Hey all. If you may recall, I might have mentioned a certain...companion fic to FDTD that I might be doing. Welp, here it is, on April 5th! Also known as the one year anniversary of FDTD's publication date as well as the birthday of Foreseer44, one of my most avid reviewers! Felt this was an apt gift. XD Happy birthday dude.
For those of you who don't know, From Drama To Death was my Total Drama/Hunger Games crossover, and the only one currently complete in the fandom. I would recommend that you read and review that first before reading this. Spoilers and all. And yes, this doubles as a poorly disguised attempt it getting more reviews, thank you very much. XD
This fic will only be five chapters long but my hope for it is to change the way you read FDTD and in general just add more depth.
District 7 Citizen
I have no idea whether the quiet helps me or not.
I knew that she was done for. I knew that she wouldn't want to win. I knew that had she won she'd have never been the same. I knew that we wanted to make a difference. I'm sure that she tried, even though I or any of the districts ever heard anything about it. At least she got Eva to help her. A kind gesture from a seemingly brutal soul. And from a Career, no less. It shows that our efforts weren't for naught. That we did something good for the world.
The evening draws out the insects. It's easier for me to think in the woods during the daytime. Evening just brings itches and discomfort. Stupid feeling in my stomach won't go away, even though it's been over twenty-four hours since it happened. Why won't it leave me alone?
Or maybe, why won't I just cry already?
I let out a deep exhale and stand to my feet. The insects' sounds ring in my ears. At another time I might have found them soothing. Comforting. All I can hear now is noise. I scratch the bites on my arms as I start walking back. Uneasiness. Nothing I do can change the feeling that I'm being watched. That any minute they might come for me.
The feeling in my stomach intensifies for a moment as I see crows circling overhead. A foul smell that I can't identify travels on the wind, setting off my gag reflex. Closing my eyes, I ignore the bruise on my knee as I hobble closer and closer to the stench. I nearly trip over a tree root but keep going, ignoring the pain in my ankle. Something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong here.
I open my eyes and bile rises in my throat. I take an involuntary step back as my head starts to spin.
Lying in a small bog is a rotting corpse. Flies buzz around it, picking and chewing as they please. It is badly mangled and decomposing, but still barely recognizable under my gaze.
His name was Ernest Rivers, Peacekeeper. He was a brutal, dishonest, hypocritical man. Skinny as a scarecrow but had a mean and torturous streak known by all. At least, that's what most people saw. I tried to talk to him and figured out that he'd been bred to be a psychopath from birth. I might have even attempted to...befriend him. Hopefully try to fix him–if not, then just get him on my side. He had merely tolerated me at first but had almost seemed to want to open up to me.
It's too late now. I risk another look at him and note that his uniform is gone. Strange...
It's getting late. I need to get back to town. Curfew is strict and I'm sure the guards would jump at the opportunity to punish me. Bridgette might have not thought things through too well. I love her. She's my best friend. But she often is a bit...naive.
I still can't bring myself to use past tense.
With a resigned sigh I start walking back to town. Another day done, more work tomorrow. I suppose it helps me carry on.
But as I walk back into town and try to wipe the bags out from under my eyes, I start to shiver. Something is off.
Voices shout and scream as people run towards me, or rather away from something else. I furrow my eyebrows in confusion as a woman's shriek pierces through the commotion. What the hell is going on here?
I glance around nervously and pull aside a friend of mine who appears to be hyperventilating. "What happened?" I demand, voice cracking against my will. "What's going on?"
My friend breathes heavily as she looks back to where she'd been running from, then back to me. "Bridgette's parents! Peacekeepers came for them! They beat them and dragged them out of their home and–"
Before she can finish I'm running, and shove her out of the way as I go against the flow of the town. A broad-shouldered man, the baker I think, nearly runs me over in his attempt to escape. I barely manage to dodge, but my foot is trampled in the process. With a yelp I slip out of the way and take some more clandestine routes.
I can't let them be killed. Not so soon after their daughter died.
