Castle Roland

Dawns Early Light
Book I

by Ken Barber


Chapter 7

Published: 8 Apr 14

Dawns Early Light

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

All Rights Reserved

04:23 GMT 09 November 2012
(23:23 EST 08 November 2012)

SEAL Team 4.
Daytona Beach, Florida.

Dawn's Early Light LogoLieutenant Commander "Bucky" Buchinski slowly raised his head above the murky water and scanned both banks of the river carefully. After being sure no one was around, he clicked his com unit twice and the rest of his 10 man SEAL Boat Crew began quietly emerging from the water. They silently moved to the south bank and put the SDVs on dive and hide. Snoops, one member of the forward recon team made sure the river bank looked undisturbed. After they pulled off their wet suits and stored them, Bucky signaled for Snoops and his partner, Ghost, to head west towards the airport.

After a couple minutes Bucky signaled Squeaks to send the message to the USS Rhode Island, they were feet dry and headed to the first checkpoint. The rest of the crew headed out following at a discreet distance from Snoops and Ghost. They were in a state forest that was more wetlands than forest, but it was a perfect entry point for them. The team moved in complete silence and if someone were watching, they might have thought spirits from the distant past had emerged from the water and descended on their seaside city. As the team approached their first check point, Bucky heard the two clicks in his ear, signaling it was clear to rally at the checkpoint.

Bucky spotted Ghost and headed towards him; he pointed at Snoops, who no one, not even Bucky would have spotted without Ghost pointing him out. Bucky kneeled beside him and looked out over the road they had to cross to get into the tree line that ran around the entire golf course.

"Everything clear?"

"Too clear. Not a vehicle or person in sight, haven't even heard a dog bark."


"Maybe, we will know for sure when we get you hooked back up with Casanova."

"Funny, Snoops, now get your ass across the street, we got you covered."

Snoops patted Bucky on the shoulder, who then signaled to Ghost and they both darted across the street, disappearing into the wood line. A couple of seconds later, the familiar two clicks where heard over the radio, Germs and Tigger darted across, followed by Ice and Pretty Boy. Bucky and Squeaks crossed, leaving Train Wreck and Giggles to come across last. Once the entire team was across, Bucky signaled Snoops to move out again. They moved due west from Strickland Bay sticking to the woods as much as possible, when they entered the South Tomaka Wildlife area and headed due north using the Wildlife preserve to get in close to the airport. This put them well to the west of the airport so they had to turn and head east to the eastern edge of the wildlife preserve. The preserve abutted up against the western border of the airport and was separated only by Interstate 95.

Bucky knew any decent commander would have OPs placed on this side of the highway, and this commander was a hell of a lot better than decent. The three clicks in Bucky's ear told him Snoops and Ghost had found the first observation post. Bucky and the team went down to one knee and watched as Ghost slowly made his way back. He kneeled next to Bucky and held up two fingers pointed down the game trail then held up four fingers and then his palm down flat. Bucky nodded, knowing this meant two men 400 meters down the trail in the prone position, standard for an OP. Bucky signaled Pretty Boy to come up and join him. The two of them stood and began walking down the trail. About 75 meters from the observation post they heard the click of an M-4 safety lever. By this time, Tigger and Germs should have the two in the crosshairs of their sniper rifles.

A loud voice called out. "US ARMY, HALT RIGHT THERE." Bucky and Pretty Boy froze. "Identify yourself."

"Lieutenant Commander Albert Buchinski United States Navy SEALs."

"Take five steps forward to be recognized."

Bucky and Pretty Boy did. "What's the password."

Bucky knew from Felix that the squadron had an emergency password when the official one wasn't available. "Rampage"

"Lay face down on the ground with your arms and hands extended in front of you."

They followed his instructions and could hear someone whispering into a radio. They must have laid there for a good ten minutes before they heard someone walking up the path.

"Gentleman, I apologize for the rough nature you are being treated with, but we must be sure of who you are before we go any further."

Bucky looked up at the Army Lieutenant standing in front of him. "Lieutenant, contact Lieutenant Colonel Rodriguez and tell him Bucky is here to see him, and I brought a bottle of scotch."

"Commander, that is highly irregular."

"Lieutenant, since when has the CAV done anything regular?"

He actually chuckled a little. "Very well, Commander. Just do me a favor and stay right where you are. I know you're not alone and I am sure your snipers have me picked out, but I can assure you my own snipers are damn good shots, too. So don't do anything rash and start us shooting at each other."

"You're in command here, LT."

The Lieutenant walked back down the path and was gone for a few minutes. Bucky and Pretty Boy stayed perfectly still the entire time. A few minutes later, he trotted back up the path.

