Part 45: Replacing Big Brother
Chapter 45 - Replacing Big Brother
There is goon participation in this chapter!
Ivan Alexashenko was true to his word, rapidly removing the blockade to Vasily Karasov's presidential palace within days. Despite Karasov's best efforts to reinstate the ring of protection, he could not muster the military to do it. His lieutenants' efforts fell just as flat, and despite heavy suspicion on his part that Alexashenko was to blame, Karasov knew that his was just another step in Piotr Prokofiev's campaign against him.
With the blockade being lifted for them, the Novistranan Coalition's goal of securing the Secret Police Headquarters was that much closer to them. The link between the head of the Secret Police and the Coalition lay in the war veteran Anatoly Zholtok, a drinking buddy of Major-General Kvashnin. Prokofiev would have to extract the truth from the veteran, and then convince Kvashnin to step down as leader of the Secret Police so that Boris Churnyeav could replace him.
This was the final push the Coalition would need to take before having to make their greatest decision yet...
* * *
Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Anatoly Zholtok: Military
Anatoly is an old war veteran and drinking buddy of Major-General Kvashnin. Politically and philosophically they couldn't be more different. However, the many treacherous and dangerous times they spent fighting together mean they don't let such "trifles" get between them. They are the firmest of friends.
* * *
The Vibe Bar was Berezina's own hive of scum and villainy. A hole-in-the-wall hideaway in the Zasulich Estate, it was the den of prostitutes, criminals, lowlifes, and ne'er-do-wells. It was also extremely cheap and conveniently avoided by the locals, making it a perfect place to plot and connive.
Piotr Prokofiev invited Anatoly Zholtok over for a drink.
Weaving through alleyways and avoiding shadows of men in dark corners, Prokofiev finally broke through the slum housing of the Zasulich Estate, facing the poorly-kept street that led to Matiushin Green. Sometimes, Prokofiev wondered about urban planning and whose bright idea it was to plop the Zasulich Estate factories right in the center of an influential and wealthy citizenry. It was an island of crime in a sea of law, and he clearly saw the parallel between Victory Square and the rest of Berezina.
Soon enough, a young-looking man with a spring in his step was flagging down Prokofiev. The man wore a red jacket and beige pants: the agreed-upon dress that Zholtok would wear so Prokofiev could recognize him. In a matter of moments, the two were shaking each other's hand and talking politely.
"Anatoly Zholtok, a pleasure to make your acquaintance," Prokofiev said, his manner effusive. "I am so glad a veteran like yourself could join me for a round of drinks."
"I'm delighted, Piotr Prokofiev," Zholtok smiled, clearly enjoying the attention he was getting. "I've heard quite a bit about you and your faction from my old neighbors here in Zasulich!"
"Good things, I hope?"
"Oh, no doubt," the veteran nodded. "I mean, politics aside, you really are popular with the crowd here."
"I try, I try," Prokofiev shrugged modestly. "I have to say you're just as popular! A war hero from Grodnistan and an interview with the Herald? You're on your way up!"
"If it means making your company, I would have to agree with you!" laughed Zholtok, gesturing to the bar. "Now then, how about that drink?"
"Of course, comrade, of course!" Prokofiev continued, still acting as friendly as possible. He didn't care for the man's good demeanor, but if he remained as cheery when plied with vodka, Prokofiev would soon get what he wanted to know.
The two men walked around the building, and Prokofiev suggested they sit outside. The bar was relatively full inside, and the last thing Prokofiev needed was a bar brawl distracting Zholtok. Those kinds of events occurred distressingly often at the Vibe.
Prokofiev and Zholtok soon took a seat at a table near the door so the waiters, purposefully dressed well to stand out from the local crowd, could quickly bring them the shots. Prokofiev was already ordering a bottle of vodka and two glasses before they had even settled in, and within the minute the alcohol was being served between them.
"Budmo!" Zholtok said, raising his glass and evoking the Ukrainian drinking cheer. Prokofiev replied in kind with a "Hey!" and the two downed their drinks. Prokofiev was already refilling their cups as Zholtok, exhaling fervently as the vodka burned down his throat, began to speak.
"I gotta say, it's not every day a total stranger calls me out for a drink, especially a political one," the veteran said. "Don't get me wrong, I like the company, I just never had it happen to me."
