23 Cannons: The 69th Annual Hunger Games.

24 tributes are reaped by the Capitol to enter the 69th Hunger Games, marking the end of the sixth decade of Games. And as they all prepare for the fight of their lives, none of them know the true extent of the twists that will face them in the arena. With rebels, liars, and killers thrown into a deadly arena governed by power-mad Gamemaker, who will live to hear every one of the twenty three cannons sound out?


19. Showtime

"Good evening, Panem!" The famous voice of Hunger Games announcer Caesar Flickerman rang out as he took to the stage. His maroon colour scheme was pristine; not a single detail had been overlooked. The crowd erupted in applause as he smiled and waved. "Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favour!"

The crowd went wild as Caesar sat down on one of the two seats on the stage. He flashed his trademark grin, drinking in the cheers. "Now, this evening, we have a very special treat in store! Are you ready to meet the tributes for the sixty ninth annual Hunger Games?" The screaming and cheering was unbearably loud. "Because tonight, all twenty four tributes are backstage, waiting to greet you all!" There was a whole minute of solid cheering and applause. "Now, give it up for our first tribute of the evening, the delightful District One lady, Topaz Doublet!"

Topaz emerged from backstage, and walked towards Caesar. She was wearing an elegant blue dress, adorned with topaz gems; her namesake, as was the common theme with District 1 tributes. Her shoulders were exposed, and decorated with tiny shimmering jewels. Her hair was done up in an elegant braid, and she was wearing make-up that seemed to make her face glow.

"Welcome, Topaz!" Caesar said. "And may I just say that you look stunning!"
"Thank you, Caesar," Topaz replied, doing a quick curtsey. "My stylist worked hard on this outfit, so I expect for it to look as nice as it feels to wear." She sat down on the hot seat, and smiled at the crowd, causing the crowd to explode with cheering.
"Anyway," Caesar said. "Let's talk Hunger Games: what are your plans for the arena, Topaz?"
"My plan?" Topaz said, batting her eyelids. More explosive cheer. "It's a simple one. I win, go home, and complete a legacy."
"A legacy?" Caesar questioned. "What kind of legacy."
"One started by someone very close to me," Topaz said. "I won't reveal his identity, but winning will be honouring his wishes in every way; he wanted me to live a long, full life, and I'm not about to disappoint."
"How delightful," Caesar said. "And your impressive training score of ten will only help you, am I right?"
"Thank you, Caesar," Topaz said. "And yes, I hope to succeed in every way possible. Hopefully, the score is an indication of my survival rate."
"I truly think it will be," Caesar said. He opened his mouth to continue, but a buzzer rang out. "I'm sorry, but that's all the time we have! Let's give it up for Topaz Doublet, everyone!" Topaz stood up, and blew several kisses to the hysterical crowd as she left the stage.

"Now, next up we have Osiris Garnet. Let's give it up for our District One male!" Caesar announced. As Osiris entered, he was showered in applause. He was wearing a smart white tuxedo, with a rose made out of gems coming from his lapel. His blonde hair was styled back, and he was smiling confidently. He walked up to Caesar, and shook his hand.
"Good evening, Caesar," Osiris said, smiling. He sat down in the hot seat, and grinned at the crowd. The result was deafening.
"And such manners!" Caesar said, exaggerating dropping his jaw. "Pleasure to meet you, Osiris!"
"I could say the same with you," Osiris said, grinning.
"Well then," Caesar replied. "About the Games: what are you planning?"
"I'm hoping to work together with the Career alliance for as long as possible," Osiris said. "And then, hopefully, take home the victory."
"Sounds promising," Caesar said. "And you seem to have the bravado to back it up.
"Thank you," Osiris said. The buzzer sounded out, and Osiris stood up.
"Let's give it up for Osiris Garnet, everyone!" Caesar exclaimed, applauding as Osiris left the stage."

"And now, let's move on to District Two!" Caesar said. "Let's give a warm welcome to Kylee Harker!" Kylee walked on to the stage, winking and blowing kisses to the crowd. She was wearing a low-cut, short red dress that accentuated her elegant form, and also showed off enough skin to certainly garner a large percentage of the male audience.
"Hello there, Caesar!" Kylee said, kissing his hand.
"Oh! The pleasure is all mine," Caesar said as Kylee sat down. "So, about the Games: what do you have up your sleeves, Kylee?"
"My plan is a rather simple one, Caesar," Kylee said with a nonchalant shrug. "I hope to be an effective part of the Career alliance, and support them until it would be in my best interests to go it alone. And then, just maybe, I might win."
"That sounds like a good plan, Kylee," Caesar said. "Best of luck to you." The buzzer sounded out, and Kylee stood up. "And that's all the time we have, unfortunately. Give it up one more time for Kylee Harker!" As she was showered in applause and cheer, Kylee continued to blow kisses, and give out innocent giggles before vanishing behind the stage.

