Catching Breath In Miravet

Where: Miravet, Ebro Valley
Who: Hans, Jase, Jim, Konstantinov, Lind, Matti, Nunez, Vaclav
When: July, 1938

City

Coordinates : 9 7

The small town of Miravet is a picture of Spanish poverty. Very rural, but with little in the way of arable land around, its population in peacetime was made up of desperately poor Spanish campesinos. Governments, no matter how well intentioned, can't make corn grow from stone and so the situation here had not improved greatly under the Republic.

The town is abandoned now, as the war looms near, but the red and black stripes of the CNT can still be seen, painted on the walls of the shacks in paint now peeling with premature age thanks to the hot Spanish sun.

It is currently dusk.

Sub-Rooms :
1. Shack
2. Shack
3. Burned out church

In the ruins of Miravet, K Company has dug in, facing west; facing the rocky pass where the ruins of a fascist Armoured car clearly marks the no man's land. In the burnt and blasted remains of a church, a machine gun emplacement is prepared, at which stands Vaclav, taking count of the Company's meagre assets for the seventh time.

As the sun is about to set, shadows lengthening across the dry streets, Lind makes her way into the burned out church, carrying a metal canister of water with some effort, rifle slung over her shoulder. On her back is a sack and once she's entered she's relieving herself of all items. "I brought some food over," she informs quietly.

As the darkness starts to disappear with the shining lights of the sun starts to give life to the land, a guy starts to walk from the northern path of the Church… He seems to be dirty with oil and dust as usual. He notices Vaclav and gives a fist salute, "Comrade Corporal. The Armored Car is at your command Comrade." he says proudly. "Most of its damage has been repaired and we are ready to die."

Vaclav nods once to Lind, looking briefly sidelong to the swede, and rumbling a quiet thanks in swedish. As Hans walks in from the north, further words to Lovisa are held, and the corporal returns the salute, and voices flatly, "Would rather have you ready to kill, Comrade. Anti-Tank shot is ready to fire?"

Lind smiles at the comrades, also saluting as Hans does in a habitual gesture. The sack is opened and some bread and cheese is taken out, together with a few apples. The metal container with water is put in a corner and she refills her own hipflask. "How're we on ammunition?" she asks.

The semi-crazy mechanic of the group smiles, "Ah, no comrade. I do not see any facists in the place, so it isnt a good time to kill. But it is a good day to Die." he says with a smile, "I will do my best to cover your men and my comrades." he says.

Vaclav draws a slow breath through flared nostrils, turning his faint frown out the window to the west, and echoing dryly, "A good day to die." A fresh breath, and the corporal's deep, steady voice notes, "You will do your best, Comrade. As will we all. A solider can do no less."

Hans nods his head slowly, "Indeed comrade. We are the armored forces of the Communism. We will crush the Facists here and today." he says bravely trying to inspire others…
«Game» Hans tries to inspire the troops!

Lind divides the bread into as equal parts as she can and holds two pieces out to Hans and Vaclav, looking back and forth between the two. Hans attempt to be inspiring makes her smile a little, but her gaze lacks that spark of conviction that was there at the beginning of the war.

Vaclav accepts the piece of bread, with a nod. Hans' words cause the Corporal to look out westward again. Drawing a deep breath, and intoning flatly, "The forces of communism. The drawn sword of equality, armoured in the justice of our cause." Like Lind, Vaclav's words and manner lack the fiery zeal of the early days, leaving the czech's manner a thing of grim determination.

Lind next leans in to Vaclav to look over the bandage on his hand. "I'll change that for you," she murmurs, rummaging around in her backpack to find a clean one. Sometimes she's got bandages, sometimes not - everything is in short supply these days.

Hans smiles to Vaclav, "Indeed." he says, "We will write history here with our defense in this street." he says, "We will show the Facists, every single men of K Company is brave and strong enough not to get bullied by Facists!"

Vaclav nods once more to Lind's murmered words, before looking slowly back to Hans. Narrow blue eyes on the other man's, his regards the german in silence for a long moment before rumbling in query, "How long you been in Spain, Munch?"

Hans hmms, "About 1-2 months." he hmms, "But I intend to stay here till I die. I will join the goverments service after the war and be one of their engineers." he says the mechanic, "They will need mechanics after the war." he hmms. "I do not want to return to Germany."

