Castle Roland

Dawns Early Light
Book III
Twilight's Last

by Ken Barber

In Progress

Chapter 3

Published: 29 Jun 17

Dawn's Early Light Book III: Twilight's Last Gleaming

Copyright © 2017 by Ken Barber and the Revolutions Universe Partnership
All Rights Reserved

2046 EST 27 November 2012
USS Ronald Reagan
Long Island Sound

Twilight LogoNorris was looking over his field gear and uniform when there was a tap at the door.

Myers stepped in without waiting for a response. "I have the Operation Scorpion plans here for you, sir. Their attack is timed to start right before ours."

Norris took the file and looked at it. "Perfect, if we get into position and can start pretty quickly after they do. Ashwood and his team will be distracted."

"I sent the plan over to Major Sinclair and Snoops, they both agree."

"Looks like things are going to get heated pretty quickly. I will read this over and let you know if I see any issues."

"Ok sir, the Osprey will be ready at 0030 sir."

"Thank you Myers."

Myers left the office and Norris sat down and started looking over the plan.

0130 EST 28 November 2012
Adirondack State Park New York

Admiral Norris stepped off the Osprey, waited for his security detail to form up around him and walked to the mobile command post set up by Major Sinclair and the SEALs.

Major Sinclair looked up and nodded to the admiral. "Sir, welcome to the boonies. These young men are from the New York Militia group. This is Ben Stoddard, their commander and Lee Bradford, his second. They are here to guide us to the complex."

Norris looked at the two scrappy looking young men. "Gentlemen, thank you for everything you have done so far and for helping us with this. We owe you a huge debt."

"Sir, after seeing the things Ashwood did to subvert the election, bringing in foreign troops to maintain his power, we just couldn't take this lying down. The stuff we have seen them do is horrifying. As long as they are here, we are going to be their worst nightmare."

Norris reached out and patted the young man's shoulder. "I understand and we have the same motivations. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to talk with the commanders."

"Of course, Admiral."

The admiral and major walked over to where Snoops was reviewing the map. "Snoops. how does it look?"

"Sir welcome to New York. These kids are geniuses about moving around this territory and type of terrain. We are moving out in thirty minutes and should be in place by 0430. We start at 0500 and should be in and out in ten minutes. The Brits dispatched a satellite and it should be in position about 0445."

"Ok sounds good. Let's gather everyone up for a quick second so I can talk to them."

Major Sinclair smiled. "Of course Admiral, give me five minutes."

Norris watched as the entire strike team gathered together with the exception of the Marine security detail. "Thank you everyone. I won't take long; I know you are all getting ready to move out. This mission is one of the most important of the war so far. We are fortunate that President Ashwood is within striking distance but we only have one shot at this. If we miss this opportunity they will bury him so deep we won't see him for the next twenty years. With that said, I want you to understand that nothing is more important than your safety. I would rather you come back empty handed than come back hurt, or worse. Each and every one of you are the best trained men and women in your field, but I don't need to remind you that you are going up against what is considered one of the most elite and trained fighting forces in the world. The United States Secret Service are by far the most dedicated men and women in the US Government. Surprise is our only advantage, and the minute we lose it we are at the disadvantage. They will have contingency plan upon contingency plan, we have to be prepared for anything, and everything. For the past three weeks I have watched you take on impossible odds and always come out on top and I have no doubt that will happen again today. You are the men and women of SEAL Team 4, Marine Expeditionary Unit 32, and the New York Citizen's Militia. History will remember your units and your actions today, not the grisly old admiral standing in front of you. For the first time ever we are going to capture a former United States President. We have a warrant issued by a Federal judge. President Ashwood will be brought back here and then we will move him to a secure location. It is imperative President Ashwood not be harmed during this operation. Treat this like a hostage rescue mission. Ladies and Gentlemen you are the finest warriors this country has ever seen. You have pushed yourselves beyond what should be expected of you and have not stopped to question it. Tonight is a pivotal moment, tonight we take the fight to the enemy leadership, and show them no one is untouchable, no one is above the law. God be with you all. Go kick ass."

