Part 51: Mafia and Criminal ActivityMafia and Criminal Activity
: Last time, we handled the elections in Otradnoye. Going back to Dans factory afterwards triggers a takeover attempt by Shishak and his men, which they inevitably lose. Nothing we can do to change things one way or the other (kind of a running theme in this update).
:We do pick up Shishaks keys, unlike TGEK. Our totally freed slave will be probably be happy with the additional lockpicking bonus.
We are now tasked with investigating the source of the takeover attempt.
: Perhaps its in Peregon?
: Nope, all we find is the most 90s face ever and (unwittingly) the source of the problem.
: Apparently this actually increases your chance of encountering a wealthy caravan in the wastelands. I have a whole lot of stuff to sell after offscreen deviations from the pacifist way, so that would be handy.
: I actually forgot where the hell the gems are, and had to run around looking for them. You CAN get the gems out without any instructions or an explicit quest, which is a nice bit of verisimilitude.
: Once you pick up the gems, Syomas men are a fairly frequent random encounter.
: Not really that scary.
: The Sewer mafia arent really helpful, but they do send us after some Tawfik Mozambique guy maybe he can be useful. As long as were here, we can wait for the guard to go talk to one of his friends
: Hit the hidden door button and loot the bandit stash. Nothing particularly gamebreaking, give the ease of getting in.
: The guard will actually enter the loot room when he first patrols back, so you want to open the door and go about your business for a while. He wont re-enter after that, so youre free to loiter, as long as you only enter and leave while hes away.
Anyway, lets go
: For too long, the Wastes have been ruled by old coots who lost the plot ages ago. Our organization has decided the time is right to push them out of the market. But bold moves must start with a big boom. You know, to show everyone that we mean business.
In Peregon, there's a pimp who calls himself Aurum. He likes to chat up poor women from the North, tell them he's got connections to cooking or dry cleaning jobs if they come with him to Peregon or Krasnoznamenny. Once they're away from their friends and family, he forces them to become prostitutes or worse, sells them to rich perverts. Quite a lucrative scam, right?
Local gangs won't touch him, so we need someone who will in fact touch him. Fatally, if possible. That someone is you. Walk around Peregon, find this cat, and show him what for. I'll wait for you in Fogelevka.
: Easy. Except:
: [You nod to the pimp and his two bodyguards... But the next thing you're about to say is interrupted by a couple of thugs, let by a young man with his hair combed back]
We're with Uncle Hook's gang. We were looking for Aurum, but it seems like you found him first You're like some scout or something!
: Were you sent here to find a pimp?
: Nobody sent us. We decided to do that on our own, to grow in the ranks and all that jazz. But there actually were talks in the syndicate, about teaching the local bosses a harsh lesson, not only by threatening or killing Aurum... But by killing his hoes as well!
: Well theres no bribery or speechcraft or intimidation option, so I guess we fight or leave Aurum to his fate. Shame.
: Aurum has left this world... Forever.
: Well, fuck him then. I'm telling you, Hook, we got this operation by the balls! This kid is a real pro. [Tawfik takes a sip from a glass of some murky substance and sniffs at a crunchy piece of bread. His friend smiles and extends his hand for a shake]
: Nice to meet you. I'm Uncle Hook.
[You reﬂexively take the stranger's hand. His handshake is firm, but not overbearing. With the pleasantries over, the man grabs a bottle from the rack and pours everyone a drink]
For your health. Uhh... Nice. Hey, you're probably expecting a reward, right? We got you covered. Tawfik, get the money and loot out.
: Hey, did you know that your henchman wanted to kill Aurum's women?
: Seriously? Goddammit. I'll give it to ya straight, there are a lot of bastards in our ranks right now. But don't you worry. As the organization grows, we'll clean out the deadwood. Even someone like Dan can make mistakes when hiring new people. But enough about that. Are you ready to steal a bunch of drugs from our colleagues in crime, and leave them a sign that we mean business?
: I dunno. Cutting off heads seems a bit extreme.
: Oh, come on. In Krasnoznamenny, even the militia is out headhunting criminals.
