Mines and Merriment

Vesa is studying some hastily sketched drawing that he made while Topi explained the mines and their clearing to him. He's sitting on the floor of the cabin looking over the paper scraps, his legs stretched out in front of him.

Niko awakes from his nap. The small man stands and scratches his beard. He picks up his rifle and slings it over a shoulder, then heads over to the stove. Niko frowns. "Are we seriously out of coffee?"

Korhonen is taking stock of the drugs in his medical bag. A daily task, and the little inventory is one that always makes him frown. Niko's stirring makes him look up and turn his head. "Are we now? Well, there are worse things we could lack, I suppose." Still, he sounds as if he'll mourn the lack of coffee.

"That's what Mr. Viinikainen said," Vesa says, glancing up from the crumpled paper scraps. "And Miss Sonja. Matti's sister seems to think we can snap finger and steal Russian coffee off their tables or something."

Niko pours himself a cup of… boiled water. "Next raid, I'd rather they brought back salmiakki and hot gloggi than coffee, but that's just me," he says softly. The small man drinks some and makes a face. The water is presumably flat. He scratches his beard again. "What I wouldn't give for a dip in the lake followed by a nice steam in the sauna, too," he mutters. "I itch all over." Awake now, he walks over to the window and stares outside, doing what he usually does these days.

"She thinsk a lot of things," Antti mutters upon overhearing that last. The farmer had just stirred from sleep against one wall, and sits now upright, elbows set on his knees for a moment, before rising to his feet with a grimace and stretch. "what are you doing?" he wonders of Vesa after a moment.

Marja is asleep in a cot. She's been doing that a lot lately, until she recovers from this cold that's caught her. She still doesn't care to risk going near any of the patients unless necessary… too much of a chance of getting them sick also. So… she is in bed, curled up on her side… On occasion she coughs before nestling down into her pillow again.

"We should not put our lives at risk for something like coffee," Korhonen says firmly. Under his breath he adds, "We risk our lives enough as it is just by carrying on out here." He looks over at Marja, then glances around the cabin, trying to pinpoint where his other daughters are, or have gone off to.

"Mr. Lindstrom taught me some about the mines. How to get them out of the ground and carry them," Vesa replies to Antti, sitting up a bit to re-brace his back securely against the wall. "I was just looking stuff over." He looks over at Korhonen and shakes his head. "Nobody's going to, sir. Don't worry."

Niko turns away from the window to stare at Vesa. "How fast do you think you can do it?" he asks. "Might be tricky if you have to dig in the snow under gunfire, eh?" He smiles a little, or at least tries to.

"Mines," Antti echoes with a frown. "Pulling mines out of the ground.. Doesnt sound easy." A sidelong look at Niko as the other speaks up, before asking Vesa, "How long does that take, do you think?"

Korhonen's eyes widen a notch at Vesa. "Been learning about mines, have you?" The idea of the youngster receiving such instruction clearly does not please him. Not that he objects. Not surrounded by grown men who are doing the same work. And not in the middle of a war. Still, it does not please him.

Vesa glances at Korhonen. He can sense the displeasure, but just answers, "Yes, sir." Then he looks back at Niko and Antti. "I don't know, exactly. Mr. Lindstrom would know better how long it would take. Guess it depends how many and how bad the ground is." He tries to smirk at Niko but it looks as weak as Niko's smile.

Marja isn't really asleep any longer, but… they're discussing business. That tends to stop when the women are around, she knows that, so she remains laying there and keeps her eyes shut, just listening to the men and their talk of mines and warfare.

"First you learned machine guns, now you're learning mines," Niko mutters, shaking his head. "And a carpenter's apprentice boy, to boot." He laughs. "And to think, all these years all I wanted to do was study maths or something. I've wasted my life to date." He turns to stare back out the window.

Antti mutters, "Hmm. Topi take you to have a look around the outskirts of Pyyvaara yet?" A slowly drawn breath as he thinks. "When we go back for the next raid, we dont want men or horses getting a leg blown off."

"I didn't learn much about machine guns," Vesa says, shrugging one shoulder at Niko's assertion. "Just how to load them. I can't shoot it or anything." And from his tone he has no intention of shooting one if he doesn't have to. "I can't shoot anything very well. I can make a bedframe. If you can find some way to make that useful now, I'll gladly go back to being a carpenter." He offers Niko a wan grin.

