?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 8 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Repost: The Narrow Path, Chapter 8
You know, there's a piece of advice that you're supposed to cut things when you edit, but as I go through, I find that my most irritating problem -- as it has been since I started writing -- is a tendency to skim things if I'm in a hurry to get somewhere else.

So I fixed most of the skimming by turning it into actual scenes, some canon, some not.

And I like my rescue scenes better than the movie's. ;p


Chapter Eight
Plutarch doesn't return for almost two hours. I sit between Katniss and Finnick the whole time. I'm bored. It's absurd to be bored right now, but I am. I'm out of the loop, and I have no project. I can either think about Peeta's blood on the tiles or think about nothing. I opt to think about nothing, but it does have the drawback of making the hours seem to last for days.

I've actually almost nodded off when Plutarch comes back through the door, looking grim.

"Boggs just got them out," he says. "There were more volunteers than he was willing to take. What is it with Twelve and volunteers, all the sudden?"

I frown. "They're all from Twelve?"

"Well, no. Gale's actually the only one from Twelve that he picked. The rest aren't very well trained. But the Cartwright girl and the Leevy girl were fighting to go along right up until the hovercraft launched. Gale's brother wanted to go."

"Rory?"

"Whichever one of the younger two is older. The mother offered, too."

"Hazelle."

He waves this away. "There were others. Apparently, they recognize the service Peeta did for them. There was some talk of 'owing.' I'll never understand Twelve's concept of debt payment." He sighs. "At any rate, it's a seasoned crew. Gale's the only one who hasn't been on a strike squad before."

I frown. "Who have they been fighting?"

"They had their own run-ins with the raiders over the years, and people have been going out to fight in the districts, no matter what you think, Haymitch. Mavis Jackson just got back from a stint in Eleven. She's Boggs's second. Winifred and Wilhelmina Leeg -- the twins -- were in the thick of the fighting in Six. Without Winnifred, we never would have taken the trains. And there's Messalla."

"Messalla? Cressida's assistant? He hasn't been in training any more than I have!"

"He's in better shape otherwise, though. And after working with Cressida for five years, he knows how to take orders."

"You said Gale was the only one who hadn't been in combat."

"Do you think Cressida's team got out of the Capitol and all the way across the country to Thirteen without having to deal with Snow's troops?"

I never thought much about it, and I realize that of course, he's right. Snow doesn't let anyone just wander off. "Right," I say.

He looks around shiftily, then waves one of Fulvia's bug-catchers in a circle. I don't see any red lights. He leans down. "Right now, the plan is to send Gale and three others into the maximum security wing to collect Peeta and Annie, and Johanna if we can get in. Janus Fells -- Enobaria's brother -- will meet them with a security pass, but it won't take anyone very long to figure out what's going on. The other half -- the Leegs and Messalla -- will find a place to break off and go to minimum security to recover Portia, the preps, and Effie. That's off the record until they actually get there."

"Thanks," I say.

"I know you may not believe this, Haymitch, but I like Effie, and I'm sorry that I didn't believe you about keeping her safe. I really thought the Capitol wouldn't bother with her."

There's nothing to say to this, and I don't bother trying to think of anything. Plutarch excuses himself to go back to Command, though I don't imagine he's any more useful than I would be at this point.

Finnick starts thrashing in his sleep about half an hour after Plutarch leaves, and they put up a screen to do a quick exam. They probably shoot him up with something more, too, since he quiets quickly. They don't take down the screen.

Katniss is sleeping uneasily -- her fingertips keep twitching, and her face occasionally contorts in pain -- but she doesn't thrash, so they let her be. I'm still sitting beside her when she wakes up. She starts trembling right away, and I have a crazy desire to cuddle her like an infant. It's not too hard to fight.

"It's all right," I tell her. "They're going to try to get Peeta out."

"What?"

"Plutarch's sending in a rescue team. He has people on the inside. He thinks we can get Peeta back alive."

She blinks owlishly. "Why didn't we before?"

I explain the situation as well as I can, trying not to scream that it doesn't make any sense to me, either. She doesn't need that. She's barely holding it together. I put off telling her that Gale is on the team. I know I shouldn't, but she looks like a good shock will make her jitter apart at the seams, and whatever her romantic entanglements might be, Gale is her best friend.

