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Jun 05, 2020 7:30 AM
may the odds be ever in your favor
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Out of the town hall they go, and to the station. The train awaits them there, shining and silver and ready to leave as soon as they're aboard. 

The inside of the train is... palatial, compared to anywhere she's ever been before. The carpets are plush, the walls tastefully wood-paneled, and the doors open when they approach them. Deirdre leads Calla into a richly furnished common room, where Jem, Valens, and a man she might recognize as Aydon Errant, a Victor from District 6, await them.

As they enter, Jem looks up from a platter of what seems to be pastry balls with syrup and sugar drizzled over them, "There you are, come on in, let's get the introductions out of the way." 

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"Jem Starr, Aydon Errant, Calla Thorne and Valens Nikolai. There, introduced and done with. Now tell me all your secrets. If I'm gonna win this, I need all the details."

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Calla sits down and considers stabbing Valens with one of the forks. There are so many forks. So many to choose from.

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"Slow down a bit, kid, you're not going to make any allies by being that demanding."

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"Anyway, we'd be here all night if we agreed to do that, and believe me, you do not want to spend your first day in the Capitol any more sleep-deprived than necessary." 

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"What should we expect?"

Calla picks up a knife and weighs it against her palm.

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"Well, they're gonna make us all pretty, aren't they? Not that you need much help with that."

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Both Victors' eyes follow the knife when she picks it up, and then Jem raises an eyebrow at Aydon. 

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He sighs. 

"How about we split into pairs to go over what you'll each have to expect, maybe get some preliminary work done on how you're going to play this. You're with me, Nikolai," he adds, pushing himself up from where he was leaning against a couch and beckoning the boy to follow him into another room. 

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Valens bounces after him.

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Calla watches them go and relaxes a little. Not a Lot. But enough. She does not put down the knife and continues to play with it.

"Too much?"

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"Nah, it's not your fault the kid can't read the room. A little menacing'd probably help his chances, honestly. We've only got so much time, though, and the stylists will pout at me if I let you give him more 'flaws' to cover up." 

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"Pouting: the best offense. I should keep that in mind."

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"Oh no, I've exposed my only weakness! How could I have been such a fool!" 

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"Whatever shall I do with you now?"

...flirting with her mentor is such a bad idea. She has no idea how this happened.

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"Well, to start, I guess you could ask for all my secrets after all." 

Deirdre, carefully looking away from them while he samples a large tray of tarts, clears his throat.

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Calla still has the knife and raises an eyebrow at - she doesn't even know their name. The escort.

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He's still not quite looking at them, so he doesn't notice.

"Give us some space, Dee?" Jem requests, "We do have a lot to go over."

 "Oh! Of course," he agrees, glancing over at them in time to receive a grateful smile from Jem, "I'll just take these and see myself to my rooms!" 

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Once he's gone, taking the tarts with him, Jem pulls out a chair to settle into and regards her seriously for a long moment. 

"You'll definitely want to be careful who you flirt with, and in front of," is what he begins with. "Your district's escort won't say anything to jeopardize your persona, but plenty of other people will. Unless you decide to go with 'careless flirt', that sort of thing could get you in trouble." 

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"You don't need to do that."

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Blink. "Do what? Look out for you? I'm afraid that's my whole job description."

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"It's wasted on me. I'm not coming out of this alive. I'm not killing anyone but the ones that are forcing us into this."

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"You... don't want to kill anyone."

 

"It's... theoretically possible to win the games without killing," he says, absently. His actual attention appears to have gone off somewhere else.

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"Nobody is going to sponsor a bloodless victory."

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