(set: $donkey to false)\
(set: $refused to false)\
(set: $stage to false)\
(set: $revolution to false)**[[Stone Cold Coup D'État->RealStart]]**
an interactive revolution by Sam DukhovniMuch has changed in Russia since the revolution. The Communists promised freedom and plenty for all, a total upheaval of the old regime. //Well, a total upheaval we got//, you think bitterly.
You are cold, tired, and starving. (Lately, even food has become much too dangerous, unless you're exceptionally quick with a knife.) This isn't what you were promised. This madness has to end. [[Something must be done.->Village]]You look at the ruins of your village, and think of your departed friends. [[Boris]], [[Olga]], [[Vasily]]... You shed a single tear, then shake your head and return to the here and now. An abandoned television watches you closely from across the street.
(click: "here and now")[There's nothing left in this village that can help you. Maybe if you get to Moscow, there will be people who can help.
[[Walk down the road->Walk]]
[[Go to the stables]]
[[Go to the station]]]Boris was a lumberjack, back before everything changed. He tried to keep bringing in wood for the townspeople so you could all have some hope of surviving the harsh winter, but the trees ambushed him and cut him down. [[Everyone stayed well away from the woods after that.->Village]]Poor woman, cooked by her own oven. She told her husband it was too dangerous to keep that thing in the house, but he didn't listen. [[Now he's gone too, caught and pulled into the lake by fish.->Village]]Nobody's quite sure what happened to Vasily. He vanished one day, leaving behind nothing but a bottle of beer and a swirl of ghastly rumors. [[You try not to think about it too much.->Village]]You walk to the old train station, one of the few buildings still standing. As you approach the ticket desk, you realize your mistake all too late. A train barrels off the tracks, shoving a ticket into your mouth as it lurches on top of you. As your lungs are crushed by the massive weight, you catch a glimpse of the timetable: it shows your name, and the words
***NOW BOARDING***You go to the stables, hoping to find a horse to ride to the capital. Instead, a donkey comes up from behind and climbs on your back, hee-hawing expectantly. You try to shake off the stubborn animal, to no avail. [[You'll have no choice but to carry it as far as it wants to go.->Walk]]\
(set: $donkey to true)You set out on foot on the long journey to the capital. (if: $donkey)[With the donkey riding you, the journey is much more long and grueling than it should be.]
(live: 0.5s)[(if: ((not $donkey) and (time > 4s)) or (time > 8s))[(transition: "dissolve")[After who knows how many hours of walking, you arrive exhausted in [[Red Square]]. (if: $donkey)[The donkey finally hops off your back and wanders off somewhere.](stop:)]]]The ruins of the Kremlin tower overhead, not nearly as grand or imposing as they once were. People mill about listlessly, doubtless driven out of their homes by their furniture and appliances.
Nearby, you see a [[government building]], a [[raised stage]], and a [[dark alley]].(if: not $refused)[You wander into the alley, and see a tall figure in a trenchcoat. They notice you, look you over slowly, and finally address you in Russian that's much too polished to be their native language:
"Friend, you look like you've seen better times."
You consider muttering something noncommittal, but at this point you're too tired and angry not to speak your mind. "Haven't we all? I don't know how we're supposed to live in the middle of all this madness."
"Would you like to get away from the madness?"
You stare at the figure, [[puzzled]].](else:)[The dead-end alley is empty and barren. [[Red Square]] lies to the south.]"What do you mean?", you ask cautiously.
"We can bring you to America. In exchange, all we'd want is for you to do a few TV appearances, just talk about your life and what's been going on over here."
//America... You heard all kinds of stories of the depraved excesses of American life and the wanton cruelty of the capitalists, back before the radios just sat in corners and listened. [[But compared to how things are here...->AmericaDetails]]//"Tell me," you ask, "In America, do //you// sit on //chairs//? Do //you// read //books//? Do //you//... drink //beer//?"
"Yes, we do," replies the figure, amused.
You think about the chance you're being offered. To escape from the surreal horror of life in the Soviet Union, to live safely and comfortably. [[One last question]] gnaws at your mind, though..."What will happen here, to all the people I leave behind?"
"Well, things can't go on like this much longer. The situation has already reached the breaking point, and I doubt there's any fixing it now. In a few seasons, I wouldn't be surprised if this whole country burns to the ground."
The figure pauses, sees your aghast expression. "Look, that's just the way things go. Survival of the fittest. I don't know what your higher-ups were trying to do, but it obviously blew up in their faces, and like they say, nature's red in tooth and in claw."