The sound of gunfire from behind me fills the air and I turn in horror as Peacekeepers block the fleeing villagers. An intercom comes on and I hold my hands to my ears as the feedback nearly bursts my eardrums.
"Cease retreating, and we will not use lethal force. Citizens of District 7, your presence is requested at town square for the execution of Jacob and Melissa Martin. A lesson needs to be taught. Insurrection will always fail. If you attempt to disrupt the natural order, you will be punished."
The intercom shuts off and the noise quiets down. The district lines into formation and I slip in, trying to look for my parents. They don't honestly understand why rebellion is necessary. As far as they're concerned, Panem is their home and any unfair treatment was a small price to pay for security. Even if we barely have enough to eat. Even if shit like this happens and no one does anything about it.
I guess I don't understand them either.
I try to get a glimpse of the Martins on the stage but my lack of height doesn't help things. Slowly but surely the people of the district fall into line in town square. Once the execution begins they'll have the prisoners projected on the screens so that everyone can see the execution.
"What do I do, what do I do..." I mutter under my breath as my chest heaves in and out, my heart beating at a rapid pace.
I can't go up there and try to stop them. That would be suicide. What use would I be dead?
But I can't just let them die...
The silence is stone-cold. The screens turn on and I feel bile rise in my throat. Bridgette's parents are shown on the screen, bound and gagged. Her father is beat up and is clutching a bloody arm, while his wife nurses bruises all over her face and arms.
Is this what was happening while I was out trying to find peace in the woods?
The sound of a gun goes off, shocking the last few whispering members of the crowd into silence. The sun is near gone and the horizon is tinted crimson. It's nearly dark.
The Head Peacekeeper of the district walks onto the stage, gun in hand. With a stony look on his face he takes the microphone and glares out at all of us. "We all know Bridgette Martin's character, don't we?" he said casually, pacing around the stage as he talked. "Levelheaded, kind, forgiving...oh, and a complete dumbass."
"You little piece of..." I begin, growling and clenching my fists. It's all I can do not to try to strangle him. Meekness isn't an option here.
"Anyways, seems as though there's been whispers of rebellion going around," the Peacekeeper notes with a sadistic smile on his face. "If it were up to me I'd just drop some tear gas, maybe let some muttations roam free around here for a few days or so," he says as casually as if he were discussing the weather. "But it seems as though we need to set a specific example," he says, gesturing to the Martins. "Their daughter sacrificed her life to try to disrupt Panem. It's only fair that her family be sacrificed to restore peace."
In no universe does that make sense but I know better than to open my mouth.
The Peacekeeper smiles and holds the gun up to Mr. Martin's head. "We'll start with you. Jacob Martin. Blacksmith. Would be funny to decapitate you with one of your own axes but alas I don't have the time." He grins and savors the tension in the air. "So yeah, bullet to the head sound good to you? Good."
The queasiness in my stomach won't go away.
The Peacekeeper prepares to pull the trigger.
A sniper shot rings out through the crowd and the Peacekeeper falls, blood pouring from his head as he collapses to the ground, gun firing into the air as it clangs against the stage.
Immediately, the entire district dissolves into chaos.
Screams and gunfire fill the air as people once again try to flee. A tall woman shoves me out of the way and sends me crashing to the ground, where feet trample and run over me. I cry out, trying to get up. I look on the screen to see that the Martins are no longer on the stage.
People start attacking the Peacekeepers and trying to overpower them. In some cases they are successful but the machine guns are too much. They're mowed down easily. I run for the border, remaining out of the way of the Peacekeepers and the pull of the crowd.
It pays to know the ins and outs of the district as well as I do.
I turn my head to make sure no one is following me, but as I look back a figure crashes into me, sending my aching body to the tile ground. I pant heavily as I try to regain myself. I'm not exactly physically active.
I look up to see Mrs. Martin gasping for breath, the gag around her neck. "Dawn?" she exclaims worriedly.
"Mrs. Martin!" I say. "We need to get out of here! Follow me, PLEASE!"
