Chapter 40:High stakes
As I approach Romulus Thread, we salute each other and he gives me my orders.
"Commander Hardley, we just got a message from the Capitol. The Mockingjay was able to escape the battle, and she lead small company of soldiers to attack the Capitol. She was joined by the rebel army that was garrisoning District 1, and a full scale battle is taking place in the Capitol. We think that she is either trying to assassinate the president or she is trying to capture the nuclear silos there, so as to use the nuclear weapons either to force our surrender with a hostage situation or to launch a global suicide attack. The City Circle has not fallen, and fighting is so matched that we do not need to divert too many soldiers to reinforce them. Four divisions will be more than sufficient to tip the balance in our favor."
At this news, I as well as several of the Peacekeepers under my command, become horrified. Sans Montgomery (who is understandably the most horrified of us all), none of us are from the Capitol: what is terrifying is the possibility that the rebels might try to use the Capitol nukes in a global suicide attack, or even threaten to do so if we do not surrender. If the rebels detonate the nukes it will not be the end of the Panem Government: it will be the end of all life on Earth. The air will be poisoned by the nuclear discharge, and the winds will blow it around until the entire earth is covered with the foul stuff. It would choke every living thing on the planet, sparing not even the tiniest of cells.
Peacekeeper Romulus Thread answers. "I trust you understand the severity of the situation."
"You're division will be one of four that will be sent over to relieve the peacekeepers defending the City Circle. We will land you in the southern end of the Capitol; from there you are to follow the coast of Lake Capitol until you reach the railroad tracks. From there, you follow the tracks to the Central Circle. From there you are to fight and defeat the rebels there."
He then held out his communicator and punched in some numbers. After ten minutes, he spoke again.
"I have just downloaded a map of the Capitol to your communicators. You and all the other soldiers in your division, as well as in the other three divisions, should be able to use it if the route I laid out for you is not feasible."
"Head to those hovercrafts, and they will take you to your landing point."
As we walked towards them, he called out to us. "And one more thing: good luck."
As we march into the hovercraft, I am well aware that we have a moral duty to win this battle. It is not a matter of saving the Capitol or even saving civilization. It is a matter of saving humanity. If I thought the rebels went too far with their attempted genocide, than I must not considered that they would attempt mutual nuclear annihilation.
Once inside, the door closes and the hovercrafts take off.
Aric is in one of the other planes, and though I do not know where Helena is I hope she did not end up giving her life for the fatherland.
Montgomery and I take off our helmets because of the accumulated sweat; we are not the only ones to do so. With his helmet off, I can see how much terror is in Montgomery's pale and listless eyes.
It is understandable that he would be upset. Fighting is going on in his own home, and none of the people were evacuated to safety. It is bad enough that his parents were murdered, but now his colleagues, teachers, and neighbors are at risk.
I put my hand on his shoulder while offering comforting words. "Don't worry, we won't let the Rebs destroy your home."
It is not a long hovercraft ride, but it feels like eternity.