Part 56: Bonus Chapter 7: What If? - Alternate Paths as Imagined by Servant, Pugachev
Bonus Chapter 7: What If? - Alternate Paths as Imagined by Servant, Pugachev
Servant provided me with information from the Prima Strategy Guide for this game, and went on to provide the alternate paths that I wasn't going to replay through to get the details involving them. However, the way he did it surprised me: he actually went through and wrote all-original dialogue between Prokofiev and other members of the Novistranan Coalition quickly running through the alternate paths!
What follows is entirely his work. All I did was and edit it so that it was clean to read, but dialogue, alternate interpretations of characters, and dialogue text formatting remain his. Due to SA's limitations in character length per post, I'm splitting his three alternate paths into each city.
Excerpts From "What If?: The World's Foremost Historians Imagine What Might Have Been in the History of the Third Glorious Revolution"
* * *
Create Crime Syndicate in Pugachev
: I decided that we need to establish a criminal syndicate in Pugachev. Pugachev is sadly a city of violence, and the best way to tame it is... through violence.
: That's good to hear.
: I only hope that this syndicate does not go down the path of every other new criminal syndicate: engaging in corruption and oppressing the very people you claim to protect.
: I understand, Oleg, but we can worry about our standing with the common people after we've gotten a foothold here.
: May God forgive me. Prokofiev, how are we going to form this criminal syndicate?
: I didn't really think this plan through.
: Then let's start thinking. What does a criminal syndicate actually need?
: We need a kingpin, of course. Without a strong person leading the criminal syndicate, they'll be no direction; the syndicate would collapse into infighting.
: Vladimir Guzinsky! That's the guy you need!
: Vladimir Guzinsky, infamous criminal kingpin who controls the Russian media, and wishes to expand his "enterprises" into Novistrana proper. Strong, brutal, competent, the traits you need when running a syndicate. Many of the people who confessed to me back in Ekaterine were members of his extremely well-trained paramilitaries... and profess great loyalty and admiration to the man. We--YOU could go get him to lead the criminal syndicate.
: Any infamous kingpin won't want to affiliate with us just like that though. We would need to actually prove our worth. We have to assume 'temporary' leadership of the criminal syndicate until we can get an audience with Vladimir whoever.
: If I was a kingpin, I'd rather have the enterprise be 'turn-key'; I can sit back at the casinos and enjoy the pretty women while my men do all the dirty work. So what we need to do is to recruit some goons for Vladimir first in "Force" districts... using the Novistranan Coalition as a cover. But we also have to prove the effectiveness of these goons: scaring people in "Wealth" and "Influence" districts into being neutral to our Coalition should do the trick.
: And there's our battle plan. We're going to form a criminal syndicate with... hey, Baturin! Where you going?
: ...Oh, I'm just going to confess my sins to Father Rodion Sukerov. No real reason.
Piotr Prokofiev's Diary
"Vladimir Guzinsky has agreed to give us 300 Force to help our cause. He is a hard man and requires that we meet him regularly to talk through our 'tribute' as he calls it.
I think we may be able to get him to give us a maximum of 20% extra each time we meet. However, being the brute that he is, if we fail to persuade him to agree to our terms, he will take off the amount we asked for from our usual payment."
: And that's it. We formed our criminal syndicate. We're done here. Let's move on.
: Yeah, just receiving 300 Force a week doesn't seem to cut it for all the hard work you guys did. Not that I condone criminal activity but couldn't you try to use it for something a bit more... productive?
: Yeah, when I supported the idea of a criminal syndicate, I envisioned us leading the downtrodden masses against Kasarov and the Red Mafiya. I did not envision us bargaining with some media tycoon in Moscow and then joyfully receiving the scraps that he'd throw at us.
: You're right, Josef. We need to get in touch with the masses, demonstrate our commitment. And since the Red Mafiya is a threat to our criminal syndicate, we need to provide an effective demonstration of force.