Korhonen gives Vesa a long look, a sadness in his eyes, before simply nodding and returning to cataloguing his drugs. "There is much work to be done in a time such as this," he says softly, in response to Niko's words. "I only pray that, when we have peace again, we can all put such work behind us. I would rather live in a world of carpenters than mine-diggers."

Topi enters from outside, rather thoughtfully, looking around for a few moments, before he moves a bit to the side of the door. Watching the others present, rather quietly.

"Well, I was thinking… perhaps you could construct a mannequin of sorts out of a bedframe, Vesa." Niko says, continuing to stare out the window. "Out of wood, see? Then you could dress it up in a Russian uniform and hide a boulder inside of it. Ivan would think it's his comrade, approach it, and get crushed." He smirks at his own attempt at wit.

Vesa looks over at Antti and shakes his head. "We haven't been to Pyyvaara yet. I'm ready to try though." He folds up the paper scraps, shoving them into his pockets. Hey, if you're going to get blown up there ain't nothin more some paper diagrams are going to help you with. He looks at Korhonen for a moment or two before he smiles, not at all melancholy. "Me too, sir." Then to Niko, he grins. "You sound like that guy yesterday, and his rocks. Just no ropes, okay?"

Korhonen chuckles softly at Niko's little joke. "The way the Russians carry on, I would almost believe they would fall for it. It is strange. The bears have such a feared reputation, yet they seem to be floundering in our land. Not that I am sorry, I must say. I only hope it makes them decide to go home all the sooner."

Antti lets out a short breath. "Hmm. Well, maybe we go take a look, then. Go watch Ivan stumble around in the snow some more. Who's up?" he asks the room at large, standing with his arms lightly crossed.

Viinikainen steps into the cabin, looking somewhat pleased for a change. He takes a seat on the kitchen table and starts to fix something to eat in his cup. He eyes the people talking about traps of rocks and ropes. "Don't go watch Ivan stumble in Pyyvaara before the mines are gone." he mutters.

"Up for what? A little visit to our guests? It sounds like a good thing to do," Topi offers, with a bit of a grin, before he looks over to Korhonen. "Well, Bears usually sleep in winter, you know," he offers. He then looks over at Viinikainen, "Then maybe we should go get those things out of the way?" he offers.

Marja slightly opens her eyes, most of the worst talk over…she allows her pale gray gaze to flicker over the room… just watching in silence still.

"I won't be much help clearing those mines," Niko says, turning away from the window. "I like what fingers I have left. But if you men are going, I'll come with you. If only to provide an extra pair of eyes to look out for Ivan."

Antti looks toward Jari, and mutters, Thats what I was talking about the mine diggers for." A nod to Topi. "You want more to go with you? In case you get spotted?"

Vesa gets up onto his knees, then stands, pulling his rifle strap over his shoulder. Not that it'll be much use while his attention's down on not getting blown to high heaven, but just in case. He glances at Viini, then grabs his scarf and pulls it around his neck, wrapping carefully.

"Be as careful as you can," Korhonen says simply to the men as they make their preparations. There is not much more the doctor can offer. He'll just keep the needle and thread ready to reattach body parts when they return.

Topi nods a little bit. "It's always good to have some backup, I believe," he offers with a bit of a smile. "We can hope we won't need any shots fired, but wishes of that kind seldom come true, I believe."

Antti sniffs once and nods. "True enough. I'll get the sled ready." With those muttered words, Anti will start toward the cabin's door.

Viinikainen eyes Vesa, "You up for actually clearing them?" He quickly finishes off his meal, "If we have more than Topi who is up for it, take the south side. Start from the village and work your way west, don't forget the east side. If anybody gets spotted, just fall back, no need to start shooting today. Those who can't clear mines but still feel the need to follow, just wait behind and don't do anything unless there's some wounded to help back here. The mine we found were on the north side."

Niko fishes in his pockets and pulls out his stripper clips, counting them. He has five. The small man unslings his rifle, and pulls the bolt back to check that the chamber is loaded. Satisfied, he pushes the bolt forward and re-engages the safety. "I guess I better take a piss now" he says softly, "just in case there is shooting, eh? Wouldn't want the trail to lead back to the cabin."

Vesa nods to Viinikainen as he tugs his hat down over his head. "If Mr. Lindstrom thinks I am." He casts a glance at Topi, his mentor in this macabre kind of classroom.

Antti nods to Viini's words, muttering, "I'll leave the S-18. We can go hit Ivan in the nose later, ocne the mines are clear. Like you said."