But I'm stumbling now, trying not to be sarcastic, trying to keep it upbeat, and I mention that Boggs has all volunteers. I tell her that I tried, but Boggs was smart enough not to let me.

But she's not deterred. I think she has an inkling. "So who else volunteered?" she asks.

"I think there were seven altogether," I tell her, honestly enough.

Her eyes narrow. "Who else, Haymitch?"

I sigh. "You know who else, Katniss. You know who stepped up first."

Her jaw clenches, and she nods. Her hands start to shake as violently as Peeta's leg was shaking in the studio, and I try not to see it all again.

If we were at home, I'd offer her a drink. We could sit together in my living room, drinking and trying not to think about Peeta and Gale and what might be happening in the Capitol.

I can't do that here, so I ask if she wants a sedative. She declines. She wants to join the team, but even if Boggs would take her, it's too late. She volunteers for anything I can think of. I promise to talk to Plutarch if she stays put, and try to find a way for her to participate.

She isn't happy, but she agrees.

I go to Plutarch in Command to see if he can think of something. He and Beetee are hunched over video monitors, watching the District Twelve propos.

"That's it," Beetee says when I bring up Katniss's request. "That's what we've been looking for."

"What do you mean?" I ask.

Plutarch frowns. "We've been worried about keeping back any… shall we say, common response."

"Common response?"

"People will defend their homes," Beetee says. "In the Capitol the same as in the districts."

"I know that, but we're not going into their homes."

"They'll know what it means if armed soldiers from the enemy camp break into their prisons. They'll know it means total war, and that we'll come with a bigger invasion force if we get away with it."

I hadn't really considered this, except in a theoretical way. Of course we'd go to the Capitol eventually. But I hadn't really thought of it as invading people's homes.

I have a sudden, very clear image of my sponsors, standing in their front rooms as their colorful glass doors are shattered, holding their beribboned poodles and weeping while wild men ransack their homes.

I force it away. This isn't an invasion, it's just a rescue from a prison none of them have ever seen. Hell, they'll have seen last night's broadcast. They're decent people; they most likely want him rescued as much as I do. More than Coin does.

But it's a sign that the invasion is coming. That's what Plutarch means. They'll realize that we can get into the Capitol, and they'll fight.

I nod. "So you want Katniss to… what, distract them?"

Beetee nods. "The footage we got in District Twelve is good, but I think we can do better. We can do something really sensational. Especially if Finnick helps. He's got a few stories that ought to keep the techs too interested to block us."

"You want Finnick to talk about… what Snow does to him? On television? No. You can't ask him to do that."

"I can, and I will," Plutarch says. "It's time to break the myth that the victors are pampered." He glances at Beetee, then back to me. "But neither of them could perform this morning. Will they be able to keep it together now?"

I consider it. "If they think they're doing it to help in the war, and it'll help get Peeta and Annie back… yes. But don't put that on Finnick if there's anything else to do. There's going to be a time after the war, and he's going to want a regular life."

When I get back down to the hospital, Katniss has woken Finnick up. He's eager to help in any way he can. I don't tell him exactly what Plutarch has in mind. We get them made up again and go back up to the surface.

Cressida positions Katniss and starts filming, and she tells a story that I suspected, but never knew for sure. "When I first met Peeta," she begins, "I was eleven years old and I was almost dead."

I sit, just off camera, and listen. I always suspected something like this, some kindness that Katniss felt unworthy of. Apparently, Peeta deliberately burned bread so it couldn't be sold, and snuck it out to her under Mir's nose.

The strangest part is, I think I know when it happened. It was the spring after the mine explosion, and Effie was there. Danny had been covering for me while I met with other rebels, at Chaff's refuge in District Eleven that time. We were arguing about our disastrous alliance with the out district raiders. I shipped myself back as a crate of fruit, and Danny rolled me off the train. I got out and pretended to be helping him with the very heavy empty crate, and then Effie appeared out of nowhere, and said that Mir had been fighting with Peeta. Danny stormed off in a rage. I never checked up on it. How many other things did I forget to check up on?

