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HG: The Narrow Path, Chapter Eighteen - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
HG: The Narrow Path, Chapter Eighteen
Haymitch and Prim have both been sent to the Capitol, ostensibly for necessary help in the war effort, though Haymitch strongly suspects that this about Coin's rage at Katniss.

Chapter Eighteen
Once the launch is over, we unstrap ourselves from the seats and go up to the observation lounge. Prim looks out a curved window as we pass over District Twelve. Even before it burned, the district itself would barely be a blip at this speed, but we can see the line of the seam -- the actual seam, the coal mine -- as it snakes down toward District Eleven. Fires wink out of areas that have collapsed, and a large section of out-district forest is in flames around one of them.

"Someone has to put that out," she says.

"It's in the out-districts," I remind her. "No one is in charge."

"We breathe air that comes from the out-districts. Someone needs to put that out."

She is called away to an extended meeting with the medical team a few minutes later. I try to get a message to Winnow Robinson -- she might still be in Eleven, and she might be able to spare someone for the fire -- but the best I can do is a local command led by an old woman in work clothes several sizes too big for her. She says Winnow is back in District Four, but she'll see if there's anyone else to help. She doesn't sound hopeful. The fence on District Twelve has been pulled down, but nearly a century of being brutally guarded has made people leery of going beyond its line.

I watch Panem unfold beneath us -- the vast, empty out-districts, the smoggy haze over District Six, the little hamlets that oversee fields in District Nine. We pass over the main town, and I even get a glimpse of the wreckage in the Victors' Village. The hover craft flies low enough that once, I actually see a tractor going about whatever business it has in early November in the wheat fields. A train runs along on the route between Nine and Four. I've rarely traveled anywhere directly in Panem, other than to the Capitol for the Games. The looping victory tour scuttled us all over, jerking us around the map like puppets in the hands of overeager children, and until now, Thirteen has traveled circuitous routes around Panem airspace.

I never looked out the windows much, didn't notice all of these places between places.

Maybe I should have. I only know these people through books I've read, and most of those books came through the heavy hands of Capitol censors. I have a nagging, uncomfortable feeling that having read even that much puts me ahead of some of my allies.

We arrive in the Capitol in late afternoon, and I almost don't recognize it. It's not just coming down from the sky instead of gliding in on a train. Smoke rises from battered buildings. Landmarks like the Martyrs' Spire and the giant statue of the first president of Panem are simply gone. All the glass on one side of the art museum has been shattered and hastily covered with sheets of plastic, which blow in the wind. Cars are burned out in piles of rubble at the edges of the streets. Rebels are camped in every park on the north end of the city, giving it the look of a series of shanty towns.

Prim finds me and follows me out, looking around with wide eyes. "It's ugly," she says. "We're not going to leave it ugly, are we?"

I think about Thirteen, where aesthetic concerns aren't exactly top priorities, and am not sure, but I say, "I hope not. The one thing the Capitol always had going for it was that it was... well, not ugly. Not on the outside, anyway."

A young woman runs up to me and salutes. "Soldier Abernathy," she says. "You're required to report to Command immediately. Soldier Everdeen, you'll join the medical crew."

I barely get a chance to give Prim a quick wave before she's swept off among the tents. The woman with us identifies herself as Soldier Grant and says, "There's bad news."

"Katniss? Peeta?"

"No, sir. You'd best hear it from Command."

I do not want to hear it from Command. Or from anyone else. Being summoned to bad news means it's worse than can be conveyed by a subordinate.

Grant leads me to a large tent, and I know immediately what the news is. I close my eyes and try not to see it, but it's too late.

There is a broken, bloodied trident lying on the table. A few other items surround it, but I don't recognize them.

I open my eyes. "Finnick Odair," I say.

"Yes, sir." A boy, barely out of his teens by the look of him, sits down at the table and indicates that I should sit as well. He is apparently named Creelman. I don't sit down. I don't want to touch the table.

"What happened? How did this happen?"

