Part 8: Serving Two Masters
Chapter 8: Serving Two Masters
Having freed Artem Churbanov from prison and using his considerable network of contacts to plug the Coalition's name in the media, Piotr Prokofiev was well on his way to putting Ekaterine in his pocket. However, rifts between the members of the faction were forming, underscoring the importance of ideology between leaders of a movement. They may have been flexible in their actions, but many movements with a variety of views were soon bogged down in a mire of conflict and favoritism.
Thankfully, the Novistranan Coalition did not suffer such a fate so early in its inception. Had they truly been torn apart so early, perhaps the future today would be very different indeed...
Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Thirtieth Entry: 28/02/1996
Josef worries me. He has not returned to headquarters tonight. Father Baturin told me that he had a long talk with my old friend, but that he wasn't sure he calmed him down enough to give Churbanov a chance. I'll get in touch with my contacts in the unions to continue keeping the workers on our side, but I can't afford to have Josef out of the picture for long. He's the one they trust the most, and without his presence they may be tempted to return to the Socialist Workers's banner.
I had another long talk with Churbanov before sending him out to work his trade against the Konstantino Cartel. I decided to be honest and made it clear to him that our movement had the concerns of the working-class in mind, and that his own elite class had no place in our movement's vision. Churbanov seemed to be resigned to that fact, and instead told me that all he really wanted was to get a form of revenge on Karasov. In the end, I made up my mind to keep him around, and perhaps even keep him in our payroll after this was all over. If I make the upper class realize that supporting us in mind and body is in their interest, then perhaps they can serve a role in the new Novistrana after all.
For now, I have to break the Konstantino Cartel's hold on Morozov Manor. The Cartel's insiduous hold over trade unions and local businesses is the oppression of the people given form: Venedikt Markov, Ekaterine's representative for Konstantino, is as corrupt as they come and trying to cash in our nation's peril.
He must be destroyed, and if that's not possible, at least locked out of politics. Churbanov and Baturin may be able to work together to convince the wealthy of Ekaterine that Markov deserves nothing less than exile from any form of influence.
I trust their judgment in their approach to these matters.
* * *
Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Venedikt Markov: Faction Leader (The Konstantino Cartel)
Venedikt has one passion in life - money! Amidst rumors of financial irregularities during his time at the State Bank he has since been investing heavily in local businesses and enterprises.
* * *
Memos to Piotr Prokofiev - Venedikt Markov's Warning: 01/03/1996
My dear friend Piotr Prokofiev,
I have heard from my loyal acquaitances in Voronozh Fields and Morozov Manor that you have been targeting my interests in an attempt to convert people to your cause. If I am not wrong, you have been trying to use a priest named Oleg Baturin and a journalist whose name I have not yet uncovered in order to sway my associates with lies?
Let this be your only warning. Do not attempt to turn my dear friends to your side with your misdirection and cynical power grabs. Everyone in Ekaterine knows that your little "Coalition" is a communist throwback that wants to drive our nation to the ground in a misguided attempt to bring back a sort of golden age. Anyone who would support you that didn't fit your vision of labor would then be thrown up against the wall, correct?
Should you persist in attacking my faction, I will have no choice but to reveal how your union thugs have been defacing the streets of Ekaterine with your horrible logo, and how your takeover of the Union of Socialist Workers's support has done nothing to stem the lawlessness in our fair city. I have photographic proof of your actions. You have been warned.
The Novistranan National Archive - Memo to Venedikt Markov from Piotr Prokofiev: 01/03/1996
* * *
Churbanov and Baturin relaxed in their new offices, each enjoying the small touches they were adding to their rooms. Churbanov was entertaining himself by cutting up old editions of the Ekaterine Echo and other local papers that he had written articles for and then pinning them up to a corkboard over his desk. Baturin had just put a small cross over his bed and was considering whether to add a picture of the Virgin Mary on the wall opposite.
Prokofiev sat at the table in the center room of the apartment, writing carefully in his diary. Nasarov still had not returned to the new headquarters, and he had not been seen in his home either. Prokofiev was worried that he had been snapped up by the secret police, but there was nothing on the grapevine that he had met any grisly end. It had been three days and nights since Nasarov had stormed out of the apartment after confronting Churbanov.
"Still worried about Mr. Nasarov, Mr. Prokofiev?" asked Baturin, exiting his spartan room and spotting his superior writing.
"Father, I... Yes," admitted Prokofiev, frowning to hide his apprehension. "I have this horrible feeling in my gut that he's left us for good."
"I wouldn't worry," smiled Baturin in an effort to soothe Prokofiev. "Trust in your friend. I'm sure he trusts you in the same way. He just needs time to gather his thoughts, have a little bit of introspection."
"I suppose you're right," Prokofiev muttered, turning back to his diary. "I hear that new graffiti has been going up supporting us, but nobody saw who did the work. That could be Josef..."
"I'll pray for Mr. Nasarov and yourself, Mr. Prokofiev," nodded the priest and returning to his room. "Oh, and try to something about Mr. Kalmakov sometime soon, please? It disturbs me to read articles like this one," Baturin added, handing Prokofiev a newspaper.
