Watch The Daylight Die

Communal Apartments (5 3)

It's getting darker outside, and Maschenko has gotten up to light two of the basement's small candles. One for the left side of the place, once for the right. The middle will be shrouded in shadow come nightfall. At least the artillery waves haven't returned yet, though the occasional sound of rumbling from far off can still be heard.

Here comes the darkness. Novikova looks up as Ivanovich seems to have dozed off. She smiles. "Thanks. It can be hazardous to trip in here sometimes," She remarks quietly. She seems relieved for it, and the rumbling causes her eyes to shift. That's not a noise she's going to get used to it seems. Sigh. "Thank you for going with us too."

Maschenko waves out the precious match, tossing it and the small box of them down on the crate that serves as table for the candle and holder. "Just glad we were inside when we were. If you could call that 'inside'." The physician fishes a broken cigarette from his front pocket and sticks it in his mouth, crouching down in front of the candle until the flame touches to the end. Gray smoke comes first from his nose and then in a larger puff from his mouth, and he rolls on his heels to put his back against the wall. "Where'd that garlic get off to?"

Novikova settles in on her cot and nods. "I am glad that building was made of brick," She admits softly. She smiles as he starts to smoke. "I have it here. I kept it close in case," In case someone grabbed it or in case she got hurt while carrying it - it's hard to tell. She pulls it from her blanket pile, held neatly in a tiny burlap bag. "Here you go," She offers and finally unwrapping herself from her comfort blanket, like a butterfly poking out of the cocoon (Minus the wet wing goop), she will bring it to him.

"Thanks." Maschenko settles his legs down, folding and pulling them in. He's a mess just like everyone else, clothes caked with grime, dust, and spattered with brownish-red blood. He drags a flat piece of wood closer, the nail scraping on the ground, and picks up one of the half-empty bottles of vodka nearby. Not opened, just set down next to him. The cigarette's held between his lips and dribbles smoke upwards past his right eyebrow. "You smoke? I have some more cigarettes."

Smile. Despite the ick, Novikova tries to keep her cheer up. She seems relieved bringing the garlic over. "No problem." She brushes herself off a little. "Me? I am afraid not. But thank you for offering. Perhaps you can just smoke for me," She grins. Fortunately, her cot is reasonably nearby so she can natter at the poor Ukrainian man. She'll hand him the garlic unless he'd like her to sit it somewhere. "Have you seen the pipes leak any? I tried to make sure they weren't. I think someone hit one."

Maschenko hehs. It makes a little cloud of smoke from his mouth. He squints through it, picking through the burlap bag until he finds the couple cloves they managed to rescue from the surplus market, lifting one and sniffing it. The end of the cigarette flares orange as he drags off it and exhales through his nose. "Leak? Not since that someone decided to break them." He snorts quietly. "Doubt there'll be water going through them for long anyway. Mains'll be shit by now." His accent tends to turn the hard Russian 'g' into a softer 'h', part of the classic northern Ukrainian lilt. His thumbnail slices into the top of the first garlic clove, peeling the skin off with care. "You eat something tonight?"

Novikova is quietly watching Maschenko. "Oh," Frown. Sigh. "Yeah, that's true," Novi notes, looking around. She doesn't comment on his accent if she notices it. "No, not yet. I haven't been hungry." It's tough to be hungry and afraid at the same time. "Did you?" She turns the question on its head. Alas, she has nothing so interesting as a cigarette to smoke, but she's sitting on a cot, watching Maschenko and tilting her head as she listens.

"Half a turnip. Feels just like home." Maschenko smirks around the cigarette, tilting his chin up to exhale. "Get yourself something to eat, comrade. If something happens down here we're going to need everyone ready to jump." The peel's slipped off the clove with a tiny rustle and set aside, then the clove itself. Next clove. His light blue eyes flicker her way, then back down. "Ever made a tincture?"

