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  1. #1
    The Capitol: Behind the Scenes

    The Capitol: Behind the Scenes

    Nicolai McBride

    The room in which Nicolai found himself was like a strange combination of a bacchanal, dinner party, political strategy meeting, and gathering of old friends. In other words, a Capitol party. This was the place for dignitaries and VIPs - Games officials, mentors, and potential sponsors. Nicolai wasn't the only Peacekeeper present, but he was one of the few in uniform.

    This was supposed to be his time off. Now that the tributes were ensconced in the arena, behind forcefields and walls of rock, they required far less direct supervision than they had at the training center. Currently, Nicolai was off-shift, and he'd caught a ride with a hovercraft making the periodic journey between the arena itself and the Capitol. Nicolai was supposed to be relaxing, getting in some recreation time or rest before he went back on duty. At the moment, he didn't feel much like relaxing, and he sure as hell wasn't likely to get any sleep.

    So officially, he was off the clock. Unofficially, he was serving as Gossamer's hands and voice on the outside while she was in the arena. Nicolai wasn't required to be in uniform at the moment, but he thought it might add some weight to his presence and help him get the job done.

    He spotted one of those he intended to talk to: a mentor from District Three, Blaine, sitting by the bar. Nicolai didn't have high hopes for Blaine, but it was somewhat possible he might be of use.

    Nicolai ordered a beer, and ended up with a frothy Capitol concoction that tasted oddly like roses and limes - not, he thought, a particularly successful combination. Not that he intended to drink much of it. The beer was just an excuse to hang around the bar area for awhile. Nicolai needed to stay sober and alert.

    "So," he said conversationally. "If I may ask, do you have a plan for the Games? Or are you just going to let your tribute die?"

    The words were spoken casually, but Nicolai's eyes searched the man's face for any hint that his abandonment of Fayth was caused by anguish rather than indifference.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-08-2013 at 07:52 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea
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  2. #2
    Blaine McIntire

    Blaine didn't have high expectations for Fayth. Her being frozen that the girl from Twelve stepped off too soon and got blown up proved that. He recognized the Peacekeeper who approached the bar. He was the one who stopped the boy from One and the girl from Two from making lots of threats. Blaine took a drink of beer and replied to Nicolai dryly.

    "If it wasn't for Adrian's boy, she'd already be screwed."

    Adrian was already kissing everyone's butts, trying to get lots of sponsors for Titus. Playing up that he was there for his family. Blaine was sure that Adrian would use Titus saving Fayth for some angle too. Perhaps he should care more but he only saw himself sending her some bread if she lasted more then a day.

    "Of course, I don't want her to die. She's smart and if she can get to some electronics, she'll show everyone what she showed the Gamemakers."

    He did have some faith that his Tribute could be a wild card in the Games if Fayth wanted to be. If she lasted long enough to put some of his advice to use.

    "What's it to you, anyway?"

    Blaine asked as he continued to drink. One nice thing about the Games, there was plenty of food and booze to go around. He usually needed it since he didn't like watching his tributes die every year.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 04-26-2013 at 02:08 PM.
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  3. #3
    Nicolai McBride

    The brief exchange hadn't yet been enough for Nicolai to make up his mind about Blaine. He took another swallow of his drink, and couldn't help a faint grimace at the cloying flavours that didn't quite mesh. Of course, in the Capitol a beer couldn't just be a beer.

    "I was just curious," he replied with a casual shrug. "The Games are what everyone here is talking about, after all. When I bump into one of the celebrities - a mentor, I mean - I'm not going to make idle conversation about the weather, am I?"

    Of course, there was more to it. This wasn't a mere chance meeting. There didn't have to be more to it, though; Nicolai's explanation was a reasonable one under the circumstances, and he probably wouldn't be the only one to ask it over the course of the event, especially as the freely-flowing alcohol loosened people's lips.

    "I'm just wondering, because it seems like you're right that Hansen could do well. I can't help but notice you aren't doing much to gain her any advantage. From where I'm standing, it looks like you're throwing her away because she wounded your pride. So I was just wondering if you really consider your ego worth someone dying over, or if you have a strategy?"

