements? And for Christ sakes, are we actually talking about attacking Daytona Beach Florida?"

No one responded at first. Finally Sinclair turned and faced the Captain. "Sir, first the reinforcements issue, no offense but that issue is above my pay grade. " Captain Norris smiled at the military’s way of saying that's your problem, before Sinclair continued. "Sir, I do not doubt that we are going to war. Yes, this is a war on our own soil against our brothers and sisters. And I do not doubt we will have to make tough decisions. And I do not doubt that innocent Americans will get caught in the crossfire. But if anyone in this room gets second thoughts about the validity of our actions, just look at that video from Orlando. After watching that, I am ready to take my Unit and capture Daytona Beach by myself if necessary. Or die trying, sir. "

Captain Norris just shook his head. "Major, don't go running off into a bayonet charge. It's my job to second guess attacking an American city. I don't see any other options here. That prick Ashwood has backed us into a corner. Get me LTJG Hendricks SEAL Team 4 operations."

"Payne, start looking for insertion avenues for Bucky."

"Yes, sir."

Captain Norris returned to his chair and waved Myers over. "Find out what's going on with Ted. He looks like he is about to jump out and swim to Orlando. Something is eating at him."

"Yes sir, and I will have a chat with Sinclair about addressing you like that."

"No, Jessica, you won't. The man is passionate, if he wasn't, then I would not want him playing for our team."

"Yes sir." She stood up just as LTJG Hendricks entered the CIC.

"Captain, you needed to see me?"

"Lieutenant, we are going to insert Bucky and his team into Daytona Beach. Payne is looking at approaches now."

"Okay, sir, what’s the target?"

"Reconnaissance. Daytona International at first then support the Marine Unit as we assault the city."

"Sir, it looks like the most direct route would be through this inlet here. Let me see the tide charts. Ok, the tide starts to rise close to 22:00 on Thursday the 8th and be full at 03:05. This is eastern time sir. If they began their insertion at around 01:00 they would have deep enough water to use the SDVs all the way up the Halifax River and then cross by land. The only obstacle is this little neighborhood and a golf course. Bucky can negotiate those easily. That would put him right at this edge of the airport. That wood line directly east of the airport will provide cover and the one south as well."

"Thank you, Lieutenant. I will transmit the data to Bucky."

"Yes, sir."

"Let's develop the basic plan for the assault on Daytona Beach. Sinclair, get your people on it. The Rhode Island will be reachable a little after 11:00. I need to brief them on Orlando and Daytona. Send out the video of Orlando to all the Captains. Ted, find out if your friends can give us satellite coverage for the assault on Daytona."

"Aye, sir."

Norris stood up. "Someone bring me some damn coffee."

11:14 GMT (06:14 EST) 08 November 2012.

USS Ronald Reagan,
Off the coast of Bermuda.

Captain Norris and the command group of the USS Ronald Reagan, along with Commander Rosewood of the USS Fort Worth and Captain Peterson of the USS Jason Dunham were gathered in the CIC waiting for the USS Rhode Island to contact them via the Satellite uplink so they could discuss the plans for the attack on Daytona Beach.

Sinclair and Peterson were looking over and establishing fire markers for the destroyers to use in the aid of the assault. It was already determined that one Tomahawk could take out the Helicopter unit.

Ensign Payne signaled to get the Captain's attention. "Sir, we have the Rhode Island on the SAT link.

"Thank you, Ensign Payne, put it on the screen please."

The image of Bucky and Captain Cole slowly came into focus. Captain Cole spoke first. "Captain Norris, how are your guys doing back there?"

"We are doing just fine, Captain Cole. I want you to get as close to Daytona Beach as possible. We have an initial insertion plan setup for Daytona. The Ashwood forces are pretty light there, and Major Sinclair thinks we can take and hold Daytona for a couple days at least. Once there, we are going to look at expanding our control and seeing what we can do about Orlando.

Captain Cole looked up from his notes. "What's going on in Orlando?"

"We are sending you a video file make sure you view it first before you share it with your crew. But basically Ashwood has turned Orlando into a concentration camp for the undesirables."

"Captain, Sorry to interrupt."

"No Problem, Bucky. What's on your mind."