: Thats actually true. Probably didnt bother showing it off though.
: Why can't we do the same? As a bonus, you don't have to bring the head back with you, bouncing around in your bag with your food rations and photos of your family.
: If youre analyzing each picture with care (why?) you might notice a corpse there. Suspicious and stupidly placed though it is, its actually an old war victim irrelevant to this quest.
: I uh actually didnt screencap the rest of the conversation. The dude already handed over the drugs to someone who seemed legit. We can take his head or not, but the drugs are gone now.
: Skip forward to the next day:
: So after after deciding to work for the other side of the sewer mafia conflict, weve had one (1) genuinely different quest, one other side of the story quest at the same location, and now that were being set up to be eliminated, were asked to head to the same bridge and
: Motherfucker. Its the exact same dude and his thugs waiting to take us out, whether working for Hook or Simon.
: Uh. I mean:
: Hey there, you rat fuck. You thought we were having a meet up with the smugglers? Nope. We're here for you. My name is Valera Dober and my boys here are ready to punish you. Fucking stole the drugs and disrespected Uncle Hook like that...
[The men gathered around Valera look at one another and start cackling. You quickly understand the situation... There will be no meet up. Uncle Hook didn't believe you when you said you could not find the drugs, and decided to kill you for theft]
: As a man of business, I can understand that Hook person. He did not believe your true and honest story about that awful substance being already gone when you met up with that poor courier. I can respect his wish to punish us for it... But... But I don't want to die like some dog!
: Aight. Lets try our luck:
[Accelerated to unimaginable speeds by the tornado, the rusty, diseased razors cut your enemies one by one, as they attempt to run away, tearing through backpacks and armor, turning boots into rags, and flesh into mince meat. You soon hear not a scream of pain, but a horrible death rattle. You don't know it yet, but that noise is made by Valera Dober himself. His jugular was torn asunder by one of the thousand flying blades, and he fell to the ground, gurgling, quickly losing blood]
[The metal storm calms down as quick as it descended upon you. The screams and moans also go silent, one by one, as your terrified, injured enemies lose their final drops of blood. You finally get up in the middle of the chaos... Untouched. Seems like you were lucky enough to jump straight into the eye of the storm]
: Never in my life have I seen such a horrible miracle, Sparkie. I hope I won't, ever again...
: Thank you, horrible rusty Soviet shaving blades!
: The Wounded Tourist tunnel was actually interactable before this:
: Just a bunch of spiders, not much of use. You cant lay traps or mines in this game, so accessing it early wouldnt be very useful. Anyways, now that Uncle Hooks gang is here:
: Same dude, same spiel, still no way to bribe or intimidate him. Because even in a quest chain that can otherwise be pacified without any combat, the game has to be a dick about things. Oh well, lets at least make it to the end of the line:
: Same dude in the tunnel as well. For once, we don't JUST pass a speech check, we also have a think (a little). And Fidel is the most useful hes ever been in dialog.
: [Success] [The bandit ponders your words, then nods]
Yeah, I guess you got used to calling him by his real name long before he picked himself that cool nickname. I dunno about you guys, but I think this kid is legit saying the truth. How about we go for a quick smoke, while he meets his bro?
: [Attention] I can see you're not armed. You wanna ﬁght me with your bare hands?
: Ha! Don't you know who you're talking with? I'm the boxing champion of Navoloki and the whole Kineshma area of the Ivanovo region! Since the war began I started honing my skills. Nobody can beat me now!
[Seems like your words turned on a switch hidden deep in the man's brain. He loses his cool attitude and starts jumping around and punching thin air with his scary looking boxing gloves]
: [Personality]: 8 You lost here, guys. Just go, okay?
: [Success] [The man laughs nervously, but his eyes are full of fear. He knows you're right He has nothing. His drugs are gone. His gang is in shambles. All of it done by a single person...]
: I mean one dude with a machete got killed, and one group of independent contractors (?) who might as well have worked for Simon got razored in a freak accident, but sure. Demolished a major criminal organization.
: Ahem. Yes. Right. Fine. I'm a reasonable man. I can admit defeat. We can leave this part of the Wastes. We'll do it right now.
