Insanity Ward

A sleigh pulls up and two regulars hop out. They stomp up to the cabin, carrying something wrapped in thick blankets. One regular kicks at the door and shouts, "We're Finns! Found wounded! One of yours! Don't shoot!"

Vesa gets up from his pallet hearing the shouting, tossing aside what he was reading. He sprints for the door, nearly getting whacked in the face by it being kicked open. "Who is it?" He asks quickly. not that these soldiers would know, but he reaches for the blankets, trying to see the face.

Half of the bulk the soldiers carry consists of blankets. The other half is, of course, Niko, semi-conscious. He looks a lot smaller and paler than usual. Getting shot up by a machine gun does that to people. The regulars drop him onto a spare cot and rush out of the cabin, taking the blankets with them. Within moments, they are back in the sleigh and gone.

Taking the blankets. Bastards. Vesa shuts the cabin door as the whirlwind leaves, then looks over at where they'd dumped Niko. He heads back that way, pulling some blankets off an unused pallet and hauling them over. Sitting down on the edge of the pallet he unfurls the blankets, laying them over Niko's legs up to his waist.

"Cold…" Niko mutters. Hypothermic and hypovolemic, his shivering is weak. One glance at his wounds shows that they have been improperly tended to, the bandages applied in an amateurish way. Both hands, both legs, and one in the chest, which seems to be giving him the most trouble.

Vesa is no doctor. "Miss Sonja?" He calls over his shoulder, scanning the cabin for signs of her. "Hold on, Niko, I'll be right back…" Leaving the blanket over Niko's legs, he gets up and scoots over to Korhonen's supplies, digging through the bag and the stuff on the floor for the bandages they'd cleaned and dried last night.

"I'm dying," Niko mutters to Vesa. "Oh Jesus, I'm dying… a tank. Thought they were gone. They weren't." He coughs and winces, trying to clutch at his chest, but too weak to do so.

Some time later…

Niko lies on a cot, blankets on him. He shivers a little, the consequence of blood loss coupled with being in the cold too long. Vesa has left Niko and is busying himself looking through Korhonen's doctor's bag. Niko coughs, weakly.

Tuomas lies on a pallet, propped into a sitting position. He's clearly not like that because he's well enough to sit - rather, because the wound in his upper chest is higher than his heart that way, slowing down the blood seeping into the bandages from the shrapnel-wound. He looks like he's in a pretty bad way, his face pale and drawn-out, and his breath coming with difficulty. His brown eyes are open, however, and he's passively surveying the interior of the cabin, including Niko.

Niko can't sit up. But he turns his head and stares at Tuomas, eyes a little glazed. He takes wheezing breaths; the red splotch on the bandage on his left chest seems to be slowly spreading. "Who got out? They broke through, didn't they?" Niko says, gasping.

"One tank… Got through. The other was toasted. The infantry was… Repelled." Tuomas speaks in short bursts, closing his eyes with the pain as he forces himself to utter the words. He stares quietly at Niko for a while, gathering strength for another effort to speak. "We were the… Worst casualties… On our side."

Niko nods his head. "That's good to hear." He tries to sit up but groans, collapsing back onto the cot. "Tried… buying time. Thought the Russians would continue targeting you instead." He manages a weak smile. "Didn't think they would notice me with a grenade. Guess I was wrong."

"The wages of a hero are… Death." Tuomas gasps that out in a rather vague way, as if it were a quotation from some place. There is an ugly, bandaged gash on his forehead, but the head wound doesn't look too serious. "The Bofors is a… Shell magnet." He tries to smile, but it comes off as being more of a grimace.

Niko coughs and winces. "Last time I try anything like that," he says. "Next time, I'm getting out of there if I get the chance to. Let them machine gun you." He wipes his mouth; there's a little blood on his lips.

"Not… Machine gun. Shrapnel." Tuomas raises a hand carefully, pointing at his upper chest. It's a wonder that it didn't kill him - must have gone through his body only a few inches above the heart. "But yeah. Run away and live, I guess."

"That's the best policy," Niko mutters. "I'm telling you, each time I get shot, I lose a pound and an inch. Before this war is over, if I'm still alive, there won't be much left of me." He raises his crudely-bandaged hands, which have, surprise-surprise, been shot again.

Sonja bustles in from outside, and heads over to Tuomas. "Hey, Tuomas." she says with a brilliant smile. "How are you feeling?" she asks him. Now is the time to dig out pieces of shrapnel close to hearts.

"Lose… Weight? Funny. You'd expect to… Get fat with all this… Lying around." Tuomas smile weakly at Niko - there's a profound, content innocence about him, that seems completely unaffected by the war the lot of you are plunged in. As Sonja moves up, he gasps out, "I don't… Know. I don't… Feel much pain. That's… Good, right?" He offers a pained, vague smile in her direction.

