Chapter 5: Training Scores
Author's Note: Sorry for the lateness of my update. I was writing it and I was just never satisfied. Enjoy.
The month of training was long and hard, but it was showing results, even for the smallest, weakest, and least experienced tributes.
Two weeks after the reaping:
Shown on television, on Caesar Flickerman's Talk Show-
"Hello Panem. Good afternoon, good to see you all." said Caesar Flickerman. "Today my guest is, a special appearance. The winner of the 74th Hunger Games, who inspired a revolution, and freed an entire nation from slavery, known to the people of the Districts as 'The Mockingjay', the one, the only, Katniss Everdeen, The Girl On FIRE!"
There were cheers and applause from the audience as Katniss Everdeen walked onto the stage with Peeta Melark on her arm.
"So, Katniss," said Caesar, "I personally just want to say, it is good to see you."
"It's good to see you too, Caesar." said Katniss.
"All of the Hunger Games Victors are mentoring a Capitol Tribute, and you personally are mentoring President Snow's granddaughter?" said Caesar.
"Yes she is." said Peeta answering for her.
"Now Katniss, please, our viewers are dying to know? Would you be able to tell us, why you have chosen to mentor President Snow's granddaughter?" asked Ceaser.
Katniss paused and thought for a moment, and then said, "I feel that Amanda Snow shouldn't have to pay for the past crimes of her grandfather by having to participate in the Hunger Games. Only President Snow should pay for his own crimes, and he has paid; with his life. Now, when I was watching the Reaping, I wasn't going to mentor, I just consented to come here to the Capitol for the event, but then when I saw Amanda Snow get picked...and I just felt this uncontrollable urge to save her life. And the only way to save her life is for me to ensure that she wins."
There were sounds of appreciation and understanding from the audience at her logic, and the audience expected nothing less than this act of kindness from their national hero.
"Well Katniss, we think that is very generous of your time and energy." said Caesar.
The interview went on for a little while longer until he dismissed them for his next guest.
Twenty-seventh day of training, five minutes to dismissal from Atala:
The Tributes were at their peak. Amanda's sword-fighting skill was quite good, and she had memorized every different poisonous plant there was.
Hecter Ardamin had gained some weight and was running on the treadmill for a long time without tiring.
Lisa Derrick was lifting thirty pound dumb bells a hundred times each without getting too sore.
Chaz Zoltan still couldn't hit the bulls-eye with the knives, but could at least hit the outer circle on the dart board.
Irene Avion had become quite the fighter with long wooden sticks, as long as she only took on one opponent at a time, and she had become good with edible plants.
But even after a month of training, the rest of the tributes weren't much better than they were from the start.
Several of the taller and older tributes had formed the official Career Pack; David Crane, Breanna Crane, Denis Green, Martha Filmer, Janis Miller, and Giovanni Leon, all of whom we're bigger, more skilled, appeared to be between 14 to 18, and had inherited some of their parents evil, and sadistic personality traits.
Amanda and Lisa decided to take into their alliance, Hecter Ardamin, and May Salmon for when the Games start.
"Alright everyone." said Atala. "Well done. Each and every one of you has performed outstandingly. Tomorrow is the last day of training. There will be one more training session in the morning and then your private sessions with the Gamemakers in the afternoon. They will grade you individually on how well you perform during your private session. The higher your score, the more likely you'll get more gifts." Atala said the last sentence in a tone that a high score would not make any gift-giving in the arena definite.
At dinner time, they, Amanda, Blaze, their mothers, their stylists, and their Escort Effie Trinket, sat at the table eating. Katniss and Peeta told Amanda and Blaze the same thing that Atala told them.
"Okay, tomorrow are your private sessions with the Gamemakers." said Peeta.
"Don't hold back, show them your strengths that you've been hiding from the others." said Katniss.
"The higher your score, the better we will be able to get sponsors to help you out in the arena." said Peeta. "Now, the Gamemakers will give you a high mark if you show them that you can survive. But, they will give you most of your high score if you show your ability to fight and kill."
"They'll start with the District 1 boy, and work their way up from there, so, you'll be last. I know the Head Gamemaker Plutarch Hevinsbee personally, and I spoke with him, not to influence the score he'll give you, no, I just persuaded him to promise to be sober when it's your turn." said Katniss with an amused tone of voice. "In my Games, during my private session, they were so drunk and distracted that I had to shoot and arrow at them to get their attention."
Everyone in the room who did not know this perked up with interest.
"Really?!" said Zoe Bluth with disbelief.
