Shutting Down The Poum

Marchand walks towards the building with Konstantinov, likely the pair already having rendezvous'd at the CNT headquarters with Vidal and spoken briefly.
From afar, Dario will take his ques from Juan then.

Konstantinov has left his bodyguards out of sight. Which is likely contributing to his less-than-arrogant nature at the moment.

Vidal marches with Konstantinov and Marchand, feeling vaguely out of place. Two CNT militamen are with him, submachineguns in hand. Not that he's worried about the POUM… but his associates demand a bodyguard.

On the way you see that the streets are filled with worried looking anarchists. The barricades are still up, but the fighting is on pause, for the most part, as the population waits for some sort of political end to the situation.

La Batalla is a busy place when you enter. A secretary, male, is behind the desk, talking excitedly to some blue coated militiamen in Spanish. The building is clearly too small for its function, and people are rushing back and forth, up stairs and down stairs, some clutching papers some not. It seems chaotic.

Marchand surveys the interior of the building with his eyes, for indications of weapons drawn or where the leadership seems to be. He takes the first step in, to be on point in case of ambush, with weapon slung across his shoulder and not readied. "Could…would…" trying to fumble through with meager Spanish, "You…to meet the comrade editor?" to the secretary. His uniform still has the red star of the International Brigade showing.

The secretary notes the red star and scowls in open contempt of the great adversary - but then he spots Vidal and his anarchists, and the scowl turns to a look of worry. "What is your business with the editor, Comrade?" he asks in rapid, agitated Spanish.

Konstantinov is every inch a Soviet officer. Even if he is currently one who's slightly abstracted. Vodka will do that to you. Not that he's drunk, really. He's just had enough to detach himself slightly from the situation. Marchand's Spanish earns a frown, and he speaks up in a somewhat smoother version of the native tongue. "I am Comrade Ivan Gregorevich Konstantinov of the PCE.
And this…" He manages not to sneer at Vidal as he makes that introduction, having gotten the anarchists full name on the way over. "…and Comrade Marchand, who is here as the liaison in our negotiations. He would speak with your editor, so that we may bring this conflict to a peaceful end. As befits friendship between comrades."

Vidal gives the secretary a reassuring smile, and speaks in his native Spanish. "Comrade, trust me, there is nothing planned for tonight except talk. We must speak to your editor, as a matter of urgency.".

Marchand tries to make out what the Russian speaks, having a tough time with the more literate and educated Spanish that the other manages smoothly. "To talk. Si, to talk." in a mix of Spanish, "Peaceful negotiations…" a moment's struggle for a word, "With all ..parties" a swallow "Of Catalan."

The secretary shakes his head slightly, and frowns at Vidal, in a somewhat sad frown. "Upstairs, Comrade… He is editing the latest leaflets now.". He eyes Konstantinov, who represents the subject of those leaflets. Indeed, he was showing one to the POUMista he was talking to just now. It lies on the desk - an analysis of why Stalin has betrayed the cause of the proletariat in Spain.

Konstantinov eyes the leaflet. Then, he eyes the secretary. His gray as, as ever, are cold. But he will remember those words. "Lead the way, Comrade Marchand," he says to the soldier in a low tone.

Vidal isn't too concerned about intercommunist rivalry, and in truth, he doesn't quite understand the more arcane differences in doctrine between the two strands of Marx's faith. Supreme statists, is all he cares about. He flashes a somewhat worried look of his own at the commissar, before heading up the stairs.

Marchand reaches out towards, but not grasping, a leaflet, "May I? Permissio?" asked of the secretary. If given, he lifts a single one to carry with him. If not, he draws back his hand, stepping to walk up the stairs in the lead.
The secretary shrugs. They are there to be read!
Marchand has left.
Konstantinov has left.
The Grid-----> > > > > THE GREATEST GENERATION < < <

The upper level of the modest tenement block is given over to the offices of La Batalla. This is where editors, reporters and propagandists churn out the words of the People. Desks covered with paper and Trotskyist literature are everywhere, the place is scruffy and unkempt, evidently tidiness is not on the minds of the occupants very much.

It is currently dusk.

Sub-Rooms :


Out <O>

Marchand is the first one to walk up the steps of the visiting party, his weapon over his shoulder, not in a position to be fired. In one hand he carries a copy of the latest leaflet of the Batalla.

Dr. Dario Cortez stands over a large table with his arms crossed. The Doctor peers down at a paper spread reviewing each of the articales unsure of which one to choose for this weeks print. His hand his brought up to the side of the head as he begins to rub his temple. It was a difficult choice, each had their points and some were more dangerous then others.

