Training Scores: Year 3
The training room has the following:
- A wall of weapons
- A shooting range with 50m, 75m ,and 100m targets
- Training dummies; some solitary and some in groups
- A sparring machine for sword-fighting, with difficulty settings of “Novice”, “Advanced”, and “Expert”
- A projectile machine for defense practice, with difficulty settings of “Novice”, “Advanced”, and “Expert”
When the boy from 1 steps into the room, I don’t sense the Career vibe that I’m so used to seeing. He seems so un-intimidating, like he’d rather get coffee with someone than fight them. This feeling persists as the boy selects a long wooden staff from the weapons wall. Not exactly a killing weapon.
But soon I see what makes this boy a Career, as he expertly strikes and sweeps at a training dummy’s chest and legs, the staff an extension of his arm. Then he grabs a knife from the wall, tosses it up, and sends it sailing through the air with a smack of his staff. The knife plants itself into the skull of a training dummy.
The boy bows and exits, my opinion of him having changed.
For superior skill with a staff and an unassuming nature, Andrew of D1 receives a training score of 9.
The girl from 1 enters the room and doesn’t even pause to look up at me like most tributes do. Instead, she strides confidently over to the weapons wall and grabs five small throwing knives. She turns and, with a flourish, throws all five knives into the crowd of training dummies. All find their marks, save for one knife that clatters to the ground.
Unfazed, the girl grabs a longer knife and charges towards the dummy her missed throw was intended for. Leaping up, she flips over the dummy’s right shoulder, slashing across its neck with the knife. She lands with only a small balance check, and throws the knife. It sticks in the back of the dummy’s head. The girl then turns and leaves, still not even having given me a glance.
For superior skill with knives and overall confidence, Michael of D1 receives a training score of 8 (plus two training points, minus five training points).
The boy from 2 strides through the door and grins as he examines the weapon wall. He gives me the feeling that he knows how to use every single weapon in reach. He selects a bow and arrow after a moment, and rapidly shoots five arrow into the dead center of the 100m target. I’m thoroughly impressed, but he isn’t done yet.
The boy grabs a throwing knife from the wall and chucks it at the dummy that the girl from 1 slashed with her knife. It hits with such force that the dummy’s head flies back, the fabric tearing where the girl from 1 slashed it’s throat.
The boy then grabs a katana and charges towards the half-decapitated dummy. With an expert sweep, he finishes the job, then slices through it’s body with a spin. The dummy’s arms and head fall to the ground, and the boy stabs the katana into the spot where the dummy’s head once was.
Even after he’s left the room and attendants are cleaning up after his wave of destruction, I’m completely awestruck. Awestruck enough to give a score that I rarely ever give.
For total mastery of multiple weapons, Steven of D2 receives a training score of 12.
As the girl from 2 enters the room, I remark to myself that she has a lot to follow after the performance of her ally. She keeps my attention by selecting a meteor hammer from the wall. As she begins her attack on a dummy, I’m reminded of the girl from D3 last year. This girl’s technique is even cleaner; the spiked metal ball never touches the ground, even after it slams into the dummy’s head over and over again.
The girl’s attack stops only after the dummy’s head is detached from its body, a crushed lump on the floor. The girl impulsively launches the spiked ball at the 75m target in the shooting range, releasing the grip so that the entire weapon flies across the room. It smashes into the target, destroying it with a spectacular crash.
The girl turns to face me, shoots me a double eyebrow bounce and a smile, and then struts out of the room. Weird, yet strangely enticing.
As attendants replace the destroyed target with a new one, I remark to myself that the most dangerous thing about this girl might be her facial expressions.
For mastery of the meteor hammer and a strange disposition, Kelly of D2 receives a training score of 10.
The boy from 3 enters the room. District 3 always gets the short straw, needing to impress after two Career districts. The boy selects a broadsword and steps up to the sparring machine, setting it to “Expert”. He and the machine begin sparring. The boy takes a hit to the arm, but otherwise is successful in defending himself. The machine takes a few hits from him as well. The boy fights until his time is up. He exits, sweaty and grinning. Not bad for District 3.
For superior skill with a broadsword, Drew of D3 receives a training score of 8 (plus one training point, minus five training points).