"Is that why they gave you an eleven?" asked Blaze Trenton.
"They thought my defiance would make me put on a good show." said Katniss.
Blaze Trenton thought for a moment.
"So what your saying is, in order for me to get a good grade from the Gamemakers, I need to shoot an arrow at them?" asked Blaze.
"No. They're probably covered by a force-field." said Katniss. "Just show them that you have the best chance of winning, and they will tell the world, through your Training Score, that you have the best chance of winning, and then Peeta and I will try to get the people to donate you money during the Games. Now, I think it's bed time, so get a good night sleep for tomorrow's private session."
"Hey Amanda?" Blaze said. "You and Lisa, during the Games, I want to be on your team."
Everyone looked at him and thought.
"That might not be a bad idea." said Peeta. "If you two work to get each other into the top two, it might be the best for all."
"Alright," said Amanda, "we can use you."
They all went to bed and hoped for the best in the morning.
The morning was uneventful, and then Amanda waited through twenty-three tribute's private sessions, which was over four hours. Finally, they summoned her in.
She walked in. Though some of the Gamemakers seemed tired, they all had their eyes on her, and were holding clipboards.
She went over to the poisonous plants station and started to recite out loud to the Gamemakers all of the different kinds of poisonous plants and giving details on how to identify them, as well as their similar-looking non-poisonous counterparts. She explained to the Gamemakers on how she could survive by avoiding them, and she put on a little amused evil smile on how she could use the plants to cleverly poison one of her fellow tributes.
She then went over and ignited some small thin twigs with bright hot sparks by the use of flint and metal.
She even identified a few edible plants that would not commonly be known to be edible.
She then decided that that was enough; the Gamemakers knew she could survive. But she knew that Katniss and Peeta had told her that her highest score would come from how exciting a show she could put on for the audience in a combat situation.
She went over to the sword fighting station and picked up the heaviest sword that she could find. She then requested to fight with a partner. A trainer came over and picked up another sword, Amanda then told the trainer not to hold back on her, she lifted the heavy sword with effort, but managed to handle it with competence. The trainer duels her hard and fast, but Amanda held her own, and then with her strength of effort and the heavier weight of the sword after several minutes of sword fighting she managed to disarm the trainer and then held the tip of her sword to his throat but did not break the skin.
She put her sword down and then went over to the knife throwing station. The trainers and the Gamemakers had watched her for a month and had never seen her throw knives. She picked up a handful of six knives. She then went over to a set of standard bullseyes. She threw the knives one at a time at each target, the first five had good aim; hitting the inner circle for each bullseye, but not dead center. The sixth knife that she held in her hand though, she turned to a dummy that had a bullseye on it's chest. She paused, closed her eyes, took a slow breath in, then a slow breath out, and looked at the dummy right in the forehead, and then she threw the knife with all her might and the knife lodged itself deeply right between the eyes.
She thought that she could show off her skill with a few other weapons but felt it was not necessary. She considered wrestling with a trainer, but didn't trust herself to win. She decided that was enough. She turned to the Gamemakers and told them that she had nothing else to show them. They consulted their clipboards and looked at each other with eyebrows raised in interest, and nodded at each other in approval, and then told her that she could go.
"So how did it go?" asked Amanda's mother, while they all sat at the dinner table.
"I think I did okay." said Amanda.
"Blaze feels confident too." said Katniss.
Blaze smiled shyly at everyone and blushed.
Blaze's appearance; Blaze was sixteen, five foot nine, light brown skin with a Hispanic appearance, skinny, but not boney, well toned but not muscular, a tattooed black stripe down his face in the abnormal fashions of The Capitol, and hair dyed a bright green.
They all went to the living room to watch the training scores.
Caesar Flickerman was on TV.
"Well, ladies and gentlemen," said Caesar, "it is time to announce our twenty-four Capitol-citizens-gone-Hunger-Games-Tributes, Training Scores. For those of you who are watching that don't know the details on how it works, I will say it one more time. The Gamemakers have carefully evaluated the twenty-four tributes for the past twenty-eight days to come up with a score between one and twelve; zero, meaning that they know nothing about survival or fighting, and twelve, meaning they are both a master-survivalist, and an unbeatable fighter.
"A reminder, a score of twelve is not a guaranty that they will win, it is only how well they performed in the private session."
As he called out each name and score, the tribute's headshot with their score in a giant number appeared on the screen.
"Representing towards District One. David Crane, with an admirable score of, 8.
"Lisa Derrick, with a score of, 7.
