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Midnight in the park and he’s lost his damn gun. “No,” he whispers, fumbling in the tall grass. “No!”

They step out from the trees. He’s surrounded. “First blood,” Tyler sighs.

Silently and without surprise, Toe realizes it worked. Options rise to his mind like bubbles: aikido, varma kalai, banshay, systema. Systems. A hidden layer of the world, glyphs of potential and force. But most importantly–

“I know kung fu,” he murmurs.

“Prove it,” grins Alex.

Their NERF revolvers rise, not in slow motion, but with the fat predictability of fastballs over the plate.

Toe unclips the lightsaber at his belt.