Atmos Valentine

Master of Ceremonies


The interviews are often one of the most important moments during the pre-games, with the most important one being the reaping recap. The interviews let the capitol know the tributes, where their personalities solidify. This is where the tributes turn from still images on the silver screen into actual people the capitol can root for and a story can start to take shape.

I stare into the mirror, mixing with my blue hair to make sure it looks exactly right.

I'm young, or at least to be a master of ceremonies. I have heard that more times than I can count. It's true, but I don't see why that would be a problem. I achieved this position for a reason. I have the charisma, ambition, intelligence, and confidence. On top of that, a few tricks up my sleeve to secure my spot.

No one nice wins the games. It doesn't only apply to the hunger games, but the political games in the capitol. The entire hunger games are a catalyst for schemes and positions of power, another game that you have to play if you want to survive.

It was something I learned early on, and something I have mastered over the few years I have wandered through the political forest. It's the survival of the fittest, which doesn't necessarily have to be bad. As long as you're one of the strong of course.

"Are you ready?" I hear my assistant ask me behind my back.

I finish buttoning up my iconic starry-sky tuxedo and flash a smile at myself in the mirror. My perfect teeth glitter and I can almost feel my blue eyes pierce through the thin sheet of glass. I know I'm attractive, something I have learned to use. But damn, I look good.

"More than ready to rock this show."


"Wow, Blush is making sure that this evening is starting with a bang! What a beautiful dress you're dressed in!"

"Well, thank you, Mr. Valentine. While I do appreciate your compliments, I do hope this interview won't be all about my exterior."

"Of course, of course. Well, let's begin with something I think everyone has been itching to know: we all know that careers have been… unconventional. Are you worried that the weakened state will impact you during the games?"

"Oh, I think this is in my favor. You'll see when we get into the games."

"Ah, you're being mysterious! I love it! But I wonder, will you be as mysterious if I would ask you about District 1?"

"I don't think it's important to focus on something so trivial like my home. It is now that matters. You won't get far in life otherwise."

Blush continues the interview the same way, constantly dodging any question about her home life and the games. Thankfully she does it so smoothly that it isn't particularly noticeable. Usually, this leaves me grasping for straws, but Blush is able to take control of the conversation and spends most of the interview discussing her free day and the capitol in general.


"Welcome, Remus!"

"Hello."

"Now, we all know that District 1 is known for its luxury, but I do hope that the capitol has been satisfying enough!"

"Well, my stay has been congenial, to say the least."

"What?"

"It has been comfortable if that's what you meant."

Opposite to his district partner, Remus has proven to be a challenge. He usually answers my questions with one word and since I can neither talk about the games or his home life, according to the report, I find myself soon struggling to find a subject we can talk about. However, towards the end of the interview, I'm able to hype his "dark horse" vibe up, as his offhand comment about how he is going to ravage the arena makes the audience crazy.


"Thank you for joining us, Casey! Now, as we understood, you're a mute, nothing wrong with that at all! So, if I'm correct, you will be talking with your tablet there right?"

"Yes."

"Wow, that's quite intriguing! Now, we all were excited when your 10 popped up next to you on the television screen. If I may, can I ask you what you did to achieve such a feat?"

"I can shoot arrows. Accurately."

"That's an advantage if I have ever seen one! Now, tell me, what is your plan when you finally meet a tribute in the arena?"

My question causes Casey to grin like a madman, before gesturing with her hands breaking a twig. I gulp.

The interview goes quite easily, which is surprising considering I have to tiptoe around anything that might trigger her. Casey is more than compliant to describe how she will tear through the arena, being especially vivid in her description of how she will kill the careers. I start thinking that putting a target on her isn't the best interview strategy, so while the capitol roars in thunderous applause when her interview ends I can't help but feel relieved.


"Welcome, Roark! Please, make yourself comfortable"

"O-Okay."

"You don't have to be shy! If it helps, think it as it's just us two sitting in a room, m'kay?"