"Commander, I have been ordered to escort you to the squadron Headquarters."

Bucky didn't move but looked up again. "Did the Colonel say anything else."

"Yes, sir. He told me to tell you if you brought scotch instead of brandy then you can take your happy ass back to your damn boats."

Bucky slowly got up laughing. He knew it was Felix, as Felix despised scotch, but loved brandy. He clicked his com unit twice and the entire team stood up, they had encircled the OP and the two snipers the Lieutenant had placed.

The Lieutenant laughed. "Damn Navy SEALs." He reached out his hand "Lieutenant Richard Cunningham, Platoon Leader 1st Platoon Bull Troop."

Bucky shook his hand. "Bucky, SEAL Team 4 Commander. Nice to meet you, Lieutenant Cunningham."

"Let's get you back to the Squadron CO, sir."

They walked back down the trail to a Humvee that was waiting, as a Stryker was just pulling up behind it. Bucky and Squeaks jumped in the Humvee with Lieutenant Cunningham and his driver, the rest of his team loaded into the back of the Stryker. The ride across Interstate 95 was quick and Bucky noticed again the complete lack of civilian traffic. As they entered the airport, he paid attention to all the defensive emplacements and the fact that not a single civilian was present. As they pulled onto the tarmac, they passed two very heavily guarded hangars and then pulled up to the Customs/INS/USDA offices. Bucky looked over and saw Felix standing in front of the offices and could not help but smile. Squeaks was smirking at him and Bucky flipped him off and jumped out of the Humvee as it came to a stop.

Lieutenant Colonel Rodriguez walked over to the vehicle and held out his hand to shake Bucky's. Bucky shook it and they both shared a look for a second.

"Bucky, damn it's good to see you. But what the hell are you doing here?"

"Flex, we need to talk privately; it's urgent."

"Let's go to my office. Cunningham, get the rest of the SEAL Team some chow and a place to chill for a bit."

Lieutenant Cunningham saluted and walked over to the rest of Bucky's team as Bucky followed Rodriguez into the Office.

"You took over customs."

"Yeah, with the airport closed, they were all sent home or to wherever. Shit's been crazy around here, is what they are saying about Jack Bryce for real, Bucky? Christ they are calling him a terrorist and blaming him for some sort of chemical attack on Austin Texas."

"Let's get to your office, Flex."

They turned a corner and Rodriguez showed him into what used to be the Customs Special Agent in Charge's office. There was a military cot along one wall and maps of Daytona all over the walls with writing all over them.

Rodriguez closed the door and pulled the blinds and then turned and grabbed his lover. The two shared a very passionate kiss for a few minutes.

Both took a deep breath. Bucky put his hand on the back of Flex's neck and looked into his eyes. "I missed that tremendously. You know I am completely head over heels in love with you, right?"

"You better be." Flex giggled. "Bucky, I love you more than I think is possible. But I am sure you didn't cross the Atlantic and attempt to infiltrate my Area of Operation just to tell me that."

Bucky laughed and sat on the desk. "First, I didn't even try to infiltrate your AO, I got caught on purpose. But you're right, no matter how romantic it might be, I didn't come to tell you that. I came to tell you Ashwood is lying to you, and he is the one responsible for the chemical attacks."

"Shit, Bucky, tell me you have proof, please tell me you have proof." Flex practically begged him.

Bucky reached into his pack and pulled out a tablet. He removed the waterproof covering and opened the file that had all the evidence from the mutiny to the nuke order to the chemical weapons and included the video from the satellite of the incident at Breckenridge and Disney World.

"Jesus H Christ, we are not getting this info. Fuck, Bucky, I have one hangar full of kids and a couple of adults. The other hangar is full of cops. The Police Chief here brought them all in yesterday in handcuffs and charged them with domestic terrorism. I haven't contacted General Worth over in Orlando yet, to tell him to come get them because I can't figure out how the hell all those kids are terrorists."

Bucky reached over and put his hand on top of his lover's. "Flex you were already questioning what was going on. I just confirmed your fears. They're not terrorists, they are undesirables, for most their only crime is they are gay. My father shot me for Christ sake, this is serious shit." Bucky opened his shirt to show Flex the wound that was still angry and red. Flex reached out and lightly touched his fingers to it.

"So, what's the game plan?"

"Captain Norris wants to land the 32nd Marine Expeditionary Unit here in Daytona and secure it, giving us a foothold on the Eastern Seaboard. He is attempting to establish contact with President Bryce. That's all we have for now."

"My troop commanders are going to need to see this shit."

"As soon as that's done, can you send your choppers to get the rest of my team off the beach."

