Scenes from the Class Struggle at (9,19)

Niko enters the cabin and unslings his rifle, leaning it against the wall by the door. He sits down, sighing. "Well," the small man says, "At least with that hole dug, the Russians will have a place to bury us."

Matti calls out from the porch of the cabin, "You boys sure like digging." He hasn't been interested in raising a shovel, after the trench was originally widened from being a foxhole. "Anyway, I guess we can't do much else until we get orders from Mr. Siilasvuo." He spits into the snow. Apparently, he disapproes of the officer on general principle.

"About our orders," Niko says, "I've got some ideas." He smirks, stands, picks up his rifle, and joins Matti on the porch. "Dangerous, isn't it? A reservist developing ideas in wartime."

"Ideas are the things that officers come up with just before getting people killed. What have you been thinking, boy?" Matti calls almost everyone boy these days, despite himself being only 27. He looks at the other man a little warily.

"We don't have explosives, or really much of anything," Niko says softly. He points, "But what we do have are trees. Now, I'm not a lumberjack, but I can handle a saw." The diminutive man chews on his lower lip, "What I propose is cut down a few trees to set up a roadblock to the south. Then, when the Russians move to clear it, harass them." He squints at the treeline. "I figure we'll have enfilading fire. Maybe set up a machine gun on the north side of the road, some of us hidden along the south side with rifles, and maybe a couple of us back some distance to snipe at 'em." Niko thinks a moment. "Figure a machine gunner and assistant, three riflemen, two snipers. With them occupied, we could wipe them out and retreat."

Niko nods, "I thought about that too, sandwiching them in. But that would take manpower away from the shooters." He shakes his head, "If we could get some more grenades, diverting men to knock down the trees wouldn't severely reduce our firepower. Machine gun provides a base of fire, riflemen pick and choose their targets, and someone runs up to give them a lethal dose of shrapnel." Niko frowns, "Unless that column includes armor. Soft vehicles, we can handle. What are we going to do if we manage to trap a tank on the road? It would be like holding a bumblebee in your hand… do we have anything that can crack open a tank?"

"We have an antitank rifle, Mannerheim." Matti's words are dry, as he looks at you. He purses his lips, before continuing, "And we need to co-ordinate with the regulars. They might be about to do similar roadcutting operations, so we want to hit them at the same time in many places. That will make it harder and slower for them to deploy their reserves against any one attack."

Niko snorts, "Contacting the regular forces is real easy, considering the most recent word we got was delivered to us via a Finn on skis. We need a radio, or at least more regular communication with the Regulars."

"We have skis. We know where they are, and can get there if we want to. The russkis would just listen in on our radios, even if the damn things worked in -20 degrees. Which I really, really doubt." Matti shakes his head at Niko, chuckling, "Next, you'll be asking Mannerheim to send us artillery and tanks of our own." Heavy irony, in his voice.

Niko smirks, "You know, if I could get one request granted? Some salmiakki. I'm about ready to ski to Moscow and return with the Kremlin if it gets me some salmiakki." He shifts his gaze again at the treeline, "I hate having to make do. Hey, do you think maybe some Russian has one of those fancy telescoped rifles? What I wouldn't give for one of those. Maybe Mannerheim will send some of those up."

"What the hell is it with you and the salmiakki, boy? I've never been able to stand the stuff, myself." Matti stares at you with considerable, surly amusement. He shrugs, as you speak of scoped rifles. "I don't know about that. If I find one, you'll have to fight me off for it… And as for Mannerheim, the old White Butcher isn't sending us anything except more missions."

Luukas frowns hearing Matti's comment, coming in from the back room used as storage. "Mannerheim's not a butcher", muttered. "He's the man that knew Russian would do this to us." A moment's taken to adjust his jacket as if preparing to go out into the cold.

"Oh yes, missions," Niko says softly. "Regardless, I'm grateful that they told us to wait here. It gave me time to dig trenches and fatten my belly with stew. It beats getting shot at, anyway," he says, looking at his still-bandaged hand.