: Since you do seem committed on this path of lawlessness and sin, how about becoming "Robin Hood"-style criminals? Steal from the bourgeois, give to the proletariat, advocate social change to abolish income disparity?
: I think that'll distract us mostly. Remember, this syndicate is not an ends in and of itself, but rather a means for us to secure Pugachev so we can bring real social change to all of Novistrana. We need to do something quick and dirty, enough to scare the city into line, represent our will to survive, and make our syndicate seem stronger than it really is. We need...
: A riot.
At Anvil Stadium...
: Your name is...?
: Mark Chukovsky, President of the "FC Pugachev Supporters' Club", number one fan of the Pugachev Dynamos Football Club. And you are?
: Piotr Prokofiev, head of the Novistranan Coalition and avid revolutionary.
: I do not take part in politics. I know you politician types. I am merely a simple football fan, and that is all I will be.
: I understand that, but you must listen to me regardless. For a very long time, the Red Mafiya has controlled this city and committed horrible crimes. Blackmail, murder, prostitution, rigging football matches...
: ...RIGGING FOOTBALL MATCHES? That's it! I had enough of the Red Mafiya and their evil schemes; we're going to fight back!
: That's great to hear! And Vladimir Guzinsky will be more than happy to provide you with the weapons you need to launch the riot.
: That might be a problem. I'm just the President, I don't have any control over the mob! You can't say "Riot!" and expect people to actually do it right now. It has to arise 'organically', as Riot School would say.
: So what do I have to do?
: All the football fans live in Ratushinskaya Fields, Soloviev Estate, Buran Gardens, and the Mir Estate. All you have to do is convince them that the Red Mafiya is rigging these football games, and they'll be happy. They especially like seeing vandalism and graffiti; in fact, you have to use Graffiti to get your message across in each district. Once that's done, wait for the next football game to start. A football game starts every three days in the afternoon, that's where all the football fans will gather. When that time starts, go over to Anvil Stadium, and schedule a "Terrace Riot". The football riot will then commence, striking a blow against those who seek to corrupt our beloved games.
: As much as I love the people... do I really have to do this busy work?
: That's how riots work.
: It's rather unlikely that the Red Mafiya would even bother rigging any football matches, considering the Pugachev Dynamos' poor track record...
: Don't let facts get in the way of a good riot.
: Just be glad we aren't manipulating vodka prices or something equally stupid.
* * *
Building a Business Empire
: Ugh, I hate working with leeches, but you're right, Artem Churbanov. If I am to build a socialist paradise, I need the support of the corrupt bourgeois as well as the working class.
: Your proliferation with honesty is bound to make you few friends. Nevertheless, I appreciate that you see reason.
: I know the "free market" and how it is corrupt to the core; it's not about what you sell, it's who you know. You knew someone smart back in Ekaterine that helped me create the casino, who do you know here?
: There are four VIPs in the Force districts of Pugachev. Each one of these people own many warehouses and industrial tycoons. They are well-hidden, so you'll need to Investigate and Scout to find each of them.
: Let me guess, I have to convince them all to sell their businesses to the Coalition.
: Not all of them. Just three of them. In fact, you don't even need two of them; one of these VIPs I mentioned is actually a Business Magnate. If you can convince him to part with his properties, you basically inherit his business empire and don't need to deal with the small fry. Problem is, this guy has a vested interest in Pugachev, so it might be hard to convince him to leave. I suggest ignoring him entirely and just find the other, poorer VIPs.
: The faster we form this Business Empire, the better. I'll find this business magnate then and get him to see reason. Shouldn't be too hard.
The Business Magnate
: ...Hello, Mr. Prokofiev.
: I knew I could find you, Business Magnate. I have my ways.
: Actually, I consider myself a Manufacturing Magnate, but thank you for your compliments. My name is Abram Solomonovich and I understand you wish to... buy me out?
: The money's good, if that's what you're asking. Take a look at the casino.