"I can try, but-"

"Now that's the spirit! I'm sure everyone's heart broke when the horrible incident happened during the reaping, but I'm curious about how your life is in Two. I'm almost always interviewing powerhouses who have devoted their lives to the hunger games."

Roark starts describing how his parents divorced because he didn't want to train in the academy, which is a bit less heartwarming than I was going for. The audience is eating it up though, so I let him continue. He often stutters and more than once it looks like he's about to break out in tears, clearly uncomfortable with so many eyes on him, so I make sure to cut him off and talk about the taste of ice cream or something like that. Eventually, he gains some confidence and ends the interview by talking about his interests, skating, and hiking, which intrigues the audience. Overall it's a success, as he did exactly what he had to.


"Please welcome Lana, the first part of the dramatic sibling pair we have today!"

"Well, I wouldn't call it dramatic, since we both easily agree with each other-"

"Thank you for clearing that up for us Lana, I've heard you're quite smart!"

"You tell me about it. If I didn't have to quit school because of economic reasons I would have graduated with top grades, I'll tell you."

"Six powered to three?"

"Two hundred sixteen."

I quickly realize that talking about math is quite boring, and I can almost hear the audience snoring, so I try to change the subject. However, I quickly realize that Lana is devoted to being as reserved as possible about anything that isn't school or her brother. It doesn't help that her stuck-up attitude is getting me on the nerves. But towards the end, I'm able to make her crack and confess how much her brother means to her, racking up some sympathy points.


"That is certainly one of the best costumes we have seen tonight Thomas!"

"Thank you. I thought it fit if I say so myself."

"You truly do! I think all siblings can understand how much you can trust a sister and brother. So, do you think you have an advantage by going into the arena with such an unbreakable bond?"

"Maybe, but it's mostly a curse. No advantage is good enough for me to ever wish to enter the game with my sister."

"Of course! It must be horrible for both of you! I'm guessing Lana means a lot to you?"

"She is my everything. She has always been there for me and I trust that she always will be."

Almost all I and Thomas talk to is Lana, which is intentional. His sister is his trump card, something I intend to use to its full extent. Thomas was noticeable irritated that his time to shine was centered around Lana, as it was clear that he had prepared for this moment. A few times Thomas is able to take control of the conversation, in which I let him talk freely. He's skilled with words and charms the audience about his story of his dead mother. When he leaves the stage a good portion of the audience is sobbing, so I consider this interview a success.


"Welcome to the show, Emerald!"

"Well, that's a lot of people."

"It's the biggest event of the year! Of course, everyone would be flocking to see our tributes! We all know that you were reaped, but you surprised us all when you were able to snatch an 8 in training."

"I'm not incompetent. I'm still a career, reaped or not."

"Well, you haven't given a reason to doubt you yet. I can't help but think how powerful you would have been if you had been given another year to hone your skills."

"Sorry to disappoint you, but I wasn't planning on volunteering. Not since I learned that Rayan poisoned my brother so he could take his spot."

Everything becomes silent, as I'm left speechless in the middle of my sentence. The tension is so thick that I could cut it with a knife, but I'm quickly able to defuse it by asking her about her favorite meal in the capitol. She gladly answers my question, like she didn't just make an outrageous claim on her mentor. Well, it was true, something most "fans" of the hunger games know. Rayan tends to be quite talkative when he is sleeping around in the capitol, and then the gossip spread like a wildfire. But I can't see this ending well. Thankfully the rest of the interview goes quite normally, even if the crowd is silent when she leaves.


"Are you ready to rock the night Alexi?"

"I sure hope I am. It would be awkward if I didn't."

I chuckle. "We all hope so. But that's a nice sea-green suit you have there! Did you choose it yourself or?"

"Nah, they told me that it would fit "my eyes", but I don't understand the color sea green. The sea is blue, or rather turquoise, trust me, I know, it's not green. If your sea is green, there is something wrong with it."

"Truer words have never been spoken! But I think it's quite the beautiful color, certainly better than the lighthouses you were dressed in during the parade."

"Dude, the lighthouses were hilarious. Way more creative than most of the other costumes. People are such buzzkills sometimes."

