Retribution

Chapter 16

Kim POV 1 hour 30 minutes before games

I wake up and rub the sleep out of my eyes. Then, like a ton of bricks, reality sets in. The games start today. Today I will be thrown into an arena to fight for my life. And now I will be doing it alone. Well that's not true I think. There is still Indiana and Elsa, but do they even want me as an ally any more. Moreover, should I even take an ally with the whole resolution thing. I have to ask Katniss. I sit up and look around but Katniss is nowhere to be found. I get up out of bed, throw on my shirt and pants I had on last night, and walk out of the door. I walk into the living room and hear some singing. I smile and listen to Katniss, which could be for the very last time.

Night

And the spirit of life

Calling

Mamella

And a voice

With just a fear of a child

Asking

Oh Mamella

Wait

There's no mountain too great

Hear these words and have faith

Have faith

He lives in you

He lives in me

He watches over

Everything we see

Into the water

Into the truth

In your reflection

He lives in you

"That's a really nice song," I say.

"Mmm," Katniss says while snuggling close to Artemis.

They are sitting on the couch and Katniss looks barely awake. Artemis eyelids are drooping as well and they look very content sitting together.

"Ron left earlier," she says. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm good," I say. "It still hurts but I can get through it. I can get through."

"That's good," Katniss says.

Artemis finally falls asleep during my breakfast and soon we are on our way down the elevator into the hangar for the hovercrafts.

"In the beginning there will be a bloodbath," Katniss says. "I urge you not to go for anything in the middle but I can't stop you. Also, make sure the first thing you find is water, that is your best friend. Food is the next important but you had a good breakfast so you should be able to hold off for a while. Run as little as possible, you will retain more energy that way. Um, shelter, yeah shelter. Make sure to find something sturdy but also concealed. Any questions?"

"You seemed to have covered most of it," I say smiling.

"God," Katniss says. "I should have showed you more. Taught you more. I've been a horrible mentor."

"Katniss," I say. "You have been the best mentor ever. No one could have taught me more or prepared me better. You are a great mentor and an even better mother. I'm sure I will see you soon."

Katniss smiles at me and I swear I can see a tear in her eye. The door to the hangar is open and the hoverjet is idling in the middle of the floor. I look towards Katniss,

"Any last advice?"

"Stay alive," she says.

I smile and walk out of the elevator.

"And Kim."

"Yeah," I say.

"Remember who the real enemy is," Katniss says and the elevator closes.

10 minutes before games

I enter a room after getting off the hovercraft. They injected me with a tracker before I exited the craft and my arm still stung a little from it. I step into the room and there is nothing special about it. It contains a couch, small table, chair, and what looks to be a closet. I go and sit down on the couch and let the nervousness set in. After about five minutes Cinna walks in and I run over to give him a hug.

"C'mon," he says. "Let's get you ready."

He opens the closet and pulls what they have given me to wear in the games. There is a pair of fairly sturdy tennis shoes and athletic socks, pair of khaki shorts, green long sleeve t-shirt, white tank top, and a front billed hat.

"Weather should be controlled most of the time," he says. "And they look like they want to keep it warm out there."

I slip on the clothes and am about to put the hat on when Cinna stops me. He quickly fashions a braid with my hair and puts my braid through the back of the hat. It will be easier to retain that way. He stands back to look at me,

"One last thing," he says. "From Katniss."

He pulls out her gold mockingjay pin and clips it on my white tank top, underneath my long sleeve.

"There," he says.

"Sixty seconds until launch," a voice rings out, signaling us to our tubes.

I start shaking so much that I stumble over to the tube. I am about to climb in when Cinna breaks the silence,

"I told Katniss this her games and haven't been able to tell anyone else because there hasn't been the need, but now there is. I'm not allowed to bet on the games, but if I were, I'd bet on you."

I smile as the tube slides around me. I am waiting for the tube to slide up when I hear the door open. Three peacekeepers walk in and grab Cinna. They start beating him and kicking him. I start pounding the glass, trying to get to him. Finally the tube starts going up and the last thing that I see is a peacekeeper pulling out a gun and firing. The next thing I see is a bright light.

Gamemaker Room 2 minutes before games

"They are all in place Plutarch."

"Has miss Possible received our gift?"

"Yes sir."

"Perfect. Everyone, let us begin. Let's see them deal with this."

Katniss POV 2 minutes before games

I am sitting in the mentor section of the training center. We all have a room with numerous TVs playing a bunch of different angles for us to see. There is a large couch facing the wall of TVs that stretches the length of the back wall of the room. In the middle of the room there are three things. One is a table for food, drinks, and such. Another is my computer. There I can research whatever I want and send sponsor gifts. I check the sponsor money to see what we have so far and there is a fairly large chunk to begin with. The third thing is a hologram projector that will illuminate the arena and dots that represent where the tributes are. I lay Artemis down on the large couch and give her a couple of toys and she is soon interested and occupied. I laugh a little at the amazement in my daughter's eyes. Then the hologram lights up and the signal for the games to begin is now.

