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  1. #121
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Shon Dietrich

    Waiting in that room with all the other Tributes was terrible. Shon’s toes tapped the air in front of him, the noise of them hitting the floor having annoyed everyone enough that their glaring made him stop. He felt fortunate that they went in order of District number, so he hadn’t that long to wait.

    When he was finally summoned, Shon practically jogged into the room and made a beeline for the structure used for rope climbing. Grabbing onto the slim poles, he scaled to the top and set his feet on the narrow bar. The heights would be his stage today. Off the ground, he felt more at home than when his feet were in the dirt.

    Up on top of the world, he effortlessly lifted his body in the air. He didn’t just pedal around changing insulators all day. Headstands, flips, pushups and jumps were all part of his personal repertoire – all done when no one was in sight. Doing it for the judges didn’t seem to matter to Shon.

    It landed him a seven. Not enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be innocuous either. Great.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.
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  2. #122
    Gossamer

    Gossamer hadn't expected to be nervous. She'd volunteered, after all. She had a plan. The only way to make the responsible parties pay for her brother's death was to go into the arena and execute that plan. She'd been over it a thousand times in her head, so it almost seemed routine before she even started. Gossamer had been cool as a cucumber as she recruited her allies, pulled an excellent training score, and put on her public face when Caesar Flickerman interviewed her. Last night, she'd slept like a baby, her body instinctively knowing she wouldn't have another chance for an uninterrupted night's rest for goodness knew how long.

    Now, standing in her launch room - she'd heard that tributes from other districts referred to these rooms as "the stockyard," like animals before slaughter - with her stylists hovering over her putting on the finishing touches, Gossamer realized her palms were sweating and her breath was coming in rapid bursts.

    What if I can't do this after all? What if I'm throwing away my life, with nothing to gain for it?

    She forced down those errant thoughts, forced her breathing to regulate. Of course she could do this. She'd been training for the Games all her life. Without realizing it, the powers that be had prepared her perfectly to carry out her plan in the process.

    Gossamer was beckoned toward the launch tube... but no, there was one more thing. She dragged her feet subtly, masking the delaying tactic by pretending to adjust her hair. Allasayne made a face. Before the exasperated mentor had time to comment that this wasn't the time to fuss over her coiffure, the door burst open.

    "Gossamer Portmore!" A squad of Peacekeepers. Four of them. One was Nicolai. "We received a report that you're trying to smuggle an illegal weapon into the arena. We are going to perform a search..."

    Allasayne's irritation had found a target other than Gossamer, as she blustered, "Gossamer has already been searched several times, like all the tributes have. She couldn't possibly have anything..."

    Another Peacekeeper held up his hand to stop the objection. "The order came down from the top, ma'am. It'll only take a minute."

    The third - this was Nicolai - added in a characteristic dry tone of gallows humour, "It's not like they can start without her."

    Gossamer sighed like she was annoyed too, spread her arms, and planted her feet apart. Nicolai began patting her down, checking each of her pockets as he came to them. When his hand slipped into her jacket pocket, his fingers briefly brushed against her through the thin material, but she successfully forced herself not to smile; this wasn't supposed to be fun. He moved on to the pockets of her canvas trousers, and she felt the slight weight of the object he had slipped her from the concealment of his sleeve. The baggy, tough material didn't even show a bulge.

    Nicolai stepped away, and said, "She's got nothing. Go ahead and put her in the launch tube."

    At that point, it was really hard not to smile. It was impossible for a tribute to smuggle anything into the launch room. Not for a Peacekeeper, though; they weren't searched. The "knife" she'd told Shon about was a total fabrication. Gossamer didn't need an extra weapon. She needed someone to report her for having something illicit, so Nicolai would have an excuse to be the last searcher and root around in her pockets just before she was launched. What was in her pocket was much better than some knife. She'd been given the tool to win... and right in front of her mentor, stylists, and a squad of Peacekeepers. None of them had suspected a thing, because they were watching the wrong person. All eyes had been on Gossamer herself during the search, not on the man conducting it.

    "Goodbye," Gossamer told Allasayne and her stylists in a neutral, mild, almost bored tone. In her heart, she gave Nicolai a sincere thank you and much more meaningful goodbye.

    Then, she stepped into the launch tube. In mere seconds, she'd be in the arena. It was far too late to turn back now - and turning back was the last thing Gossamer wanted, when she had come this far.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-05-2013 at 09:42 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea
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