Timeless - The 57th Hunger Games

Two dozen teens from all walks of life have been cursed by fate to fight tooth and nail in the Capitol's pageant that is the Hunger Games. However, with the true enemy not being any of the desperate contenders but instead sitting in a control room miles away, who will have the strength to fight until they alone stand within the arena? Feedback welcome!


1. Prologue: Death's Machinations

Head Gamemaker Portamento Dew, The Capitol

The warm August air whipped around the Capitol, bringing a lazy sense of joy to the bustling metropolis. The citizens either walked the streets, taking full advantage of the technologically advanced facilities, thanks to the hard work of the twelve districts, or remained at home, sprucing themselves up. Women adorned their finest dresses, whilst gentlemen were dressed to the nines: the children were in their Sunday best.

And, even though one couldn't see it from the window of President Snow's manor, there was a quiet buzz of anticipation about the city. Each citizen was only half-heartedly enjoying their daily activities: each mind was elsewhere, yet at the same place. Nobody spoke of it, and everyone continued as normal, ignoring the anticipation in the back of their minds, out of blind fear that they were the only ones to feel it. But the reality was simple: no citizen of Panem could escape the anticipation. For tomorrow was Reaping Day. The day in which twenty four teens would be ripped from their homes in the districts, and given the experience of a lifetime, and for all but one, it would be that: becoming a tribute for the Hunger Games. Already a year had passed since the last Games, and after twelve months on being hung up about the tributes that competed then, the citizens of the Capitol had forgotten them, waiting for twenty four new faces to fall in love with, to root for, and to cry over.

Portamento Dew was the man behind the events: the Head Gamemaker. After his success last year, the Capitol was no doubt awaiting with baited breath what he was going to bring to the table this time around. And no expenses were spared; the arena was waiting hundreds of miles away, ready to receive the tributes. Every detail was perfectly ready: now all that was required was the tributes.

But before that could happen, Portamento still had one thing left on the pre-Games list: a consultation with the president. As despite how much the Games were played up to entertain the Capitol, they still had a core theme at heart: to show the districts that the Capitol was still in control, and that this was a punishment for their uprising fifty seven years ago. And Portamento was to find in which way Snow wanted this message delivered this time around.

He strode towards the elevator across from the window, his slick black shoes gliding soundlessly across the red carpeted floor. The silver door opened, and Portamento stepped inside. Under his right arm was a lavender binder, full of the documents concerning the Games and the arena. Most of it was technical, such as the dimensions of the arena, or the acidity of the water, but there were enough diagrams for most people to follow it. Hence why Snow asked for a copy every year without fail.

The elevator rose up to the top floor, and the doors opened. Portamento wasted no time in walking along the grey tiled floor, passing row after row of white roses. He lifted a hand to his brow to shield his eyes from the blinding sun, making sure that the files were still secure. He turned at the end of one of the hedges, heading right, and into the centre of the rose garden, where President Snow sat at a wooden bench, looking at a crystal water fountain a few feet in front of him. Portamento cleared his throat, and stepped forward.
"Good afternoon, sir," he said, bowing his head.
"Dew, so very good of you to see me," Snow said, smiling. It was a false smile laced with venom, but Portamento paid it little heed: in the cut-throat world he lived in, it was obvious he would always be treading on very thin ice. "Come, sit down." Portamento obeyed, sitting next to Snow on the bench. He placed the binder of files on his lap, his hands resting on it. Absently, he noticed how his dark skin clashed with the shade of the binder, but soon dismissed the idle thought.
"I presume you wish to enquire about the Games?" Portamento said, patting the binder just once. Snow nodded, the poisonous false grin appearing once more.
"Of course," he replied. "I like to know everything that happens within my country, Games included."
"And who am I to refuse?" Portamento said wistfully. Really, he'd much rather be making last-minute adjustments than showing Snow this, but if he didn't, he'd be executed. And he couldn't do that: his daughter, Aria, had just joined the Gamemaker team. At eighteen, she was the youngest member there, and currently served as an apprentice for Portamento: he planned for her to succeed the position once he was gone.
"Show me the files, please," Snow said. Portamento nodded, and passed the binder to Snow, who opened it, and eyed it curiously, flipping the pages back and forth. "Yes, this is good."
"Thank you," Portamento said. "It is sure to provide an entertaining show this year."
"That it should," Snow said. "But let us not forget: these Games are also meant to be a punishment to the districts. And I wish to see them taught a lesson in the arena."
"Of course," Portamento replied. "What were you thinking of this year?"
"Nothing too complex," Snow said. "Although, what I would really like to see is an underdog that everyone roots for to be made an example of. Those types are nuisances, full of hope. And I don't need to say how dangerous it would be for the districts to have even the smallest glimmer of hope, do I?"
"Not at all, sir," Portamento said. "I shall personally see to it that any underdog this year will be thoroughly crushed."
"Good," Snow said, continuing to read through the files. "You have been quite the promising Head Gamemaker, Dew, and I expect to see your excellence continue to shine in the arena."
"Of course it will," Portamento replied.
"And am I correct in assuming that your daughter is on the team this year?" Snow asked.
"Yes," Portamento said. "She is."
"And at such a young age..." Snow trailed off. "I hope that she learns a lot from you, Dew."
"Of course she will," Portamento said, catching the subtle threat in Snow's wording: if he were to screw up, then Aria would also face the consequences. It couldn't happen.
"That is all," Snow said, handing back the files. "Now, let us hope that the reapings provide us with tributes fitting for such an arena."
"Thank you, sir," Portamento said, standing up. He gave Snow a polite nod, and walked back through the garden. With this meeting out of the way, all that remained was waiting to see which twenty four teenagers would be selected to compete in the Games. The smallest of smirks crossed Portamento's face: the Games were to make an example of the districts, and make an example Portamento would. Now, he wasn't one to believe in luck and fortune, but, as the old saying went, the future tributes had better hope that the odds would be in their favour.

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