"We don't know everything. We do know that several large mutts were set loose in the tunnels. They killed everyone in their path, including Peacekeepers. Surviving witnesses say they were clearly sent after Soldier Everdeen -- they report actually hearing the mutts say her name -- and several members of her team died defending her. She set off an explosion, probably by putting the holo on self-destruct. One of our spies works near the blast site. She pulled the trident from the rubble before the Capitol sweepers came in."

"Maybe he just... dropped it." I can hear a certain panic and petulance in my voice.

Creelman must hear it as well. He lowers his eyes. "Sir... when we found it... his hand was still on it. Our spy brought it back."

"Maybe someone else was..."

"We scanned the blood, sir." Creelman stands up. "I’m sorry. I know you were friends. I didn't want you to hear it bandied around camp before you heard it from us."

I try to say something, but I can't breathe. I think of the stories he and Annie told each other of the wonderful things they would do with their life together. I think of him bringing Peeta back from the dead in the arena. I think of the pleased look on his face when Peeta told him that I'd called him "one of my other kids."

I manage to get one word out: "Annie."

"Mrs. Odair has been notified."

"I need to talk to her."

"We're putting the call through now."

I manage, somehow, to get to the next tent, to the communication station. Annie doesn't come to the phone, which doesn't really surprise me. Beetee picks it up.

"Haymitch? You heard?"

"Annie," I say again.

"About what you'd expect," Beetee says. "She's down in long term with Johanna right now -- "

"They put Annie in that tomb?"

"No, no. She's there with Johanna. She went down on her own. I'm going to go back down with them when we finish talking. Johanna was Finnick's friend. Annie wanted to be with her. They tried to send her away, but Johanna... um, well, Jo knocked out three guards with a pair of clipboards and threatened to share some kind of information she's gathered if they dare move Annie from her side. I gave her the knife, in case there's trouble. Hazelle and Ruth are down there, too. They've both... you know. They've lost their husbands."

I have never really listened to that phrase before. "Lost their husbands." Just somehow misplaced them. Aren't going to see them again. It doesn't seem to really express the idea of the trident on the table. The trident that was still in Finnick's hand when it was blown from his body.

I try desperately to come up with a scenario where it's anything other than what it seems like.

There aren't any.

Beetee tells me that Katniss and Gale were still moving after the explosion, promises to take care of Annie, tells me not to disrespect Finnick's sacrifice by getting drunk right now, then goes.

The next four hours are blank. I am sure I meet with Command, and I have a vague idea that they show me a map and I point things out on it, but by the time I am installed in my tent in the middle of the shanty town, I can't recall anything that's been said to me since I got off the phone with Beetee. It has gotten dark at some point, and what Beetee said last comes back to me, the part about not getting drunk, and I realize I could drink. I am in the Capitol. I know where everything is. I want to find a bottle of the strongest thing there is and drown myself in it, maybe literally. I'm getting up to do it -- my plan is to march straight into the center of town, hole up in a bar, and stay there -- when Prim Everdeen comes in, looking worn out. I think I may have seen her earlier. I don't know.

"Don't you dare," she says, and sits me down on my bedroll. "Don't even think about it."

"It's a little late for that, sweetheart," I say.

"Fine, stop thinking about it, then." She pulls out the standard issue stool and shines a light in my eyes. I doubt it has any diagnostic purpose, since it has nothing to do with what she says next. "You're in shock, Haymitch. I told you to stay warm."

"You did?"

"Yeah. Blanket." She points at a crumpled silver blanket behind me and waits for me to put it over my shoulders. "They found a sign of Katniss," she said. "It's on the Capitol news. She shot a woman when she came up from the tunnels, and I guess there are some clothes missing from the apartment. She's out on the street now, with the others."

"Which others?"

"According the Capitol -- they ran fingerprints from the apartment -- she's with Gale, Peeta, Cressida, and Pollux. There was blood. They say Peeta and Gale are both injured."

I start to ask how they'd know that, but of course, I don't have to. They have everyone's DNA on file from the Games. Wouldn't want the wrong person reporting the arena.

"Finnick's dead," I say. I think I must have said it before.

She nods. "Yeah. I know. Do you want me to stay with you?"

I shake my head. I don't need a thirteen year old child to get through this. I just need a damned drink.