According to Katniss, he showed up with a black eye at school the next day. Did he tell Danny the truth about it, or make up a lie? And if he lied, did Danny convince himself to believe it?

At any rate, the bread he took a beating to give away saved Katniss's life -- and Ruth's and Prim's -- and she has since woven his act into a narrative about him that is far beyond any romantic, idealistic notion he may ever have held of her. I hope that he sees it before he's otherwise occupied with being rescued, because I doubt she's ever adequately expressed it to him. The longer she waited, the worse it would be, the less possible it would be to find words that would make a dent in the debt. So instead, she said nothing, and he most likely has no idea how important that day was to her.

I also hope they hear it here in Thirteen, because, idealized and romanticized or not, it is who Peeta is. What he did for her in the microcosm, he did for them just as spectacularly, taking Snow's brutal beating for them just as he took his mother's for Katniss.

I suspect there's more to it, something that even now, she's holding out on. Something that maybe wouldn't make sense to a person outside Katniss's head. But the bread is enough. She follows this with a lukewarm political statement which won't hold anyone's interest nearly as well, though I expect Plutarch thinks it's the high point, and Fulvia is planning on having it carved in stone at any moment.

Plutarch comes over to Finnick and me while Katniss catches her breath.

"We need more," he says. "Finnick, it's time. It's time to spill those secrets. Everything you've got."

"No," I say. "No way, Plutarch. You can't ask him to do that. That's… that's personal. It's --"

"Haymitch, I have to ask. I told you I would. The story Katniss told is great, and the little old ladies with cats will be retelling it for years, but they were never going to interfere with a rescue anyway. We need to get everyone talking. Paying attention to anything but the prison."

Finnick is nodding, fiddling with a piece of rope. "I'll do it. Of course I'll do it. I've been collecting secrets for years. Now I've got a chance to use them for a little payback."

He starts to go over toward the filming area. I go with him. "You don't have to do this," I say as he takes Katniss's seat.

"Yes I do. If it'll help her." He takes his rope and puts it in his pocket, adopting the laid-back, easy attitude he usually has for the cameras. "I'm ready," he says.

I step back and sit down on a piece of rubble. Katniss sits beside me. I give her shoulder a squeeze and she looks comforted by it.

Finnick doesn't waste any time with preliminaries. As soon as Cressida tells him to talk, he says, "President Snow used to… sell me… my body, that is. I wasn't the only one…"

Katniss's eyes widen, and I can tell she's putting a few things together. She looks at me sideways, but says nothing.

Finnick begins his litany of secrets. Some of them, I knew. Others, I never had reason to.

Adamaris Brinn -- whose money supported Snow's early ambitions, and who later became head of the Capitol Debtors' Relief Society (an ironic name, since it generally occupied itself with sending debtors to jail) -- has made use not only of Finnick, but of several other victors over the years, including my old mentor, Albinus Drake. Her money comes from jewels mined in the out districts by the very debtors she imprisoned… from mines she has never reported to anyone, in flagrant disregard of the law. Her workers, she forces beyond all human capacity. Most of them die young. She once gave Finnick a raw sapphire and told him she'd had a worker's hand cut off for trying to steal it.

Claudius Templesmith frequents prostitutes a good deal younger than Finnick was when he started.

Snow's minister of information (in other words, his chief propagandist), Corvinus Eveleth, likes to frolic in a diaper and pretend to be drinking from a bottle while engaged in other acts.

Egeria Daby, head of the genetic engineering lab, has done things with mutts that I really wish Finnick would stop describing.

Snow's alleged "son," who disappeared several years ago, was actually an illegal clone, who failed to actually duplicate Snow in any way beyond the physical. ("I met him," Finnick says. "A decent person. Of course he 'disappeared.' Along with his wife, leaving their daughter in Snow's care. But we'll get back to Snow," he promises.)

I remember Martius Snow, and his wife, Caesar Flickerman's secretary. He was decent. I should have guessed he was a clone, since he looked like his father's twin, but he was an okay guy. Caesar trusted him, and at the time, that was all I needed to know.

Finnick goes on.

General Hadrian Fife and his sister are somewhat closer than is expected in polite society.