"Sir, who are these undesirables that Ashwood is rounding up?"

"Ensign Payne, care to elaborate for us."

"Yes sir, the Underground reports we are getting makes it sound like the biggest group is the Gays, however, I think that group is the most obvious because of all the political upheaval around gays rights over the past few years. What I find interesting is that there are a lot of College Professors, Doctors and even Lawyers. Basically, anyone that doesn't agree with Ashwood is declared an undesirable and rounded up and sent to regional 'camps'. I believe, if you allow me to speculate for a moment, Captain, they will be sending them to Disney."

Norris turned back to the screen "So that about sums it up. We have the SAT images from Orlando and Daytona Beach. You guys can look at Orlando and figure out what we are going to do about that later. Right now, I need to get you on the ground in Daytona. Sinclair can you brief them on the Army unit in Daytona."

"My pleasure, Captain. We estimate the enemy resistance to be one squadron of the 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment..."

Bucky looked up and interrupted. "Do we know which squadron?"

Sinclair looked over at Myers and Payne. "Any Intel on that?"

Payne began pulling up some files. "We have some stills taken by a Hyrdacom SAT just little bit ago. Keep in mind it's still before sunrise and still a little dark. But I am sure we have one of the Command Post. Yes, here it is."

"Can we clean up the image of the Guidon posted in front of the building." Norris pointed to the spot on the screen.

"Just a second sir. Here you go."

The red and white cavalry pennant came into view and clearly showed the Number 1 embossed in gold on the lower white half and the Number 2 on the upper red half.

Sinclair indicated the 1. "That would make it the 1st Squadron 2nd Cav."

"Captain Norris, sir." Bucky was looking apprehensive.

"What's on your mind, Bucky."

"Sir, there is no way in hell that unit is loyal to Ashwood."

Everyone stopped and looked at him for a minute. Captain Norris rose from his chair and walked around the back of it. "Bucky, in order for me to go on that, I have to have some proof."

"Sir, First I need you to know that my entire team knows this and there isn't a problem with it. Second if anyone questions my ability to lead after I tell you this, then they can look at my track record and if they still do, they will have 50 very pissed off SEALS to contend with."

Captain Norris held up his hand to stop Bucky. "Bucky, do you want me to clear the room so we can have this chat in private."

"No, sir, we are about to take part in a civil war in the United States and I need everyone to know who they are working with and on the reverse, I need to know who I am working with."

"Very well, son, But know this, no matter what you say here, I will always have your back."

"Thank you, sir. Sir the commander of the 1st Squadron 2nd Cav is Lieutenant Colonel Felix Rodriguez. Felix and I have been in a committed relationship for 8 years, now."

Everyone on the Reagan looked at Norris for his reaction except Commander Rosewood. "Bucky, that's great to hear. I am happy for you."

Norris looked over at Ted and smiled. "Bucky, I have known you since you were a teenager. Do you remember your senior homecoming dance, My Justin was only a sophomore that year. I was a chaperone at the dance, and went outside to get some fresh air I saw you and the running back from the football team making out. I kind of figured then. Justin also told me he had a very big crush on you. That was right before the accident."

"Captain, you know how much that accident took from me, too. Justin was the little brother I always wanted."

"I know, son." Captain Norris looked around the room. "Does anyone here care that the biggest badass in the carrier group is gay?"

Sinclair stood up. "Commander Buchinski, when this is all over. I would love for you and Felix to join me and my partner Oliver for dinner."

"Thank you, Major, I hope Oliver is the cook in the family, I haven't met a Marine yet that can cook for shit." Everyone laughed and the tension eased.

Captain Norris sat back down. "This means we could essentially hold Daytona Beach as soon as you link up with the unit on the ground. In that case..."

Payne leaned over to another console and said loudly. "What the hell is that?"

The Com Tech jumped back. "It's a news broadcast sir, you told us to monitor them."

"Yes I know, put it on the main screen now. Captain, I am interrupting, you all need to see this."

The Screen changed to a breaking news banner around a spinning globe. A few seconds later, a female reporter appeared on the screen.