"Ah, my good man, you're a war hero!" Prokofiev grinned heartily, opening his arms in welcome. "I'm honored to even have a drink with you!"
"Right, right, thanks," Zholtok said, his ego mollified and his suspicions dropping. "I suppose it's a good sign if a popular guy like you is asking me for company!"
The two men clinked their glasses and downed their second shots. Once again, Prokofiev was refilling the drinks, and Zholtok was not complaining.
"A veteran of the Grodnistan War," Prokofiev muttered loudly, concentrating not to spill the vodka, "is always welcome for a drink. Men like yourself keep Novistrana safe."
"I can't say I liked doing what I did," Zholtok admitted with a darker mood, memories getting to him. "In war, you do a lot of things you don't want to do."
Prokofiev slid Zholtok's drink over to him, concern in his eyes. "What did you need to do?"
"I had to..." Zholtok began, thoughtfully, then shook his head. "Sorry, I don't want to have to remember what's happened back then. Lotta baggage, you know?"
"I understand, comrade," Prokofiev nodded, even though he never saw open warfare combat himself. "If you don't mind me asking, how did you earn your reputation as a war hero? No offense, you don't look like Alexashenko or anything."
Zholtok laughed, shaking his head. "Yeah, I suppose you're right. I wish I could say I did something really badass, but in truth, the reputation kind of landed on me after just my normal tour of duty. Maybe it was because I was friends with Kvashnin."
"Who?" Prokofiev asked, his interest piqued. Now they were getting somewhere.
"Oh, you don't know him?" Zholtok asked, surprised. "He's the Major-General. Head of the Secret Police, uh, if you don't mind me talking openly about that."
"Not at all, not at all," Prokofiev smiled, inviting. Before Zholtok could change the subject or think twice, Prokofiev was already calling for cheers and both men downed their drinks again.
Three Victory Vodka shots in a row was already pushing it, and apparently Zholtok was a bit of a lightweight. He began to giggle to himself after a hiccup and breathing in sharply to get the burn out of his throat. Prokofiev, not quite as drunk, saw an opportunity.
"What kind of man is the Major-General?" Prokofiev asked, pouring vodka for them both but not reaching for his glass. "I hear he's quite a ruthless man."
"Naw, naw," Zholtok, now tipsy, answered before gulping down his vodka. Prokofiev risked pouring a fifth glass for the man, then brought the bottle back as Zholtok began to slur. "Dude's a good chum, you know? Always gets his round in. May be the biggest man in Novistrana, but he's good."
"Well, why does he get so much flak, then?" prodded Prokofiev, ignoring his glass and listening attentively to Zholtok.
"Well, you see," began Zholtok before burping. "'Scuse me... You see, ol' Kvashnin always was a bit hot-headed, right? Must be all that power he got. 'Cept, he always got... always got friends in the right places."
"Friends in the right places?" repeated Prokofiev, keeping Zholtok's train of thought going.
"Yeah," answered Zholtok, suddenly seeing he had a fifth cup of vodka and immediately reaching for it. He quickly chugged it down after a muttered cheer and continued. "I mean, he's a good guy an' all, but he always liked getting a little somethin' on th' side, you know? Little 'gifts'?"
"I hear you, I hear you," nodded Prokofiev, thinking it best to move on before Zholtok got suspicious, but the veteran was still going.
"He lives south of th' Victory Square in a little loft of his own," Zholtok said. "We're gonna have a little party for my welcome-back tomorrow. I oughtta invite you! Yeah, you're a good guy! Come with!"
"That's really kind of you, thanks," Prokofiev replied politely, and Zholtok just nodded dumbly before reaching forward for the vodka bottle. Prokofiev held it back, making Zholtok a little surly.
"Aw, c'mon, man, I'm good for one more," Zholtok complained. "I gotta jet for a meetin' for veterans after this, but I wanna get my round in!"
"Well, if you're sure," Prokofiev shrugged, pouring a sixth shot for Zholtok.
"Ah'm always sure, I'm fuckin' Anatoly Zholtok... war hero," slurred Zholtok before burping back vomit. "'Scuse me..."
The two men clinked their glasses, but Prokofiev didn't down his right away, seeing Zholtok just chug his glass back, sigh contentedly, and nearly drop his glass on the ground.
