Orpheus Ziev did not remember walking to the stage. He probably had a slight concussion, the doctors said. Not surprising considering what he'd been through. He didn't want to do this. He felt sick. His veins were full of fire, but ice crackled behind his eyes. This was the first time he would be facing the public since the failed assassination. The PR people had thought long and hard about whether they should conceal or highlight his injuries - should they give the public a show of strength or pluckiness? Eventually they settled on the latter. Orpheus' bruises were picked out with dark makeup, and he had a sling over one arm. When he spoke, he felt his voice was not his own.
"Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated" he croaked, half-smiling. "As you all know, I have been recuperating from a failed assassination attempt against my life. It was very nearly successful, and it would have been if it weren't for the interference of one brave individual: Anthony Stark. He stopped the rogue agent Project Picasso from ending my life." He began to cough violently. When he lifted his head, there was violet paint on his chin. "Project Picasso was part of a bioengineering department that has been shut down for inspection. She appeared through one of the paintings in my office, and attacked me. When Stark arrived, she threw me into the painting, thinking that no one would be able to get me out of the 'Painted World', as it's called. Stark called in the artist Persephone Gray, who was able to access this 'Painted World' and get me out before it was too late." He paused, wiped the paint from his face. "I'm afraid the government has not been entirely honest with you. The trial of 'war criminal' Anthony Stark was fake. He was in fact deep undercover, searching out the rot that festered somewhere in the government. I was extremely lucky he found it when he did, or I would not be standing here." He felt sick.
"So that's the story. I know there are many other things you all were hoping I would address today: The destruction of the Statue of Liberty, how the Registration Act will change in the face of all that's occurred...and that will all come later, I promise. Right now, I'm tired. I'm in a lot of pain. And unless you want a President on heavy painkillers, I can't keep talking right now. Thank you for your time." Slowly, with help from his security, he leaves the stage.