Konstantinov follows behind Marchand. But he does make an effort to place himself ahead of Vidal. He tries to do it subtly. But he's not about to trail an anarchist.
Juan is the editor, it would seem, seated not behind but in front of a large desk on an easy chair, sprawled out, and pondering the leaflet in his hand, in silent thought, with a pen clutched in his hand. The office is as chaotic as downstairs, if not more so, as those within work on churning out tomorrows propaganda.

Vidal finds himself at the back then, as the commissar nudges ahead of him. He scowls. The Man is putting him down.

Marchand first makes sure the reception given to those passing from the stairway isn't violent. Seeing no levelled guns greeting them, he makes a point of stepping to one side so Commissar Konstantinov and the anarchist councillor can be prominent. His jaw does drop with an audible "Huh?" spotting Dr. Dario Cortez, but he just as quickly sucks it in, and tries to offer a quiet slight bow of his head. A civilian greeting for the civilian.

Konstantinov looks at Dario. Just looks at him. With those cold little gray eyes, now narrowed into slits as they regard the doctor. This man, he remembers. He shows no great surprise. He just…looks. A look that, perhaps, does not bode well for Dario.

Dr. Cortez speeks up now, "I think I found what we are looking for right here." His finger then taps against an artical in paticular to his liking. He turns around to face Juan to give further inputs when he notices the two soldiers arrive, both of which he was quiet familure with after seeing them many times in the Field Hospital in Madrid. Doctor Cortez doesn't look very rattled by the Commissar at the moment, after all he was on his home turf for the moment. The Doctor looks between both of the troops giving each a nod. Suddenly a foggy memory of a drunken night in Madrid comes to mind as Dr. Cortez look at Marchand. He cant seem to remember what it was about though, he he stairs at th eman trying to remember.

Vidal seems to know Juan, as he heads over to him. "These… men… have things they want to discuss, comrade." he says, bluntly. "And…". He sighs. "You should, at least, listen.".
Juan glances at the doctor, and then looks over Konstantinov with his intense gaze. His eyes narrow slightly, and a hand clenches. "What is there to discuss?" he wonders.

Marchand takes that moment to speak a word, to answer, "Fascismo. Fascism. The threat we are all fighting against. And unity."

Konstantinov lets Marchand speak, keeping a level eye on the POUM man.

Vidal goes silent too. Not like he really wanted to be here after all.
Juan ahs. "Well. You would be the experts, no?" he says wryly in Spanish.

Dr. Cortez takes a few steps away from the table moving to stand bear Juan. His arms cross at at his chest as he peers between the two soldiers curious to what they were doing here. Both were Stalinists by his understanding and he didn't was clueless to what they wanted here. The Doctor just stands tehre listening for the moment, after all he was not here to entertain anyone nor was he expecting company.

Marchand looks to Juan for a moment, quietly, not making it a glare. He then tries to manage the language of Spain as best he can. "I have poor Spanish. I apologize for this." The eyes then go to Dr. Cortez, "The doctor, medico, can translate for me, with your permission." The American shifts to English, "I have no rank but Private, I have no citizenship in Spain. What I do have is a vision, as an intellectual, and citizenship in a nation that has grown from a collection of colonies of an Imperial power, Great Britain, into a unified fourty-eight states of a Republic. It's not to debate Stalin's power or support, or Trotsky's views that I come here. It's to fight the Fascist generals attempting to take over the whole land of Spain, and to offer a view that might inspire all of us to work together to stop them."

Konstantinov's little eyes narrow as Marchand starts speaking in French, and the commissar has to struggle some to follow all that. He manages to pick up enough. It is the language of The Internationale, after all.

Dr. Cortez listens carefully to what is being said to him in French. Once the Doctor has taken it all, he ponders over the words turning them into his own, but this time into Spanish. The Doctor reports in Spanish, "Marchand here is a low ranking Soldier of the International Brigade." he says gesturing to Marchand, then he gestures towards Konstantinov. "And this man is a Commissar within his unit." With the introductions being finished the Doctor then translates the rest of the conversation, "He has a vision claiming to be an intellectual from a nation that has grown from Imperial colonization. GreatBritain to be exact. He wants a fourty-eight state Republic and claims he is not doing it for Stalin…wait not debating Stalin's power or support. He also does not wish tot talk about Trotsk's views. Its to fight Facsists in general and prevent them from taking over Spain. He wishes to share his views of this with you."

