Trial By Fire

Communal Apartments (5 3)

Zoya smiles at Aleksandr. "Glad you made it inside. It — Good g—" She stammers, noting the damage to their home. Novikov is at a loss. She looks like she just walked into a dream. "That it will be," But she doesn't want to believe it. She slinks to her own apartment. It seems to have been reasonably ok, being away from the street but she's still windowless too. "My plants! My apartment! You JERKS!" Rage-flail!

So much for that nice daylight stroll home after the overnight hospital shift. There's a thump and a soft crack of the door wood as Maschenko's shoulder hits it twice, forcing it open past some piles of brick that fell from above. His sleeve's torn, face and hair dusty. "Shit. Comrades! Everyone alive in here?"

Sobs can be hear from Yev's room, he's kneeling amid the glass, paper, shrapnel and bits of wood. There's a lot paper, most of it's cheap, some has been typed on, some has been scrawled on almost illegibly, some more has neat columns on it. Most of it is floating around his room very little of it is burning. Also there's a big hole in the wall where the window used to be and a few floorboards are missing. His bed has lost it's legs, as has his chair. He may be there muttering and crying for some time.

Novac has arrived.
Novac arrives from the South.

Mikhail pokes his head out of the doorway to his room as he hears Maschenko's words, "Ten of each, both fingers and toes," he offers, with a bit of a nod, before he looks around inside once more.

Aleksandr gave a small smile and nod to Zoya,"Thank you." As he made his way through the house, he didn't seem to be fazed by the destruction. He held onto the shoulder strap of his rifle as he surveyed everything,"Aye, think everyone's ok. Consider yourselves lucky, the place isn't banged up too badly."

Novac clomps into the housing block, and tilts his head, listening out for the echoing footsteps of others. He must have sharp ears, as he perks, steps over some broken glass gingerly, and advances into the building. "Comrades?" he calls out. "Are there any casualties?".

"Outside's a fucking mess," Maschenko leans down and pushes part of a broken chair out of the way, glass crunching under his aged boots. "Shit everywhere." He runs the back of his dirty hand over his cheekbone, blue eyes taking stock of the apartment-mates he can see in the dust. He turns half around at the sound of a new voice. "Comrade. Haven't heard any screaming."

Poor Yev. "I haven't heard anyone screaming yet," She blinks, seeing Aleksandr's rifle. Novikov looks around owlishly. "Too badly…" She boggles. But she nods, "That's true. Some apartments are still livable." She'll take what she can get. She hears a bit of crying though. "I think - I am going to check on him," She offers. Novi moves towards poor Yev. "Is it?" A frown. "It sounded awful out there." She comments before disappearing to tend to poor Yev. "Hey… hey you alright?" She asks him gently.

Yevgenich is not considering himself lucky. But he does wipe his tears. He stands up stiffly, and edges towards the big hole, swallowing as he does so. He turns to Novi, smiling feebly. "It's nothing just the shock, and I put so much into that damned inventory!" That rings hollow, especially as a scrap over leather book cover, looking suspiciously not like a pamphlet blows across her shoes. "How is everyone?" He asks, not having heard everyone else ask that.

Novac looks over Maschenko, who seems to have cornered him a corridor. "The fascists have made quite a mess, indeed. It's a shame we don't have fascists to hand to clean it up. I'm here looking for volunteers, the street outside is a mess, impassable, and we need it open for as long as possible.". He's also desperately short of firefighters but he doesn't mention that. Yet. Heh.

Aleksandr was in a Red Army uniform, although overall he seemed to have been through a bit of trouble and has a bit of dirt and wet spots from melted snow. He looked to Novac and says,"I'll try and help ya clear it, comrade. Though we're bound to get more trouble eventually."

"I've seen a few worse buildings, throughout my days," Mikhail offers in agreement with Aleksandr, after poking his head out of the room again. Listening to what's been told at the moment. Pausing a little bit at Novac's words, nodding a little bit, "I'll help," he offers, before he looks back at his room for a few seconds, "Stupid fascist pigs had to ruin my nap…" Sounds quite offended there.

Maschenko blows a tense puff of air out the side of his mouth. His fingertips leave a smear of something reddish on his ear — blood, but it isn't his. "Yeah, I'll give a hand, comrade. There's going to be injured out there; I'm a doctor." He notices his hand right then and grimaces, wiping it off on the side of his trousers. His neck cranes, trying to see back in the hall. "Zoya? Anyone injured back there?"

