by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay Chapter 18 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- Katniss and Johanna keep training. The rebels have devised a special new kind of training program called Simulated Street Combat (SSC) that simulates warfare they would encounter in the Capitol.
- They're, of course, filmed for media promotion.
- Things continue as normal until Peeta starts coming to training too. Plutarch explains it's for the media and tries to get Peeta and Katniss to reconcile for the same purpose. Katniss refuses.
- Meanwhile, Katniss intensely observes the other soldiers getting ready for battle. The next conflict is coming up soon.
- Suddenly, Johanna and Katniss are deemed ready to take the final pre-combat test. It has four parts. In the last one, the warriors have to go through SSC one at a time, and then try to make it through the tests the rebels have devised for them.
- Johanna goes first, then Katniss.
- In Katniss's ordeal, she lets her instincts take over and moves through the model combat setting, trying to remember all the things she's been taught.
- In the middle of her session, she has an epiphany that the rebels are testing to see whether she'll obey them under pressure. So she does, even though the orders totally go against her instincts.
- It works: soon after, the simulation ends, and she's approved. Smart move.
- She's sent to Command and it's not until she arrives that Katniss realizes that's abnormal compared to what other soldiers go through. However, Boggs is pleased to see her and announces she's been assigned to his squad, along with Gale and Finnick.
- Then they meet with Plutarch, who announces some tactics. He shares a holograph version of the Capitol and explains that it's full of "pods," or little zones of lethal weapons and traps.
- Katniss and Finnick quickly realize that it's very similar to the arenas they entered during their Games. They try to keep everyone else from figuring out the full significance of this point too, and it seems to work.
- After the meeting, Katniss and Finnick try to reassure each other that maybe it <em>won't</em> be as bad as a Games, but they're both honestly doubtful.
- Then, Haymitch appears to say that Johanna's having problems again. He says that she's terrified of water, because it was part of her abuse in the Capitol, and so she couldn't master her fear during the SSC test.
- She's back in medical, and he thinks Finnick and Katniss should go see her.
- Finnick and Haymitch leave, but Katniss waits for Boggs. She gets permission to go above ground to the woods. Once there, she gathers some branches and makes a token for Johanna, which she takes along with her for the visit.
- Johanna is somewhat soothed by the branches, which remind her of her home, District 7. She makes Katniss solemnly swear to get revenge on Snow, though. Don't worry, Katniss was already on it.
- After that, Katniss and the others return to even more aggressive training with their special, Beetee-designed weapons.
- Everyone in their group is excellent. Katniss and Gale and the others are disheartened, though, to learn from Plutarch that they'll be the attacking group filmed the most during the attack. They all think that they won't <em>actually </em>be able to do anything – it will be just for show.
- Katniss has a secret plan to get out of it, but plays dumb.
- The next day, they have to say good-bye to their families before they depart. They head to the Capitol in a circuitous route, which involves going through 12. The rebels have already taken some of the outer parts of the city.
- They learn that the combat they'll be entering will be primarily on the ground, not from the air.
- Then they stall out for a few days while nothing happens. Katniss feels like the rebels are not sure how to best deploy her. They're all frustrated that they're not getting to participate in the fighting.
- Katniss memorizes a map of the streets. What she really wants, though, is a special holographic map assigned to each commander, called a Holo.
- It's the best way to keep track of the knowledge the rebels have about the changing evils of the Capitol. It also has the capability to become a mass suicide tool if a group of rebels is in danger of getting captured.
- A pod kills one of their team members, Leeg 2. When a replacement soldier shows up, everyone is shocked to see it's Peeta. He's been sent specifically by Coin.
- Katniss realizes this might mean Coin wants her dead. She really doesn't need that right now.
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