"Da! You can do it with herbs and it makes medicine cheaply." Smile. Novikova seems to know a little about it. She tilts her head. "I guess so. I will then," She promises. She smiles and watches him peel the cloves as she fetches a veggie part to nom on. Can't take the whole veggie. "The only hard part about tinctures is when you have to wait a bit," She replies. "But they are nice." Still, a strong, storable medicine is probably very wise. She manages to find part of a turnip, nearly a half. "Oh. You had turnips a lot too?" She peers.

"Good, you can help me stink up the place." Maschenko keeps working on peeling the savage-smelling cloves. He snorts at her question. "Hasn't everyone? Turnip soup, turnip mash, turnip-flavored turnip." He exhales a puff of smoke through his nose. "'Where's dinner?' asked the little boy. And his mother said, 'Oh, just sit there a while. It'll turnip.'" The skin of the clove crinkles off, added to the little pile. Third clove.

Sokolof has arrived.
Sokolof arrives from the South.
«Game» Sokolof moves into Basement.

Grin. Novikova's nose wrinkles at the smell though. Oooh, garlic stank. She laughs softly at his turnip comment. "That's true," She remarks. Nom, turnips. She nods. She'll eat pretty quickly, as raw turnip is a bit rough, even for people used to it. But it'll keep her tummy from grumbling. That was a good joke though and it provokes another grin. Hah! "Ooho. That was a good pun, I'm stealing that," Nod. She leaves her cot and moves to sit by Maschenko. "Sure." For now she watches him peel. "Need me to peel any of those?"

"Yeah, sure." Maschenko eyes the burlap bag, lifting his chin towards it. "Might as well get them all soaking now. How many did you find?" He's sitting with his back to the wall, Novikova settled nearby. Smoking a cigarette and peeling garlic cloves onto a makeshift 'table' of a plank of wood. A half-drunk bottle of vodka sits nearby.

The sound of footsteps, moving very quickly, scuttle down the stairs to the basement as Sokolof hurries into the (relative) safety of it. He's panting as if he's coming off a run.

Smile. Novi will take one and start peeling. "I found three bulbs. That was all we had spare really," She remarks quietly. "And that was by luck because sometimes people forget, then leave and it's too much hassle to go chasing everyone you know?" She remarks quietly. She is now helping peel a close near Maschenko. She seems to be in a decent mood, although she looks up hearing someone scuttling down the stairs. "Hey, are you alright?"

"S'alright, it's enough. Once we peel them, we'll get them crushed. This vodka will do." Maschenko looks up, squinting at Sokolof through a cloud of acrid gray. "What happened to you? Ass get lit on fire?"

Sokolof bites off a harsh laugh under his breath. It's a short "Heh" bearing no humor whatsoever. He practically falls into a convenient chair, taking deep breaths. "Not quite. Some of us from the tekhnikum were rounded up to assist at some of the factories. I did not wish to linger on the streets as I was returning." He eyes the vodka. More interested in that than the food just now.

Nod. Novikova is diligently peeling away. She smiles and lets it fade. She listens to Sokolof for now. "Really?" Peer. "And I don't blame you. That's probably very wise. I can get you some water or anything if you like," She's a-peelin' but hey. Being nice promotes good communal living right? She's sitting beside Maschenko, peeling a clove. She's much slower, being careful with her nails. Must not dent garlic. Sokolof has just sat down on a chair and the little group is talking.

"Streets are bad for you these days." Maschenko grips the cigarette with his teeth and grins at Sokolof, the expression equally mirthless. He grabs the bottle sitting by his leg, wiggling the larger end at the teacher. "Here. Have a pull off this before it donates its body to science."

Sokolof shakes his head to Novikova at the offer of water. He does take a swift pull off the bottle of liquor, gulping a healthy share before handing it back to Maschenko. "Its contribution shall be honored." He clasps his calloused fingers together, to further still the shaking of his hands. "Whole blocks are rubble out there. It is madness. I saw one woman from the primary school trying to lead some children to the river. The children, at least, should be evacuated." Not that he sounds particularly hopeful that will happen.

«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Stalingrad - City Square (4 3).

«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Stalingrad - City Square (4 3).