Viinikainen nods at Antti, "Yeah, once the mines are gone we need to take out the armour, but that is then. Don't know if we have any bullets for that beast anymore."

Topi nods a little bit as he hears that, "He should be ready," he offers, before glancing around again for a few moments.

Antti mutters, "Ten in the clip. One after that. Next time the sergeant comes back, tell him we could use another twenty shots." A shrug. No sense worrying over what they dont have. Tossing a rifle strap over one shoulder, he steps outside.

Korhonen watches the men go, setting aside certain bottles and preparing certain medical components as they prepare. They may need his services when they return.

Niko heads to the cabin door, opening it. He grabs his skis, puts them on, and steps out.

"We're going to clear the southwest, right?" Niko asks, looking between Topi and Vesa. "Or will we be splitting up?"

"South, and then moving west," Antti repeats the instructions, as he steps into his skiis.

Vesa snaps his skiis on, grabbing the poles and securing the rifle on his back. He looks back at the others, listening to the instructions and waiting.

Topi nods a little at Antti's words, "What he said," he offers as he gets his skis on, and looks over his rifle and other weapons, just in case they will be needed.

Emma looks out the window, watching the guys outside making their preparations. A worried look settles on her face.

Antti prompts, "Well. Lets move."

Niko nods. "Let's."

Some time later, at (13,17)

Antti draws up, pausing a moment to breath and let the others draw even. "Well, diggers. Where you want to start?"

Topi considers a little as he follows the others. "We were to clear the area to the south of the town, they said. I'm not sure if we should head directly south now, or sneak further east to move around first."

"Maybe we should go east," Vesa says, uneasily. "We don't want them spotting us as we head down, right?"

Niko peers south, blue eyes squinting. "It's clear," he whispers. His eyes dart around, a little uneasily. "For now, anyway. I agree, I would rather move east and circle around. Better safe than sorry."

Antti shrugs. "Choose your path."

Vesa skiis quickly, staying near Niko to listen for the all clears as they head through the snow-covered grass.

Niko peers south. "I don't think Ivan will be in the marsh." The small man huffs as he skis, not exactly in peak physical condition. "It looks to be clear," he whispers.

Topi moves towards the south, grinning a little to himself.

Later, at (14,13)…

Vesa comes to a lightly skidded stop as they get south and a bit east of Pyyvaara, looking back at Topi. "Should we start searching here?" He asks Topi in a low voice.

Antti mutters as he skiis along, still giving no concern for stealth, "Move west again, then check? Topi, what do you think?"

Topi considers for a few moments, looking towards the west, nodding a bit. "A bit closer to the town, then start looking for those little troublemakers," he says.

Vesa nods, turning westward and heading on.

"West is clear," Niko says. "Can't say for sure whether or not there are any mines, but that's not what I'm here for."

Vesa slows as they clear over more grass. Now he turns his attention to the snow, starting a methodical check for mines the way he's been taught. His breaths are shallow, a bit tense.

Antti slowly skiis to a stop, crouching lower as the group draws near to the soviet occupied town.

Topi starts moving a bit slower now, looking around carefully for any signs of the mines. "None here, it seems," he offers after a while, before he moves to a more stealthy approach as he continues searching for the mines.

Niko stops. The small man pants as he unslings his rifle. His eyes dart nervously, but mostly stay focused on the town to the northwest.

Vesa nods, hearing Topi. "I don't see any either." He tugs his white hood more securely over his head.

Topi nods a little. "We should move a bit further to the west, then," he offers, with a bit of a grimace, glancing towards the town.

Vesa looks back at Niko first, a little nervously. They're awfully close now.

"Hopefully the Russian sentries will be drunk on vodka," Niko whispers, disengaging the safety of his rifle. "But I doubt it. I bet you a landmine they've got machine guns…" His hands tremble a little as they clutch his rifle.

Vesa looks briefly at Antti. "Maybe Mr. Lindstrom and I should go first. Just in case there's anything there."

Antti mutters, "Diggers go first. and hey-" that last to Vesa, "Stay low, and keep steady. Ivan cant see a bloody thing in our country. If you;re shot at, just fall back."

Topi nods a bit at Vesa's words. "That sounds like the safest," he offers, still not looking away from the town, before he starts skiing to the west.

Vesa listens carefully to Antti, his gray eyes looking at the man between the edges of the hood and his thick scarf. He nods, setting out west after Topi.

