My comments in red.
Plasma rifle at the ready, Private Ralf Bein stalked down the center of the potholed road, taking his turn on point and not liking it one bit. The street was empty of civilians, which was a bad sign, making Ralf wonder if they knew something his patrolling ranger squad had not, as yet, discovered. That the rangers had also started taking random rifle fire in the last few minutes added to this genius assumption. So far it was nothing his armor couldn't handle--because little short of depleted uranium slugs or plasma could penetrate imperial battle armor with a single shot, and the outmanned and outgunned rebels weren't that well supplied. But the deserted streets and the steady pling and whine of bullets zinging off Ralf's gear was unnerving, to say the least, especially how the sound echoed between the buildings like angry insects.
"I feel like I've got a big glowing target on my helmet," he muttered on his team's sideband.
"You do," his team leader, Private Lassanog, replied on the same channel. "I jiggered your camofield myself, newbie." Gallows humor blossomed with the right fertilizer.
"'Whatever It Takes'." He murmured the Imperial Ranger motto instead of rising to the bait.
Love the first line. Think about all the things we learn from it: Plasma rifle (sci-fi) at the ready, Private (ah, military sci fi) Ralf Bein (character name--preferably the protag) stalked (tough guy, are you?) down the center of the potholed road (setting detail indicating age and decay to their surroundings), taking his turn on point and not liking it one bit.(We're in his POV--confirming he's likely the protag. It also adds a bit of foreshadowing and tension.) All in all, very deftly done.
And if this writer can do all that in the space of so few words, it gives me hope that I'm in the hands of a competent storyteller. We do have a few unneeded words in the next sentence: as yet. Some folks might call this "voice" but it's actually repeating information we can glean from the verb. This is a perfect example of how and where to cut. Two words might not seem like much, but if you cut two words from every sentence in a 4000 words story, it adds up. I see unneeded words like this a lot.
The rest of the graph is set-up rather than forwarding the plot. But I'm thinking it works ok, I'm willing to keep reading and see what happens next, because the set-up acts as foreshadowing. You want to be careful about going too far with set-up. If a story needs a few pages of set-up then either the story is too big for the form or you didn't start it in the right place. Or you're just pleased as punch with your world and don't know when to say when. :)
On a personal note, which enters every editor's head, I'm thinking: Cool. Military Sci Fi. I love that! I never see enough of it either.
Gallows humor blossomed with the right fertilizer. While that's a nice line, I'd probably cut it. It overshadows the dialogue, which to my mind overshadows the story--the action. It's not a deal-breaker though, unless the authorial intrusion continues. You could kill on the same channel as well. We're in Bein's head so obviously he wouldn't hear it unless they were speaking on the same channel. (At this point you might be thinking I'm inflicting my style on the author's. Well, yeah, a little bit. That's part of an editor's job.)
I'd switch the tag to the front of the last line of dialogue so the reader knows what this means, and insert Bein's name. We've got two male speakers and presumably more will chime in at some point.
I'm not sure what the story is about quite yet beyond a basic "army" vs "rebels", but hopefully the next page will enlighten me further, and I'm expecting that this mission is directly related to the main problem in the story.
Overall, this one earns a Keep Reading.
Please feel free to chime in on comments, but be kind and diplomatic. Thanks for playing!!!