Novikova grins at the two. "It's true. Even with a nice umbrella," She comments wryly. Novipillar is sitting near Maschenko, agonizingly slowly peeling a garlic clove. She smiles as Maschenko lets poor Sokolof have a go at the liquor. She nods. "Fortunately you don't need a /huge/ amount for tincture. It's very lovely, a gift that way," No mention of God. It's almost strange her mindset in a way. A sad face at the state of outside. "They haven't-?" Novi seems shocked there are still children here. She wrinkles her nose. "Well, I gave away my train ticket. Mom kind of forgot to meet up with me anyway." Poor ditched Novi. She accepts her lot cheerily, like a puppy tossed into the river that continues to paddle anyway. Just keep swimmin'.

«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Prospekt Lenina Thoroughfare (4 2).
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Stalingrad - City Square (4 3).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage rips through Communal Apartments to deadly effect, filling the air with lethal shrapnel!

Maschenko plunks the bottle back down by his knee, leaving it open this time. It's about to be used anyway. As Novikova peels the garlic cloves he gets up onto his knees, searching around the candlelit areas for something to mash the cloves with. A hammer. A shoe. "You shitting me?" He asks Sokolof, looking over his shoulder. "Shit, I hope they…" He's distracted by the sound of artillery getting closer. "Fuck, here they come again."

«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Prospekt Lenina Thoroughfare (4 2).
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Stalingrad - City Square (4 3).

«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Prospekt Lenina Thoroughfare (4 2).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.

«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

Sokolof is about to reply, but he forestalls any further words as the shells begin to pound them. Beyond a fierce exclamation of profanity. He dives out of his chair and gets low to the floor.

«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage rips through Communal Apartments to deadly effect, filling the air with lethal shrapnel!
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

"Ah!" Novikova squeaks at the sound of artillery hitting the apartments again. She hunkers a little, but stays near what will soon be precious medicine. "I really hate that." She pouts. Ah, youth. "I wish they'd find a new hobby. Like knitting." Nod. Then maybe they could knit things for Babushkas? Swastika cozies? Who knows? Either way Novikova stays near to protect the goods and hunker in case of shrapnel.

«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» Artillery barrage at Communal Apartments has lifted!
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

Maschenko winces as the shell explosions slam those windows up there, glass cracking and wood groaning. He pulls his knees up to his chest and folds his arms over them, lowering his head to wipe sweat off his grimy skin onto his equally grimy arms. When finally the booms and pounding begin to fade down the street, he puts his smouldering cigarette back into his mouth for a drag and lets his knees down again, rolling forward. "I'm going to have to make a run to the hospital when there's daylight," he tells Efim under his breath. "I can't even begin to think what it looks like now. They can't have gotten everyone to the basement in time." Injured and ill, they don't move so fast. He ashes the cigarette by his knee, a grayish pile slowly forming.

"Fascists do not knit," Sokolof spits from where he's crouched. He denies them such basic, domestic human tasks just now. While the shells rain down he remains huddled against the wall. Even after they let up he does not move. Shaking. "It is fearful strange on the streets, Luka. A house untouched, whole as ever, next to a smoking ruin."

Explosions BAD! Novipillar is assembling as she tries to pull her blanket over. Fortress, it's a fortress right? She hunkers though and waits the artillery out. She takes a deep breath and looks to Maschenko. "Ah… I can go with you if you'd need help," She offers. "Unless they need me to clean, I guess I really don't work at the store anymore." There's a bit of sadness at that. but such is life. She nods at Sokolof. She takes a deep breath and listens to the account. "It is very strange. Like the surface of the moon I think."

Maschenko's eyes stay on Sokolof for a time, his own lined with dark circles. "It's still our city. Even if they burn it to the fucking ground. They'll have to drive us out first, and I am sure as shit not going anywhere." He takes another drag off the cigarette and reaches over, poking Sokolof's shoulder with his knuckles. "Here. Smoke that." Picking up the vodka bottle, he screws the cap back on tightly and turns over the wooden 'table', shaking the cloves and skins to the floor. It's half a box, and he puts it down walls-side up, then gathers the peeled garlic back in. "Maybe, Zoyenka. Maybe. I should go and check on it first, and I'll come get you if those comrades need more."