"Where are we going–"
I ignore her, instead trying to drag her past the edge of the town into the forest. The Peacekeepers' attention are elsewhere. We should be in the clear.
I scream as gunfire trails behind me.
"Hey! Dumb bitch is getting away!"
I curse under my breath. They'll come after us into the woods now. "We have to hurry!" I try to sprint even faster despite my fatigue, and the two of us reach the woods and continue running through the fog.
It's fully night now. Fog seeps against the ground and my stomach turns as I realize that they could unleash poison gas into the woods if they wanted to and no one would know the difference until it's too late. But would they go through that much trouble just to kill two runaways?
I don't have a way to be sure.
My stamina is worn out and it takes all my willpower and a rush of adrenaline to keep me moving away from danger. We zigzag through the trees, trying to shake them and confuse them enough that they'll give up. Part of me knows that it won't work but it's all we can do to try.
"What now?" she whimpers to herself and I realize with a jolt that she's deferring to me. To me. I'm not a leader...I always thought of myself as a mediator. An actual peacekeeper, not like the brutal guards of the district..
"I don't know," I reply with just as much uncertainty.
We stumble into a clearing and immediately realize it was a mistake. The sound of guns cocking is the only thing I can hear as the Peacekeepers slowly walk into the clearing, surely ready to shoot us.
I sigh and close my eyes. I welcome it.
The voice comes from one of the Peacekeepers, the one in front. He steps forward and motions for his fellow soldiers not to fire. "Don't shoot!"
"What's the deal here?" one of the other soldiers replies. "We came out to kill them! Why aren't we killing them?"
"New orders," the man in front says, keeping his gun trained on us. I move my eyes around and count five soldiers, four of them looking exasperated with the one in charge. "We're to take them back and torture them, clear? They made fools out of us and we need to make them pay."
"I didn't receive no orders," one of them grumbles, advancing closely. "Are you sure you're right in the head, Rivers?"
I tense, my mind flashing back to the body in the bog.
"Rivers" moves closer and keeps us at gunpoint. "Put your hands in the air. Now." Shaking, the two of us oblige. Rivers sighs. "Wouldn't be keeping you alive if I didn't have to."
"Are you sure?" I ask confusedly.
"Well..." he begins, helmet obscuring his face as he looks down at me. Surprisingly, he's not that much taller than me.
"Sir!" one of the other soldiers says. "One of the other soldiers just reported in! Apparently the sniper rifle used to kill the executioner had been remotely triggered! No one was there!"
"You'd be right about that," Rivers mutters. He tenses. "Means that whoever did this knew exactly where the executioner was going to stand and set up the rifle to fire at the exact time. That means that the intruder could be anywhere! You two, go together and search for him!"
"Yes sir!" two of the men reply immediately, leaving "Rivers" and two others with us.
The soldier on the left slams me in the face with his rifle, sending me sputtering to the ground. The other fires a round into my friend's mother, letting out a scream.
It takes physical control to stop myself from attacking him. I've been having that problem a lot today.
Rivers looks at him in what I can only assume to be disapproval despite the fact that his face is still covered. "I didn't say to do that."
"She's still alive, right sir?" the soldier laughs.
Rivers grumbles and turns his head.
"Gotta be careful," he says. "Don't want to mess this up, right–"
The sound of gunfire fills the air and male screams can be heard. The two guards turn.
"What the hell was that?" the guard who pinned me down asks, keening his helmeted head.
A laugh escapes "Rivers."
"That's not your biggest problem right now."
With a single, swift motion, the impostor Peacekeeper slams his gun into the guard holding Mrs. Martin, breaking his visor and sending him to the ground. Before the guard holding me can fire, the impostor beats him to the punch, firing off a round right into his chest.
The guard crumples to the ground, dead.
"What?" I exclaim, voice cracking. I turn my head back and forth as Mrs. Martin chokes for air while applying pressure to the wound in her stomach. I turn to "Rivers."
"Who are you? What are you doing? What's going on here?"
"Wait, hold on," he replies, and takes off his helmet. Underneath is a face that might have once been attractive, with long greasy brown hair and a face shining with sweat.
