Okay be serious, did you guys actually think I wasn't going to give you something more substantial before I left?
JULY 24TH 0900 HOURS ROCKVILLE MD
"Fucking hell." Kincaid took a sip from his thermos and leaned back in his office chair. Another paper successfully finished. These summer college courses would be the death of him, but they were a necessary evil if he wanted to get anywhere at this stage in his life.
He rubbed the thick beard he was starting to grow as he clicked out a few tabs on his laptop. He paused at one for a moment as he read the name aloud.
"Testimonies of a Tanker." The middle-aged veteran rolled his eyes rolled his eyes at the name of the open word document. "Like anyone will read that shlock."
He spun around in his chair and looked at the multitude of souvenirs that sat strewn about his small apartment office. Memoirs from a campaign he could never hope to forget in a million years. Portraits, standards from conquered enemies, newspaper clippings.
A piece of dust covered parchment here and there. Each piece had a story to tell and it was only through hard work that he had earned the right to collect them. Suddenly the sound of his cell phone began to buzz throughout the room as the device slid across his desk. As he scooped the phone up he raised an eyebrow at the strange number on its screen. It certainly wasn't a U.S. number and it definitely wasn't one of the usual telemarketers either. He unlocked the touch screen and brought the phone to his ear.
"Moshi Moshi. Is this Jasper Kincaid?"
Kincaid's eyes went wide.
"Kincaid! My old friend. It's been too long."
The Marine veteran sat back down in his chair. "Too long is an understatement asshole. I haven't heard from you in what, almost a year now? Did fame and popularity get to you?"
"Try more like being a married man. With kids to boot." Itami laughed.
"Kids? Daaamn" Kincaid whistled as he looked at a portrait hanging on the wall. A throwback to the day Itami had invited all of the old gang to his wedding. The newlyweds stood in front of a temple flanked on either side by both Marine, JSDF and Special Region guests alike.
That was a good day.
"I thought it was tough enough just finding the balls to remarry, now you're a dad? So how many little mistakes did you two make?"
"Two boys thank god. I don't think I was ready for girls to be honest."
Kincaid chuckled. "Yeah ask Elton or Benitez about that. They'd tell you all about it."
Itami cleared his throat for a moment before responding. "How are they by the way? I know Benitez has that farm with Mamina back in Falmart."
"Oh, same old same old. Elton's still in PA, I think he's working now. George is George. He likes that quiet life and you know how slow word is getting out from beyond the gate anyways. Last I heard he's fine, 10 kids and all."
"10 kids?" Itami whistled. "Makes sense. Heard their queen Tyuule has been really pushing for them to repopulate ever since they got their land back."
"Yeah, that's rabbits for ya." Kincaid cracked his neck as he slowly spun in his chair. "You hear from Wilkes lately?"
"Yeah, I was up late the other night hanging out with him and his girls in Akihabara actually."
"Girls?" Kincaid raised an eyebrow."I thought he was living with Shino."
"He is, but apparently Yao's in on it too now. They all share an apartment." Itami chucked. "I'm surprised you didn't know this."
"Well yeah. He only ever calls me when he's piss drunk or not working at the harbor. I'll be sure to kick his ass next time I get a hold of him." Kincaid stifled a yawn. "I'm not surprised though with that new program you guys got going."
"You make it sound like as if that was all our idea. Her royal highness and your old platoon commander have been making a lot of reforms over in Falmart. They seem hellbent on making sure there's a lot of tourism going on." Itami yawned, it was late over there.
"Yeah, I'm aware of that." Kincaid eyed his watch and then at one other tab he had failed to close out off. An arriving flight he needed to get ready for soon. "Poor guy's probably losing his mind."
Itami laughed. "Well being married to royalty is a big leap up from tank commander-"
"Being forced into it more than likely. Not like the powers that be didn't take advantage of the situation." Kincaid eyed another wedding portrait hanging over his desk, that had been a hell of a day too.
Itami scoffed. "Oh please. They're both happy all the same. He's a good leader and with him standing by Piña nothing but good things will come from here on."
