Part 18: New Opportunities
Chapter 18: New Opportunities
There is goon participation in this chapter!
With Mayor Antonov's support of an outlawed faction bringing in revolution-minded people and with the charity trust bringing in much-needed publicity and contacts, the Novistranan Coalition was riding a wave of good fortune in Pugachev. The people were touched at the faction's willingness to look out for the poor over politics, and the sympathy garnered by the charity trust quickly translated to further support for Prokofiev's movement.
However, this didn't mean Pugachev was entirely on Prokofiev's side. He still had to deal with the other factions. The working class did benefit from the charity and the middle and upper classes were flattered by the possibilities of making a show to help the poor, but the Red Mafiya had a hold on the poor through crime, Organized Anarchy was still dominating the academic field, and the Konstantino Cartel remained a nuisance by courting the rich.
The Red Mafiya was first on the Novistranan Coalition's sights thanks to the new Mayor's advice on their activities, but Prokofiev had another option he could take before then. A number of celebrities were visiting Pugachev, but Lavanov's knowledge of their lifestyle showed that their lives weren't so rosy. Blackmailing and hiding a celebrity would mean further help for the charities...
* * *
: Looks like we've made the right call with Kamensky, Father.
: Does he deserve to be called a philantropist?
: If he doesn't, he sure can pass for one. He gave us a healthy amount for the charities to be running for a while, and will continue to donate as long as we keep him in the loop.
: Excellent news! Oh, to have this spread to Berezina and the rest of Novistrana... I would die a happy man.
: So now we're taking the money of anyone who says they care?
: Do you have a problem with that, union-man?
: I just think we ought to be choosing our allies a little more carefully... Lavanov.
: Josef, please, we're on good footing here. Kamensky strikes me as a good man.
: A good man who prefers to hide away in his mansion and throw money at every problem instead of fighting against them.
: That's an unfair comparison, Mr. Nasarov! He means well.
: Oh, I don't doubt that, Father, but I wonder about our methods.
: Come on, Josef! Are you saying we shouldn't have made a charity trust? The other options we had were to start a crime syndicate or take over the local businesses!
: And the latter was a missed opportunity we shall never get again...
: I understand that, Piotr, but we could have just as easily united the unions to get funding for the charity!
: That would have taken too long, Josef. We can't sit around and let Karasov get comfortable in his castle before we show up.
: Bah. This entire business stinks! You're selling the unions out for the favor of a few rich men!
: That's a damned low blow, Josef! What's the matter with you today?
: I'm not happy with the way this is going. Churnyeav and I are concerned you're abandoning our original vision.
: Just because I met with a philantropist doesn't mean I'm not a friend of the workers anymore.
: Yeah... Sure. Just keep an eye on what you're doing. This is all getting far too money-happy for me.
: Mr. Nasarov, we're helping the poor. Now, Mr. Prokofiev, if I may. We still have some gaps we could fill with more funding. Kamensky's donation and the fundraiser's profits have been of great help in establishing contacts and gaining the goodwill of the authorities, but we could always use more, especially when we consider the costs of the actual goods we're donating.
: All right, Father. We'll worry about that when we get the chance to take others to our side. In the meantime, Antonov, or should I say, Mayor Antonov, wrote to tell me he's got something for us to worry about tomorrow to deal with the Red Mafiya. Josef, get Churnyeav. This may be something we'll have to handle in our own way.
: ...OK, Piotr.
* * *
Memos to Piotr Prokofiev: Grigorii Antonov's Mayoral Assistance: 22/03/1996
From the desk of Mayor Grigorii Antonov.
My comrade Prokofiev,
Once again I must thank you for all your contributions. I am happy to be able to help you, but please consider this full repayment for your support in my candidacy.
I know that the Red Mafiya has caused you trouble in the past.A source tells me that they make a lot of money from a black market smuggling ring operating out of several businesses and warehouses in the city. Locating and taking control of these bases would cut off their main source of income, leaving them severely weakened. I recommend you focus your efforts on the industrial districts, as the Mafiya has little hold on the intellectuals and wealthy of Pugachev.
I understand that Mayor Luzhkov was in the Red Mafiya's pocket, but I am not doing business with that crime syndicate. I've bumped heads against them far too long during my time as a detective. It would mean a lot to me personally to see them destroyed by a faction like yours.
Mayor of Pugachev
Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Seventy-third Entry: 22/03/1996
Excellent. It looks as if we have our next step in order. The Red Mafiya has been running a campaign of fear in Pugachev for far too long, and their harassment of our early movements puts me in mind to put them out of the running permanently. They have little to no supporters left in Pugachev, but as long as they have smuggling income flowing in, it means they have a source of funds and easily-buyable lackeys to do their work.