    It was a confrontational statement, yes - the white Peacekeeper uniform would prevent a brawl from breaking out over it unless Blaine was a complete idiot. Nicolai had to phrase it in such an emotional way to gauge Blaine's reaction, though. If he really cared about his tribute, Nicolai might be able to help him help her. If he was really going to let Fayth die over a slight against his authority, however, Nicolai couldn't jeopardize Gossamer's plan by trusting Blaine with any aspect of it.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-08-2013 at 09:29 PM.
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  4. #4
    Blaine McIntire

    Although the beer was much better at home, Blaine continued to drink it. After a few drinks, he'd forget why he didn't care for Capitol beer. After all, the drinking helped him forget his own time in the Hunger Games. The people had killed to become the victor and the kids he had seen die that he had trained since then.

    "Yeah, that's true."

    Blaine replied with a smirk when Nicolai said that he was a celebrity. He was, he was a victor and the Capitol had played some highlights of his own games before the current one started. Not that Blaine cared to watch, it was hard watching himself kill people. People who should all be about his age but weren't alive anymore, some because of his own actions. Never realizing their dreams...Being in the arena, it was so different then just watching it on the tv. Unless you were a victor, you didn't get it. When Nicolai questioned his strategy with Fayth, Blaine replied.

    "Let me tell you something, I didn't become a victor because my mentor held my hand through it all. I had to survive on my own."

    He had been viewed as the underdog of his own games. No one had wanted him for an alliance and his father told afterwards there were bets of how brutally he'd die in the games. It had been quite a shock around the Capitol and the Districts when he had won.

    "Fayth won't make it if she thinks I can constantly send her things to survive. She has to realize she has to depend on herself in the arena. Gossamer, the twins, Titus, none of them can promise to save her. They'll probably try but Fayth to trust her instincts, trust herself. If she can realize that it and make it out, I'll be the first person to shake her hand."

    He didn't truly hate Fayth. She had pissed him off questioning him but she was a good kid. He certainly didn't think she deserved to die. Although if she thought he thought he didn't care what happened to her, perhaps she'd fight harder to survive. Try to prove he was wrong about her.
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  5. #5
    Nicolai McBride

    "Well, that makes sense," Nicolai replied. "So, it is a strategy after all."

    He was starting to like Blaine more. Maybe this guy was worth talking to after all. But how much could he trust Blaine? Was this man embittered by losing too many tributes he cared about, or was he simply as indifferent as he acted?

    Nicolai decided to take a minor chance. He leaned forward on the pretext of taking a sip of his beer, to avoid the bartender overhearing. The place was almost certainly bugged with listening devices too, but almost everyone here was speculating about Games strategy - if Nicolai didn't draw undue attention to himself, there was no reason those listening in would take his comments as anything more than the same bloviating half the room was doing.

    "There are things she might need, though," he said. "Like wire and cable, lots of it. And a control device to activate one of her traps remotely, or at least the parts to build it. Those things would be expensive. So I would suggest you woo some sponsors, as many as possible as soon as possible. Not that I'm a victor, of course, so take that as my un-expert opinion."

    Nicolai had never been in the arena... but he was from District Two, and the powers that be had tried to recruit him for their experimental weapons program before he closed that door by becoming a Peacekeeper. So Nicolai's "un-expert" opinion wasn't entirely uninformed - and of course, he was the only person besides Gossamer who knew the entire plan.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-09-2013 at 07:00 PM.
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  6. #6
    Blaine McIntire


    Blaine replied and continued to drink his beer. He didn't know if Fayth knew it was a strategy or not. She might truly believe he hated her. He had been angry but got over it. He had to admit to himself he was acting like an ass to her and she hadn't decided to insult him in her interview with Caesar. She could have played him up as an evil villain in her life but instead just said they had different ideas about how to win. He hoped for her sake that trusting Gossamer would work but since his own experience with Careers hadn't been good, he wasn't holding out on that. Of course, as he drank and he let himself think about it, it wasn't truly the Careers' fault. They were doing what they had to to survive, everyone knew whose fault it was that all the people he knew in his Games were dead, why he had seen his tributes die every year. Although no one would ever dare speak that out loud. He didn't have a death wish and victor or not, Blaine was sure the Capitol would have make sure he had an "accident" if he ever spoke badly about them. He was surprised at what Nicolai suggested and glanced over his shoulder to make sure no one was close by as he said quietly into his drink.

    "She has to do more then run around to get that kind of stuff."

    Fayth had to impress the sponsors for those kind of things. She had impressed the Gamemakers with her bomb but she hadn't shown on camera what she could do. Saying what Fayth was capable of wasn't going to get people to drop that type of money. Although...He saw Adrian working on the sponsors and distracted the bartender to get him a complicated drink to keep him occupied before he told Nicolai very quietly.