Latona Holton -- longtime mistress of Snow's Chief Peacekeeper, Manius Cadwell -- burns down buildings in the Capitol and watches the flames while having whoever she has ordered in for the night. These buildings have not always been empty. If Cadwell is free, he watches.

And on, and on. Political murders. Arrests made under duress. He tells all of it in a soft, compelling voice. It's not sensationalized. These are very obviously simply things that he has been told over the years, or been made to participate in. Tales told in the dark to a Capitol pet who knew better than to share his knowledge. I know many of the people he mentions, and I know the names of all of them after twenty-five years dealing with the Capitol. I held none of them in high esteem, but some of what he brings up even manages to surprise me.

Cressida doesn't interrupt him with questions. She just lets him speak.

"And now," he says, after half an hour of this, "on to our good President Coriolanus Snow. Such a young man when he rose to power. Such a clever one to keep it. How, you must ask yourself, did he do it? One word. That's all you really need to know. Poison."

I can't say that Snow's habit of poisoning enemies is a surprise. He tried to do it to me this winter, and would have succeeded if Effie hadn't forced me to take a double dose of detox pills before the party at the presidential mansion, because she didn't want me embarrassing her or my district by being drunk in such a prominent place. What I didn't know was how widely he'd used it, or that he'd developed an immunity to many poisons over the years, which kept suspicion off of him as his rivals conveniently disappeared under questionable circumstances. Everyone knew that their deaths were a little too convenient, but no one could prove a thing. And of course, once Snow was in power, it didn't matter anymore. He clawed his way up over their bodies, from Gamemaker at the age of seventeen to the presidency by the age of forty-three, and has held it for fifty years by brutally eliminating any threat, including his own cloned "son."

I have no idea how long Finnick has been talking when he finally smiles faintly and says, "Cut."

Cressida and her crew (minus Messalla, of course) run in with the footage, and Plutarch leads Finnick off with a congratulatory handshake.

I am left with Katniss, who looks stunned. Her hands are clenched into fists. "Is that what happened to you?" she asks.

At first, I think she means the poisoning, then I realize what she's really asking: Did Snow sell me?

I shake my head. I've never told her anything. I have assumed that she knew about my family -- everyone in Twelve knew about them -- but that might not even be true. Katniss keeps to herself, and is not a great one for gossip, even with her mother, who certainly knows the story. Or maybe it was so long ago that none of the kids knows. I haven't exactly been at the forefront of anyone's consciousness lately.

"No," I say. "My mother and younger brother. My girl. They were all dead two weeks after I was crowned victor. Because of the stunt I pulled with the forcefield. Snow had no one to use against me."

There was more to it, of course, but I don't talk about it. What Beckett did to Digger, and why she did it, was about as close as I came to the kind of sexual blackmail Finnick dealt with, but because there was no one else left -- no one except Danny, and until Peeta was reaped, I thought I'd managed to sneak him under Snow's radar -- there was no more leverage to be used. And of course, eventually, I made myself completely undesirable. I wish I could say that had been a deliberate choice.

But Katniss doesn't need to think about that, not right now. It occurs to me that someday, I might tell her. And Peeta. But not now.

She nods and says, "I'm surprised he didn't just kill you."

I shrug. "Oh, no. I was the example. The person to hold up to the young Finnicks and Johannas and Cashmeres. Of what could happen to a victor who caused problems. But he knew he had no leverage against me."

"Until Peeta and I came along," she says.

I don't bother arguing. She knows. Obviously, she knows. She launched herself into my arms when she needed comfort. She wouldn't have done that if she didn't know that I'd picked up a hell of an Achilles' heel from the second she said, "I volunteer." I've always loved my tributes, I guess -- for all the good it did them -- but it was in an abstract way, knowing that they deserved to have someone, even me, caring about them at the end. Katniss and Peeta were different. They broke my isolation even before we reached the Capitol.

There was Effie, a voice in my head whispers. There was always Effie.

Maybe. But I treated her like garbage. I didn't realize Snow knew about her until after he played that card, so it wasn't very good leverage at all.

I sit quietly with Katniss until I'm called to Command. Katniss goes off to join Finnick.

