Gigantomania by Michelle Tirto.

Another communist game. Ooh, first person.

Press H for how to play, or SPACE to begin playing.

"Kulak."

"I don't know what you're talking about, I've been working as hard as any of you."

"Kulak."

"Yes, I had some grain left over, but Nadezhda needed it! You all know how sick she was!"

"Kulak!"

"I fought in the Red Army! I drew three portraits of Stalin! I hate the capitalists!"

"KULAK!"

"Oh please don't -"

They dragged him to the side of the irrigated land, where the men with dark hats had been standing all day, waiting for a guilty name. The farmers threw him onto their feet, and they instinctively jumped back as the men grabbed hold of his frayed shirt and dragged him over to their car. He kept screaming, "Nadezhda!" until one of the men kicked in his teeth. They hung his head out of the window, and as they drove away the blood dripped and dripped until it formed a crimson guideline of the quickest way to Stalingrad.

Comrade Sergei took up his plow and yelled, "Keep working!"

We didn't need telling.

Gigantomania
An interactive story by Michelle Tirto
Release 1 / Serial number 100930 / Inform 7 build 6E72 (I6/v6.31 lib 6/12N)
Type
help for how to play, and credits for acknowledgements.

Center Field
The grunts and sighs of dozens of men plowing or extracting potatoes and grain with roots firmly in the ground fills up the silence of the sky, the silence of repression. The barren soil matches the thin arms and haggard faces further raping it. I haven't slept for ages either, but the pain of avoiding hunger for even longer and the slight rumble of land constantly being upturned keeps me awake.

My plot of land is right before me, and so is Comrade Sergei, hastily cultivating his tiny sprouts. More field land surrounds this area, but two areas of distinction are northwest, where my house is, and southeast, where Sergei's house is.

> i
I am carrying nothing.

> x me
From what I have observed from the occasional small puddle, my beard is long and frazzled, and my face crumpled beyond repair. I stand, or used to stand, a meter eighty in height, though the hard hands of starvation can squeeze the largest man into a tiny, crying child.

> nw

Northwest Field
As the field thins out the people sag more. Dozens who cannot work lay down on the ground waiting to be fed or die, if no one in their family is left. A few kids dip their noses deep in mud-encrusted books, and their mothers wander around the houses, pausing at posters of Stalin and covering his face with their stick-like fingers.

To the west I see the familiar outline of my disintegrating shack, while to the southeast are the rest of the meager fields. On a hill nearby is the triumphant silhouette of a motorized tractor, and the Collector gazes at it, the only thing not dying in this forsaken village.

A beggar near my house has the tenacity to look at me square in the eye. He knows something.

> x beggar
I've seen him scrounging around my house lately, and I don't like it. There's only so little privacy in Russia these days, and I don't want some musty corpse of a man with subversive intentions taking my family's away.

> x hill
A gentle slope rising over the village. We had never thought of it before, as it was unfit for a house and had poor soil, but the Collector naturally gravitated toward it on his first visit.

"Five bags of potatoes or ten bags of grain by seven o'clock, Comrades!" the collector barks. "Don't waste time!"

> x tractor
When the Collector came to first organize us into collectives, he came riding in with this gorgeous machinery. "The sweat and blood of your honest work goes directly into manufacturing these," he yelled, "and a Russia with tractors is a Russia with power!" We had cried out and grinned, and we had abused the tractor so much that the week after it stopped working. We still take care of it, however, and its green paint still shines.

> x posters
I cannot read, but the mammoth portrait of Stalin commanding the Red Army, crushing the fat capitalists below them, is not hard to understand.

> x kids
Never to know the green grass and hope of my youth, they loll around the dusty roads, trying to find something to placate their rapidly withering fingers. The smart ones study chemistry and engineering, reading of fantasies that come true if they win a scholarship to Stalingrad.

> w

House
It's barely a house at all. The disintegrating logs are shunted haphazardly into each other, and on top large decorative cloths are draped to provide a "roof."

The cloths are thick enough to absorb most rain, but when it pours, the cloths are arranged to pour water into a small garden I cultivated at the far end, away from wandering eyes. Whatever eyes rest in my house are closed, however - my Dasha is in her bed, blankets drawn over her head, as she is too sick to get out of bed.

> x dasha
My wife for as long as I can remember, and slowly inching into a cemetery without food. Her cheeks so sunken, her skin so gray - she will never regain her sunniness, her can-do attitude and smile. It's almost not worth having her continue in agony as days slip by without grain or potatoes as death waits to give her a quiet end. I can't stand to see her that way. She'd probably agree too.

The only semblance of hope is in the glimmering blue ring hanging precariously on her emaciated finger, sending glimpses of light into the dark crevasses of her face.

> x ring
The one constant in her life, from her spirited debates at school to her present comatose state, is that ring. It's mostly made of iron ore and plastic, but it was given to her as a child by Comrade Stalin after she helped alert the police of an illegal mining operation that traded with other capitalist countries. It was the proudest moment of her life.

> out

Northwest Field
As the field thins out the people sag more. Dozens who cannot work lay down on the ground waiting to be fed or die, if no one in their family is left. A few kids dip their noses deep in mud-encrusted books, and their mothers wander around the houses, pausing at posters of Stalin and covering his face with their stick-like fingers.

To the west I see the familiar outline of my disintegrating shack, while to the southeast are the rest of the meager fields. On a hill nearby is the triumphant silhouette of a motorized tractor, and the Collector gazes at it, the only thing not dying in this forsaken village.

A beggar near my house has the tenacity to look at me square in the eye. He knows something.

> talk to beggar
He launches onto me and grabs my collar by his brittle fingers. "You damn zopastaja fucker, hoarding your own fucking garden, while the rest of us eat shit to meet the collective requirement - unless you give me some of your precious food, I'm going to shout 'kulak' as loud as my collapsing lungs can stand, so that the last memory I have is of some padla getting trampled to death." He lets go of me, keeping his dark eyes on my every move.

> se

Center Field
The grunts and sighs of dozens of men plowing or extracting potatoes and grain with roots firmly in the ground fills up the silence of the sky, the silence of repression. The barren soil matches the thin arms and haggard faces further raping it. I haven't slept for ages either, but the pain of avoiding hunger for even longer and the slight rumble of land constantly being upturned keeps me awake.

My plot of land is right before me, and so is Comrade Sergei, hastily cultivating his tiny sprouts. More field land surrounds this area, but two areas of distinction are northwest, where my house is, and southeast, where Sergei's house is.

> talk to sergei
Comrade Sergei continues to work as he speaks out of the side of his mouth: "The Collector is coming at 7, and you better have five bags of potatoes or ten bags of grain. I'm not covering for you again."

1) Do you have the required amount?

2) Comrade, do you really think Grigory was a kulak?

3) Nevermind.

>> 1
"Of course I do," he snaps. "But nothing more." Sergei lets his arms hang loose for a second, and I can imagine him thinking of Vladimir at home, his bloated stomach so large that his spindly legs can't hold him up.

1) Comrade, do you really think Grigory was a kulak?

2) Nevermind.

>> 2
He shrugs and continues to plow as I leave.

> talk to sergei
Comrade Sergei continues to work as he speaks out of the side of his mouth: "The Collector is coming at 7, and you better have five bags of potatoes or ten bags of grain. I'm not covering for you again."

1) Do you have the required amount?

2) Comrade, do you really think Grigory was a kulak?

3) Nevermind.

>> 2
"I trust the collective," he calmly says, "and their belief that Grigory monopolized the best land and employed cheap labor to farm it. Also, we haven't been meeting our quota for the past few weeks, and someone had to have hoarded." Sergei looks up to me, and his sunken eyes blaze once more. "And I hope you trust the collective too."

1) Do you have the required amount?

2) Nevermind.

>> 2
He shrugs and continues to plow as I leave.

> se

Sergei's House
With the - passing - of Natalia, Sergei was able to clear out many of his previous possessions and make his house seem far larger than mine. Neglected, malfunctioning clocks help support the logs making up his walls, and little clay statues of the October Revolution made by Vladimir back when he could go to school dot the ground. No matter how sprightly Sergei tries to make his house, however, the malnourished dirt of "farmland" is still in every corner, mocking him.

Vladimir lies face down on a bed, unsettlingly still. An emerald ring shines above him on a ledge.

> x ring
A beautiful ring with encrusted emerald foil on the edges. Natalia's family once came from high repute, and this ring was passed down generations as her family's social standing tumbled as fast as Trotsky's. By the time Natalia chose to wear it as her engagement ring, she was a disgruntled milk maid with a clockmaker for a husband and a precocious, if difficult child. Filled with dreams about her royal lineage, she left for the city and also left her family, only to be killed in a stampede for meager bread rations. All Sergei and Vladimir have to remember her by is this ring.

> x vladimir
Best not to disturb him.

> x clocks
Broken and dilapidated but ticking, always ticking.

> nw

Center Field
The grunts and sighs of dozens of men plowing or extracting potatoes and grain with roots firmly in the ground fills up the silence of the sky, the silence of repression. The barren soil matches the thin arms and haggard faces further raping it. I haven't slept for ages either, but the pain of avoiding hunger for even longer and the slight rumble of land constantly being upturned keeps me awake.

My plot of land is right before me, and so is Comrade Sergei, hastily cultivating his tiny sprouts. More field land surrounds this area, but two areas of distinction are northwest, where my house is, and southeast, where Sergei's house is.

> nw

Northwest Field
As the field thins out the people sag more. Dozens who cannot work lay down on the ground waiting to be fed or die, if no one in their family is left. A few kids dip their noses deep in mud-encrusted books, and their mothers wander around the houses, pausing at posters of Stalin and covering his face with their stick-like fingers.

To the west I see the familiar outline of my disintegrating shack, while to the southeast are the rest of the meager fields. On a hill nearby is the triumphant silhouette of a motorized tractor, and the Collector gazes at it, the only thing not dying in this forsaken village.

A beggar near my house has the tenacity to look at me square in the eye. He knows something.

> w

House
It's barely a house at all. The disintegrating logs are shunted haphazardly into each other, and on top large decorative cloths are draped to provide a "roof."

The cloths are thick enough to absorb most rain, but when it pours, the cloths are arranged to pour water into a small garden I cultivated at the far end, away from wandering eyes. Whatever eyes rest in my house are closed, however - my Dasha is in her bed, blankets drawn over her head, as she is too sick to get out of bed.

> x garden
Last year the neighbors couldn't make it through winter, and Dasha made me try to grow my own "garden" so that the same wouldn't happen to us. We all know that it defies the collectivization efforts, but I care more about having my family survive than a strict government far away in Moscow.

It's tiny, so only two bags worth of potatoes and four bags worth of grain have grown.

> x potatoes
It came from over the sea, but it might as well be our national vegetable. A tiny batch of them can make one's stomach full for a day, and we have celebrated that by infusing its fullness in all our traditional recipes. We might take the collectives, or even Stalin, for granted, but never the potato. It has saved too many people.

> x grain
Ridiculously reedy, impossible to make good bread with - that's why we eat it raw.