Vesa has just finished checking the ground in his part of the field. He looks over at Topi, raising a hand and making a small negative signal. Nothing that he can see.

Antti mutters, "A tin car in the town north of here. A few sentries."

Niko nods. "One in the trench has a machine gun," he whispers. "Guess someone owes me my very own landmine. I think I make out one in a house, too."

Antti adds, "And two in the open, standing near the tin car. Maybe crew."

Vesa stays low, looking back at Antti and Niko. "There's nothing here. Should we go ahead to the west?"

Topi nods a little as he hears that, working on trying to locate any mines. "You won't get one if there's not any of them here," he offers a bit lightly to Niko.

"Let's move west," prods Niko. "There's hardly any cover here; if that machine gun opens up, I don't want to get pinned down."

Vesa nods to Niko and turns to go, skiing carefully and slowly.

Vesa searches carefully over where he is. He makes that negative motion again to Topi, but waits to signal to the others until Topi's finished his search as well.

Topi keeps on looking for the mines again, shaking his head a little. "Did they say this was a minefield, or only that they think it was?" he mutters, looking towards the back to give the all clear.

Niko points to the west. "Clear," he whispers to Antti.

Antti nods and starts to move slowly and quietly westward.

Vesa shrugs one shoulder under the heavy coat. "If we knew exactly which were minefields and which weren't, this would be going a lot faster." He tries a grin behind his scarf but is still on edge a bit. Glancing back at the others and repeating Topi's little all-clear signal.

Vesa watches them come in, waiting until they're close before he looks at Topi. "West again? Or north?"

Topi grins, "Faster is better," he offers, before he looks a bit thoughtful. "Should we head on west, or do a quick sweep up to the north of here?" Looking back to the people coming up behind.

Niko slinks over to Topi and Vesa. "One would expect a minefield to be in this area, since it's just off the road," he mutters quietly. His hands tremble as he tells Vesa, "There's a road up north. Little cover or concealment if they happen to be looking that way."

Antti shrugs again. "I dont think they'd mine the road that thier food and bullets come in on."

Vesa listens, then asks, "Where was the mine that got Arto?"

Antti mutters, "North of town."

Vesa looks at Topi, then the others. "Maybe we should go west again…cross the road there and then check to the north."

Topi nods a little. "Sounds like a good plan," he offers at Vesa's suggestion.

"I thought our instructions were to search the south and west," Niko says. He sounds a little on edge.

Vesa stays quiet, turning his eyes to Antti. The older men know all this stuff better than he does.

Antti draws a breath and mutters lowly, "Move west, check for mines along the road. If you find something, we'll keep looking south of the road."

Vesa nods to Antti. "Okay." He glances at Topi, then moves along towards the road to the west.

Vesa searches the area quickly, eyes sharp as he moves along the road. Eventually he stops, signaling back to Topi. Negative here.

Topi nods a bit at Vesa's signal, as he pokes at something, which turns out to just be a stone. "All clear," he offers, quietly.

Niko points to the north. "Let's hurry it up," he mutters, obviously uncomfortable with the whole thing. "The sooner we get off this damned trail, the better." He glances to the west, nervously.

Vesa is a little more tense here now that they're out in the open on the road. He looks at Antti and Topi. "Where now?"

Antti mutters, "Quit whining. We'll go when we're done." Looking then to the diggers, he offers, "Lets go north and head back."

Vesa nods to Antti, then looks quickly back at Niko. "See anything to the north, Mr. Fisk?"

"Whining? Whining?" Niko hisses. He holds up his hands. "Some people take their fingers for granted." To Vesa, he shakes his head. "No." The small man shifts his weight from one foot to the other, getting agitated.

Topi nods, "North it is," he offers, starting to move in that direction.

"Yes, whining," Antti returns flatly. "Stop it." Without further ado, he moves north along the road, back toward friendly ground.

Vesa searches quickly over the ground on the road, moving in the grid pattern that he was taught. Seeing nothing he looks back towards the south, making that negative hand signal again. All clear from what he can see.

Niko grunts noncommittally and follows behind.

"Couple of destroyed tanks that way," Niko says, pointing eastwards.

Vesa gives a glance to the east, steam rising in short puffs from behind his scarf. "Should we check to the east?" He asks Antti. "Or keep going to the north?"

Topi grins a little. "Excellent monuments," he offers, before he adds, "Those tanks could probably provide a little cover…

Antti shakes his head. "Keep north. Lets get back to the cabin."

