Niko's Nuts

Jaakko enters the cabin with an arm load of freshly cut firewood. He carefully stack the wood next to the fireplace and using an iron poker he stokes the fire.

Niko snaps awake from his doze. He stares at Jaakko a moment. After awhile, he says, "Shouldn't the wood be seasoned and dried first? Last thing we need is a bunch of smoke showing the Russians where we are. And we wouldn't want that." He holds up his scarred hands and flexes them. His left hand appears to be healed; the bandages are removed.

Viinikainen skiis in from the wasteland, putting up his skiis against the cabin wall before kicking off his boots at the door and heading inside the cabin. He pulls out a chair and sits down as he opens up his clothes before it gets too warm. "Think you'll be able to shoot with that?" he nods towards Niko's hands.

"I should be able to," Niko says, frowning. He wiggles his fingers. He's missing his left ring finger and his right pinky, and his remaining digits coupled with the scars lend his hairy hands a spider-like appearance. "Only one way to find out," he mutters. "Can't say I'm in a hurry to, but no sense in trying to avoid the inevitable, eh?" The small man stares back at Jaakko, awaiting a response.

"You'll get bored in here quickly enough." Viinikainen keeps his voice down, a few notches above muttering. "Might as well see if you can greet the Neighbour as quickly as possible if you're good to go. Will be soon."

Jaakko looks over to Niko, "This wood came from the pile stacked out back. It looks to be seasoned, I just split and chopped into a size better suited for the fireplace."

Niko snorts. "The Neighbor," he mutters. "The cause of all my recent adventures and misadventures." Niko peers out the window. "What I wouldn't give for some gloggi. A nice swallow or two would hit the spot." The small man smirks. "I've given up hoping for salmiakki. Maybe in the next life, eh?"

"Talking about what you want to eat or drink before we toss Stalins and Kuusinens pack out is pointless." Viinikainen stills keeps his voice a little above muttering, "Listening to the talk in here is worse than sitting in the snow and wait for Ivan sometimes."

Jaakko smirks at Vinnikainen.

Niko shrugs, "What shall we talk about, then? Loved ones?" He steps closer to the window, continue to stare out at the snow. "Or perhaps you would prefer not talking at all." He grits his teeth and says, "Let each individual man stew in his grief, eh? Save the speech for discussions about tactics and strategy." Niko sighs and turns around, fixing his stare at the fire. "I'm no strategist. Just fodder, eh?"

Jaakko satisfied the fire has been properly banked to last another couple of hours stands and sheds his outter shell of clothing and takes a seat at the table quietly listening to the two men.

"Silence is good", Viinikainen leans forward and rests his arms on his knees, also looking out one of the windows. "And discussing tactics is not much use either. It's simple and clear already." And with that, he falls silent, closing his eyes to get some rest there on the chair.

Niko nods to Jari. "It's very simple. I agree," he says, cryptically. He moves away from the window over to the fireplace, where he crouches a short distance away. He stares at the flames dancing, holding his hands out to warm them.

Some time later…

Niko stands by the window. The small man holds a cup awkwardly in his left hand, using only his thumb and first two fingers. His ring finger, of course, lies somewhere in the snow in Finland. That is, unless some Russian has stumbled upon it and picked it up for a souvenir. He sips coffee from the cup and stares out at the snow and trees.

Saimi's sitting in a corner quietly- by her bag. Reading something- She does a lot of reading in her spare time, a funny thing for a girl as poor as her to do. Her gray-blue eyes flash across the page as she smiles to herself

Niko turns away from the window and heads over to the stove, where he pours himself some more coffee. His movements are slow, almost lethargic. He turns with the same slowness, about to move back to his place by the window, when he notices Saimi. The small man stops and stares at her a moment and comments softly, "I don't recognize you."

Saimi looks up at Niko. "Saimi Mannikainen." she says, giving smile to Niko, nodding a head to him. "No one seems to recognize me anyways." she sighs, giving a nod still. The book she's reading isn't in Finnish.