Prokofiev just laughed and handed back the newspaper.
* * *
: All right, what's the plan, Artem?
: Okay, get this, Piotr. I pulled some strings at the Echo to get in nice and cozy with the casino. They managed to get in touch with the big cheese himself, Oleg Brylin.
: What do they say?
: Whoa, hold on, are you sure this line isn't bugged?
: Veronika is as paranoid as you are, Artem. The phones are as clean as a whistle.
: Phew, okay. Listen up. Mr. Brylin wants to expand his casino, says he has plenty of room to grow but needs investment in order to attract out-of-towners.
: So what are we going to do about it?
: Well, we're still working hard on breaking the Cartel's hold on the area. They're dug in deep, Piotr, but it shouldn't be too hard since Morozov Manor's full of your union kind and all. When we manage to blast the Cartel out of the water and take their support, you can get in touch with Mr. Brylin.
: Me? Aren't you the one with all the contacts?
: Sure I have the contacts, of course I have the contacts. But it's you that has to put a face to the movement, Piotr. You're the boss of the Coalition, so you need to step up and convince Mr. Brylin that it's in his interest to let us get a nice slice of all that action.
: How do I convince him to do that?
: I don't know, you're the visionary and all, buddy! Play nice, try to suck up to him a little, offer him a little extra cash on the side, you know? Just don't go getting violent with him. He doesn't "roll" like that, get me?
: Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Artem. Let me know when we've got Morozov Manor under our control.
: You bet. Later.
* * *
Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Oleg Brylin: Business
Oleg owns the Morozov Casino. He is currently looking for investors to help him expand the operation.
* * *
Fortune 500 - Excerpt from "People to Watch" Article, Special on Novistrana: 06/2007
But perhaps nobody else's rise in Novistrana's upper social circles compares to that of Oleg Brylin's. The Ekaterine Morozov Casino owner was no slouch during Vasily Karasov's military regime, but it was thanks to the Novistranan Coalition's movement that this gentleman of leisure was able to cement his place in Novistrana's monetary scene, and later, become a well-known name amongst gambling moguls around the world.
Piotr Prokofiev, the leader of the Ekaterine-based Novistranan Coalition that overthrew Vasily Karasov from power, was key to assisting Oleg Brylin obtain a monopoly in the country's casino business. Prokofiev required funding to fuel his movement, and Brylin required sound investment. The two were able to reach an agreement where Prokofiev gave investment and media attention to Brylin, and Brylin returned the favor by sharing a percentage of the casino's profits.
In order for the casino to be truly successful, however, Brylin required some PR attention. A journalist working for Prokofiev, Artem Churbanov, was able to work a large media campaign to attract the attention of Ekaterine's rich and famous. The opening night of the casino's expanded operations saw the cream of the crop of Novistrana visiting and hobnobbing, all overseen by the sponsorship of Prokofiev.
Amongst the guests gracing the casino on its opening night were Eastern European martial arts champion Pavel Sonich...
Socialites and special-cause advocates Natalia Sorokina and Tatia Kournikova...
Self-important Novistranan movie star Mikhail Fyodorov...
And Kuzma Namestnikov, CEO of an ore mining company based in the Novistranan city of Eraliev.
The celebrity and star power of the casino's opening night were the jolt of interest that sparked further investment in the casino, but it was the backing of Prokofiev and continued contact between Churbanov and Brylin that kept funding secure and interest of cities near Ekaterine.
With continued negotiations between Brylin and Prokofiev at the end of what Novistranans called the "Third Glorious Revolution", Brylin's net worth and increasing hold on casinos in Novistrana were all but assured.
Brylin currently backs the Novistranan Coalition Party in all races it runs, and seeks to expand his casino's empire throughout the rest of Eastern Europe and even in the West. What will come of a now-liberated Novistrana's rich and famous seems to be limited only by their imagination.
All photos credited to the Novistranan National Archive.
* * *
"Check this out," Churbanov said excitedly, handing Prokofiev and Baturin the morning's edition of the Ekaterine Echo.
"Wow, this is actually really good material," Prokofiev said as he read, impressed. "How did you manage to get this on the front page?"
"Heh, let's just say that a lot of the guys at the Echo owe me for a lot of things," Churbanov replied smugly, thumbs hooked on his overall straps. "Right now, any article I want written can be put front-and-center, so long as I don't get overly critical of Karasov."
"It doesn't bother you that you're not credited for any of this?" Baturin asked, looking up at the journalist. "I saw you writing drafts of this last night."
"If my name goes in any article, I'll be back in Vostok Green faster than you can blink," Churbanov replied, shrugging. "I hate not getting credit for my work, but if it means staying out of there, I'll just keep ghostwriting."
"Well, whatever the case, this is excellent press," Prokofiev turned to Churbanov, grinning. "Brylin was really impressed with our work beating back the Cartel, and the way we managed the PR for the casino."
"Congratulations, Mr. Churbanov," Baturin bowed slightly to the journalist, "your plan was a huge success."
"Yeah, good work."