"Right. The Civil War must have been just a bad dream, then." Heavy sarcasm, in Matti's voice. "I'm not saying that he's a bad commander - he's not - but he's still a goddamn butcher, and the lord of butchers." He looks at Niko wryly, "You'll honeycomb this whole forest with tunnels, unless we stop you."

Luukas had spent the whole early morning digging a connecting trench from the deeper one dug from the cabin out to an escape point in the woods to the north. He's still frowning over the way another man, Olli, had dug a seperate one directly against the cabin.

Niko grins, rubbing at his neck, "No, I'm tired of digging. Maybe it's time for me to just do sentry duty." He keeps quiet when politics come up in conversation, averting his eyes from Matti and Luukas, opting instead to look at the tree line.

Luukas straightens up, as if to try to add height to his normally shorter stature. "The Civil War was started by the Peoples Workers Guard units and thugs like that. Wanting to expand their Bolshevik cause to here. The government did what they could to keep order." and glowers at the poacher.

Kaj wanders on up from patrol, rifle cradled in his arms, looking about cassualy.

"That's what you say, boy, because I bet your dad was a white butcher who kissed Mannerheim's ass. My dad was shot in Tampere, my mother and sisters in Suomenlinna, and I grew up in a goddamn concentration camp. So I know what a bastard Mannerheim and everyone like him are." Matti stares at Luukas with smoldering eyes, but looks far from violence. He's had this "discussion" many, many times, more often than not with Viinikainen.

Niko looks at Kaj. "See anything interesting out there?" he asks. The small man looks up at the sky. "Unseasonably warm today." He's ignoring the political discussion for now.

Luukas and Matti are facing each other. The Ostrobothnian doesn't have anything in his hands, looking like he'd just stepped out to the porch after a rest following digging. Matti, however, still carries a shovel from his part in extending trenches. The expressions are crisp, smoldering looks between the two.

Luukas narrows his eyes, frowning more as his lips close tighter together for a moment staring at Matti. "My father is a man of God. And a patriot. Your mom and sister weren't the only women killed. The Reds slaughtered women and little kids too." His eyes snap down to the shovel Matti's carrying, a hand moving to rest on the sheath of his own knife but not drawing it out. "I bet your dad was shooting Finnish soldiers when he died, and not simply a farmer, Mannikainen."

Arto exits the cabin for some fresh air so that he can enjoy the relatively mild weather. He loiters by the cabin's door, not putting his skiis on just yet - although he's still wearing his rifle, more out of habit than anything else - and he looks between Luukas and Matti, simply observing for now.

Kaj gruns "No, nothing new, just more snow and empty land. Almost makes you want them to assault, just to stop the wait." sighing as he moves down into the trench.

"What the hell do you think he was doing? It's a civil war, so who else was he going to shoot, except for the Germans your government tried to sell this country to." Matti leans on the shovel, but aside from looking surly and slightly pissed off, as ever, he doesn't seem inclined to use it on the other man. "Eight thousand. Eight goddamn THOUSAND. That's how many people the white shot, most after they won."

"I like the boredom," Niko says softly to Kaj. "It beats fighting. If I had to pick between having to put up with the groans and smell of the wounded and walk around digging trenches, I'd choose the latter." He shakes his head, "I'm not in any hurry to fight the Russians."

Kaj nods "I'd prefer to dig trenches myself, but we've not really been digging any sides this eh?"

Arto takes a bit of a deep breath - not surprising, given that the Tapper-Rautakorpi family were on the white side. Still, he sets his jaw, and keeps quiet on the subject. "You almost want them to attack?" he mutters at Kaj. "You're nuts."

Luukas inches his hand a little further aside on his belt, away from the knife. "A civil war where Red Guards killed every family that supported the King or later the Senate." The Ostrobothnian thumps his chest, "I remember, as a little kid, friends crying because their dad was slaughtered by Bolshie long knives." He turns his face slightly in a sneer, but keeps the eye contact. "Workers' Security Guards!" and spits off on the wood pile.

Kaj looks back to Arto, grinning and he shrugs, looking out into the fields.