In Command, we contact the hovercraft as Boggs's team is approaching the Capitol. They'll arrive at three o'clock (1500, in District Thirteen terms, which I refuse to use). A man on Gale's team is fitted with a camera for the assault on the maximum security wing (Gale is starting to be known, so they'll want to get footage of him). Messalla will actually be filming the minimum security wing, though we're all maintaining the polite fiction that everyone is going to stay together.

It seems like it might work, until two forty-five, when a red light goes on in front of Plutarch. He grabs a second earpiece. "Galerius?" he says. "What? He's where?"

I look up. "What is it?"

"It's Peeta," Plutarch says.

"What about him?"

"They've moved him to the Training Center. He's on the twelfth floor in the old apartment. Galerius is treating him for the same reaction he had before."

Coin frowns. "Can we reach him there?"

"Yeah," Plutarch says. "Messalla knows his way around the Training Center. But that means splitting the team into two parts to recover Annie from the prison." He looks at me. We both understand what it means: The team was already going to split, but now, they won't be able to get the prisoners from minimum security.

Portia.

Effie. I have to let her down again.

I close my eyes, but I can't react without letting the rest of Command know that we never planned to follow their orders in the first place.

"Can it be done with half-teams?" Coin asks.

Plutarch nods, but doesn't elaborate.

Beetee goes out to the broadcast room to start the distraction. On screens out there, they'll be watching what we filmed this morning, forced into the Capitol broadcast. In here, the big screens fill up with a live feed of the rescue.

The hovercraft lands at the lakeshore, where two of Plutarch's junior Gamemakers meet them with vans. They pick a rendezvous point and a secondary point, then Gale climbs into one of the vans, Messalla and the Leegs into the other. On board the hovercraft, Boggs orders medical teams to prepare for the prisoners, then they rise up and re-cloak.

"Looks like your friends are busy again," Messalla's driver says, pointing up at the big television screen in City Center, on which Katniss is giving her brief political statement. People are looking up with vague curiosity. I can only wonder what they'll do when Finnick comes on, and I know I won't get a chance to find out. I wonder how many of them will pretend shock. I wonder how many of my friends there will be honestly shocked. How many will wonder what Katniss did. I have an odd desire to ask someone to get a message to the Daughters to let them know I was all right. I don't bother voicing this desire.

Gale's driver is nowhere as friendly as Messalla's at City Center, and there is no public screen. They approach a wall on the outside of the prison, and Gale taps his earpiece. "Now," he says.

At this, Boggs's team on the hovercraft jumps into action. A fourth screen comes to life, showing the security feeds from inside the prison. Enobaria's brother has placed canisters of knockout gas through the prison, and these are blown, sending clouds of white fog through the corridors. Peacekeepers and other guards fall to the ground before they can even think about sounding an alarm. The Gamemakers put a bomb in the abandoned, mostly burned-out Viewing Center, large enough to cause havoc and get local law enforcement involved in a response, but not anywhere that would kill innocents.

The propo would be useless, after all, if we accidentally kill someone.

I watch as the charred shell of the Viewing Center collapses into black dust. I can't really name what I feel about it. It's a conflicted run of nonsensical images of the time I spent there. The horrible bank of telephones where we went to call the families of dead children. The semi-circle of mentors' tables where we made dark jokes. The dark, lush lounge and the curtained beds. I think of waking Effie up in bed, just before she left with Tazzy. I think of her kissing me. I think of my friends laughing at me good-naturedly.

The ashes blow outward and the emergency teams rush to the empty hole that's left behind.

Finally, Plutarch's people manage to blow the power to the prison. How they get around the redundant systems, I don't know. I don't care.

Gale puts on a gas mask, then shoots a grappling hook to the top of the wall and starts to climb.

In the city, Messalla and the Leeg sisters jump from the van, which is now being buffeted by rescuers trying to make it to the Viewing Center. In the background, I can see people in the City Center, trying to run. The Gamemaker they're with, who Plutarch identifies as Bassianus Orman, ditches the van and leads the way to the Training Center. The image jumps around as Messalla runs.

On the other screen, I see Gale force open the door to the prison wings. A Peacekeeper runs out, wearing his own gas mask, and barely avoids being shot by holding up his gloved hand, on which he's drawn a very crude mockingjay. "I'm Janus," he says. "Come with me. Not everyone is knocked out."