You stand silent in the alley as your terror and your conscience take up arms against one another.
[[Refuse]]There's no sense in throwing away your life in vain. You nod your acceptance at the figure as the gears of your mind spring into motion to rationalize your choice.
"Excellent," the figure says. "Now come with me, we have a plane to catch.
They look you over again. "Actually," they say, pulling a small paper-wrapped bundle out of the folds of their coat, "you look like you haven't eaten in quite a while. Take this."
You take the bundle and unwrap it, revealing a meat patty inside a sliced-open bread roll with lettuce and tomatoes. You instinctively recoil in fright.
"Don't worry, it won't bite," they say, smiling darkly. "This is American food."
You tentatively bite into it. [[It tastes greasy and stale, but you hungrily devour it all the same.->AmericaEpilogue]]//one year later//
"In America, you watch television," you say in heavily-accented English to the assembled crowd of people and cameras. "In Soviet Russia, //television// watch //you!//"
There is a stunned silence, a wave of vicarious horror rushing through the audience. They hang on your every word, possessed by a voyeuristic curiosity as they listen to the horrors of life in the Soviet Union. Some might say that you sold out your country and kin for fame and fortune. But aren't you doing an important job? Aren't you spreading the truth, spreading a warning not to repeat the Soviets' mistakes? Aren't you helping the world? Aren't you?
If your old friends could see you now, maybe they'd be appalled. But they just don't understand. Perhaps such things can never be understood when you're not on the winning side.
***You have defected***You want so desperately to flee this godforsaken country and never come back, but you know in your heart what the right choice is.
"I suggest you take your offer elsewhere," you say firmly to the figure. "I will not abandon my people; I will stay and fight."(set: $refused to true)
"You're a fool, but suit yourself," they reply, walking past you out of [[the alley->dark alley]] and vanishing into the crowd.(if: not $refused)[You look up at the stage. People gave speeches here once, in the early days of the revolution, when everything seemed bright and everyone felt like they had the power to change the world.
You stand there for a long moment, then sigh softly, turning away and looking back at the [[square->Red Square]] around you.(set: $stage to true)](else:)[(if: $stage)[You look at the stage once more, and this time you don't see an altar to disappointment, despair, and broken promises. You](else:)[You look at the stage, and] see the shadows of great orators of the past who led the people to revolt against tyranny. You are just a simple farmer, but here, in this place, at this moment, you feel the tide of history buoying you up, pushing you forward up the steps onto the platform facing the people opening your mouth words pouring out, words you never knew you had inside you, words of fear and anger and sorrow but also words of hope, of strength, of solidarity, of the future.(set: $revolution to true)
The people lift their bowed and sunken heads. They gather around. They cheer as you shout and gesticulate, your passion flowing into them and their passion flowing into you.
"The time is now, Comrades! Let us fight!"
You charge toward the [[government building]], not leading the crowd but with them, all of you together making your final stand to set things right.](if: not $revolution)[You walk into the large concrete building, hoping to find someone who can fix things or at least tell you what on earth is going on. As soon as you enter, however, countless official forms and documents swoop down on you, trying to stamp you and write on you with pens. You frantically shove them away and make it back out to the [[square->Red Square]], only slightly the worse for wear.](else:)[You all burst into the building, fighting off the forms with pens and paper-knives. Breaking through the first line, you swarm over the front desk and break down the door to the locked [[back room]].]Behind the door is a vast chamber filled with scientific apparatus. The chamber is strewn with the corpses of scientists, strapped to centrifuges and dissected by frogs and trapped in vacuum chambers. At the center of the chaos sits a massive machine, giving off an eerie hum. Lights flash, electricity arcs, the air seems to shimmer around it. Painted on the side in large block letters are the words "Dialectical Materializer Mk 1."
All of you charge at the machine; some of you are attacked by beakers, test tubes, computers, your own clothing, but you make it through, hacking and tearing and smashing as bolts of green thunder lash out among you. Finally, with a planet-wrenching shudder, [[the machine stops]].Instantly, all the objects in the room fall to the ground, stripped of the will to fight. You look around, surveying the wreckage. You've lost people, far too many people, but it's finally over. You all file out of the destroyed laboratory, carrying your fallen comrades with you. You feel a certain I-don't-know-what in the air; something sad and bittersweet, but promising better times ahead.
***stone cold coup d'état***