Marchand squints as he hears the doctor's translation, evidentally something about it not seeming right by the American's own expression. He's struggling to remember the Spanish words used, trying to retranslate them in his own mind with a degree of confusion.
Juan blinks at Marchand. "We are not here to trade one tyrant for another." he says crisply… in French, as he does speak that. "The revolution is upon us, and we will not end it merely to bow down to the degenerate workers state created by Stalin.". He eyes Vidal, and switches back to Spanish. "It was you, Comrade, who warned us not to cooperate with the government when the rising began. What has happened to your ideals?" he wonders.

Konstantinov remains silent, lacing his hands behind his back. One might almost forget the commissar is there. But, like a good PCE man, he lurks in the shadows and waits.

Vidal spreads his hands. "Our situation is desperate, Comrade." he points out to Juan. "And I said at the time that a republic was preferable to a dictatorship. My ideals remain… and rooted in reality." he says, with a cautionary tone.

Marchand takes a deep breath, seeming relieved the POUM editor can speak French with ease, though perhaps not overjoyed at the words themselves. In French, directed to Juan this time and not the doctor. "I do not believe the Generalissimo will respect the wishes of the Catalan people, were he able to take power over the rest of Spain. We have to understand that fighting among ourselves, even with shouts and slogans, only strengthens the cause of Fascism and the aristocrats."

Marchand speaks it slowly enough for all with some French language education to be able to understand.

Dr. Cortez was a low man on the totempole of the political spectrem. Having recently moved to this office, he was not entirely sure what say he had in the situation and didn't want to overstep his boundaries. For the moment he keeps his openions to himself, but knowing Dario he will be ranting in no time.

Juan frowns. "'Comrade' Stalin certainly won't either." he replies to Marchand in French. "What would you have us do?". His gaze turns to Konstantinov. "If it was within Stalin's power, he would have us all killed. This is the ally of the Spanish proletariat?" he asks, getting a bit worked up as he looks over the commissar's uniform. "The PCE are no allies of the proletariat, no matter how silver coated Ibarruri's tongue turns out to be.". He glances back to the pamphlet in his hand. When it comes to propaganda he's got stiff competition.

Konstantinov just continues to watch and listen in silence. Though his eyes harden at the way Juan speaks of the PCE.

Vidal shakes his head, only dimly understanding all the French, but he catches enough. "Comrade, listen. You do not understand, here in your safe office, writing your papers. Franco is at our very door. As we speak, as the Republic is fighting itself, the Basques are being crushed. When he is done with them, he will be back for us.".

Dr. Cortez speaks up this time and in French. He first looks towards Konstantinov saying "I have slaved away in your hospitals healing soldier and making them able to fight." Then he focuses his attention towards Marchand, "I have brought you back from the dead and you come here questioning our ideals and why we are here. Our intentions our the best for Spain from those who live in Spain. We dont need foreign powers planting the seeds for Spain to grow into a nasty weed of a satalite state of the USSR." The Doctors words are spoken in a normal tone. He was holding back today.

Marchand looks down for a moment, sucking in his lower lip as the considers the words. "That debate is for after victory over the fascists. The questions cannot be settled here." and nods a tiny bit. "What I ask, comrade" spoken to Juan, "Is for us to negotiate, all parties, POUM, anarchist unions, and PCE alike, with impartial liason." He quiets for a moment, admitting, "I am offering to arrange the brigader who first shot a Catalan, verifable by witnesses, to be shot and given to you as a demonstration of justice. And other possibilities, in good faith, for the POUM to cease printing anti-Republic calls and instead to work with anarchist, communist, and Marxist alike, all parties of Catalonia, to publish calls for resistance against the Fascists instead." He pauses there, looking up to the doctor and his French words. "I don't come here questioning the rightness or wrongness of your ideals, comrade. I come to offer, as an outside party, a negotiation for the common good."

"But your are not an outside party." The Doctor then points sternly towards Marchand and continues, "Not in that uniform your not." The Doctors French was improving, it had been sometime since he had spoken the laungage was was glad that it came back so easily. A small glance was made towards the Commissar to see what the man was up to. He was unsure of the Commissars language skills and wondering how much of this he was understanding.

Vidal nods at Marchand's words. "He speaks sense, Comrade. You are attacking our best chance to defeat Franco. After the war is won, Comrade, then we can win independence for Catalonia. The Republic already promised us that!". He leans forward a little. "The CNT has already agreed to end this dispute… for the greater good of all.".

Konstantinov's eyes narrow another notch at Dario. It is only the doctor Konstantinov watches now. Perhaps memorizing his features. This man will need to be dealt with.

Juan looks over Marchand. "Is criticism of the Republic now beyond consideration?" he asks. "The first casualty of war is the truth?".

