Beetee hated his Junior Year computer engineering instructor with a passion. When Beetee completed his Week 1 project in five less steps than was required, he was rewarded with a score of 15% That meant one thing: revenge. He finished stringing transparent fiber-optic cable along the hallway where his instructor was sure to come out of his office.
He stopped grinning when he heard someone humming and skipping down the hallway. The 'someone' was an extremely small girl who he assumed to be a first year student. She was wearing the dark blue Engineering Academy sweater over a white blouse. Her black knee-length skirt completed her uniform. "Um – you might want to um –" Beetee stammered a second before the small girl tripped over his wire. She shrieked as her bag went flying before landing sprawled out on the tile floor.
"Did I just trip over something?" She yelped. Beetee hurriedly glanced at his instructor's door before helping the tiny girl to her feet. He heard him on the phone and breathed a sigh of relief. She eyed the area where she fell cautiously. Her already large dark eyes widened as she put her hand out. Crawling slowly toward the wire, her hand made contact with it. "Is that – a real fiber optic wire?" She asked in awe.
"Uh yeah." Beetee admitted red-faced.
"What's it doing here?" She asked puzzled.
"Um – it was supposed to be an unpleasant surprise." Beetee stammered. To his surprise, the girl giggled.
"Hurry up! Help me with my books! You can say I fell down skipping!" She said barely above a whisper. She grinned mischievously. Beetee picked up a book and looked at the title. Writing 5th grade Level. "Oh – I'm – here for only half the day." The girl said sheepishly blushing. "I - I get tutored by the mechanical engineering instructor. I'm ten." She grinned. Great. Beetee thought feeling like Panem's biggest jerk. I just tripped a ten year old. "I can come here full time when I'm twelve!"
"Wow. I'll be out of here by then if – a certain instructor lets me pass." Beetee said picking up another notebook that was on the floor. He looked at the cover: Property of Wiress Carpenter was written in pen in a child's handwriting. She had doodled a drawing of some sort of machine. Beetee was looking at her doodle. Wiress suddenly stood up and grabbed her other books. She wordlessly pointed to the instructor's door where they both heard footsteps.
"Walk normal." Wiress instructed barely above a whisper. "Where's Mr. Jone's office again?" She asked in a normal voice.
"Oh – this way." Beetee said. His instructor's door opened and they slowed to walking a millimeter a minute before they heard a loud thump.
"DANG IT!" The computer engineering instructor let out a string of curse words. "WHO THE HECK PUT THIS WIRE HERE!" he roared. "BEETEE TESLA?" He glared daggers at Beetee from his position on the floor before swearing again.
"Shouldn't curse like that around ten year olds, sir." Beetee warned trying to keep a straight face. Wiress bit her lip to keep from laughing. "Ah – Mr. Jones' office is in there." He said pointing to a door. Wiress skipped over to the door. "Now what do you want?" he asked his instructor. He knew his little ally was still watching.
"YOU – YOU –" Beetee's instructor sputtered angrily.
"I thought even in Panem you were innocent until proven guilty." Beetee said smugly. His instructor muttered to himself while taking a pair of wire-cutters out of his pocket to cut the wire. Beetee's gaze met a pair of large eyes shining with laughter. "When you come here, steer clear of that one." Beetee said pointing to the instructor stomping down the hall muttering and cursing to himself.
"Ok." Wiress said shyly. "Um – Thanks, Beetee."
"You'll do awesome here, Wiress." Beetee said before his little friend closed her instructor's door.
"Well, we meet again." Beetee said to Wiress on the tribute train. He had seen her grow while presenting awards at numerous Engineering Academy ceremonies. Wiress nearly always collected the highest honors.
"Yeah, I was victim to your first ever wire-trap." Wiress quipped. Beetee chuckled to mask his sadness. She was eighteen and fresh out of her junior year when she was reaped. Beetee's heart ached at the prospect of such a beautiful talented young lady becoming a casualty of the Capital.
"You were smart and crafty then." Beetee said smiling. "I know you are more so now." He paused looking into her large and pretty eyes. "Wiress, you have more than enough brains to win this thing." She smiled as Beetee tucked a lock of hair behind her ear before grasping her hands.
"If I use a wire like you did, I just might tell that story to all of Panem." Wiress quipped giving his hands an affectionate squeeze. Beetee blushed in spite of himself. "Only if I win, though."
"I'd better be prepared for that instructor to hate me once again." Beetee chuckled before they walked hand in hand to the dining car of the tribute train. He knew he would do everything he could to bring the tribute he had fallen in love with home.