"And next up we have Dylan Spelunk!" Caesar said. "Let's give our young man from District Two a warm welcome!" Dylan emerged from backstage, grinning confidently. He was wearing a grey dress shirt, with a black tie, and dress pants. He strode across the stage, heading over to Caesar. 
"Good evening, Caesar!" Dylan said.
"Hello to you too, Dylan!" Caesar replied. The two shook hands, and Dylan sat down. "So, what have you got planned for the Games?"
"Nothing too out there, unfortunately," Dylan said. "Just the standard Career tribute approach: don't be afraid to be ruthless at times, and survive at all costs."
"Sticking to the traditional way?" Caesar asked. Dylan nodded. "Well then, it's a good plan, considering that it's worked in the past, and such a tried method is bound to work for you!"
"Thank you." The buzzer rang out, and Dylan stood up.
"Give it up for Dylan Spelunk, everyone!" Caesar said. Dylan waved to the crowd as he walked off stage, bringing only positive attention to himself.

"Now, let's move on to District Three!" Caesar said. "Let's give it up for Rosaline Weathers!" Rose walked on stage, wearing a white ball gown. Her blonde hair was tied up, and her face was framed by a strong blusher.
"Hello, Caesar," Rose said, sitting down.
"A pleasure to meet you, Rosaline," Caesar said.
"Please, call me Rose," Rose said, eliciting a wild reaction from the audience.
"Oh! Okay then," Caesar said. "So, Rose, how are you feeling about the Games? Any plans?"
"Not really," Rose said. "I just hope I have enough luck and skill to survive to the end, just like Elektra did."
"Oh yeah!" Caesar said. "Elektra Sparke is your best friend, is she not?"
"Yes," Rose said. "And I hope to come back to her as soon as possible." The buzzer sounded, and, head held high, Rose stood up.
"Let's give it up for Rose Weathers!" Caesar said, and the crowd cheered for Rose as she vanished back stage.

"Next up is Xander Bradley!" Caesar said. "Let's give him a warm welcome!" Xander walked up to Caesar, wearing a black suit that complimented his pale skin and blonde hair. He had been given a better fitting pair of glasses, and he walked up with a sense of confidence. "Hello, Xander."
"Good evening, Caesar," Xander said, shaking Caesar's hand, and sitting down.
"So, Xander," Caesar said. "What do you have planned for the Games?" Xander remained silent for a moment, before finally speaking.
"Well, I'd tell you," Xander said. "But statistically speaking, tributes that expose their strategies in the interviews are three times more likely to perish in the opening minutes of the Games. So unfortunately, that will have to stay with me."
"Ooh, a mystery!" Caesar said. "I like that!" The buzzer rang out, and Xander stood up, leaving. "Give it up for Xander Bradley!"

"And now, let's move on to District Four!" Caesar announced. "First up is Annabell Reeves! So let's make her feel welcome on stage!" The crowd cheered as Annabell walked on stage. She was wearing a flowing t-shirt with an elegant blue skirt that emulated the appearance of a crashing wave.
"Hello, Caesar!" Annabell exclaimed warmly.
"Hello to you too, Annabell," Caesar replied as Annabell sat down. "So, what do you have planned for the Games?"
"I'm going to put my faith in my allies," she said. "But if things turn south, I won't be afraid to give it all I've got."
"A good plan, if I do say so myself," Caesar said, before the buzzer sounded out. "And that's all the time we have! Give it up for Annabell Reeves!" Annabell stood up, and walked across the stage, smiling as she left.