Niko nods absently. "I am Niko Fisk," the small man says "For a second, I thought I was dreaming. I dream a lot these days. Sometimes it's hard to tell when I'm asleep and when I'm awake in the wintertime." He sips his coffee and grimaces. "Tell me," Niko says, "have you seen any Africans around here? I'm convinced there aren't any around."

Saimi blinks quietly. "Africans? No. Not a one… Honestly, I've never seen an African in my life." she says, giving a smile to Niko quietly. "Sorry." she says. She flips a page quietly, devouring the information inside. Giving a smile to herself. "You are okay?"

Niko laughs a little. "No, no, there are Africans around, according to some of the others." He walks back over to the window and resumes staring out at the treeline. "I've been watching for him for days now, and I've yet to see him. But if the others say he exists, he must!" He sips his coffee. His voice drops to a mutter. "Like the Russians. I can't see them, but I know they're out there. Somewhere to the south. I sometimes think on windless days, when I'm outside on sentry duty, that I can hear them." He grits his teeth and continues keeping watch.

Saimi blinks quietly, looking to Niko, swallowing a little. "Are you sure? I am not so sure about that. Who says these things to you?" she wonders quietly, sitting as she does- reading left aside. She closes the book quietly- the title can be seen. Its written in German. "What do they say?" she wonders.

Niko turns away from the window to glare at Saimi. "Do I look like I speak Russian, woman?" he almost snarls. "Just what are you doing in this hell, anyway? Snow and blood, that's all that you'll see if you make this cabin your home as I have made it mine." Niko rubs at his eyes, as though he were tired, and asks quietly, "How old are you?"

Saimi blinks quietly. Looking up. "I was talking about the Africans." she doesn't smile- wondering if perhaps Niko's close to snapping. "I'm here to help Finland. TO fight for Finland." she says, giving a bright smile again, proud of herself. "And I hardly think my age matters." she says, frowning. She looks young, barely over twenty maybe.

Niko's mouth utters a laugh, but his face remains sullen. "You're here to fight for Finland? To fight the Russians?" His eyes move from Saimi over to the fireplace. "I'm maybe twenty-four. And I can tell you I've seen more killing than I expected to." Niko sets his coffee cup down on the windowsill and holds up his scarred hands. "This is your future if you don't remember to hide yourself well, woman. That, or…" The diminutive man taps the side of his head with his index finger, mimes pulling a trigger, and shrugs. He picks up his coffee cup.

Saimi's eyebrow raises slowly.."Then we're not so much different in age," She starts, frowning a little as she looks at Niko. "I am here to fight Russians, yes!" she says. "I have been out on raids already! I killed two the other day." she frowns deeply, squirming a bit in place. Staring at Niko. "Tell me something Niko…. I can fire my rifle as well as any man, why does it matter my sex?" she wonders, frowning deeply. "And I hide myself well enough!"

"Two!" Niko smirks, drinking the rest of his coffee. He sets his cup down on the windowsill and folds his arms, staring at Saimi. "That's one more than me. I only killed one," he says softly. "And look what it cost me. Tell me, do you dream much? If the dreams haven't come yet, they will. Some of the wounded moan in their sleep, you know." The small man rubs his eyes again, muttering, "I don't give a damn what you have between your legs. Neither do the Russians. They'll kill you without hesitation." He glances back out the window, perhaps looking for the African, and says, "I imagine I'll die in the next battle. It isn't fear, or even a premonition. I've thought about it and have come to the conclusion that I'll die. Do you ever think about that?"

Saimi frowns a bit, looking at Niko. "I have, a few times." she says, pulling her knees up to protect herself almost. "But I don't resign myself to death either. I'll die- we'll all die. But when I die, at least I'll have protected something I love." she says, before she begins to spin that ring on her index finger. Twisting it over her flesh quietly. "And maybe they will kill me. Or maybe they'll do worse to me first, I don't know. But already I've killed two of their number- and I plan to kill more." she says.

