Chapter 31:Not for the Capitol
When Headpeacekeeper Barca enters my room to check up on me, he sees the condition I am in. When he sees me sitting with my head cradled in my hands, he sits on the bed next to me.
"Is something wrong?"
I speak, just barley below a whisper. "We can't win this."
"What do you mean?"
I repeat myself, only just loud enough for him to hear. "We can't win this."
Barca now hears what I said, and placed his hand on my shoulder before replying. "I know they may outnumber us now-"
This is the part where I break down in tears.
"Don't you get it?! They'll always outnumber us!"
I am now shouting at this point, and Barca listens in patient silence while I scream my anger out of me.
"We've spent the last year and a half dying and getting shot at in the mud fighting against an enemy that outnumbers us ten to one. I've spent all that time watching my friends and close loved ones die painful and slow deaths before my eyes while I am powerless to save them. And for what? The Capitol? Well fuck the Capitol! It is all their fault; they could have prevented this but they did nothing while a situation grew out of control. If they had stepped in to end the rebellion before it even began, this damned war would never have happened. Harod would still be alive, his wife would still be alive, Montgomery's parents would still be alive, District 12 would not have been annihilated; none of the suffering in the last year would have happened if the Capitol had not done nothing until the situation grew beyond its control. Now the entire world is against us!"
I am no longer able to rant. I now can only sob.
"Civilization is falling apart around me, I am about to lose everyone I love, and there is nothing I or anyone else can do to stop it ..."
Once my crying has downgraded to silent whimpers, Barca told me in candid terms what he thought of what I said.
"Hardley, I did not grow up in an ideal environment. I grew up in an orphan home. I had no parents, I had no family members, I never got a chance to be a Career, and I had no legacy or heritage to draw strength from. I grew up having to work for everything that I had. When I joined the Peacekeepers, it was the first time that I felt I could help people. I did not join out of some desire for glory, nor did I join to serve the Capitol.
Right now the rebels outside the Acropolis want to kill everyone we love and care about. If we give them the chance to, they will do it without hesitation. This is why we can not give them the chance. This fight is not about the Capitol anymore; all that matters is protecting the people we care about from those who want to destroy them. Out there we won't be fighting for the Capitol, or for Snow, or for glory or for any other idea: we'll be fighting for our home."
This makes me think. I think about my friends, I think about my colleagues, about the school I went to and the village I grew up in, I think about the children and mothers and fathers and husbands I saw in the Acropolis as I walked down the halls. I thought about my mother, and about Annona. If the rebels go through with their plan, than all those people will be killed. It is not a fight in defense of Capitol rule; it is a fight for our very survival. That is what it was about during the Dark Days, and that is what it is about now.
"D-do you really think we can do it?"
"I don't know, I don't know any more than you do. But if we really are the last generation of Peacekeepers, than I'd rather die with my boots on the ground than waiting for my end. If you aren't up for it, you can wait behind."
With determination, I answer. "No, I want to fight. I want to be there with my friends when the fighting is going on."
We both stand up, we salute each other, and Barca looks into my eyes. I can see that his are hardened and bold, ready to do or die.
As he heads out, he gestures to the box in front of my bed. "There is a fresh uniform on top of the chest, inside you will find fresh armor. Your belongings are underneath."
As though on afterthought, he walks back to the door and says to me. "Oh, there is someone waiting here who has come to visit you."
Then he actually leaves and calls out on his way out.
"Remember, you have four hours until it is time for battle."