Caustic dust billowed away from the landing pad, displaced by the craft’s landing jets and momentarily forcing him to look away. Static sparked in the particle-filled air off control surfaces, lending an ozone tang that coiled greasily across the tongue. Behind him the troops stayed as motionless as biology allowed – with only one or two stifled coughs being heard. The drill sergeant would have a field day with that later.
Drawing himself more fully upright, he noted the fluid ease with which the pilot set the lander down on its skids and cut power – looking for all the world like some animated simulation sequence rather than something with enough mass to make a significant crater on impact with the ground if things went wrong. He stepped forward as the entrance ramp unsealed. Behind him he heard the stamp of a company of troops coming to attention.
It was time to meet the man that the Assassin had come to kill. The treacherous thought crossed his mind that he still wasn’t sure which individual he was more scared of.