The girl from 3 strides into the room, pulling her long hair back into a ponytail. She rolls her shoulders back and cracks her neck before grabbing a katana from the wall. Halfway into her walk towards the training dummies, she changes her mind and heads back to the weapon wall, grabbing a crossbow and heading to the shooting range. Indecisive.
What follows is an average shooting performance that isn’t anything to write home about. Three out of her six arrows hit the 75m target, and only one of them is a bull’s-eye.
As she leaves, I find myself wishing she had just stuck with the katana.
For average skill with a crossbow and indecisiveness, Alexandra of D3 receives a training score of 5.
The last Career boy steps into the room. Like the boy from 1, he doesn’t give off the Career vibe. In addition, he’s smaller than the other male tributes I’ve seen so far. The boy grabs some small throwing knives and proceeds to throw them one at a time at a training dummy. Two hit the head, while the other three hit the torso. The boy grins and pumps his fist, making me wonder if the knife-throwing performance was more luck or skill. Still, he didn’t miss at all. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
For superior skill with knives, Justin of D4 receives a training score of 8.
The final Career girl heads straight for the shooting range when she walks in, grabbing a bow and a quiver of arrows. She plants her feet and loads an arrow, aiming and letting it fly at the 100m target. The arrow strikes near the bull’s-eye. The girl repeats this process almost robotically, with the six arrows she shoots striking either on or near the bull’s-eye each time. When her quiver is empty, she removes it and turns to leave.
She’s a good shot. Not an exciting shot, but a good one.
For superior skill with a bow, Marie of D4 receives a training score of 9 (minus one training point).
The boy from 5 steps into the room, heading for the shooting range. District 5, like District 3, has the misfortune of performing after a Career district. But maybe this boy will impress like the District 3 boy.
My hopes are dashed as the boy completely misses his first shot. He shrugs and drops the bow, heading back to the weapons wall. He takes a good amount of time before he selects a small metal shield. He then goes to the projectile shooter and sets it to “Advanced”. The machine starts shooting blunt blocks at him. He uses the shield perfectly, blocking each projectile. When the machine stops firing, he removes the shield and exits the room.
He’s defensive. But a good defense only prolongs the inevitable. He probably knows that, which is why he tried his hand at shooting. But he failed. We’ll see what happens in the arena.
For superior skill with a shield but limited offensive capabilities, Joey of District 5 receives a training score of 6 (plus one training point, minus three training points).
The girl from 5 glares at me through her entire walk across the room. She only looks away once she reaches the weapons wall, where she selects two curved knives. Holding one in each hand, she charges at a solitary dummy. Her charge turns into a slide as she flies past the dummy, slicing its ankles as she passes it. Stopping her slide, she launches herself from a crouching position and plants both of her knives into the dummy’s chest, knocking it over. Kneeling over her kill, she yanks the knives out and hurls them at two other dummies, striking one in the chest and the other in the head.
She stands and turns to leave, staring up at me and giving the closest thing to a smile that I think a girl like her can manage. I would hate to be on her bad side.
For superior skill with knives, Chelsea of District 5 receives a training score of 9.
The District 6 boy steps into the room with fists clenched. He walks slowly over to the weapons wall and selects a metal hand axe. He then turns to face a dummy and charges at it, axe held high over his head. He reaches his target and sweeps down at the dummy. His aim is slightly off, and the axe hits at an awkward angle, causing the boy to stumble. With some difficulty, he pulls the axe out of the dummy and swings wildly at another. This process repeats itself for a while until he throws the ax at a dummy and takes off one of its arms. I can tell from the boy’s face that he’s just as surprised as I am. He turns to leave, and I give him a score matching his awkward yet somewhat brutish performance.
For mediocre skill with an axe, Matt of District 6 receives a training score of 5.
The girl from 6 steps into the room with a smile. She grabs a spear off the weapon wall and throws it at the 75m target. It barely catches the outside ring of. The girl visibly winces, and selects the meteor hammer from the wall instead. She does a decent job, making a few craters in her target dummy’s chest. But there’s no killing blow, and she leaves the room with me having no strong opinions for or against her.
For average skill with a meteor hammer and mediocre skill with a spear, Cyle of District 6 receives a training score of 6.