"Of course. Bucky, my men are not going to like the fact we were played like this. They are going to want revenge."

"If I know Norris and Sinclair, they are planning a strike on the detention center at Disney World. I can promise you your guys are going in with us."

Flex leaned over and kissed Bucky again and then spun around and opened the door to the office. "Get me Major Kearns and Sergeant Major Twiggs, now." The Major and the Sergeant Major came into the office pretty quickly and Flex showed them into his office while Bucky waited outside.

A few minutes later, Bucky heard a yell. "Are you fucking kidding me, sir. This is fucking ridiculous.” The door flew open and the Sergeant Major came storming out. Looked at the first soldier he could find. "Sergeant Grant, I want all Senior NCOs assembled in terminal one in 15 minutes."

"Yes, Sergeant Major."

The Sergeant ran to get the message out as Major Kearns was slowly walking out of the office he turned to a young Lieutenant sitting at a desk.

"Lieutenant, I need all officers assembled in terminal one in 15 minutes."

"Yes, sir." The Lieutenant ran off after the Sergeant.

The Major turned to Bucky and held out his hand. "Major David Kearns, sir. Welcome to Daytona Beach."

Bucky shook his hand. "Bucky, SEAL Team 4 commander."

The Sergeant Major reached his hand out. "Sergeant Major Daniel Twiggs, sir and I am damn glad you brought this to us. Something just wasn't adding up right, around here."

"Sergeant Major, I am glad you see the same thing we have."

Flex came out of the office and handed the Sergeant Major a disk. "Bucky, I emailed this to my laptop and burnt a copy, you don't mind right."

"Of course not, Flex. Once you are done with your briefing we can begin to secure Daytona Beach. In the mean time I am going to go find my guys, eat something and take a nap."

Bucky found his team in a nearby building that was formerly used by customs. Tigger jumped up as he entered. "Hey, Boss, chow's not bad for army grunts. This is First Sergeant Slawson he is our babysitter. "

"First Sergeant, it's a pleasure to meet you. Lieutenant Commander Buchinski.

"First Sergeant Slawson snapped to attention. "My pleasure, sir."

"At ease, First Sergeant. We aren't big on formalities in the SEALs, You will have to forgive us."

"Understood, sir, you will have to excuse me I have a briefing to attend. And based on the fact you guys showed up unexpectedly and out of nowhere, I have a feeling it's not going to be fun." With that he headed off.

Bucky fixed a plate of food and Tigger was right, it wasn't disgusting. Not the food on the ships but not disgusting. He sat down and waved everyone over.

"Guys, Flex is briefing his officers now. Give it a few minutes and depending on the outcome we may need to shoot our way out." He held up his hand stopping Snoops from speaking. "I don't think that is probable, but we need to be prepared. Snoops, you and Ghost take up positions on those catwalks. Give us a warning if you see them maneuvering into position."

He gave out the rest of the orders and took a position himself by the main entrance. About an hour later, a Humvee carrying the Colonel, Major, and Command Sergeant Major pulled up. The three jumped out and approached. Bucky pulled the door open and let them in. The CSM noticed the guys in defensive positions and nodded to Bucky.

"Flex, how'd it go."

"Just as expected. Although I was surprised to find out Lieutenant Cunningham has a college professor boyfriend in Orlando that he hasn't been able to reach for quite some time. It took the Sergeant Major to get in his face and order him back to his seat to keep him from going to Orlando himself.

"I have the choppers spooling up to retrieve the rest of your team. We have bunks we can get moved in here. Can you set this up as your barracks and ground command center until we figure out something more permanent?"

Bucky chuckled. "We've survived in worse conditions."

Flex and Bucky walked over to the hangar holding the detained cops. As they walked, Flex pointed out his defensive positions and how he had deployed his troops. He had control of the Airport and a small portion of the city leading back to the beaches to the east. The northern flank was bordered by Highway 92 and the southern border was Highway 400 and the western was Interstate 95. The homes in the Area of Operation had all been evacuated. It was a narrow corridor of control, but it was well secured. It would take a whole lot of heavy troops to push them out once they were fully entrenched.

They reached the hangar holding the "terrorist" cops. Bucky and Flex slipped into the darkened hangar and they could hear the snores of its occupants. Two uniformed police officers stepped in front of them.

"What do you want, Colonel?"

"We need to speak to all of you, now."

"What for? You finally going to ship us off to the concentration camp."

"Sir, could you please wake Captain Sweet and tell him I urgently need to speak to him."

They looked at each other and nodded, one of the officers walked off into the darkened hangar. Flex and Bucky just stood there waiting, until an older policeman walked up buttoning his shirt. "Colonel Rodriguez, what can I do for you?"