Not going AWOL to find one is probably the hardest thing I've ever actually managed to accomplish. I sleep at last, and I dream of Finnick's wedding. He is happy, and free. He turns to me and smiles.

He died free -- not just of the Capitol and the humiliations Snow put him through, but of Thirteen as well. He died on his own terms.

It doesn't help that much. But it's something.

I force myself to get out of the sleeping bag. Go to the mess for breakfast. Put a call in to Command back in Thirteen.

Annie herself picks up. She sounds hollow and tortured, but not insane. "Haymitch," she says. "It's true. It's really true."

"Yeah. Annie, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I got him into this mess--"

"You all got into it together," she says. "For good reasons. But we still have each other, right? The victors? I got them to let Johanna come up and stay with me. And then we went to stay with Beetee. Beetee is taking care of us." She pauses. When she speaks again, her voice is thick. "Win this war, Haymitch. Win it and come back."

"We will. You have my word."

After we talk, I straighten my uniform and go to Command. Creelman welcomes me and gives me a handheld with the notes on what I've missed. Capitol citizens are moving in toward the center of the city. There's been some looting in the mercantile district. No direct sign of Katniss and her team.

The tent flap comes up, and a lanky boy comes in with a brunette girl a little younger than he is. The boy smiles at me, and my mind tries to read him as Peeta -- he has the same blond curls (though these seem bleached a bit lighter than nature would have it), and a kind of easy grin that brings Peeta to mind, though they aren't alike any further than that. His hair is longer and tied back with a leather strap.

"You don't remember me?" he says.

I blink. "Aurelian!"

He smiles. He was the de facto leader of a group of kids from the neighborhood who got together to sponsor Katniss and Peeta. Now that I recognize him, I'm pretty sure the girl beside him is Tazzy Vole, a young woman who was not earning her own money selling lemonade. Tazzy snuck into the prison this summer and found out that Effie was needed there to help Portia. Effie invited her to stay the night so she wouldn't be out on the street. When I last saw her, she was dressed in a sparkly minidress with a flame pattern on it. Now, she's in jeans and a standard issue combat top from Thirteen. She looks more her age.

"You know our spies?" Creelman asks. "It was Soldier Vole who... " He stops. "Who I mentioned yesterday. Who works near the blast site."

The one who pulled Finnick's hand from the wreckage. I look at her.

She nods. "I'm sure sorry about Finnick. He used to come down to the corner... you know, where I worked... and bring us food and things. We all saw the story he told. I guess that's why he always helped us. I wish I could have helped him."

"You did," I tell her. "You brought what you could to his friends, instead of leaving it for his enemies."

She nods.

They sit down at the table. I know they would not be allowed to join a council in the Capitol, and I have a distinct impression that they would not be welcome in Thirteen proper, but here, they seem to be fine.

"Word on the street?" Creelman asks.

"It's getting dangerous," Aurelian says. "People are really scared. That thing on the news yesterday, where Katniss shot the woman... that's got them terrified. They remember her in the Games. They think she's going to come after them."

"I don't think Katniss is just out hunting civilians," I say.

"Do you know what she is doing?" Creelman asks. "Because that's a question we'd like answered."

"No idea," I lie without looking at him. "I haven't talked to her any more than you have. But if she shot a civilian, it was in the line of doing something else. It wasn't something she set out to do." I hope this is true -- that even without Peeta's steadying influence, Katniss hasn't gone completely over the edge.

Tazzy nods. "I think they know that, when they think about it."

"But who's to say they won't be the next ones in her way?" Aurelian points out. He sighs and takes the leather string out of his hair, letting his curls fall down almost to his shoulders. "That's the problem. They remember the parade last summer. The way Katniss and Peeta were so angry. Wouldn't talk to them. And now, a lot of them have it in their heads that they're out for vengeance."

"It doesn't help that there's a price on their heads," Tazzy adds. "Dead or alive. It doesn't bring out the higher quality of Capitol citizen."

