Part 9: Ekaterine's Echo
Chapter 9: Ekaterine's Echo
Prokofiev's happiness with Josef Nasarov's return to the fold was given a lot of attention in the inner circle's own personal diaries, even if it didn't seem to make a dent in the town-wide struggle. In a matter of days Nasarov had brought back all of the support the Union of Socialist Workers had gathered back to the Novistranan Coalition, and the Union's hold on the workers had been permanently removed. The Church of Novistrana and the Konstantino Cartel were also highly marginalized after Nasarov's return when Prokofiev ambitiously decided to turn the entire town to their side.
This was helped by having an ideological branch for each member of society to cling to: an unionizer that could mobilize the workers, a priest that could sway the middle-class with honeyed words of a better future, and a journalist who was at the top of his game in maintaining contacts, favors, and newspaper articles. Guiding them all, a man driven by the near-mad fervor of a better Novistrana for those most oppressed in the regime. While some detractors saw the Coalition's make-up as cynical and inconsistent, others saw it as united and all-inclusive.
No matter what the people's view of the Coalition, it was Prokofiev's famous Town Hall rally that cemented his hold on Ekaterine. Seeking an insider in Karasov's regime had been one of Prokofiev's lofty goals, but thanks to the media attention to Churbanov's casino ploy, Ekaterine Mayor Ivan Livingstone approached Prokofiev with the offer of support...
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Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Thirty-fourth Entry: 03/03/1996
Josef has returned! Words cannot describe my joy. He had been working with the Union of Socialist Workers, but it seems that he has remembered what it is makes us brothers: if not by blood, then in blood. Our loyalty to each other is stronger than any sweet lies that sham, that low-lying snake Kovak could ever tell him.
Churbanov's plan for the casino was a success, and Josef's return guarantees that we'll take over all of Ekaterine. When I started this movement it seemed that our revolution would take months to work, but Karasov's regime has made Novistranans everywhere willing, however much they hide it, to move forward to a better era. The speed with which Ekaterine has turned to our side astounds me. Two weeks was enough. Will I be able to turn the rest of the country to my side so quickly?
Still, the way I won Ekaterine worries me. Churbanov's plan, as good as it was, leaves a very sour taste in my mouth. I flipped back a few pages and saw what I had written back when I decided to hire our third man: will I have to change what makes me me in order to safeguard the movement? People change, but a revolution needs to have an unshakable ideology to succeed. If I play the moderate, then I am no better than the factions that try to play nice and get nowhere in trying to get everyone to like them.
Still, if I want Karasov overthrown, perhaps it's worth it to make sure everyone at least believes in us removing Karasov from power. It may be very ambitious to do this, but the whore-son bastard has made it so that any man with vision can lead the people to remove him. I will be the one to do this, and I believe it's time to spread the word to another city. We have a committed group established here who can carry on the cause while I am gone and we have a supply of resources to keep them strong.
However, before I move on to pastures new, I need to do one last thing, an event so memorable that thinking of it will remind people of who I am, and what I will achieve for them. I will not be back in Ekaterine for a while. I need to confer with Josef, Father Baturin, and Churbanov.
* * *
: All right, comrades, gather round. I think it's time to move on to a new city. Ekaterine is as good as ours.
: A wise decision, Mr. Prokofiev. I'm preaching to the choir now, as it were.
: The unions are behind us, comrade. The Socialist Workers have all but caved to our demands.
: We haven't dealt with Kalmakov, though! We agreed that we had to take him out of rotation if I joined you.
: Now, Mr. Churbanov, I agree with you, but you don't have to remain so confrontational just because the casino plan worked.
: Actually, you won't have to worry about him anymore, Churbanov.
: Really? Why not?
: I had some of my friends pay him a little visit. No violence, mind, just a few words and well-placed threats.
: Ahh, that feels good to hear. It must have felt good to target one of our oppressors, eh comrade?
: Don't look at me when you say that...
: So what happened?
: He said he'd drop the libel against us, but get this. We raided his office with him present, and guess what we found?
: What, what?
: We found these articles, already written and ready to be published a few days from now. Can you believe it?
: Hm, Mr. Kalmakov at least has a fertile imagination.
: "Mad driver"? "Mass starvation"? Is he serious?
: Hah! I knew he was a hack. Thank you, Piotr.
: Hey, c'mon, at least I'm not calling him "comrade", right?
: Anyway, Kalmakov is out of the picture. We need to discuss what to do about leaving Ekaterine. My plan is to do something... something big. We need to make something stay in the minds of the people for the weeks, if not months, to come.
: You sound like you have an idea already, Mr. Prokofiev.
