A/N- For the sorely deluded, I do not own the Hunger Games. And also big thanks to two people. First to Suzanne Collins, who really does own the Hunger Games, and to LoveTheBoyWithTheBread, my beta.
And now, I am proud to present Starvation 1.
"Two minutes to broadcast." Shouted one of the technicians from backstage of the studio. A makeup artist fussed over a last minute adjustment to Erasaziel Toonce's eye makeup. The glitter all over her eyelids, lips, cheeks, eyebrows, nails, and jewelry was gaudy. A premonition of stranger Capitol trends to come.
"One minute to broadcast!" Sazi whirled to the desk in front of the camera, where Tennem Flore, her fellow newscaster, waited.
With a final adjustment to her ash gray suit, she beamed at the camera.
"In seven, six, five, four, three," the head cameraman held up two fingers, then one, and pointed.
"Good morning, Panem!" Exclaimed Tennem with a huge smile. "I'm sure I don't need to remind you all what today is."
Sazi leapt in. "For the last several months we've been preparing for a very exciting event. As you all know, the Districts of Panem rebelled a few, painful, years ago. The war is now over, thanks to the valiant efforts of our protectors among the Capitol government and dedicated Peacekeepers. Now, in commemoration and reparation for this sad event, the Capitol is going to hold a grand contest! Twenty-four members of the rebellious Districts will be thrown head to head in an intense battle of strength, intelligence, and skill."
"The last one standing will become the greatest champion in all of Panem!" Tennem trilled. "The daring contestants are…
"Iarea Jixtings and Krenk White of District 1!"
"Flute French and Fenn Zete of District 2!" Erasaziel proclaimed.
"To Liscan and Audio Lome from District 3!" Back to Tennem.
"Disha Lawrence and Quke Kimbler of the lovely District 4."
"Aria Lyemann and Preel Bart are the contestants of District 5."
"Braedi Tandey and Wrianin Abro hail from District 6."
"Ankha Zeet and Murk Fascia of District 7 are next!"
"Harmony Dryer and Jiminy Frank represent District 8."
"The lovely Rhiattany Hurli and dashing Buddy Zody are from District 9"
"Pippa Fawn and Narcis Aramis are District 10's contestants."
"Kayya McKechelle and Drai Brister are the competitors from District 11."
"Marta Mio and Eulkichu Dambis finish the lineup." Concluded Sazi, still beaming. "As you all know, District 13 was destroyed by the war, which makes it just a weensy bit hard for them to send contestants."
"I'm sure you all remember last night's interviews, but just in case anybody missed them, we're going to have a recap!" As Tennem concluded, the screen darkened, and then came up again with footage of the interviews. The children sat stiff and silent in a row, stage lights glinting off of costumes.
" Good evening Panem." The interviewer, a woman named Tsepelia Climian, spoke into her microphone with a serene smile. "I don't know about you, but I'm certainly ready to get to know our contestants."
She turned from the crowd to beckon forth the girl from District 1. Nothing happened. "Iarea dear. Come on."
The first child in the row slowly stood up, hampered by fear and heavily jeweled silk skirts. Tsepelia smiled kindly as the girl made her way as slowly as possible toward the microphone.
"You name is Iarea, correct? Iarea Jixtings?"
"Yeah…From District 1." The girl answered uneasily.
"What a big honor, to be the first contestant ever interviewed in the Hunger Games! How do you feel?"
The interviews continued in a whirl with only the memorable pieces dissected and displayed from last night's footage.
"How do you pronounce you name? Is it Too?" Tespelia asked the girl from District 3, the one with hair cut as short as the hair of most boys.
"No. It's more like Toe. Hey, blame my parents, okay? S'not my fault."
"But seriously, who names their kid after toes? My brother's lucky he didn't end up named Thumb or something."
"Do you think you can win, To?"
"Sure I can. Nobody else here seems ready and willing to do what they need to do."
To the boy from District 5: "What do you think is your greatest asset, Preel?"
"I don't get mad easily. I don't make stupid mistakes."
To Wrianin Abro, from District 6: "Your hair is so short! Any particular reason why?"
"Unlike most of the kids dragged here to 'Repay our debt to the Capitol.' I really was a freedom fighter. I had to cut my hair when I entered the rebel army. I fought to liberate my District for two years, and now I'm paying for it."
To Jiminy Frank of District 8: "Do you feel prepared for this competition?"
"I'm still kind of numb, I guess. I'm still waiting for someone to pop out and tell us that this has all been a joke and that we can go home. I'm still having trouble believing that this is happening."
To Rhiattaney Hurli, the twelve-year-old tribute of District 9: "Do you feel disadvantaged being the youngest tribute in this arena?
"Not really. I've always heard that younger kids learn faster and better. I bet I'll learn everything I need to know fast."
To Narcis Aramis of District 10: "So, Narcis-"
"Don't call me Narcis."
"You're not my friend. So don't call me Narcis. Call me Aramis."
To Kayya McKechelle, the girl of District 11: "My, my! You're just lovely. Who's your stylist?"
"She did a wonderful job."
"She said she wanted my costume to look it had been made from plant material, but at the same time, not look too caveman."
"There's no question she succeeded!"
"What does it matter? A pretty dress isn't going to help me fight for my life."
When it finished highlighting the last few interviews, the video feed cut back to Tennem and Sazi.
"I don't know about you, Tennem, but I can't wait to see who comes out on top!" Erasaziel exclaimed.
"The Games will begin right after this commercial break, so hurry up and get ready. This is one show you won't want to miss!" Exclaimed Tennem.
The On Air light changed color from green to red.
"Alright everyone. T minus three minutes and forty seconds to air." Exclaimed the manager.
The makeup crew swarmed Tennem and Erasaziel, who more or less ignored them all. They were professionals. Their makeup teams had practically dissolved into background noise over the years they'd been anchormen.
"This is so exciting!" Chirped Sazi.
"My money's on that freedom fighter from 6. He's tough."
Sazi frowned. "Don't say that. It's people like him who caused so much trouble in the first place. If anyone deserves to lose this, it's him. I'm rooting for that little girl, Rhiattany. She seems smart."
"Smart, yes. But I just don't see her fighting well."
"One minute to air!"
"I'll talk to you later, Tennem." Sazi said, and plastered a smile on her face.
"In six, five, four, three…" Two fingers, one finger, point.
"Welcome back, Panem!" Sazi exclaimed, sounding like she couldn't possibly be more thrilled to be alive.
Soberly, Tennem added. "Now a few words from our very own President Hellwick."
The video feed faded to a woman in a subdued dark gray suit. Her shoulder length brown hair was slicked back with some kind of hair gel until she practically looked bald. Her teeth were unnaturally white. Distractingly so. Her dark eyes stared straight at the camera. Her voice was cool and dead, but earnest.
"Citizens of the Capitol and Districts. The war was a great tragedy, causing almost 100,000 deaths. However, out of the suffering will come a more unified Panem. We will come together with protection and obedience to flourish and grow. Order will be restored to our beautiful country as the Games atone for the sins of the ungrateful, and remind us what happens when the weak try to stand on their own, rejecting the kindness of the benevolent. May Panem ever rule, and may the odds be ever in your favor."
The president's visage was replaced by the teary-eyed announcers.
"Just beautiful! When the president speaks, how can anyone help but listen?" Tennem sighed.
"Yes, there's no question the Capitol loves President Hellwick." Sazi sighed, smiling and wiping her eyes. "And now citizens of Panem, let the Games begin!"