Topi keeps moving, looking back towards the east. "If there's some mines there, I guess we could be looking now, while we're here..

Vesa nods to Topi. "I think we should check the north too. We know they had some there." Poor Arto.

"And where there's been one, there's probably more," Topi agrees, starting to turn towards the East again. "And it also gives us another good look at the guests in the town."

Vesa once again searches over the ground in a slow, careful grid pattern. When he's finished his side he makes the signal at Topi. Nothing on his end.

Topi looks for the mines rather carefully, suddenly freezing a little. Holding up one finger, to indicate that there's one mine there, as he starts crouching down near that mine.

Niko stays where he is, watching the men work to the east.

Vesa nods to Topi, turning to keep careful watch around the area while Topi works on the mine he found.

Topi starts to work on the area around the mine, working slowly to make sure the are around the thing is clear. Looking intensely concentrated.

Vesa takes another look around while Topi disarms that mine.

Topi mutters something not quite polite as the work takes longer than expected. Pausing for a few moments, he glances around, before going back to work.

Vesa chews on his lower lip behind the scarf, watching Topi. His head turns to look around them again, keeping an eye out for bears.

Topi frowns a little as he works even more carefully. Time-consuming work, this.

Vesa is calm but starting to get more fidgity as the minutes tick on. Pulling his attention away from the east for a minute he looks back at Topi, checking on him, then keeps lookout again.

Topi seems to be intact so far, as he works on getting the mine cleared.

Topi gets the mine cleared, and looks up. "Shall we move on, or get back?" he offers, as he lets out his breath. One gift for Niko ready now.

((Topi and Vesa move east of Pyyvaara to check for more mines. They're tempted to take potshots at the Russians but Topi notes an MG, and they slink off into the dark back to the cabin))

Later, at the Cabin

Vesa comes skiing up to the cabin, ditching his skiis out front and kicking snow off his boots before he comes in. The rifle strap's pulled from off his shoulder, set down by the wall.

Korhonen has been manning the cabin while the fighters were away, getting an area prepared for any wounded that may come. As he sees men skiing back through the window, he pokes his head out of the cabin to see what is coming.
Vesa is still shaky from adrenaline but otherwise unhurt. He pulls his scarf off, looking over at Korhonen. "Nobody's hurt, sir," he says, addressing what he knows must be the man's first worry. "Mr. Lindstrom pulled up a mine, but it didn't explode or anything."

Korhonen's shoulders sag with visible relief. "Well, that is good, then," he says. As to the lack of wounded. He seems less concerned about the mine. "Did he? Lindstrom has a good deal of skill in such matters, I have heard. Are there many mines in this area, do you think?"

Vesa shakes his head. "We went all around Pyyvaara. I don't know if we missed any, but we searched pretty hard and only found the one." He sits down on a crate, pulling his hat and gloves off. "Unless they go and put down more."

Korhonen allows himself another notch of relief at that. "Good. Mines are a horrific things. Even those who survive them are left without legs, arms…" He shakes his head. "Terrible things. I would work happily here, even with everything else, if no Finn ever came across one."

Vesa thumps his winter things onto the crate beside him, sitting back. He scratches his cheek gently, glancing over at the sleeping people. "Is Arto doing okay?" He asks, after Korhonen says all that.

"His leg is healing well," Korhonen replies, his own eyes looking toward where the soldiers are recovering. "With rest, and good luck, he will be up and about again soon."

Vesa smiles at that, nodding. Everytime he smiles it still hits his gray eyes, age and war not yet having turned him so cynical. "And Erkki? Will he be up soon too?"

Korhonen chuckles a rough, rueful laugh under his breath. "Erkki Tapper-Rautakorpi is too mean to die. He is doing better than Arto. Sonja is seeing to his care." From his tone, he does not quite approve of his eldest daughter nursing Erkki. But it isn't as if he can object to it too much, given the situation. Catching the smile in Vesa's eyes, he has to smile back. "Do not fear for them. They are strong."

Vesa shakes his head. "Nah, I'm not afraid. It's the Russians who should be afraid, if they know what's good for them. Just wait till Erkki gets back up." He cups his cold hands in front of his face, gently blowing on them.

"I await it eagerly," Korhonen says, somewhat wryly. Probably more to get Erkki away from Sonja than for any other reason. "Perhaps I should check the man now, come to it. Rest, lad. You've certainly earned it." With that, Korhonen strides off to do his 'rounds' of the Finns in the cabin.

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