Chapter 13: A shift in power

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The front steps of the prosecution building were packed with media again. They were mulling around like seagulls at the beach, waiting for a scrap of information. Ben Roberts's death was front page news, so for now this building was their holy mecca. Their editors had told them not to return, until they got a statement from the DA or at least a page one scoop about the murder.

This young journalist's name had already gained celebrity status earlier in the week, but it was now set to go global by being featured in every international newspaper, due to the circumstances surrounding his death. It was a hot story. All the elements of a Pulitzer Prize winning article were present - greed, corruption, extortion and murder, plus the added bonus of the involvement of high ranking officials.

This city had only just gotten over Dover's exploits, but it was now set to be ruthlessly examined again. Would it survive another political scandal? All eyes worldwide, every media outlet in every country was waiting for information. It had captured global attention, like a natural catastrophe.

Max rested his back against the door frame, scanning the faces of the media through a nearby window. He could see over three-hundred of these vultures present today, circling over the steps, like hungry predators in search of a corpse. They wanted a scapegoat, someone to blame for Roberts's death. One of them had been murdered and they wanted retribution, combined with a hard hitting story to grace their front page. The truth could sometimes even take a backseat in search of this career defining scoop. Max knew this better than anyone. The DA needed to distance himself from this scandal or he could end up just another soiled rag on the prosecution scrap heap.

"They look like they're baying for blood," Grant suggested, walking up beside him.

"There are certainly a lot of them," Max answered, swallowing down his dread, "I think even the apprentices have been sent today to cover this."

A few fearful thoughts looped around Grant's mind, leaving no room for anything else.

"You need to be careful. Our presence at the scene is now public knowledge. Some tough questions are going to be asked."

"I have an ace in the deck," Max revealed, "they're looking for someone to blame and I'm going to give them Red. It will distract the attention away from me."

He expressed confidence in his words, but his shaking lip revealed the truth. This press conference was so important that its significance was not lost on the new DA. He had spent the previous night unable to sleep, instead staring up at the ceiling and playing out his speech in his head.

Max needed to rally the masses outside today and temper their angry jibes, because even one mis-truth, long pause or faltered answer could spell the end of his stint as DA. They would be watching him closely, waiting for a sign of collusion or a political cover-up. His gestures would be scrutinized, even a scratch to the face, heavy breaths or a stuttering voice could portray him to be a liar. He needed to win all of them over, because even one negative story could cause a small seed of doubt to manifest eventually into a long, tall stork of dissension.

"Only tell them what they need to know," Grant suggested worryingly, "if they ask anything about the crime scene, I think it's best that you just ignore the question or say it's an ongoing investigation and you can't answer."

Max pinched his lips with dread.

"I can't do that. I need to win them over. If I fail to answer, hiding behind my position they will attack me in their articles even more. It will raise even more scrutiny about my involvement. I must appear open and upfront. They need to think that I'm telling them everything."

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