Lind gets a bandage and moves back to Vaclav, gently reaching for his hand so she can unwrap the old bandage. Hans' words makes her shoot him a quick glance, then her gaze lowers and she bites her lip to stop herself from saying something.

Konstantinov has arrived.

"One or two months," the big corporal echoes simply. "Sounds about right." There is no outward signs of discomfort as Lind takes his gashed hand, and begins unwrapping the soiled bandage. "They will need much after the war," he comments with a hard edge in his tone.

Hans nods his head proudly, "Of course, I have learnt many things from the Armored car back there." he says, "I have some new plans to combine Russian and German technologies." he hmms, "Also will need to adept it to Spanish. Then we will have very good cars!" he says excitedly

Lind finishes unwrapping the old one, and begins applying the new after a quick check of the wound. She only has basic knowledge of wounds and can't really tell if it'll be alright or not - but she can keep it clean. Her movements are steady and careful.

t, and back toward Hans to rumble further, "Learn fast, Comrade. Work fast. I think war will be over soon."
"And once shells or stukas blast it to scrap, you can learn more of rebuilding cars, Comrade," Vaclav replies with a bitter edge to his deeply voiced words. Frowning lips pressed into a tight line, he looks away from the west, and back toward Hans to rumble further, "Learn fast, Comrade. Work fast. I think war will be over soon."

Konstantinov is conferring with a pair of lower-ranking Russian officers in an alley a little away from the burned church. His beady gray eyes regard the black CNT stripes with a carefully neutral expression. There isn't that glassy look to them that's become so common. The commissar has not been able to access his vodka - yet. He will in good time.

Hans nods his head, "I am trying my best there." he says, "Dont worry." he smiles, "Plus I will probably have my hand on many of their engines after the war since they wont be very useful." he grins. He notices Konst and gives a fist salute to him, "Comrade Commissar."

Vaclav takes a bite of the bread in hand, chewing mechanically, and looking once more into the west, before following Hans' look and salute to Konstantinov. A moment later, his own fist is raised in a salute.

Konstantinov raises his fist in the air to return the salutes, though he does it in a distracted way. Ebro has put his mood to new lows. "Comrades," he barks. "The Republic is strong in this village. It is good. It is a sign of the work the People can still accomplish." Says he as he stands in the midst of an impoverished village being destroyed by war. Such is the work of Russia for the People of Spain and the Republic.

"A sign," Vaclav echoes dryly. A breath drawn and released, and he lowers his arm from the answered salute and states without inflection, "Yes, Comrade Commissar."

Jim has arrived.

Matti is lying on a stretcher, staring into the blackened ceiling of the fire-gutted church. His left leg and right arm have been hastily bandaged, but it doesn't look like he's received much medical treatment - they're both soaked red, and look like they haven't been splinted. Additionally, a handful of bandages have been drawn up to cover his right side. Judging by the expression, he seems more or less the same as ever: Sullen and resentful.

«Game» Jim moves into Burned out church.

Hans salutes his Comrades, "Long live the Republic of Spain and Communism!" he says and starts walking north to get his Armored car ready for combat…

Hans heads off North.

Konstantinov eyes Vaclav. "You have a fine sense of humor, Comrade. But speak not of signs. They are a superstition for the weak-minded and ignorant. We are communist soldiers. We see only truth." He smiles at Hans, nodding firmly. "Indeed, Comrade. Long may we live. In victory and peace." Whether he believes any of that is hard to tell. He rattles it all off with ease, as if he isn't speaking so much as reciting memorized propaganda. He strolls over to Matti's stretcher, to spread the good cheer. "How are you feeling, Comrade?" He cares. He really does.

Jim walks in from eastern path from the bridge, He seems to be wearing a white doctors shirt and a red cross on his cape. He looks around and goes to the Church, "Who needs medical attention?"

Jase is hunkered down in a corner of the church, staring rather vacently at his still bleeding arm, the bayonet wound he suffered completly untreated. "Goddamnit," he hisses under his breath in english before closing his eyes.

