The Rules of Engagement?

Vesa has just set some water on to boil, and is now sitting at the table while waiting for it to heat up. His fingers play idly with the small piece of metal that he now wears on a string of leather around his neck. Every so often he glances at the window, and the snow outside.

"Lunch time already?" Niko mutters, sitting up on his cot. "Or is it breakfast? Dinner?" He stands and stretches, scratching his beard, looking out the window. "Hell, I don't even know what day it is."

"Coffee time," Vesa replies with a small smile, folding his arms on the table and looking over towards Niko. "Think that's as accurate as anyone gets anymore."

Niko nods, picking up his rifle. He sits down at the table across from Vesa. The small man pulls the bolt back and begins field-stripping his rifle. One of the compulsions he seems to have acquired as of late. "I don't know why I bother," Niko mutters as he works. "We aren't likely to see much action with all the freshly-wounded men we have."

Vesa scratches his cheek, turning his head a little to survey the injured lying on their blankets. "I guess it's better, anyway. The Russians seem to shoot better when it's this warm." He shakes his head as his attention lands on Luukas.

Niko follows Vesa's gaze over to Luukas and mutters, "I have dibs on his boots if he croaks." The small man grimaces and says, "That wasn't half as funny as it sounded it my head." He sighs. "In any case, at least it's still cold enough to keep the snow from melting. With all the wounded we have, it'd be hell trying to move them to another location if the Russians found out where we were."

"It takes months for the snow to melt in the spring, why would it be any quicker if we have a few warm days in the winter?" Viinikainen grunts a reply to Niko as he steps into the cabin. "You wait, it will turn soon enough again, it always does."

Vesa eyes Luukas' boots with a dubious expression, then looks back at Niko. "It's only December. It's not gonna melt." He falls silent as Viini comes in, watching. Twisting his back a little to see the stove, he says, "Water's ready. Anyone want some coffee?"

"Pour me a cup, please," Niko says. "If the Russians seem to shoot and move better when it's warm, maybe we should stay away from them until it cools down again." He begins reassembling his rifle. "Any idea what day it is? I bet the Russians would be less prepared for a raid on Christmas. They'll all be thinking about and missing home."

Viinikainen unhooks his wooden cup from his belt and holds it out to get some coffee. "Of course they fight better in the cold. When it's cold they do nothing but stand there and freeze." He spits into the fire. "Don't think those godless communists bother much with Christmas, maybe they'll burn down a church or two to keep warm, that is all."

Vesa takes Viini's cup and fills it up before reaching over to hand it back. He gets two more cups then, one for himself, and one for Niko before he returns to the table. Folding himself back into the chair, he listens to them talk. On the topic of Russians and Christmas, though, he says nothing.

"So much for that idea," Niko mutters. He finishes reassembling his rifle and takes a sip of his coffee. "You know, I feel kind of guilty drinking this coffee knowing men like Luukas got shot up trying to get it. Funny thing is, it doesn't stop me from drinking it."

Viinikainen sips his coffee and shrugs, "It's war, it happens. No use thinking about why after." He kicks out a chair and sits down. "No use getting distracted by such things."

Vesa raises both brows. "After they got shot up trying to get it? I'd feel worse if nobody drank it." He picks up his cup to warm up his hands, wrapping his fingers around it.

Niko shrugs. He looks over at Viinikainen. "Hear from the good Sergeant lately? I must say I've been feeling antsy the past few days. It's either a death wish or cabin fever; I can't tell the difference anymore." He smirks.

Viinikainen shakes his head at Niko, "No, haven't seen him for a while. If you're that eager for action, there is an axe outside and the need for firewood inside. I'm sure you'll have the chance to both leave the cabin and die soon enough."

Vesa sips the coffee carefully, listening. "Do you think we're going to try and take Pyyvaara back again?" He asks Viinikainen curiously.

Niko laughs at Viinikainen. "I'd imagine my arms would fall off, Jari," the small man says. "Carrying a rifle is enough exercise." Niko glances out the window and comments, "I wonder if the sergeant is dead. Can't say that it would surprise me."

"We'll see, if we have to dig in on Raate road we can't leave any armour in there to come and roll us over from behind." Viinikainen shrugs, "Don't know what their latest and greatest plans are. All I know is that if we kill a lot of them and they don't kill so many of us, we're doing better."

"What if we kill one and they wound many?" Vesa mutters, casting a slightly sour glance back towards where Luukas is lying. "Is that worth it too?"

"We'll just have to learn to kill more of them," Niko says, sipping his coffee. "Or die trying. Which is the point of this, I guess."

Topi makes his way into the cabin from the outside, humming a little bit, and seeming to be in a rather good mood. Looking around for a few moments, to see what other people that are awake.