"He can't go with them," Plutarch says. "They'll know he's with us. They'll kill him. His sister, too."

Coin seems unconcerned.

I speak into my microphone for the first time. "Gale -- point your gun at him. Now. And take the damned glove away."

He nods and does it.

Janus adjusts quickly, and changes his posture. He'll be disciplined for giving in, but not shot as a rebel.

They go down through darkened corridors filled with fog. The prison cells apparently didn't get the same dose, because I can hear prisoners shouting behind them.

"Do we let them out?" Gale asks.

"Negative," Coin says. "Keep the mission parameters in mind, Soldier Hawthorne."

Given that I don't know what these prisoners are in for -- they could be innocent political prisoners or they could be serial killers -- I agree.

Gale is swept down another staircase.

Here in the lower levels, the gas didn't penetrate as far, and the guards are just sluggish. The kid carrying the camera shoots one of them.

"Don't shoot too much," Gale says. "The noise will bring more."

I look over at Messalla's team. The Leeg sisters have broken into the Training Center's equipment shed, and, wisely, are arming themselves with quieter weaponry -- spears and knives. One of them (I can't tell them apart) actually grabs a trident.

The Gamemaker Orman has a key to the emergency staircase that runs up the side of the building.

They run up the stairs, double-time. I can hear Messalla breathing heavily. One of the Leegs -- I'd guess the one he was in the jugs with -- says, "Come on, soldier! This isn't where I want to hear the heavy breathing!" She grins and runs easily up more stairs.

When they reach the top, the other sister holds up her hand and puts a finger to her mouth to indicate that they should be quiet. She puts a listening device to the door. I don't even know where in the quarters it will open, and I've lived there a month a year for a quarter of a century.

Orman swipes his card, and the door swings open into the kitchenette area, on what seems to be a blank wall behind a cart. The Leegs jump out, guns drawn, and head out into the apartment. Messalla and Orman follow.

It's deathly quiet. "Where is he?" Messalla whispers. "Is the intelligence wrong?"

"It's solid," Plutarch says. "He's in his room. The doctor just left him."

I tell them where Peeta's room is -- presuming he's in the same one, but even if he's not, it's next door to the other bedroom -- and they head over. The door is closed. Messalla and one of the Leegs spread out to cover either side of the door. The other Leeg stands across the hall with her gun drawn. Orman sweeps his card again and the door opens.

Peeta is alone. He is lying on the bed, mumbling at the ceiling, saying things I can't begin to understand. He is covered with bruises and naked. Deliberate burn marks march down his torso. His arms and legs are still twitching lethargically. His eyes are vacant when he looks at his rescuers.

Then they slip shut.

Messalla rushes forward and puts his fingers to Peeta's neck. "He's unconscious. Pulse is thready."

"You're not going to get him back down the stairs," I say. "Plutarch, can we get the hovercraft to the roof? That's easy access from our level."

He nods, and gives the order to Boggs. I relay it to Messalla.

It may be easy access to the roof, but even emaciated, Peeta is hard to carry. He's bigger than any of them.

I close my eyes and think about the apartment. There has to be something. My mind keeps bringing up an image of Effie -- Effie in the dining room, laying out a beautiful spread for dessert.

A messy spread.

I open my eyes. "There's a piece of heavy duty plastic in the dining room, behind the sideboard. It won't hold him long, but you can make a stretcher of it for the walk to the roof."

"Read you," Messalla says. He goes to the dining room, pulls the sideboard out without much care, and finds the plastic piece that Effie used to protect it. He carries it back. Peeta's legs dangle over the end of it, but it's the best we can do. They shred his sheets to tie him to it securely and head for the roof.

In the prison, Gale has made it down to a long, dismal corridor lined with heavy metal doors.

Less sluggish guards down here have put on gas masks, and as soon as they're in, our soldiers have to flatten themselves against the wall to avoid constant gunfire. Gale takes out a guard with a shot to the head. "Give me the card," he hisses to Janus. "Then run. Like you just managed to get away from us."

Janus nods and fishes for his security card. He runs for the others. "They're everywhere!" he yells. "We have to retreat!"

I don't know if it would have worked if he hadn't spoken. I don't know how itchy the other Peacekeepers' trigger fingers are.

