The press room was packed. Reporters from both print and TV news outlets sat shoulder-to-shoulder, unsure of what to expect. The generally reclusive head of the Alaric Foundation issued few public statements and gave even fewer public appearances, so when his press secretary announced that he was making an important statement in person, most media outlets took notice. The stage was flanked by several of the light infantry soldiers of the MRF, in full battle attire, with each door being guarded by two of the same. The building had been surrounded by an almost-invisible perimeter by officers of the Psy Ops division, as well as several special response teams assembled for this very occasion.
The scattered conversation ceased as Gunther Beremud approached the podium, replaced by the muffled clicking of cameras. Beremud, though usually counted among the world's elite, typically eschewed ostentatious displays of wealth, and this time was no different, as he appeared in one of his usual unremarkable, if well-fitting business suits. He adjusted the microphone, and took a moment to allow his gaze to sweep over the room, before speaking.
"Thank you all for joining me today, especially on such short notice. You all know me, so I'll dispense with introductions and get right to business. Both I and my foundation have spent a great deal of time and resources in addressing questions of our emerging metahuman population, and the role that it will play in society in the coming years. As I'm sure that you are all well-aware, the vast majority of this emergent population exercises restraint and responsibility in the use of their above-human abilities, with some even going so far as to dedicate their lives to protecting those who lack their remarkable powers."
He paused for a moment, loosening his tie, before continuing. "Unfortunately, we are all also well-aware that a small number of this population do not demonstrate such civic responsibility, using their abilities in a way that threatens others, ranging from interpersonal violence to acts that seek to undermine the very stability of the planet that we all live upon. Fortunately, there exist both individuals and organizations whose actions stymie these erstwhile villains, people who put their lives on the line so that innocent civilians can go about theirs without fear of oppression or destruction from forces beyond their scope."
"It is in recognition of these heroic entities that the Alaric Foundation has created the 'Defense of Humanity' award, to be granted to those individuals and organizations who bleed so that the rest of us do not have to. This award will be given out on a semi-regular basis, as the situation warrants, to those who strive to ensure that all of us, human and metahuman alike, can live our lives in peace and safety."
"Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I name, as the first recipient of this award, Mr. Jonathan F. Bold, CEO of Maverick Incorporated, for his organization's tireless and often thankless defense of a grateful world. The men and women of Maverick have been bastions of defense for the stability of our planet, often sacrificing their very lives to send a clear message to would-be warlords, crime kingpins, and even threats from beyond our planet that this world is not theirs for the taking. It is on behalf of all of humanity that I say thank you, to Mr. Bold and every individual in his employ. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed, nor your sacrifices un-honored."
"Thank you all for your time, attendance, and attention. I will take a few questions, now."