President Shaw looked grimly across the coffee table at Tom Sands, his Press Secretary, and Pete Mallard, his National Security Advisor, as well as Agent Hill and a number of staff officials.
“How bad is it?” he asked.
“Seven dead including Donald Reynolds, plus the attackers, Mister President”, said Tom Sands. “Another five injured, all critically, including Ms. Green.”
“The dead are the President-elect, two from his campaign staff, an agent from his detail, two of Green's staff and an agent from Green’s detail.
“The injured are Ms. Green, two from Reynolds’ detail, and two more from her detail.
“The attackers appear to be Middle-Eastern, one female mid 20s, and five males, also mid 20s. They were wearing CNN shirts, carried credentials and had a CNN van. We’re chasing down the materials on that angle. The credential question is why we slammed the lid on the press-“
“Lift it. NOW” interrupted Shaw. Sands paused, but after a moment he and a man from the AG’s office got up and left to carry out the order.
“OK, I know the security drill” said Shaw, “but what next?”
“Frankly, Mr. President” began Pete Mallard, “that depends on what happens next. This was a conspiracy, which means we need to know what was their next planned move. We can guess, but right now that would be sure to be a mistake.”
“Agreed” said Shaw. “Then I need you to find options for me for each possible route. And Tom?”
Tom Sands stopped at the door.
“I will address the nation tonight. I need a draft by noon, and keep me updated on conditions.
“Also, get me phone numbers for the families of the victims. If I can’t go anywhere right now, I still need to reach the people who lost loved ones here. Start with Peggy Reynolds.”