There were some quiet 'hurrahs' and 'hell yeah's' sent back his way and he couldn't help but smile. He turned around and looked at Lieutenant Payne. "Walk with me John."

"Yes sir."

They moved a slight distance away from the command group before Norris stopped him. "Ok, listen up Payne. I know that the UNIT's enhanced interrogation techniques areā€¦ shall we say very unusual." He held up his hand to stop Payne from saying anything. "Don't say anything, I don't really need to know. Here is what I want to happen. I want Ashwood interrogated by someone that can find out everything he knows. I want to know where every member of his administration is, and I want to know every move they have planned already. I also want to know what this AoG shit is all about. You decide the best way to get that done."

"Understood sir. I will make the call and have someone here by tomorrow."

"I don't need to know any more, I will just expect your report when you are done. One thing though, no torture or abuse of any kind. The man was the President of the United States."

"Understood sir. We have your dress uniform ready for you in the chopper."

"Thank you. I will change as soon as they have Ashwood in hand."

The two walked back over the command group. Major Sinclair looked up at him. "The first sets of teams are headed out now sir. It's gonna take a few hours for everyone to get into position. There is really nothing for us to do until then."

Norris chuckled. "We wait. This could be the beginning of the end, Dixon."

"Yes sir, it could be, and these teams are fired up to make it happen. I have Marine snipers getting into position all around the compound. The SEALs are going to cross the lake and reemerge here." He pointed to the a spot on the map. "This seems to be the weak link in their armor. We can't identify any patrols or oversight here. The wadi gives them a covered approach right up to the edge of the compound. Once they reach this point our snipers start clearing sentries for them. The most dangerous part is the sprint across the clearing from this building to the main residence."

"Just like we practiced, and every time this is where we got caught."

"Yes but now we have a little leg up. Your Lieutenant Payne's people were able to isolate the radio frequencies they are using and while we cannot crack them yet we can jam them. They won't be able to talk to each other or call their QRF. I have the NY kids overwatching this area across the street from the main gate, that's the first response force. If they start to move, the NY snipers will keep them pinned down long enough for us to complete the mission. The Australian SF Team is on standby as a reserve here."

"Looks like a good plan, Dixon let's just hope it goes the way we want."

"It won't, but we will adapt."

Norris patted Major Sinclair on the back. "Anything else Dixon?"

"Yes sir, I know you are insisting that you ride in the chopper with Ashwood but sir I am going to strongly suggest we put you two in different birds."

Norris paused and looked at him. "I have been over this with Myers and everyone else for that matter."

"I know sir but just hear me out. Should something go wrong and that chopper goes down we are fucked. There will be no recovering from it. You're the only one that could pull us out of the mess if Ashwood's chopper gets shot down."

Norris looked around the clearing to the choppers and Osprey sitting there waiting. "Ok, you're right, then we make one change to the plan. Once they pick Ashwood up they beeline straight back to friendly territory. There is no need to bring him here. I will meet him on the Reagan."

"Thank you sir, that is a huge relief."

"Ok, so now where is the coffee."

"By the command post sir."

0330 EST 28 November 2012
Adirondack State Park, NY

Lieutenant Payne gently shook Admiral Norris. Norris looked up and realized he had dozed off in the seat in the Osprey. "Sir the sniper teams are in place and the SEALs are getting ready to make their approach."

Norris stood up. "Thank you Payne. How long was I out?"

"Just a few minutes sir. I have someone waking Major Sinclair now."

Norris smiled. "Ok let's get to this, check in with the Reagan and make sure they are ready to receive casualties and prisoners."

"Already done sir. Doctor McCray has corpsmen on standby, along with a security detail."

"Good, so now we just wait a little longer." Norris and Payne walked over to the Command Center and met up with the rest of the command team, which consisted of Major Sinclair, a couple members of his staff, Norris, Payne, and Norris' security detail.