"Welp, I gotta go," Zholtok mumbled, getting up slowly as Prokofiev got to his feet. "Sorry for not sticking around longer, but-"
"It's all right, thanks for the company, Mr. Zholtok," Prokofiev said, shaking the man's hand and keeping him standing.
Zholtok muttered his thanks and stumbled out of the Vibe, leaving Prokofiev sitting behind and thinking about what he had heard.
Major-General Kvashnin, head of the Secret Police, had to go.
* * *
Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Hundred-sixty-fifth Entry: 02/05/1996
Now that we know about Major-General Kvashnin's penchant for bribes, perhaps we can give him a suitable gift and encourage him to retire early. Anisimov is still gathering the evidence from the fraud of 1994, but I can easily contact him to drain a few funds from the rich to finance any severance pay. The wonders of the Stock Exchange, I suppose.
What Zholtok told me about Kvashnin frightens me, however. The man is said to be the most powerful person in the nation. This shouldn't surprise me as he is the head of the Secret Police, but the idea that his authority outreaches Karasov's own gives me pause. I must make good friends with Churnyeav and treat him like a true brother, else someday if he should see me as a threat he tries to oust me himself.
It won't be easy to convince Kvashnin to step down. Men like him love power, but I cannot keep him around or lie to him like I did with Alexashenko. What he needs is a lot of money... more than he ever saw in his life. He would also need to go anywhere with it. Anywhere Karasov cannot reach him, but that he would like.
I must tread lightly and treat Kvashnin with upmost respect. Anything other than a favorable bribe and the right words could spell the end of our revolution.
* * *
Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Major-General Kvashnin: Police
Kvashnin is arguably the most powerful person in Novistrana, more influential and deadly than Karasov himself. He has command over a huge body of men and he is the recipient of the colossal amounts of intelligence gathered through that network. Foreign agencies rank him highly amongst the world's most wanted criminals, beating Karasov himself into sixth place.
* * *
Prokofiev took a leap of faith.
He contacted Major-General Kvashnin directly and introduced himself not only as a drinking acquaintance of Zholtok, but as himself: the wanted revolutionary. Prokofiev claimed he had a proposition for Kvashnin, one that would see him a very, very wealthy man indeed. Kvashnin, no stranger to the finer things in life, agreed to meet Prokofiev behind the Secret Police Headquarters without alerting the proper channels.
There was no guarantee at all that Kvashnin wasn't setting a trap. Churnyeav offered to bring along a precautionary Alpha Squad and sniper support, but Prokofiev refused. This single meeting was going to be the make-it-or-break-it moment of the revolution, and it all depended on whether Prokofiev had brought enough money. He had contacted Anisimov and ordered no less than five million roubles to be stuffed inside the largest briefcase that he could lug around, and to have five more on standby in case Kvashnin was hesitant. Owning the Stock Exchange had its uses.
A single man should not have this much power, thought Prokofiev as he presented an ID card at the border of Karasov Square and Victory Square, gaining access to the grounds of the Secret Police Headquarters. Kvashnin was waiting for him.
Without saying a word, he pointed to a bench facing the back of the headquarters, and Prokofiev could do nothing but obey, walking ahead of Kvashnin while the Major-General followed close behind.
Soon the two were within the Secret Police grounds, and the headquarters itself loomed over the two like a tyrannical jailer. Prokofiev had to do his best to remain calm. Without much fanfare, the two sat down on the bench, with Prokofiev carefully sliding the heavy suitcase next to him.
There were no exchanges of polite greeting or handshakes to greet each other. Prokofiev was squarely the powerless one in the situation, only his word and his money meaning anything.
For close to an hour, the two men argued and deals were made. Prokofiev at first tried making small talk regarding Zholtok, but Kvashnin had done his homework. He knew that Prokofiev had spoken to Zholtok as the man himself had spoken at length of meeting the famed illegal revolutionary. He had the upper hand throughout the entire conversation, and soon it was clear that Kvashnin was not here to hear chit-chat: he wanted money.
Prokofiev proposed his deal. Kvashnin was to retire immediately as head of the Secret Police, and to install Boris Churnyeav as his successor instead of Illarion Gusev, Karasov's own military inner circle lieutenant. In return for sacrificing his position and retiring early, Kvashnin would receive no less than five million roubles.