We both laugh, which gets the audience going. I let Alexi take control of the interview, simply bouncing questions with him, which is exactly in his element. He is able to constantly weave in jokes that make the audience double down in laughter as he tells everything the capitol wants to hear. He explains his life, his friends, his time in school. I suspect he over exaggerates on quite a few things, especially when he talks about how he won the knife-throwing championship (I doubt a competition like that even exist) three times in a row, but the audience eats it up and he does it so smoothly I play his game. Alexi ends his interview by briefly going over his time in the capitol and assures the audience that the pack is still a contender despite its weakened state.


"Glad that you could join us, Winchester!"

"To be fair, I didn't have a choice."

"Why wouldn't you want to have this opportunity? This evening is your chance to put your mark in history and collect crucial help for the arena!"

"Guess it makes sense. Sorry. I shouldn't have said that."

"No worries. Stage fright is a problem for everyone. Hell, I pissed my pants the first time I had to talk in front of the class!" The audience bursts out in laughter at my joke. "Enough talking about embarrassing memories, we have so much to talk about these next exciting days!"

"Why the fuck would death would be exciting?"

Winchester rubbed me the wrong way from the start, even more, when she immediately apologized after. I knew instantly that this was going to be a challenge; it doesn't help when I don't like the tribute and the tribute themselves are rather reserved. I'm not able to get much of Winchester, other than a few sarcastic comments whenever I stepped too far, which doesn't help her. The highlight of the interview is when I'm able to get her to tell me about her life and work on her train, which instantly piques the audience's interest. Sadly it doesn't last long and despite how much I try the interview ends in this evening's second failure.


"Klaus!"

"Atmos!"

"Not sure what to respond to that!"

"I have no fucking clue! I just want to have a bit of fun before I'm getting gutted by the girl from 2!"

"Not a lot of self-confidence I see!"

"Just a realist! Life is too short to believe that you will be more irrelevant than an ant in the big picture, so you just have to enjoy the drugs and hookers on the way."

The interview with Klaus is… bizarre to say the least. I certainly didn't expect the drug-addicted wacko from 5 to be easier to talk to then his district partner. It goes extremely smoothly, but it constantly feels like I'm doing something wrong. We bounce questions off each other, Klaus making so dirty jokes that I'm not sure that's allowed to be televised, but the highlight of the interview is when he tells his over-the-top backstory that everyone knows is for shits and giggles. The story goes from him disarming three gangsters at the age of three and learning how his mother is the long lost daughter to President Snow. Both the content and the way he presents it makes the audience roar in laughter. However, towards the end, Klaus suddenly double downs and groans, probably an effect of the withdrawal. I try to change the subject, but he instantly makes a joke about it at his own expense, which I guess is a good way of handling it.


"Welcome, Suri!"

"Thank you, Atmos. There is actually something I want to say-"

"I'm sure it's quite important, but let's start with something simple to not overwhelm the audience. Did you know that you can tell a lot about a person from their taste of ice cream? I have always enjoyed vanilla-"

"-as you probably know I have sacrificed myself to burn down the capitol to the ground."

"Many think vanilla is boring, but it's a taste! Much better than chocolate in my opinion-"

"I will die in the games, and that's okay. I'm just happy I was able to outsmart my oppressors and had the chance to relay the statement that things have now been set in motion."

Two armed peacekeepers instantly rush in and grab Suri. She is roughly escorted away from the stage, surprisingly not resisting, despite the guards dragging her away. I shake my head in disappointment. What a fucking mess this has developed into. If they only had listened to my advice and skipped her interview, but noooo they had to make sure that everything went as smoothly as possible to not give the rebels any fuel. Now, look at what that ended. Well, it's not my problem anymore. My job is the interviews and there was nothing I could do to stop her. Other people are more qualified to clean up this mess.


"Keaton, please take a seat!"

"Wow, that's a lot of people."

"I know, it's exciting, isn't it? So many people have their eyes on you and you alone, but I'm guessing you aren't used to attention?"