We all talk for a while about how to get around the mounting panic in the Capitol. The sooner we end it and topple Snow, the easier it will be to stabilize -- Plutarch can take control of the television and start soothing the population with a little bit of the truth. Creelman and the others from Thirteen have a separate meeting to discuss "minor matters," most of which I assume from their tone are spelled K-A-T-N-I-S-S. I go out with Aurelian and Tazzy.

"I heard Primrose Everdeen is here," Tazzy says.

"Where did you hear that?"

"Just people talking. They say she's with the medics. I should tell Solly -- remember my sister Solly? She'd get a kick out of it."

"With all the panic, I hope you told her not to carry that Katniss doll of hers around," I say. I look at Aurelian. "And maybe you ought to think about going back to your natural hair color."

"Solly's way out at the lake with the little boys," Tazzy says. "She can carry whatever she wants. They still love Katniss. As to his hair" -- she points at Aurelian -- "maybe you'll have better luck with that than the rest of us."

"If people weren't saying nasty things about him, I probably would. But I got to meet him -- I helped with his first interview prep -- and I'm not going to do something that looks like I'm going over to the other side." He shakes his head. "The only thing he asked about, in the middle of all that hell, was how everyone else was. Junie's working the minimum security prison, so I could tell him."

"You have someone in the prison?"

"Yeah. Caesar got her the job. He got me on the prep team, too. And he got Tazzy the key to Effie Trinket's apartment."

Tazzy frowns at what I guess must be confusion on my face. "Her cat," she says. "Solly loved the cat when we stayed there, so I broke in and stole it, so it wouldn't starve."

I find a bench and sit down, putting my head in my hands. I'm dizzy. For months, I've been haunted by that damned cat, and it's been safe with a little girl all along.

"You okay?" Aurelian asks.

"Yeah. I'm good." I sigh. "This has to be the dumbest question I've ever asked, but what's the cat's name?"

"It's Sweetheart," Tazzy says. "Why?"

I can't answer. I can't say why the cat's name mattered to me in the first place, or why I feel like crying when I learn it. I don't know if there's a word for the feeling it brings up in me, the sense of some hidden knife -- or maybe an axe -- going deeper into my guts, cutting through the old scar tissue and finding new nerves. I shake my head. "Have we heard anything about Effie since she was moved? Has Junie been able to get to maximum security?"

"No," Tazzy says. "I'm sorry."

"But if they had done something," Aurelian says, "I think they'd show it everywhere, like they did with Peeta's real preps."

That's true. Unless they saved her to torment me later with whatever they've been doing to her. Unless they did something so horrible to her that people wouldn't recognize her.

Unless they've hijacked her.

I don't mention this to the kids. I send them off together, and hope that the arms they sneak around each other mean that they're going to find something to be happy about in all this mess.

A squad goes out later in the day, but is forced back by several activated pods. I meet with Command about how to deal with these bizarre defense mechanisms, since their holos are outdated. I suggest running unmanned cars up and down the streets to deliberately set them all up. This is lauded as brilliant, and no one listens when I tell them that it will only work for the first few blocks, and after that, the Capitol will put the things on manual control.

We start the experiment the next morning, as Capitol citizens stream through the streets, trying to find shelter further into the city. Creelman listens to me at first and tries the cars on streets that have already been deserted, but gets orders later to take a more direct route to city center. I guess Coin has decided to get to Snow before Katniss can.

The cars set off deadly explosions, release gases, even send out vicious mutts. The Rebellion is safe behind the lines. The vast majority of those hurt by the pods are Capitol citizens just going about their business and trying to get to safety. I ask Creelman to at least let them walk ahead. There are children in among them. He does it. The stream of refugees gets wider and faster, and the cars keep pace about two blocks behind them, with soldiers following. It takes about three hours for the Capitol to switch control over to manual.

