Chapters 20 - 23

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Ivan's Story: 20-23

Chapter 20: Ivanograd

It took about a week before things started to calm down. The president wasn't making any move to stop him, so Ivan decided that it was time to expand his influence. He used the new money he acquired to heighten security at the HQ the town hall and the police station, he appointed Tevilisko Branshaire to head of police in the town, and after things had gotten back into organization, he made Joseph the new mayor. The town quickly grew fond of Ivan and his political party, about 28 more people joined the party after the takeover, and most of the common citizens supported him. After the several weeks of sending their newspaper to the town of Ivanograd, Ivan decided that it would be the next stop in his political campaign. He had good support, but other factions already resided there. It was a rather large city, much larger then the town he was living in, and the competition was going to be harsh, there was the Communists, Cossacks, Independents, and various crime syndicates to go up against, but Ivan had confidence in the party.

Ivan arrived in Ivanograd by train the next week with Boris and 5 others. They met up with a supporter and he took them to a building on the far side of town. It wasn't too shabby, but it needed some work. It would be a very suitable building for them when there just getting started in the city, but eventually they would need a larger headquarters here as well. On the first day they explored the city. It had many special landmarks, grand churches, elaborate statues, and beautiful building architecture. On the next day they began researching the hotspots in the town. Ivan was driving down the main road through town, which was when they began to notice the campaigning that had already began in the city. Graffiti glorifying the Soviet government and Communist propaganda put up all over the east side of town, Cossack flags flying outside of bars and public areas, posters of faction leader's and campaigning messages put up in many areas. Then out of the blue he noticed that a man was walking along the sidewalk and a car pulled up next to him, the people got out of the car and grabbed the man, dragged him into an alleyway, and they were gone for several minutes. Ivan waited, then he saw them, the leader holding a small brown paper bag, the rest of them holding metal base ball bats and semi automatic pistols, the men were wearing very familiar uniforms, they got into the car and left down the street.

"Looks like the police are just as involved in crime as the gangsters." thought Ivan. He got out of the car and headed into the alleyway after the police turned at the corner. It was horrific; the man was beaten to death, blood all over the pavement, black eyes, bruises, broken ligaments and other injuries. Ivan investigated the man closely, he was wearing a simple working suit, and he seemed average enough. Ivan reached into the man's coat pocket; he pulled out the man's identification. "Harold Jeffery Lingoracky" it read. He tried searching for more information then he found a letter in his inside jacket pocket, it read:

"Harold, the bag that you are currently delivering contains the money that the Communists requested in the transaction, it is imperative that you get it to them, if we double cross these men we are sure to be in deep trouble, the local police may already have figured out the little "business" that we have been running. We have already taken care of Lenin Kamsky, it seems he was too busy running his town then keeping his part of the deal. Anyway stay clear of the police and try to get the money to them without out any trouble. Go with God brother.


Ivan took the note with him and left the alleyway with a grim expression. "Well, that explains the mayor's death." he thought to himself. He then got back into his car and continued on his way.

Chapter 21: The fight club

The next day at the HQ, Ivan met up with his men and they had discussed what they had found out the day before. "The police presence in the city is much greater then in our hometown, they have patrols through the center of the downtown district mainly, they seem to stay clear of the eastern district, it is mainly run by Communists, they have their own "justice system" there, armed guards at the Soviet party HQ and patrols through the nearby blocks in a 5 block radius. The Cossacks seem to own a lot of the public buildings in Ivanograd, pubs, hotels, stores, and restaurants. The Independents and the Centrists seem to have the largest and most organized HQ. Do to the lack of weaponry; they seem to be more political and less military." said Omurov, a party member that Ivan had chosen to bring with him on their trip to Ivanograd. "Very good Omurov, you and the others seemed to have gathered useful information, there being only 15 of us here there remains the problem of recruiting," said Ivan. "I have decided that the best way of getting more members is to start slowly, since the competition is much more apparent here, if we rush into major operations without the proper backup, our campaign in this city will be a very short one. We must learn who the local underground organizations are here, keeping our goings on silent will be mandatory until we begin to grow in popularity, we need to know all the hitmen, bouncers, gangsters, and crooked cops around, and get them to follow our cause." said Ivan. "But sir, why do we need crooks and killers in our ranks, if the people are to find out about this, we are sure to lose popularity." said Omurov. "Because," said Ivan. "It will be these crooks and killers that will keep the other factions attention away from us, bribery and payment will get these certain individuals doing our dirty work while we remain perceived as peaceful and innocent politicians." replied Ivan.