The boy from 7 steps stone-faced into the room, grabbing a metal shield off the wall. He steps in front of the projectile machine and sets it to “Expert”. Projectile cubes shoot at him in random patterns that shift every half second. The boy blocks most, and dodges the rest. When the machine dies down, the boy charges at a dummy and smashes his shield against its face. Then he slips his arm out of the grip and throws the shield like a disc. It impales itself into the side of another dummy. The boy leaves it there and exits the room, his expression never having changed since he entered. Nice.
For superior offensive and defensive skill with a shield, Jeremiah of District 7 receives a training score of 8 (minus two training points, plus one training point).
The girl from 7 steps timidly into the room, eyeing the wall of weapons with a mixture of fear and wonder. She carefully selects a bow and a quiver of arrows, and then aims at the 75m target. Her first shot hits the target near the center, but the second one misses completely. The girl keeps trying, and after five more shots, all but two of her arrows have stuck on the target, and three of them are bull’s-eyes. The girl leaves as quietly as she entered.
For average skill with a bow, Sam of District 7 receives a training score of 6.
The boy from 8 walks with an air of confidence into the room. That is, until he trips over his own feet and stumbles forward. I stifle a laugh as he looks up at me nervously. He selects a katana as his weapon. An interesting choice, considering his clumsiness. The boy does a nice job with the weapon though, not slashing it around wildly like a broadsword, but making precise cuts in the dummy he faces. He spends a lot of time cutting up a single dummy, ignoring the other dummies around him. No telling how well he’d fare in a fight that wasn’t one-on-one But when he slices off the dummy’s head, I’m convinced that he’s better than average. Just barely.
For superior skill with a katana and general clumsiness, Jonah of District 8 receives a training score of 7.
The girl from 8 steps confidently into the room, eyeing the wall of weapons with interest. She selects a small knife from the wall and turn to throw it at a dummy. But something happens and she somehow manages to cut her hand with the knife before she can throw it. She yelps in pain and drops the knife. A good minute is spent by me watching her hold the bottom of her shirt over her hand. She gingerly selects a small slingshot and shoots a few metal balls at the 50m target, but most of them miss. Eventually she just stops because her hand is too slick with blood to aim properly. She leaves, defeated. Tough break, but maybe she’s better than she performed today. Unfortunately, her score is for performance, and not potential.
For a poor showing of knife and slingshot skills, Sara of District 8 receives a training score of 3.
The boy from 9 steps into the room looking almost bored. He grabs a spear from the wall and throws it at a dummy. It sticks in the dummy’s leg; definitely not the spot he was aiming for. The boy, unfazed, grabs a throwing knife and chucks it at the dummy. It flies past its head and clatters to the floor behind it. The boy turns to look at me and gives me a sheepish grin. He runs over and pulls the spear out of the dummy, before ramming it into the dummy’s chest. His angle of approach is all wrong though, and the spearhead simply slides across the dummy’s chest, causing the boy to run into it. Both fall to the floor. Embarrassed, the boy picks himself up and leaves the room.
For mediocre skill with a spear, Irving of District 9 receives a training score of 4.
I can immediately tell the girl from 9 is an athlete from the way she strides into the room. She grabs a long curved knife from the wall and charges at a dummy, slashing across its neck and not wasting any more time on it. The next dummy gets a kick to the crotch and a knife to the skull. The third gets stabbed in the heart. The girl then runs to the wall and grabs a crossbow. Loading it quickly, she shoots at the 75m target and hits it, though not on the bull’s-eye. Breathing heavily, the girl exits the room, leaving me somewhat impressed. She’s the best District 9 girl I’ve ever seen, though not the best girl in the Games this year.
For superior skill with knives and average skill with a crossbow, Allison of District 9 receives a training score of 8 (plus one training point, minus eight training points).
The boy from 10 walks into the room and actually greets me.
“Hi, how’s it going?”
It honestly takes a second for me to react. “Doing fine. Get to it.”
The boy nods and walks over to the wall, selecting a bow and a quiver of arrows. He starts shooting at the 75m target. Two out of his four shots miss the target, and none of the others are bull’s-eyes. He then aims his last arrow at the 100m target, fires, and manages to hit the bull’s-eye. The boy sets the bow down and turns to leave.
“Hope you enjoyed!” he quips.
“Not really,” I think to myself. Still, doesn’t hurt to be charming. Charm is a good tool in the games for people who aren’t skilled in combat.
For mediocre skill with a bow and a friendly disposition, Garrett of District 10 receives a training score of 5.