: I do, Father. I want to host a rally right in front of the Town Hall.
: What? You're nuts! I hear that Karasov made his declaration there after they destroyed the DNP!
: Exactly. What better way to challenge the butcher than to use the very space against him?
: You've got some stones on you, comrade! I say we go for it!
: The church won't allow me to sermonize yet, so that sounds like the best way to get the attention of the people.
: That's a crazy idea! Absolutely insane!
: Piotr, it's plain madness, suicidal, foolhardy... and it'll make a hell of a front page!
: Hah! Now we're talking, comrade!
: Hmm. Now that I think about it, it won't be possible to do without the secret police crawling all over us...
: Leave it to me. I'll be able to work something in with the mayor. After all, I have some friends in the Town Hall that-
: That owe you, Mr. Churbanov?
: Exactly, my good Father. I'll bet you that we'll get a reply from the mayor tomorrow.
: Even if it doesn't work, the unions can push him to do it. Trust us on this one, my friend.
: Heh, you three always find some way to amaze me. I will.
* * *
Memos to Piotr Prokofiev - Mayor Ivan Livingstone's Invitation: 04/03/1996
From the desk of Mayor Ivan Livingstone.
To Mr. Piotr Prokofiev,
I have heard of your party and your exploits since you have begun politicking in Ekaterine. Your actions had been problematic in the beginning, but after your investment in Morozov Casino and sponsorship of Mr. Brylin, I have re-assessed my opinion of you and of your party, the Novistranan Coalition.
The establishment will not take kindly to your actions as I have. I would like to arrange a meeting between us to discuss a few matters. Please suggest a suitable venue.
Mayor of Ekaterine
* * *
Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Ivan Livingstone: Politician
Ivan Livingstone is the much-loved Mayor of Ekaterine. A consummate power broker, he has seen regimes come and go. He is known to be a lover of games and hosts Thursday evening gaming sessions at the Council Halls.
* * *
"Mr. Livingstone. A pleasure, sir."
"Please, just call me Ivan," Livingstone replied gruffly, shaking Prokofiev's hand.
"All right, Comrade Ivan. That is a good, strong name, by the way. Call me Piotr."
"Hmph. I wouldn't call us comrades yet, but we shall see about that. If I may ask, why did you choose for us to meet at Del Piero's?"
"Oh come now, Ivan," Prokofiev said, a smile on his lips. "Don't tell me you aren't glad to be talking to a subversive revolutionary in a little hole in the wall far from the eyes and ears of the secret police."
"Hah! You certainly don't mince your words, Piotr," Livingstone said as the two began to walk to the Italian restaurant.
"I want to talk to you about your support to the Novistranan Coalition," Prokofiev replied, not looking back at the mayor when they rounded the corner.
"And straight the point, too. I like that," Livingstone nodded. "What do you have in mind?"
"Simple. I want you to give us your official backing, and to allow us to hold a rally right outside Town Hall."
"Well, you certainly don't ask for much, do you?"
"Come on, Ivan," Prokofiev turned to face the mayor. "You've seen Karasov's rise to power as well as other tenures come and go for the past ten years. You know that supporting the strongest horse is the safest bet."
"Karasov is the strongest horse right now," smirked Livingstone as they took a seat and pretended to look over the menu. "You? You're the long-shot that entered the race at the last minute."
"My odds are pretty damn good, comrade," Prokofiev replied humorlessly. "You know as well as I do that the people of Ekaterine love the Coalition and are supporting me every step of the way."
"That's true, that's true," Livingstone said thoughtfully, then turned to the waiter that was approaching. "Two glasses of Novistrana Red Vine... actually, make that a bottle and two glasses, please." The waiter nodded and left the two men alone.
"I am leaving Ekaterine sometime in the next few days," said Prokofiev. "I need to do something big to keep the people happy while I'm away."
"To do that without trouble, you'll need to do something big to keep me happy, Piotr," Livingstone laughed jovially with that tone a man takes when he knows he can get something for his trouble. "I don't fancy seeing the inside of Vostok Green."
"I can grant you a partnership with the Morozov Casino," Prokofiev replied without hesitation, having to fight back his bile. He didn't want to be associated with that bourgeois palace of decadence.
"Well now," Livingstone said, putting down the menu and raising a meaningful eyebrow towards the revolutionary. "How big a partnership are we talking about here?"
"Yes, I think I can support your efforts and your rally," the mayor smiled, licking his lips after gulping down the last strands of his pasta and standing to shake Prokofiev's hand. "That was a very productive conversation... comrade."