> get grain
I should harvest it first.

> harvest grain
In five minutes I have harvested a full bag of grain. It will take two to fill my stomach, though.

> g
In five minutes I have harvested a full bag of grain.

> g
In five minutes I have harvested a full bag of grain.

> i
I am carrying:
three bags of grain

> g
I am carrying:
three bags of grain

> g
I am carrying:
three bags of grain

> harvest grain
In five minutes I have harvested a full bag of grain.

My stomach contorts itself. All I need is a bag of potatoes or two bags of grain... but isn't that what millions need too?

> i
I am carrying:
four bags of grain

> g
I am carrying:
four bags of grain

> harvest grain
There is no more grain left.

> dig potatoes
I didn't understand that sentence.

> harvest potatoes
I spend five minutes harvesting them and putting them in a bag, but they're so cumbersome that by the time I'm through the bag is only half-full. I need more.

> g
It's no less cumbersome, but I now have a full bag.

> g
I spend five minutes harvesting them and putting them in a bag, but they're so cumbersome that by the time I'm through the bag is only half-full. I need more.

> g
It's no less cumbersome, but I now have a full bag.

> g
There are no more potatoes left.

> i
I am carrying:
two bags of potatoes
four bags of grain

> save
Ok.

> in
I can't go that way.

> l
House
It's barely a house at all. The disintegrating logs are shunted haphazardly into each other, and on top large decorative cloths are draped to provide a "roof."

The cloths are thick enough to absorb most rain, but when it pours, the cloths are arranged to pour water into a small garden I cultivated at the far end, away from wandering eyes. Whatever eyes rest in my house are closed, however - my Dasha is in her bed, blankets drawn over her head, as she is too sick to get out of bed.

> x bed
99% ignorance of invisible lumps, 1% straw.

> look under bed
I'm too tired and hungry to consider looking under the bed.

> eat potatoes
Finally, I allow myself the luxury of eating. It isn't much, but it will keep me alive until tomorrow.

> look under bed
I'm too tired and hungry to consider looking under the bed.

>
I beg your pardon?

> give grain to dasha
(the bag of grain to Dasha)
I gently tilt her head back and open her mouth, and mash the food until it becomes glob that any infant can swallow. Using my dirty palms, I scrape the mush into her mouth, close it, and massage her throat until I feel her swallow. I do this until both bags of grain are done, and Dasha opens her eyes. Her green eyes catches mine looking away and bring it back to her, and her eyelids flicker, and then close. But not for the last time.

> i
I am carrying:
a bag of potatoes
two bags of grain

> out

Northwest Field
As the field thins out the people sag more. Dozens who cannot work lay down on the ground waiting to be fed or die, if no one in their family is left. A few kids dip their noses deep in mud-encrusted books, and their mothers wander around the houses, pausing at posters of Stalin and covering his face with their stick-like fingers.

To the west I see the familiar outline of my disintegrating shack, while to the southeast are the rest of the meager fields. On a hill nearby is the triumphant silhouette of a motorized tractor, and the Collector gazes at it, the only thing not dying in this forsaken village.

A beggar near my house has the tenacity to look at me square in the eye. He knows something.

> se

Center Field
The grunts and sighs of dozens of men plowing or extracting potatoes and grain with roots firmly in the ground fills up the silence of the sky, the silence of repression. The barren soil matches the thin arms and haggard faces further raping it. I haven't slept for ages either, but the pain of avoiding hunger for even longer and the slight rumble of land constantly being upturned keeps me awake.

My plot of land is right before me, and so is Comrade Sergei, hastily cultivating his tiny sprouts. More field land surrounds this area, but two areas of distinction are northwest, where my house is, and southeast, where Sergei's house is.

> x plot
The plot of land that I've been given to cultivate and contribute crops for the whole of my collective. We were supposed to work together on one big plot, but fights kept erupting. We figured that Stalin wouldn't mind if there were individual mini-fields in one big collective, since we managed to fit the quota somehow.

I've done well. My otherwise sparse plot is populated by eight bags worth of potatoes and sixteen bags worth of grain, though they're firmly ingrained enough that it will take some time to harvest them.

> harvest potatoes
I spend five minutes harvesting them and putting them in a bag, but they're so cumbersome that by the time I'm through the bag is only half-full. I need more.

> g
It's no less cumbersome, but I now have a full bag.

> i
I am carrying:
two bags of potatoes
two bags of grain

> harvest potatoes
I spend five minutes harvesting them and putting them in a bag, but they're so cumbersome that by the time I'm through the bag is only half-full. I need more.

> g
It's no less cumbersome, but I now have a full bag.

> g
I spend five minutes harvesting them and putting them in a bag, but they're so cumbersome that by the time I'm through the bag is only half-full. I need more.

> g
It's no less cumbersome, but I now have a full bag.

> g
I spend five minutes harvesting them and putting them in a bag, but they're so cumbersome that by the time I'm through the bag is only half-full. I need more.

> g
It's no less cumbersome, but I now have a full bag.

> i
I am carrying:
five bags of potatoes
two bags of grain

> nw

Northwest Field
As the field thins out the people sag more. Dozens who cannot work lay down on the ground waiting to be fed or die, if no one in their family is left. A few kids dip their noses deep in mud-encrusted books, and their mothers wander around the houses, pausing at posters of Stalin and covering his face with their stick-like fingers.

To the west I see the familiar outline of my disintegrating shack, while to the southeast are the rest of the meager fields. On a hill nearby is the triumphant silhouette of a motorized tractor, and the Collector gazes at it, the only thing not dying in this forsaken village.

A beggar near my house has the tenacity to look at me square in the eye. He knows something.

> save
Ok.

> give grain to beggar
(the bag of grain to the beggar)
He hungrily munches it all, spitting the rotten pieces onto my foot. He looks up at me and lowers his head a few degrees, and I do the same. In a few minutes it's all gone.

> i
I am carrying:
five bags of potatoes

"Five bags of potatoes or ten bags of grain by seven o'clock, Comrades!" the collector barks. "Don't waste time!"

> x collector
A confirmed kulak, if there ever was one. As our houses grew smaller his waist grew fatter, and as the vegetables on our fields grew in less frequency his fingers started sprouting multi-colored rings. His laugh is inappropriately hearty, and his eyes chillingly suspicious. He's waiting for the last bags of potatoes and grain, and itching for another kulak denunciation by 7 PM.

> give potatoes to collector
(the bag of potatoes to the Collector)
He grabs the bags and dumps them with the rest of the pile.

Anyone still able to walk struggles back to the Collector, who is eyeing us with extreme distaste. The men with the dark hats have come back, and are busy loading the bags of grain and potatoes into a tractor several models newer than ours. Then, a pause. One of the men counts the bags again, and starts to scratch his chin. A collective whisper rushes through the crowd like millions of locusts upon a season's wheat, and the collector steps forward to quiet us. "I am SHORT!" he yells. "Someone has skirted his duty as a Russian!" He glares at a figure in the crowd, and the men drag him out of the throng.

It's Peter Voloshin, a new father. The Collector seizes his jaw and looks in his eyes. "Where is your portion?" He hisses. "You might have lacked only one bag, but don't think we didn't know!"

Peter's eyes wander over the crowd, desperate. He only needs one more bag.

> i
I am carrying nothing.

The pause continues, the tension rises, like a violin string tightened and tightened until -

Peter drops his head, and a few tear drops splatter on the ground below. The men grab Peter by the arms and shove him into the tractor. The Collector is pleased because Peter is like a limp doll, submissive and subservient, and therefore allows him an open window to stick his head out as he receives wave after wave of "kulak" denunciations. My fellow comrades run after the tractor as I walk back home to my Dasha.

Please press a key to continue...

Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works
Metal clangs and hissing steam infuses the enormous warehouse I work in with the patriotic fervor of fellow comrades churning out molten steel out of ordinary pig iron. Row upon row of Bessemer converters turn every few minutes, and the gloriously inflamed liquid that goes in and out gives us a ruddy complexion, the complexion of hard jobs well done. It is steaming in here, true, but I would rather sweat and inhale the rising impure oxides here than freeze outside a hut, with no contribution to society but a starving child. I live for iron ore, and steel. The Man of Steel.

Right now I am above a Bessemer Converter, in charge of rotating it, while Comrade Anatoly Chuychenko is below, in charge of aligning the moulds the steel runs into. Comrade Kozak, my boss, is inspecting machines not far from here. When not marveling the converter, I look to the very front of the building, where a large portrait of Alexei Stakahnov has been framed and garlanded.

> save
Ok.

> x converter
At the top the iron is introduced, and the bottom has a number of openings called tuyeres where air is forced in. The iron oxidizes, and impurities like carbon escape as a gas. The inner lining of the converter is also made of special clay that helps oxidation. Steel is formed, and the converter is turned upside down to pour into the moulds, and then left to dry. My family feels that playing with toddlers is much more fun, but the fact that I know how this wonderful contraption works always gives me a special thrill.

The flames from the mouth of the converter rise and turn bluish - it's now molten steel.

> x anatoly
Don't you mean Comrade Anatoly Chuychenko?

> x comrade anatoly
Unkempt hair, long beard, frequent scratching - he was me two years ago, fresh off the train. After my previous partner died of cancer, he was promoted from janitor to here, though I'm starting to think he should be demoted.

The molten steel is sitting untended and I haven't made any bars yet. I need to turn the converter over if I'm going to have any chance of making forty by the end of the hour.

> turn converter
I rotate a wheel, and the converter turns upside down and slowly dispels the liquid steel into the moulds below. Comrade Anatoly arranges the moulds so the steel gently eases into the corners and crevasses, and in no time at all it is a steel bar, hard as diamonds, ready to be shipped all over Russia to serve cities yet without proper foundations and ever spreading railroad tracks certain to benefit the entire country. As Comrade Lenin said, "Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country."

> talk to anatoly
Don't you mean Comrade Anatoly Chuychenko?

The flames from the mouth of the converter rise and turn bluish - it's now molten steel.

> talk to comrade
Whom should I talk to, Comrade Anatoly Chuychenko, or Comrade Kozak?

> anatoly
"Uh, Comrade," he says, tiny compared to the converter beside him, "I'm not - I'm forgot how to arrange the mould again...If I do it here, then some will leak, but here will require two turns to fill it up. I just don't know…"
1) There!

2) Don't leak any of it - this steel represents Soviet ingenuity, the liquid manifestation of centuries of suffering and death to allow us, the enlightened generation, a chance to live and grow and work and die without monarchial oppression.

>> 1
Comrade Anatoly looks around, scratches his cheek, then shifts the moulds the way I tell him to.

1) Comrade, how are you feeling? You must tell me when you feel bad. As Comrade Stalin says, "Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union."

2) Nevermind.

>> 1
"Um, fine." His eyes swivel away and look toward one of the large windows.

> talk to comrade kozak
Comrade Kozak's face brightens as I approach. "Ah, one of my working girls. What can I do for you?"

1) We can make improvements to the work environment.

2) How are you?

3) Nevermind.