Jim rushes to Jase as he hears the moans of the wounded man, "Nurse, I need medicine to clean this wound." he says and starts working on the arm of the guy. "Eazy now comrade…"

"Feeling right 'peachy', comrade." Matti utters the unfamiliar word carefully - his English has improved substantially over the last year or so, but his accent is still terrible. Those familiar with the sullen man's idioms might recognize some irony in his tone. He looks resentful, gloomy and slight pissed off… Much the same as ever. His blue-grey eyes make a slow orbit between Konstantinov and Vaclav, before turning to his now tattered Red Army coat - after the last shooting incident, it's not much more than rags. "Goddamn bastards. They ruined my bloody coat. Oh, they got me a bit, too." This last is offered to Jim, albeit in low, unenthusiastic tones. He doesn't seem too interested in getting treated, even if the pain must be considerable from the various wounds.

Vaclav rumbles evenly in reply, "I put no stock in superstition, Comrade Commissar. I repeat word of Comrade Konstantinov. We are communist soliders. We see only truth." As Jim walks in, the Corporal looks briefly sidelong toward the doctor and rumbles, "Look to that one next," he voices to Jim, indicating Matti. "When done," his own hastily bandaged hand is held up.

Jim looks around with all the wounded he sighs, "Nurse, I need all the medicine you got over there." He starts to work on everyones wounds quickly..

Konstantinov turns to nod sharply to Vaclav. "Truth, Comrade Corporal. Only truth. In truth, their is victory for all.

Jase is silent while Jim stiches up his arm or whatever it is he does. When the medic finishs, Jase still frowns, "I dont think I'm gonna be able to shoot straight," he says, again under his breath.

Konstantinov turns to nod sharply to Vaclav. "Truth, Comrade Corporal. Only truth. In truth, their is victory for all. To Matti, he then turns back and smiles. A comforting smile. Though, next to the commissar's cold eyes, it may come off more unnerving than anything else. "Do not fret for your coat, Comrade. A communist soldier is made by his convictions and courage. Not by the clothes he wears."

Jim nods his head, "You will manage Comrade." he says and taps jase's sholder, "This will keep the bleeding off for now." he says and rushes to Vaclav's hand. He opens the previous first aid bandage and places medicine inside it…

Vaclav frowns and draws his hand back from Jim and rumbles tersely, "Look to Finn first. Hand can wait. Him. Now." Matti is pointed toward once again. Only once that is spoken does the corporal look back to Konstantinov at the other's words, still frowning. A slowly drawn breath.

Matti turns his sullenly resentful stare to Konstantinov - it seems to be a general trait of his angular face, rather than any particular displeasure at what he's looking. His jaws flex several times, as if he wanted to say something, but he looks away, defeated. His words seem tired, if anything, as he answers, "If it the advantage of proletariat, I hope another coat can be found. I wanted to retain old coat, because not wish to use new one that could be employed to keep someone else warm." This sounds like a rote statement, and from the lack of eye contact and irony, probably not a very sincere one. Going through the forms.

Jim nods his head and turns to Nurse, "You finish this up. I will take care of the Finn." He walks towards Matti, "This doesnt look good." he shakes his head, "Hold Still. The pain is good. It means your wounds are healing." he says and works on Matti

Nunez blinks his eyes open from where he'd been camped. He lifts his head up, and the Catalan anarchist looks around to the others after rubbing his eyes.

Konstantinov keeps his cool eyes on Matti while the Finn is staring at him. He looks almost nervous the wounded soldier /will/ say something to inject some honesty into his propaganda fog. And he looks almost relieved when Matti does not. "Stay strong, Comrade," he says to Matti, in a tone that would be heartening if it wasn't completely hollow. "Comrade Corporal! See to your men. I have business to attend to." Translation, he needs to find a damn drink. Without anymore ceremony, he strolls off.

Jim starts on working on Matti's arm, he manages to stop the bleeding and tie up the wound with needle and thead, "This will hold for now. It is better." he smiles, he starts to work on the leg of the guy, "I am not sure, but we may have to cut the leg…" he says and considers and starts working on it…

"As best I can, comrade Commissar. As always," Vaclav replies, with a weary salute raised to the departing Konstantinov's back. Dropping his fist once again as he turns back to the men still within the ruined church, a pass of blue eyes take in the state of the wounded.