"Captain Sweet, This is Lieutenant Commander Albert Buchinski US Navy SEAL Team 4. Commander he needs to speak to you privately."

"Commander, let's step outside."

As soon as all three stepped outside, Bucky turned to the Police Captain. "Captain are your men in good health?"

Captain Sweet looked at him quizzically. "Colonel Rodriguez has been as kind as he is able. We are fed and as comfortable as possible, given the circumstances."

"Well, Captain Sweet, the circumstances have changed. Lieutenant Colonel Rodriguez's superiors have been giving him and his men false information. President Ashwood is attempting to seize control of the United States, even though he lost the election. The country is at war with itself. The first shots were fired by Ashwood, and today, he used chemical weapons on US cities."

"Holy Fuck."

"Our sentiments exactly. I am assigned to the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Group, which is sitting a couple hundred nautical miles off the coast. As we speak, the rest of my SEAL Team is in bound to reinforce the troops already here. Tomorrow night, we will be putting close to 2,500 Marines on the ground. It is our intention to create a foothold on the East Coast and use it against the Ashwood loyal troops. Can we count on your men to help us?"

"Commander, is this some sort of joke?"

"No, Captain, it is not. I have given Colonel Rodriguez the proof he needs and his unit is with us."

"What about our Families?"

Rodriguez held up his hand. "They are being held in a resort near the beach. It's also the inprocess center for the child terrorists we are holding next door."

Bucky looked at Flex. "How big is the facility and who guards it?"

"It's a pretty decent size facility and it's a bunch of Hispanic thugs that guard it. The DEA agent in charge is Agent Atwater. We are assuming they brought them up from Miami. Last count was about 20 guards, with only 5-8 on duty at a time."

Bucky looked at his watch. "Looks like it's time to check into a resort. Captain you have any officers of Hispanic decent."

"Of course, this is Florida; you're either retired old white people or Hispanic. No offense Colonel."

"None taken. I will have Major Kearns get the Tactical Operations Center setup to plan a raid on the holding facility in the Bahamas House Resort." He looked to Bucky, who was staring off into space. "Bucky, what's on your mind?"

"If we take out the facility, then any new refugees are going to be taken straight to Disney and our cover here will be blown.”

Captain Sweet nodded. "Easy answer, we take over the facility and continue to take those arrested and then transfer them here. You guys take them wherever you can."

Bucky looked at Flex. "How many refugees can you hold here?"

"That is not an issue; I have the whole airport and speedway. The issue is feeding them and eventually Ashwood loyal troops are going to figure out what is going on here. They can't just ignore us; they will hit us. We can hold even if they send everything they have in Orlando, but if they come at us with heavy armor, this defense will fold fast. That is a lot of noncombatants in the kill zone."

"I will send a message to Norris and tell him he has incoming refugees and needs to find a place for them. When Sinclair comes in, we will load this group up on the Ospreys and take them back to the Reagan."

Flex nodded. "Can Captain Norris handle a couple hundred refugees?"

Bucky chuckled. "He is paid the big bucks to figure it out. Let's get to work; we have an op to plan. Captain, get your men up and ready to roll. We will equip as many as we can and have them set an outer perimeter around the hotel."

"Yes, sir, Commander." He turned and went back into the hangar, flipping on the lights as he entered. "Everyone up we have work to do. It's time to get back on our feet."

Bucky started to walk to the hangar holding the undesirables. Flex grabbed his arm. "Don't you dare judge me when you go in there. I never liked this and did everything I could to make them as comfortable as possible."

Bucky smiled. "Flex, I know you and I know you hated this, but you had your orders and followed them. I know you treated these people with dignity and honor. I have never judged you and you have never judged me. I don't plan to start now."

Bucky walked and saw the hangar set up with about 100 cots, in three rows along one side and along the other was a rec area with pool tables, video games, and ping pong. He also saw what looked like a classroom at the very back of the hangar. He turned and smiled at Flex and mouthed the words I love you. At the very back was a curtained off area and he could see one adult sitting in a chair reading a book by a small light. The adult looked when they entered and began approaching them.

"Colonel, it's kind of late to disturb the kids."

"We will try to be quiet, Doctor. This is Commander Albert Buchinski, US Navy SEAL Team Commander."

"Doctor, it's a pleasure to meet you."

"Doctor John Harlow, Head of Pediatric Medicine at Florida State University."

"Doctor Harlow, I am glad you are here looking after the kids."

"Sir, no offense but these kids, nor the adults should be here. This is a violation of our Constitutional Rights."

