AN: So this is my very first story here on FF. Let's see how it goes!

Domitian Ellsworth

Head Gamemaker

The pristine and overly sterile office was dead silent except for the constant ticking of the polished chrome wall clock to my right. I had never understood the President's extreme attention to detail and overwhelming need for perfection, but I found it particularly disturbing given recent developments…

I knew for a fact that past Head Gamemakers have been made to disappear after a particularly disastrous Games, sometimes in a not-so-inconspicuous fashion. Was I to meet a similar fate? Could this miserably neat office be the last thing I see in this world?

The longer I spend contemplating these things, the faster my heart began to beat, with its volume eventually matching the ticking of the wall clock. My palms became increasingly moist with sweat, which forced me to continuously wipe them on the fabric of the white canvas chair I occupied.

My racing thoughts were interrupted by the door's sudden opening, as President Ava Greenleaf herself walked in.

I immediately jumped to my feet and stood at attention, desperately hoping that she wouldn't notice how the fabric of the canvas chair now featured a few darkened streaks due to my sweaty hands.

"Relax Dom," she said with a slight smile, "No need to be so formal. We've been working together for, what, going on three years now?"

I returned the smile, nodded, and sat back down in the chair as she took a seat behind the shiny mahogany desk. Though I felt a slight sense of relief, I reminded myself that President Greenleaf was notoriously deceptive and manipulative. She was not of noble birth, so to speak, having been born in one of the Capitol's poorer sectors (which, of course, was still miles ahead of even the wealthiest District). She worked her way up the political food chain through a fine combination of blackmail, manipulation, and keeping powerful company. Polite and even charming at a glance, she was ruthless in her methods and unwavering in her expectations.

"So, let's get straight to business, shall we?" She began again. "I think you and I both know exactly why you're here. The ratings and viewership data for the 86th Games suggest that the people were not too thrilled, much like the Games that came before that one. Now, since the 85th was your first in charge, I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt. After all, it wasn't like it was a total catastrophe or anything like that. But now, after yet another year of undershooting our projections and failing to really energize our audience, I must ask: what do you have to say for yourself?"

Luckily for me, I had rehearsed some lines in case I needed to cover for myself like this.

"Madame President, I want to say that I deeply and sincerely apologize for failing to meet the standards and expectations that we set prior to the 86th Games. But I do believe that there were many positives to be found in those Games – moments of brilliance in Arena design, quite a few memorable Muttations, several highly spectacular fights… I do believe that if you would just give me one more chance to prove myself, to build upon the successes of the 86th and learn from the mistakes that we, uh, that I made… I won't let you down again. I promise."

A moment of silence followed that seemed to last for an eternity. And then she flashed her signature smile again.

"But of course. You are right in that there were definitely true moments of… quality in the 86th. Things we could build upon. After all, that resort Arena was built to your style. Having too many different people in charge over just a few years can be somewhat… jarring for the audience. Yes, I do believe you deserve one more chance to make things right. I'll have an updated standards file sent to your office in the next few days."

She stood up and offered a handshake, leading me to quickly wipe my hand against the canvas chair once more before standing up. She seemed to notice this and laughed as we shook hands.

"Thank you so much Madame President. Thank you."

Yes, thank you indeed.

AN: I hope you enjoyed this short intro – it's just a taste of what's to come. Please review and let me know what you thought of the story so far, as well as what I could be doing better.

The Tribute form and guidelines are on my profile. Please send those by PM if you're interested. I don't plan on being too picky since this is my first story.

I should also note that I intend for this story to take on some more mature themes. The story will be of a more dark and serious tone with an emphasis on realism, so be prepared.