"Putting my best effort into it, Comrade Comissar." Apparently, Matti has heard enough of Konstantinov to recognize the man without getting a name for him… Admittedly, his last statement /was/ rather dry. He leans back in the stretcher, biting his teeth together as his arm and leg are administered to. He stares up into the ceiling, a low growl escaping from between his teeth. He seems determined not to make a sound… But less from any effort at martyred herodom, but rather a stubborn, defiant, nonsensical resentment at the world in general, and a refusal to betray weakness in the face of it. With an almost wild, focused stare, he moves to the side, touching his chest to his wounded hand in an odd version of the communist salute. Breathing hard, he stares at the Comissar with widened eyes.

Nunez draws up to stand, silent as he watches Konstantinov start to head off. He doesn't really stare, but it's a certain fixed look for just a moment. When he hears Vaclav address the departing man, one might catch a moment's hesitant frown before the bearded man pulls his gaze away.

Vaclav trades curt words with Jase, before looking toward the Finn. "Doctor," he rumbles to Jim, "If wound grows bad enough, you have permission to cut out this one's tongue."

Jim smirks, "Tongue? Well. It is unethical to harm a paitent comrade. But I can give him as much pain as I please." he grins.

Nunez lifts his hand, scratching a spot on the side of his face. "So that is your Commissar, eh." he comments, the Spaniard yawning as he reclines back on the pew.

Matti looks at Vaclav, muttering, "It sounds like you've taken another headwound, Comrade." With Jim's words, he directs a smile at Jim. It's not a nice smile, more of a death rictus. He reaches with his one healthy hand to grasp the rifle under his bunk, bringing it to rest on his chest. The gloomy Finn stares at Jim with that unwavering, obscene smile, muttering, "We call it a date, doctor."

Vaclav regards Jim with a frown, and rumbled, "Hrm. Not funny." To Matti's quip he sniffs once and states, "No dates in field Hospital." Turning away, just as Nunez wanders up, the corporal nods once. "That is Comrade Commissar Konstantinov, yes."

Jim grins, "As you wish." He says and works applying medicine to Matti's leg, he seems to do the right job but the bleeding doesnt seem to stop, "This one has catched infection. It will take a few days to heal."

"Yes, I forrrgget." The end of Matti's dry answer to Vaclav gets drawn out, as Jim messes with his leg. He stares with widened eyes at the doctor, looking like he'd want to use the rifle on him for a few moments before letting his hand slip, delivering it back under the bed. Matti nods, muttering gruffly, "Yes, I not in hurry to get places." Irony? Perhaps.

Nunez looks over to the medic, hearing the man's statement. "Oi corumbo." comments the Catalan. "I do not believe the Natties will wait that long."

Vaclav frowns steadily, expression much as it has been for some time. "Army of Ebro crossing bridge into west. Fascists come soon. Attack." A pause, as he turns his eye toward the finn. "Doctors keep close eyes on you, comrade. Get best treatment. Will probably live, anyway."

Jim nods his head and tries his best on matti.

"Maybe it lucky that we get… delayed." Once again, the unsaid things… They both know that the offensive has stalled, but these kind of things can't be voiced. Matti adds, "It looking like I not doing much assaulting, for some time." The Finn glances down at his messed up leg, grimacing.

Nunez turns his head to regard the Czech corporal, lifting a hand to wearily rub at his own forehead. "I will keep my trust in the comrades here, si." wearily. The man seems tired, indeed. "I wonder if the fascists have cleared the mines."

Vaclav scowls at the words, looking west out the ruined windowpane, though the corporal's tone does not alter as he rumbles, "Not lucky. It just is." eyeing Nunez sidelong, he mutters, "Sentries watching. Unless moros cut thier throats, they fire warning shot, when fascists move."

Matti mutters sourly, "I know." He provides no explanation or apology for his words, however, leaning back in the stretcher. After a moment, he adds, "I hate being wounded." With that, the Finn turns his eyes to the window, staring outside moodily. A sparrow, with its wings clipped, nervous energy without release… Combined with the usual bad mood, naturally.

Nunez clears his throat, then lifting his head a bit to gaze westwards down the street. "Comrade Corporal. Lots of Molotov cocktails here now. Sadly, I'm not very good at tossing them."

