Foster Portcullis did not like to think of himself as an immodest man, but when Coriolanus Snow had personally selected him to act as Gamekeeper to the seventy second annual Hunger Games he had personally applauded the President for what he saw to be an excellent decision. Foster had always considered himself to be far better qualified for the position than any of his contenders; he was a self-described creative genius with a drive for achieving an impossible level of perfection in his work, and a knack for reaching that finesse in his projects that set them apart from everybody else. He had established a very solid reputation throughout the Capitol in his years and so it had been no great surprise to anybody when President Snow had made the news of his appointment public.
An appointment that he was certainly not going to regret, Foster believed as he watched his team add the final touches to his near-complete scale model for the arena, ready to be presented to the President the following morning. It was with a sense of pride that he was able to admit that his creation had bested even his own expectations; It was so original, so complex and just so ingenious that he was almost certain he would receive a decoration from the state for his contribution, and perhaps even a long running career in the Gamekeeping craft. Foster had already made a successful name for himself in the Capitol's architecture and property design businesses, and thought it was about time that he expand into a more public venture. If this didn't seal his position as a household name in Capitol society then he didn't know what would. It might even make him a person of acclaim throughout some of the districts – the wealthy Career regions at the very least.
The inspiration for such a creation had come from the most unlikely of places. Foster had been taking a well-deserved celebratory day off from his duties following his official appointment r, and had been in search of one of the many Avox servants hired through the Portcullis family home when he had noticed his son's personal computer lying abandoned on a kitchen counter. Irritated that his child would be so careless with such an expensive tool, and yet more concerned that the hardware's heated battery would leave burn marks on the expensive polished-birch surface, he had made to move it elsewhere when he had accidentally activated the screen, bringing up pages of searched images his son had clearly been using for a piece of history homework.
The pictures were of the great collapse of society several decades before the Captiol's establishment, with some dated photographs from the actual event itself and others more modern re-creations. Foster had been unable to contain his curiosity, slowly scrolling though the depictions of great metal buildings fallen to scrap and ruin amongst the monstrous concrete jungles that were the ancient cities, when the seed of an idea had begun to form in his ever work-active mind.
Several hours later, following the consumption of multiple beacons of various caffeinated drinks, the idea had been turned into a sketch, and the sketch replicated as a computer generated model. A blank sheet was soon turned into a sprawling metropolis as Foster's fingers flew across the touchpad, pulling up skyscrapers and stretching roads from the digital canvass. It had taken him months and months to perfect his vision, and Foster had poured his blood, sweat and tears into the project with a crippling dedication that had sucked every spare hour from his schedule and resulted even in the breakdown of his marriage.
But even after the finalisation of an agonising divorce, and the multiple doctors' trips following stress related health scares, Foster considered the task to have been worth the challenge. That initial seed of an idea had been painstakingly cultivated into what he and his team believed to be the most complex and challenging arena the games had ever seen, and Foster just knew that President Snow would be as blown away as the rest that had been privilege to the Gamekeeper's plans had been.
And if the setting somehow didn't prove to be enough, Foster still had his piece de resistance to add to the equation.
Powering through the multitudes of literature collected on the ancient civilisation of 'North America' still preserved in the Capitol Archives, Foster had come across a curious social relic from the ages lost that he had eagerly decided to incorporate into his idea. 'How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse,' appeared to be an ancient manual designed to act as a public warning notice should a 'zombie' outbreak occur. Foster had not initially known what a 'zombie' actually was, but after an hour or so of increasingly intrigued reading he had decided to borrow the idea and mould it into one of the most brutal Hunger Games concepts to date. He was going to re-create this ancient 'Zombie Apocalypse' and give this year's tributes more than just each other to worry about.
It was genius, it was original, but most importantly it would be entertaining to the Capitol masses, and every good Gamekeeper knew that to be one of the most important factors in the continuation of their Games management career – second only to the approval of President Snow, of course.
And so as Foster Portcullis stood on the viewing deck overlooking the digital prototype of his arena he found himself struggling not to let his emotion show. The last year had been a battle even the bravest of fighters would have a bent a knee to, but he had ploughed on through the degradation of his health and family life for this moment – the moment when he made his name in Panem history – and he could say with an absolute certainty that he believed the seventy second annual Hunger Games would superior to any that had ever passed before.
He just hoped with all of his heart that President Snow would agree.