"As if you've a choice?" Sokolof retorts to Maschenko from where he sits against the wall, either too shaken or just not bothering to mask his bitterness. Another round of shells was falling outside minutes ago, though things have fallen quiet again. For now. "As if any of us have a choice." He does offer a thanks under his breath as he takes the cigarette, taking quick puffs off it. A faint smirk to Novikova. "Cleaning, Zoyenka? I doubt any will notice a little more dust just now."

Grigory sits up from the cot that he's been recovering in. He has a look around and flinches as a shell lands near their apartments. German swear word. He scratches his head and has a look around, "Do they ever stop?"

"I don't think any of us are going anywhere," Novikova offers helpfully, though there's a quiet resignation too. She nods. "If you're sure. I'm not sure going out alone is wise, but I'm not really wise either." A shrug at that. "I doubt that too, I mean moving rubble or being called somewhere," Novikova replies. "But … it is pretty futile until they give up I guess." She wrinkles her nose. Probably still best to avert the insanity of boredom and fear. She blinks at Grigory's German curse word. She looks uneasy at it, almost fearful. her eyebrows furrow. She looks to Maschenko. "Just be careful okay?" She smiles as he gathers the garlic.

"We will," Maschenko replies to Sokolof. He gestures with the vodka bottle towards the high window. "When that stops, and they roll in? We can go up there and raise our hands and surrender. Or I can stick a fucking rag in this bottle, light it on fire, and throw it at them. Might be all I'll have, but fuck it." This is not as glib as the words might suggest, his tense voice dead serious. He looks down at the garlic bits in the half-box, gripping the vodka bottle around the middle and giving it a hard slam on top of the cloves. BANG. Which is promptly met by the BOOM of artillery up the street. "I will, Zoyenka." His eyes shift towards Grigory as the man speaks German, one dark brow arching.

«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Stalingrad - City Center (5 4).
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Stalingrad - City Center (5 4).
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Stalingrad - City Center (5 4).
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Stalingrad - City Center (5 4).

Sokolof actually starts laughing at Grigory's words as the man sits up. There's little humor in his laugh. There's almost a manic quality to it in fact. Not that it carries above the pounding of the shells outside. "Nyet…nyet…they do not stop…of course they do not stop…" He shudders, though he does look up at Maschenko's words. Snapping out of it a bit. He makes no reply, but keeps close to the wall.

«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage rips through Communal Apartments to deadly effect, filling the air with lethal shrapnel!
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage rips through Communal Apartments to deadly effect, filling the air with lethal shrapnel!
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

Grigory peers around as he realizes that he's just spoken the language of the enemy. He looks around at everyone peering at him and stands up, stripping his shirt off to reveal the bandages, "They're bombing me too, da?" He looks around as continues, "Now…who has vodka?"

«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage rips through Communal Apartments to deadly effect, filling the air with lethal shrapnel!
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage rips through Communal Apartments to deadly effect, filling the air with lethal shrapnel!
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

Galina rolls out of her sleeping position under the stairs and begins to move towards Grigory when the artillery actually hits the apartments. She jumps forward and into Grigory as she tries to roll out of the way. "What the hell," she mutters. "I wake up and they decide to start hitting us again?" She can't quite help but eye Grigory's, um… less than clothed torso.

«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).

Maschenko just keeps looking at Grigory for a moment longer. He's holding one of the bottles of vodka — about 1/4th full — but it's not offered. As the artillery fire rolls steadily until it's right on top of them again, he exhales tensely and grits his teeth, looking back at Sokolof. "Net." His particular pronunciation of the negative. "It will. Hold on, Efim."