Prokofiev, Baturin, and Churbanov turned as one towards the sound of the voice. There stood Josef Nasarov, a spray can in his hand and a canvassing clipboard tucked in his armpit. His face was blank.
"Josef!" Prokofiev shouted in sincere delight, getting up and hugging his comrade. Baturin followed, smiling and shaking Nasarov's free hand after Prokofiev released his bear-hug. Churbanov just sat in his chair, watching the scene unfold. Nasarov remained unexpressive.
As if just taking notice of the journalist, Nasarov turned to look straight at him. The two just faced each other in silence for an uncomfortable period of time, but Prokofiev and Baturin didn't want to risk stepping in.
Finally Nasarov spoke, still serious. "I hear that you've been doing good work for the Coalition so far. Been hitting the Cartel and the Union pretty hard."
"Yeah," replied Churbanov, without any of his usual humor. "And I heard that graffiti tags and canvassing have been going on in the areas we've liberated. Was that you?"
"Yeah," nodded Nasarov, drawing an approving eye from Prokofiev but not noticing it. "I... also heard about... your reasons for being in jail," Nasarov continued, now lowering his head.
"From who?" Churbanov asked. He hadn't changed expression or moved at all since Nasarov looked at him.
"From friends of mine in the union with some pull," Nasarov replied vaguely. "I didn't know that you were married."
"I was, once, yes," Churbanov said.
"I'm-" Nasarov began, but stopped. As if this were a great task for him requiring physical strength, he strained to continue. "I'm sorry about what I said to you a few days ago."
"I accept that apology," replied Churbanov, smiling slightly. "I'm sorry for not understanding your... situation. Piotr- I mean, Mr. Prokofiev, told me about it."
Nasarov turned to Prokofiev and Baturin, eyes still cast low. "Comrades, I'm sorry for what I did. I abandoned you when you needed me most."
"Apology accepted, Mr. Nasarov," said Baturin, who turned his head slightly to look at Prokofiev. Prokofiev remained silent, then spoke.
"Where were you all this time?"
"I hate to admit it, comrade, but I had been approached by Viktor Kovak," Nasarov explained.
"Of the Union of Socialist Workers?"
"Yes, him. I... I joined him and his men. He promised me that we would remain loyal to our own, unlike you. He told me to work against you for being a traitor to the cause. I believed him." Nasarov turned red as he spoke, feeling the shame as if it were a weight on him.
"And what happened?" Prokofiev pushed, still with that critical look on his face.
"I did as he asked, for a time," Nasarov admitted. When he looked up he was clearly in anguish. "I worked against the very people I had grown up with. Against the people I spent the past two weeks making sure they believed in a new age."
"So why'd you quit?"
"Because of this, comrade," Nasarov said. He brought up his right hand, a raw scar barely concealing a week-old cut.
A single tear rolled down Prokofiev's stony face. He raised his own right hand, clasped it with Nasarov's, and both men embraced.
* * *
Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Viktor Kovak: Faction Leader (Union of Socialist Workers)
Local Police Chief Kovak likes the easy life, and doesn't do a great deal of law enforcement. Instead he prefers to take advantage of his position, ensuring a steady trickle of bribes and pay-offs supplement his meager wages.
* * *
Today I will be talking more in-depth about ideology in Republic: The Revolution.
As I explained earlier in the prologue/OP, ideology plays a very important role in this game. Every character in the game has an ideology, and every district in the game has one too. Ideologies are split between Force, Influence, and Wealth: whichever of these components is the dominant one determines that character or district's "real" ideology for gameplay purposes.
Every action in the game also has its own ideological slant. Canvass is an Influence action. Graffiti, on the other hand, is a Force action. Both of these actions are Support Gathering actions, but depending on which district we run them in, they may earn a bonus or suffer a penalty because of that district's ideology.
In general, Force beats Influence, Influence beats Wealth, and Wealth beats Force, like a big game of rock-paper-scissors. Depending on what you want to do, though, you may want to align the district or character's ideology with the same ideology of the action you want to run.
Times when you want to use the SAME ideology: Gather Support, Strengthen Character, Spread Misinformation, Recruit Character. If you pick the "weak" ideology, you get penalized (e.g. attempt to use Influence to gather support in a Force district).
Times when you want to use the OPPOSITE/DOMINANT ideology: Attack Support, Weaken Character, Gather Information. If you pick the same ideology, you get penalized (e.g. attempt to use Force to attack support in a Force district).
Got it? In other words, when you want to make friends, do something that you both agree on ideologically. When you want to cause havoc, pick the ideology that beats that character's beliefs. When you pick the right ideology for the job, your action earns a +20% bonus to the action's effect. Picking the wrong ideology gives a -20% penalty to the action's effect. If the action's ideology doesn't match that district, you get no bonus or penalty depending on whether you're running a friendly action or hostile action.
The only ideologies in the game that change are the Faction Leaders' ideology, including your own. Depending on the actions you run, your main character will change his ideological beliefs accordingly. If you started as a Force character but then ran continuous Wealth actions, your ideology would eventually shift away from Force and towards Wealth. If your inner circle is made up of people of the same ideology, then you earn bonuses whenever you run actions of that ideology.