Afterword

First, I'm more than a bit surprised, yet pleased, at the attention this has gotten. Who knew that a story just about Darius going through such a pleasant experience would get considerable proportional readership?

This story was just something on a whim (I literally thought it up just the night before I wrote and published the first chapter) that I wanted to try out.

Background

The rationale behind making this story was based on three main things. The first, and major one, is that I was interested in writing the background about a certain class of individuals in Panem's society and the process they go through to come into being. The second one is to show just how screwed-up the Capitol mentality is. Lastly, I thought Darius deserved to get some attention.

At the same time, I wanted to walk the fine line between being descriptive and informative, without falling into the torture porn trap.

On another note: This story, or at least the mechanics explained, is pretty much established in my head-canon now. The procedure is what happened to Darius, Lavinia, Pollux (though without the nice operating room), and a certain major CF/MJ character in my AU "Vox Libertas".

Basis

Thing is, I did not think most of this stuff on my own; though I may have exaggerated and adapted it for the futuristic setting. Much stuff has historical basis.

Getting rid of someone's tongue was a common punishment in the past. As expected, it was a common punishment for people who were considered subversives. Of course, the removal is nowhere near the extent as depicted here. Here, the entire tongue is removed and the larynx mutilated for good measure; they can still make sounds (as mentioned in MJ, Avoxes do scream), but even sounds that don't require a tongue come out so mangled that it pretty much shames them into staying silent.

The depiction of feeding was something else I wanted to work on. The tongue isn't just important in talking and tasting (slight tangent; you can apparently still taste without your tongue due to sensors in the throat, but of course not to the same extent); it manipulates food so as to make both chewing and swallowing possible. Hence the use of a feeding tube. Solid food is possible, but requires one to use a finger or stick to manipulate the food.

The removal of genitals among servants is a very common practice in history; the most obvious example being eunuchs. The main purpose was pretty much to cut off the hormone supply, with no reproduction being a nice bonus. However in this story, the procedure in involves full emasculation instead of just castration. For females, internal fixing would mean the removal of the menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, after this story, my head-canon is that Pollux got "fixed"; being that he spent his servitude in the tunnels, it's clear that the Capitol had no use for him in "entertainment". At the same time as can be seen, being left intact is a bitter blessing.

On that note, we have the subject of sex slavery, something which still exists to this day. Not to mention the idea of regular servants/slaves being taken advantage of by owners. Also the whole "absence fine" is based off of the concept of a "bar fine" which some establishments use in certain countries to get around prostitution laws.

Finally the subject of slavery itself. Like the "Ask the Capitol" segment, it's amazing the amount of rationalization that proponents of both chattel (what one thinks of in terms of pre-Civil war South) and wage (factories in the North until the labor movement) slavery use to justify their practices. Same goes for the amount of abuse heaped on a person to help make them feel much less than human, molding them into perfect and obedient little servants in the process.

Is it Just Me or Does Suzanne Collins Hate Gingers?

Seriously, redheads seem to get a disproportionate amount of flak in the trilogy, even compared to usual level of angst plaguing everyone. I can't think of one who manages to get out unscathed relative to everybody else. Let's take a look:

Foxface: Is viewed with suspicion by Katniss. Either dies by being unintentionally tricked by Peeta's legendarily-abysmal survival skills or commits suicide; latter assumes that she was probably starving and in dire straits. Also, I personally don't think that nightlock poison is as painless as Katniss' narration makes it out to be; nerve agents are fast, but not pleasant.

Finnick: Usual amount of Games trauma. Prostituted out by Snow. Goes into a deep spiral with Annie's absence. Gets torn apart by mutts and blown up.

Darius: Exhibit A. Also diced into little bits in front of Peeta.

Lavinia: Same as Darius. Back-story is someone she cares for being speared. Gets electrocuted to death.

Castor: Eaten by mutts.

Pollux: Also Avox but unlike the other ones we know, worked in a sewer and never saw the sun for a good chunk of his life. Probably sees his brother eaten by mutts.

In summary, being a ginger in Panem guarantees you an extra helping of suckitude.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank all of you readers for going through and enjoying this story. The fact that so many of you found this to be unique warms my cockles.

Special thanks to my reviewers: Lya200, Raebob, Catching Fireflies, LizzEverlark3thg, cursed to curse, Keb85, littleblessing, nerdyninjaunicorn, and any reviewer who may come by after-the-fact.

Same goes to those who have favorited or followed.

If anybody has any questions, queries, comments, or criticisms, please don't hesitate. Same definitely goes for those who may have medical background and find anything impossible about my stuff.

Again, thank you, and I hope to see some of you in my other stories.

Have a nice day. Or night. Or whatever…

Cheers!