The next night, Ivan and Boris drove to the local fight club. When they arrived, the man at the front took their payment for entry, patted them down and then let them in. The door led down a set of stairs, graffiti all over the walls, gum stuck to the ceiling, and pieces of trash strewn on the stairs. As they reached the door at the bottom they could already here the people on the inside, with the onlookers crazy and drunk the atmosphere of the club was full of tension. The match going on in the ring in the middle of the room was violent and bloody, there seemed to be no rules and no referee, their only goal was to beat the other guy to a pulp. Ivan and Boris took a seat at the back of the room; a rather tall and strong man was standing in one corner with his hands raised high in the air, seeing by the state of his motionless competitor, this man had obviously won. The unconscious man that was lying in the middle of the ring was dragged out, and another man entered in and announced to everyone who the next competitor was going to be. "Ladies and Gentleman, well mainly gentlemen, let me introduce to you, all the way from the country known as Georgia, the magnificent one hit knockout, Nikita Hermenov, a small man, about 4 feet 10 inches in height, with large muscles entered into the ring with a serious look on his face. The crowd applauded him as he entered. "Ready fight!" yelled the announcer. The large man slowly approached the newcomer, Nikita was just moving around in one area, observing the large man closely, then, for no apparent reason, Nikita dropped his guard. The man took advantage of this and swung at Nikita with a full roundhouse punch, but Nikita ducked under it and got behind the man, by the time he turned around Nikita hit him square in the jaw, a loud crack was heard and the tall man fell to the floor with a broken jaw and a bloody face. Nikita raised his arms up in triumph and then left the ring.

That's our man." Ivan told Boris, Boris nodded and they got up. They moved carefully through the crowd towards Nikita. When they got to him, many were patting him on the back as he was drinking his beer. "Hello Mr. Hermenov, my name is Ivan Grinko, and this is my associate, Boris. We have a business proposition we would like to discuss with you." said Ivan. Nikita looked at them carefully, "What type of business proposition?" he asked. "Well you see," said Ivan. "We represent the Democratic party of Novistrana-" "Never heard of em." interrupted Nikita. "Well, if you are willing to join us, there is a large amount of money in it for you." said Boris. "Like how much?" asked Nikita. "Nearly 1,400 credits." replied Ivan. "You serious?" asked Nikita. "Yes, quite serious, we need someone like you amongst our ranks, aggressive strong, and persuasive, if you join us, there will be even more in it for you later on." Nikita thought about this for a second, it was a fairly large offer considering the slow business and stock market these days. "It's a deal." he shook Ivan's hand and Boris gave him a map to the HQ for him to go to for orders.

Ivan and Boris got into their car and began driving back to HQ. " That went well," said Boris. "But we still need to begin campaigning, any ideas?" he asked. "Omurov and some others have already began handing out propaganda pamphlets at some of the local public areas, we have had several people interested, and Joseph is going to send more men over, he says it would be necessary to protect our selves, we also needed a little more help around HQ. He also sent us more money for the new HQ that we still need to find. Anyway, I can arrange another speech in the middle of the park, to try and gain more support, the pamphlets could be handed out there as well." Ivan said.

Chapter 22: Reward and Punishment

The speech at the park the next week went well, they gained more support, some seemed serious about joining and Ivan gave them information on how to contact the party. A base of operations was purchased near the southeast part of the city, and more party members arrived as well. Setting up base went smoothly and now they could perform there work in a more organized way, yet it still wasn't enough. Ivan gathered together his top party members on a cold winter's night for a meeting. "Gentlemen, campaigning so far has brought us good fortune, we have kept a clean slate, and the other factions have given us little trouble in our efforts. But we still lacking a good source of support, we need more effective financial resources, eventually the money we are receiving from Joseph will begin to run low, and our men will no longer respect our authority, resulting in the loss of key operatives. What we need to do gentleman, is to indeed find a better financial resource, but to also start gaining support through fear of punishment, the majority of our members remain loyal to me, to the party, because they believe that there is something in it for them, yes they desire democracy and capitalism, but it is the money and the promise of reward that keeps them from betraying us. And so, since we are approaching financial problems, it would be easier for us to be perceived as aggressive, respected, and determined politicians, not afraid of punishing our own men, we can gain support and keep the people in line, through fear. Yes Gentlemen, I know that you may think that this is hypocritical to my initial way of thinking, but I trust you as my most loyal members that you will agree that this is the best course of action. Now, by information gathered by our spies and informants, we believe that the local police are rather largely involved in criminal activity, obsessed with money and drugs. If we can initially bribe these men to join us, and then keep them loyal through force, they will stay with the party longer then if we continued to pay them off for a higher price each time. We have also made several contacts with the local gangs and crime syndicates, to use them for our operations, if we keep them on a businesslike basis, we can deny any involvement if they claim to be loyal to us when they are being interrogated after capture." the meeting ended with Boris going over information gathered about the Cossack's recent operations, and presenting a preprinted copy of their latest propaganda newspaper.

