Katniss wakes up the next morning and thinks about their situation. She isn’t sure whether the others have really been protecting Peeta or if there’s some other strategy, but she decides it’s safer for her and Peeta to split from the group. She doesn’t want the others to know, so she tells him out in the water where no one can hear. He agrees, but he says they should wait until the tributes from District 2 are dead. Then they’ll go. Back on the beach, Beetee has devised a plan to kill the District 2 tributes. He believes they’re probably on the edge of the jungle nearby, and he thinks they’ll move to the beach if the group heads inland. At noon and midnight, lightning always strikes the same tree. By running his wire, a highly conductive variety he invented, from the tree to the sea, they can electrocute a fairly large area just off the shore as well as any part of the beach that’s damp with the saltwater.
They break camp and begin hiking up to the lightning tree for Beetee to inspect it. After that they move to a different section until the lightning storm passes. Then they head back to the beach, where Beetee works with his wire while the others collect food and relax. Peeta finds a pearl that he gives to Katniss, and he can tell that she still intends to keep him alive, even at the expense of her own life. They sit at the edge of the water together holding hands.
They all hike back to the lightning tree, and with Finnick’s help, Beetee winds the wire around it. Katniss and Johanna are sent to run the wire back to the beach and submerge the end deep in the water. They should have enough time to get back into the jungle safely before the lightning strike. As they carry the wire down, the wire suddenly comes curling up to their feet, indicating that it’s been cut. Before Katniss knows what’s happening, she’s struck in the head. She’s hardly coherent but feels Johanna on top of her, digging her knife into Katniss’s forearm. Johanna tells Katniss to stay down and then runs off. Katniss drifts in and out of consciousness as she thinks that Johanna and Finnick must have planned this in order to divide and kill her and Peeta. When she realizes Peeta is in danger she gets up and starts stumbling back to the lightning tree.
She finds Beetee unconscious with a similar wound in his arm. In his hand is Peeta’s knife, wrapped in wire that connects to the lightning tree. He must have been trying to drive it through the gap in the force field that she can see. She hears Peeta calling for her and sees Finnick approaching with Enobaria, one of the District 2 tributes. She draws her bow preparing to shoot Enobaria and suddenly realizes what’s happening. She slides the wire off the knife and ties it around her arrow. She fires the arrow through the gap, and as it pulls the wire through behind it lightning strikes the tree. The force field bursts into a bright light and Katniss is thrown to the ground.
Explosions occur all around as a hovercraft appears and scoops Katniss up. Inside is Plutarch Heavensbee. Katniss blacks out and wakes later partially tied to a padded table, but her limbs are barely functional. She loses consciousness twice and more but eventually wakes to find herself unrestrained. Beetee is there, hooked up to machines. She doesn’t know what’s happening and grabs a syringe, thinking it best to kill Peeta quickly rather than allow the Capitol to torture him. She sneaks down a hallway and listens at a doorway to people inside talking about communications being down in various districts. The voices belong to Plutarch, Finnick, and Haymitch. Haymitch takes the syringe from her and explains everything. All along there was a plan to break the tributes out of the arena. Plutarch has for several years been part of an underground movement to overthrow the Capitol. Some of the tributes knew about the plan, like Beetee, whose job it was to destroy the force field. They’re on their way to District 13 now, and most of the districts are in full-scale rebellion. They didn’t tell Katniss or Peeta because once the force field went down the Capitol would go after them first, and they couldn’t risk the Capitol finding anything out.
Katniss doesn’t know why they would go after her and Peeta first, and Plutarch tells her because the revolution lives as long as she does. She’s the mockingjay. The tributes kept Peeta alive in the arena because they knew Katniss wouldn’t cooperate with the rebels if he died. He informs her that Peeta, Johanna, and Enobaria were picked up by the Capitol. Katniss attacks Haymitch, scratching his face badly, before she’s quickly sedated. She hears Finnick in the bed next to her, saying he’s sorry. Katniss feels betrayed, most of all by Haymitch, who used her and Peeta. Eventually she wakes to find Gale there. He’s badly injured and tells her the Capitol bombed District 12 after the Games. He got Prim and Katniss’s mother out in time, but the District 12 is gone.