>> 2
"Not well if you aren't finished with your quota," he said. "Forty bars of steel by this hour, remember!" He nods his head vigorously.

1) We can make improvements to the work environment.

2) How are you?

3) Nevermind.

>> 1
"How so?" he says, balancing on the balls of his feet.

1) We don't need people below the Bessemer Converters, aligning the moulds. We could have a conveyor belt instead.

2) We should open a daycare center for women with young kids, so they'll be more enticed to work.

3) We should have a comment box near the door for people to drop in suggestions on how to improve the work environment.

>> 1
""Wonderful." He writes it down in his notebook, and then gestures back to my converter. "Now, get busy. As Comrade Lenin said, "When one makes a Revolution, one must always go forward - or go back."

1) We can make improvements to the work environment.

2) How are you?

3) Nevermind.

>> 3
"Keep up the good fight!" he yells out, as I walk back to my work.

The molten steel is sitting untended and I've just made one single bar. I need to turn the converter over if I'm going to have any chance of making forty by the end of the hour.

The buildup of itchiness in my throat has reached its zenith - I hack and sputter into my hands, and all I see are black spots like a capitalist Dalmatian.

> turn converter
I rotate a wheel, and the converter turns upside down and slowly dispels the liquid steel into the moulds below. Comrade Anatoly arranges the moulds so the steel gently eases into the corners and crevasses, and in no time at all it is a steel bar, hard as diamonds, ready to be shipped all over Russia to serve cities yet without proper foundations and ever spreading railroad tracks certain to benefit the entire country. As Comrade Lenin said, "Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country."

> x me
An industrious member of Soviet society, working day by day to improve the lives of millions of fellow Russians sweating for the goal of an international Communist brotherhood. But, other than that, I see nothing special about myself.

The flames from the mouth of the converter rise and turn bluish - it's now molten steel.

> turn converter
I rotate a wheel, and the converter turns upside down and slowly dispels the liquid steel into the moulds below. Comrade Anatoly arranges the moulds so the steel gently eases into the corners and crevasses, and in no time at all it is a steel bar, hard as diamonds, ready to be shipped all over Russia to serve cities yet without proper foundations and ever spreading railroad tracks certain to benefit the entire country. As Comrade Lenin said, "Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country."

> i
I am carrying:
some money

The flames from the mouth of the converter rise and turn bluish - it's now molten steel.

> x money
I don't like carrying this around, not at all. But the economic system has a few kinks, and when sheer productive comradeship won't do, we all need another form of persuasion.

> turn converter
I rotate a wheel, and the converter turns upside down and slowly dispels the liquid steel into the moulds below. Comrade Anatoly arranges the moulds so the steel gently eases into the corners and crevasses, and in no time at all it is a steel bar, hard as diamonds, ready to be shipped all over Russia to serve cities yet without proper foundations and ever spreading railroad tracks certain to benefit the entire country. As Comrade Lenin said, "Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country."

It is sometimes asked whether or not it is possible to slow down the tempo of work, to put a check on the movement. No, comrades, it is not possible! 40 bars it is decreed, 40 bars I shall make!

> l
Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works
Metal clangs and hissing steam infuses the enormous warehouse I work in with the patriotic fervor of fellow comrades churning out molten steel out of ordinary pig iron. Row upon row of Bessemer converters turn every few minutes, and the gloriously inflamed liquid that goes in and out gives us a ruddy complexion, the complexion of hard jobs well done. It is steaming in here, true, but I would rather sweat and inhale the rising impure oxides here than freeze outside a hut, with no contribution to society but a starving child. I live for iron ore, and steel. The Man of Steel.

Right now I am above a Bessemer Converter, in charge of rotating it, while Comrade Anatoly Chuychenko is below, in charge of aligning the moulds the steel runs into. Comrade Kozak, my boss, is inspecting machines not far from here. When not marveling the converter, I look to the very front of the building, where a large portrait of Alexei Stakahnov has been framed and garlanded.

The flames from the mouth of the converter rise and turn bluish - it's now molten steel.

The buildup of itchiness in my throat has reached its zenith - I hack and sputter into my hands, and all I see are black spots like a capitalist Dalmatian.

> x portrait
I've gazed at this photo for months. Comrade Alexei Stakahnov, purveyor of ten tons of pure coal, ready to be distributed to cold families throughout Russia. I've saved the newspaper clippings and written down quotes from his movie down the edge of countless pages in his autobiography. So that's how a Soviet hero smiles.

> turn converter
I rotate a wheel, and the converter turns upside down and slowly dispels the liquid steel into the moulds below. Comrade Anatoly arranges the moulds so the steel gently eases into the corners and crevasses, and in no time at all it is a steel bar, hard as diamonds, ready to be shipped all over Russia to serve cities yet without proper foundations and ever spreading railroad tracks certain to benefit the entire country. As Comrade Lenin said, "Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country."

40 bars, 40 bars...

> z
Time passes.

The flames from the mouth of the converter rise and turn bluish - it's now molten steel.

The bell whistles and everyone takes a step away from the Bessemer converter, ready for the inspection. Comrade Kozak winds his away down the line, talking briefly with the other workers and furiously scribbling on his clipboard. He reaches us, and I stamp on the platform until Comrade Anatoly stops slumping. "Excellent!" Comrade Kozak says, counting the bars we've produced. "Three thousand bars - a few dozen more than yesterday!" He slaps Comrade Anatoly on the back and continues on.

"Excuse me," I say, "but we haven't made anywhere near two thousand, let alone three." I point at our measly pile, slowly cooling in this air of cooperation and equality.

Comrade Kozak shows me his clipboard, where the government-regulated quota of 600,000 bars every week is underlined, bolded, and circled in revolutionary red. "You have," he says, and draws out a bar to show how everyone has significantly contributed to the quota, including us. He stomps down the stairs and whistles, letting everyone disperse. I myself set off to Zhukova Street, site of the Friends Bakery, for my daily piece of bread.

Bakery
A line trickles down the street as fellow comrades line up for their daily piece of bread, provided by the grain harvested by the strong arms of the farmers and the machinery operated by a baker dedicated to the revolutionary cause and sympathetic to the toil and hard work of the proletariats. Some say that this state is more capitalist than before, but I offer this image to silence them. What could be more Communist than people all over Magnitogorsk lining up to receive their free daily allowance of bread, common in their hunger, with no shades of favoritism other than those who were fastest in lining up? Bread is a beatific symbol of our freedom - as Comrade Lenin said, "It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed."

The baker is handing out bread lovingly made to feed workers holding up and modernizing the Russian state, but is doing so with a frown.

> talk to baker
Don't you mean Comrade Baker?

An exhausted comrade is returning from the front of the line carrying a fresh loaf.

> talk to comrade baker
I walk out of the line and to the front. It practically didn't move, so losing my place is not that bad. The baker looks up from the counter and smiles mechanically. "Welcome to Friends Bakery," he says.

1) Comrade, how are you doing?

2) Why the shortages?

3) I have something to give you.

4) Nevermind.

>> 1
"Not very well," he says, as he hands bread to two people in the line and takes their ration coupons. "As you can see, I have work to do." He gestures at the hundreds of people still lining up.

1) Comrade, how are you doing?

2) Why the shortages?

3) I have something to give you.

4) Nevermind.

>> 2
"Well, you try to deal with it!" he says. He stops giving out bread and yanks his hair. "Because of the kulaks, the city bakeries are only getting the minimum amount of wheat and grain required to feed how many people officially live in the city. Because of the kulaks, how many people really living in the city keeps doubling every day as peasants run away from starving villages. Because of the kulaks, the increasing amount of people lining up for hours and going home hungry is increasing, and these peasants like to accuse anyone of being a kulak." He pauses, looks around, and shouts, "I'd like to strangle every one of them!" into the crowd. They quickly cheer, and just as quickly return to their misery.

1) Comrade, how are you doing?

2) Why the shortages?

3) I have something to give you.

4) Nevermind.

>> 3
"Hmm?" he says.

1) Here's a ration coupon.

2) Here's money.

>> 2
Without any hesitation he takes the money and manages to smuggle a loaf of bread to me through a diversion. ("Look, I see Comrade Molotov!") The baker shakes my hand firmly, and then I leave. He is almost certainly a Trotskyite.

Apartment
It's a tiny room on the sixth floor, and though hardworking hands built this building, and all the other buildings beside it, only two years ago, I must admit that the walls are already yellowing and the floor as gray as dead rats. I sleep and wake up here with six other workers, bunk beds crammed together, but the close proximity of our beds makes it feel like a friendly commune, all of us helping to lift Russia bit by bit. It's hard, but as Comrade Stalin said, "You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves."

I sleep on the top part of the bunk bed closest to the window. In the opposite bunk bed lies Comrade Yulia Churov, who works in manufacturing, and is currently trying to sleep. I should sleep soon too.

> save
Ok.

> x yulia
Don't you mean Comrade Yulia Churov?

> x comrade yulia
By far the smartest. She comes from Stalingrad, but was extremely poor before a scholarship allowed her to study Engineering at a local university. Just like me, she is a first-generation woman worker - she just can't seem to find work comparable to her skills.

The buildup of itchiness in my throat has reached its zenith - I hack and sputter into my hands, and all I see are black spots like a capitalist Dalmatian.

> x beds
That noun did not make sense in this context.

> x window
That noun did not make sense in this context.

> get in bed
I don't see how that is relevant towards fulfilling the Communist ideal.

> sleep
I smooth out the rumples on the sheets and gingerly lay down on my bed, a hard day's work clouding my mind. Tomorrow I will once again turn the converter, line up for bread, and chat with Yulia before going back to bed. In in those next 24 hours, I will provide another brick for the mansion of hope and goodwill Stalin is building, and the Communist revolution will extend ever so further into the reaches of the other capitalist countries, the misguided proletariats itching and yearning for another system, our system, to live by, and we will lend them our hands as we march to a brighter future. As Comrade Stalin said, "I believe in one thing only, the power of the human will."

Please press a key to continue...

Another one of us is gone. Sobchak didn't come in for a week, and today his crumpled, messy office is spot clean, with nothing in it but furniture newly washed. We take the long way to the bathroom, as passing his room might be construed as post-mortem respect.

We all have our reasons. Me, I think he was working for the Poles. Sobchak, what a Polish name. He probably panicked when Beria's orders came in, tried to edit it, was caught. He was always so messy, and stupid. Stalin doesn't like keeping prisoners of war, especially if they're mongrels.

Surkov slams open my door, and stops to breathe. "The document...gone...came back...three hours...Molotov is ballistic. He's issuing the sweeps again...clean out your room now!" He runs out, and I lock my door.

Thank god I married his daughter.

My Office
I've done well. Wall panels made from Iberian trees, a floor 1/3 marble, furniture from Zinoviev's old office at the Pravda, and my crowning glory, a candlestick raided from Nicholas II's bathroom. I got it when I denounced my third-cousin-twice-removed for "bourgeois activities." The windows, glass panes from the Cheka's old headquarters, are splattered - Moscow has terrible rainstorms. It's also quite dark. In my opinion, it's only a matter of years before Stalin will send someone into outer space to fix this dreadful weather.