"I'm glad that we could reach an agreement, comrade," Prokofiev said, relaxing visibly as the two took their seats. He trusted the old mayor about as far as he could throw him, but his greed seemed to be stronger than his loyalty to Karasov. "I have a contract prepared with me, and with the proper revisions we can-"
"Wait a moment," Livingstone interrupted as he wiped his mouth with his napkin. He looked at Prokofiev with the most serious look of the afternoon. "You can't go holding a rally like that, without permission."
"Don't I have your permission already?" snapped Prokofiev, losing patience and slapping the contract on the table.
"Calm down, I didn't mean it like that," the mayor grumbled, making a dismissive gesture. "I meant, you need 'official' permission. You saw what happened to Robert Tarasov of the Democracy Now Party?"
"What about him?" Prokofiev asked, trying not to imagine the poor man being beaten and dragged to prison by the Alpha Squadron.
"He held a series of rallies in defiance of Parliament's rules. Namely, against Karasov's rules," explained Livingstone, tapping the table with his index finger. "Karasov had Parliament pass a law a while back that banned all factions from holding public meetings."
"So what?" Prokofiev asked. "All we've been doing so far is illegal, at least as far as that bastard is concerned."
"Karasov had a small amendment added to that bill," Livingstone continued as if Prokofiev hadn't spoken. "He said that factions were, quote, limited to letters of petition to the local mayor, unquote. Do you see where I'm going with this?"
"What are you... Oh!"
"That's right. You can legally hold that rally and call yourself the leader of the Novistranan Coalition if I give you written permission." Here Livingston grinned like a devilish imp. "Karasov's going to be pissed off, but I can always keep the truth between us, eh?"
"Well, I'll be damned, Comrade Ivan," Prokovief laughed as he gulped the last of the fine wine. "You're slier than a Soviet fox!"
"I didn't remain mayor for two terms because I'm an idiot," winked Livingstone. "Now then, give me that contract. I'll sign it right now, but you'll have to add a few sentences as a post-script." Livingstone quickly wrote his signature on the contract, then handed it and the pen back to Prokofiev. He looked down and closed his eyes in thought. "Now, write what I say. 'To Mayor Ivan Livingstone of Ekaterine...'"
* * *
The Novistranan National Archive - Amateur Video of Piotr Prokofiev's Town Hall Rally in Ekaterine: 05/03/1996
"C'mon Sasha, we're gonna miss it!"
"Slow down, Volgin! I'm gonna drop my backpack!"
"Where is Prokofiev? He was supposed to be here half an hour ago!"
"Calm yourself, Roman. He said he'd be here."
"Hey guys, are we early?"
"No, you're on time, it's Prokofiev that's late!"
"Aw, he's not here yet?"
"Damn it, Volgin, we ran for nothing! ...Hey, wait, look, there he is!"
"Whoa! Way cool! Hey, Piotr! Mr. Prokofiev! We're your biggest fans! Power to the people! Take out the establishment! Yeah!"
*The crowd cheers, then the camera cuts to the speech.*
"...Fuckin' batteries... Oh there we go!"
"-tranans, it warms my heart to see so many of you show your support to me, and to the Novistranan Coalition today. You are truly the people that make revolutions possible, and show that you have the will and the strength to survive in these troubled times for our dear Novistrana."
"I speak here today, in front of the Town Hall, to challenge Karasov and his tyranny of the people! He has lied to our faces, oppressed even the poorest and weakest amongst us, and ruthlessly crushed all who dared to oppose him! I am but one man that has stood up and said, 'enough'! Have you had enough?"
*The crowd screams agreement.*
"Are you listening, Karasov? Are you listening to the people of Ekaterine? They, like I, have had enough of your regime of terror! We, the workers, the students, the poor, the unions, the churches: we in Ekaterine have said 'enough'!
*The crowd screams, but the camera cuts to a further part of the speech. The screen wobbles slightly; the camera is being shaken by the owner.*
"-day, my dear comrades, my fellow Novistranans, my Ekaterine friends, I want you to voice a message so strong, so powerful, that it will echo down the years to come! Be Ekaterine's echo of freedom! Be Ekaterine's echo desiring a worker's paradise! Be Ekaterine's echo of revolution!"
*The crowd cheers wildly, hands and placards thrusting high in the air.*
"Shout and scream! Be the echo of change! The echo of the new! The echo of solidarity! The echo of willpower!"
*The crowd continues to cheer, and after about half a minute, it dies down.*
"Karasov has taken something from me. Ten years ago, my parents were arrested by the secret police merely for believing that the workers of this great nation deserved, at worst, to obtain fair wages in a safe environment. Karasov himself was the squad chief that oversaw the arrests. My reasons for leading this Novistranan movement may have their roots in my past, but after ten years of watching a corrupt man attempt to enslave this nation and its people, my reasons are now to crush him and remove him and his supporters from office!"