After Sinclair finished going over the plan one more time, including the last minute flight changes, everyone sat and listened to teams call in over the radio one by one, letting them know they were in position.

0437 EST 28 November 2012
Adirondack State Park, NY

Major Sinclair waved Norris over. "Sir, satellite feed is coming online now. The attack in Iowa is just beginning."

Norris watched as the satellite image slowly came into focus. The thermal camera was activated and the entire command team could see every person on the ground.

Sinclair keyed his mic. "Frogs, we have satellite, and sentries are being tracked. We count fourteen sentries on patrol around the grounds. Eight stationary, two at the front entrance to the main residence, two at the rear. Two at the only entrance to what looks like a Command Post and two at the main entrance to the complex. Ghost Teams, mark your targets and prepare for execution. Frogs, you are clear to begin your approach. Fox Teams, keep in position; if that QRF team even twitches give them hell."

The voice of one of the young men from the New York group came across the radio. "Fox Team, understood"

"Frogs on the move."

Sinclair looked up at Norris before turning back to the monitors. He moved over to a second monitor and zoomed the camera in on the main residence. "Ok teams listen up; we have three targets in the first room to the main entrance. One appears to be lounging, so could be our target. Two appear to be pacing, so could be sentries. Two sentries standing outside what appears to be a conference room. There are six targets in the conference room and based on protocol the one at the head of the table closest to the entrance would be our primary."

"Roger, Frogs approaching the shore. Looks all clear."

"Roger Frogs, no sentries in your area."


"Report Frogs."

"Looks like motion sensors. Give us a second."

Norris looked around "Options people, give them options."

"Single Directional, we have to move so we can bypass them. We need to approach from the north, not the west."

Sinclair keyed his mic. "Ok once you hit the ground we will take out the two sentries on the north side of peninsula. You're gonna have to move faster and cover more ground."

"Roger no choice."

"Ghost 1, standby for go."

"Ghost 1 targets acquired ready for your command."

They watched as the SEALs slowly moved to the northern shore of the compound. Just before they came out of the water. Sinclair again keyed his mic. "Hold Position. Ghost 1 execute."

Norris watched the monitor as the two sentries just seemed to fall down.

"Frogs move, sentries down. Ghost 4 stand by."

"Frogs moving."

"Ghost 4 targets acquired."

"Frogs move to the Northwest corner of the building 100 meters to your south and hold."

They all watched as the SEALs moved quickly from the woodline to the northernmost building.

"Frogs hold. Ghost 4 stand by."

They waited and watched the two sentries start to approach the northern building. Sinclair waited as the sentries continued to get closer.

"This is Ghost 4 they are almost on top of Frogs."

"Roger and they are still in visual contact with another team." A couple of seconds ticked off before the second team of sentries turned to go south around the eastern building.

"Ghost 4 go."

Once again the two sentries dropped and Norris watched as the lead SEAL reached out and literally pulled the bodies around the corner. Two more steps and the SEALs would have been in clear view of them.

"Ghost 3 do you have clear shots on your targets."

"Roger crystal clear."

"Ghost 3 GO."

The two sentries that had turned to go south dropped to the ground. "Frogs move to the eastern building. Ghost 4 acquire targets at the rear entrance of the main residence."

"Targets acquired."

"Frogs stand by and prepare to move to the rear entrance of the main house. Valkyrie flight move to secondary position."

"Ghost 4 go. FROGS GO GO GO."

Norris watched as the two sentries dropped to the ground and the SEAL team darted across the opening and stacked up along the back wall of the house.

"Frogs going in." As the lead SEAL reached up and opened the door, the second one in line darted through the door and into the rear facing room. You could almost hear the soft, puffing sound of his silenced weapon as he fired on the two sentries inside. The rest of the team started to file into the house, the last one to enter suddenly stood up straight and fell over backwards.

"Sniper, Sniper."

Sinclair stood up as he keyed his mic. "Who's got eyes on? Nothing on satellite."

