The Let's Play Archive

Republic: The Revolution

by Olive Branch

Part 15: Pulling Back the Curtain

Chapter 15: Pulling Back the Curtain

There is goon participation in this chapter!

The Novistranan Coalition, despite successfully persuading Churnyeav and Lavanov to its side, also began to suffer under ideological strains between its inner circle members. Save for Oleg Baturin and arguably Felix Lavanov, the leaders of the faction were learning the hard way the price of "coalition" as they fought amongst themselves.

Despite the rifts, debates, and fights verbal and (rarely) physical, the Coalition was still running strong. It was in mid-March of 1996 that Piotr Prokofiev made his move on the city of Pugachev, simultaneously exposing the sordid pasts of two mayoral candidates and initiating the city-wide charitable trust they had been working on for the past two weeks.

While the success of the charity work was enough to make it an annual event in later years and the elected mayor did help the Coalition, the immediate effects of the plan still took a while to sink in. It didn't mean the end of the Red Mafiya, Organized Anarchy, or the Konstantino Cartel...

* * *

Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Sixty-first Entry: 18/03/1996

It seems the Mayoral Committee has chosen its potential candidates.

I don't know if Tresori had anything to do with these choices, but what matters is that these are our three men to target. We should investigate all of them and find out which one will be most helpful to our cause. As they all have a dark side our investigations may reveal information we can use to weaken the other candidates.

* * *

: All right everyone, I've got the next stage of our plan in mind.

: Sir?

: We're all ears, Mr. Prokofiev.

: Here's what's going down. Tonight and tomorrow morning, I'm going to scout out the police station for Antonov's files and then follow Karyakin around to see what his daily life is like. Chances are I'll stumble onto something.

: Sir, I know some people in the police department. Mention that I sent you and they should let you through. Look for Grodinsky Romanov, a friend of mine.

: Glad to hear it, Churnyeav. That will make my job easier.

: What about Stepanov, Piotr?

: I'm putting Lavanov in charge of that.

: Hah, me? Why?

: You're a journalist, aren't you? You know how to ask money-related questions better than I do.

: See? Told you you needed me.

: Take your freakin' ego out of here before I-

: Enough, Churnyeav. Lavanov, I know you have some pull with the art world thanks to your columns. I'll give you some cash if you need to bribe someone to spill the beans on Stepanov.

: I knew you'd come to my way of thinking, Prokofiev. Money opens all doors.

: So does a kind word, Mr. Lavanov. Don't forget that.

: Of course, robes. Leave it to me, Prokofiev. Tomorrow afternoon, you'll have Stepanov's entire life story written in the space it takes to fill an advice column.

: What are we doing when you have their secrets, comrade?

: After we find the dirt on these men, we will be able to expose two of them and let the third know that we can do the same to him... so long he supports anything we say.

: Great plan, sir! That'll drag them to our side!

: More blackmail? Well, I guess that's how Pugachev works...

: See, if Organized Anarchy pulled this kind of stunt, I'd have a lot more respect for them.

: It's a good plan, but we need to act fast. The mayoral committee won't debate forever.

: Well, the good news, at least, is that we're very near done with the charity run. I already found a good sponsor for it.

: Excellent work, Father! That will drag the new mayor into supporting us no matter what he may try to do. All right, comrades, get out of here and get to work.

In case you may be wondering, Piotr's background has become blue not only because his Influence component became larger than his Force component in-game, but because he's been slowly becoming more "wordy" than "muscly" in his movement's choices. I decided to use it from here on out until he goes Force again in action and in narrative.

* * *

"Hold it right there, citizen," the guard protecting the door of the police station halted Prokofiev. "Authorized personnel only beyond this point."

"Boris Churnyeav sent me," Prokofiev told the guard, putting down the small briefcase he was carrying.

"Ah, old Boris is still trying to recruit people even after being discharged?" the guard grinned in admiration. "That man is a real Novistranan patriot. Please, come in."

"Actually, I'll need your help with something," Prokofiev admitted, relieved that he chose the right guard to talk to.


"Boris asked me to access the files on some of the people he knew here," lied the visionary. "Could you accompany me?"

"I cannot, comrade," the guard shook his head, opening the door behind him. "I need to keep guard, and you need one of us to open the doors and authorize you, anyway."