Daw. Novikov just stands nearby, and offers a smile back. "I understand." She believes Yev's efforts. She sighs. "I haven't seen anyone hurt, but everyone is still kind of scrambling. It's hard to see… this." And she hasn't even gone outside. Yikes. She takes a deep breath. "My apartment is alright enough, though - the windows are gone," Frown. "I think the glass in this place just went to H—- pieces," Nod. She offers, "Let's look for the others." She peeks out hearing Maschenko, "Not yet! Still looking." Promise!

Novac nods. "Alright comrades, get everybody you can who is able bodied and free to work for the liberation of the Motherland out into the street, with whatever tools you might find which may help you in clearing rubble. I'm sure that the Party will appreciate your patriotism and hard work, and in such dark times we need every man and every woman to be prepared to stand up against the fascists.". Street sweeping never sounded so grand.

Yevgenich hears someone sounding vaguely in charge not too far away. He smiles at Novi, patting her shoulder as walks past. "I better go see if I can help outside." He hurries out, wiping his face again to even up the dust and grabbing a short plank of wood. He doesn't notice the hat in the gloom. "Onto the street then." He agrees.

Maschenko is satisfied enough at Novikov's assurance. True, nobody's screaming. If they're not, they're probably already dead. "Alright, let's get this shit rolling then," he mutters under his breath. "Before these fucks can make it any worse."

"Out into the streets," Mikhail agrees, humming a little bit under his breath as he makes his way in the direction of the doors.

Aleksander began to move toward the door and out into the street, not paying attention to Novac's words of inspiration. Being Red Army and all, he's probably heard it over and over again."Make sure ya keep a path clear in case we have to run back into the basement."

Novi turns her head a bit. She smiles as he pats her shoulder. "Da," She agrees softly. "I guess we all should." She takes a deep breath. Time for Novi to do her bit. She accepts this, likely in preference of mulling over what just happened. But first, she stays inside to make a sweep. Finding no one able to scream - an indicator that there's enough life to save with supplies, nor open bodies - she will rejoin the others soon enough.

Yevgenich stalks out of the door, taking care to turn away from his comrades if he walked past any, he's got splinters already and he's not even out of the the door yet.

Prospekt Lenina Thoroughfare (5 2)

In the days before the Revolution this city was known as Tsaritsyn, but all traces of those days have been erased from the streets. Today is it Stalingrad, named for the great leader himself, Josef Stalin. The streets are straight but not particularly well-maintained. The place has become a center for heavy industry, and the pavement is abused by wagons and trucks carrying heavy shipments to the railways and harbor. It is a crowded place, the air perpetually rather gray from the all the industrial activity, and it moves with the sluggish, ant-like march of Soviety production.

It is currently daytime.

Novac leads the volunteers out, to face the wreckage of the street. He points to a huge pile of bricks spilling out into the road, up against a shiny new antiaircraft gun that the People provided only the other day thanks to the factories of Stalingrad. "We need to shift all that out of the way. Set up a chain, comrades, and we can move the mountain, one brick at a time.".

Yevgenich is ok with that. He steps up to the pile and picks up a lump of bricks cemented together, he looks around for someone to hand it too, Novac is the nearest, now he sees the commissar hat he elects not to hand that to him, he passes it along to someone else instead.

Maschenko scales wreckage along with the rest of the apartment group, managing to make another tear on the hem of his trousers as he does. Incredible mess out here, and the sights don't even account for the sounds of the aftermath all around them. Or the smell, the acrid scent of fires burning. "One brick at a time," he repeats Novac's little mantra, giving the mountain a dry look. He yanks his dirty sleeve cuffs up past his elbows, climbing up a little way on a brick hill to grab for the stone that Yev is handing down. "Here, comrade."

Mikhail moves over to get in the line next to where Maschenko is. "Ready," he offers, as he looks at the wreckage carefully. "We'll have this cleared in no time at all," he offers, with a smile.

Aleksandr joined the group at the rubble and stops for a moment to survey the wreckage. Stepping forward a bit more, he looked up toward the people already on top and handing off wreckage and reaches for any stone or rubble that's being offered down and moves them off to the side.

Novac beams at this marvel of discipline and willpower. The mountain starts slowly moving. Well, a few bricks of it. He, of course, stands back from the action, his job is to inspire, not act. He shakes his head at the lack of people around the gun. "Where is everybody?" he asks irritably, and heads off down the street, in search of his gunners.

Yevgenich does his best to ignore the smoke and dust near the top of the pile. He's dislodging the big bits first, helpfully the bricks haven't crumbled into singles, so he has plenty to choose from. He gets out a medium sized block, his hands are already covered in brick dust and scratches. He hands the next few bits down, adding the occasional, "This is heavy comrade." And such.

