"There is one thing that we do need from you Katniss," I say after the message from Snow is over.
I can see that she is still struggling with the fact that Portia has just been killed. She had known that girl for ten years and was clearly not doing well with the new information. She wipes a tear off her cheek and turns towards me.
"What," she asks softly.
"We need a distraction for the Capitol to worry about," I explain. "We are going to film a set of propaganda videos. Stuff that we can put on the Capitol air to distract them and rally the districts. To do this, we need the right setting."
"What do you mean," she asks.
"We are going to send you to district 8," I say.
The hovercraft ride to eight is quiet and ominous. I am with my Mockingjay team, minus Padme and Wade. Padme volunteered to take care of Artemis while I was away, and Ahsoka assigned the 501st to guard the complex too, while the Howling Commandos came with us as a perimeter check. They are also there to assist our troops against whatever Capitol resistance is left. I shift in my seat, with my new armor. Cinna had thought of everything before he left. He had designed a lightweight, but very protective armor. The armor has reinforced kevlar across my midsection and back, over my neck, and through my upper legs and hips. The armor was extremely flexible and did not restrict movement whatsoever. I had my helmet at my side, not needing to put it on yet. The helmet was lightweight, covered all of my head, and had a viewing pane that revealed the front of my face. We also used the boots from our casual uniforms that dueled as combat boots. The armor was jet black, with gold tints on it. Our rank was designated on our right sleeve and there was a Mockingjay symbol on the right breast side of the uniform.
The rest of the team has the same thing on, except they have different accent colors on theirs. Kim has a teal outline while Tris has a grey for hers. Johanna went for a deep crimson and Finnick had a sea green. Ahsoka does not have the armor on but has a really similar uniform on. She says that she is to stay in the hovercraft to monitor enemy troop movements on the ground and direct us.
"Okay," Ahsoka says. "You will take two cameramen and go to the hospital, marked point A on your communicators. We are not expecting any ground resistance but there might be scattered air strikes. Your weapons are here."
Ahsoka opens a box at our feet and inside are four guns inside.
"I know that you all haven't gotten a great deal of practice with this weapon, but it is merely a precaution," Ahsoka said. "Like I said, we expect no ground troops, and these things will do little against hovercrafts."
"There are only four," I say.
"Ah yes," Ahsoka says and pulls out a long black case and hands it to me.
I look at the inscription on the case and I see,
I'm still betting on you Girl on Fire
"Cinna," I breathed and opened the box.
Inside was a beautiful, sleek, black bow. It had my name carved into the side of the wood. The wood was lightweight and flexible, but had enough power to knock someone off their feet.
"I don't know what to say," I say then the bow comes alive in my hands.
There is a soft humming to it, like it is breathing with me.
"Cinna had the idea for it," Ahsoka says. "Soldier Load perfected it. It activates to your touch only and to deactivate it, all you have to do is say goodnight. He has also provided you with three sets of arrows. The ones with the black stripes are just normal arrows, the ones with yellow are explosive, and the red ones are incendiary."
I take the sheath and roll an arrow between my fingers. This was a lot to take in, more than I wanted. I just want to keep Artemis alive, nothing more. Now to get Prim out would be an added plus, and I guess I have to do this to keep them safe.
"Hey," Ahsoka says softly. "You okay?"
"Yeah," I say with a sigh.
"Alright," she said. "We touch the ground in five. Once you hit the dirt, do not stop until you get under building cover. The Capitol doesn't know that you will be here, and I'd like to keep it that way. Understood?"
"Yes sir," we all say.
"Good," she says.
The pilot yells back at Ahsoka, "20 seconds til' touchdown sir."
"May the force be with you," Ahsoka yells and the gunship hits the ground.
The side doors open and we all run out. Captain Rogers and his commandos run out first and secure the perimeter, and we come out next, weapons at the ready. The gunship takes off immediately and we are alone on the ground.
"Alright," Rogers says. "Get out of the open, head to that building there."
We sprint towards the building and the Commandos cover us from the back. Once we get inside, we find a small group of battered rebels. At the head was a bruised woman.
"Paylor," Rogers said.
"Good to see you Captain Rogers," she says.
She looks at us, "I am Captain Paylor, head of the rebellion here in 8. I will be your tour guide of sorts. My job is to keep your asses alive, so keep up. I don't plan on filing a death report today."