Several days later, Ivan drove over to the local coffee house, he remembered the last day he had coffee at a place like this, it was the day of liberation, the day that he thought he was actually going to be a free citizen for the rest of his life. If you had asked him that day if he would ever find himself doing business with a member of a corrupted police force, he would never have said yes. But that was what he was there to do. When the man arrived he asked Ivan, "Well, its quite a nice summer's day isn't it?" "Yes indeed, be there any a nicer day for a cup of Russia's Finest?" replied Ivan. The man nodded in approval, "Nice to meet you Ivan, my name is Alexei Hetsmake, the head of police in the city. I understand that you are willing to make a deal with me, as you may as well know the government is paying us the lowest income ever, all the money has been going to the President's protection and financial deals with offshore banker's, now if you are willing to hire me and my men, you will have to pay higher then what we would deem average, my men have very demanding lifestyles, and as the country in the worst financial state ever, you can see for such a need." said Alexei. "Well Alexei, I can promise you that you will get the money, but your involvement with me and my party is to be silent, you must not talk about our meetings with anyone, if we find that you are feeding any information to another faction or party, we will punish you." One of Ivan's undercover guards that were sitting next to him smiled and stuck out the end of his automatic pistol from his jacket, so that Alexei could see it. "Do not underestimate our ability, now do agree with our terms?" asked Ivan. Alexei stuck out his hand, "Yes." Ivan shook it. "Good we will have our first payment to you by the end of next week. Come by our headquarters tomorrow night with some of your men, we will explain the first task we want you to perform for us then, good day to you Mr. Hetsmake." Ivan signaled to his men and they got into a van that had just pulled up for them.

Chapter 23: Passive protest

When they got back to headquarters Ivan headed for his office and sat down in his chair. He let out a big sigh and leaned back in his chair. He began to look through a few reports that had been turned in to him; his agents on the streets usually had some very useful information for him regarding the recent activity, but it looked like not much had been happening recently. He got up and looked outside his window, he saw the back of the premises where his recently purchased helicopter was sitting, and snow was covering every inch of ground, the wall that separated the headquarters from the rest of the city was covered in ice and the garden that was growing by the barren trees in the corner of the property was dying. There was a cold wind outside and many people walking in the streets were wearing heavy coats. Ivan turned around, grabbed a glass of water from his desk and sat down in a comfortable leather chair by the fireplace. He was admiring how much his facilities had improved from a pub to fully functional three story buildings. He began reading the most recent report. But before he could begin, the phone on his desk beeped, signaling to him that there was someone at the front desks that wished to meet with him. "Yes?" he asked as he picked up the phone. "Mr. Grinko, there is a Mr. Hermenov here to see you, should I send him up" asked a female voice on the other side of the line. "Yes, thank you Maria."

A few minutes later, there was a knock on Ivan's door. "Come in." he said. Nikita entered through the door. " It's nice to see you again Nikita, please have a seat, would like anything to drink?" asked Ivan. "No thank you." replied Nikita. " Have you collected the debt from our less compliant followers?" asked Ivan. "Yes I have sir, don't worry, I didn't hurt them too bad, but there was this one man that needed a little "motivation" to put it lightly." Nikita passed a suitcase over to Ivan. Ivan let out a little chuckle, "Very good Nikita, you have done well, you are dismissed. Nikita saluted Ivan and then left the room. As Ivan was counting the money, his telephone rang once again. "Hello?" he said. "Sir, you must come and see this, the military have arrived in the town, they were sent on the president's orders. They are on their way to St. Borisburg, but they are stopping here first, for all we know, they may be here for several weeks, we're not sure. they arrived only a few minutes ago, armored personnel carriers, tanks, supply trucks, the works. Most of them are currently at town hall, but we have seen more of them at the airport, the memorial center, the docks, and the Courthouse." said Omurov over the other end of the phone. "Good work Omurov, see if you can't gather any more information on the situation, I will be there shortly." Ivan then hung up the phone, put on his jacket, and walked down the hallway towards Boris' office. "So you've heard?" Boris asked Ivan, who then nodded his head. Boris got his jacket on as well and they headed downstairs towards the main lobby. Ivan nodded towards the armed guard and he opened the door for them. Boris had ordered a car to await them, and so the driver had them going quickly.