Aurelian goes off in the middle of the afternoon, trying to catch attention in a neighborhood far from where Katniss and Peeta were last seen. It works a little too well. Panicked Capitol citizens grab him and beat the hell out of him, thinking he's Peeta. Plutarch's doctor spy, Galerius, pulls him from the hospital and declares him dead. This goes out over the news, and I hope the real Peeta takes it as a warning to stay inside, wherever he is. I don't bother hoping Katniss will take the lesson. I sit with Aurelian in the medical tent while Prim tends his wounds. I am tired of sitting by hospital beds. Tazzy comes in and takes over the watch. I introduce her to Prim, then go for a walk. The hover craft we came in is gone, probably back to get more supplies. There is a panel sitting against the wall of the train depot with the "Union of Districts" name and seal on it. The seal is black and shows a minimalist white bear prowling through a circle of thirteen stars. Boring and Coin-approved, no doubt.

I sit and look at it for a long time. There's something wrong with it. I decide that it's the symbolism of thirteen districts and one central figure. Does it mean that she means to wipe out the Capitol after all, leaving only the districts? Or that Thirteen, the bear, is going to become the center? I can't say I like either idea. I suppose it's also possible that someone miscounted the stars, or just had thirteen districts on the brain.

That's it. That's what's wrong with it.

I continue to stare at it.

It's very late when Prim comes out of the medical tent and joins me. She's bundled up in a heavy jacket. "I wonder what they sent for," she says, sitting down. "I hope it's bandages. We're running low."

"You're very good at what you do," I tell her. "They're right to train you. But you shouldn't be here. It's not safe yet."

She doesn't answer this, exactly. "Other than the techs who came up for shoots after the Games -- the preps and Effie and the stylists and so on -- I never met a Capitol citizen before. That boy, the one I was taking care of -- he's as brave as Katniss or Gale, isn't he, just going off into the middle of all that?"

"Yeah."

"And the girl says she takes care of her sister, like Katniss used to take care of me. I have a feeling she doesn't go hunting to put food on the table, though."

"There's not much game in the Capitol."

"We're really wrecking these people's lives, aren't we? I mean, these are their homes. Real peoples' homes. Did you see them in street?"

"A little bit."

"We must have looked like that when Twelve was burning. We were moving faster because the fire was faster, but... we must have looked the same. Like nothing makes sense anymore. They're just normal people."

"I know. Some of them are my friends." I put a hand on her shoulder. "It's ugly. I know. I guess when I thought about the war, I thought it would just be... like the Games. Maybe everyone wouldn't want to be there, but everyone would know to fight. It's not how it works, though."

"Snow's putting out human shields," Prim tells me. "It's on the news. He's inviting citizens into the presidential mansion. They're scared. They'll go."

"Yeah."

She breathes out softly, her breath making a cloud in the cold, early winter air. It catches the moonlight, frozen in the blackness. I will think about this later. A lot. I will think about Prim's breath, caught in the dark, shining in the moonlight, then disappearing.

She looks out at the Capitol, where fires are burning in many of the streets we're clearing. She crosses her arms over her chest and says, "How do we put the fire out, Haymitch? When all of this is over, how do we put it out?"

I don't have an answer. We sit together until she is called back to her unit and I am called back to mine. As she gets up, she looks at the seal and frowns. "I wonder why they took that off the hover craft," she says mildly.

Neither of us has an answer for that.

I don't see her again.

The next morning, it's like a signal has come from everywhere at once. The Capitol citizens speed up as they head for City Center. The Peacekeepers swarm up the empty streets. There is fierce fighting downtown. Here in camp, giant mutt rats crawl up out of the sewers and attack the shanty town, weakening us before a squad of Peacekeepers descends. The hospital is evacuated onto a train, and the train gets clear. An unformed thought of Prim forms in my mind when I see it go: I hope she's on it.

By mid-morning, we've pushed the Peacekeepers back. I grab a gun from one of them, but don't use it unless I'm almost close enough to use my knife. No sense wasting ammunition.

Creelman gets orders for us to help "maintain order" in the city while the final push toward the Presidential Mansion goes on. I don't know what the endgame is. I hope that Katniss is trying to sneak in with the refugees, and that she'll find the way around Snow's human shields.

People around me are firing blindly. Stupidly. I see some of ours on a far rooftop, and they are actually firing into the crowd. A little girl in a yellow coat falls to the pavement, bleeding. I can't see who shot her. If I ever find out, that person is going to have his throat slit.