"You're funny," Niko says, coughing. "Hey, do me a favor? Put that wise saying of yours on my tombstone after the Russians kill me. Mannerheim is giving heroes tombstones, isn't he?" The small man wipes more blood from his mouth and groans.

"I guess it is." Sonja replies brightly. "And lucky you, we have a little morphine left. And some vodka.". She produces a bottle, obtained at great expense from Pentti. Morphine /and/ vodka, this is probably bad, right?

"Sure. I don't know… Where it was from. I think I… Read it somewhere. I've forgotten… So much. Hard to think now." Whether the 'now' in question is when wounded or in general is hard to say. Tuomas blinks at Sonja and the bottle. He offers a pained, but grateful smile in her direction, "Lucky… me." As always, it's impossible to tell whether he's being sarcastic,

"You lucky bastard," Niko mutters. "Vodka and morphine. It must be your birthday, or you just got hit by shrapnel." He laughs wheezingly. "I'd trade all the world's morphine and vodka just to get that tank that got away. Doesn't look like either of us will be skiing or throwing molotovs anytime soon, though."

Sonja nods, and offers the bottle to Tuomas, times-a-wasting. And the need for surgery is urgent. "Well, here you go then." she says in her best optimist voice. She undoes the stopper for him, in case he can't manage that.

"I… Don't know. I don't think a… lone tank is going to be… Good for long. Get… Bogged down." A little optimistic maybe, but hey. It seems to be in the air. Tuomas waits for Sonja to unscrew the bottle, before tilting his head, clumsily raising a hand to bring the bottle to his lips. He takes a long swig, grimacing as the fiery liquid burns in his mouth, "Ahhhhhhh…"

Niko coughs some more and closes his eyes to try to rest some. "I hope you're right, Tuomas," he says. "I hope you're right." He wipes more blood from his mouth.
'
Sonja watches with a moment of trepidation, as if she's expecting vodka to spray out of Tuomas' chest or something. fortunately, it does not. She heads off to root around in her fathers bag, for a needle, a morphine ampoule, and a packet of matches, leaving Tuomas with the vodka. "Make sure you drink up…".

"I… Don't know. I think so. Tanks get… Frozen unless their… Engines are on all the time… In the cold. Run out of fuel… soon." This longish statement takes a lot of energy from Tuomas, and the man falls silent, gasping for breath. Fortunately, he has vodka to drown out the pain - he needs no prompting to work at emptying the bottle, grimacing as he takes a few swigs.

"People get frozen outside too," Niko says, eyes still closed. "I don't know how long, an hour, maybe, I was bleeding in that trench until I was.." A rough bout of coughing interrupts his speech.

"You're lucky to… Be alive then." Tuomas' eyes start to glaze over as he finishes with the Vodka, eyes slowly moving to Sonja. He doesn't even wince as the needle goes in, his brain already a bit disconnected from whatever's happening to his body. As the morphine kicks in, he sighs, a beatific smile appearing on his broad, pale face.

"Luck," Niko mutters. "I'm starting to become a firm believer in luck. Knew a man who believed in luck. The Neighbor killed him, of course…" he trails off.

Sonja is apparently no longer afraid of blood anyway, as when Tuomas is nicely steaming, she strips him out of his bandages so she can get at the chest wound. She pokes at it gently first, trying to feel around in it for where the shrapnel is exactly. All she knows is - it didn't come out the back…

Tuomas stirs - he feels the pain, but he no longers cares about it. Oh, the joys of morphine. As Niko speaks about Luck he gasps out, "Maybe his… luck ran out… Then?" Speaking probably isn't helping much, with removing the dangerous piece of shrapnel from the vicinity of his lungs and heart.

Niko laughs, but his laughing soon cuts short into another bout of coughing. "Ran out… that's funny… real funny. Don't mention that around Antti… or Emma… or Sonja," he says with a smirk. "Oh, wait…"

"No talk of dying now." Sonja says, as her fingers hook around something metallic in Tuomas chest. She heaves at it, gently at first, but when it doesn't budge she tries harder. High tech surgery this is, but its not going anywhere, not with her puny strength anyway. "Ugh." she mutters, looking at blood soaked hands.

"Okay… I won't." Tuomas smiles in a slightly spaced out way at Niko, his eyes drifting slowly to Sonja. Someone is poking around in his chest… But no. Not his chest. Someone else's pain! As Sonja struggles to get the shrapnel out, he looks down at his bloody chest, mumbling, "You want… help?" He fumbles around down for whatever it is she's trying to get at.