    "If Adrian and I can sell star crossed lovers to them, then people might support her. Especially since they already seem to love the fact that Titus pushed her to safety."

    That act, seemed to make a few sponsors take notice of Titus. He was clearly in love with the girl that instead of taking an easy kill, he tried to protect her. Blaine wasn't sure how but suddenly he wasn't that interest in just writing Fayth off. Maybe it was the drinks or maybe it was because Nicolai was making him think less of the Tributes he had failed in the past and think about the one in the game. He shrugged as he continued.

    "Of course, Adrian has to get on board with that."

    Which Adrian may be only focused on his own Tribute. Titus wouldn't need Fayth to get him support from some of the sponsors. Some people already liked his story, that he volunteered to better his family's life. Some liked an underdog and they wouldn't need a romance to give Titus things.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 04-09-2013 at 07:47 PM.
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  7. #7
    Nicolai McBride

    Nicolai nodded briskly, but he was pleased that Blaine seemed to be taking his advice. It was hard to know what to say when he couldn't give too much away, and maybe couldn't trust the man in the first place.

    "Of course," he agreed. "You understand that I can't play favourites, so I won't be able to help. I just... think this would be a good idea."

    He stood, leaving his beer unfinished. "Good luck, Blaine. Maybe we'll run into each other again."

    Nicolai would make sure he did, because there was one part of the plan he still needed to work out. Part that would require him to get access to connections in districts besides just Two and One. Because he wouldn't have contact with Gossamer while she was in the arena, this was left entirely in Nicolai's hands.

    He found Adrian next; it wasn't hard. The man was making himself known, working the room and talking to potential sponsors. More like it, Nicolai thought.

    "Going well?" he asked conversationally.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-10-2013 at 06:53 PM.
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  8. #8
    Blaine McIntire

    "Of course not. But there's nothing wrong with advice."

    Blaine replied when Nicolai said he couldn't play favorites. That would be wrong for a Peacekeeper to do. Although his advice about Fayth got Blaine a little more interested. She'd still have to show him and the audience she deserved gifts like that stuff, though. He told Nicolai bye and watched from the bar as Nicolai approached Adrian. Perhaps he and Adrian could come up with a plan to help both their tributes. Although in the end, only one was supposed to win.
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  9. #9
    Adrian Penner

    Unlike Blaine, Adrian wasn't that concerned about the bar. He'd drink later, when he didn't have a Tribute in the arena. He had been playing Titus as an underdog and the backpack he found showed he still was. Lucky and Yvonne wouldn't share what supplies they had with him. There were already bets that Lucky and Yvonne were going to make it to the final two. Not if Adrian had anything say about it. He was trying his best to woo the sponsors when Nicolai came over. Adrian gave him a friendly smile.

    "I got some people interested. One lady's not thrilled with his alliance choice, though."

    She was quite rich but she didn't like that Titus had went with the Careers instead of Gossamer's group. Adrian shrugged since there wasn't much he could do about that. Especially when he had advised Titus to go with them. At first it was to make it easier for him to win, but now he could play the whole protecting Fayth angle...Hopefully they'd see each other more in the arena. He might have to send a message to suggest that...The saving Fayth when the girl from their District died could work to Titus' benefit.

    "Something I can help you with or you trying to get some inside info?"

    Although Peacekeepers weren't supposed to have favorites, Adrian wouldn't be shocked Nicolai was placing some bets under the table. Lots of people bet on the Games.

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  10. #10
    Nicolai McBride

    "I can see why," Nicolai said mildly when Adrian told him a potential sponsor disapproved of his tribute's choice of allies. "The Career Pack is strong, but they'll turn on him eventually. Maybe sooner rather than later."

    They'd already turned on Dora Brighten, after all. The Careers could work together to thin the field, but for the most part they were more determined to emerge as the victor than to protect their allies.

    "Call it curiosity," he replied when Adrian asked the reason for his interest... but Nicolai carefully avoided going so far as to say he didn't want anything from Adrian. That remained to be seen. Titus wasn't one of Gossamer's allies, but his connection to Fayth could make him useful.

    "I'm working security for the Games. It's my first year, so it's all new to me. So far it's been... enlightening. For example, I wonder why Titus made the choice to ally with the Careers rather than with Fayth? Those two seemed to hit it off..."
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