"Doctor, I understand, and please know that Colonel Rodriguez and I are doing everything we can to rectify the situation. You have been in the dark for awhile, now. Ashwood has started a civil war, a war that myself, Colonel Rodriguez and the entirety of the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group intend to take to him and shove up his ass. You're in friendly hands, now."

Doctor Harlow looked at Rodriguez. "Colonel, you have been as kind as possible to us and we thank you. But if this is true, when can we go back to our families."

Rodriguez looked down. "Doctor Harlow, please accept my apologies for not putting a stop to this earlier. I have been kept in the dark just as much as you. The only thing I can do is get you and these kids out of harm's way. Unfortunately, releasing you to go back to your families will not work."

"And why the hell not?"

Bucky stepped in. "Two reasons, Doctor the first is that will give away the fact that forces loyal to President Bryce have a Forward Operating Base on the East Coast. Second is, you will just be rounded up again and taken straight to Disney World where you will not be treated as well as the Colonel has done here."

"So where will we be taken. I will not allow you to separate us from these kids."

"You won't be separated; as a matter of fact, I would like you and the adults here to continue to care for the kids. How many adults are there?"

"Currently ten, three doctors, one nurse, one psychologist, a professor of English Lit, a civil rights lawyer, a housewife, a journalist, and a sporting goods store owner."

"Good, you are the head of the refugee camp. I don't know where you're going yet, except tomorrow night your will be transferred to the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Group. They will make arrangements to get you somewhere safe. It's our intention to intercept as many groups being taken to Disney World as possible. So you will receive more refugees."

"I hate the thought of being refugees from our own homes. This is madness."

"I agree, Doctor, But we need your help we are not equipped and trained to handle this and your group is. Can we count on you?"

"Yes Commander, you can. I will wake the rest and fill them in."

"Thank you; have the kids packed and ready to go by midnight."

The doctor turned and headed back to the curtained off area as Bucky and Flex left the hangar. Bucky watched as the Chinooks landed and the rest of his team began offloading. Lieutenant Commander Anthony "Godfather" Carmichael spotted Bucky and ran over. "Bucky, Hey, Flex, good to see you again." He winked at Bucky. "I take it you will not be bunking with the rest of the guys, boss."

Both just chuckled before Bucky responded. "You know, I still wonder how much I was drinking when I chose you as my assistant team commander."

"Hey, you thought you needed a challenge. Anyway, we got the guys moving to the hangar. I understand you have a mission for us."

"Yup, go time in one hour, after that I want area reconnaissance missions up and down the coast and as close as we can get to Orlando without being detected."

"You got it, Boss. Meet you in the TOC in a few?"

"Yes. Does Squeaks have coms set up yet."

"Yes he is bitching about using scrambled UHF with the subs being relay stations."

"I will be in the TOC as soon as I send a message to the Reagan."

Rodriguez led Godfather to the TOC and Bucky headed off to the hangar where his men were setting up. The place was a flurry of activity as his team went about getting organized for a long stay.

"Squeaks, Can you get me connected to the Reagan?"

"Yup done already."

Bucky picked up the handset. "Romeo Romeo, Juliette is secure. Ready for the Montague's. Be prepared to Receive 100 plus actors needing a home."

"Juliette, this is Romeo Romeo, Understood. Romeo Romeo out."

In the CIC of the Reagan, Captain Norris breathed a sigh of relief. "Sinclair get your men ready to go use the Ospreys to get your command element to Daytona the rest will follow in the Transports. Have the Ospreys return the friendly civilians here."

"Yes, sir." Sinclair walked out and Norris stared at his XO.

"Well, XO, big task for you. What the hell do we do with 100 refugees. Keep in mind this may only be the beginning."

"Bermuda, sir?"

"Not a bad idea, can Bermuda hold them all."

"Sir, it's crazy, but I have an idea." Norris and Myers turned to look at Payne.

"What is it, Ensign."

"Well sir, when we were in Castle Harbor, do you remember the two cruise ships docked there?"


"Well sir, they are Disney Cruise ships that fled Florida and sought asylum in Bermuda. They could very easily be used as floating refugee centers. They have recreation and living accommodations."

Norris smiled. "Damn, Payne, that's brilliant. Coms, get me the Illustrious."

After a few minutes of chatting with Commodore Chase, Norris was patched through to the Cruise Ship Captains. A very brief conversation and they both agreed to host the refugees. Both said it would give their crews something to do.

Norris put his handset down and smiled at Myers and Payne. "Looks like these kids are going to meet Mickey Mouse after all. And I am not kidding; the Captains are promising to treat them like customers and give them the full Disney Cruise Lines treatment. After the shit these people have been through, they deserve it. Operation Mouse Ears is a go."

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