Prokofiev opened the briefcase and let Kvashnin peer over the contents, but to his dismay, Kvashnin laughed dismissively, his teeth grinning like a shark's. The man knew Prokofiev had more to offer.
He had tried to keep the price down with further persuasion, but twice Kvashnin had threatened to up and leave. Both times, Prokofiev pleaded with the man to sit down and listen.
Without any other options, Prokofiev doubled his offer, thankful for having had the money ready to be transferred. Ten million roubles, a sum held by few Novistranans and worth a king's ransom in Eastern Europe, to sell the Secret Police for the Novistranan Coalition.
This time, Kvashnin, with his shark-toothed grin, accepted. "I always wanted to go to the Caribbean," he told Prokofiev after they shook on it and Prokofiev got up to leave the suitcase behind.
Prokofiev left quickly, allowing Kvashnin to pick up the suitcase and charter a private jet out of Novistrana as soon as possible.
* * *
"WHERE THE FUCK IS KVASHNIN?"
Barankov winced back, and glanced to his side. He was thankful he wasn't the only to witness Karasov's latest anger, but wondered what that meant for his inner circle. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Gusev sit, stony-faced, but they weren't alone.
Karasov had called his entire inner circle to the meeting. Secret Police Chief (at least, one of them) Anton Barankov, Commander-in-Chief Illarion Gusev, business tycoon Eduard Ivanov, metropolitan bishop Yelizar Kassavatiz, and media mastermind Filipp Goryachev were all present, and each one was getting blasted by the President.
At first, it hadn't started that way. Karasov seemed pleasant, even peaceful, eating his favorite quiche and offering the men drinks. Karasov was a gourmet of life, and if he had any qualities that were endearing, it was his knowledge of good food and drink.
Everyone's stomachs sank when Karasov suddenly slapped down the newspapers and transformed into the demon.
"How the fuck did Prokofiev get to him? AND WHY THE FUCK DID KVASHNIN NAME CHURNYEAV AS HIS SUCCESSOR?"
Barankov risked piping up. "Sir-"
"SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU USELESS FUCKING BAG OF SHIT!" Karasov screamed right in Barankov's face just before uppercutting him right on the chin. Barankov was knocked back and out of his chair.
"Holy shit," whispered Goryachev, kneeling next to Barankov's still form. "He's out like a light."
"I OUGHT TO CHOP OFF YOUR BALLS AND FEED THEM TO YOUR WIVES!" Karasov raged in front of each of their faces, then grabbed Barankov's chair and threw it out of his glass-stained window. The others remained perfectly still, their hearts in their mouths.
"I OUGHT TO PUT EACH OF YOU ON THE RACKS AND BREAK YOUR BONES!" continued Karasov, now actually managing to flip over his heavy oak desk. The feat of strength was awe-inducing: the desk was solid, but Karasov's old body was still well-conditioned and surprisingly powerful.
"Do any of you, ANY OF YOU, understand WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?" Karasov alternated between his two personalities. "Do you have ANY IDEA WHATSOEVER?
Someone began to speak. "I-"
"WE ARE FUCKED UP THE ASS, THAT'S WHAT!" Karasov yelled, now picking up a priceless vase and smashing it on the ground. "Without the Secret Police, WE ARE FUCKED!"
"Maybe I can-"
"WHO THE FUCK SAID THAT?"
Nobody said a word.
"Find Churnyeav. Find Prokofiev. FIND THEM AND KILL THEM! Fucking skin them alive AND BRING ME BACK THEIR PELTS!"
As one, the inner circle scrambled to escape any further rage. Barankov was left behind, unconscious.
* * *
Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Illarion Gusev: Military
Illarion Gusev is Karasov's acting head of government. His security leanings and secret police training mean that he is equipped to deal with almost any situation.
* * *
: Secret Police Chief Boris Churnyeav reporting for duty, sir!
: Excellent news, Boris.
: Hell yes!
: Great. That's two out of there support structures down!
: I couldn't think of a better man.
: Was that sarcasm, maggot?
: That's for you to decide, Churnyeav.
: Good work, comrade! I trust you are safe now?
: Actually, no. It seems Illarion Gusev, one of Karasov's maggots, tried to take out his frustrations on me.
: How the hell did that happen?
: I guess they found me celebrating, sirs. They were not polite about it. Forced me into their limo and everything.
: What did they want?