Niko stares at Kaj for a moment. He shakes his head and says, "Well, every moment not spent fighting is a blessing from the Almighty." He adjusts his slung rifle and hops down into the trench. "Might as well take watch and put this trench to good use, or else we broke our backs for nothing."

Kaj looks, looking as Niko drops down, joining him in the trench. "Good to have more than just my eyes watching too."

"Now that's just bullshit, boy. But I figure we're both wasting our spit. You have your truth, and we have our's. The two don't meet, in the middle." Matti apparently abandons the argument, glancing over at Niko, "You know, this trench-digging crazy person has a point. Only an idiot wants to get into combat for its own sake." He pauses, the mutters sarcastically, "People die, in war."

Arto frowns slightly, and leans back against the cabin wall like he hasn't got the energy to stand up straight right now - although he does crane his neck to try and see in to the trench. "When the Russians finally leave us alone, we can fill it with water and have a pond there," he mutters.

Matti takes a shovel, and moves to help in the digging, despite his words. He does chuckle at Arto as he does so, however.

Luukas snorts, but doesn't speak up to continue the arguing. He turns once Matti's eyes leave his own, making his way over to look down the line of connecting trenches towards the north. "Half-wit dug a trench directly into the side of the cabin, so the Russians can sneak in." growled. "Not you, Niko" adding a nod to the man, "But I think it was Olli."

Kaj looks up and towards Luukas "Yeah it was Olli, right after her yowled at me for being in the Great War."

Niko tells Kaj, "What I wouldn't give for some field glasses. It'd be ideal around this time, when there's no sun to reflect off the lenses." He calls to Arto, "Hey, when the Russians are shelling us, try not to soil your pants, huh? It's a pain having to haul shit out of here." The small man is joking, of course.

Kaj grunts "What would I do for a sniper scope, even without the rifle to go with it." sighing and squinting into the distance.

"Seriously man, what the hell is it with you and the equipment? You want radios, you want field glasses, you want explosives… What do you think this is, the Field Marshal's headquarters?" Matti stares at Niko with sullen amsuement all over his face.

Arto, it seems, is just going to stand there and sulk over his injury (woe) rather than help with the digging today. He just eyes Niko. "If my arm falls off, I'm going to pick it up again and hit you with it."

Luukas turns his head to Kaj, nodding at his earlier comment first. "Wishful thinking. We could all use sniper scopes, a bunker in every valley, a field kitchen with caviar and oats with salmiakki." The young man with reddish-brown hair pauses to chuckle at that, glancing over to Niko. "But face it. We're the ones with the uphill fight, and by Heaven I'm going to fight for every step against our enemy."

Niko smirks and replies to Matti, "Given the choice between a heated debate and complaining… well, which I would choose should be obvious by now." He picks up a shovel. "Come to think of it, I'd rather have a sniper scope than a pair of field glasses, but I'd rather have salmiakki than explosives." Niko starts to dig. "You can't eat explosives."

Matti shakes his head at Niko, chuckling. "Heaven has nothing to do with it." This in a mutter, and a sideways glance at Luukas. He adds nothing further, apparently not wanting to rekindle their little argument. "Anyway, this jaw-flapping is useless. I guess we wait here for orders, and then do what we have to do."

Kaj looks to Luukas now, laughing "Forget the field kitchen, I would set for two bags of charcoal, an american grill, and a sled filled with ground beef, sausage, and seasonings… and cigarettes.

Luukas draws up a breath, tilting his head as if a little confused. "What's an American grill, drifter? Do they do it differently than a good Finn?"

"Cigarettes?" Niko stops digging and scratches his short beard. "I can't say I've ever tried one." From the look of his teeth, it's probably a good thing, too. The small man shrugs and resumes digging. "I figure while we're waiting for orders, we might as well dig. I don't know much about caring for wounded and I'm too much of a coward to scout alone, anyway."

"Well, the jaw-flapping keeps us from stagnating, at least," Arto states, and closes his eyes so that he almost looks like he's trying to sleep standing up. "Besides, there's not much else we can do other than dig, hunt, and patrol or whatever."

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