I have a desk and a cabinet, and a coffee table to the side, a few paintings, and a secretly loose wall panel (My office is outfitted with the bare essentials of any government employee). To the east, meanwhile, is Surkov's office, and to the north is the Hallway.

> restore
Ok.

> l
Apartment
It's a tiny room on the sixth floor, and though hardworking hands built this building, and all the other buildings beside it, only two years ago, I must admit that the walls are already yellowing and the floor as gray as dead rats. I sleep and wake up here with six other workers, bunk beds crammed together, but the close proximity of our beds makes it feel like a friendly commune, all of us helping to lift Russia bit by bit. It's hard, but as Comrade Stalin said, "You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves."

I sleep on the top part of the bunk bed closest to the window. In the opposite bunk bed lies Comrade Yulia Churov, who works in manufacturing, and is currently trying to sleep. I should sleep soon too.

> talk to yulia
Don't you mean Comrade Yulia Churov?

The buildup of itchiness in my throat has reached its zenith - I hack and sputter into my hands, and all I see are black spots like a capitalist Dalmatian.

> talk to comrade yulia
She groans as I call out her name.

1) Comrade, how did you like the book?

2) Comrade, why can you not find work that satisfies you?

3) Nevermind.

>> 1
"Didn't like it. I don't believe it." She rolls over. "I don't think it's possible for a single human. He was lying."

1) Don't be absurd! For one thing, it's common knowledge that he did, Comrade Stalin actually came and congratulated him and shook his hand, and another, the autobiography is State-endorsed, State-sponsored! They did their fact-checking.

2) Hmmm.

>> 2
Yulia throws off her blanket, her eyes wild. "I mean, think about it. A ton in a few minutes? Even the fastest, strongest machine in Russia could not do it. Do you agree?"

1) Well, if one is infused with the spirit of the state, one can truly do anything! As Comrade Stalin says, "The writer is the engineer of the human soul."

2) I do not like where this is going, Comrade…I think the writing has an earthy quality to it, don't you?

3) Of course. It's impossible. The state must have lied, the state is a corrupt manifestation of Stalin's egotistical impulses. He doesn't care about communism, he only cares about power, Russia's power, and he could care less about hundreds of millions of lives sacrificed to achieve his goals.

>> 2
She puts on her blanket again, and I see her eyes glossing over.

1) Comrade, how did you like the book?

2) Comrade, why can you not find work that satisfies you?

3) Nevermind.

>> 2
"Simple. Stalin wants woman to work, but not in the higher echelons. No matter what he says, we women face a glass ceiling. There's a point where if you're a woman, you're not getting hired." She yawns.

1) Ridiculous! Look at Cecilia Bobrovskaya and Olga Lepeshinskaya, two women who truly believed in the power of science and the state. If you were like them, you would have received a Nobel and Lenin's Order.

2) Hmmm.

>> 2
Yulia throws off her blanket, her eyes wild. "I mean, think about it. The annual list of members of the Politburo have had one woman in ten years, and her last name was Lenin.

1) Well, if one is infused with the spirit of the state, one can truly do anything!

2) I do not like where this is going, Comrade…I think women are given fair chances in school, no?

3) Of course. The state lies, the state is a corrupt manifestation of Stalin's egotistical impulses. He doesn't care about communism, he only cares about power, Russia's power, and he could care less about hundreds of millions of lives sacrificed to achieve his goals.

>> 3
Her smile degenerates into a clenched mouth, a clenched jaw. "Trotskyite," she spits out. Out of her pocket comes a baton. Three others come in, all with batons, and before I can yelp I am gone, disintegrating into excruciating pain and blackness.

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, QUIT, or REPLAY the level?
>
undo
Apartment
[Previous turn undone.]

> talk to comrade yulia
She groans as I call out her name.

1) Comrade, how did you like the book?

2) Comrade, why can you not find work that satisfies you?

3) Nevermind.

>> 1
"Didn't like it. I don't believe it." She rolls over. "I don't think it's possible for a single human. He was lying."

1) Don't be absurd! For one thing, it's common knowledge that he did, Comrade Stalin actually came and congratulated him and shook his hand, and another, the autobiography is State-endorsed, State-sponsored! They did their fact-checking.

2) Hmmm.

>> 1
"Whatever," she says. "It's not written well anyway."

1) Comrade, how did you like the book?

2) Comrade, why can you not find work that satisfies you?

3) Nevermind.

>> 2
"Simple. Stalin wants woman to work, but not in the higher echelons. No matter what he says, we women face a glass ceiling. There's a point where if you're a woman, you're not getting hired." She yawns.

1) Ridiculous! Look at Cecilia Bobrovskaya and Olga Lepeshinskaya, two women who truly believed in the power of science and the state. If you were like them, you would have received a Nobel and Lenin's Order.

2) Hmmm.

>> 1
She puts on her blanket again, and I see her eyes glossing over.

1) Comrade, how did you like the book?

2) Comrade, why can you not find work that satisfies you?

3) Nevermind.

>> 3
She mumbles, and I leave her be.

> sleep
I smooth out the rumples on the sheets and gingerly lay down on my bed, a hard day's work clouding my mind. Tomorrow I will once again turn the converter, line up for bread, and chat with Yulia before going back to bed. In in those next 24 hours, I will provide another brick for the mansion of hope and goodwill Stalin is building, and the Communist revolution will extend ever so further into the reaches of the other capitalist countries, the misguided proletariats itching and yearning for another system, our system, to live by, and we will lend them our hands as we march to a brighter future. As Comrade Stalin said, "I believe in one thing only, the power of the human will."

Please press a key to continue...

Another one of us is gone. Sobchak didn't come in for a week, and today his crumpled, messy office is spot clean, with nothing in it but furniture newly washed. We take the long way to the bathroom, as passing his room might be construed as post-mortem respect.

We all have our reasons. Me, I think he was working for the Poles. Sobchak, what a Polish name. He probably panicked when Beria's orders came in, tried to edit it, was caught. He was always so messy, and stupid. Stalin doesn't like keeping prisoners of war, especially if they're mongrels.

Surkov slams open my door, and stops to breathe. "The document...gone...came back...three hours...Molotov is ballistic. He's issuing the sweeps again...clean out your room now!" He runs out, and I lock my door.

Thank god I married his daughter.

My Office
I've done well. Wall panels made from Iberian trees, a floor 1/3 marble, furniture from Zinoviev's old office at the Pravda, and my crowning glory, a candlestick raided from Nicholas II's bathroom. I got it when I denounced my third-cousin-twice-removed for "bourgeois activities." The windows, glass panes from the Cheka's old headquarters, are splattered - Moscow has terrible rainstorms. It's also quite dark. In my opinion, it's only a matter of years before Stalin will send someone into outer space to fix this dreadful weather.

I have a desk and a cabinet, and a coffee table to the side, a few paintings, and a secretly loose wall panel (My office is outfitted with the bare essentials of any government employee). To the east, meanwhile, is Surkov's office, and to the north is the Hallway.

> save
Ok.

> x me
Damn handsome.

> i
I am carrying nothing.

> who am i
( You are controlling a character in this story. Normally, you'll want to phrase your input as commands, not questions. I've taken the liberty of demonstrating below. )
>EXAMINE ME
Damn handsome.

> x panel
I'm a sensitive soul, and sometimes I like things that can be misconstrued as...not pro-Communist enough. In those cases I hide it here. It's discreet, and doesn't make any noise opening, which is wonderful because the microphones implanted beneath the floor can be awfully sensitive.

> x candlestick
As a direct subordinate and constant pupil of members of the Central Committee, I can rightfully say that has no relation to Communism and the welfare of the Russian state whatsoever.

> x windows
As a direct subordinate and constant pupil of members of the Central Committee, I can rightfully say that has no relation to Communism and the welfare of the Russian state whatsoever.

> x desk
Nondescript, but that's how the Politburo likes it. If the men on the streets only knew how expensive the wood was!

But, no matter. Scattered paper with doodles are tucked into the corners, and a box of Lucky Strikes is seductively lying half-open.

> get lucky strikes
Taken.

> open panel
As a direct subordinate and constant pupil of members of the Central Committee, I can rightfully say that has no relation to Communism and the welfare of the Russian state whatsoever.

> x panel
I'm a sensitive soul, and sometimes I like things that can be misconstrued as...not pro-Communist enough. In those cases I hide it here. It's discreet, and doesn't make any noise opening, which is wonderful because the microphones implanted beneath the floor can be awfully sensitive.

> put lucky strikes in panel
I put the Lucky Strikes into the loose wall panel.

> x coffee table
Polished and smoothed, and in the shape of Russia. All the government officials got one, paid for by their mummies and daddies, but as the most efficient of the sons of the revolutionary leaders, I got Stalin's signature on it. See it? Yeah, right there.

Beautifully displayed is an Ella Fitzgerald vinyl.

> x vinyl
A grainy picture of her belting masks a LP of steaming jazz. I don't know how many black markets I had to visit, but it was all worth it the second she sang.

> x signature
That noun did not make sense in this context.

> get vinyl
Taken.

> put it in panel
I put the Ella Fitzgerald vinyl into the loose wall panel.

> l
My Office
I've done well. Wall panels made from Iberian trees, a floor 1/3 marble, furniture from Zinoviev's old office at the Pravda, and my crowning glory, a candlestick raided from Nicholas II's bathroom. I got it when I denounced my third-cousin-twice-removed for "bourgeois activities." The windows, glass panes from the Cheka's old headquarters, are splattered - Moscow has terrible rainstorms. It's also quite dark. In my opinion, it's only a matter of years before Stalin will send someone into outer space to fix this dreadful weather.

I have a desk and a cabinet, and a coffee table to the side, a few paintings, and a secretly loose wall panel (My office is outfitted with the bare essentials of any government employee). To the east, meanwhile, is Surkov's office, and to the north is the Hallway.

> x paintings
An assortment of art that I've received over the years. My subordinates know I appreciate good taste. One painting is of the obligatory "Stalin looks away from the painter and into the Communist Light of a New Day," another is of a butterfly alighting on a flag pole drenched with red, a third one is of pretty women harvesting golden corn with a sickle and an axe, and the last is an extremely graphic portrayal of an American capitalist being decapitated by a guillotine manufactured by Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works.

> close panel
As a direct subordinate and constant pupil of members of the Central Committee, I can rightfully say that has no relation to Communism and the welfare of the Russian state whatsoever.

> save
Ok.

> n

Hallway
Dark and very, very cold. Mostly everyone has gone home, but I have unfinished business to attend to.

To the south is my office, to the east the janitor's room, and to the north is a forbidding door.

> n
I can't go that way, not yet.

> e

Janitor's Room
Dirty, but what do you expect? At least he has the obligatory Stalin portrait nailed to the wall.

Damn, I have a lot to throw before 11. Better find another room to dump them in.

> x portrait
I see nothing special about the janitor's portrait of Stalin. Even my niece has the same copy in her planner.