"Good," Smile. Novikova does seem to care about the Ukrainian fellow. Big hearted git. She watches him smash the cloves with a grin. Though she winces at the artillery and clings to her blanket. Her heart is pounding. There's fear on her face, but she tries to hide it. She smiles at Sokolof's laugh. It's a sort of 'well, he's laughing RIGHT?' sort of smile. Deep breath. "I think they'd stop if someone had not peed in their beer and taken their hobbies I guess. That's the problem with Germany. They finally get tired of poking at France and go bother someone else." Pout. Grigory gets a sidelong, confused look. She looks back to Maschenko now.

«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage rips through Communal Apartments to deadly effect, filling the air with lethal shrapnel!
«Artillery» You hear artillery pounding Communal Apartments (5 3).
«Artillery» 90mm mortar artillery barrage batters Communal Apartments ineffectually.
«Artillery» Artillery barrage at Communal Apartments has lifted!

Sokolof raises his head when, again, the shelling quiets. For now. Another of those shuddering breaths is released. He doesn't seem on point of laughing again, however. The vodka bottle is eyed again, but he does not ask for any more. In all of that, the brief use of German from Grigory seems to have passed him by. To Novikova, a snort. Part amusement, part bitterness. "Is that the cause of all this? Seems a great deal of trouble to go to over spoiled beard. Fucking fascists."

Grigory stretches and leans down to grab his shirt before slipping it back on. He sits back down on the cot. "Hrmm…" He takes a moment to listen, "I'm not hearing any more." He does chuckle at Novikova, "Eh…it's the right of every country to fuck with France."

Galina snorts softly. "Shut up, Grigory," she says. She tilts her head for a moment and then shakes her head. "I'll have to go back to the guns soon," she says mostly for his ears. "I need to relieve the gunner on duty." She turns blue eyes over the motley crew assembled down here and takes a soft breath, holding it in.

As the last of the sunlight fades outside, their basement is lit by two steadily burning candles. It leaves much of the claustrophobic space in shadow, illuminating two small circles by the walls. Maschenko, Novikova, and Sokolof are by one of these like three moths huddled around an overturned wooden box. The smell of garlic is rather strong. "I would not wish Fascists on even the French," the physician grunts, giving Grigory a slight look as it seems the man holds the opposite opinion. He lifts the vodka bottle again, smashing it down on the garlic cloves inside the box and releasing another sharp whiff of that particular stink. A nod to Galina. "Be brave and well, comrade." Bang, he hits the garlic again.

"That or France got tired of putting up with them," Novi peers owlishly. "I am sure there um, plenty of nice things about France." Nod. "But you feel kind of bad. One day it is many bitty countries. Then BAKOW! It is a big angry Germany that seems to enjoy rising up every so often and bothering everyone. I wish I knew why they are so angry?" Shrug. It is a mystery to the Novipillar. She just gives up. She wrinkles her nose at the garlic smell. "Be well," She waves to Galina. "Oh well, it smells better than turnips kinda."

Reznov has been quiet so far, until he hears mention of manning guns. "Eh? I know how to put a shell in a breech, I remember back in the first Great War, when we had to help an Artillery unit, because all our horses had frozen to death, or were given to Tsarist cocksucking favoured types." It's amazing how the idea of getting out of the basement spurs him. "May I come then Comrade? Za Stalin! Za Rodinia!" He practically shouts out.

Sokolof cracks a smirk at Grigory's comment about France. "They have not found Russia so easy as France…" he mutters. With a bit more spine in his tone than he was showing before. A bit. He looks over at Galina as she speaks of duty on the guns, inclining his head to her. "I'd wish you luck, Comrade, but there is little luck in the city now. Stay as safe as you can, and put some fear into the fascists."

Bang. Another smash of the thick bottle end onto the garlic. Maschenko's got his shoulder into it, lips thinned as he works on crushing the powerful-smelling cloves. Bang. Bang. The effort is slightly more forceful than it really needs to be as it punctuates the shouting in the room, his arm tense all the way up into his upper back.

"You crush garlic admirably," Novikova replies, peering at the squished cloves. "Most people only get one side then it doesn't really turn out right," She offers. A nod at Sokolof. She takes a deep breath. "Have you made a lot of medicine before?" She asks quietly. She blinks at Grigory owlishly. "I don't think I really would wish grumpy Germans on anyone either."