"Nah, I usually just keep to myself and my writing-"

"Oh? Writing? That sounds exciting! Care to tell us?"

Keaton goes on a tangent about his stories, so I can just sit back and let him talk. Sadly, it doesn't last long, which is a shame since the audience was starting to become very invested in his hobby when he suddenly becomes ashamed of it and refuses to say anything more when I try to ask him. I try to ask him about his home life and is able to get him talking about his parents and friends. I quickly realize that this was a mistake, as he almost tears up when he talks about his family's poor economic situation and his lacking ability to find friends. I almost breathe out in relief when the buzzer rings to signal the end of his interview. The audience is still in shock after the Suri incident, so after Keaton's lackluster interview he leaves in silence.


"Let us welcome one hell of a powerhouse of a tribute, Olivia Ashford!"

"Please Atmos, you're putting too high expectations on me."

"Well, do you doubt you won't be able to fulfill them with that axe of yours?"

"I don't doubt I'm one of the strongest challengers in the arena, but you can never be sure."

"Impressive! Everyone loves someone humble. You won't be going down because of overconfidence in the arena at least!"

"Probably not."

Olivia keeps the reactive approach for the rest of her interview, which scores big points for the audience. All she had to do was really to just show up and not cry or something embarrassing like that, her muscles doing the job good enough. She tries to keep her answers short and concise, while still coming off as laid-back and relaxed. I can see that this is not her element, but I'm surprised that she is able to keep it together so smoothly. Only the constantly darting icy blue eyes reveal her inner stress. Olivia is also able to chime in a few comments about her fighting skill and strength, coming off as confident; the audience eats it up. When the buzzer rings the audience explodes in thunderous applause.


"You don't have to introduce me, everything my fans need to know is that the future victor just walked up on stage!"

"Wow, we love a tribute with confidence! Can we count on you to have the skill to match?"

"Dude, these losers are going to be destroyed. I have learned from the very best; literally, nothing can stop me."

"So do you have any comment on the seven you got in training?"

"A stupid fucking mistakes of the failures that are supposed to be "gamemakers". Most of them are probably blind too. I deserved at least a ten, trust me, I'll show you in the arena. And aren't you supposed to be helping me? Why are you trying to put me against the wall? Who the fuck do you think you are?"

At that moment, I knew that I would hit this brat. Indeed, I have concluded that Quintin is one of the worst teenagers I have ever had the pleasure to interview. Everything that comes out of his mouth has something to do with how he is the strongest, greatest, and the sexiest. Whenever I say something a bit proactive he instantly fires back with an insult. In the end, I give up and just let him gas himself up; it all went easier that way even if it was one hundred times more obnoxious. I believe the crowd eventually gets fed up with his bullshit, and let's just say that his reception when the buzzer rings weren't the most positive. It doesn't help either that he flips the audience off, to which he is met with boos.


"Pleasure to meet you, Noelle!"

"Oh god, I never thought I would meet you in person!"

"Out of all things I expected, I certainly didn't expect to meet a fan! So peculiar of you."

"Oh, I just love everything with the capitol. The fashion, the buildings, the food, ugh… it's just so beautiful!"

"I'm so happy to hear that! I'm guessing an improvement from District 8?"

"Totally. I do miss my friends; I wouldn't leave them for anything even if I moved to the capitol."

Noelle starts telling the story about her friends and family, how she lives a normal but charming life in District 8. About halfway through her story, I start to suspect it isn't exactly the truth; too many holes and inconsistencies. But she is so endearing I play along. After that, she starts gushing about the capitol and all its beauty. I have watched almost all interviews that have ever been done in the hunger games and have participated in dozens of them; it's pretty clear that her love for the capitol is fake, a scheme to get sponsors. But as usual, I'm impressed by Noelle's act, and try to hype her as much as possible. When she leaves I had started to get fond of the girl, which the audience apparently has too because of their wild reaction when the buzzer rings.


"Young tributes usually don't make it far, but I have heard that we can expect something different from you Evander?"

"I won't cuddle up and start crying as soon as the gong sounds if that's what you mean. I'm here to win."

