So here is the first chapter, and let me tell you authors really stepped up their A game! Remember authors are for the most part given free range over their chapters unless an overall plot is being enacted (example Sean Armani and keeping Aleah in line). We change stuff if it's too far out of canon.

See you guys all Saturday! ^_^

Bianca Neve of District Eleven

Train Rides to the Capitol

By Johnbeerius

"I'm a chess piece. A pawn,' she said. 'I can be sacrificed, but I cannot be captured. To be captured would be the end of the game."
Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker

"Here she is, little Miss Tribute," the Peacekeeper says, lightly shoving me towards the train. I unintentionally let out a gasp. The Peacekeeper chuckles and releases his firm and meaty grip on my arm. "Good luck little Miss," the Peacekeeper mutters before leaving. I didn't really hear what he said, being way too distracted by the train, but I looked his way and flashed him a smile before quickly turning my gaze back to the train. I gasp for the second time. I cannot believe it, this thing is huge!It's a giant, a monster. Or maybe that's because I'm used to my midget brothers. The sound of turning gears fills the air and the door swings open. I mount the stairs and enter a spacious room. I'm instantly overwhelmed; and I thought the outside of the train was glamorous.

I look around and take in the big, cushy couches; the gold furniture and satin curtains. But soon I am interrupted by my escort, Vikus Heron. "It's amazing, isn't it?" he asks. We take another moment to take in the scene. "Well come this way, Bianca. Eric is already in the dining car. You don't have a mentor, as you well know, but we have a second escort to help us out a little. His name is Kendrick." To that statement I feel a sinking feeling. Just great, another escort. Vikus keeps on blabbering, "Though this year, hopefully we can change the no mentor dilemma if one of you wins. Then either you or Eric would be the new mentor. That way District Eleven wouldn't be the laughing stock of the Capitol. Maybe then I could get my big break." Vikus continues to talk at a million miles per hour but I'm not really paying too much attention; I'm still dreading two escorts. But as we enter the car I smile at them both. Kendrick wearily smiles back at me and Eric is stone-faced. "So what have we been doing?" Vikus asks.

"Nothing much," Kendrick says, "Eric here isn't much of a talker."

"Well, he better start being a talker, otherwise no one will sponsor him, or ally with him, or-"

"I think he'll be alright," I say firmly, eager to stop the brewing fight.

Everybody turns and looks at me curiously until Vikus starts blabbing again. "Maybe Bianca is right. He can go for the silent and strong angle!" Vikus continues blabbing and Kendrick rolls his eyes. I giggle slightly and make the crazy sign behind Vikus' back.

"Well, I'll show you to your rooms," Kendrick says. We both follow him, leaving Vikus still chattering to himself. He is still talking about angles and something about a new line of skin dye. Kendrick rolls his eyes again; muttering something about Vikus being dropped on his head as a child. "Bianca your room is first on the left and Eric your room is right next to hers. Dinner is in two hours you can do whatever you like until then." Instantly I feel guilty for judging Kendrick to be another Vikus-like Capitolite when in reality he is a good guy. But I shake the thought out of my head, that has passed and I shouldn't think about now.

Following Kendrick's instructions, I make my way to my room and open the door. Immediately I flop onto the giant bed; the feelings I had pushed back were returning. My ebony colored hair spills into my eyes but I just continue down and stuff my head into a pillow. A tsunami of negative emotions crushes me. My chest tightens, my eyes tear up and my head is weighed down by those emotions. The tears start at a slight drizzle but progress into a torrent of sobs. How can this happen? How is this humane? How can the Capitol live with themselves after killing twenty-three children a year? Why couldn't they forgive the districts for the rebellion? My thoughts turn towards my family. They all desperately want me to come home and I want to come home too. So with my seven brothers, my parents, myself, Winnie and Randy that's twelve people who desperately want me back. Ever since I was little I was always one who strived to please people. A person who thrived on appreciation. And now is not the time to stop that; I have at least twelve people I need to please.