: Oh no you don't. First, you pay me, for my silence.
: [Uncle Hook thinks about it for a second, then finally nods, and without any enthusiasm, hands you some money. His buddies also chip in. You get 400 rubles in total...]
[The bandits bow their heads and leave one by one. Hook is the last one at the exit. He stops suddenly, and squints his eyes at you. It's hard to tell what goes on in this man, who lost everything he fought for all these years...]
These Wastes now have a mortal enemy. One day I shall return and knock this fucking place out!
: Man. If I wasnt a pacifist, I could have at least gotten the second (or third) best martial-arts weapon off his corpse. Oh well.
So basically, nothing changed, regardless of who we sided with. Things even end in the exact same location, facing the same enemies.
Lets try following things up with the non-sewer mafia. Last time, TGEK called in some debts for them, returning the cash in exchange for a small % of the money and access to the boss. Were going to do basically the same thing, but first:
: Chaaaaaaarming. Yeah, you could do the same in Fallout 2, but (again) that game is 20 years older, and it wasnt explicit sex-slavery.
: The other debtor just gets speeched at. However, the mafia guy did say we have only three days to get the debts settled. What if we wait a while?
: Yeah. You can collect over 10,000 rubles with some speech checks (or not), then just wait three days and get to meet the boss. No repercussions (except for the removal of three NPCs from the gameworld).
There are no differences worth mentioning when you talk to Rosario. But! If we happen to annoy the mafia boys, possibly by trying to break into their little side room, we could kill them all without aggroing the rest of the city.
: The fight itself might be complicated, but every single quest leading up to it doesnt require you to have any skills or stats.
: Now that we know the location, we could head out to handle things on our own, or
: Shishak wasi sent by some guy called Syoma Voronok.
: Hm. Syoma Voronok, the bandit with the diamond mine from up North? What did we ever do to him?
: Do you remember how Dan used to react to us fucking with him by letting us go, then telling his men to shoot us as we walked away? Fun times. Last chance to do that now, by refusing to divulge the source of our info.
: It's what I was been told by the Krasnoznamenny maﬁa. Syoma Voronok's people forced them to comply with his plan.
: [Dan listens carefully, pinching his upper lip beneath his mustache and looking at the floor. Then he looks up at you again]
I'm not surprised. Those rats would serve the Devil himself if it meant saving their own hides and earning some cash. They will be the first to die when it's time to clean up that city. Dan: Okay, I see you told me the truth. Let's get back to Syoma Voronok's bandits. Do you know where to find them?
: In a place called the Container Yard.
: Great, I know where that is. I'll send my men and I want you to go there too, to oversee the operation. Death to spies! No mercy for the enemy!
: Hold up. What about a peaceful approach?
: If I could end it peacefully I would, but no. This is war. It's either us or them.
: So we go into combat against Syomas dudes with
: Ugh... Ummm... Finishing the Death Transmission... Ha! Did you like it, child? How I killed these men with my psionic abilities?!
: We already covered Dans reaction to the news:
: And thats settles the whole affair. Except we still have that bag of diamonds to fence.
I: [Grishka is sitting at a sticky, dirty table. He plays around with a glass of vodka, while looking at the entrance, as if waiting that one of his enemies will enter at any moment. He probably has his reasons to have that fear]
: Who's the buyer, if it's not a secret?
I: don't know if I can tell you... Ill just say that it's a guy from a major local cult It's not your first day in the Wastes, so you might as well guess the rest.
[Grishka winks at you]
Why does that cult need the stones is anyone's guess... Such stones are usually used to make all sorts of pretty jewelry items or... for some high-tech stuff. God knows. I don't even care why they need them.
: [Barter]: I was nearly killed on my way here. It's a risk, and high-risk jobs should be well paid.
I: [Success] Oh, fine... You got a bit of the ol' bandit spirit inside you, you know? Here's 200 rubles. Don't ask for more, though!
: [You place the bag on the table, and move it towards Grishka.]
I: [He winks at you, and quickly hides the bag into the pocket of his worn work pants] Thanks a lot, brother. Here, 250 rubles for your labor. Buy yourself something good.
