Mikhail Porfirevich is a minor character in Metro 2033 and a companion of Artyom for some of his journey to Polis. He is an old man of around 70, and the guardian of a mentally-disabled teenager called Vanechka.
Artyom first meets Mikhail and Vanechka in the tunnel from Kitai-Gorod towards Kuznetsky Most, while fleeing from Fourth Reich soldiers who are attacking Kitai-Gorod. Having lost Khan and Ace, Artyom is forced to travel alone, following the other refugees. Although focused on escaping the Nazis, Artyom stops to help an old man who has fallen over - Mikhail. Mikhail is struggling to breathe, but manages to ask Artyom to help him take his Nitro-Glycerine tablets for his unspecified condition. Artyom manages this, despite Vanechka's growling, and helps Mikhail up. Despite Artyom's eagerness to press on, he feels obliged to travel with the pair, even though he feels very awkward staying silent while Mikhail rambles on.
Mikhail reveals he is a resident of Barrikadnaya station, of the 1905 Confederation, which is below where he lived before the war. Mikhail and Vanechka were forced to travel to Kitai-Gorod when Mikhail's tablets ran low, making it through the Reich, despite bullying of Vanechka by guards, and into Kitai-Gorod, where he bought more tablets. They were beginning to make their way back to Barrikadnaya when the Nazis attacked.
Eventually, the group reach Kuznetsky Most, where a long line of refugees from Kitai-Gorod are waiting to be let into the station. After waiting for their turn, Mikhail produces his passport and is let inside. However, Artyom, having an older, pre-war passport is searched. Fearing they will find his Kalash, Artyom prepares to be turned away. However, Mikhail leans across to the head guard (seemingly knowing him) and whispers something - the man, with his hand in Artyom's bag, asks for five bullets. Mikhail obliges. But then, the guard discovers the Kalashnikov and asks for fifteen bullets. This time, Artyom hands the guard 10 bullets and is let through with all his belongings. Despite Artyom's complaining, Mikhail accepts no reparation for his loss.
Inside the station, the group look for somewhere to settle for the night. Again, Mikhail uses his connections with the head guard and gets them a place to sleep. Mikhail tells Artyom of the wonders of the Metro, the rumours of the Emerald City and Polis, and of the old world, the Metro before the war and St. Petersburg.
However, in the middle of the night, the group are suddenly woken up by a guard, claiming that a Red spy had heard of Mikhail's talk of University and Polis, and reported him - they are wanted for questioning. The guard helps them escape Kuznetsky Most and into the tunnels heading towards Pushkinskaya. Mikhail reveals that he previously helped distribute illegal propaganda throughout the Red Line, and is wanted for treason.
The group reach Pushkinskaya and are checked over by Reich guards, looking for non-Slavic features. Seemingly satisfied they are not 'inferior', the leader demands their documents. Artyom is let through unopposed but the guard questions why there are no documents for Vanechka. Mikhail explains that Vanechka is ill and has no documents, but is under his care; this does not satisfy the Nazi. He demands they undress for a search. Mikhail, though upset, obliges. Artyom is shocked to see the treatment of his companions and rushes forward to help, but is held back by the other guards. Suddenly, Vanechka leaps onto the guard and attacks him, but the guard shoots Vanechka through the stomach, then executes him. Mikhail sobs in anger, but cannot do anything. Artyom, so angry at the murder, finds strength to throw off his attackers and shoots the guard dead, before he is knocked out cold.
After hours of torture and a 'trial', Artyom is sentenced to hang and put in a holding cell in Tverskaya station, with no sign of Mikhail. Artyom asks a guard for water, but the guard mercilessly taunts him instead, calling him a traitor to his kind, and a sub-human; Artyom ignores it. To prompt a reaction the guard reveals that Mikhail was tortured until he died. Artyom cracks and sobs glumly, feeling responsible for Mikhail's and Vanechka's deaths, but he knows there is nothing he can do but await his inevitable execution.
- Mikhail appears to be a very literal man, not believing in any of the superstitions that Khan does, even going so far as to try and explain Bourbon's death as to do with frequencies of soundwaves.
- It appears that Mikhail's 'treason' is substantial enough that Secretary Moskvin is personally interested in capturing him.
- It is possible that Mikhail is still alive, as he, technically, committed no crimes against the Reich, and could have just been let go - the Nazi guard could have just been being cruel to Artyom, wanting to make him even more upset before his execution.
- However, given the hostile and brutal nature of the Reich, it seems unlikely he survived.
- Mikhail never states his age, but he makes many references to Communism and Fascism, indicating he was born not long after World War II, probably around the 1960s, making him about 70.
- It is unknown what relation Mikhail is to Vanechka, if any, but he is visibly upset when the latter is killed.
- In the real world, Nitro-Glycerine tablets are taken to help sufferers of Angina Pectoris, a heart-condition that causes chest pain. The tablets dilate the heart vessels to allow more oxygen into it, easing the pain - this is likely what Mikhail has and is taking tablets for.
- As Nitro-Glycerine is fairly easy to produce by mixing acids with glycerine (found in fats - easy to come by in the Metro, in the form of soap or animal fat), and heating, it makes sense that Mikhail is able to purchase what seems like a pre-war medication, though its effectiveness compared to pre-war derivatives are likely poorer.
|Characters of the Metro Book Series|
Ace • Anton • Arkadiy Semyonovich • Artyom • Artyom's Mother • Bourbon • Currency Exchange Booth Survivor • Daniel • Hunter • Khan • Kirill • Lenka • Loginov • Melnik • Mikhail Porfirevich • Oganesyan • Oleg • Pavel • Ruslan • Sukhoi • Ten • Tretyak • Ulman • Vanechka • Vitalik the Splinter • Zhenya
|Universe of Metro 2033|