"Those words are unusual for a twelve-year-old! Any ace up your sleeve that you can use to live up to your claims?"

"Yes."

"Care to share it with us?"

"No. Also, please just call me Ever. No one calls me Evander."

It doesn't matter how determined or surprisingly mature Ever is, in the eyes of an entertainer he is one thing; boring as hell. The crowd doesn't want to see a collected and confident kid; they want those who can create drama, those who can drive the story onwards. Ever chugs through the rest of the interview almost like a robot, telling us about everything about his life and work in District 8. I must admit, his family life with his 4 brothers is quite endearing, but he tells it in such a concise and robotic way I almost feel like I want to fall asleep. That's why he is taken farewell with a hearty farewell from the audience. Guess the crowd likes a kid who actually seems to have a head on his shoulder.


"While I don't think anyone knew of the name Dania before the reaping, but I think everyone recognized her surname! Welcome Dania Whicker, daughter to the renowned musician Ruben Whicker!"

"I'm so glad you recognized him! He is such an underrated artist and he deserves so much more praise-"

"Let's not make this all about someone else. I have heard that you have strived for a career in music yourself."

"Of course! Where else would I go? I have even written a few songs myself. Want to hear them?"

"How can I answer that with anything but please do!"

Like she already had done this a hundred times she starts softly singing while strumming on the acoustic guitar she has taken with her on the stage. The song takes up a good part of the interview, but when she is finished she is met with roaring applause. The rest of the interview we discuss music and mostly, her father Ruben Whicker. I notice that she intentionally never mentions anything about the games, but I understand. No reason to discuss your weaknesses when you literally have a sponsor magnet you can gas up. The audience claps for at least 2 minutes straight when the buzzer strings, which is surprising even for a successful interview. Guess there a lot of Ruben-fans in this crowd.


"Wow, this place is just so beautiful."

"I'm so happy that you think that Anthony! I had a hand in decorating this studio."

"Then you truly did a great job. I just wish Melody was with me to see this."

"Melody? I'm guessing a loved one from home? Maybe even a lover?"

"Oh no hahaha she's my sister, but she is still one of the most important people to me in my life. If I win, I would take her with me when I mentor just to show her the capitol and all its beauty."

The core of Anthony's interview is just his sister, which he spends the majority talking about. While he tells me all the moments he had with his sister he makes sure to complement the capitol as much as possible, constantly giving comments on what he wants to show Melody when he visits the capitol and what he finds beautiful with it. It works, as I can hear multiple people in the audience sobbing. I'm impressed by his way with words, constantly cracking jokes that get genuine laughter even from myself. Anthony makes sure to cement that he will be one hell of a force to be reckoned with, not wasting a minute to flex his muscles. The buzzer rings and he leaves with large applause to no one's surprise.


"It's such a pleasure to have you here Mabel! Have you enjoyed your stay in the capitol so far?"

"No."

"I'm sorry to hear that. I can hope at least that the food was good. I know for sure that the best chefs of the capitol have pushed their limits!"

"Yes."

"Any favorite meal you have in mind?"

"No."

It's literally like talking to a rock. I try my hardest, but it's impossible to get anything out of her. It's clear that she wants nothing to do with me and just wants to get away from the stage; don't doubt that if I could I would stop this interview early I would have smashed that buzzer two minutes ago. However, at the end of the interview, I start to get desperate and gasping for straws, I ask her about the parade. Then she lights up and starts going on a tangent about horses. It's quite endearing how passionate she talks about the horses, almost so it makes up for the failure of the interview. Almost.


"We are all excited to hear from you, Paul!"

"Hello..."

"I think all of us were surprised when you scored a 6 in training! Quite a feat for a twelve-year-old! Care to spill your secrets."

"I- Sorry, but-"

"What?"

"There must be more money."