Not far behind Topi, and carrying in an armful of firewood, Antti stomps the worst of the snow from his boots and steps inside as well. Giving an ear to the conversatiion, he says nothing just yet.

"No" Jari grunts a reply to Vesa. "Would even be better the other way around. They'll move slower if they have to drag their injured up from everywhere." He shurgs, "As I said, no use thinking about it too much."

Vesa taps the rim of his cup once against his teeth, and nods to Viinikainen. His tone had been dry before; he's learning these things slowly. He looks over towards the door, Topi, and Antti, as he hears Topi's humming.

Topi shrugs a little as he overhears what's being said. "Personally, I've always found it easier just to hit them all as fast as possible," he comments.

Isak's eyes flicker open, and the man just stares at the ceiling for a few long moments, letting reality seep into his pores from the dreamland he was falling out of. Reaching up with his good hand to rub at his eyes as if that simple action might massage some life into him, he slowly sat up in the bunk provided for him. leaning to the side and letting his socked feet rest on the floor, a groan slips from his lips as he audibly dreads the process of waking up.

"We'll just have to wait and see what happens," Niko says. "Might be easier to try to demoralize 'em rather than fight 'em outright next time," he tells Topi. "Pull the old 'attack the field kitchen' trick. That sort of thing."

Viinikainen seems to think he's said enough, and goes silent while drinking his coffee.

"They were taking about the Sergeant and plans, was all" Vesa replies to Antti, putting his coffee cup down. He looks back at Niko. "Just taking potshots at them, you mean?"

Niko shakes his head. "No, I meant maybe kill their cooks, get some kerosene, and burn that kitchen down." He finishes the rest of his coffee and leans back in his chair.

Topi shrugs a little bit as he listens, "Well, personally I'd like to make them see that they're not safe anywhere," he offers, with a half-grin.

"Wish we had more people," Vesa comments thoughtfully. "We could be doing that every day. Just wear on 'em till they couldn't concentrate any more and they just went home."

Antti sets the firewood down on top of the last few pieces left against one wall, before he mutters, "How many rifles do we have healthy?"

"I imagine that if they had to fight without hot food in their bellies, they'd readily surrender," Niko says. "Or at the very least, when they fight, they wouldn't fight very well. Unless there are rules against hitting kitchens."

Luukas is inside, in a bed with a blanket over him, his heavily-bandaged leg remaining limp. His eyes blink open for a moment, carefully breathing as he reaches for a cup of water.

Niko says to Antti, "We've got enough healthy now to harass Ivan every now and again." He glances over at Luukas and mutters, "Looks like Luukas is awake." The small man stands up and shuffles over. "There's coffee on the stove, if you're allowed to drink it," he says.

Isak reaches down for his boots and does his best to get them on his feet one-handed. With a few grunts of effort he finally gets that done, and stands up fully to his feet before moving over toward the table. "Not many, Antti. The last couple of strikes have been… bloody." Isak himself is decorated in a few new wounds, most notably his left arm in a sling.

Topi shrugs a little as he listens to the others, looking lost in thought, for the moment.

Matti laughs darkly at Niko, unsurprisingly cynical as the other man speaks of rules. He has a bandage around his left hand, but he doesn't seem /too/ badly off. He glances at Antti, muttering, "You looking to inconvenience the neighbour, brother?" He adds, after a moment, "We're the skiing wounded right now. But a few sound men, I guess."

Vesa looks over as Luukas and Isak both start moving, then looks back at Niko. "Should pitch a molotov right in those trenches they hide in down there," he says, thumping back in his chair a bit. Then he looks at Antti. "We got a couple people up."

Luukas turns his head on the pillow to watch Niko step towards him, drawing up his head a bit to lift it for a moment. "Nothing wrong with my guts. Some coffee….maybe later." and nods back. "Thanks Niko. Is there any hot broth to eat? Some soup or stew?" His eyes glance down towards the leg. "Still hurts, but I could swear I could feel my toes last night." The Ostrobothnian's eyes draw back up to the short fellow's face. "That's good, isn't it? I hope no one else has been hit."

Antti nods to the words, before muttering, "Nothing heavy. We move in, take a quick shot, and back out before getting shot back at. Who's up?" he asks of the room at large. "Ivan lost his tin car last time.. not sure if he's brought any more armour into Pyyvaara, but a look qwould be good. Every day Ivan does'nt sleep easy in our land all the better."

Niko nods to Luukas. "I'll see if I can scrounge up some stew." He looks down at Luukas' leg and then at his hands. "You know, some days I can swear I still have all of my fingers," he mutters. The small man goes over to the stove and checks.

