17 Jun, 2042.
Pete's would have been too rowdy for this get-together. The Rec Room wasn't private enough for the meeting of such an exclusive fellowship. So, the Training Room it was. Reserved for the last several hours of the day, when no other Departments would be shorted legitimate training time.
It was set up with a small folding table, a Triad deck, most of a month's vouchers worth of bottled beer, and six folding chairs. Only four of the chairs were occupied.
Three were marines: Cadmus Maragos was dealing, all smiles and self depreciating quips. Lawrence Jenkins sat next to him, thick framed glasses always seeming in need of adjustment, his jokes always trying just a bit too hard in the manner of little brothers throughout history. An empty chair was between them, then there was Elf.
Joining the three jarheads was a Deckie, PO2 Jennifer Cambell, last of the three Deck crew who had taken her last rites before making the advance jump onto Anadyomene, one year prior. She cracked jokes to make Cadmus whistle and Jenkins blush.
In a spot welded frame on the table was the year old photo of the six, including the two faces now absent from the circle of survivors: Leeroy Peters and Lauren Coll.
The gathering had started off somber, with Constin offering the first toast: "Here's to us, and them like us: damned few, and most are dead." Each of the others had followed with a different toast, and in short order the 'no-shit, there I was' stories followed. The mood lifted quickly, and after a couple hours, the four went their separate ways after commemorating the anniversary of their jump with faces worn out by laughing.
Because the next day was another anniversary: that of the day they survived Anadyomene, and the day each of them went about living their lives again. As he re-hung the framed photograph in its place on the wall of his bunk, Eleftherios Constin couldn't help but let his mind dwell on one of those absent faces. Every day from this day forward would be another anniversary. Letting one corner of his lip be tugged upward in a tight half-grin, the big man mutters, "Still proud of you, girl. See you some day."