"Who...are you, exactly?"
The renegade grins as gunfire goes off in the distance. "My name is Agent Shawn Miller. I'm a part of an underground resistance faction aiming to eventually take down the Capitol. Hope you don't mind the rescue."
President of Panem
Castor Antonius POV
The most common misconception of running a government is that the ruler's word is law. Not exactly the most logical of reasoning, considering the volatile position–the cutthroat politics involved in this country. I have outlasted many of my contemporaries through manipulation, bribery, and sheer luck. No, my word is not immediately law once it leaves my mouth, despite my authoritarian grip on this nation. Politicians are rarely obedient, and always conniving. They will hound me every step of the way.
Which is why there are perks to being in charge, e.g. being able to remove any threat to my authority without any complaint or inquiry. It's a blessing, really.
I suppose I just contradicted my own thoughts in the space of a few seconds.
I pull the trigger on my gun. Click. No bullet inside.
The gun is a fascinating item for me. I like to tinker with it. Such a crude mashing of metal and parts formed to form a device that creates death. And the imagery that is associated with it. Choose any random citizen. Point a gun at their head and they will be afraid. They know what the device is capable of doing. It's been bred into them. This is normal human behavior. We come to expect death when all it takes is the flick of a finger to end a life.
The fear of death is a greater shackle on our minds than death itself.
Fear keeps people in line.
So why are these people not afraid?
I pull the trigger again. Nothing happens. I only keep one bullet in my gun at all times. Tends to keep people on their toes about disappointing me. Granted, it becomes tiring to reload the chamber every time. And having to wipe the blood off the floor when someone crosses me one time too many. Pity, pity.
The door opens and Jo Smith walks inside stiffly. I allow a knowing smirk to spread across my face at the understanding between us that will never be verbalized or made known, but will ensure that she remains with the Peacekeepers until she is no longer necessary.
At which point, she will have to be killed. But such is the nature of things. He (or she) who dies young and early certainly cuts off many years of fearing death.
The Victor tucks her hands behind her back, seemingly indifferent to all around her.
I pull up a clip of the sniper shot that took out the Peacekeeper just before the execution of Melissa and Jacob Martin, then the ensuing chaos and riots. The scene changes to the point of view of a Peacekeeper as they corner the peasant girl before...nothing. The screen shuts off and it is silent in the room for a moment as Jo and I meet one anothers' eyes.
"Rebellion cannot be tolerated," I say simply. "These Games...are inciting rebellion, despite the efforts to the contrary."
Jo noticeably hesitates before she speaks. "Should Chris McLean be fired? Or executed?"
I lean back calmly. "No. He didn't control or order Bridgette and DJ's execution. I was visited by someone who made the matter much more clear to me."
I chuckle. "Scarlett Viviane came to me, informed me that McLean had no idea what he was doing. That she was the one who ordained their execution."
"Sounds to me like she just dug her own grave if there was still rebellion," Jo notes with a sense of irony. "She wants the credit for this riot?"
I shake my head. "No. Scarlett is an asset...I am, however, keeping close tabs on her. I don't trust her, but I prefer her management to McLean's. I'm personally considering firing him if he can't get his act together."
Jo bites her lip. "So what do I do...sir?"
I make sure to look her in the eyes so that she is as uncomfortable as possible. "Do your job." I pull up a projection of Dawn Raleigh, Cameron Wilkins, and Melissa Martin. "Bring them in and make an example of them. Or else you'll be the example. Clear?"
Jo nods, seemingly apathetic. "Yes sir. I'll call Rudolph."
"As you should," I reply politely. "That will be all, thank you dear."
I discern a visible tensing of her muscles as she turns and leaves. Possibly afraid of me shooting her in the back. I can't imagine why. She's useful to me.
I smirk as I pull up a file of McLean. The bastard thinks he can fool me. He orchestrated his predecessor's demise. I know that much. But I do not honestly care.
Because his predecessor killed the one who came before him.
And that one had killed the one that came before him.
I have a feeling that the pattern will continue.
