The Capitol: Part II
Most of the tributes look a bit lost after the head trainer dismisses us. I head for the knives section, and find one good for throwing. The trainer is impressed with my accuracy and asks if I'd like to try some more advanced options. I tell him "Sure" and while he is rustling around for some smaller targets, I get a look at the other careers.
I see the tributes from 2 have found the archery station taking turns hitting targets. Nither seems to have an advantage. My district partner, Fathom, is at the sword traing station with the male from 6. After about half an hour of throwing kinives, it looks like the archery practice between the twos has ended and Fathom and Marius have walked over to them. Looks like the carrer pack is forming. I guess that's my que.
"So, where are the tributes from 4?" I ask no one in particular.
"Uselesss, both of them." Storm says.
"I understand that the guy is weak, but the girl seems fine." Marius adds. No one seems to object Fathom bringing him along, especially now that apparently we are two people down.
"I talked to the girl earlier, but she yelled something about not needing anyone, and stormed off." Chase tells us. I wonder if she is on to something, going it alone.
"So is this the final group?" I ask.
""Well, I'd like to get another person, I think five is too few for a good pack." Chase says scanning the room. I take a look at our potential allies too, sizing everyone up. There isn't a lot of strength out there, many of the tributes look underfed. There are a few of them that aren't, such as the mayor's daughter from 11, but dosen't seem too competent. She is over at the knot tying station, and she can't even manage that. There are a few others that seem a bit atheletic, but there seems to be a lack of actual strong tributes.
The is only one person who has the physice to fit in with us. Fathom is the one to say it, "Evander." The kid is huge, at least six feet tall, but I'm not sure if he has what it takes to be a career.
"You sure about that?" I question.
"I agree with Fathom," Storm says, "Just look at him."
"Yeah, I think we should invite him, if he dosen't wanna come along we'll take him out in the bloodbath." Chace says shrugging his sholders. I don't argue any more, and nod in agreement.
Evander is alone at the fire starting station when we approach him. He dosen't look surprised when we he sees us, more like he is conflicted about something.
"Hey, Evander," Chace casually begins, "We were wondering if you would be interested in joing our alliance." Evander furrows his brow, and after a few moments of silence it starts to get akward.
"Look if you aren't inter-"
"No." I get cut off mid sentence by Evander. "I'll join you." He dosen't seem happy about it, and neither am I.
The knot falls apart yet again. "Ugggg!" I grunt as I throw the limp rope away from me. I hear someone chuckle. Standing a few feet away from me with his back turned is the boy from 12, Kellen I think is his name.
"What's so funny?" I ask a bit frustrated.
He turns around and gives me a quick look over before he speaks. "You're the mayor's daughter right?"
"Yes" I say defensively, even though I'm not sure what I have to be defensive about.
"You really are a fish out of water, aren't you? Pampered your entire life, and now you have to learn to fight to the death."
"So will you." I say back blowing my hair out of my face.
"Yes, but I've seen death, walked among it. I doubt you would have time for that during your dress fittings and tennis matches."
This boy somehow gets to me with this comment. "I help the poor any chance I get." I sheepishly reply.
"Do you? Tell me, how do you help them? Ever give away anything you would miss?" Who is this boy, thinking he is some kind of moral authority, judging me, based on what, my wealth? I won't let him talk to me like this.
"What about you, do you look out for others, or do you take care of yourself first? Well tell me Mr. Humanitarian?" This shuts him up. He tries to speak, but I can see I've hit a nerve.
"Well, you gotta be selfish to last in these games, so it looks like you and I will both be fine." he finally recovers.
"Is that why you don't have any allies, too selfish to play well with others?"
"Hah" He laughs, but this time it is good natured. "I suspect it has something to do with this." He holds up his left arm which covered in bandages.
"Yeah, I was wondering about that, what happened?"
"Wolf almost killed me, but I finished him instead."
"A wolf?" I've heard of such animals, seen some mutts in the games, but I have no idea how anyone would ever come into conflict with one. "Where did you see a wolf."
"Out in my usual hunting territory, why do you think I'm so good with snares?"
"You hunt?" I ask in disbelief.
"Yeah," Kellen casually answers, "If I don't hunt I don't eat."