As for me... It's time to meet the buyer
I'll sell these stones, and after that... There's a lot of places to visit! The Legendary Trudograd, Mountain Pass of Woes, the lands of the oil barons. Maybe I'll see you again one day.
: See you in Trudograd. The jewels are worth 2750 rubles, but I guess handing them over to Grisha stops Syomas men from chasing us, for some reason?
Last but not least, lets go get Kovalevs car. First things first the car we get from the mutant scrap yard is not acceptable, we have to get and renovate the car junked next to Dans factory.
: You can tell him that detective Kovalev sends his regards... but I doubt that will make a good impression. You could also ask among the scavengers, though I don't think they will have the right parts.
: [Speechcraft]: Comrade Kovalev, obviously there's a story about this Artemyev.
: [Success] [Kovalev looks into your eyes and then turns away. Seems like he suddenly lost his iron spine, the organ that kept him standing proud and tall in this terrible world]
He... He's a reminder of a failure from long ago.
: I was a detective with the people's militia. We were chasing after a gang of car thieves who disassembled their stolen stock and sold the parts and scrap.
Just before the war, all the factories were working to supply the army. Times were rough. Everything was dedicated to the war effort, even though some people were starving. That was when we first heard about cars being stolen.
We increased our patrols and sent undercover operatives to check things out. We assembled a civilian militia from some willing volunteers and had them watch in places with a lot of parked cars.
Finally we found out a small gang of car thieves was operating in town. Artemyev was their leader.
[Kovalev goes silent for a moment. Then he stretches his back and continues]
He was thought to be a good man, a true communist, a local factory mechanic who knew his craft. But when the war started, it turned out he wasn't interested in making an honest living.
He faked sickness to avoid conscription, gathered a bunch of his deadbeat pals, and started stealing from honest folks. The cars he stole were broken up for spare parts on the black market. This business filled his pockets with precious cash!
In time the gang became savage - they attacked a truck carrying tractor motors!
: [Personality]: So did you get him in the end, Kovalev?
: [Success] That I did. We knew in advance that he was planning to steal a massive gas tank from the railway station.
So we planted an ambush and caught his gang red handed. But then Artemyev started shooting at us! Who knew he would stoop that low?
: Now we could head out and get the ingredients in question from some junk dealers.
As long as were here, we can pick up some doggy armor:
: I think this might be a mod making dog armor actually worthwhile, rather than a waste of funds.
: But the other route is slightly more complicated \ interesting.
: [Before you, sits a fat bloke in a crimson suit He is studying a ledger. From time to time, the man pouts and scratches his triple chin, all while making some markings in the weatherbeaten book]
: Huh. Thats the very first time our Ebonics dictionary has failed us. Lets try again, without starting a fight with the entire town.
: Pardon me, comrade Artemyev... It was a mistake.
: Fine, ﬁne. Now, what did you want? Don't waste my time, got it?
: They say you can get all kinds of rare gadgets. Is this true?
: Depends on what you be needing. You know how the times are. Quality tech is rare, and costs a lot. So what will it be?
: I need a carburetor and an ignition starter. Got anything to offer?
: [Artemyev starts looking through his notepad]
Yeah, I got those. I can deliver them in a couple of days, but it will cost you a pretty penny.
7000 rubles for the carburetor. 10000 for the starter. Yeah, it's a lot, but these days this stuff is really rare.
Although there are other ways to pay. You can work for me, if you don't have enough cash on yo
: Maybe we can talk about a discount?
: Oh, God, not that...
: [Barter]: What's the market price of these things, exactly? I don't think it's the one you told me. You'll lose all of your clients this way!
: [Success] [Artemyev fights it... but ﬁnally accepts the truth of your words] Fine, fine, I'll take off 4000! Which means you'll get the carburettor for 3000 and the starter for 7000. But this is my last offer.
: Work? What kind of work?
: First off, I need you to take care of a man. An independent god damned journalist. He has some intel on me. He's hiding near Krasnoznamenny. You need to find him and silence him. How you do it - I don't really care. But I need the deed done.