> i
I am carrying nothing.

> look behind portrait
Usually, you don't need to worry about the exact positioning of things. You can get more detail about something with the EXAMINE command, or use compass directions like NORTH, for example to change your location.

> w

Hallway
Dark and very, very cold. Mostly everyone has gone home, but I have unfinished business to attend to.

To the south is my office, to the east the janitor's room, and to the north is a forbidding door.

> s

My Office
I've done well. Wall panels made from Iberian trees, a floor 1/3 marble, furniture from Zinoviev's old office at the Pravda, and my crowning glory, a candlestick raided from Nicholas II's bathroom. I got it when I denounced my third-cousin-twice-removed for "bourgeois activities." The windows, glass panes from the Cheka's old headquarters, are splattered - Moscow has terrible rainstorms. It's also quite dark. In my opinion, it's only a matter of years before Stalin will send someone into outer space to fix this dreadful weather.

I have a desk and a cabinet, and a coffee table to the side, a few paintings, and a secretly loose wall panel (My office is outfitted with the bare essentials of any government employee). To the east, meanwhile, is Surkov's office, and to the north is the Hallway.

> e

Surkov's Office
With Surkov's daughter, I got two for the price of one: a dazzling smile, and a father-in-law with all the connections and none of the attitude. He is a strict military man, and it shows in how neat the room is: all the books arranged in alphabetical order, the furniture forming mini-squares on the carpet, the chairs all facing straight ahead, and not a smattering of dust anywhere.

Capitalist-infused-items, where are you? And what empty room can I leave you in?

> x books
That noun did not make sense in this context.

> x carpet
That noun did not make sense in this context.

> x chairs
That noun did not make sense in this context.

> w

My Office
I've done well. Wall panels made from Iberian trees, a floor 1/3 marble, furniture from Zinoviev's old office at the Pravda, and my crowning glory, a candlestick raided from Nicholas II's bathroom. I got it when I denounced my third-cousin-twice-removed for "bourgeois activities." The windows, glass panes from the Cheka's old headquarters, are splattered - Moscow has terrible rainstorms. It's also quite dark. In my opinion, it's only a matter of years before Stalin will send someone into outer space to fix this dreadful weather.

I have a desk and a cabinet, and a coffee table to the side, a few paintings, and a secretly loose wall panel (My office is outfitted with the bare essentials of any government employee). To the east, meanwhile, is Surkov's office, and to the north is the Hallway.

> get vinyl
Taken.

> get lucky strikes
Taken.

Surkov doesn't tell lies. I better get rid of anything "subversive," aka anything that gives me any pleasure at work, right now.

> n

Hallway
Dark and very, very cold. Mostly everyone has gone home, but I have unfinished business to attend to.

To the south is my office, to the east the janitor's room, and to the north is a forbidding door.

> e

Janitor's Room
Dirty, but what do you expect? At least he has the obligatory Stalin portrait nailed to the wall.

> drop lucky strikes
Dropped.

The chimes of multiple grandfather clocks hitting 11 reverberate through my ears, so it's only when hands clutch my shoulders am I aware of men with dark hats behind me. They brush me down, take everything I carry, drag me to a room down the hall, squash me down on a chair, and slam the door. How scary.

Interrogation Room
It's a room painted stark white, with a solitary lamp hanging from the ceiling, dangling right above me.

A fellow comrade is sitting across from me, and he's staring as if he's daring me to speak first.

> talk to comrade
(the fellow comrade)
He glides off his chair, brushing miniscule particles off his crisp green uniform, and adjusts the stars on the shoulder of his shirt. Then his eyes, as clear blue as diluted ammonia, dart toward mine, and the wrinkles in his face deepen. "Now, we have called you here today because of a simple mistake, a little glitch in an otherwise efficient machine. This is just a routine procedure, an extraneous meeting, just to certify..." His jaw clenches, and he looks up. "...that nothing is wrong."

1) Everything is as wrong as Comrade Stalin.

2) I'm fine, thank you. I'm fairly busy at the moment, can you excuse me?

3) What? No. Of course not. Everything's fine, completely dandy, I need to go back to work, if you don't mind.

4) Nevermind.

5) You tell me.

>> 2
"Unfortunately, no." He then drums his fingers on the table. Another man comes in, whispers something to him, gives him a bag, and leaves. He examines the contents, and then he looks up at you with a sudden smile. "This bag contains all the interesting items my officers found in your office. There certainly is something wrong, then."

1) I don't have any.

2) What? I have no idea what you're talking about, honest! I love Comrade Stalin, I kiss the ground he walks... There's no way I would have subversive items, no way!

3) So they might be a bit counter-Revolutionary, but I don't mean any harm.

4) I'm so sorry! I didn't know, or else I would have burnt it in a coal mine full of rebellious workers. I swear on Lenin's grave that this won't happen again.

>> 1
"And yet, you do."

He takes out a piece of paper with doodles on it. "This...this is sacrilege! Our great leader Stalin is not to be ridiculed physically! He's very sensitive, you know!"

He takes out a painting of a butterfly. "What is this? If there is to be art, it must be socialist realist art, art that proudly showcases how real people live and think in this Communist state. A butterfly, really? Do you really have so much free time and imagination to distract yourself from the socialist agenda?"

He takes out the Great Soviet Encyclopedia. "Why do you still have the entry on Bukharin? Didn't you get the memo to remove those pages? In cases like this, one has to be extremely attentive."

He takes out the Ella Fitzgerald vinyl. "So, is Soviet music not good enough for you, or something? This is the music of greed, of murderers and the prejudiced! How can you bear hearing her wail on and on about individual neediness and avarice?"

"Tell me why these dangerously subversive items are in your room, or I might be tempted to connect you with other crimes your depraved morals allow you to commit. Or, is there someone...else?"

1) They're mine, I got them. No one else has, or ever will tamper with them.

2) I don't know, it was a long time ago.

3) No one. I just...I just had them because I like them.

4) I'm not...I'm not exactly sure...but...

>> 2
"Your devotion to your friend is laughable, my boy." His eyes narrow. "What does it mean if you drag a whole group of pals along with yourself? It means you've acquired a certain independence from local organizations and, if you like, a certain independence from the Central Committee." His eyes are focused on you for a name.

1) It's definitely mine.

2) Surkov.

3) The janitor.

4) My wife.

5) Sobchak.

>> 5
"We've already arrested him, I'm afraid.

1) It's definitely mine.

2) Surkov.

3) The janitor.

4) My wife.

>> 1
"My, that was awfully quick. I thought you'd be more of a fighter," he says. Men with dark hats burst in and drag me out, and in his ever fading voice the man says, "I'd like to grant you leniency for your promptness, but I doubt that will be accepted in a court of law."

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, QUIT, or REPLAY the level?
>
replay

Another one of us is gone. Sobchak didn't come in for a week, and today his crumpled, messy office is spot clean, with nothing in it but furniture newly washed. We take the long way to the bathroom, as passing his room might be construed as post-mortem respect.

We all have our reasons. Me, I think he was working for the Poles. Sobchak, what a Polish name. He probably panicked when Beria's orders came in, tried to edit it, was caught. He was always so messy, and stupid. Stalin doesn't like keeping prisoners of war, especially if they're mongrels.

Surkov slams open my door, and stops to breathe. "The document...gone...came back...three hours...Molotov is ballistic. He's issuing the sweeps again...clean out your room now!" He runs out, and I lock my door.

Thank god I married his daughter.

My Office
I've done well. Wall panels made from Iberian trees, a floor 1/3 marble, furniture from Zinoviev's old office at the Pravda, and my crowning glory, a candlestick raided from Nicholas II's bathroom. I got it when I denounced my third-cousin-twice-removed for "bourgeois activities." The windows, glass panes from the Cheka's old headquarters, are splattered - Moscow has terrible rainstorms. It's also quite dark. In my opinion, it's only a matter of years before Stalin will send someone into outer space to fix this dreadful weather.

I have a desk and a cabinet, and a coffee table to the side, a few paintings, and a secretly loose wall panel (My office is outfitted with the bare essentials of any government employee). To the east, meanwhile, is Surkov's office, and to the north is the Hallway.

Beautifully displayed is an Ella Fitzgerald vinyl

> get vinyl
Taken.

> look in panel
As of the moment, there is nothing inside.

> get lucky strikes
Taken.

> x doodles
So my department has seen a few lazy days. I was an aspiring artist before my father yanked me out of school, and one needs to practice. And it's not my fault that Stalin chose to sport such a mustache. If I was his size, I'd go for facial hair as thick as pencil shavings.

> get doodles
Taken.

> x paintings
An assortment of art that I've received over the years. My subordinates know I appreciate good taste. One painting is of the obligatory "Stalin looks away from the painter and into the Communist Light of a New Day," another is of a butterfly alighting on a flag pole drenched with red, a third one is of pretty women harvesting golden corn with a sickle and an axe, and the last is an extremely graphic portrayal of an American capitalist being decapitated by a guillotine manufactured by Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works.

> get butterfly
Taken.

> i
I am carrying:
a painting of a butterfly
a doodle
the Lucky Strikes
an Ella Fitzgerald vinyl

> put all in panel
painting of a butterfly: Done.
doodle: Done.
Lucky Strikes: There is no more room in the loose wall panel.
Ella Fitzgerald vinyl: There is no more room in the loose wall panel.

Damn, I have a lot to throw before 11. Better find another room to dump them in.

> undo
My Office
[Previous turn undone.]

> save
Ok.

> l
My Office
I've done well. Wall panels made from Iberian trees, a floor 1/3 marble, furniture from Zinoviev's old office at the Pravda, and my crowning glory, a candlestick raided from Nicholas II's bathroom. I got it when I denounced my third-cousin-twice-removed for "bourgeois activities." The windows, glass panes from the Cheka's old headquarters, are splattered - Moscow has terrible rainstorms. It's also quite dark. In my opinion, it's only a matter of years before Stalin will send someone into outer space to fix this dreadful weather.

I have a desk and a cabinet, and a coffee table to the side, a few paintings, and a secretly loose wall panel (My office is outfitted with the bare essentials of any government employee). To the east, meanwhile, is Surkov's office, and to the north is the Hallway.

> x cabinet
Some of my peers choose to decorate their cabinets with every single medal they have ever swiped, but mine is more to showcase fine vodka.

I have a few books here, however, to maintain some shred of respectability. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia is to one side, and Murky Passions, a tale of daring and explosive romance on choppy seas, is to the other.

> x vodka
As a direct subordinate and constant pupil of members of the Central Committee, I can rightfully say that has no relation to Communism and the welfare of the Russian state whatsoever.