"We'll see. Hopefully, the Orange Avenger in the White House doesn't muck it up. He's been doing okay with that Falmart modernization program, but eh. You know how he is."
"Don't remind me."
Kincaid stretched his legs out. "You hear from anyone else?"
"Not really. Lelei's still running her school and doing her Ted Talks. Most of the old gang are off doing their own things. Last I heard Tomita is off in Falmart living it big in the capital with Bozes and their kid. Then, of course, there's Kurata."
Kincaid scoffed. "Is that weener still with the cat?"
"Sure is." Itami chuckled. "Kids and all."
"Christ, is it baby making season?" Kincaid facepalmed. "I don't even want to think what those look like."
"Ah, they're fine! You and Aurea should try making some little rascals, there's nothing like it."
Kincaid smiled. "What the physical act or the child raising? I mean, I know enough about the former-"
Itami cut him off. "You know what I mean sicko."
"Right right. Well soon as I get stable and can get her with me where she belongs then maybe. Till then we won't risk that." Kincaid looked over at another portrait."So, what happened to Rory?"
There was a long pause.
"..Not sure. After Piña's wedding, her visits became increasingly less frequent. Nobody really knows where she is."
Kincaid looked at some red and black tapestry hanging off a coat hanger. "Think she's still hunting down Hardy's followers?"
"It's likely. I don't know why though. I thought Belnago was the end of that."
"So did I. It better have been after the nightmare that was." Kincaid grimaced, some memories were less pleasant than others. "In any case, how about Tuka? Mari still taking care of her?"
"Yeah, they're doing great. Got a nice place up north where its quiet. They were there last night when we all hung out actually. You should give Kurokawa a call I'm sure she'd appreciate hearing from you." There was a slight pause in Itami's voice. "..You guys are still good right?"
"Yeah, I've just been busy. Those rough days are behind us."
"Ah, alright. Say, Kincaid."
"I miss you, buddy."
Kincaid smiled. "I miss you too Youji. It's been a hell of a ride. Running off into other worlds slaying dragons and defying gods. Feels like a crazy sci-fi adventure huh?"
"Or an anime." Itami chimed in.
"A bad one."
Both veterans laughed.
"Where did time go Jasper?" Itami sighed. "Sometimes I miss those days. Everything felt so simple you know? Being a soldier fighting bad guys. There were dark days but the comradery made up for it."
Kincaid got up and started admiring all the souvenirs from his time in. "Time did what it always does man. It came and went. Not a day goes by where I don't sit in college and think about where I am now. One minute tanks, the next civilian life. Hell, I graduate next year."
"Then off to work with your dad?"
"Yep. Diplomatic Security."
"You think they'll let you get posted in Falmart?"
Kincaid stopped as he passed by a photo of Aurea posing on his tank. "I pray for it.."
"As do I old friend. As do I. Well look I won't keep you I just wanted to call you and hear from you again. It's important we stay in touch and preserve our memories."
"Of course man anytime. I'm always here."
Itami laughed. "Well as am I. You should come to Japan one of these days, this place will always be your second home."
"Yeah. I suppose you could say I've got a connection with it." Kincaid smiled before looking at the time. "Alright, I gotta go Youji. Got a plane to meet with a certain little lady on it."
"She's coming to visit?"
"Sure is. Formal clan has a lot of pull now and I mean a lot. Senator Myui has really been getting her name out there."
"Senator now? Yeesh. Anyways I won't keep you from your date with destiny. You take it easy Jasper."
"You too Youji."
Kincaid hung up and gave a sigh of content as he looked over the room once more. For a moment he wondered if other veterans had their own shrines to the one of a kind campaign Falmart was.
Kincaid muttered to himself. "What a generation we are. A real Gate Generation."
He reached over and opened the word document on his laptop giving the keys a few taps as he changed the title.
"The Gate Generation. Now maybe people will want to read this shlock."
Satisfied, he got up and closed the door to the room full of memories. It was time to make new ones after all.
Okay, now it's time to go. For real now. To my readers, thank you for your support through everything. To my brothers and sisters in the service, thank you for giving me the inspiration to write.