Billy cocked his head to the side and thought for a moment before replying. “I think that most of the squad leaders are about even with me. Justin has been working to break the 200 mark.”

“Cool. I have some other combat cantrips ideas that are probably expensive. They’ll have prerequisites, too. Could we have another huddle? I’ll share my ideas.”

Billy smiled wide, “You bet – nobody will want to miss this!”

--- * ~ * ---

Two hours later we had covered He-Man, She-Ra, Visionaries, BraveStarr, Thundercats, Mighty Mouse, Shazam, Captain Marvel, Power Man, Human Torch, Superman, The Thing, Green Lantern, The Hulk, Etrigan, and highlighted when these powers may not work without certain conditions or equipment. For example, I suspected that He-Man, She-Ra, and Thundercats could only be invoked if you had a sword, and you might need a specific blade or style of sword. Others, like the Hulk and The Thing, might need pain or transformation time. I also gave them my best guess on how much mana might be required to activate the cantrip and if there might be an ongoing cost. These started as guesses, but as I identified a potential cantrip to the group, ARC silently prompted me with the durations and costs. I relayed only soft figures to the group keeping my abilities to myself. What was surprising was how much the group already knew about these cartoons and comic book heroes. They just never thought that the famous catchphrases might work as cantrips. What wasn’t clear was how much the cantrip would protect the user as part of the magic. These wildcards could give us an edge but not guarantee the fight. That meant they were likely to die, and while I thought it still might be possible for me to, I also felt that it was unlikely for me to die before the rest of them did. I would outlast them, and then I could switch personas and release my powers before moving to temple island to provide last-stand support. The question is if I should wait that long or do something that would allow me to leave sooner. I doubt that the temple will be under assault immediately, so I should be able to spend some time here are relieve a little of the pressure on the city from this graveyard.

Ok. No messing around, then. It’s time to get my head straight and prepare to smash zombies and then get to the temple!

— * ~ * —

Ok, it’s twenty minutes to midnight, and we’ve sorted out where each squad will start and prepared as much as we are able. Everybody has gone through a gear check at least three times, and we’re just making ourselves nervous. Justin calls for us to take our final places, and now it’s the last few minutes of hurry up and wait – or it should be. Somehow I think Nirvana may be planning to play another trick on us before the night is over.

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