"Got it." Maschenko braces his foot into a hitch on the bricks and leans his weight on it, lifting up both hands to grab the heavy chunk of bricks from Yevgenich. It bangs down on his knee and he grits his teeth, turning around and handing it off to Mikhail. "Wasn't lying, this one's a bitch."

Novac soon trots back, with four rather drab looking women clad in equally drab looking fatigues. They look rather sooty and muddy, eyes standing out in blackened faces, and all rather tired too. The commissar sends them towards the gun with a wave. "Comrades, your first priority is to kill fascists, which means shooting down the fascist bombers when they are overhead." he reminds. "Firefighting is of secondary importance.". He eyes the drafted labour with a sort of musing, calculating gaze.

Reaching for the next piece of rubble, Mikhail places his weight behind the bricks, before he makes sure to hand it over carefully. Sometime during this part of the work, he starts humming along with a melody. It would seem that it's the march 'Farewell of Slavianka'.

Maschenko shoots the back of Mikhail's head a slight look. The discordance of a melody in the middle of all these voices and siren calls is grating. Then his blue eyes cut back to the gun, and he reaches up for more bricks from Yev. "How the fuck do you shoot one of those thing?" He mutters under his breath as Novac goes on nearby.

Aleksandr continues to help with some of the bigger pieces of the rubble, moving them off to the side. Before joining them once again, he re-slings his rifle on his back once again and takes a look toward Novac before moving to help once again. In the group of workers, the Private looked a bit out of place.

Yevgenich is quite weedy as Stalingraders go, and it isn't long before he starts panting. It's not long after that before he loses his footing, luckily he goes down feet first, down the other side of the hill, towards the AA gun. He doesn't get very far, bricks don't slide well, but by the time he's stopped halfway down he's covered in brick dust and grazes, oh look, there's the commissar. He picks himself up sharpish.

Vladmir coughs from the amount of smoke and dust from the rubble. He has some trouble with some of the debris, but doesn't want to show weakness. He grunts from time to time, muttering an apology from time to time as well. He looks up at the Commissar as well, almost happy to see him. Vladimir could use the morale boost. He lifts up another piece of rubble, and carries on with his work.

"Comrades!". The commissar addresses the gunners. "Clear the street for now, you can work while the fascists are gone, and return to the gun when they raid.". Then he eyes his volunteers. "Come with me, I understand that we have some problems with incendiaries in the pepper warehouse down the road, perhaps it would be more efficient if you helped there instead.". He trots off down the road, expecting his volunteers to follow soon enough.

"Carefully," comes the semi-amused comment from Mikhail in the direction of Maschenko, before he turns to bring whatever bricks that have been passed over to him onwards to Aleksandr, "So, how long have you been in the Army?" he asks, a bit quietly. Looking to the Commissar as he hears the man speak.

"Too bad the fascists didn't extend us the same courtesy," Maschenko replies to Mikhail, drily. He thumps down another pile of brick and eyes the wreckage of the street, lips thinning. Then the commissar is calling something about incendiaries and his brow shoots up. Oh fuck. Reaching up, he raps Yevgenich's arm with the back of his hand. "Come on, comrade. The commissar takes his trials by fire literally."

Yevgenich doesn't even bother wiping the brick dust off his clothes. He looks back at his flat mates and as the women replacing them, then he hurries off after the Commissar. Tearing off a piece of his sleeve, pepper and incendiaries don't sounds like a healthy combination. He nods to Mikhail. "We all have to pitch in Comrade." He replies, shortly. His cheeks are still wet from a half hour ago.

After putting a piece of rubble off to the side, he looked to Novac as he spoke about the warehouse. He walked back toward the others for a moment and looked to Mikhail,"It's been three years now since I joined. Come on, we do not want to make the man angry." He turned and began to jog after the commissar, holding onto the strap of his rifle again to secure it.

Novac leads the small crew off down the road and round a corner, and sure enough, a small warehouse is well alight, having been unroofed by a high explosive bomb and then, by chance or malicious design, a stick of magnesium incendiaries landed right on top. The warehouse apparently contains pepper, among other things, and it's well alight, and the stench of it makes the eyes burn even from this distance. A few firefighters, the peacetime NKVD ones and some other Red Army soldiers from the commissars unit are trying valiantly to extinguish the blaze with a rather pathetic fire engine that looks like a relic from the 19th century. But while the flames are burning rather lowly now the pepper spray means most of them are spending more time rubbing their eyes than controlling the hose.

"Trials by fire indeed," Mikhail offers, before he follows after Novac with the others. Nodding a bit at Aleksandr, "Back when I…" He trails off, shaking his head a little bit.