When the girl from 10 enters the room, she immediately catches my attention. She’s small, but there’s a look in her eyes that makes me nervous even from up here behind the glass panel. The girl grabs a knife and a coil of rope. She ties the knife handle to the rope with a knot and then advances on a dummy, twirling the knife over her head. With a flourish, she sends the small knife flying at the dummy. The knife hits the dummy right where it’s left eye would be. With a tug, the girl frees the knife. Then, with a spin and a lift, she sends the knife flying into a long arch that ends with the blade impaled in the top of the dummy’s head. Another tug pulls the knife out, as well as toppling the dummy. The girl then rushes into a circle of dummies and spins twice. Her knife slices across each dummy’s throat, slashing through the fabric but not getting stuck in the neck. The girl snaps the rope and catches the knife in her hand, unties it, and replaces her weapons on the wall.
As she leaves the room, I look and see that she has effectively “killed” seven dummies, and two minutes haven’t even passed. If anyone underestimates this girl, it will be the last thing they ever do. Hopefully her partner doesn’t slow her down.
For mastery of knifes and unconventional weaponry, and an aura of danger, Victoria of District 10 receives a training score of 12 (minus one training point).
The boy from 11 enters the room looking uninterested and bored. He grabs two swords off of the wall and steps up to the sparring machine, setting it to “Expert”. The machine springs to life and starts attacking the boy, who effortlessly blocks all of its blows and swings. The boy spars with the machine until it dies down after a few minutes. Then he turns to leave.
As he walks across the room, he passes a dummy. Spinning suddenly, he slams one blade into the dummy’s neck and the other into its side. He leaves them there, turning once again to exit. I like this one.
For superior skill with swords, Ben of District 11 receives a training score of 9 (plus one training point).
The girl from 11 enters the room nervously, eyeing both the wall of weapons and myself. She selects a mace. An interesting weapon choice, one we haven’t seen at all so far.
The girl advances on the dummies, lifting the mace over her head. She slams it down onto a dummy’s head and completely crushes it. The girl apparently doesn’t know her own strength, as she is sent sprawling forward after her attack. Swinging wildly, she lets the mace’s weight pull her around the room, smashing dummy after dummy. When she finally stops her assault, she drops the mace and turns to leave, pulling hair out of her face and tucking it behind her ears.
I look around the room at the dummies. What’s left of them, anyways. The girl had clearly never used a mace before. Still, the results are pretty nice.
For brutish yet untrained skill with a mace, Mariel of District 11 receives a training score of 5 (plus one training point).
The last male tribute enters the room. District 12 hasn’t done well at all in the past two games. Only one of their tributes has made it further than Day 1, and the one that did died on Day 3 last year. We’ll see if the same is true for this one, who has selected a shield from the weapons wall and set the projectile machine on “Advanced”. The boy blocks almost all of the projectiles fired at him; one grazes his left shoulder. The machine dies down and the boy drops his shield, turning back to the weapons wall and grabbing a meteor hammer. Spinning it over his head, he advances on a solitary dummy. He releases the chain and sends the hammer flying at the dummy’s leg. It hits its target and breaks the leg, causing me to wince subconsciously. The boy pulls the metal sphere back and swings once more, aiming for the head. But the sphere only grazes off the top of the head. The boy recovers before the hammer hits him, dodging out of the way and letting it smash into the floor. His time is up, and he leaves quickly. Despite his last mistake, I’m impressed. A District 12 male might make it past the first day this year.
For superior skill with a shield and average skill with a meteor hammer, Ian of District 12 receives a training score of 8 (minus four training points).
The last tribute makes her way into the room with a bounce in her step. She grabs a crossbow and loads an arrow before aiming it at a dummy. After a short pause, she turns and faces the targets instead. A pacifist, perhaps? I saw that last year with the girl from 7, who also happened to use a crossbow.
The girl holds the crossbow a bit away from her body, in order to increase her accuracy, and then fires at the 100m target. The arrow hits the target inches from the bull’s-eye; a pretty accurate shot. The girl fires a few more arrows, with most coming near or hitting the bull’s-eye. When she’s run out of arrows, she turns and leaves the room, practically skipping.
I’m happy to say that District 12 has a fighting chance this year.
For superior skill with a crossbow, Morgan of District 12 receives a training score of 8.