Galina just picks up a sharp piece of wood and points it at Reznov. "You stay put, you," she says warningly. "I don't need to be worrying about you while I'm dodging shells, okay? You want to help the AA unit? Stay here and boil water." She pauses for a second, and seems to take a little bit of pity. "I'll ask if they can use you and send word." With that, she tosses the wood to the old man, nods to the others, and heads up the stairs all sneaky-fast like.

Reznov would argue, but he knows she could probably beam him over the head with the wood. "Ahh fucking kids, forcing old men to die in basements, like cowards, rather then manning their posts like true soldiers.." he says, even as he catches the wood, hefting it a bit. "Well, at least if any Fascists have snuck into the city, they won't get Reznov with out a fight!" He says, experimentally swinging it..

BANG. Maschenko rolls his shoulder back and knocks the bottom of the bottle against the wood, dislodging garlic bits into the pile of eye-watering mash in the box. The stink is enough to permeate most of the basement by now, even making the physician look slightly nauseated. "Here and there. Since the Fascists started trying to cut us off." Which has been years now. He coughs, turning his face out of the brunt of the garlic smell and unscrewing the vodka bottle cap. "Here. Help me get the mash in here to soak."

Blink. She blinks at the Bang. A smile. Though she wrinkles her nose. Ok, now the garlic stank is hitting. "I see," She nods. "I learned a lot about herbs and things from grandmother." She shrugs. Which might have been the start of her adoration of plants. She nods. "Alright." And with that, she will begin to help moving the mash. The garlic mash.

Maschenko clears his throat thickly, tasting the garlic just from the smell alone. His right eye's begun tearing up, going slowly bloodshot as they work. He holds the bottle steady, tilted towards Novikova to give her an easier time of scraping the pile of crushed herb into the vodka. "That so?" He asks, scratchily. "Runs in the family, then?"

A pause. Novikova is a little weebly looking from the smell herself. She will scrape the crushed herb in easily, guiding it. Ta da! No spills. "Yeah. Kind of. No one else really went for a degree though," Folk medicine is dying, but Novi holds a fairly good record in that skull of hers. "Here, um, let me dampen my scarf and you should wear that like a bandana. That helps with the stink. We did that when we used the fresh fertilizer." POO STANK. "Do you know many other doctors?"

"No, don't waste the water." Maschenko shakes his head. "It's just garlic." He squints a little but deals with it until she's loaded all of the garlic into the quarter-full bottle, and he screws the cap back on. "Fuck. Phew." His wrist turns, giving the bottle a vigorous shake. "You are a brave one, Zoyenka, thank you. And no, I do not doubt that of your grandmother. As if the Tsar-…" A quick turn of his head, and he spits on the ground by his leg. "…meant for education for all." The bottle's pushed against the wall, hands wiped on the dirty ground. "Do I know many? Well, yes. At the hospital, of course."

"If you're sure," Novikova replies. "I'd just feel bad if it made you ill is all." Smile. She loads pretty easily though. Then a grin. "You're brave too, but thank you." She's touched! She tilts her head and takes a deep breath. "It's also luck and opportunity sometimes. Some people just have to work instead," She apparently realizes in this era she's damned lucky to get to study. No comment on the Tsar. She just looks a bit blank at it. She does not remember a Lenin or Stalinless world. She tilts her head. "I hope people at least get a chance if they wish to work that way," Russia needs doctors and such too after all. She just lets it go. "Hm. It must be nice to have work friends too. Some of the girls at the shop wouldn't talk about much besides boys. It felt like they collect them like flowers or beads." Boggle. "But they do lots of other stuff I really don't. Like I stopped sneaking out after I got thumped for it." Nosewrinkle.