A fire in a pepper warehouse. Maschenko drags his dirty fingers through his hair and snorts a laugh — he can't help it, and there's not a shred of actual mirth in the sound. "Could be worse. Could've been the dung storage." His eyes squint a little bit, already stinging as a wave of smoke reaches them.

Yevgenich's rag isn't going to help at all, though he puts it over his mouth anyway.His eyes stream, at least now everyone's crying. "Could be worse, could be a munitions factory." He replies to Maschenko. "We can make do without pepper." That said, he's not sure how to put the actual fire out. He looks to Novac for help here.

Novac supposes that even enthusiasm can't make up for skill. "Does anybody have any experience … firefighting, here? Or handling a hose?" he asks. He glances over somewhat irritably at the real firefighters, who've been peppered, and then adds, "Though right now I guess we have to make do with whatever we've got. Needs must.". For the People!

Maschenko shoots Yevgenich a toothy, strained grin. Then to Novac: "Tak…" He turns his head aside to cough hard into his sleeve. The smoke's heavy and it's starting to burn not just the eyes. "Yes, comrade. They trained us about fires at the hospital, I'll take the front of the hose. Have we got any buckets for the rest?"

Aleksandr coughed a bit as they came upon the warehouse. It took no time for his eyes to begin watering and began to squint. He reached up and wiped his eyes with a sleeve of his uniform."I've never dealt with a fire, but I at least can try."

"We all try, my friend," Mikhail offers to Aleksandr, before he waits to hear the answer about the buckets now.

Yevgenich catches on, although he's shaking his head he already making his way to the hose, he'll help with the pumping, where he can face away from the smoke. Talking isn't on the list of things he's qualified to do at the moment.

Novac beams at that. Sounds good! "Excellent, it was most fortunate I grabbed you when I did.". There are a bunch of buckets nearby as well, in various states of disrepair. But that doesn't matter all that much as the supply of water is quite pathetic, one of the female soldiers trying to coax some liquid out of a nearby water main with some difficulty.

"Fuck," Maschenko says, at the water supply. "More effective if they fucking piss on it." He turns around, motioning the others to the buckets. "Grab what you can. Get a three-count and on three, dump the water at the base of the fire. Let's go before this thing finds something in there that can explode."

Yevgenich rushes to the pump, giving the soldier a hand and a quick burst of strength, which probably doesn't help the hose pressure that much, nevertheless, he doesn't have a bucket. Which means less pepperness where he's standing from, but now he's not holding the rag to his mouth he's started to cough hoarsely.

Mikhail looks around for a few moments, as he moves over to get hold of a bucket, and getting some of the water he can get into said bucket now. Starting to move over in the direction of the fire.

Aleksandr gave a nod in response to Mikhail, it seemed Aleksandr wasn't a person of many words. He then moved toward the buckets and picked up one of the better quality buckets. After filling it up with water, he followed behind Mikhail.

Maschenko lets the bucket people go to it. Hopefully they can follow orders. He pulls the collar of his shirt up over his nose for protection from the smoke, where it stays for all of five seconds before falling half down again. Grabbing the end of the hose, he calls back to Yevgenich. "That's it, comrade!"

Mikhail has emptied the first bucket, and moves to get hold of another one. Hurrying back to empty that one as well.

Yevgenich just keeps pumping, letting his eyes stream. He coughs too, imagine what he'd be like near the fire, pumpity pump.

"One…two…three." Maschenko calls out the count for the ones with buckets. His voice is terribly hoarse already, barely managing to cut through the din of the shouting all around them. Eventually that little bit they can do is enough, coupled with the lacklustre dumping of water from the other sides of the warehouse. He tosses down the hose, a long streak of dirt across his shirt where he had it against his chest. "That's enough. The NKVD can take it from there." He rubs his face, lifting his chin back north. "It'll be dark soon. We need to get the apartments safe." Safe as possible, anyway.

Mikhail nods a bit at Maschenko. "That's the important thing now," he offers. "Will be quite some breeze in there tonight, I fear."

Aleksandr began making his way back to the water after dumping his bucket, coughing and hacking along the way. Getting to the water, he set the bucket down and started having another fit of coughing and wiped his eyes.

Yevgenich stops pumping, it's more smoke than fire now anyway, he wipes his eyes with the dirty rag, which doesn't help. "We better see what there is to salvage." He adds, marching off to his ruined apartment, he's going to sleep in the basement tonight.

Maschenko's eyes are reddened and gummy at the corners, leaking water onto his cheeks. He sniffs hard, clearing his burning throat, and starts off after Yevgenich. His hand lands on Aleksandr's shoulder on the way. "Come on, comrade, let's get out of here."

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