"Those Russians are barbaric," Niko says. "Do you know why we're at this particular cabin? There was this moron, Mika Lametti, who told the Russians about our old camp. They probably tortured him." He shakes his head. "Do you know how many times I've been shot? I've been shot three times." He holds up his left hand and raises the three fingers he has (OOC: forming the dreaded "shocker"). "And let me tell you, once you get shot, all thoughts of your loved ones vanish."

"Godless devils, every one of them!" Saimi agrees. "But, still. If I am shot, I expect to be there with my brothers- and I'll be able to tell them I love them." she states, nodding quietly. "Maybe they did. I don't think a lot of them speak Finnish though." she says, with a little look over at Niko quietly, frowning still as she shows him that hand. "I'll take your word for it though. I don't expect to be shot."

Niko laughs. Perhaps it's the first genuine laugh he's had this evening. "That's naive thinking," he says, almost apologetically, "but if it keeps you pulling the trigger and working the bolt, then it can't be all bad." He moves over to the wall and slumps down, closing his eyes. "I didn't expect to get shot either. Nor did I expect to kill. I don't like either activity, but I'm growing to like the latter more than I should." He shrugs. "It doesn't really matter anyway."

Saimi frowns at Niko- shaking her head as she picks her book up again. "They aren't even real Communists." She says, shaking her head to herself. "Liars and Devils and horrible soulless beasts." she keeps telling herself. It makes the fact she killed two of them the other day easier. Maybe.

Niko snorts. "Philosophy? Politics? I've lost my taste for those subjects," he mutters, eyes still closed. "The moment they shot off my fingers, they killed my interest for those things. I'm not meant to be a fighter, but when they shot me, all of that changed, eh?"

Shortly thereafter…

Arto limps in to the cabin from the outside and immediately goes to fix himself some coffee. It's moot as to whether he should be walking around with that leg, but still.

Saimi looks to Niko. "The Communist Manifesto." she states. Patting the book quietly. "By Karl Marx." She continues…giving a look over to Arto quietly.

"I hope you're willing to surrender it if we run out of firewood," Niko says with a smirk. He opens his eyes and stands up, stretching. To Arto, he says, "See any Africans out there? It's colder than normal. I would think they'd be frozen."

Saimi looks over to the others quietly, frowning at Arto. "You should be sitting down." she says, eyes focusing on one part of his leg. "You're going to make the wound worse."

Vesa steps inside the cabin and pushes the door closed again before too much of the winter can accompany him inside. Fresh from watch to the east, his face is still reddened from the cold as he unwraps his thick scarf.

Arto goes about heating some water, although he nearly burns his hands on the stove when he overhears Saimi. "That's probably bad luck, you know," he says, pointing at the book - her statement about making his leg worse is not replied to. He then he pauses, and gives Niko a deadpan look. "No. I think the niggers have more sense than we have - they at least live somewhere warm."

Niko nods, rubbing at his eyes again. He grabs his coffee cup from the windowsill and mutters, "No such thing as luck." Niko walks over to the stove and says, "Coffee's probably gone tepid by now. You can use this cup if there aren't any clean ones." He sets it down by the stove.

Saimi continues to read quietly, shrugging. "Hey. Its your leg." she says, not believing in luck like that. "If you want to over do it and walk with a limp for the rest of your life- you go right ahead. I'm sure the Doctor would love it."

Vesa tugs off his gloves and lined hat, putting them down on the table. He listens to the conversation going on, then glances over his shoulder at Arto, rubbing his hands together quickly to warm them back up. "How is Erkki?"

"I'll re-heat it," Arto tells Niko, and picks up the cup to inspect it. He squints, and scratches a speck of dirt out of it with his finger, then decides to use it anyway. "Thanks." He gives the cup a bit of a spit-wash, and nods to Vesa as the youth enters before giving Saimi a bit of a squinty look. "Compared to how it was yesterday, it feels much better. And if I sit around for too long, I will sprout a taproot from my asshole." Then, he can address Vesa again, "Oh, he's fine. Sonja is taking care of him." Duh duh duuuuum.