: They tried to force me to join them, if you can believe it, if I didn't pass the ownership of the Secret Police to Gusev.
: Were they armed?
: They were.
: How did you get away?
: Challenged Gusev for a one-on-one fight, no guns. Called him out on his cowardice and whether he was a real man. Believe it or not, he does feel emotion! He took me up on it.
: And then...?
: What do you think?
: I beat his ass to the ground, then ran like the fucking wind.
: Just when I think you're out of surprises, you keep coming up with more, comrade!
: Your safety and Gusev's desperation mean we're ready for the final step. We have two support bases, like Tresori said, and we are ready for the overthrow!
: So what do we do, Piotr?
: We cannot just do anything we please, my student. The Stock Exchange and the Secret Police Headquarters have their own uses, and we must take appropriate action with the power nodes we have secured for ourselves.
: I understand. I think I know how to proceed from here.
: Actually, Prokofiev, I need to tell you something before you continue.
: What is it, Anisimov?
: During my stay with the Stock Exchange and getting the evidence, I got more than just the proof of the fraud.
: What did you find, Mr. Anisimov?
: I... The economy of this country is a house of cards, gentlemen. Many of the prices and their worth have been inflated. As it stands, the rouble is worth no more than the paper it's printed on.
: Huh? But how do we get-
: -Goods from overseas and trade? Decifit spending and high-interest credit.
: But what does this mean?
: It means this nation is running on fumes. Given enough time we may stabilize, but if word of this got out...
: ...Then we'd see this nation crumble.
: In a nutshell.
: I... I see. That gives me two options to overthrow Karasov, then.
: The first is for us to impose martial law through the Secret Police. We could-
: Martial law?
: Holy shit!
: Comrades, please!
: Piotr, do you understand what you're suggesting? Martial law? To even get it remotely to work, we would have to clamp down on all dissenting activity! We would destroy any semblance of freedom!
: I don't see a problem with that. Sir, the military under my command would be orderly and prompt. Karasov and anyone who thinks like him would be removed.
: We can't do this, can we?
: Boris, Piotr, this move would kill our support with anyone who thinks freely. It's pretty damn extreme.
: I agree with Comrade Nasarov. Parliament itself would have to cede power. It's a slippery slope.
: A transfer of power via military coup. Not unheard of, and rarely turns out well... but I'm afraid of the alternative. I think I can guess it already.
: The alternative is... is for us to destroy the economy of Novistrana. Reveal the truth of what happened and what still is happening.
: Fuck me.
: You're kidding!
: What, you're saying we'd have to destroy the country in order to save it?
: These can't be our only two options!
: We have to overthrow Karasov with the support we have. It has to be... decisive, for lack of a better word.
: Piotr, destroying the economy... I mean, it'd be great to eradicate the capitalism we have and try to implement something communist, but how would we manage to organize the chaos?
: The answer is, we couldn't. Prokofiev, shattering the economy would rip this country in half. And if that didn't happen, we would suffer a depression not seen since the 1930's and many countries in Africa.
: And the alternative is to destroy any freedom we have?
: What would you rather live in, professor? An orderly if security-conscious nation, or a hellhole of anarchy?
: We... we would be able to contain the damage, couldn't we? Parliament could-
: It couldn't do a damn thing. I like living well, thank you very much!
: Sir, there's no better recipe for death than a broken nation. We cannot do this.
: I understand, Boris. That's why I'm asking... for some guidance.
: Guidance? My student, all we can do is offer suggestions... You must choose this on your own. Your heart and mind must be what you rely on, now.
: Then... then let's have it. What should we do?
: Piotr... I don't know. I just don't know. I'm... I'm very slowly leaning towards the destruction of the economy. If Anisimov is right, then the economy is fucked as it is. It could crumble at any moment, and I'd rather implement something new right away. The worker's paradise we envisioned... it could happen then, couldn't it?
: Sir, we can't rip apart the nation. We have to transfer power through force. At the very least, it would be orderly and we would be giving our boys a sense of duty for their motherland. Trust me... we would be giving power to the people.
: Piotr, military coups mean dictatorships. I know that not every military overthrow means tyranny, but the vast amount of power you will hold will be difficult to control, no matter how good your intentions. We cannot risk destroying what makes us human. It pains me to say it, but we have to scuttle the economy and glue the pieces back together.