Marchand tries to watch Dario for a moment, and how the anarchist leader and Konstantinov respond in turn. With Juan's words and eyes to him, he snaps his attention back to the man to engage the discussion. "Criticism and calls for the overthrow of are two different things. Debate is healthy, though tempered by reality. It helps no one but Franco when it becomes calls for revolt against the Republic and the dissolution of the governing body. The Falangists, the Carlists, and the governments of Italy and Germany with their iron alliance will be the only ones celebrating…with their boots on Spain."

Juan flops back in his chair, mostly defeated. He eyes Vidal. "And you are with… these people? Comrade?" he asks. After all, the POUM is small.

Dr. Cortez train was derailed on Vidal's comment and he responds in Spanish, "The CNT has aggreed to this?" He ponders this ideal over for a moment. Perhaps something did need to happen here, it was difficult to determine as this was not the Doctors battle field. Politcal debates he had always left to people like Juan, his battle field was the surgical table. He takes a step back in the politcal area leaveing to the the seasoned veterans for the time being.

Konstantinov remains quiet. If he has a part in this debate, it shall come later.

Vidal just nods. "Franco is our immediate enemy, comrade." he reminds. "Not the Republic. Even if it is only the lesser of two evils.".

Konstantinov turns his gaze away from Dario, to eye Vidal. There's a place for you in the disappeared, too, comrade.

Dr. Cortez looks toward Juan and gives his inputs in Spanish, "I would hate to see our country change from one dictator to another, but if we dont not join them Franco will win for sure leaving us with no chance for survival. With the PCE things are bleek at best, but there is still a chance of our country being handed back to the people if we play our politcal cards correctly." Dario wasn't sure if he believed what he had said was true, but the words did come from his mouth. With a deep breath, he lets out a sigh.

Marchand nods too, "I plead for moderation in what is printed. Why not, just temporarily, have an alternative newspaper, called something like 'Barcelona Unida!' publish for a couple months. Included within it would be columns by journalists such as yourself, comrade, as well as writers from the CNT and the PCE who are by nature Catalan. An example by its own existence, speaking with a united voice to the people of Catalonia against the devouring scourge that is Franco."

"The Stalinist censor." Juan says bitterly. "But it seems we have no choice.". He eyes Konstantinov. "If the false communists kept out of Catalonia we wouldn't have any problems in the first place.".

Marchand can't help but interject, "The editor is by his position, a censor. An editor. By why not have three editors, sharing power. One from the PCE, one from the CNT, and one from POUM on the deciding board. If two of three agree on an article, it gets published. No veto. A true voice of the working people in a democratic republic, rather than a publication of simply one party."

Konstantinov nods as Marchand speaks, smiling at Juan in an amiable way. The soul of diplomacy and compromise is the commissar, his expression seems to say.

Dr. Cortez throws in his two cents on the issue reguarding the paper, "What prevents the PCE from forcing the hands of the other two agencies like it is doing here?" The question was valid as what would be happening in the board room would be no different then what was happening here and now.

Juan waits for the answer to that question….

Marchand goes into a grave tone, "Above the PCE, above all factions that are a part of the elected body of the Republic, it is the Generalissimo that is forcing urgency. Backing all of our backs to the wall. In a time of peace, the voters who elect their representatives would make sure their ideas are heard by putting only those they wish in power, with different parties making deals and creating a majority faction in Parliament." He turns to look over more to the doctor then. "No plan is perfect. I don't claim this one even nears perfection. But it is about the best that the free people of Spain can hope for when they have the Devil's whip on their tails. Mexico, and Russia, are about the only outside providers of support right now that the Republic has." He takes a step back, away from the desk but still facing it. "Whatever faults one can find in your allies, the strength of your enemies make unity a necessity."

Vidal is almost going green. Such shame, an anarchist agreeing with this crap - even if it is under duress.

Juan gahs. "Alright, then. I am not interested in a new paper. The Stalinists have enough propaganda organs of their own." he maintains. "We will cease our attacks on the Republic… temporarily, anyway.".

Marchand adds more quietly, "In the end, I have confidence in the People of Spain. Individuals, workers organized into unions, students too, will find liberation one way or another, if it is possible." He nods to Juan's words. "Thank you, comrade." He then turns to Konstantinov,
"Comrade Commissar Konstantinov. Is this agreeable to you?"

Konstantinov smiles. At all of them. He inclines his head in a deep nod. "Most agreeable, Comrades. For we are all comrades here, after all. I hope now we can move past this…unpleasantness of the last days. Together, we must work to free Spain. Or all is lost."

Marchand turns then to Vidal, "Comrade. Do you, a freespeaker of the CNT, find this agreeable? Something that all three parties can document on paper, and sign?"