: Save it. I know my days are over. I made enough wealth to last a lifetime, and I have no... real... fears about your movement, unlike the rest of my Wealth comrades. Even if you are misguided, I know you're helping the poor, and since I was once poor, well... you know. As long as you give everyone the opportunity to be successful, as opposed to... denying that opportunity for ideological reasons, I'm willing to sell my business interests on a discount.
: I know what "opportunity" means in capitalism. What if I want to deny it because I believe in pursuing more noble goals, like social justice?
: Then know that everyone has a price. Including me. But my own business properties, by themselves, won't be enough for you to make a dent in Pugachev. You'll need more business connections, and I'm not too insane to sell them away for something as useless as money.
: ...I'll consider your request then.
: Good enough.
: This is a picture of Potemkin Plaza Skyscraper. Only a select few businesses are allowed to base themselves there: acquiring office space here would be incredibly prestigious for your corporation. In addition, controlling the Skyscraper entirely should assist in generating Wealth for your cause overall.
: Who do I meet?
: Yaroslav Volkov, head of the Pugachev Business Advisory Board. You'll need some some actual support within the business community with the Board before you could get yourself some office space. Get 100% support in Potemkin Plaza, and 75% support in 3 other Wealth districts. Should be enough. The PBAB is reliant on the views of the business community; if they dislike you, you don't have a chance at convincing Voklov.
: Wait, why in the world would I want 'prestige' in the first place? This is supposed to be the land of greed and immorality; money should be the only thing that matters.
: The offices will make money, no doubt. But the prestige is really the important thing here. Without prestige, you're nothing more than just a mom-and-pop front; nobody will take you seriously. Prestige is necessary to gain the attention of important corporate leaders, who would want to manage your Empire as a stepping stone to greater jobs. In fact... there's one ex-CEO that I know of that is currently looking for a job: Nikolai Gusev. If I put in a good word for you, he'd be more than happy to manage your business once you get skyscraper offices.
: Due to my disgust with Wealth, it'd likely be best to let Gusev manage my Business Empire. But, I just have to make sure he understands who he's working for.
: As long as your empire generates profits, Gusev will be loyal.
Three Days After the Mayoral Elections
: Prokofiev, I again want to thank you for not revealing that inconvenient "secret" to the presses during the mayoral elections.
: No problem, Mayor. You called me in again because you have some information about the Red Mafiya you like for me to know.
: Yes. Certain outside Western groups have told me to call off the purges, or else. I can't do anything now to assist you...and if you attack the Red Mafiya anymore, I will crush you. My hands are tied.
: Wait... you're selling us out?
: Do you honestly think that I can bought by one person at a time? And besides, you can only threaten me, the Red Mafiya can only kill me, but these groups will destroy the entire city if I stand in their way!
: What power do these "groups" have that the Coalition lacks? Do you really want to test our patience? Do you really want to anger me?
: The Red Mafiya have known for quite some time that you were building a business empire. In an attempt to counter your control over the businesses of Pugachev, the Red Mafiya has seized control of the Oil Refinery by gaining the support of the Oil Workers Trade Union, led by Nikifor Fabrishnov. These Western groups are worried that if you press the Red Mafiya further....
: ...They'd blow up the oil refinery, and interrupt what little oil supply is given to the West from Novistrana.
: Pugachev is already a city tottering on the edge; it relies on Western backers for its continued survival, and its Western backers rely on oil. If the Refinery explodes, then they'll be nothing worth fighting for... I'm sorry.
: No, I understand fully. I'll...I'll find a way around this.
Emergency Coalition Meeting
: I can't believe it! A union controlling an entire business? But...how?
: Not the union, hackwriter. They're just puppets for the Red Mafiya.
: Right, and I'm supposed to listen to some half-baked excuse for a satirist. Couldn't even go through the motions of finding facts like a proper journalist and so have to make stuff up yourself.
: You're just jealous that Kasarov actually likes my columns.
: Can we focus on the big picture here? Like the fact that our enemies are using the oil profits to fund the rest of their criminal enterprises?
: We can't do anything, taskmaster, unless we get rid of the union's stranglehold on the business.