"It's not 'luck', Zoyenka." Maschenko throws a piece of cloth over the box and shoves it away. Not that that helps the stench, but he can pretend. He settles back against the wall, shoulders slouched. Late summer heat's pasted his dark hair to his forehead in grimy strands, the collar and arms of his shirt stained with sweat. "If that's what best for Russia then that's what they do. Our part is our part, and no man is better than another just for some books he's read." He pats his pockets for his dwindling cigarette supply, finding another bent one that dribbles tobacco bits onto his leg. A slight snort at the mention of the shop girls. "You're all at that age, I guess. People who don't get thumped for sneaking out every once in a while - I'm sure there's something wrong with them."

Nod. Novikova believes that. "I mean- I am grateful for what I get to do," She remarks quietly and leans against a wall. She smiles as he speaks. "It's true." She likes to read though. A soft laugh. "Oh… I am bad at that." Ponder. "I like to read and gather plants though. The telescope was fun," Dork. "But I am bad at sneaking out too, and I'm not sure my skull is thick enough to take that." She is obviously joking. She doesn't seem to mind the smoking. "Oh well." She doesn't have to worry about that anymore. "Hmmm. Have you been a doctor very long?"

The candle serves as match again. Maschenko picks it up and holds it to the end of the cigarette, then shoves the candle holder back on the floor and returns to his exhausted slouching. Bodily tired and bodily tense both at once, though it doesn't thread into his voice. He picks a tiny piece of tobacco off his lip, flicking it away. "Seven years." Not long, as doctors go. Theoretically it pegs his age as somewhere in his early thirties. "Telescopes, eh. Back in school, was that?"

Elise comes down into the basement, nose wrinkling at the garlic smell. "Did something die down here?" she wonders aloud, touching the back of her hand to her mouth and nose as she adjusts to the garlic scent. Her uniform is dusty from rubble.

"Before University, da," Novikova nods. She smiles at the candle. She leans and listens. "I see." Though to a second year university student, that seems like /ages/. She leans, hearing Elise. "Cousin? No, just some garlic mashing," She explains. "Are you alright?" There's concern now. She tries not to sneeze, but fails and turns away from Maschenko. Achew! Darn dust.

"I've heard some of the astronomers blathering on about sending a man up there to the stars one day. Hah." Maschenko snorts quietly. Russians in space. "Can you imagine." He takes a drag off his cigarette and lifts his bloodshot blue eyes at the sound of feet on the stairs. "Just our olfactory nerves, Comrade Elise. How are things outside?"

Elise ahs at their explanation. "Hello Zoya, Doctor." She nods to Novikova's concern. "Da, I'm fine thanks. A building was hit and we were helping to get people out." She brushes some of the dust off, and frowns when she notices a small bloodstain (not hers) on her sleeve. "It's much the same," she answers the doctor. Which is to say not good.

Blink. Hmmmm. "Seems kind of exciting. I'd like to go up there, but then it seems horribly impractical too… with everything that's going on down here," She considers. Novikova tilts her head, trying to imagine. "I bet it must be beautiful though. But beautiful really doesn't keep people fed…" It's clear Novi is young enough to still daydream, but is torn between it and the ugly practical reality. Sigh. Her nose wrinkles in thought. "I would like to see the surface of the moon though." Ponder. She grins at Maschenko's comment and looks to Elise. "Hello, Elise," Novikova smiles. "That's too bad." Sigh.

Maschenko tilts his head back against the wall. His mouth opens, letting out a thick ring of smoke that quickly tries to twist itself into a Moebius strip before it's blown away by the rest of his exhale. He scratches the growing stubble on his jawline, giving Elise a mild nod in the process. "The bombers will stop for the night soon, anyhow. Best get an hour or two of sleep while you can. If you're hungry, we've got…" One of his brows raises, a poignantly aristocratic arch that contrasts sharply with his unkempt appearance and uncultured accent. "…turnips. Couple of those. Some tins."

"Much safer down here," Elise agrees. "But beautiful?" she says, giving her cousin an odd look. She missed the comment about space, so the moon thing seems to come out of the blue. She flops down on something nearby, but her grumbling stomach causes her to get up again when Maschenko mentions food. "Turnips. Well, it is better than nothing." She wanders over to get some, observing, "The guns have certainly been getting a workout." Which explains why she's been absent a lot.