> x passions
Okay, so Mikhail is this pirate who loots but doesn't actually want money, he wants Tatiana, this aristocratic girl whose father whisked her away to Vladivostok to marry Yevgleny, a rich jerk. So of course, he sails from the Caspian Sea to the Pacific, to ask for her hand in marriage, but that takes a long time, so he ends up marrying and having kids with this Mongolian girl, Zhenren, and forgets Tatiana, but she doesn't forget about him, and she steals Yevgleny's yacht to try to find Mikhail, but then she gets caught by a group of pirates belonging to Mikhail's enemy Anton. He falls in love with her, but respects her, so he helps Tatiana try to find Mikhail. Meanwhile Yevgleny is pissed, and he has all these connections so he orders a large part of the Red Army to hunt Tatiana down and kill any pirate they see. They find Mikhail's family and kill Zhenren, and he grieves, but in jail he's paired up with Tatiana, who was also captured, and they have some sexy times. No one knows it's her, because she's disguised and dirty, so Yevgleny thinks she has died and so grieves, but then he sees Zhenren, who really wasn't killed but was captured as a prisoner, and he falls in love with her, and she goes with him, because what else can she do, right? Oh, and Mikhail's children are found by Anton's pirates, but Anton doesn't know it's Mikhail's children, so he's happy to accept them and raise them. Tatiana and Mikhail stay in jail for a month, but then Tatiana hears that Mikhail's going to be executed, and she's scared and cries, so she sleeps with the warden who then tells them how to escape the jail, and they escape. They find a boat to sail back to Moscow, but before they do so Tatiana feels really guilty and confesses that she slept with the warden. Mikhail becomes really mad, and wants to leave her, but remembers his wife and how he hasn't told Tatiana about her yet, so he's fine, and both of them become pirates to fund the way back until Tatiana discovers she's pregnant, and she doesn't know whether it's Mikhail's or the warden's, and he becomes so mad, and is about to hit her before their ship collides with Yevgleny, who's taking this summer cruise down the Caspian to celebrate his honeymoon with his new wife, Zhenren, and then they...but that's for another day.

> x encyclopedia
Up to date. A bit crinkly, though, because when I applied the extra pages to Molotov's entry I was so busy, and messed up the glue. Why'd he have to get promoted then?

> look up bukharin in encyclopedia
As a direct subordinate and constant pupil of members of the Central Committee, I can rightfully say that has no relation to Communism and the welfare of the Russian state whatsoever.

> x bukharin
That noun did not make sense in this context.

> x molotov
That noun did not make sense in this context.

> read encyclopedia
Thanks, but no thanks.

> get it
Taken.

> n

Hallway
Dark and very, very cold. Mostly everyone has gone home, but I have unfinished business to attend to.

To the south is my office, to the east the janitor's room, and to the north is a forbidding door.

Damn, I have a lot to throw before 11. Better find another room to dump them in.

> e

Janitor's Room
Dirty, but what do you expect? At least he has the obligatory Stalin portrait nailed to the wall.

> drop all
Great Soviet Encyclopedia: Dropped.

painting of a butterfly: Dropped.

doodle: Dropped.

Lucky Strikes: Dropped.

Ella Fitzgerald vinyl: Dropped.

That should about do it.

> w

Hallway
Dark and very, very cold. Mostly everyone has gone home, but I have unfinished business to attend to.

To the south is my office, to the east the janitor's room, and to the north is a forbidding door.

> s

My Office
I've done well. Wall panels made from Iberian trees, a floor 1/3 marble, furniture from Zinoviev's old office at the Pravda, and my crowning glory, a candlestick raided from Nicholas II's bathroom. I got it when I denounced my third-cousin-twice-removed for "bourgeois activities." The windows, glass panes from the Cheka's old headquarters, are splattered - Moscow has terrible rainstorms. It's also quite dark. In my opinion, it's only a matter of years before Stalin will send someone into outer space to fix this dreadful weather.

I have a desk and a cabinet, and a coffee table to the side, a few paintings, and a secretly loose wall panel (My office is outfitted with the bare essentials of any government employee). To the east, meanwhile, is Surkov's office, and to the north is the Hallway.

> save
Ok.

> z
Time passes.

The chimes of multiple grandfather clocks hitting 11 reverberate through my ears, so it's only when hands clutch my shoulders am I aware of men with dark hats behind me. They brush me down, drag me to a room down the hall, squash me down on a chair, and slam the door. How scary.

Interrogation Room
It's a room painted stark white, with a solitary lamp hanging from the ceiling, dangling right above me.

A fellow comrade is sitting across from me, and he's staring as if he's daring me to speak first.

> talk to comrade
(the fellow comrade)
He glides off his chair, brushing miniscule particles off his crisp green uniform, and adjusts the stars on the shoulder of his shirt. Then his eyes, as clear blue as diluted ammonia, dart toward mine, and the wrinkles in his face deepen. "Now, we have called you here today because of a simple mistake, a little glitch in an otherwise efficient machine. This is just a routine procedure, an extraneous meeting, just to certify..." His jaw clenches, and he looks up. "...that nothing is wrong."

1) Everything is as wrong as Comrade Stalin.

2) I'm fine, thank you. I'm fairly busy at the moment, can you excuse me?

3) What? No. Of course not. Everything's fine, completely dandy, I need to go back to work, if you don't mind.

4) Nevermind.

5) You tell me.

>> 2
"Unfortunately, no." He then drums his fingers on the table. Another man comes in, whispers something to him, gives him a bag, and leaves. He examines the contents, and then he looks up at you with a sudden smile. "This bag contains all the interesting items my officers found in your office. There certainly is something wrong, then."

1) I don't have any.

2) What? I have no idea what you're talking about, honest! I love Comrade Stalin, I kiss the ground he walks... There's no way I would have subversive items, no way!

3) So they might be a bit counter-Revolutionary, but I don't mean any harm.

4) I'm so sorry! I didn't know, or else I would have burnt it in a coal mine full of rebellious workers. I swear on Lenin's grave that this won't happen again.

>> 1
A tight smile. "No, of course not. I'm sorry to presume you did. However, there is still the matter of who ever took those papers. He is an enemy of the state, and therefore an enemy of you - surely you will help us."

1) Don't know anyone who would be a suspect.

2) I don't know, it was a long time ago.

3) I'm not...I'm not exactly sure...but...

>> 1
His eyes narrow. "What does it mean if you drag a whole group of pals along with yourself? It means you've acquired a certain independence from local organizations and, if you like, a certain independence from the Central Committee." He leans back in his chair, his eyes focused on you for a name.

1) Don't know any suspects, sorry.

>> 1
"My, that was awfully quick. I thought you'd be more of a fighter," he says. Men with dark hats burst in and drag me out, and in his ever fading voice the man says, "I'd like to grant you leniency for your promptness, but I doubt that will be accepted in a court of law."

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, QUIT, or REPLAY the level?
>
restore
Ok.

> z
Time passes.

The chimes of multiple grandfather clocks hitting 11 reverberate through my ears, so it's only when hands clutch my shoulders am I aware of men with dark hats behind me. They brush me down, drag me to a room down the hall, squash me down on a chair, and slam the door. How scary.

Interrogation Room
It's a room painted stark white, with a solitary lamp hanging from the ceiling, dangling right above me.

A fellow comrade is sitting across from me, and he's staring as if he's daring me to speak first.

> x comrade
(the fellow comrade)
Nonchalantly creepy, with black leather gloves and a hat that casts a shadow over his eyes. He's leaning back, waiting for my first move.

> z
Time passes.

> talk to comrade
(the fellow comrade)
He glides off his chair, brushing miniscule particles off his crisp green uniform, and adjusts the stars on the shoulder of his shirt. Then his eyes, as clear blue as diluted ammonia, dart toward mine, and the wrinkles in his face deepen. "Now, we have called you here today because of a simple mistake, a little glitch in an otherwise efficient machine. This is just a routine procedure, an extraneous meeting, just to certify..." His jaw clenches, and he looks up. "...that nothing is wrong."

1) Everything is as wrong as Comrade Stalin.

2) I'm fine, thank you. I'm fairly busy at the moment, can you excuse me?

3) What? No. Of course not. Everything's fine, completely dandy, I need to go back to work, if you don't mind.

4) Nevermind.

5) You tell me.

>> 1
"Are you trying to be sassy, boy?" He eyes me with suspicion, and drums his fingers on the table. Another man comes in, whispers something to him, gives him a bag, and leaves. He examines the contents, and then he looks up at you with a sudden smile. "This bag contains all the interesting items my officers found in your office. There certainly is something wrong, then."

1) I don't have any.

2) What? I have no idea what you're talking about, honest! I love Comrade Stalin, I kiss the ground he walks... There's no way I would have subversive items, no way!

3) So they might be a bit counter-Revolutionary, but I don't mean any harm.

4) What were you doing searching my office? You have no right, it's my things! Who gave you permission, huh?

5) What's wrong is this government's oppression of the people and their individual rights. You boast of class equality, but look at the lives of the celebrated proletariats compared to us! This state is a cruel fraud, and even you know it.

Duplicate text here.

>> 1
A slow, methodical sigh. He leans back, squinting eyes focusing on mine. "You're quite right, boy. We didn't find anything..." He then starts leaning forward, his sharp green lapels coming towards my neck. "...for now. So unless you want pro-Trotsky pamphlets incorporating elements from your biography shoved into every Cheka mutt's desk on Monday, I highly encourage you to nominate a suspect for intensive questioning."
A slow, methodical sigh. He leans back, squinting eyes focusing on mine. "You're right, I'm afraid. We didn't find anything." He taps his fingers on the countertop, then reaches for mine. "Unfortunately, others will find something in a few weeks. I suggest you nominate someone now, or you might find you have far more enemies than you expected."

1) Look, I won't lie - nobody I know cared about the papers, so why would they steal it? No point in questioning anyone else.

2) Don't know anyone who would be a suspect.

3) I don't know, it was a long time ago.

4) I'm not...I'm not exactly sure...but...

>> 4
He leans forward. "Yes?" His black leather gloves crinkle in the silence, while my own hands start to numb.

1) Don't know.

2) Surkov.

3) The janitor.

4) My wife.

5) Sobchak.

>> 3
"Don't be ridiculous. We can fudge a lot of evidence, but not even a toddler will believe that.

1) Don't know.

2) Surkov.

3) My wife.

4) Sobchak.

>> 4
"We've already arrested him, I'm afraid.

1) Don't know.

2) Surkov.

3) My wife.

>> 2
"Surkov," he breathes out, like the air hissing out of a punctured tire. "Yes, yes, no one cares about him, and he doesn't do anything important anyway...but for what reason? What reason?" He turns to me. "We can't just blame him. We need a modus operandi. You're his son-in-law. What can we use?"

1) The common proletariat won't care!

>> 1
He tut-tuts and runs his hands down his jaw. "I'd think that you'd have more sense. For what is the aim of our present government than to bring about a fully Communist state? Don't you know why our great Lenin chose to wield the might of Marxist ideology during the height of monarchical oppression? Because Communism results in everyone being in the same class, everyone having equal rights, no money but for workers working for each other, basically the dream of every "common proletariat" you so deride! We work for the proletariats, because they are going to be the foundation of the Communist dawn. And when that happens, there will be no more class inequality, and we shall forever more be happy."

1) Fine.

2) Fine. Okay.

3) Too true. I am sorry for my minor slip in judgment, it won't happen again.