All I know is that one of them screams, "COWARD!" and in a blast of blood and bone, Janus Fells drops to the ground.

I look at Plutarch. He looks determinedly away from me.

That kid was the brother of a victor. I don't know whether Enobaria will take it out on the Capitol for shooting him, or the rebellion for putting him in this position. Either way, I have a feeling she's not going to be neutral after this.

In the haze of gunfire, it's hard to see anything. Gale is firing carefully, not wasting ammunition. He takes out two more guards. The others manage to subdue more and rush off to guard the entrances to the hall. The one with the camera follows Gale, on Coin's orders.

Gale starts opening doors.

Most of the cells are empty. He gets nearly to the end of the hall when he opens the door and swears loudly.

The camera gets a glimpse around the door. Johanna Mason is shivering at the back of the cell, naked and beaten. Her hair has been chopped off none-too-carefully, taking chunks of her scalp with it. She is holding a chain that descends from the ceiling, snarling at Gale and the camera.

"We're getting you out of here," Gale says.

"That's not on the mission, Soldier Hawthorne," Coin says mildly.

"Screw the mission, look at her."

Coin purses her lips. "Be careful of your tone, soldier."

"Yes, ma'am, I'm sorry, but we have to get her out. It's not taking any extra time, except for arguing about it."

Coin sighs, as if she has been given an impossible ultimatum. "Very well," she says. "Bring her. We'll see to her as well."

Gale goes into the cell, then Johanna's eyes widen. She hisses through clenched teeth, "Gun!"

"What?"

"Gun!"

Gale lowers his gun, apparently thinking that she doesn't want it pointed in her direction.

"Idiot!" she yells, and lurches forward. There is a blur of motion as she grabs the gun from the cameraman, then a huge, deafening noise when she blows a hole in the Peacekeeper, left for dead after the firefight, that had been crawling up behind them. She turns on Gale. "Keep me armed," she tells him. "And give me someone to shoot at."
6 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
redrikki From: redrikki Date: October 20th, 2015 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's weird how this story has over-ridden my memories of the actual book. I went and re-read this sequence once and was confused that it didn't have the details this one did.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2015 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
It is weird the way auxiliary stuff can seem like it's just there all along.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 23rd, 2015 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I like your rescue scenes way better than the movie too! -Kate
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2015 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I just felt like they had an opportunity to show something interesting with the characters, but didn't.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: October 24th, 2015 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)
frolic in diaper Think you're just missing an a there.

He hands are Just need the he to be her.

as close I came Just a missing as before I.

She nods says Just a missing and.

The broke my isolation Just need the the to be they.

hovercraft, Baker orders I think this may be an odd edit thing; I'm assuming Baker is the seventh member of the team? But we haven't had him mentkioned in the chapter, and then later, it's clear that Bogs is aboard the craft and leading the third part of the team. So wouldn't Bogs actually be the one ordering medical treatment?

local lawmakers involved Did you maybe mean law enforcement here?; I don't think I've ever heard you mention Snow having a pet Senate etc. etc. in the Capitol?

blow the power to prison Just missing a the before prison.

or the rebellion putting him this position Just a missing in before this and a for before putting.

Which isn't what we're doing now I'm 99% certain this is just Haymitch snarck, because of course they're invading people's homes by causing such distruction in the Districts, but thought I'd point out just in case it was an odd edit survivor or something and was somehow meant literally, since you have been increasing the brutality of the fighting with the edits.

Again, I just really love all your thematic tie-backs. Haymitch talking about Finn wanting a regular life post-war and how that mirrored Finn's own plans as expressed in TLT pre-rebellion getting off the ground was especially awesome and sad, knowing what we know. And I loved that Beckett and everything around Haymitch's games just keeps getting brought into the story to make such excellent Thirteen parallels later. Also thought you did such a fabulous job conveying the conflicting mess of emotions tangled up in the physical representations of the games like the viewing center.

Loved everything else, per usual; those were just some of the things that stood out, and I'm ridiculously close to the end of Career of Evil, so my brain's a little occupied. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2015 06:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, yes, Cormoran is responsible for a good amount of my tardiness this week.

I'll grab those goofs.
6 comments or Leave a comment