Finally the tears stop coming; I guess I've run out. I roll over onto my other side and push my dark hair from my face. My eyes were puffy, I had a headache and surely my face must have gone from pale to red and blotchy. Eager to push back the bad feelings I try to look for the bright side of things. But I fail to find an evident one. But I'm determined to find something that would make my situation not so bleak. After awhile of pondering I come up with a happier point: the rewards for my district and my family. District Eleven is one of the poor outlying districts. And my family happened to be in the poorest part of that district thereby making us the poorest of the poor. Especially with the ten people in my family. In fact, people looked down on my parents because they had too many kids that they couldn't afford. But that would make it even better if I won; the ultimate underdog. Then I could give my family money and my district money too. I smile at the thought; we would actually be able to eat a real meal. We could get an actual house, not our pathetic two room excuse for one. Now I needto be able to do this. Now it wasn't just for me, it was for my family and for my district. Maybe I could do this. I have the motivation, I'm skilled with people and making friends, I can nimbly climb almost any tree and I have a deep knowledge of nature and plants. If you looked at those reasons and totally forgot that I have no weapon skill, things looked pretty good. I'm a hard worker though; maybe I can pick up a skill or two during training. My thoughts were interrupted by a knocking at the door. "Come in," I cry out weakly. The door slowly creaks open and out comes Kendrick.

"Hey Bianca," Kendrick says softly, sitting down next to me. I'm still sprawled across the bed, so I quickly sit up and make some room for him. I notice that Kendrick even has a normal appearance. Which is odd for a Capitolite He is average height and weight, with normal skin and average brown hair. The only thing that seemed to have a Capitol influence was his violet eyes. But they didn't stand out too terribly. "I am so sorry," Kendrick sympathizes. He gently tucks back my dark hair from my eyes and wipes a tear from my face. Oddly, even though I have only known him for a couple of hours I let him do it. It feels good to know that someone cares for me. "So Bianca, you look like an interesting person. Go on ahead, tell me about yourself." That is the moment where I start blabbing. I start talking about my large family and their weird habits, my beloved brothers, my district, how my pale skin makes me stand out. Basically, I tell him everything about me excluding my issues with Brittney and how I got voted into these wretched games. But unfortunately, eventually those topics get brought up. "Bianca, if you don't mind me asking, how did such a pretty, outgoing and considerate girl get voted into the Hunger Games?" Now here comes the inevitable, awkwardly touchy subject. I sigh and begin to tell him about Brittney's popularity and how she hates me and influenced most of the district to vote for me and my death. The talk goes on longer than expected but it felt good to tell someone about my distress. And by the end of the answer we have both broken out into tears. I quickly wipe the tears from my eyes; embarrassed to have someone see me cry like that. But Kendrick was such a good listener and I couldn't help myself from showing my true feelings.

I clear my throat, eager to change the dreary subject to something more cheerful. "This train is amazing."

Kendrick chuckles, "I thought you would say that, the tributes always do."

"Everything is just so big and so glamorous. Just look at the size of this bed! And the train is just so huge and gorgeous. I can barely feel it moving, but when I look out the window I see things blowing by at high speed."

I nod slowly and Kendrick rubs his temples, obviously stressed. "Well, if you like everything on this train so far just wait until you eat the food. It is absolutely amazing. Oh, and the showers are great too."

"I think I'll soon agree."

Kendrick pats my knee and smiles. "Well, there is about an hour until dinner. And I will see you then." Then with a nod Kendrick gets up and leaves the room. I flop back down and close my eyes.

"Bianca," trills Vikus, "it's time to eat." I feel my stomach rumble, dinner would be welcome. I roll out of bed and quickly pad down the hallway following my nose to the delicious scent of food. When I walk in I gasp for what seems like the billionth time today. But I can't help it; all these Capitol things are just so huge and luxurious. In a flash, I jump into a big plush seat and am about to dive into the giant salad when Vikus grabs my arm. "Ah, ah, ah Bianca. You must have manners. We have to wait until Kendrick and Eric arrive. Also next time use utensils, it's not like you're starving."