*The crowd cheers.*
"I know that many of you have also suffered directly from Karasov's regime. Few amongst us can say they benefited, unless they were a part of the monied elite that grasps at Karasov while he sucks on their teat!"
*The crowd boos.*
"To those that support Karasov and clutch at their wallets and purse-strings, I say to you beware! The people are coming to instill a new age in Novistrana where everyone is equal and the proletariat, the workers, can take control of the means of production! I may be the one leading them, but they are the ones that fuel the fire of the movement! They are the ones that move the machine of revolution!"
"And now, remember, my fellow Novistranans! Those with the will survive! Repeat those words, shout them defiantly at the police, shout them at the tanks, the soldiers, the bourgeoisie, the state-run media! Make it a part of your echo! Those with the will survive! Those with the will survive! Those with the will survive...!"
*The crowd picks up the chant.*
"Those with the will survive! Those with the will survive! Those with the will survive!"
*The chants continue as Prokofiev steps down and walks away from the rally with members from his inner circle. The crowd continues to rage and cheer.*
* * *
The Novistranan National Archive - Front Page of the Ekaterine Echo, Evening Edition: 05/03/1996
* * *
Today I will be talking in more detail about Knowledge Gathering actions (Scout/Investigate/Survey) and information levels, supplementing what we learned about secrecy back in Chapter 3. I will also talk about the "Dig Deeper" command which the manual and the game do a godawful job of explaining, but that is used pretty much in any runthrough of the game.
Knowledge Gathering actions are probably the most important actions you should run in a new city. When you enter a city, you know nothing about it. You don't know where locations with high (or even low!) secrecy are, you don't know who's around that you can hire, you don't even know if there's a power node to be had in each district. It's prudent to keep at least one man on constant information-gathering duty (or all of them!) during the first few days in a new city, and if you have nothing for your lieutenants to do next round, send them off info-gathering to earn some XP and keep tabs on your districts.
Once you find a location to carry out an action in, you know it permanently even if your information level in that district, shown as a green bar on the top right, goes down. Same deal with potential recruits: unless they move their home, you always know where they live. However, information contests with secrecy: enemy actions that are more secret than your information knowledge don't show up in your strategy map until you get your knowledge in that district up again.
A neat thing is that having support in a district gives you a knowledge bonus, meaning your supporters act as your eyes and ears, to an extent. Every 2% of support you have in a district means 1% of knowledge, so having 100% of support in a district means you always have at least 50% knowledge there. This saves time and resources not having to run Knowledge Gathering actions if your opponent tries to use a hard-hitting action with low secrecy in a public space, meaning you always will get advance warning of their deed if you pay attention.
Knowledge decays over time, however, and at times you'll have to keep your knowledge level high. This is especially true in heavily-contested districts where the opportunity of finding Sleaze is high, as well as keeping tabs on who's doing what. Not having any knowledge in a district means you can't even see the pie chart of support there!
Now let's talk about Dig Deeper. Dig Deeper is not an action on its own, but it extends from a Knowledge Gathering action. Dig Deeper is meant to use up your investigation that turn to look at something really intently for a small fee in resources. For every star in your Knowledge Gathering action you get one extra Dig Deeper "charge". The base Scout/Investigate/Survey gives you one Dig Deeper charge, upgrading it to one star gives you two, and so on. This only comes into play when you have a mission that requires investigating multiple leads in one single time slot, but you don't want to use another character's time gathering info. There are a few such multiple Dig Deeper missions throughout the game, though.
When you want to use Dig Deeper, whether to scope out possible new safe houses or to complete a plot objective, you need to go into "rooftop view", not your strategy screen, and click at the building in question. If you have the option of investigating closely, a Dig Deeper panel shows up next to the camera prompt. Clicking on that uses one Dig Deeper charge and your character finds the information in question without fail. The game doesn't always tell you when to use Dig Deeper, though. Always pay attention to the memos you get and the summarized objectives screen, as they may say something like "check out the cathedral" or something vague like that. When in doubt, click on a plot-related building. If the Dig Deeper prompt shows up even without someone investigating the district that turn, you probably need to run a Knowledge Gathering action to complete your objective.
Once again, though, Republic: The Revolution drops the ball. Dig Deeper, outside of plot purposes, is useless. Simply running the action without digging deeper would not only net you what you needed to know but also give you a higher information bonus. This is especially true of finding recruits and getting wind of enemy actions, the two most important things you need to keep track of anyway.