This is a spoof document and not related to Sneaksie Thiefsie's collection of theses.

*The Unified Stenincity Socialite Republic - USSR*
Copyright © 2001 by Aaron Graham

Chapter One

The past year has seen events of unexpected and unforeseeable seriousness, that threaten the very fabric of contemporary society, and might result in the demise of all that our order has struggled for through these many years.

The trouble began immediately after the fall of Karras, after his untimely end at the hands of Garrett. Warned of his plans by a treacherous member of our Order, whose name shall ever remain unspoken, Garrett brought about the downfall of Karras, and the destruction of the plan for which we have laboured so long. He killed Karras before we were able to place our agents in such a position as to avert the affects of his - inevitable - downfall, and thus manoeuvre the City into a state of balance. As a result, the scales have been adversely tilted, perhaps even permanently.

As word came of the devastation at Soulforge, we rushed there immediately to prevent Garrett causing any more harm. We brought him back to the compound, and watched from inside as rioting mobs in the streets slew Mechanists and their brother Hammerites. Blood ran through cobblestones, and into sewers that became choked with offal. Rioters smashed machinery, destroying the pumping stations, power generators and pipelines that were the arteries of the City. Our metropolis was plunged into darkness both physical and moral. The rich retreated to their fortified strongholds, protected by guards and walls. The City Watch, deprived of leadership and purpose, joined the riots.

The situation calmed eventually, aided no doubt by the Great Fire, which spread through the warehouses of the harbour districts, destroying food and supplies. Those who could left, those who couldn't fortified their dwellings and tried to weather the storm, while those that could do neither starved. Food reached those who could afford it. Some industries still functioned - there remained work at the docks, at the mines, in the fields. The workers, bowed under the weight of their loads, were paid little by the foreign merchants that were the only people who now had the capital to operate.

But there arose one man from out of the masses, an orator by the name of Marngels. He would stand by the heap of rubble that had been the most splendid of the Baron's palaces, and let forth vituperative rhetoric on the rich that still lived in the City. He would curse the merchants, the exploiters growing rich off the backs of the workers, and he would call for their blood. He would let forth on his views of society, his dream of a classless society, where all would be equal, where everything would be shared, where people would work not for wages, but for the common good.

Unsurprisingly, this appealed to many of the oppressed workers to whom he was reaching out. They agreed that the merchants should be punished, that their wealth be shared, that class be abolished, and that all should work for the common good rather than themselves. Calling themselves Socialites, they grew in number as Marngels spread his teachings to other parts of the City.

Meanwhile, the merchants were not idle. After one failed assassination attempt, they called on the one who would be both brethren and betrayer - Garrett. He had left us, impatient again with our teachings, angry that we had decided it would be better for Viktoria to die, and disgusted that the situation was so different to what we had planned for. The new City proved a rich hunting ground for him, and so it is no surprise that the merchants decided to hire him to make the assassination. What was rather more surprising was that he chose to make known to the merchants our existence. We had not planned on him being so angry with us, or else we would not have let him leave again.

The merchants cunningly let it be known to the Socialites that we existed, and implied that were their supporters. The resulting riot destroyed our compound, and forced us into even deeper hiding. Even after so long we are still finding Keepers who were lost in this great diaspora. Garrett succeeded in his assigned task, and killed Marngels as he stood making a speech before his followers. The conspicuousness of the deed is perhaps a fitting end to this master thief's career. He disappeared soon afterward - probably into early retirement, paid for by the merchants - and we have found no trace of him. We taught him too well.

However, the merchants did not have long to enjoy the removal of Marngels. His vizier, Stenin, took over his duties. Stenin was even more radical than Marngels, and his fiery speech was the key factor in the storming of the Baron's Palace, and the end of centuries of autocratic rule. The Baron was killed with his family, his supporters either murdered or forced to flee, and the merchants that had grown fat off of the profits of the workers suffered horrific fates. Stenin set himself up as head of the new city-state, proclaiming it to be a unified socialite republic. The name of our metropolis was changed to Stenincity. Hence the new name given to the City - the Unified Stenincity Socialite Republic.

Stenin's changes were immediate and far-reaching. The wealth of the merchants was added to the City coffers, and their houses assigned to those who had distinguished themselves in the storming of the merchant's palace. The previously oppressed workers were allowed to elect governors to represent their districts, and the governors elected representatives to sit in the new City Council. Stenin and the City Council introduced plans to rebuild the factories that the rioting had destroyed, and restore the new USSR to the trading role that the old City had occupied. Promises were made, punishments threatened, and the Socialites knuckled under. Those who protested were executed by the City Watch - reformed and renamed the Stenincity Guards - or else sent to Cragscleft to work the renovated mines. The protests increased as more and more people realised that this was not the classless society that they had been promised, where they would no longer have to work, but so did the punishments. The governors and representatives were loyal to Stenin, and those who were not could expect death.

This is the situation as it stands now. Stenin has introduced a series of plans aimed at revitalising the industrial capability of the USSR, and rebuilding the utilities and amenities that they initial rioting destroyed. However, he rules his city-state with a grip of iron, squeezing from it the dissidents and the undesireables. Hammerites and Mechanists dare not show their faces, while the Pagans have been driven ever deeper underground. It is only a matter of time before we too are threatened with extinction. And what then will come of the City?

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