The woman turns around and starts walking deeper into the building. I smile as I follow her, she has the right attitude for this revolution. After walking through the building we exit into a street. She is surprisingly calm for being outside, but I guess that being in a war zone wears on you. We cross the street into another building and I gasp as I come in the next building. This must be the hospital, because there are hundreds of people injured.
"We are trying to help as much as possible," Paylor explains. "The Capitol bombed everything they could here. Our military outposts as well as civilian neighborhoods. They didn't spare anything. This hospital has only civilians here, we have moved our troops back to thirteen, well what's left of them."
My mouth is still open as I walk into the hospital and down the rows of people. There are so many, and I can't comprehend it. Many people start whispering as I walk down the rows.
"Is that really her?"
"I can't believe it."
Finally a woman calls out my name and I go over to her.
"Katniss," she says.
"Hello," I say. "It is nice to meet you."
"Oh believe me dear," she says. "The pleasure is all mine. What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to see you guys," I say. "I thought I would see who I am fighting for."
"Katniss you are an inspiration to us," she says. "The way you have taken care of your tributes, and now that beautiful daughter of yours."
"She is very pretty," I say, picturing Artemis in my mind. "Do you want to hear a story?"
"What about?" she asks.
"The day Artemis first spoke," I say, smiling back at her.
"Oh yes please," she says eagerly. "Can some of the others hear the story too?"
"The more the merrier," I say with a smile.
After a couple of minutes, a small crowd had gathered around me and I noticed that Tris and Kim were on the outskirts of the group, chatting quietly with others. The cameras are also in the background, but I ignore them. I am not here for the film, but rather to inspire these people around me. Once everyone is settled, someone brings over a chair and I sit on it. I pull out the locket that I always wear around my neck and open it.
"In this locket is a picture of the two people that I had loved the most," I begin. "One of them died in the games, and another is in my protection right now. I never counted on loving anybody else except for my sister. Then something amazing happened. When the reception of Artemis came through, my world was opened up to many new possibilities. Before I had heard the plan for revolution, before the games, before the reapings, I made a choice. I had found a little orphan girl, whose mother abandoned her, and had been left to die in the Capitol. If there is one evil I know most in the Capitol, it is the treatment of orphaned children. I convinced Snow to let me adopt this beautiful baby girl and for once, I felt like I was giving life, as opposed to preventing death. I watched a video feed of her daily, watching my little sweetheart grow. On the day I was to return to the Capitol, I knew that I would have at least a silver lining if the games went wrong. That is something that I want everyone to have, to always look for a silver lining. Then nothing is as bad as it seems."
"I never planned on Kim Possible though. She surprised me as well as everyone in Panem. She truly can do anything, and even though I never planned on loving again, I felt a connection to Kim. One of that a mother would feel for a daughter. It's probably just my hormones that I was having, but I truly cared for this girl. She also brought Ron into my life too, and when I did get to spend time with him, he was a loveable, goofy person. Very weird, but weird enough to compliment Kim perfectly. Then there was Tris. A remarkably tough girl, who I feared for my tributes life. She had the mentality to accomplish whatever she wanted. When I learned that she was apart of the revolution, I knew exactly why. This girl wouldn't conform to society, no she would diverge from the rules. She would be a divergent."
Kim and Tris both blush at my comments but I mean every word. I continue on to the part about Artemis.
"It was the first day of training for my tributes. I had sent them down to the training room after having a heated discussion with Kim. Even though I loved her, we tended to bump heads a lot. I was going to call up Prim to schedule our annual lunch retreat, and I also wanted to share the news of Artemis with her. Just before I dialed the number, my baby girl amazed me by saying, "Momma." I was joyous to the point of tears, and not many people can do that."
One hour later
After I had finished the story, I mingled around a while after. Making sure to see everyone possible. I walked out of the building feeling great about the whole operation. Just then my communicator started to beep. I answered the call and the hologram of Ahsoka popped up.
"Hey Ahsoka," I say into the hologram.
"Katniss," she said and red flags went up. Ahsoka looked very sad and troubled.
"What's wrong?" I ask.
"Snow sent a message to 13 about thirty minutes ago. He grew tired of people waiting and he executed a prisoner."
My heart dropped and I fall to the ground.
"Katniss," Ahsoka said with tears in her eyes. "Prim is dead."