I study the map and I am overwhelmed with the complexity of life in the arena. The computer says there are numerous life forms apart from the tributes. I look at the starting area and where the dots are. My tributes are in red and have a twelve about their name. The cornucopia is in the center of a grassland type area. A couple of tall trees surround it but that is about it. What does surprise me is the gate around the tributes. There is a wall surrounding the starting area, and then I notice why. In the area there are several of creatures. One resembles a horse, but stretched vertically. I pull up a chart of the animal life in the arena and there are several different species. They are all organized into one area though, so I quickly find the starting area and it is labeled the "Giraffe Complex." So the large horses are giraffes, and there is also a large bird with them. According to the computer, it is an Ostrich. Flightless, but very fast with large talons on its feet. I look back at the map and notice something. The different areas for all the different animals are labeled and separated by concrete. There are all sorts of different names for the areas: Jungle, Aquarium, Gorilla Valley, Exhibition Madagascar, Dairy Farm, Cat Complex, Bear Canyon, North American Animals, Aviary, Pachyderm Hill, Prairie Dog village, Kingdoms of the Night, Discovery Center, Butterfly house, Fish bridge, Garden of the Senses, African Savannah, Orangutan Valley, and Desert Dome. Desert Dome, the extraction point. I put a marking there and start a little research on it. It is on the edge of the map and is a giant building with a glass dome over it. Directly under the Desert section is the Kingdoms of the Night. I take a quick scroll over the Kingdoms of the Night animal life and notice that it is a very dangerous area. Numerous poisonous animals and large predators. One specifically called an Alligator, and it looks like a small dinosaur. I pull up the facts on the Desert and also don't like the animal life there. There are many more poisonous animals, and most of them are snakes. I look at the list: Inland Taipan, Cape Cobra, Death Adder, Coral Snake, Viper, and Rattlesnake. The animal that drove Haymitch over the edge runs free in this area. The terrain of this area is also unfavorable. Many rocky outcroppings where animals could hide, sand is everywhere, not a lot of water sources, and the temperature is very high. I take a look back at the starting area and notice on the TV that the tributes are on their pedestals. By sheer animal strength, there will be no struggle for food, but they may have to fight for their lives for it.

Kim POV 2 minutes before games

The first thing that I see is the cornucopia. The gold reflexes against the bright sun. I look around me and see all the other tributes taking in their surroundings. I can see many buildings that look like they offer many different habitats. We are stationed in some sort of a grassland area. That's when I notice the wall. There is a large, clear, wall behind us, keeping us in. Or keeping stuff out. There are many animals circling the edge of the wall that I don't know the names of. They are very large though and I do not want to mess with them. I look at the tributes to my left and right. Bella, the girl from one, is on my right, and Robert, the boy from four, is on my left. I look to my right and see Tris about ten spots away. I cannot see Ron, nor do I want to. The countdown is ringing out and I look to the cornucopia. Directly in front of me is a bow an arrows, and also to the left, and right. I look and all I see for weapons are bow and arrows. There are also survival items but that is it. Now I know that I can make a dash for the Cornucopia, especially that Tris won't be hunting me. The countdown is at 10 and suddenly I hear a giant explosion. I look to my right and the girl from 3, Hermione, stepped off the pedestal and the land mines blew her up. One less I think and look back at the clock. It is at 3. Suddenly the wall disappears behind me as the clock hits zero, and I take off running.

Ahsoka POV 2 minutes before games

I had been studying the map longer than anyone else. I'm pretty sure that I know it better than some of the gamemakers. I have determined that the safest place in the arena is the giraffe house, animal wise. Giraffes are not aggressive in nature, but will attack if provoked. The problem is that the Giraffe House is right next to the starting point, way too close human wise. The garden of the senses looks relatively safe, but who knows what plants the gamemakers have planted there. Could be poisonous, could not be. The Dairy farm would be ideal, especially next to the Prairie Dog village and North American animals. The Jungle is also not bad either. The humid conditions would be tough, but the animals inside were not all bad. There were quite a few monkeys, lots of fish, and some birds. The only concern was that there were a couple of snakes, but all non-poisonous. There were two hippopotamus, which have been very deadly to humans due to their extreme size and aggressiveness, and one crocodile, which is also bad news. But the larger animals seemed to be on the jungle floor, and there was a walkway in the canopy of the jungle. The only thing that was up there is the snakes, and could be easily avoided if this girl had any sense about her. I check the countdown in the grassland of the giraffe complex. 10 seconds left. I glance around the tributes and notice something about the Hermione girl from district 3. She was wobbling on her pedestal. She was a little woozy, and stumbling around. Then she placed foot off the pedestal. The explosion swallowed her up and when the smoke cleared, she was gone. The timer was down to three now and the fence behind the tributes disappeared. The animals could now roam free. The clock now read zero and the games began.


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