Grand Work

Stalingrad (5 1)

Sokolof has been put to work deepening the fortifications the army's erecting in certain parts of the city. Currently, he's etching out and shoring up the hole by the gun with an entrenching tool and pick. It's rather arduous work in the rough dirt of the city, even once one gets past the concrete, but he's throwing himself into it. Deeper it is, better place it is to duck, after all.

Broad daylight, late summer. The combination of the two equals sweat, just another thing to endure on Stalingrad's streets. The firestorm and incessant bombings have left the city in horrific ruins — buildings still smoke, the streets are wrecked, and perhaps worst of all, the stench of the city's thousands of dead thickens the air. Maschenko has been away through the dawn, called off to try and fortify some terrible, filthy excuse for a medical point to the east. Sent back this way now, he hurries along the street to the south towards the trench, still limping very slightly on the right leg. "Comrades."

Work work. Novikova's almost never far behind. But she's glad to help familiar faces at least. She lifts her head and smiles seeing Sokolof and now a Maschenko, even in spite of the circumstances. "This uniform feels funny," She admits quietly. Chunk! Another shovelful of dirt. "Here, hop on in," Novikova will offer a hand to help Maschenko into the trench.

There is more movement from the way of the apartments another of the newly drafted soldiers moving towards the trench. Tikhon does make some noise and is shown in his uniform not to be mistaken for an enemy or something. "Ah, fortifications." he looks over the defense's a moment on approach. He moves closer nodding to those gathered.

Sokolof pauses a moment to drink some water from his canteen. Sparingly. The water system in the city isn't exactly in good working order, and it's a long walk to the Volga just to get a drink. "Comrade Doctor. Is your leg still troubling you?" He gives the man a look of concern, and no small amount of guilt. "Mine seems to have healed entirely. I thank you, though I hope you did not waste all the salve when you needed it as well." A quick nod to Novikova, and Tikhon as well.

"It's the dirt," Maschenko tells Sokolof, with a bit of a grunt as he hops into the trench, grabbing Zoya's hand to do so. "Comrade Yulia's looking after it for me now. It'll be fine." Thank goodness for nurses. His rifle jostles on his shoulder and he secures the strap of it more tightly. "Zoyenka. The pilotka look's fine on you." A wink that's by no means serious, then he turns halfway round and nods to Tikhon. "Comrade. I don't think I know your name."

It's a Tikhon! Novikova smiles and waves to him too. "Yeah, I appreciate it. You healed us really well," she nods. "Although my hair might take a bit to catch up," She looks rueful. But smiles at him as Maschenko takes her hand to hop in. "I'm glad then. You'll be good as new soon I bet." Then a soft laugh. "You think so? I feel kind of clumsy in it." Like it's not quite right for her. but she grins at his wink nevertheless. She rubs the back of her head, jostling her rifle. "Oh well, it's pretty warm but I miss my old big jacket." A shrug at that. She looks to Tikhon now.

Sokolof gives a nod to Maschenko, still looking worried, but he frets no more openly. He leaves Tikhon to his own devices, resuming his work on the trench after he's downed some more water. "We've still some time of summer left. When night comes, I don't mind the warmth. Though I could do with a cool breeze right now."

"We'll savor it," Maschenko says, dusting off his knees. "When the winter comes, coal won't last forever." He smirks at Zoya and picks up one of the leftover shovels sitting around, hefting the heavy end up. "Let's hope Hitler's forgotten to ship his Fascist bastards their long johns." He lifts his chin towards the west. "I've heard talk the army's spotted Panzers coming. Won't be long now."

"Yeah," She agrees. Novikova laughs softly at the long johns comment. "I hope so too. They deserve it." A pout. She looks to Sokolof. "Yeah… I could wave my coat at you, that might make a breeze," She offers helpfully. Hmmm. She digs her shovel in, moves the dirt over and pats it down. "Panzers? Those big tanks?" She's not quite sure of that. The trio is in the trench, working and talking.

Sokolof is at work shoring up the fortifications around the AA gun. Many such entrenching measures are taking place across the city, with the Germans at their door. "Is that what they are called? Panzers…?" His tongue wraps strangely around the unfamiliar word. A warrior, the man is not. "No, my friend. No. It will not be long now…" He sounds fatalistic enough about it.