"Next up we have Ren Zanda! So let's give it up for him!" Caesar announced, his enthusiasm unwavering. Ren entered, wearing a sea-green suit, complete with bubble decorations. He flashed Caesar a warm smile as he sat down.
"Hey Caesar," Ren said casually, much to the enjoyment of the audience.
"Well, hey to you too!" Caesar said, eliciting laughter from the crowd. "So Ren, what do you have planned for the Games?"
"Oh, nothing much," Ren said. "I'm thinking of sticking around with the Careers for a bit, since as you know, being in with them is an almost certain way of winning."
"Indeed it is," Caesar said. The buzzer sounded out, and Ren stood up again. "Give it up for Ren Zanda, everyone!" Ren walked off the stage, grinning at the audience as he did so.

"Now, moving on to District Five," Caesar said, causing the crowd to cheer. "We have the delightful Alexis rays!" Alexis entered the stage, casually walking. She was wearing a light blue overcoat with dress pants, which was a surprise; normally, the female tributes wore frilly dresses and skirts, and were generally overly feminine. Alexis was none of these things, and she showed it with pride. She sat down on the seat, and face Caesar.
"Hello, Caesar," she said, crossing her legs over.
"Hello Alexis," Caesar replied. "So, what is your plan for the Games?"
"Oh, my plan?" Alexis said with a laugh. "Let's just say when I reveal it in the arena, the reaction will be explosive."
"Hmm, sounds exciting!" Caesar said, followed by the buzzer. "Well, good luck, Alexis." Alexis stood up, and walked across the stage. "Give it up for Alexis Rays, everyone!"

"And now, for the male tribute from the district: introducing Markus Lucian!" The crowd went wild as Markus walked on stage, wearing a crimson suit that looked close to what Caesar was wearing.
"Hello, Caesar," Markus said with a grin.
"Hello to you, Markus," Caesar said, before grinning also. "And may I compliment you on your dress sense?"
Markus chuckled. "You should be complimenting my stylist; I'm only wearing it. He made the thing."
"True," Caesar said. "But back to the Games: what are your plans?"
"Isn't it obvious from my score?" Markus said with dark mirth dancing in his eyes. "I'm gonna kill as many as possible, and get out as soon as I can."
"That's a lot to live up to, Markus," Caesar said.
"Don't worry," he replied. "I won't disappoint." The buzzer sounded, and Markus leaped out from his seat, walking across the stage.
"Markus Lucian, everyone!"

"Next up, we have District Six!" Caesar continued. "Please give it up for Salvera Combe!" Salvera then walked on stage slowly, but with an alert look in her eyes that hadn't been present before. She sat down, and faced Caesar.
"Hello..." she said.
"Hello, Salvera," Caesar said, smiling. "So, tell me about what your plans are for the arena, hm?"
"Okay..." Salvera replied. "I will try and avoid others... and then... I will just try and survive..."
"Sounds good," Caesar said. "If I were you, I would probably try the same thing: I'm not much of a fighter!" The crowd began to laugh hysterically at this, almost drowning out the buzzer. But not quite. "Let's give it up for Salvera Combe, everyone!" Salvera left her seat, and walked across the stage, a spacey grin on her face.

"Now for the next half of this district duo," Caesar announced. "Give it up for Mason Irizarri!" Mason walked on stage, wearing a grey suit, and looking generally quite serious. He sat down, and looked at Caesar. "Hello, Mason."
"Hi," Mason replied, grinning slightly.
"You seem happy!" Caesar said, grinning wider than Mason. "But let's talk Hunger Games: what are your plans?"
"My plans?" Mason said. "There are a few, but I'm going to mostly stick around with my allies; that's the main point. From there, I'll allow room for variation."
"Smart plan," Caesar said as the buzzer went off. "Well, that's all the time we have for now. Give it up for Mason Irizarri!" Mason stood up from his seat, and quickly made his way across to the other side of the stage, vanishing from sight.

"Now, let's move on to District Seven!" Caesar said. "First up, we have Rosa Milne. Give it up, everyone!" Rosa shyly emerged from back stage, wearing a green dress. She gave a bashful smile to the audience as she sat down on her seat.
"Hello there, Caesar," Rosa said. The blusher she was wearing helped make the angle she was going for all the more effective.
"Hello, Rosa," Caesar said. "So, what are your plans for the arena? Anything worth mentioning?"
"Of course," Rosa replied. "I'm aiming to work together with my allies to survive as best as possible, as I believe that together, we will stand a much better chance."
"What a wonderful sentiment," Caesar said. "But only time will tell if it has any bearing on reality." The buzzer then sounded, and Rosa quickly left her seat, heading off the stage. "Rosa Milne, everyone!"