"Ghost 5 I think I got him switching to low light." There was momentary pause. "Roger, got him east building using thermal deflector. Target Down"

"Ghost 2, 5 and 6. Sweep the roof tops with low light."

Just then the entire area brightened up and men began to stream out of the command center towards the main residence.

Sinclair keyed his mic again. "Weapons free, weapons free. Valkyrie HOT APPROACH HOT APPROACH. Start the timer six minutes before reinforcements arrive."

"This is Fox team engaging."

"All Ghost Teams engaging."

Norris watched as Sinclair started to give orders to all the supporting teams, but the SEALs just started to move on their own. They quickly swept through the main floor of the building and separated into two teams. One team went toward the front, the other moved towards the wing with the conference room. Norris watched as the Secret Service agents all quickly moved towards the conference room. He grabbed a mic. "Frogs, all Secret Service moving towards conference room on first floor."


Norris watched as they continued to sweep through and the person that was sitting in the living room had jumped up and was running toward the main entrance. A Secret Service member grabbed him and threw whoever it was to the ground seconds before the SEALs fired into his chest. The team at the front of the building split again, with half starting toward the front of the building and moving towards the hall where Ashwood was thought to be. The guards were already trying to move the president towards the rear entrance when the first SEAL came around the corner. The SEAL fired before he went down. The guards started to back up when the second team came around from behind them. A furious gun battle erupted in the hall but the Secret Service agents caught out in the open didn't stand a chance.

Within seconds the SEAL teams swarmed over the Secret Service and grabbed a form laying literally at the bottom of a pile of bodies. "We have the package, move to extraction point B."

Norris watched as they physically carried what he hoped was an alive Ashwood towards the front entrance. Norris looked back over to the main screen and watched as the the attack helicopters raced across the compound firing everything they had at the enemy trying to reach the main house. The transport helicopters came in from the north and the first touched down for a moment. The SEALs dragged their captive across the opening into the waiting helicopter. The chopper lifted off immediately and darted out of the way. The second transport quickly set down and picked up the rest of the SEALs and moved away.

"This is Fox Team, we cannot hold them any longer. We are out of AP to use against APCs."

"Break off Fox Team. All teams break off and move to predetermined extraction points. Fox Team thank you for your help and good luck out there boys."

"Roger that."

Norris looked around as the Command Post quickly got packed up and loaded back onto the Osprey. Lieutenant Perez approached him. "Sir, your chopper is ready."

Norris looked over at Sinclair. "Dixon see you back at the Reagan. Nice work."

"Roger sir."

Norris trotted back to the chopper and climbed aboard. The crew chief signaled to the pilot and the aircraft lifted into the air and turned east, nosed down, and took off skimming the treetops.

Norris signaled the crew chief he needed a private channel and the chief held up four fingers. Norris got Payne's attention and signaled him to switch to channel 4.

"Did you take care of what we talked about?"

"In the works sir, we should have what we need by this afternoon."

"Excellent." He turned back to the crew chief and signaled he wanted radio coms. Again the crew gave him a thumbs up and patched him into the radio system. "Valkyrie 1, this is Neptune 1, do you copy?"

"Roger Neptune 1, go ahead."

"Can we confirm you have Mr. Hyde on board?"

There was a moment of silence. "Neptune 1 this is Valkyrie 1, we have Mr. Hyde on board and he's unharmed."

Norris watched as everyone in the helicopter around him started cheering until a screeching noise pierced through his headset.

The pilot's voice came over the radio. "INCOMING MISSILE. 5 O'CLOCK LOW!"

The entire crew and all the passengers began tightening their harnesses and bracing themselves.


Norris didn't hear the response as the helicopter seem to literally be punched in mid air and began spinning out of control. He held on tight as the the night sky spun in circles around him.


"BRACE FOR IMPACT." The crew chief and Lieutenant Perez both physically threw themselves on top of the admiral as the giant helicopter crashed through the trees and into the ground below them.

We have Ashwood, but at what price? Ken Barber

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