Author's Note: Bungie owns them.

The Big Man

Jorge let go.

Six fell quickly, the planet's gravitational pull catching her immediately. She disappeared from his view and he turned away, silently wishing her luck. He'd already wasted time that he didn't have, but even as he moved away from the docking bay opening, he couldn't help looking over his shoulder at Reach, hoping against hope that he could prevent it from getting glassed.

Carefully, he armed the slipspace drive, his movements mechanical. He didn't regret his decision, wasn't afraid of dying, but he wished he'd known he'd set foot on Reach for the last time. He would have taken a second look or said goodbye in a way that gave him peace. In any case, he was certainly saying goodbye in a big way now.

Thirty seconds.

When he was sure the drive was armed, he turned around and looked out into space. From this distance, Reach looked as peaceful as it did in his memory. In the 30 years he'd been a soldier, his earliest memories of Reach always had a way of reminding him of his humanity, even in his darkest days when he thought he was nothing more than a walking tank.

Twenty seconds.

He trusted Noble Team to make it count and he knew they would fight the Covenant until their dying breaths, but he hoped it wouldn't come to that. They were the best of the best and humanity needed them if they were going to survive this war. Beyond Reach being his home, it was their last stronghold. If Reach fell...

Ten seconds.

He could hear incoming enemy personnel behind him, but didn't bother picking up the machine gun at his feet. Needles and plasma began to mark him, but he didn't move, didn't even flinch.

One second.

Jorge closed his eyes.