"You want it to stay that way, right?" Saimi asks, shaking her head quietly as she frowns deeply. "I'm sure she wants to take care of him too." she frowns to herself, crossing her arms. "So. What happened?"

Niko nods to Arto and turns his attention to Vesa. "See anything interesting out there?" he asks. He walks over to the window and stares out. It seems he's been doing a lot of that lately.

Viinikainen comes skiing in to the cabin, his pale face can hardly be confused with some africans so those on the lookout will be dissapointed. He doesn't waste much time before heading inside the cabin, pulling out a chair to sit down at so he too can stare out the window.

"Huh-uh." Vesa's reply to Niko is negative, coming with a shake of his head. "It's quiet. No Africans." That with just a hint of sarcasm. He looks at Arto and nods. "That's good…I guess. Hope he doesn't make her mad." He plunks down into a chair at the table and then looks at Saimi. "You mean last night?" He shrugs one shoulder. "They shot, we left."

Jaakko yawns and scratches his head as he pours himself a cup of coffee then heads over and has a seat near Viinikainen.

Jaakko looks up and asks, "Africans?"

Arto answers Saimi first, and takes a bit of a deep breath before speaking. "We tried to take Pyyvaara, but they were extra jumpy after the ammo raid we pulled on them two days ago, and the attempt went badly. I didn't even fire a single shot. Stepped on a mine. And-" He just LOOKS at people. "Don't start going on about Africans again!"

Jaakko looks completely perplexed then simply shrugs and takes a drink of his coffee.

"There's nothing out there but snow," Niko tells Jari and Jaakko. "And trees. And possibly an African that Matti says he saw flirting with the doctor's daughter. And Russians, who would very much like to kill us." The small man smirks. "But hopefully they'll kill you two first. There's nothing that would please me more than outliving my brothers-in-arms only to get my head blown off." An unsteady, shaky laugh comes from his lips. He presses his nose against the glass to stare out.

Saimi blinks. "Matti said there was an African out there?" She wonders, blinking. "Oh… Matti is a silly person, you shouldn't listen to him." she says, with a little smile- chuckling to herself. "He was probably joking." she says, nodding a bit. "And I will ask Sonja, ya? Then we can know for sure." she says, frowning still. "Yes. I imagine, between the Ammo raid and the ambush on the road- we've made them very jumpy."

"The forest may be quiet, but that doesn't mean the snakes have gone away." Viinikainen mutters to Niko, "They just can't move around a lot. Seen a few frozen to death here and there. But there are no Africans out there, and nobody said there were."

"There aren't any -Africans-!" Vesa sounds about ready to bang his head against the wall. "I told you." He blows out a little air between his lips and raises his hands up to gently rub his cold ears. Muttering something under his breath that's some strange combination of Russian and Finnish, and doesn't sound pleasant. "Least everyone came back."

Jaakko shrugs again, "First I heard of any African." looks over at Viinikainen as he speaks of frozen Russians.

Arto grunts, and focuses on the subject of yesterday's attempt. "I think we were a bit over-confident, myself. The success of the ammo raid and the ambush probably made us cocky." He abandons the coffee for now, and sits down hevily on a chair. "I'm so stupid. I never even thought that they'd mine the area, until I went and stepped on one."

Jaakko looks over at Arto, "You must be one lucky Finn to step on a mine and live to bitch about it."

"Snakes?" Niko asks, continuing to look out. "What color were they? Maybe I should go find out if they're any good to eat, just in case we have to. I bet Africans eat snakes." The small man's breath causes the glass to fog up, and he wipes it away with his sleeve. "How can we tell if an area is mined, with all this snow that might be covering it? It's impossible," he mutters.

Saimi nods quietly. "You're lucky." she states- nodding to Jaakko. "It must be a glancing blow."

"Some bad luck too", Jari replies to Arto, "Hadn't they heard us, we would have had time to dig down too." He shrugs and leans the chair against the wall, "We still need to empty it out. It's not impossible. And snake doesn't taste much at all, go look, I'm sure you can find some once the summer is here."