Just then Kendrick and Eric walk in. "Actually Vikus, Bianca and Eric have both experienced extreme hunger. So next time I wouldn't judge what they do," Kendrick says. I beam at Kendrick; there he is again backing us up. Once again, he is proving my first impression of him wrong. Eric quickly takes a seat and Kendrick follows. With a reluctant nod, Vikus signals for us to dig in. I scoop up a huge bite and instantly my taste buds and stomach are rewarded. The flavors burst and the textures are so new and exciting. I scarf down the salad and am brought some meat. That is quickly inhaled and is followed by some more courses. I eat and eat until my small stomach can't hold anymore food. I look around and see Eric still eating rapidly and our escorts eating slowly; only a little bit of each course. I turn to the right and see a Peacekeeper watching us from the door.

"Kendrick. What is the Peacekeeper doing here?" I ask.

Kendrick leans over and in a low voice answers my question. "We've had some trouble with some of the less fortunate Districts before. Usually with District ten and down. Some tributes have been known to escape and cause trouble so the Capitol has called for extra help on these trains." I nod in response to his answer and quickly forget about the Peacekeeper. It's nothing I haven't dealt with before. Soon everyone else finishes and leaves the room. I stay, planning on finding something to distract my mind from the morbid thoughts tied to the Hunger Games. After a bit of pondering I come up with a brilliant idea to distract me; hard work. It's what always distracted me at home. Instantly, I hop up and begin to clear the table. I gather all the plates and wipe the remaining food bits from the table cloth. I reach for the last plate to clean and am met by an Avox. Her face looks frightened; probably by Vikus' mess.

"Don't worry," I tell her, "I'll just get the rest of this." Her eyes almost bug out of her head and she opens her mouth into an O shape but no sound comes out. Her brows quickly form into a scowl and she lunges at me, trying to take the plates from my hands. Confused, I shift to the right and she misses the plates and instead shoves my arm. This causes me to lose my grip on the many plates and they tumble out of my grasp. They seem to fall in slow motion before shattering on the floor. The sickly sound is harmonized with a door banging open. Through the door an enraged Peacekeeper launches out. I whip around and barely dodge his charging form. He blasts by me and tackles the Avox. He comes back to his feet with the Avox in a headlock. He points a dark, wicked looking gun at her head. I scream bloody murder; the very sound the Avox couldn't make. "What are you doing?" I scream at the Peacekeeper. "She did nothing wrong! Get away!"

The door bangs open another time but instead of a Peacekeeper, Eric and Kendrick barge in. The Peacekeepers smiles bloodthirstily and digs the gun deeper into the Avox's head. His eyes sparkle with malice and his teeth seem jagged and as sharp as knives. But that was the last straw for me; I launch myself at him, ready to fight. But some big, muscled arms catch me and haul me up off my feet. I scream and try to pry myself out of their grip. I wiggle around and see that it is Eric's big, dark arms restraining me. But I keep on trying to escape. "We need to help her!" I scream.

"There is nothing we can do," shouts Kendrick.

"This one has made too many mistakes. But no worries, this will be her last," snarls the Peacekeeper as he pulls the trigger. I scream louder than I ever thought possible as a bullet enters her brain. Gore explodes everywhere and I bury my head into Eric's chest; trying to escape the horrid image. But even though my eyes were clenched tight, the image still burns in my brain. Finally, I stop struggling in Eric's grasp. Instead I just let him carry my sobbing form away from the disaster.

I feel myself being set down and I flop to the floor and bury my head in my knees. Eric sits down next to me but I just cry until no tears will come out. "That was all my fault, she didn't deserve that. No one deserves that."

Eric awkwardly shifts before speaking in a low, gruff voice. "It wasn't your fault, you just didn't know. That Peacekeeper was just looking for a chance to fight. They all do, I know from experience."

I nod slowly. "I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"That I struggled when you tried to restrain me, that I started that mess, about your parents and that you have to be in these games," I blurt out.

Eric's stone-face flickers for a moment, his eyes flash with many emotions before he regains his composure. He sinks his head, "me too."

I feel his sorrow and don't like it. No one deserves to have such heavy emotions as that. "I think you can make it home. You're strong and smart and I hope you can make it home," I tell him.

He looks at me thoughtfully but it is a couple of moments until he speaks. "Thank you Bianca. You're a good kid. Don't let these games change you." He gives me a small smile before getting up and returning to his room. I feel myself smiling back. Maybe I'm better off than before.