The press conference began on a rare day in Angelus—the sun was shining, if wanly, and the wind from the west had blown most of the clinging fog off the streets.
In front of the Council dome, the press had set up around one of the inspirational statues that adorned the grounds at city center. Poised at the feet of Charles Darwin, the Council prepared to address the city and the world.
Coordinator Hart took the stage to a sweeping round of applause. "Thank you. Ladies and Gentlemen, I will be brief. Even now the horizon of our city is dark with smoke. Riots continue to plague our streets. Here in city center, we are safe and secure, but there are entire sectors where our citizens cower in fear or are held hostage by insurrectionists."
He paused, gazing at the horizon, then turned somber. "I wish to address the issue of the Angelus Volunteer Defense Force. The AVDF provided immensely valuable support during the recent invasion, but their presence as an organized military force violates the strictures of the treaty of 2088. As such, the AVDF must disband. Angelus cherishes the courage of its sons and daughters who stood up and were counted as heroes. But we must honor our obligations and accede to the agreements we have upheld so staunchly for so long."
"I invite all members of the AVDF to join the city's new initiative for peace and security—the Sentinel Watch. It is my intention to branch the Sentinels into a new arm of the government: the Ministry of Peace. I stretch out my hand..." And he did so. "To the AVDF. If you seek to make a difference, if you wish to build a better tomorrow, join me and join the Sentinel Watch. Angelus needs good, courageous people like yourselves."
Applause and cheering followed this bold statement.
"I now wish to introduce Angelus's Special Administrator, Councilman Roger Davies."
Davies took the stage, shook Hart's hand, and smiled for the cameras. "Today begins my tenure as Special Administrator. When Coordinator Hart asked me to take charge of dealing with the city's most difficult issues, I was both awed and humbled." He bowed his head briefly. "It is a great honor, and a great responsibility to be invested with this position, and I intend to do all that I can to carry out my role in a manner consistent with the best traditions of Angelus."
He waited for the applause to die down before continuing. "Today I will announce some of the new policies and initiatives we are putting into place. First, a curfew is enacted to keep our citizens from being targeted by the rioting mobs. Citizens are to be off the streets by no later than nine p.m. Second, we will be introducing new security measures in the wake of these terrorist attacks. We will be focusing our initial efforts on espers and clades—both classes of citizen are required to register with the local civic center in order to help us ascertain the loyalty and security of each sector. Citizens are encouraged to contact the Sentinel Watch with any information regarding renegade espers and clades who may be acting against the welfare of the city. The recent invasion and actions by insurrectionists make it clear that we must focus our attention on these groups, however personally distasteful it may be to segregate ourselves in this manner. Nevertheless, the needs of the city are paramount."
Davies' face took on a very serious mien, his hands gripped the podium as he addressed the cameras. "Now comes the time in all men's lives where we must decide how we can best defend ourselves, both from the enemy within and the enemy without. We barely weathered the invading forces, and until recently, it was decidedly unclear WHY the invasion took place. Recently, evidence has come to light that suggests the invasion was an effort to conquer Angelus in order to form a terrorist state."
A holographic screen formed behind Davies in full view of the press. On it, scenes of Malachi Brogan and Tyger working on the nuclear bomb began to flicker by, accompanied by helpful textual cues that highlighted each of the former XSWAT officers' names and histories.
"This video record, sent in to us by the terrorists, is evidence and a vital link to the identity of our attackers. The invasion was mostly made up of clade soldiers. Here we see a clade conspiring with a known enemy of the state, making threats involving a nuclear device. At this very second, Clades hold human prisoners hostage in the tunnels beneath our streets. For too long we have ignored the warning signs."
"The invasion was an attempt to create a clade nation, ladies and gentleman. A place where no human would find refuge. Our fathers and brothers, mothers and daughters died for our freedom. Now is the time for us to finish what we started and remove the threat once and for all."
"I have been granted full authority to use any means necessary to end the riots within the city... and below it..."
The holographic screen altered, showing images of Leo. Running lines of text identified him as the "Clade Designation: Leo. Jihad Organizer." Other images flashed on the screen with similar themes, identifying "cell leaders" and "genetic sympathizers" such as Louise Harmon.
Davies' eyes were hot and intense as he stared into the camera lenses. "Therefore, the Sentinel Watch will be taking any measures deemed appropriate by the office of the Special Administrator to secure the safety of our citizens. We will rescue our brethren from the terrorists in the so-called "Underworld." We will put a stop to the rioting and the madness in the streets. Angelus has been hit hard, but we will stand again... stronger than before."
Applause began to flow from the audience, then Davies jerked as if someone had yanked a string connected to his back. A burst of red mist spurted out above his shoulders where his head had just been. A split-second later, there was the loud report of a gunshot.
Screaming was heard from the crowd and the camera twitched as if unsure where to focus. Security personnel were literally diving on top of Coordinator Hart.
Then, the screen went blank. Words slowly scrolled across: Technical Difficulties. Please Stand By.
Thirty minutes later, various news sources were confirming the assassination of Special Administrator Roger Davies, apparently shot by a sniper's bullet at the end of the press conference.