"1 minute till jump," Ahsoka says in the body of the hovercraft.
We had been riding for what seemed like eternity. I had been holding my locket the entire time.
"Helmets on," Ahsoka yells.
We all put on our helmets. Everyone was issued armor like mine for our fight in the Capitol. Every part of us is covered in black, except for the line of color on our uniforms. Our faces have been painted black and we wear black gloves. Stealth for the night, I'm told. We all turn on our coms in the helmets.
"Secure line 7," Ahsoka says into the ear piece.
"Line secure," I say.
"Alright," Ahsoka says. "Group code name for this mission is gold. Katniss you are Gold 2. Tris, gold 3. Kim, gold 4. Ron, gold 5. Astrid, gold 6. Hiccup, gold 7. I'm gold leader. If anyone gets killed, you all move up a number. If I die, Katniss becomes gold leader. We can't let them know that they have taken out the leader of our group if they manage to hack our comms. All good? Lets go."
She hits a red button and the door of the hovercraft opens. I get to the door and look down at where we are about to jump. It is pitch black out but the sky lights up with weapon fire and I can see battles on the ground. I take one deep breath, kiss my locket for luck, and jump out of the hovercraft. The feeling of falling catches me in my chest as I free fall towards the ground below. I see the tracers of bullets whiz around me and I pray one of them doesn't hit me. I get to the designated height and pulled the cord on my parachute. I look up as I float down and I can see the outlines of my fellow group members. I look down and see the ground coming up fast. I brace myself for impact and hit the ground. Immediately I am up and taking off my parachute. It clips off with a snap and I whip out my bow and load an arrow. I check to my right and see Ahsoka land. She has her chute off quickly as well and I make my way over to her.
She looks at me and speaks into her comm, "Once you land, head to the small building on the left side of the street marked with red glowstick."
We duck inside the building and pull up the map on Ahsoka's communicator.
"We are here," she says pointing to the map. "About 5 miles outside the Presidential palace. The safest way is to go through these two roads."
She gestures to two side streets away from the main street.
"Why?" I ask. "The main street is almost a straight shot."
"Too many pods for my comfort," she says looking at the pod layout.
I look down and notice that she is right. There are a considerable amount of pods on this street. Then I notice something.
"Is this the parade street?" I ask.
"Yeah," Ahsoka says. "We are going to go the back way, try and infiltrate where the Capitol residents currently are."
"Sounds good," I say and she clicks off the map.
We come out into the main room of the house to find our squad firing out the door and windows and something returning fire. We both hit the ground and crawl towards cover.
"What the hell is going on?!" I ask frantically.
"Peacekeeper patrol," Tris says. "Spotted some of us still on descent. Astrid got grazed but it's all patched up."
"Through the back door," Ahsoka yells. "COVERING FIRE."
Ahsoka and Tris pour bullets through the window while I send an incendiary arrow out. Kim and the others haul ass through the back of the house and we follow. We get through the backyard, and into an alleyway. Just then, the house we were just in explodes.
"We have to go now," Ahsoka says. "If we aren't in the vicinity, they will think that we are dead"
We charge through the alleyway and down the street. We find ourselves in a residential area, with numerous houses that all look the same. We cautiously creep forward hoping not to set off any pods that may be around. Ahsoka pulls up the map of pods and announces to the group.
"We have three pods on this street," she says. "Advance slowly. Split into two groups. Gold 2 you have gold 3, 4, and 5. I have gold 6 and 7."
"Copy gold leader," I say.
We spread out in a line and walk slowly down the street. I scan the sides, looking for any sign of a pod. I notice Tris out of the corner of my eye stop and I raise my hand to stop the group as well. I make my way slowly over to Tris while Kim and Ron crouch close to the ground.
"What have you got?" I ask.
"One up on the right," she says. "I've got the corner of it."
"Do you have a shot?" I ask.
"Yeah," she says. "Get behind cover."
I motion for Kim and Ron to find cover and I do the same. Tris comes over and lays down on the ground, prone.
"Gold 2 to gold leader," I say into my comm.
"Go gold 2," Ahsoka responds.
"Gold 3 has a shot on a pod," I say. "I don't know what it's gonna do, take cover."
"Copy gold 2," Ahsoka responds.
I nod at Tris and she looks down the sight of her gun and pulls the trigger. Suddenly a huge explosion goes off and a wall of fire disperses around where the pod was. That was meant to fry anyone who got too close.
"Good shot gold 3," I say.
"Gold leader," Tris says into her comm. "First pod is destroyed."
"Excellent gold 3," Ahsoka responds. "Move forward cautiously."