It was quite astonishing, it was a much larger convoy then they had seen when they had last dealt with the Novistranian military. By the way they had set up; it looked like they would be staying for several weeks before they moved on. Also, the Soviet party had stopped doing there armed patrols around there part of the city, such a thing would be foolish to do while there was so much military presence.

"This will definitely make things harder." said Boris aloud. "Yes it will, but this is not completely bad news." replied Ivan. "We can use them to our advantage, protests against the military presence in the town would be a very popular action, and the people always hate it when the military occupy their cities, organizing public demonstrations against them would boost our popularity and we would be seen as the political party that cares for the people."

A few days later, a man named Olaf Chevskinsky awoke and got dressed in his day by day clothes. He ate his meager breakfast, kissed his wife good-bye and headed off to work. He worked at the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Novistrana as an informant for the intelligence branch, but today, he was requested to do a very risky and important job by his leader, Ivan Grinko. He set off towards the middle of downtown in his economy sized car and pulled over on the side of the road. He then saw other members of his political party there as well; a group of several tanks were rolling down the street. They all met together in the middle of the street, interlinked their arms and began walking towards the group of tanks. A man popped out of the top of the lead tank and said over a megaphone, "All of you move out of the way, we are not afraid to run you over if you do not comply!" The group of protesters kept walking towards them. The man with the megaphone ducked back into the tank and asked his captain, "What do you say we do sir?" The captain looked out at the protesters as they continued to march towards them. "We continue, they will move once we get close enough, they aren't stupid enough to die needlessly for, what group are they with?" asked the captain.

" It sounds like they are chanting something "Democracy now! Death to the army of the devil" The captain laughed softly, "How could anyone think our great leader Vasily Karasov to be the devil, stupid people, they will get what they deserve if we are forced to crush them." "Err, um exactly captain, a great leader indeed." said the soldier nervously. The captain turned on him, "Just get back in the damn tank soldier, or would you rather be marching along in the middle of the street with these lunatics?" "Sir no sir, I will continue my duties sir." replied the soldier shakily. The hatch was closed and the tank convoy continued on down the street.

Olaf and the others then put their hands in the air and began backing up slowly, continuing their chant. "What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now!"

They continued in this manner for several blocks, other people began to join the protest. Every once in a while they would stop in the middle of the road, and the tanks would stop as well, when a tank would try to go around one of them, the protester would step in front of it, causing the tank to have to back up and get realigned with the formation. When they reached the large park at the North side of the city, the squad leader finally had enough of it. Many people were observing the protest and a bunch of citizens had joined after a few blocks of the demonstration, camera crews had arrived, and the local reporters were sure to put this story in their next article. The squad leader told all of the tanks to stop, when they did so did the protesters, then the protesters began moving slowly towards the tank convoy. The squad leader went over the radio and told all of the tanks to open fire on the protesters. "But sir, almost every media group in Ivanograd would witness it, it would be all over the news! Do you know how much trouble that would cause us?" asked one of the tank operators. "Does it seem like I care Sergeant? Open fire on my orders, I will explain to the general afterwards, this has gone to far." replied the squad leader. Each hatch opened up on every tank. Men began appearing out of them and they began to position their machine guns. "Open Fire!" yelled the Squad leader over the radio communication system. The protesters stopped chanting when they realized what was about to happen. Some turned to run, but by that time it was too late. The gunners opened fire on them and they were all dead in a mere 20 seconds. There they lay, a large group of bodies in the middle of the street, motionless and full of bullets. The onlookers stared in horror at what they had just witnessed. "Advance forward!" ordered the Squad leader. As the tanks rolled along the street running over several dead people, the people stood there, observing the horrid nature of their grand army.

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