"It's illegal to poach." I say sternly. Kellen's jovial attitude has vanished.
"You don't get it, you think it is is worse for someone to kill a deer than to go hungry because someone with power says so? Do you think the games are alright too?" I don't say anything, I try not to think about those things, it isn't my place. "I was wrong, you aren't selfish, you're disgusting."
As he starts to walk away I yell out, "Wait!"
"I don't know alright, I'm just, I don't know..." He gives me a questioning look. "I guess I'm a bit sheltered." Its difficult to say, maybe I've been in denial about this for awhile.
"Well..." Now Kellen is at a loss for words, "Good luck, I guess."
"You wanna be allies?" I blurt out.
"Allies?" He looks at me like I'm crazy. Then shrugs. "Sure." His response is simplistic and I can tell he is trying to be nonchalant, but it isn't working. I can tell how happy he is to have someone watching his back. I saw him shoot jealous looks at the other groups all day. "Okay, so if were going to work together you need to learn how to make a snare, then we can move on to knives." I smile at him and nod, and for the first time I see him smile back, not with smug sarcasm, but genuine happiness.
By the second day the tributes are finally staring to get the hang of things. I've decided to spend some time using actual weapons today, after spending yesterday learning about survival. By now I have the hang of plants and snares, so I must face the inevitable, learning how to kill. I'm not sure how I'll be able to kill these other kids, except for the careers, no one wants to be here.
The thought of killing anyone is repulsive. I wonder, could I really go through with it? I think of that little girl who cried from 12, Amber, or my District partner Finch. If it came down to it, I wouldn't be able to kill either of them. Amber is so sad and innocent, and how am I supposed to kill my Finch, the only connection to home I have left. I just hope I don't have to fight them. Not that fighting those killing machines the careers would be much better.
"Excuse me." I look up, its the girl from 6. Why would she talk to me? "Hey, I'm Amata, we've seen your skills, and we were impressed. Anyway, we would like to ask you to team up with us. I hadn't noticed before but behind Amata are three other tributes. There is Leexon from 3, and both from 8, Jade and Allan.
On the train I decided that I would only ally with tributes if I believed they were intelligent. I wouldn't rule out really strong ones either though. While Amata never really made an impression on me, her allies are all people I have taken note of. The pair from 8 are interesting. I wouldn't say Jade is incredibly strong or smart, but she has enough of each quality to be a valuable ally. From what I've seen of Allan he seems to always be planning something. Everything I have seen him do is premeditated. Leexon reminds me of some other tributes I've seen from 3 in the past, highly intelligent. This is a group I think I can work with.
"Count me in."
"Excellent," Leexon says stepping forward. "We have begun to formulate a strategy for the games, this strategy is general and vague of course, since we do not know what the arena holds."
"Yeah, of course." I say automatically.
"Excellent, Allan, would you care to bring her up to speed?" Leexon says turning to who seems to be the mastermind of this plan.
"Certainly, so after the platforms take us up, we should locate each other as fast as we can. If something is blocking your view from some of the tributes, find as many of the group as you can. Avoid the careers if possible. Once the gong sounds, we should all gather, don't go into the cornucopia before this." He pauses to make sure I am following. "If one of us goes in alone, our chances of survival are abysmal." I nod to show I understand. "Once we are together we stay close and gather as much as we can from the cornucopia; weapons, supplies, everything. Once we have what we need we get out. Every night we set up camp, and move in the day. We let the others pick each other off." This is where he stops, we all know what happens after the others are picked off. No alliance can last forever.
"Good plan," I say "Lets hope it works." Its a good plan, but like Leexon said, we have no idea what the arena holds.
"Good," The trainer says, "Hit me again." I oblige him and strike the shield in his hand with the ax once more knocking him back. "You've really got some power in that swing boy."
"Comes from hard labor." I say, which is something this capitol citizen would know nothing about. I've spent the past two days trying to learn all I can to stay alive in the arena. I'm not treating the training session as some sort of bonding session, like so many of the others. Most of the tributes spend more time trying to get to know each other than learning weapons and survival techniques. Their time spent searching for allies is wasted, because once the alliances inevitably break, its a free for all, and the ones who prepare for that are the ones who will survive.