: Are you crazy? Prokofiev, do not destroy the economy. Like I said, if we don't just break this country outright, then we'll have a depression that'll last years! Order martial law if you must, anything to keep the truth from getting out!
: Comrades, Mr. Prokofiev... Parliament and the law would mean nothing if martial law was put into place. We've made too many promises and too many compromises. Who knows if we could maintain control of the army after Karasov's overthrow? Who knows if Alexashenko won't make a power grab? We can't risk it. At least Parliament and the government could institute a state of emergency if we broke the economy.
: ...Thank you, comrades, friends. I'll... I'll have to think on this a while.
: Christ in a handbasket. This is all going to hell.
* * *
Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Hundred-sixty-seventh Entry: 03/05/1996
The road of our revolution, the final stretch, has forked for the last time. It has been a long, hard journey getting to this point, but my work is not yet done. Karasov can be deposed and Novistrana will be free of his tyranny, but I have to decide how to do this. This is the last decision I must take. It will have lasting consequences, good and bad. The fate of millions of Novistranans hangs in the balance. Neither option is perfect, and both will lead to vast changes that I must have the foresight to manage.
My first option is to crush Karasov by using the military to declare martial law. The time is ripe for change, and this sole move will put the nation in a state of emergency. We will root out all of Karasov's men and his supporters from their positions of power, and I will have the option of overseeing a coup that will put me in power. However, using the military to clamp down on enemy activity would also mean sacrificing many freedoms...
My second option makes me grit my teeth. Sometimes it does not matter whether you want to do something or not: when the only choices are all distasteful you must do what is necessary. We can get rid of Karasov by leaking his financial wrongdoings. Even if we know that this will utterly destroy the economy, we should still seize the opportunity, no matter how repulsive the task. It saddens me that this course of action is to shatter the country so that it can be reborn.
Oddly, I feel no fear, no anxiety at the two options I must choose from. I knew that overthrowing Karasov and leading a revolution based around socialism and the power of labor would not be a peaceful one. The transition of power will be Novistrana's growing pangs as it breaks free from Karasov's iron grip of fear and capitalism.
What does gives me pause, though, is that this decision is mine and my own to make. My men are divided, and clearly whatever I pick will alienate the others. Boris and Anisimov (ironically pairing together) ask me to impose martial law. Josef, Tresori, and Nazerov ask me to break the economy. Each has their own reasons for choosing a side, but perhaps for the first time, we are disunited in our goal.
Breaking the economy would also destroy this country. I fear that anarchy will reign, while martial law would keep order tightly in our grasp. The transition of power there would be smooth... wouldn't it?
I do not know what my parents would choose. I cannot foresee what kind of Novistrana would arise from my decision... But what I do know is that these are our only options. The Novistranan Coalition will bring down Karasov, one way or another.
I must unite the people. I alone must choose my destiny and the destiny of Novistrana.
* * *
Taking over the Secret Police Headquarters was a success! Now, we have two of three of Karasov's power structures, enough to have turned the Presidential Palace to our side and to depose the tyrant Karasov himself. Our path to revolution is almost complete. Almost. Our final gameplay choice looms beyond us.
This is it, my comrades. The result of this vote will determine what kind of overthrow we will commit to, as well as how we will rule our new Novistrana. Your vote and your decision will spell the consequences of our revolution and affect millions of people. Choose how we oust Karasov and take over the nation!
Impose martial law (Force): Having taken over the Secret Police and having untold leverage over the armed forces, we can declare martial law and march the troops onto Karasov's palace, ousting him from power by any means necessary. This will be the final blow to his tyranny and the country will be ours once more. We will have to sacrifice basic freedoms and human rights through this approach... but those with the will survive.
Destroy the economy (Wealth): With our knowledge of the economic crash of 1994 and just how the monied elite have bled our nation with their proto-capitalist, kleptocratic ways, we are in a position to leak all financial wrongdoings through the Stock Exchange. The economy will implode, but the only thing we can do is to destroy the country in order to save it. We must persevere through the difficult times ahead... and those with the will survive.
Despite what I wrote before in the LP, I tried keeping it as "loose" as possible to prevent any sort of bias about the conclusion. Again, this vote is the final influence of our entire revolution, save two more votes of narrative consequence. Every action we have taken so far will be tinted by this. Novistrana rests in your hands, comrades!