Chapter 28:Even enemies have standards
It is a good thing Honos, though shaking, is there to catch me and prop me back up; when I heard what Katniss's cousin intended to do I nearly feinted from shock.
Beetee, of all people, breaks the silence. "The majority of the workers are citizens from Two"
If he knows that it also holds majority of District 2 and District 4's remaining loyalist population, he does not bring it up.
"So what? We'll never be able to trust them again!"
This adds a whole new level of horror to the war. He is not simply talking about conquering loyal districts with all the collateral damage it entails. He is talking about systematically exterminating the whole District.
Genocide. Every single person I know and love, as well as countless millions of others, being erased. It be made as though none of us ever existed.
Lyme, for all her faults, proves that even she is not willing to pass a certain point. "They should at least have a chance to surrender."
"Well, that's a luxury we weren't given when they firebombed Twelve, but you're all so much cozier with the Capitol here."
Gale sounds like he honestly believes this. I still think that District 12 was destroyed by rebels, but it is possible that they might have disguised their act or showed Gale doctored footage until he came to believe it.
Even on the nigh-impossible hypothetical that the Capitol would do something so sickening, it still does not excuse what Katniss's cousin wants to do. He of all people should know that civilian casualties are not to be treated lightly, and in fact he does know and is choosing to willingly replicate what supposedly almost killed him.
Seeing Lyme upset at what he wanted to do to innocent people, Katniss's cousin shouted in anger. "We watched children burn to death and there was nothing we could do!"
Wiping terror-sweat from my brow with my clammy hands, I turn my head ever so slightly to see what Katniss thinks of her cousin's suggested genocide. I expect she will agree and commend him on his mercilessness and his devotion to the rebellion. I expect the same sadism I have seen for an entire year.
This is not what happened.
Katniss seems genuinely disturbed by what her cousin is suggesting. I imagine it she was able to recognize that replicating the massacre of District 12 would make her just as bad as the people she was lead to believe did it. It seems she has at least one microscopic shred of humanity left.
"The Nut's an old mine. It'd be like causing a massive coal mining accident."
"But not so quick as the one that killed our fathers! Is that everyone's problem? That our enemies might have a few hours to reflect on the fact that they're dying, instead of just being blown to bits?"
At this, Katniss is pleading with him. It is clear that she does not want this to happen. It takes every ounce of willpower to scream; if she is their leader than why can she not make them stop this.
It is only on hindsight that I suspect that she did not have as much power over the rebellion as first anticipated.
"You don't know how those District Two people ended up in there. They may have been coerced. They may have been held against their will. Some are our own spies, would you kill them too?"
Katniss's cousin responds in a way that shows exactly how much he cares about his comrades and the rebel soldiers below him.
"I would sacrifice a few, yes, to take out the rest of them. And if I were a spy in there, id say bring on the avalanche."
It is easy for the bastard to talk big when his neck is not on the line. I am not so sure that those spies all knew they were considered disposable by those they served."
The District 13 officer, the same one who objected previously, comments how they could leave the tunnel open. They decide that they are going to call the rebel president Coin. It is clear that they will go through with the plan, so I do not need to stay to hear the rest when Katniss and her cousin are dismissed.
They will probably do it tonight.
Honos and I both slip outside into a quiet place. There, I vomit onto the pavement.
"Lyes, are you okey?"
I quietly hiss just barley remembering that we are supposed to be under cover.
"No I'm not okey! They're gonna kill everybody I care about. We have to stop them."
"How do yo intend to do that?"
"I have to warn the Peacekeepers in the Nut."
Honos does not tell me it is crazy or that I can get myself killed. He gives advice.
"You'll need to find a way to reach the tunnel where peacekeepers can rescue you. You should wear your peacekeeper clothes so they don't shoot you on sight."
"The area between us is crawling with rebels, how am I supposed to reach the tunnel?"
"Leave that to me."
In a calm voice, Honos explains the risky and dangerous plan to get me to the Nut in time.
It should work.
It has to work.