>> 3
"Don't you dare -"

A slight rapping on the door, and a maid comes, with caviar and crackers on a silver cup. "They were wondering why it took so long, so they got you some refreshments," she says with a dour smile. For five minutes she waits by the door as he finishes the caviar and crackers one-by-one, savoring each piece. I try to look as earnestly as possible at her, but she meets my eyes and clenches her jaw. When he's finished, he sends her away with a wave of his hand. His eyes look unfocused, the result of too much salt, probably, but then quickly zeroes on me. "No more idle chitchat. Why would Surkov take the document?"

1) He didn't.

2) He has an illegitimate Polish family, and his illegitimate wife's family has a history of being Polish spies employed by the government to assassinate Lenin and Stalin. And he's a pirate.

3) He feels boxed in by his boring white collar job, and he tries to make little things askew, like a broken pencil, or a window left open during the rain. But he wanted to expand his spirits more and more, because he just kept digging his existential grave.

4) He's a kleptomaniac.

5) He's a Trotskyite.

>> 5
"Straight to the point. I like that," he says, and writes down what I say. He dots his final letters with a flourish and snaps his fingers. Immediately men with dark hats come in and lock me in a chokehold. I croak out, "Why?"

"Well, you haven't exactly been as loyal as the Central Committee wants Comrades to be, my boy." He flashes me a quick smile, and the men start to drag me away. His voice fading, he yells out, "Thank you for your help!"

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, QUIT, or REPLAY the level?
>
undo
Interrogation Room
[Previous turn undone.]

> 3
I didn't understand that sentence.

> l
Interrogation Room
It's a room painted stark white, with a solitary lamp hanging from the ceiling, dangling right above me.

A fellow comrade is sitting across from me, and he's staring as if he's daring me to speak first.

> talk to comrade
(the fellow comrade)
He glides off his chair, brushing miniscule particles off his crisp green uniform, and adjusts the stars on the shoulder of his shirt. Then his eyes, as clear blue as diluted ammonia, dart toward mine, and the wrinkles in his face deepen. "Now, we have called you here today because of a simple mistake, a little glitch in an otherwise efficient machine. This is just a routine procedure, an extraneous meeting, just to certify..." His jaw clenches, and he looks up. "...that nothing is wrong."

1) Everything is as wrong as Comrade Stalin.

2) I'm fine, thank you. I'm fairly busy at the moment, can you excuse me?

3) What? No. Of course not. Everything's fine, completely dandy, I need to go back to work, if you don't mind.

4) Nevermind.

5) You tell me.

>> 5
"Are you trying to be sassy, boy?" He eyes me with suspicion, and drums his fingers on the table. Another man comes in, whispers something to him, gives him a bag, and leaves. He examines the contents, and then he looks up at you with a sudden smile. "This bag contains all the interesting items my officers found in your office. There certainly is something wrong, then."

1) I don't have any.

2) What? I have no idea what you're talking about, honest! I love Comrade Stalin, I kiss the ground he walks... There's no way I would have subversive items, no way!

3) So they might be a bit counter-Revolutionary, but I don't mean any harm.

4) What were you doing searching my office? You have no right, it's my things! Who gave you permission, huh?

5) What's wrong is this government's oppression of the people and their individual rights. You boast of class equality, but look at the lives of the celebrated proletariats compared to us! This state is a cruel fraud, and even you know it.

>> 1
A slow, methodical sigh. He leans back, squinting eyes focusing on mine. "You're quite right, boy. We didn't find anything..." He then starts leaning forward, his sharp green lapels coming towards my neck. "...for now. So unless you want pro-Trotsky pamphlets incorporating elements from your biography shoved into every Cheka mutt's desk on Monday, I highly encourage you to nominate a suspect for intensive questioning."
A slow, methodical sigh. He leans back, squinting eyes focusing on mine. "You're right, I'm afraid. We didn't find anything." He taps his fingers on the countertop, then reaches for mine. "Unfortunately, others will find something in a few weeks. I suggest you nominate someone now, or you might find you have far more enemies than you expected."

1) Look, I won't lie - nobody I know cared about the papers, so why would they steal it? No point in questioning anyone else.

2) Don't know anyone who would be a suspect.

3) I don't know, it was a long time ago.

4) I'm not...I'm not exactly sure...but...

>> 4
He leans forward. "Yes?" His black leather gloves crinkle in the silence, while my own hands start to numb.

1) Don't know.

2) Surkov.

3) The janitor.

4) My wife.

5) Sobchak.

>> 5
"We've already arrested him, I'm afraid.

1) Don't know.

2) Surkov.

3) The janitor.

4) My wife.

>> 3
"Don't be ridiculous. We can fudge a lot of evidence, but not even a toddler will believe that.

1) Don't know.

2) Surkov.

3) My wife.

>> 3
"Don't be ridiculous. We can fudge a lot of evidence, but not even a toddler will believe that.

1) Don't know.

2) Surkov.

>> 2
"Surkov," he breathes out, like the air hissing out of a punctured tire. "Yes, yes, no one cares about him, and he doesn't do anything important anyway...but for what reason? What reason?" He turns to me. "We can't just blame him. We need a modus operandi. You're his son-in-law. What can we use?"

1) The common proletariat won't care!

>> 1
He tut-tuts and runs his hands down his jaw. "I'd think that you'd have more sense. For what is the aim of our present government than to bring about a fully Communist state? Don't you know why our great Lenin chose to wield the might of Marxist ideology during the height of monarchical oppression? Because Communism results in everyone being in the same class, everyone having equal rights, no money but for workers working for each other, basically the dream of every "common proletariat" you so deride! We work for the proletariats, because they are going to be the foundation of the Communist dawn. And when that happens, there will be no more class inequality, and we shall forever more be happy."

1) Fine.

2) Fine. Okay.

3) Too true. I am sorry for my minor slip in judgment, it won't happen again.

>> 1
"Don't you dare -"

A slight rapping on the door, and a maid comes, with caviar and crackers on a silver cup. "They were wondering why it took so long, so they got you some refreshments," she says with a dour smile. For five minutes she waits by the door as he finishes the caviar and crackers one-by-one, savoring each piece. I try to look as earnestly as possible at her, but she meets my eyes and clenches her jaw. When he's finished, he sends her away with a wave of his hand. His eyes look unfocused, the result of too much salt, probably, but then quickly zeroes on me. "No more idle chitchat. Why would Surkov take the document?"

1) He didn't.

2) He has an illegitimate Polish family, and his illegitimate wife's family has a history of being Polish spies employed by the government to assassinate Lenin and Stalin. And he's a pirate.

3) He feels boxed in by his boring white collar job, and he tries to make little things askew, like a broken pencil, or a window left open during the rain. But he wanted to expand his spirits more and more, because he just kept digging his existential grave.

4) He's a kleptomaniac.

5) He's a Trotskyite.

>> 1
His black leather gloves crinkle in the silence, while my own hands start to numb.
"I really thought we had a friendly rapport here," he says, with a tinge of whining. He snaps his fingers. Immediately men with dark hats come in and drag me away. His voice fading, he yells out, "You've wasted my time, padla!"

Would you like to RESTART, RESTORE a saved game, QUIT, or REPLAY the level?
>
undo
Interrogation Room
[Previous turn undone.]

> talk to comrade
(the fellow comrade)
He glides off his chair, brushing miniscule particles off his crisp green uniform, and adjusts the stars on the shoulder of his shirt. Then his eyes, as clear blue as diluted ammonia, dart toward mine, and the wrinkles in his face deepen. "Now, we have called you here today because of a simple mistake, a little glitch in an otherwise efficient machine. This is just a routine procedure, an extraneous meeting, just to certify..." His jaw clenches, and he looks up. "...that nothing is wrong."

1) Everything is as wrong as Comrade Stalin.

2) I'm fine, thank you. I'm fairly busy at the moment, can you excuse me?

3) What? No. Of course not. Everything's fine, completely dandy, I need to go back to work, if you don't mind.

4) Nevermind.

5) You tell me.

>> 3
"I do mind, unfortunately." He grabs my arm and pulls it down, and his eyes silence me. He drums his fingers on the table. Another man comes in, whispers something to him, gives him a bag, and leaves. He examines the contents, and then he looks up at you with a sudden smile. "This bag contains all the interesting items my officers found in your office. There certainly is something wrong, then."

1) I don't have any.

2) What? I have no idea what you're talking about, honest! I love Comrade Stalin, I kiss the ground he walks... There's no way I would have subversive items, no way!

3) So they might be a bit counter-Revolutionary, but I don't mean any harm.

4) I'm so sorry! I didn't know, or else I would have burnt it in a coal mine full of rebellious workers. I swear on Lenin's grave that this won't happen again.

>> 2
A tight smile. "No, of course not. But others are, and to protect themselves they may just accuse you, and plant damning evidence all over your life." He breathes in deep, and says, "I suggest you do some defensive moves first. And after all, any enemy of the state is also your enemy, I would assume."

1) Promise me you won't tell? I'll be in so much trouble.

2) I don't know, it was a long time ago.

3) I'm not...I'm not exactly sure...but...

>> 2
"Your devotion to your friend is laughable, my boy." His eyes narrow. "What does it mean if you drag a whole group of pals along with yourself? It means you've acquired a certain independence from local organizations and, if you like, a certain independence from the Central Committee." His eyes are focused on you for a name.

1) Surkov.

2) The janitor.

3) My wife.

4) Sobchak.

>> 1
"Surkov," he breathes out, like the air hissing out of a punctured tire. "Yes, yes, no one cares about him, and he doesn't do anything important anyway...but for what reason? What reason?" He turns to me. "We can't just blame him. We need a modus operandi. You're his son-in-law. What can we use?"

1) The common proletariat won't care!

>> 1
He tut-tuts and runs his hands down his jaw. "I'd think that you'd have more sense. For what is the aim of our present government than to bring about a fully Communist state? Don't you know why our great Lenin chose to wield the might of Marxist ideology during the height of monarchical oppression? Because Communism results in everyone being in the same class, everyone having equal rights, no money but for workers working for each other, basically the dream of every "common proletariat" you so deride! We work for the proletariats, because they are going to be the foundation of the Communist dawn. And when that happens, there will be no more class inequality, and we shall forever more be happy."

1) Fine.

2) Fine. Okay.

3) Too true. I am sorry for my minor slip in judgment, it won't happen again.

>> 2
"Don't you dare -"

A slight rapping on the door, and a maid comes, with caviar and crackers on a silver cup. "They were wondering why it took so long, so they got you some refreshments," she says with a dour smile. For five minutes she waits by the door as he finishes the caviar and crackers one-by-one, savoring each piece. I try to look as earnestly as possible at her, but she meets my eyes and clenches her jaw. When he's finished, he sends her away with a wave of his hand. His eyes look unfocused, the result of too much salt, probably, but then quickly zeroes on me. "No more idle chitchat. Why would Surkov take the document?"

1) He has an illegitimate Polish family, and his illegitimate wife's family has a history of being Polish spies employed by the government to assassinate Lenin and Stalin. And he's a pirate.