I have to make sure that Josef and Churnyeav are ready to do a little aggressive scouting tomorrow night. Unless the Red Mafiya is completely inept, they wouldn't be running their smuggling operations in broad daylight.
* * *
: Mr. Prokofiev, I'm glad you were able to call us together on such short notice.
: What's that, Father?
: You must have read the news as I have. Look!
: I don't get it. What do these celebrities have to do with us?
: This is a golden opportunity to bring in more backers to our charity! If they're as popular as the Post says they are, then we could certainly use them to boost our support. Public endorsement, I mean.
: My goodness, you are quite naive, aren't you, robes?
: What is it now, Mr. Lavanov?
: Take a look at the article again. Those three celebrities are here to wallow in their own fame and stink up the place with their smugness.
: Like you?
: At least I carry myself with a certain dignity, camo-boy.
: Can't they be won over like Mr. Kamensky?
: Not in a million years, robes. Those prima donnas are interested in money, fame, and the adulation of thousands. Supporting a charity is something they'd do only as a media stunt.
: So why can't we convince them to do that now?
: Because they are just here to show off, taskmaster. Approach them with your little briefcase and a polite word, and they're just going to laugh in your face before security throws you out.
: Then... what do we do?
: Easy. We find out what they're hiding and then blackmail 'em.
: Is that all you think about?
: More blackmail? You're kidding!
: All of that fame and money drives these people nuts, robes. They all have a secret, all of them.
: Now hold on, don't interrupt me. There's a special little detail to ensure that they help us. We're going to expose them, but then, we're going to offer to hide them until the media storm blows over.
: What? I don't follow.
: Listen again, jarhead, it's so simple even you could understand it. We find out their dirty secret, like we did with the mayoral candidates. Then, we drop some vague evidence on the media and make the celebrities sweat. Before they panic and do something stupid, we walk in, offer to hide them somewhere, and keep them out of the public eye until the media loses interest. After that, they'll practically be begging to thank us.
: Oh, I see what you're saying!
: What a slimy tactic that is.
: You had no problems doing that with the mayoral candidates, union-man, and it wasn't my idea either.
: Hmm... It could work.
: Not could, WOULD. Believe me on this one, people love gossip. A little prod and a push, and then you can make those celebrities fall in love with your little charity.
: Actually, while that is a good idea, I didn't call you here to talk tabloids.
: What, then?
: I called you here because we finally have a lead on the Red Mafiya. Mayor Antonov told me that they run a smuggling operation out of warehouses and businesses here in Pugachev. What we need to do is investigate at night, and we'll be able to seize their warehouses to cut off their source of funds.
: That is a great tactical maneuver, sir! I say we go for it.
: The thing is, both the charity and the Mafiya are important, but we need to choose what to attack first.
: No question about it, the Mafiya. Let's crush them already!
: Piotr, we do not need the help of a bunch of sleazy celebs. Let's just focus on the Red Mafiya and get back to our roots.
: Mr. Prokofiev, as much as the Red Mafiya may have caused trouble for us, we must stay the course and complete our charity works. Let's focus on the celebrities first...
: I agree with the priest. I want to do what I get paid to do, as much as that may surprise you. Let's pull a fast one on these celebrities.
: Hmm. Give me a few minutes to think about this. Whatever it is we do, we start tonight.
* * *
Voting in a new mayor has given us the chance to weaken, if not outright wipe out, the Red Mafiya. However, at the same time, three very popular national celebrities have come to Pugachev, and we know that they have dirty secrets of their own. Offering to hide them from the media would mean giving us more help for the charities. We're in good enough shape to do either, and while we'll need to do both, what do we do first? Your task is to choose which of these is more important right now. So do we...
Move against the Red Mafiya? Thanks to our new best friend in City Hall, we know that the Red Mafiya owns some warehouses for their smuggling operations. The first step to removing their influence in Pugachev is to find and then seize these warehouses for ourselves.
Investigate and hide one of the celebrities? By doing a little sleuthing, we can find their nasty secrets and drop the bomb on them. Then, we hide the celebrity in question until the media storm passes over. We'll get a nice new sponsor for our charity trust.
Remember, we'll need to do both objectives anyway, so this is really just for narrative's sake. I'd offer a third option to do both simultaneously, but that would involve a lot of micromanagement and save/reloads to get the proper screenshots! Choose wisely...