Matti nonchalantly puts his hand into a pocket, removig a molotov cocktail, and laying it on the floor. With a sigh, he mutters, "It look like I not throwing this for some time. And not feel like drinking alone, either." With a wry, pained grin at Vaclav, he settles back on the stretcher.

Vaclav nods once. The nod is punctuated by a snort at Matti's comment of drinking. "Stupid Finn will drink anything." In earnest, he rumbles to Nunez, "Some in company good with bottles. If they not here when needed, all will throw. Fear of bruning may push tank away, even if not hit." If the Republic's armour is any indication..

Nunez slowly nods, and gets up from the church pew where he'd been seated. "Si camarade. I'll take one. Better to have a bottle of petrol than nothing at all to face one of the Generalissimo's bastard tanks." His arm reaches out to lift one, drawing the Molotov Cocktail back into his pack.

"Comrade Corporal right. But I good socialist. I not drink company's petrol bombs, unless everyone else drink too." Matti looks almost hopefully at Nunez and Vaclav, before settling back despondently on the stretcher.

"Yes," Vaclav rumbles flatly. "Better to have a bottle against tank than nothing." A sidelong stare back at MAtti, with one narrowed blue eye, before the corporal snorts once in a brusque curt moment of something not unlike laughter.

Jim sweats and cleans his forehead, "I am done for now." he says with a nod to Vaclav, "I think they will survive and the Finns leg might not be cut. At least I hope."

Nunez doesn't draw his hand away once he's set the bottle filled with petrol within his pack. It would seem like the dark-haired man is reaching for somethine else, some other bottle to draw out. Finally it emerges, a half-full bottle of sangria, "You will not drink alone, amigo." followed by a brusk low laugh.

Matti laughs at Jim, the death rictus-smile making a comeback. "You try and cut my leg off, and I shoot you dead, doctor." Despite the "smile", he doesn't sound like he's kidding. Relaxing slightly, the slight Finn shoots a wry look at Vaclav, muttering, "I suppose that's a no, then." With Nunez's words, he turns to stare at the other man, the glimmer of hope shining in his blue-grey eyes. He motions for the other to come closer with a movement of his uninjured hand, muttering, "You my new best friend, comrade. I'm Matti." The sullen, resentful stare is still there, however - good proof that it is just a part of his face, for better or worse.

Vaclav nods once to Jim, "Have medic look at Crocetti when time. For now, keep your head down, and not get shot." To the spaniard, "Nunez, at sundown relive comrades on sentry to west. Finn-" he briefly eyes Matti, with a frown. "Stop bleeding." With that curt command, the czech steps out of the blasted church, leaving the others to a peaceful moment's drink.

Nunez stretches as he rises, making his way over near the badly wounded man's bedside. "Antonio. Antonio Nunez." he responds, offering out the bottle to the Finn. Hearing the corporal's order sparks a miserable little groan. "Si. Yes, comrade." as the Spaniard switches to English at the end. His dark brown eyes cast a glance outside. "Dark soon." as he stretches again.

"Thanks." Matti mutters this, as he accepts the bottle of Sangria. With a grimace, he pushes himself to a slightly more upright position, taking a swig from the mouth. As Nunez and Vaclav speak of sentry duty, the Finn shoots an almost sympathetic look at the Spaniard, "I not envy you, comrade. Hope you not get moro knife to throat." That sounded more or less sincere. With an emphatic nod, he offers the bottle back to Nunez.

Nunez waits patiently till the Finn has had a good drink, then he offers out his hand to accept the bottle back. The Spaniard's sangria isn't a wealthy man's vintage, but it's not the watered vino that many have had to accept in Barcelona either. "I hope I slit an Italian throat. My home was bombed last year." He then takes a deep swig of the fruit-mixed beverage.

Matti snorts, muttering, "The italians are a bunch of ladies. You do fine, against them." Apparently, he doesn't have a lot of respect for them… Or a very refined taste, as he seems quite happy with the Sangria you offered him, not even grimacing as he downs the liquid. The home-bombing doesn't elicit much empathy, merely a muttered, "Bastards." It seems, more or less, a rote statement.