"And now, let's move on to the young man from this district: give it up for Brinn Redwood, everyone!" Caesar announced as Brinn entered. His eyes were wide, and his face had gone pale. Nobody from the Capitol took notice, though. He reached the seat, and promptly sat down. "Hello, Brinn! How are you today?"
"Oh, fine," Brinn said through clenched teeth. He avoided looking at the audience.
"Glad to know," Caesar said, grinning. "So, Brinn, tell me. What are your plans for the arena?"
"My plans?" Brinn said. "Well, I'm going to try and avoid as many tributes as possible for as long as possible; if I keep out of trouble, in the later stages of the Games, I will hopefully be in a better condition."
"Quite the intelligent choice, Brinn," Caesar said. "And good luck with that." The buzzer rang out, and Brinn left his seat, walking across the stage. "Brinn Redwood, everyone!"

"Next up we have District Eight!" Caesar announced. "And let's begin with Emily Horwitz, everyone!" Emily emerged from back stage, wearing a simple white dress that showed off her tattoo perfectly. She was covered in make-up that made her face as white as snow; she looked almost like an angel.
"Hello, Caesar," Emily said innocently as she sat down, facing him.
"Hello to you, Emily!" Caesar replied. "I love your outfit!"
"Thank you," Emily said. "I feel it really shows off who I am."
"That it does," Caesar replied. "Now, about the arena; what are your plans?"
"Oh, it's nothing," Emily said. "I just want to stay alive for as long as possible. That's it." The buzzer sounded, and Emily stood up.
"Well then," Caesar said. "Give it up for Emily Horwitz, everyone!" The crowd continued to cheer as Emily left the stage.

"Now, moving on," Caesar continued. "We have Kaye Nylon, so let's give it up everyone!" Kaye bounded out from behind the stage. He was wearing a flashy suit that had been doused with glitter. His hair had been expertly gelled up, and he wore the faintest traces of eye shadow.
"Hello, Caesar!" Kaye said, kissing the presenter on the cheek. Caesar mimed blushing, eliciting a roar of laughter.
"Hello to you as well, Kaye!" Caesar replied as Kaye sat down. "That was quite the introduction!"
"Well, you know how it is," Kaye said. "I just want to show how much I simply love everyone!"
"Quite the happy person, huh?" Caesar. "So, how does someone such as yourself go about the Games, hm?"
"Oh, it's simple," Kaye said. "I really don't like the idea of killing, so I just want to remain hidden, and avoid as much conflict as possible, and hope for a lucky break."
"Well, I hope for your success," Caesar replied. "Good luck."
"Thank you, Caesar," Kaye replied as the buzzer sounded out. He stood up, and skipped off-stage, blowing kisses at the screaming crowd.
"Kaye Nylon, everyone!" Caesar said.

"And now, for District Nine!" Caesar said. "Let's give it up for Dixie Semming, everyone!" Dixie emerged on stage, wearing a gold vest-top with a pair of jeans. A fake knife was attached to her belt, giving her the image of a warrior. She gave a cocky grin, and sat down.
"Hey Caesar," she said.
"Hello, Dixie!" Caesar said. "Looking sharp!" The audience laughed, before Caesar continued. "So, how do you aim to go into the Games?"
"Well, I'm hoping to rely on the Career alliance," Dixie said smoothly. "But in the end, my survival comes first." The buzzer sounded, and Dixie stood up walking off stage, appearing to be whistling to herself.
"Dixie Semming, everyone!" Caesar said above the cheering.

"Next up," Caesar said. "We have Griffin Fairbain! So let's give it up, everyone!" Griffin timidly walked on-stage. He was wearing a simple grey suit, and looked quite terrified. But he managed to walk across the stage, and sat down.
"Hello," he said in a quiet voice.
"Why, hello there, Griffin!" Caesar said, shaking his hand, easing Griffin. "So, you look capable. What are your plans for the Games?"
"My plans?" Griffin repeated. Caesar nodded. "Well, I have my allies, and I hope to work with them for as long as possible."
"That sounds like a good plan for you," Caesar replied. The buzzer went off. "So, let's give it up for Griffin Fairbain, everyone!" Griffin walked off the stage, the crowd cheering for him as he left.

