This has been sitting in my documents for a while, so I figured, why not just post it? And before I forget, the Hunger Games does not belong to me. It belongs to the lady living across town in a house surrounded by pines who has a strange affinity for old movies and tofurkey. And maybe Lionsgate now too. I dunno how that works.

This is a speculation of the massive, world destroying events that led to the Hunger Games.

Mutually Assured Destruction

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

Albert Einstein, German-born physicist (1879 – 1955)

It's hard to understand the words that spill from this man's mouth, weighed down by the thick accent on his lips, by the blood running into his mouth from his nose. But the meaning is frightfully clear; the bomb has struck, devastating and deadly. There will be no survivors in this far off country. Not today. Not ever again.

Just as Hitler lost the war as he attempted to infiltrate north-eastern Europe, the denizens of the world have lost sight of their past mistakes, dismissing history as if it has no meaning, no lessons to be learned. Napoleon did not fail when he marched to conquer north-eastern Europe. The First World War did not catch fire fueled by jingoism and a frightening web of allies.

As this war did.

The match that set the First World War aflame was quickly forgotten amid the wet, hot fury of battle, and the guiding spark of this war has just as easily been elapsed.

The difference this time, however, is the devastating harm that is now quite real. There is no more cavalry in war, no more awe at the first airplanes. Instead, the nightmare of the Cold War – mutually assured destruction – is becoming reality.

The Middle East has been carved out of the ocean completely, a desolate wasteland where the few mangled survivors moan until disease and famine sweeps them away. Africa – humble, struggling Africa – is affected not by the devastating drops of fission from above but by the scent of fizzled ozone in the wind, in the scarce, once-clean water. The scant remains of Europe and Asia is still locked with hands hovering over their phones, lips humming in preparation to make the horrific command to assure destruction. Canada and Mexico chew their fingernails, fearing the startling, widespread obliteration of these weapons and the proximity of their homes to the U.S., a country known for being pulled into wars it does not wish to fight.

The United States – still tainted with the dredges of isolationism that existed in its birth – is being pulled at the seams, trying to prevent its involvement in two separate wars; a World War and a Civil War that no one will see coming until it is too late.

The citizens of the U.S. – many still ignorant and naïve and hoping for the best – soak up the propaganda produced without much complaint. Political unrest and hot-blooded war has taken away the imports that the U.S. has relied so heavily on in the past. They can no longer rely on "Made in China" products when the Chinese are being laid under siege by Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and the eastern European countries. So when the politicians in the capital insist that a total change in the United States system is necessary, no one resists.

They know that the east and west coasts are in the most danger from attack – nestled on the edges of U.S. airspace as they are – so the citizens of these coasts move to the center, abandoning their homes and leaving empty ghost towns behind them. Devoid homes to deceive their enemies into believing that people still reside there.

No one dares compare them to the ghost city in North Korea.

The fifty glorious states are dispensed as well, instead morphed into fourteen distinct areas, thirteen districts and the Capitol, the uncreative names chosen in the haste of the times. Each district would be assigned a certain type of goods to produce – thereby meeting the needs created by the loss of imports – and the Capitol would govern them, assuring that there would be no skirmishes or trouble.

For a long time, each district and the Capitol are rewarded fair amounts of goods based upon product levels. Over time however, the Capitol grows pretentious with its power. Its citizens grow to realize that they needn't live on the suspended line between comfort and poverty. They begin to take from the others, building and stockpiling the goods they receive, forcefully draining the resources of the districts with the assurance that this treatment is fair. That they are entitled to act this way by virtue of their duty to govern the country.

Their methods are not as cruel and abusive as they are manipulative. The police task forces – now known as the Peacekeepers – are not brutal but give the illusion that all they do is fair and just. It isn't until the ghost towns of the coasts are destroyed and the world is in desolate shambles that the districts come upon the realization that they are being treated unjustly.

They rebel against the Capitol, but their efforts are too little and too late, their forces already so weakened that they stand no chance to the stockpiled weapons of the Capitol. Only the hardheaded District 13 stands a ghost of a chance, threatening the devastating weapons they created for the Capitol against them. And as the other twelve districts are subdued, the Capitol and District 13 stare each other down, the icy center of a hot war.

Once the Capitol is assured that they are on the precipice of suppressing the other twelve districts, though, they settle to make a compromise with District 13, fearing for the final dredges of humanity that exist in the shambles of once-North-America.

After many hushed and extensive negotiations, they come to a consensus; the two final superpowers of the world will call off their weapons, granted the Capitol leaves District 13 alone and District 13 doesn't meddle with the Capitol and its twelve remaining districts.

So District 13 fortifies the underground remains of its newly independent country while the Capitol begins a new round of propaganda, trying to rein the twelve districts back under their complete control. It tells the districts' citizens that 13 is completely obliterated, sneaking footage of the independent district with the fear of a broken agreement on its mind.

It will not return to take another shot of District 13. It will simply reuse this clip again in the future. The districts will never know the difference.

The Capitol tells the districts' citizens that – like delinquent children – they have lost the Capitol's trust and must now be treated harsher than they were before. Peacekeepers will no longer be as docile as they once were. Now they carry whips on their belts.

It isn't enough for the Capitol, though. Disillusioning and brutalizing the districts is not enough, and in a conference of Capitol citizens, the final task of punishment is decided:

Games. Games where hunger and thirst and fear are the winning players. Games that tackle the greatest fear of every parent – losing their children – and exploits it. The Capitol will take two children from each district, throw them into an Arena, and watch them fight until only one remains standing. Better, the Capitol and the districts will watch.

And just as history lost the cause of the World War that tore apart the earth into oblivion, it has lost the name of the individual that suggested the Games. But it is in the handwriting of this individual that the Quarter Quell envelopes for the first one hundred years of Games are written in.

"On the twenty-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that their children were dying because of their choice to initiate violence, each district must hold an election and vote on the tributes to represent it.

"On the fiftieth anniversary, as a reminder that two rebels died for each Capitol citizen, every district is required to send twice as many tributes.

"On the seventy-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that even the strongest among them cannot overcome the power of the Capitol, the male and female tributes will be reaped from their existing pool of victors

"On the hundredth anniversary, as a reminder that the rebels denied the governing of the Capitol, the tributes will be required to fight without the aid of weapons or sponsors."

As the Capitol sealed these envelopes and placed them in a mahogany box in the safe of its Justice Building, it did not know that its council members had mutually assured its destruction.

I know that people say that it was Snow who rigged the 3rd Quarter Quell, but I like to believe it was just a happy coincedence. It makes fate more fun.

(First fic over 1,000 words! Woot!)