Nunez nods a bit. "I heard your brigade fought in Aragon. Bastards have cut us off." He takes another long draught of the fruit juice and wine mixture. "No matter. I want to die happy. With a beautiful senorita in my arms. If I life through this, I will find one." and smiles a bit, offering the bottle back to the bandaged man.

"Yeah. It was cold, in Tereul… Feel almost like home. Well, except for people shooting at me all the time." Matti accepts the bottle, looking rather morose. Maybe he's home-sick? He nods to Nunez with a slight, sullen smile, muttering, "You understand, eh? I hope to find wife, too. Starting to think that this bad place to look, though."

Nunez nods faintly. "Not good to look in war. But here, you will see the senoritas of Catalonia are the most beautiful of all in spring, si?" as his smile warms. "Cherry lips, with the taste of wine. Skin golden with the sun, yet not so burnt like the girls of Valencia." The Spaniard nods his head again, as if to himself, wistfully. "I've never been to any other land. Maybe one day, you will return to yours and find a fine girl. No more war, eh?"

"There is no end to war, comrade." Matti stares gloomily into the ceiling, handing over the bottle to Nunez. After a moment, he mutters, "World of our time tearing itself to bits. Just have to make best of it we can, eh? With or without 'senorita'." The slight Finn sighs wearily. Whether from philosophical fatigue, or morphine… Hard to say.

Nunez nods once, resigned to that but without alot of concern. He takes a seat near the bed of the wounded, leaning over to loosen the laces of his boots. "What is your homeland like? Are you Finn, Swede, Lapp?" and looks over with the question, genuinely not seeming to know the answer.

"Finn. Homeland… I don't know. It warm in summer, cold in winter… Have proper weather there. Lots of woods, moose in them. Small farms. Have room to live, there." Matti speaks with a slight glaze to his blue-grey eyes - it probably is home-sickness, at that. He looks aside, muttering wryly, "No offense, but it too bloody hot and dry here, most of the time."

Nunez snorts a chuckle. "Madrid is too cold. Barcelona, our weather is best." and smiles to himself. "We have the sun and the sea, combined with mountains. You should see the Costa del Sol once we kick the puppet Generalissimo out of his African throne." A more thoughtful nod follows, though. "You have probably been here with the sirocco. The rains never end for the seasons it blows." He's seated now, speaking with the bandaged Matti.

"I don't know. You not have forests here… It strange." Apparently, the inherent wrongness of the Spanish terrain can only be mitigated, but not nullified by more beneficial weather conditions. Matti adds, after a moment adding gloomily, "But yes. Rather here than Madrid. Or Barcelona, for that matter." It doesn't sound like he's talking about the weather.

Nunez draws up a brow. "Barcelona", repeating the city Matti had named. Finally, he nods a bit. "Better as a campesino in the countryside, si. Maybe I'll become a fisherman. Ibiza's only seen one battle." The Spaniard mutters more to himself, "More peaceful, si. Enough of politics."

Matti nods emphatically, "You bloody right. We all had enough of goddamn politics." Despite his words, he glances around guiltily, in case the Comissar is lurking nearby. Matti adds, "I fish some, too. But not in sea. It bloody unnatural, endless water everywhere, and water not good to drink, at that." He seems to be more of a lake man.

Nunez chuckles a bit at that, "I am not good for fishing in rivers. Too muddy, too dirty. All the mines pour their slurry out into our rivers here." and amusedly looks over. "But I've never been a real fisherman. Not as a living. Maybe one day…" as he lets the words drift. The bottle of Sangria's now only a quarter full, set on a corner table near Matti's bed.

"Not many mines, back home. Maybe you come to Finland, some day? Clean water, there." Matti says this in a rather absent-minded, slurred fashion - battle fatigue, morphine, alcohol and the damage to his body seem to be kicking in, all at once. With what seems like more or less his last strength, he pulls the bottle to his lips, emptying it before allowing it to drop to his side - to his credit, only a very little escapes to spill on his chin. And there he lies, eyes slowly closing as he drifts off into something halfway between sleep and unconsciousness.

Nunez looks over quietly as the Scandanavian comrade drifts off to slumber, reaching carefully for the bottle and its cork as if saving it for future use. He then begins to rise, standing from the chair he'd been seated on.

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