"Single file," I say to my squad. "I'll take point. Gold 5 take the rear."
We move forward slowly. I keep my eyes peeled for anything that could even resemble a pod. Not seeing anything, I keep going. We move a long way down the street before I hear Ahsoka's voice on the comm.
"Hold," she says and I stop. "Got movement up ahead. Hold here."
We get behind cover and wait for the go ahead. I peer around the corner to try and find Ahsoka and I can see a figure in black moving up ahead. Suddenly, a giant explosion bursts out from the ground near Ahsoka and she flies backwards. Then a group of large cats comes outside from a house and start coming towards our position.
"COVERING FIRE!" I yell. "TAKE DOWN THOSE TARGETS!"
We all step out into the middle of the street and I make my way over to Ahsoka. Hiccup and Astrid are laying down fire near Ahsoka and my group comes over to assist. There are about fifty of the cats in total, and even though our squad is tearing them down, they keep coming. I get to Ahsoka and look at her wounds. Thankfully it is nothing too bad. Just some shrapnel in her arm and leg.
"Ahsoka," I say.
She looks up to me and I continue.
"We are going to get you into one of the houses," I say. "We will bandage you there, just hold on."
She nods and I turn towards Ron.
"Ron," I yell. "Get Ahsoka over to the house on the left. We will cover you."
He nods and runs over to me. I sling my bow over my shoulder and grab his gun. I start firing down the street. We move with Ron, until we get to the house.
"HICCUP, ASTRID," I yell. "SECURE THE HOUSE."
They both charge in to make sure there are no unforeseen complications in the house. We keep the animals back, but they still are pushing. The cats are about 30 feet away when Astrid yells,
We all rush inside and shut the door.
"Bar the windows and doors," I command.
Immediately, everyone is pushing furniture in front of doors and windows. We seal off the house to make sure that no of the cats can get in. The only piece of furniture that is left is the couch that Ahsoka is currently laying on.
I rush over to Ahsoka and tear off the leg of her pants. I see the entry wounds for the shrapnel.
"Ahsoka," I say. "I need to get this metal out of you."
She nods and I look around and find a piece of wood.
"Bite down on this," I say. "It's gonna hurt."
"Just do it," she says and I begin.
It took me an hour to do the leg and thirty minutes to do her arm. All the while she stayed still, which amazed me. After I finished, I bandaged up the wounds. When I did that I look at her.
"You stayed perfectly still the entire time," I say to her. "How did you manage that."
"I have a way of staying calm," she says. "Years of practice has built up my pain tolerance. I have learned how to immerse myself in a meditation of sorts. It helps me to block out most of the pain."
"Well you need rest," I say. "Get some sleep. We will camp here for the night."
She nods at me and is almost instantly asleep.
"Tris," I call out into the house.
"Yeah," she says back, walking into the room.
"Stay with Ahsoka," I say. "Make sure to check her bandages. She has them on her arm and her leg. I'll bring in what food I can find."
"Yes sir," she says and sits down on the ground next to the couch. She takes off her helmet to reveal her short hair, all covered in dirt. She takes a hand and runs it through her hair, sighing while she does it.
"Hey," I say. "You okay?"
"Yeah," she says. "Just tired."
"Try to get some sleep too," I say. "Ahsoka will wake you if she needs anything."
"With all due respect," Tris says. "It's gonna be hard for me to get any sleep."
"Well try," I say and give her a small smile.
She returns it and looks to her gun and begins to clean it and fiddle with it. It must be a distracting mechanism for her. Something to take her mind off things.
I walk out of the back room into the living room where the rest of the team is currently assembled.
"Alright," I say, getting their attention. "Ahsoka is in the back room sleeping. She is going to be fine, but she needs to rest that leg for a while. We will make camp here. Astrid and Hiccup, I want you upstairs, watching for any ships or rooftop snipers. Ron and Kim, you guys are down here. One of you will be watching, while the other will sleep. Two hour watch periods and then wake the other person up. I want everyone well rested. I will try to find any food and disperse it. We need to save our rations if at all possible."
They all nod and Hiccup and Astrid make their way upstairs. Kim and Ron settle down by a chair facing a window and start talking quietly. I go into the hallway of the house and look for the kitchen. I find the kitchen and step into the room. I immediately shut the door and lean back on it, closing my eyes. I think of Artemis and let out a small sob. This combat is taxing on the mind and is only getting to get worse once we go forward. I look to the ceiling and make a silent prayer to any God that may be listening.
Thank you for keeping me and my team safe on day one. Please keep us strong and safe on day two and beyond.