The Hunger Games Galaxies: District 12
When your world holds two of the Gods' districts for the yearly Hunger Games, it's as if there's double the amount of fear on Reaping Day. For the unfortunate students in the Yasoinaba area, their fears became complete reality when Japan "won" the "honor" of sending four tributes to this year's Hunger Games. While District 7 always took its tributes from large cities, the cruelty of the Gods wasn't satisfied, and they decreed that District 12 would send one boy and girl, between the ages of 12 and 18 normally, from one rural area to the Hunger Games. So, the Yasoinaba area joined Iwatodai, which represented District 7, in sending its children to the bloodbath that was to come.
Yu Narukami walked along the Samegawa Flood Plain with his young cousin, Nanako. Both were dressed in their school uniforms, and they looked immaculate. Neither spoke for the first half of their trip, where Nanako latched on to Yu's hand as if she'd never let go. They'd received the horrifying news only weeks before.
"They're lifting the age restrictions…?" said a horrified Rise when the group sat in their "secret base" at the Junes food court.
"Not entirely… it's still restricted to young people," said Yukiko. "But… the elementary kids can be Reaped this year…"
"Wait so… that means… Nana-chan could…" Teddie began, but then he became far too distressed to continue and dissolved into tears.
"That won't happen. If she was picked, certainly someone would volunteer…" said Naoto.
"Yeah, the daughter of the head detective… they'd fear the consequences if they didn't," said Yosuke.
"Man this is total bullshit!" roared Kanji, punching the table and denting it. "Those so-called 'Gods' are just toying with us. If only we could use our Personas on this side-!"
"Shhh Kanji… there could be Peacekeepers undercover in town already," warned Chie. "Don't give them any ideas…"
"Besides," said Yu. "They seal any sort of power that would give you an unfair advantage in the arena… that's why those people from Districts 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9 don't just automatically win…"
"That's even more unfair! They may not have their super special powers to start with, but most of those worlds practically breed their kids for fighting. It's just… utter bullshit," hissed Kanji.
"Well… District 12 did really good, last year," said Yukiko. "We made it to the Top 4 for the first time in years… granted, we haven't had a victor since 1955, but still…"
"Big Bro?" muttered Nanako, suddenly, snapping Yu out of his memory.
"What's up, Nanako?" he asked.
"Why didn't Dad want to come to the Reaping…?" she asked, quietly.
"He did want to…" Yu said. "But… he was forced to help the Peacekeepers..."
"It's not fair," she whispered, tears in her eyes. "Why does he always have to do stuff for someone else, but not me?"
"Hey…" said Yu, kneeling down next to her. "Your Dad really loves you… I promise, he's absolutely doing this for your protection, to make sure nothing bad will happen to you and you don't get chosen for the arena. Would I lie to you…?"
"… No… thanks, Big Bro," she said. "I hope you don't get picked, either…"
"I probably won't," said Yu, smiling. "There's lots of other guys besides me."
But the thought still nagged on him. Of all the districts, they had the highest probability each of being chosen. A small town meant a tiny victim pool, and even if they included some of the nearby communities, that still probably only totaled about a thousand students when it was all said and done. Yu really hoped that none of the Investigation Team especially ended up in the arena…
They didn't have long to wait once they arrived. King Moron lined them up immediately after the first bell and the class marched through the halls as their vile teacher ranted about the Hunger Games and how it was actually good for building character and that he himself would have volunteered if he hadn't been a stupid teenager like they all were. By the end of the short walk, everyone wish he had volunteered; he surely wouldn't have made it through the Bloodbath at the Cornucopia.
Their principal made a very short, solemn speech to get things started. Their school's gymnasium was very small, so it was already pretty much at capacity with just the students, teachers, representatives of the Gods, and Peacekeepers. The parents, they knew, were waiting outside in the rain that had begun to fall, as they listened to see who would lose another child. With the loss of Saki Konishi so fresh in everyone's minds, it was hard to think that two more young people might leave Inaba forever.
Yu surveyed the remainder of the gym. Of course, he recognized the uniform-clad members of Yasogami High, plus the elementary kids far away (Nanako kept looking back at him and the other members of the Investigation Team, but was unable to join them due to the separation by grade and gender). At long last, a High Priest stepped forward, as the Hymns were finished and the cameras turned to him.