I lean back in my chair and close my eyes.
Chris McLean. Scarlett Viviane. Jo Smith. Jose Burromuerto.
As cliche as it is to say, they're pawns. Funny little creatures constantly plotting against each other, constantly at each others throats.
It's cute, really.
I pull the trigger, and the shot leaves a hole in the wall. I hold the metal close to my face, sighing as I examine the smoking device. I set it down.
It says something about how used to it my employees are that no one even bats an eye.
The door opens again and Hatchet walks in, papers in hand. I smile warmly and wave to the battle-scarred man. I like Hatchet. He's been here quite a while. Fought in the war as a soldier before becoming a Gamemaker. He has a code of ethics and is capable of reigning McLean in to some extent.
"Hatchet!" I say cheerfully. "Pleasure to see you. You have papers for me?"
He nods and sets them down. "More reports of the riots in Districts 7 and 11. The people involved don't match any known criminal records."
I look down and examine the blurry shots that we got of the criminals. "Are they part of this...insurrection?"
Hatchet cracks his knuckles, face blank. "Doubt it. They'd have more backing. Seems as though they relied on distraction and guile to get things done." He points to the sniper shot. "They set up a single sniper rifle to fire itself at exactly where the executioner would be standing. Then they relied on the chaos to get the Martins and Raleigh out of there. Granted, Mr. Martin was killed but the other two are still out there. They're smart. But I think they're not backed by the resistance."
I nod in approval. "Your tactical expertise will prove useful, Hatchet," I say. "I've sent Jo out. She'll be leaving within one or two days. Might have to stick around in case her tribute makes it past Day 7. Interviews and all. Rudolph, or Lightning, whatever, is going to beat them to the punch in District 11. You got me?"
Hatchet nods. "Sir, what do you think they want with these...civilians?"
I lean forward. "I'm not generally one to talk about classified intel, Hatchet. But because you're the only Gamemaker to have had this job all twenty-three years these glorious Games have been in motion, I think that I can make an exception."
Hatchet doesn't visibly react to this. He's stoic, and I appreciate him for that. I can tell him anything and feel like he'll make the best of the information. "Go on."
"I think you might be wrong about them not being with the resistance," I yawn. "I think that they want a figurehead. They don't care about the girl. They just want an excuse to fight back." I stand to my feet, opening my drawer and pulling out a bullet. "They're just as selfish as we are."
"They believe they're doing what's right," Hatchet says cautiously.
I scoff. "What's right is unimportant. All that matters is keeping order. But regardless, get me proof that they're working alone, and I will believe you. Thank you, Hatchet. That will be all."
The Gamemaker nods. "You're welcome. Sir."
With that he walks out the door, leaving me to my own devices.
I smile calmly.
One way or another, everything will fall back into place.
If you are reading this, then that means that you cracked a code created by some of the brightest minds the Capitol had to offer.
Emphasis on "had," considering these scientists defected to the insurrection and are dead now.
Anyways, congratulations. You undoubtedly are very gifted in the art of technology, and aren't loyal to the Capitol. Which makes us friends!
For a while now I've wondered what lies over the ocean.
We set out on our voyage today.
I'm not sure how to feel about it, to be honest.
The ocean has always been an indomitable force. The floods supposedly destroyed everything, leaving Panem and Panem alone as a beacon of hope.
At least, that's what we were taught to believe and have always believed.
Then again, they are renowned liars.
So what reason do we have to believe that other civilizations didn't survive the collapse?
The insurrection dismissed my wonderings with laughter. They had "more important things" to take care of.
My crew is ready to go. My ship is ready to sail.
Of course, because we didn't have the insurrection's backing, our ship isn't as good as it could have been and the voyage will take a lot longer. Glad I'm leaving them behind.
I plan to preserve these pages and transmit them back to Panem on an encoded radio frequency. I trust the scientists to have taken care of all the details.
For now, this is merely a way to record my thoughts and documents in case the insurrection decides that they don't need us either and make us "disappear."
If this is the final transmission that you receive, assume that we died with our mission incomplete.