"Great," Prokofiev sighed, walking into the prison. "Can you tell me where I can find Grodinsky Romanov?"

"Grodinsky? Sure, I'll radio him for you now," the guard said, reaching for his radio and asking the policeman to come to the door. Eventually a large, grim-faced officer joined the two men.

"You called, Ivan?" he asked the door guard.

"Yeah, Grodinsky, this civilian's a friend of Boris," the guard gestured to Prokofiev. "He needs to access the archives."

Romanov smiled at hearing Boris's name and beckoned to the visionary, walking ahead of him. Romanov led Prokofiev through clean but poorly-lit hallways away from the courtyard, and eventually to a large door with a placard nearby that read 'POLICE ARCHIVES'.

"Through here," Romanov said, unlocking the door. "When you find what you need, just take it with you, but bring it back tomorrow."

"No problem," Prokofiev replied, walking into the dusty and spacious archives. Thankfully the archivists were organized, and all of the files were easily labeled. He didn't have any problems finding Grigorii Antonov's file, and leafing through it, he became dismayed at what he read.

Antonov Grigorii was a great policeman with a clean record, but there were notes that proved he had accepted a large pay-off to keep quiet about the murder of a city official's daughter.

Is this what Novistranan policemen have sunk to? thought Prokofiev, shaking his head sadly.

"Is anything wrong?" Romanov asked Prokofiev.

"No, no, I found what I needed," Prokofiev told the officer, waving the files.

"Great," Romanov said, then lowered his voice as Prokofiev approached him. "Listen, if Boris needs those files for longer, he can keep them. I owe him anyway."

"Excellent," Prokofiev said. "I may be a while before I give them back."

"No problem," Romanov nodded. "Tell Boris I say hey, won't you?"

"Of course," the visionary replied, tucking the files safely in his briefcase. While he exited the prison and walked back to headquarters, he allowed himself a small little grin as he mentally ticked off one name on the checklist and planned trailing the priest tomorrow.

* * *

"Man, Father Baturin is not going to be happy with this one," muttered Prokofiev, taking out his camera.

He aimed the camera across the street and took a picture of the two people who had just taken a seat at the Amiriova Delicatessen: the priest Leonid Karyakin, and the pretty young prostitute he had taken out of the local brothel about an hour ago.

Prokofiev had been trailing Karyakin since the morning. He watched the candidate exit his small home, wave goodbye to his wife and children, visit the different places of influence in the town center and the Pugachev Institute of Technology, talk to a number of people in public spaces, and enter the brothel furtively. Not a minute later he was exiting with the young woman of the night, who was dressed like a very upper-class escort, and taking her around to jewelry shops and little bakeries, offering her expensive gifts and little cakes.

Now the priest and his companion sat to order lunch in a small outdoor cafe, and both were talking and giggling like young schoolchildren. Prokofiev took another photo.

"C'mon, c'mon," Prokofiev whispered, keeping the camera trained on them. "Do something really scandalous for the papers, come- Oh!"

He quickly snapped a flurry of photos, for the priest had just taken the young woman tenderly by the chin and was planting a long kiss on her lips. The camera also caught his other arm snaking out to fondle one of her breasts greedily.

"That ought to do it," Prokofiev told himself, lowering the camera and putting it away in the same small briefcase as before.

He turned around and walked away nonchalantly, humming a small tune as he crossed the street.

* * *

"Ah, this must be it," Lavanov said to himself, looking at the group of galleries that combined made Stepanov's business, the Mir Galleries.

"Not much to look at, though," the journalist mused as he stretched out his arms and flipped through his clipboard containing a denunciation of the businessman. The denunciation itself was just a stock form that Lavanov kept as part of his defamation folders. The real plan was to find out what the mayoral candidate was hiding, fill in the blanks on the form with photos and facts, and top it off with the signature of a witness. Lavanov had perfected it to an art.

A young man wearing purple walked out of the galleries, caught Lavanov's eye, and began to walk towards the satirist.

"Hey, are you Franklin DeMott?" Lavanov called out to the youth. The man jumped at the name, and quickly ran up to Lavanov.

"Damn it, will you shut up?" DeMott asked Lavanov, an edge of fear and nervousness in his voice.

"Calm down, my little artist," the satirist soothed DeMott, who was now glancing over his shoulder at the galleries.