I'm not sure if it's me, the audience, or Paul himself that is more confused by that statement. Paul flinches, like someone just punched him, before blinking quickly and looking around confused. I carefully ask him a few innocent questions, which he answers completely fine. But as the interview progresses he keeps repeating that phrase, and he constantly looks like people are yelling at him. Frustrated by how this interview is progressing, I decided to do a risky move and ask him if there's anything wrong. To my surprise, he answers that he's just annoyed by the voices. I can almost feel everyone let out their breath, now that it's clear that he simply just have schizophrenia. I feel bad for him, he won't make it far, but relieved when his interview ends; too much of a minefield for my taste.


"Please, make yourself comfortable Willow!"

"Thanks! This day has been so fun!"

"That is amazing to hear! I guess that the capitol has impressed you so far?"

"Impressed? That's an understatement. It has been such an amazing experience so far, especially with my friends."

"Everything's better with friends. I have heard quite a bit about your alliance, want to tells us about them?"

"Of course! Wilson is super cool and strong. Winchester is so nice, she is always patient with us-"

Willow continues to ramble on about her alliance, clearly very passionate about them. I feel like I learned more about Winchester from Willow than from her interview, and she can hype Wilson up even more. Eventually, I have to stop her so the crowd can actually learn something about her instead of just her allies. I ask about her home life, where we learn about her normal carefree life and her love for animals. Unfortunately, I ask her about her family, when she mentions that her step-sister has died in a former hunger games. She almost looks like she is about to cry, instantly ruining the happy mood and I silently curse at myself. However, when the buzzer rings she gains quite a lot of applause, probably from sympathy.


"Welcome, Wilson!"

"Nice to meet you too."

"How has your experience been in the capitol so far?"

"It has been great, but the showers are weird."

I chuckle. "How so?"

"Because everyone loves it when it goes from Antarctica to Sahara when you press one button."

For the first few seconds I'm dumbfounded, but Wilson smiles and the audience bursts out in laughter, so I laugh with them. Wilson throws another joke and the interview starts picking up speed. I soon get used to his constant sarcasm, and while it would have been tiring after a while Wilson delivers it in such a joking manner it never feels ill-willed. He starts talking about his alliance, which coincidentally leads him to his homelife after he mentions that he worked with loading the trains and in that way had known Winchester before. I can feel the audience instantly become more than intrigued and Wilson is well received once he leaves.


"Welcome, Kris! Now, our friend here is genderfluid, so are there any special pronouns you want us to use tonight?"

"Just she and her this time."

"Great! Back when the scores were revealed, I almost fell out of my chair when I saw your Seven! That's extremely impressive for a twelve-year-old!"

"Thanks, I'm not dead meat. I'm nimble, intelligent, and I'm ready to do what it takes."

"I wouldn't expect anything less than you! I guess we can expect some surprises in the arena?"

"You can count on it."

The entire interview is just me and Kris hyping her up. I try to carefully ask her about District 12, but she glares at me and I quickly change back to talking game strategy. We talk about hiding places, what mistakes former tributes did, and the best way to quickly kill a tribute that has a size advantage. A bit morbid discussing murder and arteries with a twelve-year-old, but the capitol eats it up. Kris plays her part well, remaining confident and down-to-business. The buzzer rings and the crowd explodes in applause, to which she smiles before she leaves.


"Don't be shy Forren! Welcome to the show!"

"..."

"So how has your experience been so far in the capitol?"

"..."

"Forren?"

The audience bursts out in laughter, which causes Forren to tense up even more; like a deer in the headlight. I pity him, but I can't help but want this interview to be over as soon as possible. I let him calm down, and then try to ask him about his favorite meal. He stares at me like I just told him to jump off the platform, and after carefully testing him I realize that he only answers by either nodding or shaking his head. I ask him yes-or-no questions for the rest of the interview, which makes the 5 minutes bearable. A rather anti-climatic ending to tonight, but overall, I would consider this a job well done; except Suri and Emerald of course.

But that's someone else problem.


Interviews are done! One more chapter until the bloodbath. Quite exciting if I say so myself.

Quick shoutout to Alexfalton for reviewing; I truly appreciate it. And also a mention for Criss for still sticking with the story :).

Next up is The Last Night and the Morning Before, with Blush and Dania.