"Representing towards District Two. Hector Ardamin, with a score of, 3.
"Susanna Xavier, with an impressive score of, 10.
"Representing towards District Three. Sherman Griffin, with a score of, 5.
"Breanna Crane, with a score of, 10.
"Representing towards District Four. Neil Jones, with a score of, 6.
"Martha Filmer, with a score of, 8.
"Representing towards District Five. Barney Simpson, with a score of, 4.
"Janis Miller, with a score of, 8.
"Representing towards District Six. Randy Bing, with a score of, 6.
"Joyce Harrison, with a score of, 4.
"Representing towards District Seven. Dennis Green, with a score of, 10.
"Gloria Goldwater, with a score of, 5.
"Representing towards District Eight. Harley Dillon, with a score of, 7.
"May Salmon, with a score of, 6.
"Representing towards District Nine. Chaz Zoltan, with a score of, 5.
"Irene Avion, with a score of, 9.
"Representing towards District Ten. Giovanni Leon, with a score of, 8.
"Belinda Rogers, with a score of, 4.
"Representing towards District Eleven. Klay Randolph, with a score of, 5.
"Beverly O'Malley, with a score of, 5."
And then they waited on the edge of their seats, for their own scores, hoping they would be good.
"Representing towards District Twelve. Blaze Trenton, with a score of, 8."
Everyone clapped and smiled and nodded in approval at Blaze.
"Good job Blaze." said Peeta.
"I'm proud of you sweetie!" said Blaze's mother in her strange Capitol accent.
"And finally," said Caesar Flickerman, "Amanda Snow...with a score of...10."
Amanda felt she did well, the best she could hope for. Everyone congratulated her, and Katniss told her that she had a good feeling about getting her good sponsors.
The day after next.
It was the day of the tributes TV Interviews. They were being fixed up by their prep teams. Amanda's bubble-gum pink hair went down a few inches below her shoulders, it was straight, but Zoe and the prep team washed her hair with a shampoo that thickened the hair with volume, and body. Zoe and the prep team then applied glitter around her eyes, plain red lipstick, and plain red nail polish. They then put her in a modest but flattering strapless, pink prom dress that matched the color of her hair. They then helped her step into silver, sparkly, high heeled slippers. She was ready. Amanda's mother was in tears as she looked at her daughter.
"Oh Amanda darling! You look so beautiful!" said Amanda's mother.
"Are you ready?" asked Zoe Bluth.
"I think so." said Amanda noncommittally.
"Just be yourself. But exude confidence while being humble." said Zoe.
The day before, Katniss had sat down with Amanda and discussed with her how she would portray herself during her TV Interview. They both settled on confident but humble.
"Let the sponsors feel that the other tributes should fear you; that you are a winner." Katniss had said.
All of the Tributes were lined up in chairs on the stage and were to wait their turn.
In a secret underground room, some disgruntled malcontents from the Districts were talking secretly with one another.
"Well, everything that we have wanted has come true. We have Amanda Snow participating in The Hunger Games, to die." said one of the men.
"But there's just one problem with that. What if she doesn't die? What if she wins?" asked another man.
"If Amanda Snow wins, that just brings glory to President Snow's name and memory. We need to make sure Amanda Snow loses." said another man with determination.
"Well, how are we going to do that?" said another man, "The only way, would be to rig the Games, and the Gamemakers and the high ranking officials are determined to make sure that everything in the arena is one-hundred percent fair. They were adamant about it, each and every Tribute is to have an equal chance of winning, and if President Snow's granddaughter, out of any one of the twenty-four, just happens to win, then so be it."
"Now normally I would not worry about the idea of Amanda Snow winning, until I saw the other day that she scored a 10. According to our source in the Gamemakers she is quite the survivor, sword fighter, and knife thrower. And the fact that Katniss Everdeen wants to help her also gives her a lot of support. Let me tell you that was a major set back. Of all people, I thought Katniss Everdeen would be on our side." the guy ranted on. "We may not be able to rig the Games, or secretly kill her, so we will have to simply settle for the next best thing, we can significantly increase the chance of one of the other Tributes winning. We have one of the Career Tributes on our side, as well as one of the Gamemakers." said another one of the guys. "Now, we still need to sponsor money to give gifts to the other tributes."
"This whole situation will be tough, but I think we can make sure that Amanda Snow loses."
And they all begin watching the TV interviews.
Author's Note: I love constructive criticism. Please Review.
(Keep reading for Chapter 6: TV Interviews)