"I can't be gone for long or they'll suspect something," DeMott said as Lavanov rolled his eyes. "Do you have the money?"

"Do you have the photos?" Lavanov shot back, frowning at the young artist. Grumbling but apprehensive, DeMott dug into his jeans and pulled out a number of photos. Looking left and right, he got close to Lavanov before he showed him the incriminating evidence.

Lavanov whistled in surprise and admiration at what Stepanov had set up. The photos showed a group of about twenty art students, all around DeMott's age, making precise copies of old works of art. Stepanov in some photos was also taking part in the forging, or pointing at something in his students' forgeries with a frown, a true critic pointing out the flaws in the fakes. The man had a very nice operation set up.

"These any good?" DeMott asked with a sense of pride and satisfaction, temporarily overcoming his fear.

"These are perfect," complimented Lavanov, flipping through the photos again. "No doubt about it, this is conclusive."

"Then gimme my cash," pushed DeMott, reaching for the roubles peeking out of Lavanov's jacket.

"Hold on, one last thing, Mr. DeMott," Lavanov said, putting his hand up to stop DeMott and raising the clipboard to the youth. "I need you to sign this."

"What? Why?" DeMott's nervous edge came on his voice again. "I got you the pictures, man, what more do you want?"

"I just need you to sign this," Lavanov repeated, taking out a pen. "To prove it was you who took the pictures and all."

"Oh, okay, okay, whatever," DeMott replied, rushed to return. He signed the marked areas on the form, snatched the cash that Lavanov had taken out of his jacket, and walked briskly back to the galleries.

"It also says you took part in the forging and that you gave everyone away for some roubles," the satirist said in a low voice, looking away from the galleries at a park across the street. A self-satisfied smile crept onto his face. "I love my job."

* * *

: All right everyone, it's time to set the wheels in motion. Gather round.

: What did you find?

: Lavanov and I spent the day exploring the candidates' hideaways and businesses. We found exactly what we were looking for.

: A bunch of dirt, eh?

: That's right, union-man. Each of these men are about as clean as a Pugachev tenement.

: What's your plan, sir?

: We need to choose one of these men to be mayor, but to do that we need to expose the other two. They should withdraw from the race if their secret is made public.

: Ah, Mr. Prokofiev, you wish to get our opinions on the matter?

: That's right. The call is ultimately mine, but I want to hear what you all have to say about these men.

: OK Piotr, let's have it. Who do we got first?

Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Grigorii Antonov: Politician

Grigorii Antonov is a former policeman whose impeccable record and unfailing loyalty to his President have allowed him to climb to a very high position.

: First up is Grigorii Antonov. He's a cop who's been loyal and by-the-book without a single charge against him.

: And what's his major malfunction?

: There was a murder a year back or so of a city official's daughter. Antonov was on the case, and the murderer paid him off to keep quiet about the truth.

: What a horrible crime!

: Hmph, I say he did right by himself. Solving the case wouldn't bring the girl back, after all.

: That's a sick thing to do... but I think that he'd serve us well considering his police connections.

: I agree with Nasarov, sir. If we're going to take control of this city, then we need someone who knows the system.

: By heaven, do you three have no shame? Mr. Prokofiev, please, the next candidate.

Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Leonid Karyakin: Politician

Leonid Karyakin is a respected clergyman. His strength of character and forceful nature made him especially effective as a missionary in the Far East. It was the combination of his successes for the Church and his unimpeachable character that brought him to the attention of the Mayoral Committee.

: Our next choice is Leonid Karyakin. He's a man of the cloth like yourself, Father. He's converted quite a few people in the Far East, and he's renowned for his strength of character.

: Beware the nice ones...

: I'm afraid to even ask, but what's wrong with him?

: Karyakin's been living a double life. While he's happily married with a wife and two children, he's been cheating with a prostitute and lavishing all sorts of expensive gifts and dinners on her.

: Hypocritical Church scum!

: That's... Oh, I hope he pays for it!

: I'd say that's nothing compared to Antonov, but what use would a priest do for us in City Hall?

: The answer, union-man, is "very little". Karyakin will offer us nothing but empty praises. That won't help your movement or my paycheck.

: Lavanov, you were the one in charge of poking around Stepanov's galleries. What did you find?

Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Feydor Stepanov: Politician

Feydor Stepanov loves all things art. He even runs his own gallery and has some skill of his own. In the back of his gallery is a studio where he regularly gives lessons in painting and sculpture.

: Ah, yes, Stepanov. He's the artsy-fartsy type, but he owns a gallery and he knows quite a bit of art, teaching a few art majors the ropes. A great man to have when you need to lure in the rich.

: Can it, short round. What's this pansy's secret?

: Personally, I don't see anything wrong with him. He's got a gaggle of his favorite students copying the work of a bunch of old Novistranan masters and selling them as the real deal.

: You don't see the problem with that? What's the matter with you?

: It brings him a lot of money, it brings his students much-needed practice, and it brings his customers satisfaction. I don't see a problem here.

: Even if he wasn't doing that, he'd still be worthless to us and our beliefs. Gallery owners don't help the workers.

: I'd sooner support that priest than this weasel!

: Yes, I would have to agree with that on principle. Stepanov is only concerned with wealth...

: So we've got a forger, an adulterer, and a corrupt cop. Terrific.

: Welcome to Pugachev, union-man.

: I want to hear your thoughts, everyone. Again, the decision is mine, but let me know what you think.

: I... I cannot support hypocrisy, Mr. Prokofiev, but compared to Stepanov and Antonov, Karyakin's crime is light. He could also help us convert many to our cause and to the cause of God as mayor.

: Old Oleg makes a good point, Piotr, but I disagree. I think Antonov would serve us best. He has insider knowledge, and would probably keep the police away from the workers and the unions we have supported on our stay here.

: It's clear to me that the only sensible choice here is Antonov, sir. He would keep the cops off our operations here in Pugachev, and could help get some of my comrades in the army to our side, too.

: Look, look. There is no downside at all to supporting Stepanov. He has a good reputation with the elite of Pugachev. What's more, we could always blackmail him into paying us some of that forging money, eh? All we'd need to do is threaten to reveal his dirty little secret when we put him on the mayor's chair...

: Hmm... All right. Thank you all for your input. I need to take some time to think about this. When I decide on who we keep, I'll expose the other two and then set up the charity trust. Everyone meet back here in one hour.

* * *

Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Sixty-third Entry: 18/03/1996

I must make another choice, likely one that will once again be of great importance to our movement and change the balance of power to our favor. Out of these three candidates, only one can be mayor, and I will do what I can to make him follow our will.

The policeman Grigorii Antonov has let a young woman die and let her murderer get away for a fat sack of roubles. The priest Leonid Karyakin reneges on his vows with a common whore and continues to preach family values and morality. The gallery owner Feydor Stepanov works his trade by forging works of art and passing them off as real to the monied elite.

I need to think. Who will be most useful for us... and who can I live with being mayor despite knowing their secret shame?

* * *

Goon participation!

The time has come for our big play in Pugachev. Our charity works in the Influence districts have been a great success and we will be able to sponsor a city-wide charity event at a moment's notice. Our scouts have discovered the sordid pasts of each mayoral candidate, so we are in the position to eliminate whoever we want. How about we coincide the mayoral election with a great show of our benevolence? Your task is to choose which mayoral candidate will become mayor. Not "should", but "will". The other two unlucky men will get their skeletons dug out of their closets and paraded around to the press, effectively putting them out of the race. Here are your choices...

Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Grigorii Antonov: Politician

Grigorii Antonov is a former policeman whose impeccable record and unfailing loyalty to his President have allowed him to climb to a very high position.
Antonov got a fat pay-off to keep quiet about the murder of a city official's daughter.

Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Leonid Karyakin: Politician

Leonid Karyakin is a respected clergyman. His strength of character and forceful nature made him especially effective as a missionary in the Far East. It was the combination of his successes for the Church and his unimpeachable character that brought him to the attention of the Mayoral Committee.
Karyakin cheats on his wife and kids with a prostitute, buying said prostitute expensive gifts and dinners.

Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Feydor Stepanov: Politician

Feydor Stepanov loves all things art. He even runs his own gallery and has some skill of his own. In the back of his gallery is a studio where he regularly gives lessons in painting and sculpture.
Stepanov runs a forging operation with some art students, copying old masterpieces to sell as the genuine article.

So, which of these men do we want to become Mayor of Pugachev? Choose wisely...