"Da, turnips. I used my key and we checked the surplus store. The word surplus is something of a joke," Novikova comments wryly, "But it was better than nothing you know?" She tilts her head. She isn't ungrateful, but it was somewhat disappointing. "I figured I'd rather we use them and hand them out before random looters or fascists took things." A shrug. "If there is trouble for it, it was my key and I will take responsibility." But it's not likely. She pauses. "I think I may take advantage of that. A nap sounds alright." Especially the prospect of an artillery free hour.

"Keys," Maschenko grunts under his breath. "Who needs keys when we've got holes in the walls?" He pulls his feet under him and gets up stiffly, pushing off the wall. "I'll find you something, Elise. Go and get some rest, Zoyenka, before they decide to play pin the shell on the building in the dark."

"Better us than the fascists, for certain," Elise agrees succinctly. "I cannot imagine anyone objecting to giving them to those in need. What else are we to do?" Starve? Ah, the naivete of youth. "Thank you, Zoya. Rest well." When the doctor moves to get her something, "Ah, thank you Doctor. How are things here?"

"Well, the doorway was probably slightly safer than the holes. … kind of. Less chance of a splinter to the face?" She offers hopefully. A shrug. She is still willing to accept responsibility for it. "There should be a couple of turnips and maybe some tins. The old fellow was mumbling earlier," Novikova replies quietly. She yawns and nods. "See you soon." Probably likely more a nap than a night of rest. Time for Novipillar to return to her cot.

Maschenko waves a hand, indicating their dank, candlelit basement. "The same as when last you left it, eh?" He steps over their impromptu tincture-making station, which still reeks fairly strongly. A bottle of vodka sits by the wall, about 1/4th full of liquor and a big clump of mashed garlic. "People sleep, they wake up. They hear artillery and still feel the need to ask if it's still going on." Their turnips are dumped into a burlap bag on the floor, which he crouches by to dig through. "Tell me you've all shot something down out there."

Elise smirks at his description. "And the ones coming back feel the need to ask if everything's the same." It's the cycle. "How is Comrade Grigory?" She comes over to help with the turnips. "I have not personally, but we have seen a few go down." Only a few, though, as indicated by her grim expression.

Maschenko sticks the cigarette in his mouth as he roots through the bag. Finding the other half of the turnip that Novikova had been nibbling on, he offers this to Elise. "Well, that's better than nothing." As for Grigory: "He'll be fine." Smoke curls up his temple and he glances towards the cot Grigory's taking up. Then back to the gunner. The orange at the end of the cigarette flares and he exhales through his nose, lowering his voice nearly to whisper. "He, um." Fingertips pluck out the smoke, and he thins his lips. "Woke up speaking German, that one."

"Not much better than nothing," the young woman counters, her disappointment apparent. "Thank you," Elise says, taking the nibbled turnip and munching on it hungrily. She follows his glance to Grigory, brow knitting. "I did not know he was German." Her own faint accent gives away her German roots as well, though it is not something she goes out of her way to advertise.

"I don't know if he is," Maschenko continues under his breath. "If he is, he isn't a very bright one. Goes on about things like someone desperate to /be/ caught doing something…off." He shakes his head slightly, frowning and pulling the sack shut again with its battered ties. "The commissar can handle it. You really should get a little sleep. It'll be dawn soon."

Elise frowns a bit, still looking at the wounded man. "Something to keep an eye on, at any rate." She looks back, nodding to him. "I will, yes. Soon as I've finished eating. You should as well, Doctor. Thank you." She takes her turnip back to her spot near her cousin.

"Sure." Maschenko stands back up and drops his cigarette, grinding it into the floor with his boot heel. "Dobranich, comrade." He rubs the back of his hand against his nose and heads off back to his seat on the floor, and back to counting out their medical supplies. Outside the sky is already lightening, and soon the drones of the Nazi bombers will again deafen Stalingrad.

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