Vesa pulls out the little drum he's been working on these last few days, and the small bit of animal hide he's managed to secure to use as a skin. He resumes threading the skin into place over the rim, after blowing warm air on his fingers. "Can't see the mines. Unless we see them laying them down in the first place."

Niko shifts his stare to Jaakko and says to him, "Arto is 'bitching' about his wounds, is he? How many times have you been wounded?" He holds up his hands, minus a few fingers. To Viinikainen, he mutters, almost under his breath, "I don't expect to live to see summer." Niko continues to stare at Jaakko, his eyes slightly buggish, his lips pressed into a thin pale frown.

Arto cracks a slight smile. "Guess I am," he tells Jaakko and Saimi both. "My leg was still intact - the brunt of it was from the shrapnel, I think. Anyway, Sonja managed to fix the worst of it. And-" he addresses Viinikainen, here, "I'm trying to be positive. The whole incident was a bit of a mess. What should we do differently next time?" That said, he eyes Niko for a few seconds, then shakes his head. "I have no idea."

Saimi just stays silent- reading quietly as she does. Flip, another sound of paper flipping. One familiar with languages would notice she's reading a book in German- quietly sitting to herself.

Vesa pulls one of the strings carefully taut, continuing to thread it around the edge of the drum. He looks over at Viini as Arto seeks the man's advice.

Jaakko returns Niko's stare, "I did not realize it was a competition. I may not have lost a finger, but two slugs to the left chest, and shot through both hands if you are keeping tally. Besides, he didn't bitch about his wounds."

Jaakko mumbles something about next we'll comapre number of kills….

Viinikainen stands up, pulling his clothes around him and heading for the door. "Make sure there are no mines there" is his reply to Arto, he eyes Vesa for a moment, "Just because you can't doesn't mean there isn't anyone who can clear them. Don't talk about things you don't know anything about boy."

"You just said he was bitching," Niko says to Jaakko, continuing to stare. But his staring eyes seem a tad bit unfocused, on Jaakko, but not quite. His hands tremble, minutely.

Jaakko not wanting to argue throws his hand up towards Niko as if to indicate, 'oh, nevermind.'

Saimi has only been out once. And already has two notches on her stolen Russian rifle- which sits in a corner near her, looking impeccibly cleaned. She looks up at the others and shakes her head with a sigh. "Are you boy's done pissing all over the floor?"

Jaakko gives Saimi a weak smile, but doesn't answer.

Arto nods to Viinikainen, and scratches his chin, his brow furrowed. "Well… alright," he replies, flatly, and resumes making himself some coffee.

Vesa just shrugs at Viini, getting the string through another section of the drum. It was sounding pretty hopeless to him. Niko and Jaakko distract him then, and he looks over at them as he pulls on the string.

Niko says to Saimi, "You know in the wintertime, you can piss in your pants under gunfire, and no one knows because no one's looking at your pants, and you're wearing winter clothing to hide it from view? It's true!" Niko laughs shakily and walks over to the wall to pick up his rifle. He slings it over a shoulder. "I'm going to look for snakes! Who's coming?"

Viinikainen steps outside and quickly pulls his skiis on, leaving the cursed cabin behind.

"If the snake calls you Comrade, shoot it." Vesa says under his breath. He tugs a bit on the strings, pulling the hide taut, and flicks it with the backs of his fingers. It makes a satisfying sound.

"…I, uh, think I'll stay here," Arto replies to Niko, quietly, before pointedly looking to Vesa. "What's the drum for?"

Saimi quietly leans back, nodding to all- she seems half dozed off as she finishes her book, she smiles at the little Drum made by Vesa- for Henrick, she assumes.

"Suit yourselves," Niko says. "I wonder if snakes can be tamed," he comments, putting on his skis. "I could tame a snake and raise it as my own, to not be so Russian. We'll see." The small man shrugs and opens the door, leaving.

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