Dr. Cortez had always enjoyed hearing foreigners discuss the affairs of his country as if it were their own. This had always set the man uneasy when it came to the Russians knowing their true intent. This would not be another satalite state to the USSR, but right now this would have to publicly be put on pause. There were still further underground news groups which he could write for. The Doctor looks towards Juan taking ques from his leader.

Vidal shakes his head. "No, it is not agreeable, but I see no alternative. All who are not fascists must fight the fascists, or we all go down together. I just hope that the Stalinists in the future will behave with greater responsibility than they have done so far in the struggle.". He wrinkles his nose at Konstantinov. "Comrade.".

Marchand then gives a nod to all three. "Please understand, that I am not here representing the XIth International Brigade, though I wear its uniform. I came here to fight for the Republic, for Spain, and not to represent solely one faction. It is the cooperation to work together, by the three parties represented here, that will make this a success in the future." He steps back, then, subtly moving closer to the doctor.

"No signed documents, Comrade. I have experience with such things being twisted." Juan says. "We will ask the proletariat to stand down for the betterment of all. Should the Stalinists attempt to betray the Catalonian people again in the future, however, we will, of course, respond.".

Konstantinov smiles at Vidal. Then turns to smile at Juan. "I, too, see no need for signed documents among such comrades as these. Promises made shall be kept. All know the consequences of breaking such things."

The Doctor watches Marchand approach but says nothing to the man for the moment. In spanish he states, "What of the man who fired onto our civilians? What will his fate be?" The Doctor looks between the two PCE soldiers not sure of what to make them. Marchand doesn't appear to be a hardline PCE member like the Commissar, but this could easily be a ploy to make the PCE appear something other then it really is. Odd that they send a man down here with little say or no authority.

Marchand stops when he gets near the doctor's side. "I was a witness to the incident, as were some anarchist comrades who withdrew into the city and can confirm it. One man, one man alone, fired his weapon at innocent civilians that day. He is referred to now as 'Yuri', and his body, able to be identified, will be given to you within a couple days." There's no joy in Marchand's voice as he speaks that, the tone is simply one of stating facts.

"The one called Yuri acted alone and idiotically, comrades," Konstantinov says. And, for once, the indignation he presents is genuine. "He shall be dealt with. As Comrade Marchand says, you will have what little remains of him when he has been given justice."

Dario nods as he listens to Marchan's words. Then Dario leans over to whisper something quietly to Juan.

Juan nods at Dario. "He is your man, not ours. We will report on the justice done to him, have one of our reporters present, and leave it at that, I think. If justice is seen to be done I am sure our supporters will be happy." he replies to Konstantinov.

Marchand leans close to whisper, in French, to Dr. Cortez when most eyes are on one or more of the three faction representatives. His words are presented in a very low volume, to Dario's ear, unable to be heard by others with any degree of understanding. "Remember me, comrade doctor, as I remember you that night in Madrid after the local POUM representative was arrested and you let the wine-loosened lips of Dionysos speak your mind in La Tosca." His head turns a bit so Dario can see his eyes and the earnestness in them. Whispering further, "What I spoke about a united Republic was from the heart. I shall likely soon be shot, by action or inaction, for my conscience. Listen for whispers or print of my name." He lingers only for a moment, giving Dario a chance to whisper back, but not for long.

Dr. Cortez peers at Marchand as if he was speaking nonsence. "I am a Doctor Comrad. I have seen plenty of men die, I do not need to be a witness to another."

Marchand makes use of the verbal manoevre, speaking clearly as he returns to stand at his place beside Konstantinov. "I overstepped my place in offering. I'm sure there will be no question that the firing squad will finish off Yuri. It will not require a doctor's presence." He lifts his chin, posture straight, as a soldier once beside the Commissioner again.

Juan nods… "Alright. So… we are agreed then.". And at 7am its time for you lot to clear out!
Konstantinov watches the whispered exchange between Marchand and Dario with narrowed eyes. When Marchand steps back, the Russian puts himself ever-so-slightly in the forefront again. He's done playing the passive observer. "Our business is concluded, I do think. Thank you for your good sense, comrades. Now, let us move forward. For Spain." And with that, he turns to stride off.

Marchand turns sharply, following the Commissar's stride as the room is exitted, steps descended. There appears to be no expectation directed to the anarchist, free to stay or leave as suits the man, along with the militia guards.

Doctor Cortez waiting for the Commissar to leave before discussing further business with Juan, "Comrad Marchand is on our side, though the PCE is using him as a pawn in this power strugle. His life is in danger while he serves in the International." The information was passed to Juan, there was little more the Doctor could do at this point.

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