Part 66: Chapter 2 RecapRight. We already had a recap for Chapter 1 so let's have one for the most complicated chapter in the game.
We arrive in Leningrad, hoping to check out the meeting place between the snuff-movie making gang in Moscow and their contact in Leningrad - and find out which (if any) of the Leningrad KGB Department 7 officers are involved in the matter.
First things first - if we want to leave the hotel alive, we have to decipher a fiendish code:
and then call a mysterious "Cut Throat" in order to promise our cooperation.
Outside Department 7
We destroy our briefing materials and hide our spy equipment, all to give the impression we're seeking the local KGB cooperation without really suspecting them.
Department 7 includes:
Authoritarian and thoroughly corrupt colonel Kusnetsov. He's suspicious and looking for any excuse to refuse cooperation.
His son in-law Chapkin (currently not around)
Outstandingly competent expert in "enhanced interrogation" Agabekov. He seems nice enough, but we spot a highly suspicious cigar in his trashcan - which we proceed to carry in our inventory til the end of the chapter.
The apparently pathetic pen-pusher Drobnitsa.
Having gotten acquainted with everyone at the local branch, we proceed to the meeting place at Ladoga Park.
We bug a likely bench, and Romeo (the dapper Moscow gang courier) hands over the suitcase full of snuff movies to a local tough guy.
The contact, in turn, meets with Chapkin.
Since we know where Chapkin is going and no longer care about Romeo, we follow the contact back to a warehouse on Hammer and Sickle street. Our camera is busted up and can't take pictures, but it does have an excellent zoom feature.
As the courier steps into the bar outside, we use the code to get inside and plant a bug in the office. We also open the skylight lock.
The bar residents aren't very friendly, but asking to use the bathroom gives us access to another skylight and a way back and forth out of the warehouse.
As we listen to various people going in and out of the office we learn that:
Savchenko is the blonde tough.
Mechulaiev is the fat boss.
Yakuchev is the contact between Moscow and Leningrad (except when Romeo does it himself, I suppose?) because he knew Verto back in Afghanistan.
The suave Obukov is going to arrange the next step of snuff film transportation, arranging it with the mysterious Victor and Mr X.
We rush through the skylight and follow Obukov in order to locate the one/both of the aforementioned.
He goes to a fancy hotel and meets up with Agabekov. *GASP*
We rush back to the warehouse in order to listen in to further developments. On Mr X's instructions, "Victor Matsnev" will exchange the tapes for crack tomorrow.
The mysterious Cut Throat arranged for a meeting outside our hotel. As he tends to get homicidally agitated if not kept in the loop, we let him know what we learned so far.
He doesn't care much about any criminal / corrupt activity besides nailing Agabekov, but he's really into that. He ostensibly represents people who want to save the Soviet Union.
Our handler, Savinkov, shows up with a dead body in tow. Apparently a hired killer was sent after us, but Savinkov arrived just in time to intercept him.
His associate is waiting for a phone call outside, so we call him up and ask him to join us.
We lure him in (lights out, body away, swap clothes), and Savinkov captures him. A mysterious figure in a dark room at Hotel Severnaya Zvezda (where Agabekov met Obukov) hired the two.
Savinkov is convinced this is Kusnetsov's doing. He leaves with the surviving killer.
We are left to disguise the body and drop it into the canal.
We then go to the hotel where the killers were hired and do a bit of "investigating" with the working girls.
Greenberg (the American spy who was captured along with us by the snuff movie gang with Moscow) shows up, as does smily face here.
Wallace claims to be Greenberg's CIA partner, investigating the snuff movie smuggling ring. She lends us 150$ to lend credence to her words.
We use the $$$ take one of the prostitutes upstairs, and she tells us about yet another room in the hotel she's occasionally asked to use by her "contacts".
Said room has a special two-way mirror for which can be used to make blackmail videos. Oh, and it's possibly a snuff film stuido. Chapkin and Kusnetsov are kind enough to keep an incriminating photo within, just so we know who handles the place.
Back downstairs, Greenberg denies that Wallace works with him - she's a part of the old guard who wants the Cold War to continue. Sometime during this / the Wallace conversation we're told that New Birth is the name of a shadowy organization dedicated to replacing Gorbachev with a hardline communist and restoring the Soviet Union. He also claims that Savinkov is manipulating us - only trust him if he offers us a cigar. Oh, and there's someone called Protopopov involved in the whole thing in some manner.
Having uncovered all of the above, we head back to our hotel for some much deserved rest.
Only to get a rude awakening.
He's here to assassinate us, having been rattled by our discovery of his little movie studio. Thankfully, our recorder is voice activated:
One knock out later, we find an interesting syringe on his body, which we immediately proceed to stick into him.
With that in mind:
Savchenko is his informant within the gang, due to old blackmail ties.
He's after us due to us causing trouble at the hotel.
He and Kusnetsov think we're here to expose Kusnetsov' corruption.
He didn't send the hitmen after us.
Kusnetsov gets a cut of the snuff/crack import exchange, but has recently been cut out of the deal - and is going to take out the gang to teach them a lesson.
He has no idea who Mr X is: "I asked Savchenko but he hasn't found out. Mr X is Obukov's partner. They handle the arrival of the crack. Mechulaiev's job is to take care of it once it arrives, Sunday morning. Only, he'll be dead by that time."
The Victor Matsnev is a ship, heading out tomorrow.
He knows nothing about any of the deeper conspiracy stuff.
Having spilled all this information, he drops dead.
Savinkov shows up at this point. He's very interested in everything we've discovered, and here's his interpretation of the whole thing:
Kusnetsov is a very very bad man, and is the mastermind behind the whole snuff deal. We must intercept his assassination attempt at the warehouse and implicate him.
Everything else - Cut Throat, the American involvement, Agabekov's involvement with Obukov - are either misdirection by Kusnetsov or perfectly explainable.
There's a bum urging us to read "Pravda" in the alley where we're supposed to meet Cut Throat. After some shenanigans, we decipher the message within and manage to contact Cut Throat via the public phone.
According to Cut Throat, Kusnetsov is just a minor corrupt official - Agabekov is the key to the conspiracy.
Finally, we meet Greenberg in Lagoda park. He only has one bit of information for us:
"I checked out that guy Yakuchev you asked me about and here's what I found. First, he's a mean son of a bitch who keeps himself well hidden. Second, he's Pamyat. If there's one thing I like less than KGB, it's Pamyat. Those ultra-nationalist neo-fascist Jew-haters make me very angry, my friend."
(A reminder - our parents were killed in Afghanistan. Verto, Yakuchev's probable Afghan buddy, has one half of a photograph depicting this event.)
With all this in mind, the choice is between following up on Kusnetsov's little assassination, or disobeying Savinkov and investigating the Victor Matsnev. We're going to do the latter.