The second job is a fair bit more interesting. Close to the town, there's this locked bunker. They say it was used for intercepting communications of supposed enemies of the state. There should be a gadget in this bunker, called the "K22 Decoder". You don't need to know what it does. I just need you to fetch it for me. If you complete both tasks, you'll get your parts and more. Any questions? Hope not...
: I need to actually kill the journalist? Is there no other way?
: Maybe you don't need to kill him. What you need to do is make him shut up for good. Buy him off. Threaten him. I don't care.
: What's can you tell me about this bunker?
: It's near Krasnoznamenny, in the mountains. There was a communications array there some time ago. intercepted enemy signals and what not. You need to search that place for a Decoder.
: The journalist is hostile to us, armed with a shit pistol, and surrounded by wolves. No dialog options, no nothing. A pacifist could just let him die and walk away (as it stands, one of my party members snipes him)
: The decoder bunker is incredibly toxic (about half my total health per tick!), and full of rats to hold you up. If this game allowed you to engage combat mode at will, you could easily make your way to the decoder, scarfing down healing items and toxicity cures. But you cant, and while youre in your inventory, trying to heal up, time goes on and you keep getting more and more damage.
We could go buy a gas mask, or hold out for the Dead City toxicity-proof suit, but I manage a no-damage run straight to the decoder and back, possibly glitching the game.
: Well, thats that. Lets head back to Kovalev and
: Learn that we also need to get some scrap metal and wire, because there hasnt been enough fetch questing already. Its fine, I have hundreds of each in the trunk of my real car, from the mutant scrapyard.
: Wait, no no no . were still not done. The game is mocking me.
At least its only one bottle of gasoline, and I already got some for my own car.
: Just what I needed. Let's see if we can start her up again!
[The old man pours the fuel into the tank, grabs the wheel and gives you a sign. You switch on the starter... and the car starts chugging! Black smoke is shooting out of the exhaust]
It works. |t works! I'm going to drive to Krasnoznamenny real fast and get some more parts! See you in Otradnoye when I get back.
[With that, Kovalev, looking much younger all of a sudden, drives away, ignoring the surprised shouts of the village guard and the maniacal barking of his mutt]
[You find the car you repaired. It's been shot several times and is on ﬁre. Near it lies the former Head of Otradnoye, Kovalev. He looks bad, covered in blood, his clothes torn to rags and burned through in some places. Burn marks on his skin as well...]
: One of the few portraits that actually change based on in-game events.
: [First Aid] Hold on. Don't talk. Let me check your vitals.
: [Kovalev stops you]
No use... I'll pass on soon. You know... it was a good life. I served my country well. I helped people. I built Otradnoye. And you helped me with my daughter! I know she loves this old fool... It's just that I won't have time to see her get married... or get to hold my grandkids...
: You're in shock, Kovalev! Let me get help!
: [The man looks blindly at the sky]
Don't tell anyone I died. But promise me you'll look after my girl! Give her good advice. Don't let her get into trouble. This... This is my final request!
[The old man's gaze becomes foggy. He coughs, then wheezes, and suddenly goes limp. It is over. Kovalev has left the Wastes for the snowy High Tundra of Heaven]
: There goes Comrade Kovalev, the first leader of Otradnoye.
: Let's get back to Artemyev?
: Well, there's only one other person who cares.
: Katya, I wanted to talk to you about Kovalev.
: [The girl nods and wags a finger at you]
I already know everything!
: What? From where?
: He told me that he wanted to travel the Wasteland. And I agreed. He did so much for us, so now he is free, and happy... someplace.
: Katya, I'm sorry to say this but Kovalev is actually dead.
: [Fear blossoms like an ugly flower on Katya's face]
What are you saying?! I don't believe you! Please don't joke like that...
: I'm telling you the truth! Why would I lie?
: Mind, this happens regardless of whether you mention Kovalev to Artemyev, or even if you pick up the necessary items from scavengers right outside Otradnoye (save before you talk to them and reload if they don't have the items you need. Good trick for traders in general). Which... I don't mind the game having a story to tell, but why even bother with the appearance of choice?