"Tak, that's what the Sergeant Major was calling them. 'Panzers'." Maschenko thins his lips and raises the shovel, jamming the sharp side into the earth near where Sokolof was digging. "Big ugly bastards, they said. Cowards, sending those in. Bombers and now tanks — I swear I'll die before I see a Fascist who'll fight like a man." This is quite dry indeed, and he spits after he says so.

"Oh right," Nod. Novikova was totally paying attention. Nodnod. She tamps down some more of the earth. She likes tamping more than digging. "I hope - They all get stuck in pits or flip over," She hopes. Or spontaneously explode. Something. She hms, "Well. It's probably very ugly if it's Fascist made. They don't have much of a sense of art." She notes wryly. A deep breath. "How do you get rid of one anyway?" She wonders.

"Panzers." Sokolof repeats the word, spitting on the ground as he says it. "I'll wager it is. The fascists have brought nothing beautiful to our country yet." As the sun fades a bit, he lets out a breath of relief. It's so let-up from the heat, if nothing else.

"Shoot it. I think," Maschenko answers Novikova as he pulls a clod of dirt and cement from the hole and dumps it. He smirks a little. "With what, fucked if I know. Grenades, maybe. Or a really large gun." He makes a slightly disgusted sound. "I don't know. They can't stay in them forever, I do say that. The streets are a mess, they'll never get far in those fat things. Sooner or later, if they want this city they'll have to come and take it from our hands."

"Fair enough," Novikova replies. More tamping. Tmptmptmp. She really seems to like that. "Paaan-zer. It's like the noise a fly makes when it's riiiiiiight in your ear as you wake up." Annoying! She nods. "Grenades? Like - I gave someone my notes to copy and he showed me how to make this stuff with alcohol and -" Pause. "Oooh… I wasn't supposed to say I knew," Hmmm. She puts a finger on her chin, one eyebrow lifted. "Well, how will he know anyway?" Shrug. She considers Maschenko's words and nods. "It's true. It seems silly to roll over streets after you make a mess of them. But Fascists don't really make sens I suppose." A shrug at that.

"I don't know that they so much want this city as they want to take it from us," Sokolof says. An actual hint of steel at the bottom of his tone. You have to look hard for it, but it's there. "They shall not find it so easy."

"Petrol bomb," Maschenko nods to Zoya at that. "You put the petrol inside, and it's the wick that's soaked in alcohol." University chemistry, look where it gets you. There's a wry look out at the street after that. "Don't know if that would work…huh. I wonder." He sucks his teeth and turns blue eyes to Sokolof, a rivulet of sweat trailing its way down his temple. "They don't want this heap. They want what's behind it. Those fields, that oil? Russian oil, and they want it to fight their cowardly war." He snorts. "Fuck them."

"Regardless, they are very spiteful about it." Could Novikova have some sort of insight? Hard telling. She looks to Maschenko and Sokolof, "You think so? That's a long way to haul for oil," She wrinkles her nose. "Yeah! That's i— wait, how did YOU know?" She rocks from her heels to her toes, peering at Maschenko curiously. "But I bet that or grenades would really annoy their tanks." Nod.

"Aye. Fuck them," Sokolof echoes. Less forcefully than Maschenko, but there's feeling behind it nonetheless. He's done as much labor as he can for the day so he stops. Leaning heavily upon his shovel. "We shall annoy them as best we can."

"Did you just swear, professor?" Maschenko's face lights up like a father hearing his young one say 'Ba ba'. "Four years and I've finally cracked him!" He, of course, takes this credit, rather than oh…a war. He laughs out into the air and wipes the back of his hand through the sweat trickling down his face, quirking a brow at Novikova. "Oh Zoyenka, come on. What better to burn than petrol? Unless you've saved some fertilizer from the surplus market…"

Gasp! Soko swore! Novikova's eyes go wide. "Oooh." She shakes her head and just smiles a little. She seems amused by the two. She pauses and looks to Maschenko. "No. It's not that. It's something I hadn't expected," She puts her hands on her hips. "Everyone knows I am always getting into, out of and generally making trouble. But you?" Peeeeer. Between Sokolof swearing and now Maschenko knowing about bombs! Shock~! "Actually, I'd be shocked if there weren't some down in the cellars," She notes.