Niko grunts and opens his eyes. "That should help her," he mutters. "Your foolish oaf hands pawing around in your own chest. That's almost as smart as me putting myself in the position to get shot up by two tanks."

"No! You're drunk, remember." Sonja chides him, and brushes his hands away. "Don't move." she commands in her most commanding voice, and runs off to grab some pliers from Pa's bag. This'll do the trick. She's back at his side in a flash, in case he decides to yank his own lung out or something.

Tuomas subsides, letting his hands slip down to his sides. His brown eyes roll around in his head… Blood loss, alcohol and morphine are placing him near the boundaries of consciousness.

Niko silently watches Sonja dig around in Tuomas' chest.

"Hey, wake up!" Sonja says, and gives Tuomas a slap to one cheek. Drunk yes, asleep, no. She reaches into the wound again with the pliers, no mean feat with ribs in the way, and this time she feels it moving. A bandage and a whole pile of petroleum jelly is on standby, ready to plug the hole thats going to result.

A light slap. This is Sonja we're talk about, not Pentti.

"Is he dead yet?" Niko asks quietly. "If he is… no morphine or vodka for me, I don't want to die either."

Tuomas blinks his eyes rapidly, smiling with vague, unfocused happiness up at Sonja. He's still hovering on the border of unconsciousness, but on the conscious side for now.

Vesa moves back over towards Tuomas and Sonja, having finished cleaning some of Korhonen's medical tools off. He kneels quickly when he sees Sonja about to pull the shrapnel. "Let me help you, Miss Sonja," he says, grabbing for some of the bandages.

Sonja nods at Vesa, and then wiggles the pliers gently, slowly working the sharp chunk of metal out. Eventually it gives way, and a whole lot of blood wells up, bubbling with lung-air, and the bandages promptly get slapped onto the wound. "Ugh. I think I'm going to throw up." she mutters, trying not to look in too much detail. "He's not dead yet, no.". She's working on it.

Tuomas gasps, convulsing as the breath trickles out of his lungs. Even as the wound is covered, he shifts his head to the side, coughing up a considerable amount of blood. Well, he turned his head to the side Sonja was on. so for her troubles, she now has blackish blood flying in her direction.

Niko angles his head on his pillow to get a better view of the butchery.

Vesa pulls a mass of bandages as well, sticking them onto the bleeding wound and pressing down like he knows he needs to to staunch this flood of red. "Hang in there, Miss Sonja…" His eyes look at Tuomas' face, a little wide at the way the man's thrashing around, but he doesn't let up the pressure on the bandages.

Sonja gets blood-sprayed, and goes green underneath the blood. Its like a slasher movie in here. She looks thoroughly miserable, as the bandages get covered in jelly to make them air tight. She daydreams of a bath in Pyyvaara throughout, knowing that she's stuck here looking after Tuomas until he's sufficiently recovered and so it will be only a dream for a while yet.

Tuomas stops convulsing after a while… And wonder of wonders, colour seems to be returning to his face. After a little while, his eyelids flutter, and finally his eyes open. The unfocused brown eyes drift from Vesa to Sonja. He gurgles… Laughing? Crying? Who can tell. "You're all… Red. That's… Funny." After he gasps this out, his broad face settles into a beatific smile, aimed at Sonja.

"You must be drunk," Niko says weakly, eyes going wide at all the blood sprayed. "That's your life that's dripping off of her, Tuomas."

Vesa doesn't let go of the bandages, nor let up on the pressure, even as blood gouts over him and sprays his face in a bright red fan. He looks uncomfortable with Tuomas' words but he's been around the babbling wounded long enough to be able to ignore them. He reaches back with his left hand and grabs more fresh bandages, piling that on top of the soaked ones and pressing down again.

Sonja flops down wearily on a stool next to the bed, and zones quietly. Remaining attentive in case Tuomas' condition worsens, but otherwise quite happy to recharge the mental batteries.

"Will he live?" Niko says to Vesa. "He sure drank a lot of vodka…" The small man coughs and says hoarsely, "You look ridiculous, by the way, with that blood all over your face. And this is coming from a man who has five new holes and only four fingers on each hand."

"My… Blood? Really?" Tuomas blinks in incomprehension, staring without understanding at Vesa and Sonja. His brown eyes slowly rotate between Niko and Vesa, unfocused. Struggling to tune in on the conversation.

"He'll be okay," Vesa says, sounding a little shaken. Long as Tuomas' eyes are still open that means he's good, right?! He presses down a little harder on the wound with the heel of his hand, right atop left. "It's stopping…"

Tuomas gradually zones out, settling into a restless half slumber.

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