"And now, let's move on to District Ten!" Caesar said. "Let's give it up for Erika Jersey, everyone!" Erika walked up on stage. She was wearing a simple green dress with her hair in a braid. Nothing too out there.
"Howdy, Caesar!" she said as she sat down.
"Hey to you too!" Caesar replied jovially. "So, you seem happy. Does this have something to do with your Games plans?"
"Sure does!" Erika said. "I'm gonna help my allies, and together, we'll get through this. Just you wait and see!"
"Sounds like you're quite the team player!" Caesar said. The buzzer sounded. "Well, best of luck to you. Erika Jersey, everyone!" Erika stood up, and left the stage, grinning.

"Next up," Caesar said. "We have the young man from the livestock district: give it up for Tavish Longhorn!" Tavish emerged with a shower of applause. He was wearing a cow-print suit. Normally, it would be embarrassing on an older tribute, but Tavish was small enough to make it work.
"Hey, Caesar." Tavish said, sitting down.
"Hello, Tavish!" Caesar exclaimed. "So, I can't wait for you to tell me what your plans for the Games are?"
"Oh yeah," Tavish said. "I'm gonna stick with my allies, and avoid the other tributes as much as possible."
"Sounds good," Caesar said. "Good luck!" The buzzer rang out. "Well, let's give it up for Tavish Longhorn, everyone!" Tavish stood up, and left the stage, accompanied by the crowd's applause.

"Now let's move on the the penultimate district: District Eleven!" Caesar said. "Let's begin with the delightful young lady: Lucy Caspian!" Lucy emerged from back stage wearing a chocolate brown dress. Her hair was in a ponytail, and she wore a small amount of blusher.
"Hello!" she said as she sat down.
"Hi, Lucy!" Caesar said. "So, what are your plans for the Games?"
"Don't get too excited," Lucy said. "But I hope to just stay with my allies, and avoid seeing too many people die."
"I hope that you don't have to see too much either," Caesar said, followed by the buzzer. "Let's give it up for Lucy Caspian, everyone!" Lucy stood up, and walked across the stage, breathing a sigh of relief.

"Next up, we have Eleven's young man: Liam Aldair, everyone!" Liam emerged wearing a sharp suit. He walked up to Caesar, shook his hand, and sat down.
"So, Liam," Caesar said. "You seem quite sharp! What are your plans for the Games?"
"Mine aren't anything special," he said with a shrug. "I just aim to survive, and also protect someone."
"Who?" Caesar asked.
"Just someone," Liam said. "I'd say, but I don't want to jeopardise my plan. Sorry." As he finished talking, the buzzer sounded. Liam stood up, and began to walk off.
"Well, let's wait and see what we have in store!" Caesar said. "Liam Aldair, everyone!"

"And now, last but not least, District Twelve!" Caesar said. "Let's give it up for the final young lady of the evening: Gwen Levine!" Gwen emerged on-stage, smiling bashfully. She elegantly walked over to the chair, and sat down.
"Good evening, Caesar!" she said, noticing that the Capitol's cheering had gone from full-blown applause to polite clapping.
"Hello, Gwen." Caesar said. "So, you may be from the last district, but that doesn't mean we should ignore your plans! Care to tell?"
"Yes," Gwen said. "My plan is to be an integral part of my alliance, and help everyone survive."
"Another team girl, huh?" Caesar said. Gwen nodded, smiling. "Well, good luck to you with that." The buzzer sounded, and Gwen stood up, walking away. "Gwen Levine, everyone!" The crowd continued to clap as Gwen left the stage.

"And now, ladies and gentlemen," Caesar said. "The final tribute of the evening: Derek Lemoine! Give it up everyone!" The crowd clapped as Derek walked over to the seat, sitting in it.
"Hello Caesar," Derek said, shaking his hand.
"Hello to you too, Derek," Caesar said. "So, what plans does the final tribute of the evening have for the Games?"
"Same as most, it seems," Derek said. "I have my allies, and I'm going to survive with them for as long as possible."
"Well, I hope for the best," Caesar said. "Good luck." The buzzer sounded out. Derek stood up from his seat, and walked off the stage. "Derek Lemoine, everyone!"

The clapping continued, and escalated to full-blown applause as Caesar stood up, taking a bow.
"That's all we have for tonight," he said over the cheering. "But be sure to get an early rise tomorrow to catch the beginning of the sixty ninth annual Hunger Games!!" As he bowed, a pair of red curtains began to close over him, marking the conclusion of the interviews.

"Good night, Panem!"

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