TEAM 13 : DISTRICT 8
Alicia : Verona
Alicia smirked from her seat next to the other members of District 8. Alliances had been made, promises given, hints and brief remarks used to imply a revolution which could never be mentioned blatantly, never even suggested without several layers of protective wording.
The fourteen year-old (Tredan) had just vacated his spot next to her, disappearing into the training room so that his true talent, his true ability to survive and put on a good show, could be scrutinized and judged.
Alicia kept smirking.
Things were finally in motion, finally beginning to come together, and while she still thought failure was far more probable than success the two probabilities were no longer nearly so disparate in size.
Plus she had Fred.
Her smirk widened.
To her left Putnam, the son of the mayor and the 12 year-old of District 8, watched her wearily.
Tredan had finished.
Over the past several hours Districts 1 through 7 had already demonstrated their might.
Ginny had shown off her ability in several areas, an all-round player like she had been in Quidditch. Ron had said not to worry—District 2 had done way too much research into what got high scores, and he'd hit every important milestone. Hermione, while athletically okay, had spent her private session demonstrating her intellectual abilities in various stations.
Percy demonstrated his ability at long range, Harry his ability to scramble, to flee, to react in the moment. Angelina had demonstrated her skill with a machete (she'd spent the previous days slowly working up her skills, using tips from Hermione to make it seem as if she was simply a quick learner rather than a political dissident.) Oliver did what all District 7 residents did—they tended to get fairly good scores, and there was no reason to give all secrets away.
After her it would be Katie's turn, and she would likely end up the lowest scoring of the team. It wasn't because she was the worst, of course, but no one in District 9 had ever scored particularly well and there was no suitable reason for them to lead the judges to believe Katie was anything but a perfect example of her District.
After that Luna would go, again trying to mimic the typical skills indicative of District 10, then Neville, who'd be trying to portray himself as their second- or third-best out and out fighter, and finally Fred, who would also be going the physical route.
Alicia's role, given the general perspective on District 6 and the whole love story they'd already 'developed', would be particularly interesting.
Alicia was going to be their psychopath.
Well, this wasn't particularly fair. Partially because she wouldn't be able to truly portray the behavior of a psychopath and partially because psychopaths weren't really known as team players, Alicia was instead supposed to be more demonstrating the ruthlessness and true lack of empathy to their victims that many previous winners had.
None of them felt particularly comfortable in the role, and only she and Ron felt they could actually pull it off. Given how many other roles Ron was juggling, it was deemed that she was the best fit.
So she kept smirking.
She entered the room.
The judges weren't visible, but that wasn't surprising. Instead several of the drones focused their cameras immediately on her, ready to follow her form wherever it might wander.
She headed straight to Station 18: a simulator station focused on getting as high a kill rate as possible.
Only Ron, Fred, and Luna had tried the game so far. Ron had gotten a quite high number, Fred a rather average one, and Luna none—she had only gone to it because the simulator that was used for defense practice had a line.
All had known immediately that this must be the station Alicia used during the private sessions.
All had warned her within the hour, each in their own way, of the truly terrible nature of the simulation.
She strapped the headset to her face, grabbed the stick she was supposed to use to mimic weaponry, stood on the platform, and pressed the button on the side of her chin.
Her vision flickered, then presented her with a rocky island. She was standing with, of all things, a scabbard in her hand, and only one other person was in view. Still, before anything else she ducked, carefully surveying her surroundings from every angle: this was supposed to focus on the number of kills, but that didn't mean there weren't opponents who already had their eyes on her.
Nothing appeared, so she crept to the first boy and, before the computer program allowed him to realize she was there, slit his throat.
It was... very realistic.
She swallowed bile, made sure to keep her face blank, and looked forward at the new opponent the former one had apparently been staking out.
She used the first's bow and arrow to kill the second (it had taken two tries, she hadn't spent much time practicing, but he was dead nonetheless) and then saw a head pop out between the two before ducking under a crag.
Alicia used a rock to hit his head from a distance, then slit his throat as he tried to clear the blood from his eyes.
A rustle, and Alicia swung around to see a knife flying towards her neck. She dodged, then flew after the simulated girl who had just attempted to kill her.
Her death was slower—she fought back too much for a clean cut—but it still happened, and put Alicia in a position to see an eleven year old cowering in fear.
She made sure nothing showed on her face.
At least the simulated boy's death was quick.
An opponent, massive and easily larger than any teenager had any right to be, leapt at her back, and she was suddenly in another battle for her life.
She won it, then went on to kill two more hiding opponents before a duo came after her together. She was just slitting the second's neck when her vision flickered again, and she was back in the real world with a stick and the odd jellylike substance that walled the platform slipping back from the outline of a person to its traditional flat form.
She left the platform, put everything back where it should be.
Her smirk was gone, but she didn't look sickened, didn't look uncomfortable with what she had just done.
Her time was up, so she walked towards the door and left.
Cameras were in the hallway, in the elevator, in the living quarters, in the bedroom, in the bathroom.
She undressed, and turned the shower on, fiddled with the options a bit so it looked as if she cared what she smelled like the next day, and stepped in.
She didn't sob—sobbing would make noise.
She didn't gasp—gasping would make noise.
But there was water slamming into her face, gushing down her cheeks, and some soap on her face would easily explain red eyes, so she did cry.
She had, over the past several days, taken increasingly ridiculously long showers, so there was no time period she had to think about. With the exception of sound, of movement, she'd already done everything she had to do to seem okay.
Now, now it was time to allow herself to think about the images already burned in her brain, the ones that had just been placed there side by side with what she had been forced to do for much more immediately relevant reasons in her previous life.
She cried for the lives she had actually taken, for the blood which really had stained her hands. She cried for everything she had done which had led to a victory which tasted like dirt, a celebration which no joy.
She still felt like this attempt, this stupid attempt of Death to improve this world, was more likely to fail than not.
But there was no longer a single thing she wouldn't do to make a victory, should it occur, taste far more freeing than the one she had already been a part of.
No more Pyrrhic victories.
No more winning sides which had sacrificed so much and changed so little.
No, this time, if they should win, they would win entirely, completely overrun the tyrants of this world.
She cried, and she forced herself to smile into the downpour.
The Capitol wasn't willing to sacrifice a thing, wasn't willing to risk any part of their way of life, but by now she knew exactly what she was willing to give up for victory.
Let's see who wins.