"I have several announcements about this year's Reaping and Hunger Games," he announced in a loud, rumbling voice. "First of all, and most importantly: there will be no sponsors this year from the Gods. Tributes will be on their own."
This was unprecedented. The Gods loved to sponsor their favorite people; it was like their way of sort of playing the Games themselves. But they knew better than to think anything about that.
"The second, though it's one I realize you're already aware of… all age restrictions have been relaxed in either direction," he said.
There weren't that many young adults left in Inaba. Most went on to universities in the cities, and they were permitted to stay there to avoid the Reaping, though some did come back to assist their families. Yu noticed the garage station attendant he'd met on day one sitting in the far back, slightly removed from everyone else, watching the proceedings with eyes filled with boredom.
"And that is all I shall reveal right now. Further announcements will come post-Reaping," he said. "At this time… I would like to announce this year's tributes."
"Good luck," Yu heard a whisper behind him. He saw Daisuke and Kou give him a thumbs up and a wink. It was amazing that they were still in high spirits.
Meanwhile, the Priest reached into the small glass bowl that held the names of every girl in the District, before he walked over to the microphone again. He opened the rolled up piece of paper, and read the name.
Gasps and shrieks filled the air, as the entire Investigation Team turned toward their newest member. Naoto, still dressed in her boys' uniform, seemed utterly perplexed at first. Then, she calmly stood up, adjusted her hat, brushed off her uniform, and stepped down through the mess of students. Many girls wept, none more-so than Rise, Yukiko, and Chie, as the Detective Prince made her way up the steps and onto the stage.
"I respectfully decline any votes for volunteering," said Naoto, bowing her head.
"That's the spirit," said the High Priest. "Let us hope the young man we choose has your guts, young lady."
"Thank you," said Naoto, nodding. She remained very calm on stage; obviously part of her training as a detective. Cool under pressure… they wouldn't have it any other way.
"And our male tribute… … Yosuke Hanamura," said the Priest.
The reaction wasn't nearly as startling and infuriated as it had been for Naoto, but the Investigation Team especially were shocked and horrified. Yosuke looked as if his world had ended again, and he needed Kanji's help just to stand up. He numbly walked down the steps, as whispers filled the gymnasium. Yosuke hadn't been too popular with many students, especially of the children whose stores had closed because of his Dad's supermarket. But Chie still bawled quietly into her lap, as Yukiko hugged her.
"I… also… deny any volunteers…" he said, hollowly, as he stood next to Naoto, who was wide-eyed and losing her cool demeanor by the second.
"There we have it!" the Head Priest said. "Now, before we conclude the ceremony, I ask that we all turn our attention to the screen, for one final announcement from the Head Game God himself.
Every eye was fixed on the screen above, watching as the symbol of the Gods began to fade, replaced by a video of the story sky. Another hymn began to play, and everyone in the audience murmured along with it, while Yosuke and Naoto continued to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and their friends in the audience continue to reel and cry for their friends, who were likely to enter the arena and never return.
Short explanation time on how this whole ordeal is going to work!
The games themselves are still in progress, so for now I'm only doing the intro stuff. All events that take place in the Districts will be in their appropriately-titled stories in the proper crossover section. Once that's all taken care of and it collapses into one story, I'll put the title at the end of each District Introduction Section (or just click on my author name to find it yourself).
The entire story is being decided solely on a complicated series of dice rolls, to prevent bias on my part and to make it so even I have no idea how this is going to end or who is going to win.
Let me be clear: this is not going to be an "everyone bands together and fights the evil powers and they all survive" story. As of writing this paragraph, twenty-one tributes are dead. So if you see your favorite character selected… well, don't get mad if they don't make it through.
That's all for now. May the odds be ever in your (favorite characters') favor.
ALSO: Starting from here-on, I've put the schedule of updates on my profile, so you can know when the next installments of my stories are coming out. It's not going to be perfect due to my job, so I might miss a few deadlines here and there, but, overall, it's a good indicator of when you can expect things to be out.