2) He feels boxed in by his boring white collar job, and he tries to make little things askew, like a broken pencil, or a window left open during the rain. But he wanted to expand his spirits more and more, because he just kept digging his existential grave.

3) He's a kleptomaniac.

4) He's a Trotskyite.

>> 3
"Let's also add "Trotskyite," yes?" he says, and writes down what I say. He dots his final letters with a flourish, and hands the document to me. As I sign it, he says "This will show the court that this is legitimate. Stolen documents of this magnitude is not a petty crime, and we need to be sure about who is the culprit."

1) If you don't mind me asking, what was the stolen document about?

>>
>>
0
>> 2
>> q
>> 1
"Oh that." He chuckles, and shrugs. "We have a couple thousand or so Polish soldiers and intellectuals in a prison somewhere in Katyn forest, and the document was Stalin's decree that the Russian guards kill them all in a month." He shuffles and organizes his papers. "Stalin doesn't like keeping prisoners of war, especially if they're pathetic little Polish fuckers." A salute, and he starts walking out. His black leather gloves crinkle in the silence, while my own hands start to numb.

Please press a key to continue...

Study
Ah shit, what did Mussolini do this time? He's a joke, even Hitler knows he's a joke, spends years and half his army fighting primitive tribes in Assyria when the British are already bombing Italy. What a fucking joke. Now he sends an ambassador to beg on my knees, Stalin, help North Africa, this no-name ambassador budging in Kremlin with a copy, (a copy!) of Mussolini's lazy signature, saying he has "important" business with me. <d4>

1) I'll give him a few thousand equally no-name troops, and a few more, until Mussolini asks if he can lick the snow off from my shoes. <e6>

2) Fuck him. <e6>

>> 1
You know what? I don't give a damn for Il Duce. And I'd rather have the Red Army shoot each other in the back for target practice than spend three months lounging in Corsica, eating carefully pruned sun-dried tomatoes dipped in extra virgin olive oil. And that reminds me - should I have the caviar for dinner, or breakfast? <Nf3>

1) Yevgleny is coming over with his wife, who's allergic to caviar. Dinner. <d5>

2) Yet, I need a shot of salt to wake up in the morning. <d5>

In long conversations like this I should be able to save.

>> save
>>
>>
1
One can never pass up the chance to ostracize imbeciles. I can already imagine him picking at the tuna, shitting himself wondering what the hell he did to annoy me. But then he'll faun and shove spoonfuls into his mouth as he blathers on about the impressive speed of Stalingrad's wheat production. A sincere diplomat is like dry water or wooden iron. Still, he didn't fuck up Berlin. Bormann actually liked him. Bormann is an ass. <c4>

1) Next month I could surprise Hitler, give him a few buckets of sausages and other variations of cow. How a vegetarian became a Fuhrer I have no idea. <Nf6>

2) I like the relays we send to each other, men running little marathons for us as we slouch in our respective thrones. And there is no way I'm travelling to Berlin before he travels to Moscow. Even Chayka's team can't censor a trip like that from the press. <Nf6>

>> 2
I can send him the sausages, and with a big-nosed and squinty diplomat to boot. Damn, I have to top the icepick Molotov got in the mail. Never heard him scream before. <Nc3>

1) Make twenty people get Hitler mustaches and take pictures of them to show how ridiculous it looks compared to the portrait of my mustache that I will handily also include in the package. <c6>

2) Gather up some hats from the corpses of Katyn and distribute them to some select German officials. <c6>

>> 2
I think I'll go with Katyn. Hitler is excruciatingly sensitive with that black comb on his face, and I have him to thank for those Polish officers. A genius plan, that was. Germany and Russia invading Poland like rampant syphilis, and a half-half split between Communism and Nazism. Yet, Hitler doesn't really need Poland - it was a just plaything, a dollhouse for him. Whereas we need access to sea that isn't ice for nine months of the year. <e3>

1) Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. <Nbd7>

2) What would be the point? <Nbd7>

>> 1
My side has all the resources I need, anyway. There's really no need to trapeze into Warsaw just to shoot more people and launch more boats. The Red Army can wait until the Nazis blitz Britain into the ocean before we take Poland. Adolph was also thinking of bringing Eva to see St. John's Cathedral. Apparently most Polish rats know how to how to build churches of the "gothic baroque" style. He's constantly imploring me to visit too. <Qc2>

1) After brutally strangling all forms of Polish governance, I don't think it's the right time to come. <b6>

2) They're rats. I can step on them. <b6>

>> 2
Maybe I'll visit. Once Churchill stops fucking pestering me to declare war on Germany, even after we started sharing a country. His signatures are starting to appear in my dreams. Every single day, a telegram, a phone call, a letter - who the fuck does he think he's dealing with? I'm not a girl who won't screw him. At least Adolph had the decency to send Ribbentropp for dinner to discuss a mutually advantageous treaty. If Churchill wants Adolph to suddenly choke on poisoned tea, he has to force half of Britain's steel industry to migrate to Siberia. At the very least. <Be2>

1) I know a joke! <Bb7>

"retard"? Why suddenly modern language?

>> 1
So Churchill, Adolph, and Mussolini are fishing, and they agree that whoever can catch a golden fish wins the war. Adolph tries to shoot the fish but misses because he only knows how to talk and shoot gunshots in the air when people aren't listening to him talk; Mussolini jumps in the pond to catch the fish but can't because he's a fucking retard, and Churchill takes a teaspoon and starts scooping water out because he's an illogical English bastard. I get the fish. <0-0>

1) HA HA HA HA. <Be7>

>> 0
>> 1
I got it from - Mironov, come in. Take a seat. There's nothing under the chair. Yes. Yes. Really. <Rd1>

1) So, what is it? <0-0>

>> 1
<e4>

1) <dxe4>

>> 1
<Nxe4>

1) <Qc7>

>> 1
<Nc3>

1) <c5>

>> 1
<d5>

1) <exd5>

>> 1
<cxd5>

1) <a6>

>> 1
<Nh4>

1) <g6>

"the Berlin"

>> 1
Let me get this straight. For the fourth week running, you've received reports of a mounting Nazi army heading for Stalingrad. Goebbels has ramped up his anti-Communist propaganda, which was previously only vitriolic. Our spies in the Berlin say Adolph has been spraying champagne onto my portrait. Villagers near the Russian border are wearing Nazi pins. And this is the sixth time you've told me the same exact thing. <Bh6>

1) <Rfe8>

>> save
>> 1
Really, Mironov, you must stop trembling. <Qd2>

1) I will talk to my generals. This cannot go on any longer. <Bd6>

2) You should tremble later, when I throw you into a gulag for your shitty lies. <Bd6>

>> 1
I trusted you, Mironov. You think you could have risen so far when your father was a prominent Trotskyite from Vladivostok? I saw myself, less threatening of course, in you, and now you throw these fucking lies in my face. Are you Jewish? Is that it? Is that why you're suggesting I should double-cross the man who brought me an extra thousand kilometers of Russian space? Oh, you have facts? I have facts too. It's the treaty that's in the cupboard right behind you, signed by Adolph fucking Hitler's own hand. My hands too. And if I had bothered, they would have been around your neck right now, fat thumb to fat thumb because your bones would have disintegrated into fine dust. <g3>

1) <b5>

>> 1
Don't run too fast, the NKVD don't like it when they're forced to move their feet to catch a Trotskyite. <Bf3>

1) <b4>

>> 1
And a Russian Orthodox. <Ne2>

1) I admit, he's fast. <Ne4>

>> 1
Well, these Russian Orthodox faithfuls are just so used to prosecution that they just have to keep hiding and running in the sewers, like the Polish. Some manage to infiltrate nice places, like Mironov, but we catch them in the end. Like those four government officials in the basement. What were their names? Voloshin, Kozak, Surkov...and Linnik. <Qc2>

1) Hang them upside down and whip them. <Ndf6>

2) Give them the most absurd trial imaginable, and sentence them to the gulags. <Ndf6>

"incurring satan"?

"entailing"?

>> 1
Eh. The gulags have been rather full recently. Those bridges and railroad tracks in the Arctic Circle are already being built as fast as thousands can. They can be hung for the meantime, until we find some lawyer with an overactive imagination. The current ones keep incurring Satan, but really, that's just so fucking cliché for the religious. <Ng2>

1) Someone should be sent to investigate their families. If father is Orthodox, his wife and children must have tolerated it, maybe even been part of it. <Qd7>

2) Flyers should be distributed, entailing their "debauched" lifestyles. Assign someone to make the descriptions as scandalous as possible. <Qd7>

>> 2
I'll do both, because anything must be done to combat this disease of the brain. Every month a fresh batch of a hundred men carrying crosses are dispatched to gulags. There's so many, and it seems like this highly-fertile will stay. I don't get how the hell it's still latching onto Soviet culture. <Ne3>

1) Trotsky sponsored the churches. <Rad8>

2) Trotsky paid people to sponsor the churches. <Rad8>

>> 2
Shit, Trotsky was more of an atheist than I ever was. And people are already getting tired of the show trials that focus on the religious. I know I am. <Bg2>

1) I torture them. <Nxf2>

>> 1
Psychological torment them. <Kxf2>

1) Conduct mind control experiments on them. <Rxe3>

>> 1
Execute them. <Bxe3>

1) Send them to the gulags. <Ng4+>

>> 1
Burn their churches. <Kf3>

1) Issue propaganda against them. <Nxh2+>

>> 1
Encourage apathetic youths to vandalize them or their buildings. <Kf2>

1) Demonize them. <Ng4+>

>> 1
And still they believe, and still they pray, as if there's another god but me. <Kf3>

1) I am my own fucking religion, and all you Russians better subscribe to my pithy sayings. <Qe6>

>> 1
Where was their god when Nicholas II forced every Russian to languish in feudalistic shit? <Bf4>

1) I brought Communism and Socialism to the Soviet soul, and everyone is somewhat equal under my eyes. <Re8>

>> 1
In that I can't trust any Russian anymore, not when these insane fuckers are running around saying that one day A God will smash my brain and leave me in a puddle of shit and piss. <Qc4>

1) I will keep arresting them and forcing them to work until I bring electricity and water to every loyal family. <Qe3+>

>> 1
Religion. <Bxe3>

1) What a fucking joke. <Rxe3+>

>> 1
Svetlana! I told you not to wander in when daddy's busy. <Kxg4>

1) We can play at dinner, after an imbecile diplomat and his shrill wife go home. <Bc8+>

2) We can play at lunch, when Molotov leaves his office. <Bc8+>

>> 1
You...she's gone, Lana. <Kg5>

1) I miss her too. <h6+>

2) No point thinking about the past. <h6+>

Dunno. Hmm. Probably I should say something about complicity here.

The conversations are a little too comedic sometimes.

The Trotskyite bit was learn-by-dying lawnmowery.

>> 2
Just let daddy finish this first. I'm almost done, then we can go knock people's pencils off their tables. <Kxh6>

1) <Re5>

>> 1
Checkmate.

***

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