Speaking of tributes wasting time, the biggest waste of all is heading for me now, Mattaniah. I saw him spending a little time at some stations on the first day, but since then hes gone around trying to blackmail everyone.
"Hello Finch," he says casually as he walks over to me.
"What do you want?" I say coldly.
"It seems to me that you are an individual who values his privacy."
"I think that's very accurate." Just what is he playing at?
"Well I'm, lets just say good at reading people, and the impression I get from you is that you aren't very fond of the Capitol."
"And you are, Matt?"
"It's Mattinah, and no I'm not, but I think what you feel goes a bit further than that, not that you would want anyone, such as potential sponsors, or lets say...the gamemakers knowing about that." He has a smug grin on his round face.
"Well regardless if that is really the case," I begin, "If someone were to publicly make that accusation, I wouldn't bet on that person, surviving the bloodbath."
This seems to set the previously cool Mattinah off. "What does that mean?" he shouts.
"You're supposed to be smart, I'm sure you can figure it out." I say through clenched teeth.
"Hey break it up!" The ax trainer yells. "No fighting in the Training Center, save it for the arena." With this Matt heads off in the other direction and I don't bother seeing where he ends up.
I don't like his approach, but maybe he isn't as much of a waste as I thought. He knows, just as I do, that you can't trust anyone. I feel bad for some of these tributes. I glance at the careers, and I know that there is one there who doesn't really belong. Evander may fit the career profile physically, but he isn't like them. He isn't ruthless or cold. He won't be the one to break the alliance, and because of that fact he will end up dead. There is one person who I feel worse for though. My partner Ashlyn. It looks like she has joined the other large alliance, and I don't trust them, especially not the leader, Allan.
We talked on the train, Ashlyn and I, and I don't know, there is something about her that made me want to let my defenses down. But I didn't. I wonder, if I talked to her tonight could I convince her to leave her allies and join up with me?
Join up with me? What am I thinking, I can't trust any of these tributes, it takes years, not days to build up trust. Ashlyn might really be trustworthy, but I don't have time to find out.
The lunchroom is almost as noisy as my home back in 4. Almost every one of the other twenty-three tributes seems to be talking. Talking and saying nothing. Most sit in groups, like they are some kind of school friends, or something, which is ridiculous. Some, however, like myself, sit alone. Some do this by choice, and others have no one who would take them. The other loners are Finch, Kasha, Malcolm, Amber, and of course that pest Mattinah.
I can tell the alliances pretty easily by the groupings. I see the careers, who wanted me to team up with them, sitting in the center of the room. I think they want everyone to take notice of them or something. Pretty dumb if you ask me, I don't want anyone to notice me, makes 'em harder to kill if they are always looking out for you. Marius and Fathom sit next to each other, each as vicious and cruel as the other. Chace and Storm seem to be getting along well with Acely, but Evander never says anything.
The other big alliance sits in the corner across from me. Leexon and Allan always seem wrapped up in some conversation and the three girls are always polite to one another. What a waste of time.
The boy and girl from 7 have also teamed up, and even now I can hear Kieren asking Tawny questions. A nickname has been floating around for the pair, I think Storm coined it, Q and A. I'm usually not one for nicknames, but I like this one.
The boy from 12, Kellen, seems to have teamed up with the girl from 11, and I'm not sure how that one happened. They don't seem like the best fit, more like a couple of misfits than an actual alliance.
Finally there are the tributes from 5. I'm not sure if they are a couple or something, they almost act like it, but it looks like they recently picked up a third wheel. The girl from 3, Proxy, is at their table, which must be a recent development, because I dind't see them talk at all before this.
I try to commit all of this to memory, thinking about who to take on fist, who to avoid until later. The games are mine to win.
Hey so again I got a lot of in depth reviews, and some said they thought I might mind their rambling, but I love it, write as much as you want, I love reading your reviews. Oh, and I know that the promotional stuff for the movie says 6 is transportation, but this fic is based on the books, not the film, so I felt entitled to fill in the blanks myself. And good job, Tac Nayn H33H33H33 and District7Tribute who got the David Bowie reference. And district5girl metioned Lady Gaga, who's real name is Stafani, and paid tribute to Bowie by painting a lighting bolt on her face.