Topi offers a grin at Luukas, as he overhears what's being said. "Were you feeling them because they were in pain, or not?" he offers, before he nods a little at Antti. "Count me in."

"I'm up," Vesa says to Antti. He picks up his coffee and downs the rest in a few gulps, before he pushes his chair back and gets to his feet to slosh water into the cup.

Niko heats some stew up on the stove. "Give me a minute," he tells Antti. "and then I'll be good to go."

"Well, I'd hate to think the russkis were sleeping easily." Matti gets up from his pallet, walking to the impromptu weapons rack on the wall, and grabbing his Mosin. He's favouring his right hand, but still seems to be able to function, even with the wound in his left. The slight hunter steps outside, throwing his skis onto the snow.

Antti picks up one of the Pystys, and slings it over his shoulder, after checking the bullets within. "Get some coffee, and a bit of food, first. We'll head out a little later. That's three. Anyone elsE?"

Luukas offers back to Niko, "Thanks." and turns to look towards the others, as if checking who seems to be moving about. "Had to be a miracle. Maybe someone was looking after us from above. A guardian angel or something, with Christmas almost here."

Isak shakes his head quickly and moves over toward the table, seeing stew over the fire. He holds up his slinged arm toward Antti as if in apology before taking a seat at the table. "I'd be no good to you out there."

"You're not saying we have to drink that stuff, do you?" Topi offers a bit lightly at Antti, before he looks to Luukas. "Santa Claus?" he suggests, a bit lightly.

Vesa pulls his Pystykorka from its place on the wall, sitting down on a crate to start checking the weapon over and getting it reloaded. The Mosins are completely ignored.

The stew is hot and Niko pours a small amount into a cup. He holds the cup out to Luukas and says, "I don't believe in angels, but if you do, hopefully they'll follow us to where we're going."

Matti loudly snorts at Luukas and the guardian angel comment before heading outside. Red to the bone! His choice of rifles also shows a decided lack of patrotism. He busies himself outside waxing the bottoms of his skis.

Luukas softly snickers, "Saint Nicholas would be as welcome as any, just without any joulutonttu tagging along with him." using the Finnish word for Christmas elves. "Stew smells good, thanks." as he tries to draw himself a little more upright. "Is Matti leading a bunch of you out to pick off some Russians?"

Antti sniffs dryly to Topi's quip, before opening the door, and stepping outside to retrieve his own skiis.

Niko shrugs. "Maybe we're going to take pot shots at Ivan. I don't know. I'd rather burn down one of their damned kitchens, though." He adjusts his slung rifle and says, "You take care now, Luukas."

Topi nods a little, as he grabs his own rifle, moving to the door and his skis again, looking back towards Luukas, "Get well," he offers, before he hears Niko's words. "Remeber, loot it first."

Vesa pulls his rifle strap over his shoulder, heading for the door along with the small group. He glances back towards Luukas and Isak but doesn't say anything, moving past Topi.

Luukas gives a firmer nod back to both Topi and Niko. "Stay safe. Remember, you can afford to be patient. Let the Russians be on their toes jumping to turn towards anything that moves."

Antti calls back into the cabin, "Keep your teeth together and clot, Ostrobothnian." With those last words in farewell, the elder of the Mannikainen brothers nudges Matti with one toe. "You ready?"

Niko nods to Luukas. He picks up his skis and steps outside of the cabin to strap them on.

"No, and that's why I'm standing around in my skis, waiting for you." Matti shoots a scathing look at Antti, kicking on his skis. Okay, he wasn't being 100 per cent accurate. He slings his rifle around his shoulder, picking up his skistaffs and getting ready to move out.

Luukas starts quietly sipping the stew from the bowl, not using a spoon as he holds the vessel in both hands.

Isak moves over toward the stove, apparently busying himself with working up a bowl of stew to eat.

Vesa steps into his skiis once bundled up and outside, securing his rifle. His eyes squint a little as he looks around, seeing who's come out with them, and he grabs his ski poles.

Niko picks up his poles and says. "I'm ready. Let's get moving before the coffee wears off."

Antti mutters as he moves, "Last couple times we've shot at Ivan from the north. Probably best to change things up. Come on, lets move."

Topi nods as he moves out, ready to head in that direction.

Luukas continues sipping stew from the bowl, inside the cabin. He quietly looks over towards the window as he hears the sound of skiers leaving.

Matti mutters, "We can hit them from several sides. Spread their fire."!

Marko gets out of the cabin and walks towards the others, "Hello there, mind if I Join you guys?" he asks.

Shortly thereafter…

Marko skiis in from north, "I hope you dont mind me tag along with you?" he asks to other finns.

Topi looks at the weather as he skis along with the others, grinning a little. "This is good," he offers.

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