Stephen Toope has been forced to admit that the university’s ‘Global Gloom’ scenario involves a bloody, arena-based fight to the death inspired by Suzanne Collins’s best-selling young adult trilogy The Hunger Games.
Each college will be forced to submit their scholars to a brutal televised competition, where the students must fight for MacBooks, Chilly’s bottles and a copy of the course textbook. Students will also compete to gain the favour of mysterious benefactors, who can bestow free laundry or travel grants on competitors who catch their eye.
There are hints that the University Library might provide the location for this gruesome spectacle, with the danger zones being patrolled by cyclists with headphones, no helmet, and using no hands. Ex-competitors are able to help out the tribute from their college by airdropping in notes as the show hots up. The ‘Cornucopia’ houses handouts for the lectures students have missed.
Trinity (District One) and John’s (District Two) are the overwhelming favourites, with the bookies touting Girton (District Twelve) as the potential dark horse of the contest. Tara Lamp, head reporter at the Tab, suggests that the experience might prove scarring: “In the confines of the UL, you can turn the corner and never know what’s coming. I expect at least half the competitors to come across an illicit shag.”
Senate House, henceforth known as the ‘Capitol’, will provide the backdrop for the winner’s ceremony, and Stephen Toope will kick off proceeding with a snappy “may the academic rigour be ever in your favour.” Students’ Directors of Studies will be in charge of training them for the competition, with their tutor providing an important emotional support role. Tara Lamp explains that “for many students, the prospect of a Michaelmas without Cindies is difficult enough to deal with, let alone being dropped into a savage last-man-standing game show.”
There are also rumours of further, unreleased scenarios even more extreme than the previously outlined Global Gloom plan. A source close to Graham Virgo suggested these had been named Day After Tomorrow, Apocalypse Now, and Mad Max: Fury Road.