: Unions always have an adverse effect on business. If we can get in contact with the legal owners of the refinery, we can promise to "bust" the union entirely in return for their undying loyalty. We'll covertly gain control of the refinery without attracting the attention of Red Mafiya, while expanding our business empire in the process.
: We're deviating so much from the ideal communist revolution, and now you want us to now attack the vanguard of the people? NO.
: I have to agree with the taskmaster here... attacking the commies would be more trouble than it's worth, and a prolonged conflict with them would give the Red Mafiya enough time to just blow up the refinery and end the farce. No, I think we just have to bite the bullet and prostitute ourselves to the Union in question.
: How are we going to do that? The Union right now is having a good deal with the Red Mafiya; they won't defect to us without a good reason.
: Ah, hackwriter. As a fellow journalist, you have known the answer already.
: We make the good reason.
: First, we need to ensure that no other group could seize control of this Union from us. We need to destroy all opposition in the districts where the Refinery's employees live: Vesnin Town, Mandelstam Park, Udalsova Precinct, and Soyuz Park.
: Second, we follow that Union Boss, Fabrishnov, around, and investigate his actions at the Oil Refinery and the Bank Tower. That Union Boss must be feeling incredibly confident with that alliance with the Red Mafiya; he'd likely start stealing union dues and placing them into his personal bank account, just because. Great for Fabrishnov, but terrible for, say, the rest of the Union. If we discover dirt on Fabrishnov, we steal control of the union from him by publicizing it.
: While Fabrishnov deals with the allegations of corruption, we contact one of the lower ranking members of the union, Lavrin Fedchenko, rumored to be the Union Events Manager. If I gain his support, we can call a strike at Soyuz Park, where the Oil Refinery is located. If the union occupies the factory, we would be able to protect the Refinery from being bombed. The Western interests doesn't care who owns the refinery, they just want free flow of oil, so if we control the refinery peacefully, the mayor will lift the ban on purges and thereby allow for us to attack the Red Mafiya again.
: I wish this was satire.
* * *
Fail to Convince Oleg Nemunas (the Accountant) to Betray the Red Mafiya
: So wait a second. You want me to hand over important documents implicating the Red Mafiya in smuggling operations, thereby destroying them entirely? While that will free me from 'captivity', it will also get me a reputation of being a snitch! Nobody likes snitches! I'd be fired from all my jobs! The private businesses! The Factory Workers' Union! I'd be unemployed forever!
: Uh... we can provide witness protection if you want.
: Gently caress, I can't risk it. Sorry, Prokofiev. I guess you have to deal with smuggling in Pugachev forever.
: ...So now what?
: I don't know. You were so reliant on gaining the smuggling records. Without that...
: We can't leave Pugachev until we deal with the Red Mafiya once and for all. If we can't destroy them, then they'll always threaten our support here.
: When everything works perfectly, that's the surest sign that it's all about to collapse.
: ...There is another way to stop the Red Mafiya.
: What, really? You might actually be useful for once, jarhead. What is it?
: The only reason any of you want those records is so that you would be able to identify where Arkady Ilyushin is located and eliminate him. But there is a person I worked with back in the War, a retired Spetsnaz Army Hero named Major Petrakov, who can do the same thing for us; he just doesn't need any "evidence" to do so.
: Where can we find him?
: You can find him in Soloviev Estate, at the Burning Barrel. The problem is that he's very poor, and he wants lots of money before he can do the deed.
: We need to offer an "Easy Life" to him then. Fill his pockets with money. Shouldn't be hard.
: ...Oh and, one minor thing, he needs a complete dossier of information detailing the target's capabilities before he acts. This dossier needs to contain what actions the target is capable of performing, so we must scour the city for signs of their previous behavior. It's not just enough to know where the target lives, sir: he likely to have friends, family, and safe houses they can run to, so he is going to have to know everything he can about them.
: ...So, you're saying, he'd only kill people once we IDENTIFY where they are. But we can't identify them because we don't have the smuggling records.