"I'm no professor," Sokolof mutters ruefully to Maschenko. Grinning a bit. "I am no genteel university man, Luka. Or perhaps I just pick up bad habits from those I associate with." He does flush some, but he seems to have found some liberation in the profanity. Makes him feel better, if nothing else.

"Pfah, it's not a bad habit." Maschenko punctuates this by tugging his cigarette pack out of his front pocket, and grabbing one out with his teeth. "A little violence upon the air, a little catharsis. Fuck them all, those fucking asshole Fascist fuckers." This is so triumphant, cigarette gripped with his bared teeth and chin lifted. The pack's thrust at Sokolof. "Smoke?" His free hands searching for his matches now, as eyes turn back to Novikova. "I don't make trouble. I have never made trouble in my life."

"There's worse habits," Novikova points out. She smiles at Maschenko's profanity storm, lifting an eyebrow. Oh my. "You're a good teacher, degree or not I bet," Novikova points out. She is still amused. Then a look to Maschenko. "I believe that. Well, compared to me." Combine being curious, energetic and having an unrelenting sense of humor and it's a recipe for the recipient of the second worst spanking in the history of Stalingrad or something. "I guess it'd make sense to know though, as a Doctor." Yeah, that's it. Chemistry and doctors go hand in hand!

"You shall make me blush, Luka Andriyevich," Sokolof says with a thin grin. Not that he does. He's accustomed to the doctor's language, even if he does not often partake in it. The cigarette is taken, with a soft thanks. To Novikova, he shrugs. "I am but an electrician. I was good with my hands, as it was a route to avoid the drudgery of factory work. The tekhnikum teaches others to use their hands in such ways." A sigh. "Or it did." It's likely been firebombed into the ground by now.

"Books are not so easily 'red' as you, my friend," Maschenko puns quite shamelessly, even if his accent weakens the homophone slightly. He strikes his match and lights his cigarette, holding the flame over towards Sokolof with one hand shielding it. "Zoyenka, you're right. And don't let him tell you he isn't one of the finest teachers that tekhnikum had seen. He never taught them just to use their hands, you see, but also put their hearts into their places in Mother Russia."

Grin. Novikova tilts her head. "I think it sounds cool. Zzzzap, electricity," Nod. "I bet it was rewarding. Hands on things often are," She smiles. Then a pause at the did. "I am sure it will be back better than ever," And hee, pun. She doesn't seem to mind the accent at all. She bobs her head. "See, it's true," More than one means it's right right? Right! "You could always see it." At least she thinks so. There's a sincere smile.

"The ones red are the only kind worth reading," Sokolof rejoins, in a moment of rueful whimsy. The sarcasm is light. It's probably an old joke. A shrug to all that. "It was not such grand work. But there were times I thought it suited me." A nod to Novikova. "We should trek there sometime. To see what is left. There is much to do now, though." A look down at the entrenchment. Well. It's coming along. "I should see if the Army's seen fit to feed us, now that they've taken over our home. My time's past done here."

"Heh." Maschenko rewards Sok's whimsy with that sound. He smokes, eyes turning northward towards where the institute might still stand. Probably not. "Yeah, it's getting dark." And he, again, will need to be up before dawn. "Zoyenka, have you got night watch out here?" There's some mild concern in the question.

Oh the Pun-ishment. Novikova shrugs. "What IS grand work anyway? I thought that was the idea… that everyone's important," She points out. "Machines and power are very important, even if not everyone has the sense to notice," She points out and smiles. "Okay." Nod. Then a look over to Maschenko. "Just for tonight. Someone wanted my morning watch, so they could check in on a friend. I said okay," A shrug. "I will be alright though. We'll find out about the school and the fertilizer tomorrow okay?"

"Tomorrow, if we've time," Sokolof affirms with a nod. With a grunt he hefts himself out of the hole around the gun and starts the walk back to the apartment.

"Trading shifts, for friends?" Maschenko snorts, drily. "I wouldn't mention that around the sergeants. For everyone's health." He turn to follow Sokolof out of the trench and towards home. "Be careful out here, Zoya Dmitryevna. This is grand work now."

"Well… they asked and it seemed important," Novikova frowns and fidgets. Big softie. She nods and offers a hand up to help Maschenko out. "Careful, that spot is not steady yet." She will say nothing then. "I will be careful. Be well," A smile up at Maschenko.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.