Pods are opening everywhere, killing rebels and Capitol citizens without distinction. One opens on the street just ahead of me, sending people screaming into the depths. A few manage to hang on. I see a girl most of the block away from me in a heavy overcoat and layers of coverings on her head leap for the corner. She makes it. The boy she's with is dragged up into a building by Peacekeepers. She is screaming something, but I can't hear her over the din.

A pod opens near me, sending electrified wires across the street, killing Creelman and two other members of my squad.

I don't know what the plan is.

I make my own. In case Katniss doesn't make it to Snow, I'd better be there for backup. I slip around the corner, and start to make my way down alleys that don't appear on our maps, alleys where drunks and morphling addicts sleep off their stupors on safer days. I see someone moving ahead of me, someone lurching on an unsteady leg.

A curl of blond hair escapes from under his scarf.

"Peeta!" I call.

He doesn't hear.

I follow him.

We have nearly reached City Center when the world is shaken by an explosion that sends glass shattering down from the buildings above us. Peeta has reached the opening of the alley, and suddenly thrusts aside his scarf and runs forward. I go after him.

Inside a newly walled off area, I can see screaming children, and blood and body parts. For some reason, arena parachutes are scattered among them. A Capitol hover craft floats in the sky.

There are piles of overturned cars in the way, but Peeta is trying to scramble around them. Medical teams rush in.

Then the world is on fire.
26 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 9th, 2013 07:24 am (UTC) (Link)
They didn't just re-purpose an old hovercraft, they actually replaced the D13 sigil with the Capitol one!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 9th, 2013 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
And covered it carelessly with an installed panel... yeah. Coin. Grr. Arrow coming her way very soon now.
dragonzair From: dragonzair Date: May 9th, 2013 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)
omfg FERN I CAN'T DEAL WITH THIS

THIS WAS WORSE THAN READING MOCKINGJAY.I cried over Finnick all over again, over Haymitch losing one of his kids, Aurelian, Tazzy and Solly being safe, over the name of Effie's cat (let me tell you, your description of Haymitch's feelings over this is mine every time I read another passage of this chapter- about the hidden knife/axe) THEN PRIM. God damn it, Fern. Haymitch remembering Prim's breath in the cold air.

Prim deeply worried about them leaving the Capitol all ugly breaks me. She's such a great kid. Effie being charmed by her in The Golden Mean does make me wonder whether she's thought Prim ever being in the Games. She hasn't even made an appearance in this fic yet, but you've already given so much insight to how she is through Haymitch's thoughts. I'd love to read a small ficlet from you about her feelings over the kids she's had to put through the Games. Haymitch remembering all their names was really painful to read.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 9th, 2013 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Effie must almost dissociate herself from the act of choosing the kids. (Everything we see of Effie makes me question the general assumption of the districts that some tributes are deliberately chosen. I can't see her cheating at the Reaping balls.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 9th, 2013 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I also can't see *Effie* cheating at the Reaping balls, but I can imagine it happening without her knowledge. I bet they only *look* low-tech....

Oh, god, this chapter! I've known it was coming, and it's still a gut-punch. Really powerful stuff.

TSS
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 9th, 2013 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guess the question is how. Maybe magnetic particles in her nail polish?

This part of the book was definitely a gut-punch, so I wanted to see how it felt when directed at Haymitch.
redlily From: redlily Date: May 11th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Hell, for all we know, every slip of paper has the same name on it. I doubt anyone's actually checking to see if everything is done properly. It's likely all shipped in from the Capitol.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: May 9th, 2013 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Intense chapter but my attention was caught by the emblem of the Union of Districts, especially the bear. That wasn't evocative of Russia and the USSR, not at all.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 9th, 2013 01:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nah. :D (Of course, in the books D13 came off as a western nightmare of the USSR, too.)
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: May 9th, 2013 01:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's what Delly saw while she was painting....

Damn Coin.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 9th, 2013 01:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
That pretty much sums it up.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 9th, 2013 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Called Aurelian as the dude who gets beat to death as soon as you introduced him!