"Good Morning, This is Jill Brandy with ABC26 in Phoenix Arizona. At 5:30 am eastern time this morning reports of President Ashwood declaring martial law started coming in. We just received the official announcement. President Ashwood has in fact declared martial law. He also has declared Tuesday's election null and void. This is the first we have heard from the Ashwood administration since the election on Tuesday. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has called an emergency session of the nation's highest court. There is little doubt that they will strike down the Declaration of Martial Law. However, many of the Executive Orders from President Ashwood that the Supreme Court has overturned are still being enforced. This is Jill Brandy with ABC26 In Phoenix Arizona."

The broadcast ended and everyone just sat there staring at the screen.

Rosewood shook his head. "I don't think that is even legal."

Captain Norris glanced at him. "It's not and the Supreme Court is going to strike it down, but that's not going to stop Ashwood. What are the chances he will arrest the Supreme Court?"

Ensign Payne pulled up a list of the Supreme Court. "I would say pretty good, sir. He doesn't seem to respect the authority of the court."

"Payne, have your guys keep an eye on that. Bucky, begin your insertion tonight and approach the ground unit. Make sure Colonel Rodriguez is still in command and he is ready to assist us. We are sending the tide charts and best routes. We will try to have satellite coverage for the whole trek. Use your SAT phone when possible, if not use the radios and have Rhode Island relay back to us through Providence and Olympia. I am staging all the subs at just inside each other's radio range. Ted tells me the Providence is equipped with some sort of ocean piggy-back communication system. Ted what the hell is it?"

"Sir, it's the Transoceanic carrier communication. It allows us to transmit a signal to the Transoceanic cables and then they basically piggy-back on the cables. As long as the receiver is close to a cable it can be picked up. Plus we have the magma displacement communication. But that’s not set up for ship to ship."

Norris nodded in agreement. "That's what I said, right?" He smirked but everyone was silent. "Moving on, Friday night we will begin putting the Marines on shore. The Fort Worth will be as close as possible and will use her jamming ability to stop all communication in and out of Daytona while we deploy. We may need to control the local police. Just something to keep in mind. Bucky, once you're on the ground with Rodriguez you can figure that out."

"Yes, sir."

"As far as the rest of the details are concerned, we will have the E2C in the air and you will have fighter and air to ground support. Fort Worth will provide light naval gunfire support. Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and Jason Dunham will be able to provide cruise missile support and can advance to provide naval gunfire should it be needed. Anything I am missing?"

"Sir." Sinclair spoke up. "We do need an extraction plan. Should we meet with heavier resistance than is expected we need to be able to get the hell out."

"I agree, let's get that developed as well and have the extraction plan in place. Don't forget to plan the extraction of the Cav unit as well. If they assist us and we have to bail we cannot leave them behind."

"Understood, sir."

"Gentlemen and Ladies, that about wraps this up, any questions?"

Myers looked around the room and at the screens. "I don't believe so, sir."

"Captain, Hold up a second; here is another news broadcast you need to see."

The Screen changed to show the same reporter.

"Good Morning, this is Jill Brandy with ABC26 in Phoenix Arizona. At 5:30 am this morning reports of President Ashwood declaring martial law started coming in. We have confirmed those reports, President Ashwood has in fact declared martial law and has declared Tuesday's election null and void. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court called an emergency session of the Supreme Court and they have ruled that the Declaration of martial law is unconstitutional. The Chief Justice went as far as to call it Reprehensible, Immoral, and Illegal. Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated if President Ashwood tried to enforce the declaration, Congress must act and impeach him and arrest him. Justice Ginsburg stated Martial rule can never exist where the courts are open, and in the proper and unobstructed exercise of their jurisdiction. There have been reports that all the Justices of the Supreme Court have been taken in protective custody. They are being held with members of Congress in an undisclosed location. This is Jill Brady with ABC26 In Phoenix Arizona."

Norris looked at everyone."There is no question, people, the United States is now at war with itself. Payne, Myers, Rosewood, use every connection you have to find SCOTUS. If we have to send the whole damn Marine Unit after them we will. I also want every ship to develop a list of military targets only, on the eastern seaboard for cruise missile strikes. I also want to know exactly how many civilians could be in the danger zone. That is all. Dismissed."

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