We leaped from the dropship onto the battlefield, feeling the shock in our bones as we hit the ground. The ship's engines created swirling vortexes of sand that surrounded us like a storm and dug into our equipment. An unearthly resonance emanated from the enemy citadel as its laser defense system lit up and rent the night asunder, blowing apart the dropship like a needle piercing the membrane of a balloon, making dust of the loose debris that was dancing through the air---and then faded into nothingness, like a coin falling down a deep well.
The only object receiving my attention was my plasma rifle which was aimed at an enemy soldier like a compass needle pointing north. It had just been armed, and the weapon emitted a whirr as if a swarm of enraged hornets had been trapped within. I must have panicked for a split-second as the sandy trigger momentarily jammed, and then succumbed to the persistent squeezing of my finger as it abruptly grinded on its way to setting off the firing mech