Although you're certainly not as merciless as Collins--reviving Effie's cat AND Aurelian in one chapter (plus Bonnie and Twill!). Can't say I'm sad to hear they're all alive, though.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 9th, 2013 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe less merciless. Maybe more calculating. I was going to kill Aurelian (as in the book... Solly as well; she started out as the girl in the yellow coat), but that many sucker punches in one chapter struck me as taking impact away from any single one of them. So, Solly and Aurelian were saved. (The cat was always safe with the girls in my head.)
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: May 9th, 2013 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't see Bonnie or Twill, though....are *they* in with Johanna?

I suppose it's also possible that someone miscounted the stars, or just had thirteen districts on the brain.
That's it. That's what's wrong with it.
I continue to stare at it.


And this part confused me. Or scared me.
Or possibly both.

Edited at 2013-05-09 06:26 pm (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 9th, 2013 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Plutarch's vision (tacitly shared by the rebel victors) is that Thirteen and the Capitol will both become regular districts... meaning there would be fourteen districts, in essence. Thirteen stars mean that either one district will rule over the other thirteen, or one district is expected to be wiped out.

Of course, what's really under Haymitch's skin is the extremely simple thing that Prim articulates long after he's stopped thinking about the question -- why did they unscrew the panel with the identifying marks on it in the first place? (Answer: Because the Capitol symbols were underneath it.)
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: May 9th, 2013 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh.

I thought that the 13 was because people viewed 12 as a non-existent District. As if the Capitol was the "replacement" for the destroyed 12, so there'd still be 13 districts. So I was confused.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 10th, 2013 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, that one didn't occur to me, and would, I think, also strike Haymitch as a sort of nightmare thought as much as either of the others.
dragonzair From: dragonzair Date: May 10th, 2013 06:10 am (UTC) (Link)
God, I don't think I could have handled that. I was already wrecked when I thought Aurelian WAS beaten to death until I reread that line.
nevrafire From: nevrafire Date: May 9th, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I feel like, someone in the movie crew has to be connected to you- cause the Prim in the Catching fire trailer sounds a lot like your Prim:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Rvu7Xs_ai8

Prim-"You saved my life. you gave me a chance"

Katniss- "Yes, To live"

Prim- "No, to do something"

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 9th, 2013 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's a kind of logical out-of-Katniss's-POV evolution of the character, who we see getting Katniss to bully Coin into the mockingjay deal, among other no-wilting-daisy behaviors.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 9th, 2013 10:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Good to See...

Aurelian and Company again. Glad to know that the little girl in yellow wasn't Solly. (Your "Schindler's List" moment?)

So, since Solly and the younger boys are with the rebels and at the lake, they're not caught in the human shield cage, right?

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 10th, 2013 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Good to See...

Right. They're safe.

That little yellow coat in MJ did seem like a Schindler's List thing, didn't it?
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 10th, 2013 07:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Having the Pods set throughout the Capitol, Hunger Games-like is very Snow. On the other hand, having them all activate just as the rebels are approaching the city center seems more like Coin (and indirectly, Beetee and Gale). Snow can't really afford the loss of his supporters, not like Coin could, and activating the traps certainly scared people into one central location. Could Beetee have hacked the Pods network, and Coin figured it out?

There's really not much I couldn't see her doing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 10th, 2013 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yikes. That had actually not occurred to me, but, um, yeah. The pods going off while the refugees were coming through the city really wasn't in Snow's interest, even if the rebels were coming with them. And the rebels other than Katniss's group were a little bit behind where the action was, meaning the huge majority of the pod casualties had to be Capitol citizens, not rebels.

Yeah.

That's a really good point. (Scarily, Plutarch would have less trouble hacking that system than Beetee, and his moral compass is questionable at times.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 10th, 2013 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree, Plutarch would be the one to know how to hack the system. After all, the pods are neat little toys to him, and may be useful at some point. But I can't see him pushing the button, not in that situation. He's an idealist and a Gamemaker, so he'd never indiscriminately kill people without a compelling story to tell.
shortysc22 From: shortysc22 Date: May 11th, 2013 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love how you reintroduce characters constantly and how seamlessly all of your stories flow together.
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