: So? We just spend time here just observing Arkady Ilyushin. How long will it take?
: Who knows how much information your Major wants? It could take decades before we know every little detail about Arkady, and then we have to call off the entire assassination because he died of old age!
: But that's the only thing we can do! It's the only way to destroy the Red Mafiya, and we have to do it if we are to take over Novistrana from the forces of Kasarov!
: Can't we just deal with the Red Mafiya like civilized beings? Promise them immunity and wealth in our new "revolutionary" regime in return for us moving onto Berezina?
: That is the height of immorality, and I will not stand for it. We control Pugachev now, we have a responsibility to govern this city perfectly and solve all its problems. We must get rid of this criminal scum before we move on.
: ...Wait a second, Oleg! That's it! That's our plan! That's what we're going to do!
: Wait, what?
: During my studies at the High School of Ekaterine, I had the goal of forming a communist utopia. I did not have the goal of liberating Novistrana.
: Oh hell, taskmaster! I'm sorry but I have to cancel my contract with you prematurely; personal reasons you see. You're a really great employer, but... you know how personal reasons work.
: I understand. I thank you for your service, although I don't know if the rest of the Coalition would agree with that statement.
: Good riddance, Felix. And I really like the plan, Piotr, though I'm worried that we'll be so busy governing Ekaterine and Pugachev that we'll forget about liberating the rest of the country.
: I agree, Josef. It's the coward's way out, but as long as it is temporary, I'll support it. We'll march onto Berezina, but not today.
: ...Kasarov is going to be angry about this action. This could get bloody. I hope you know what you're getting yourself into.
: I don't. But I don't have any choice either. We already have power in Pugachev and Ekaterine. If we can't progress any further, we might as well start using it to help the people.
At the Presidental Palace...
: I'm glad you could make it, Felix. The fact that you prevented a "faction" from expanding means you're scheduled for a promotion. Know that I always pay my informants well. Together, you and I, we'd keep Novistrana safe from-
: ...What is this "Novistrana" you speak of?
: I live in Pugachev, you rule from Berezina, and the Coalition was founded in Ekaterine. But Novistrana? Outside of the propaganda of the factions, outside your decrees and imagination, it is nothing more than arbitrary lines on a map, a cruel satire of the so-called "nation-state". Do you think that there is really a common history that binds the wealthy with the poor, the criminals with the liberals? Of course not! Why continue the joke long after it grows stale?
: Are you threatening secession?
: I don't have to. The Mayors of Ekaterine and Pugachev has already declared support for the Coalition. Your hometown, Vasikov, has been taken over by the Union of Socialist Workers in a popular revolt. Alexashenko has 'temporarily' declared martial law in Eraliev. And the ethnic minorities, what will they do when they hear that the country is in a state of Disorganized Anarchy? Petition for Russia to intervene and form puppet states, of course!
: This is a joke, right? Just a really bad one?
: You don't understand. You never understand. The opposition does not really hate you...I don't even think the taskmater hates you. If you have told him, "I killed your parents because they were counter-revolutionaries, and besides, I want to enslave the rich just like you; in fact, I appoint you to the Ministry of Enslaving the Rich"... there would be no Coalition today, just a loyal (and powerful) Piotr Prokofiev. No, the opposition is against you because you have power and are unwilling to share it. The opposition loves power, they love it dearly, and they'd do anything to get it... just like you. The opposition is greedy; they would rather each rule over their own fiefdom of Hell than serve in Heaven. That's good for them. Not good for you.
: You're honest at least. That's more than I can say about my own 'official' advisers. How can I stop this?
: You can't. It would be as if you asked me "How do I stop the Titanic from sinking?" instead of asking "How do I escape from this sinking boat?"
: You can plunder the treasury, flee into exile, and let someone else assume control so he can try to solve the crisis that you have created in the first place. Or you can ignore my warnings and rule over the Democratic Republic of Berezina while the rest of 'Novistrana' Balkanizes itself into warlord states. Either way... you lost. The choice is yours.