The Reality of District 13
District 13 was, at its heart, a military dictatorship.
But it didn't want to be.
Even now, one hundred years on, its citizens still remembered why it revolted, were still leery of becoming what they most reviled—particularly after the Civil War of the late '70s.
So when news began to spread about a boy who had arrived declaring the arrival of a rebellion, of a size not seen since the Dark Days—or perhaps even larger, considering how much of that effort had been District 13 by itself—
It hadn't created another Civil War, and the boy had been locked up by the President, but the residents of District 13 didn't turn their heads either.
And on Day 10 the volunteers who monitored Capitol TV began shouting.
After that many things began to happen very fast.
The boy was released immediately, of course: the tide of public opinion had turned to much in his favor that keeping him imprisoned was political suicide, and possibly outright suicide too.
Their weapons, carefully maintained over the past century, were prepared for mass use once more.
And, for the first time in decades, dozens of District 13 residents streamed aboveground.
It didn't take long to see their gambit pay off—not only did the Capitol seem particularly slow to respond, but the people flew into the forest in great number—from Districts 8 and 12 first, then from others as it became clear that the railroad's doors had been left open, that the cars on them that usually carried goods were now carrying people.
The Capitol, after some minutes, did try to stop them, but then they were not the only ones that had weapons and it quickly became clear that Panem's were more technologically advanced and numerous they were also spread across the entire countryside and, more importantly, their pilots were not nearly as well-trained as District 13's military, who had never faltered in their awareness of how any weakness would cause them to be quickly squashed by their much larger neighbor and former sovereign.
Then, too, was the little bit about how the Capitol's weapons served many purposes: revolt quelling, District 13 monitoring, the chauffeuring of their citizens and tributes to various current and former Games, the entertainment of their troops…
District 13's military had one goal and one goal only: defend from the Capitol.
Lives, of course, were lost.
But with every minute every District resident became more and more certain that, nonetheless, this would succeed.
The boy—Conor—was surprisingly bright too, had knowledge of what the internals of Panem's districts looked like over the past twenty years and how widespread the revolution was bound to be. On his recommendation they checked the radio to find signals of the revolutionaries being fed back to him, and on his recommendation they began sending their own out, with a couple minutes' jerry-rigging leaving them with a contraption to be picked up in at least the two nearest districts and several hours more—and the aid of the first arrivals of District 3, several hours later—to propel the signal across the entire continent.
And still the world seemed mad, still everything that happened seemed almost inexplicable.
And still no one had heard from the Alliance.
Conor did not seem worried, though, so District 13 pushed on. They'd be able to win it even without the inciters, they thought, so the important thing was to get going on the goal, not wait around for a couple teenagers.