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The Magic, the Crew, and the Treh

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“Whoa Michael! Watch where you’re aiming that.” Trevor said as Geoff swung around the fresh crater in the road that came from the chrome sports car behind them.
The maniacal laughter of Michael, Gav, and Fredo came over the coms. To be fair, it was the first job in a while that Geoff had given Michel the go ahead to bring his powder pink RPG. They were on their way to a Vagos warehouse. It seemed that the fakes had grown a bit lax with the rival gang. The Vagos were starting to creep in on fakes gun running. Competition was bad for business, so Geoff and Trevor had called everyone into the heist room and laid out the plan.
Geoff and Trevor would take point with Michael, Gav, and Fredo in the car behind them. Jack would be flying the Heli with Jeremy on guns as backup. Matt would be running overwatch on the hacked security systems at the warehouse. Lindsay would be working the backend with the post team in finding fences for whatever the rest of the crew managed to commandeer. The boys on the ground were to go into the warehouse and essentially kick the hornet’s nest. If all goes well, the Vagos will come around to the Fake’s way of things with minimal bloodshed. If all went tits up, Michael, Gav, and Fredo had free reign to blow up as much of the warehouse as they wanted to send a message.
At least, that was the plan.
The warehouse looked empty when they arrived. Not a guard in sight. It struck Trevor as odd all things considered. He threw a look towards Geoff, who returned it with a quirk of his brow. It was too quiet and too dark for Vagos. Trevor was starting to get the impression that perhaps this wasn’t the Vagos at all, but maybe a new kid in town.
“Matt, what do you see?” Trevor asked to break the eerie silence that had fallen as the rest of the crew caught up to what Geoff and Trevor had been thinking.
“It looks clear inside. Huh, that’s kinda weird. I can’t seem to see anyone on any of the cams actually. Be careful guys, this job is starting to stink.” Matt cautioned.
“10-4. We got a clear view of you guys from the sky.” Jack said.
“The whole place looks deserted.” Jeremy piped in close after.
“Geoff, this is giving me a bad feeling. We should leave until we do a bit more looking into it.” Trevor said off coms to Geoff.
“Come on Trevor, when have the fakes ever been scared of a firefight?” He said with his lopsided smile. “Besides, the only way we’re gonna know what’s going on inside is if we actually go inside.”
“Still, we need to be careful. We don’t want another Ray.” Trevor said in an almost whisper. Geoff’s face darkened.
Ray was part of the fakes way back before Trevor was even really a part of the main crew. From what Trevor has heard and knew of Ray, no one knew who he was before he showed up in Los Santos. He was a superb grifter and an almost as gifted gunman. He slipped right into the fakes as if he had always been meant to be there. Then one day he left the same way he arrived, silently. No one on the crew save for Geoff knew where Ray had gone. Geoff told everyone that Ray had business out of the country and wouldn’t be back for a long time if at all. Geoff wouldn’t go into more detail. The crew speculated that Ray had double crossed Geoff in one way or another, or that Ray hadn’t even existed at all. That it was just a face that he wore with the crew. Eventually they gave up trying to get in touch with him. It wasn’t until years later when Geoff pulled Trevor into his office that Trevor found out what had actually happened.
There was a pink phone with a Pikachu charm sitting on Geoff’s desk. It was one of the few times that Trevor had really seen Geoff, the Kingpin and not just Geoff, his friend. Geoff sat behind his desk, his elbows on the surface, fingers gabled, eyes locked onto the phone.
“Have a seat, Trevor.” Geoff’s eyes were so intense that Trevor didn’t even attempt to crack a joke like he normally did when Geoff pulled him into his office.
“What’s this about Geoff?” Trevor asked, concerned he had done something wrong.
“How long have you been with the Crew?” Trevor thought for a second.
“Three years now I think, why?”
“I’ve been watching how you’ve interacted with the crew, and I think that you’re due for a promotion.”
“Wait really? To what?” Trevor asked, confused.
“My second in command.”
“I’m sorry Geoff, I’m a bit confused. I thought that Jack was your second in command.”
“While she acts it, no. Jack has no interest in running the crew. Jack just keeps all you idiots out of a majority of trouble. Actually running the crew’s business is on me and now you.”
“Wow, thanks Geoff, I don’t know what to say.” Geoff met Trevor’s eyes for the first time since pulling him in here.
“Don’t thank me yet.” The room felt cold to Trevor and the elation that he had felt on hearing the news of his promotion quickly died.
“What’s going on Geoff?” Trevor said, glancing at the phone on the desk. Trevor wasn’t stupid, he knew it likely had something to do with the phone. He just didn’t know what.
“We took you in when it was apparent you were a new immortal. Since then, you’ve come to know that everyone in the crew is either immortal as well or has some semblance of magic.”
“Yeah, what does that have to do with anything?” Trevor said, remembering how he had joined the crew. He woke up in his car in their garage after Michael had shot him point blank in the head and stole his car. To be fair, Trevor had been hired to ward the shipment that the fakes had their eye on. Not the best first impression but it worked out once they realized he had zero loyalty to his one-time employers.
“I’m sure you’ve heard the speculation about Ray.” Geoff said, his tone deadly. Trevor nodded. “Then you know that as far as the crew knows, Ray is off-shore somewhere.” Trevor nodded again. “What I’m about to tell you does not leave this room. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, Sir.”
“Good,” Trevor was slightly terrified. Geoff never let anyone call him sir without some sort of comment. “This,” Geoff gestured to the phone, “is Ray’s phone.” There are a million reasons why Geoff would have that. Trevor even tried to think of a few. “You might be wondering why I have it and I’ll tell you.” Geoff leaned back in his chair, suddenly looking much older. Trevor waited patiently. “Ray is dead.”
“What?” Trevor blurted out. Ray is, was, had been immortal. How could he be dead?
“We were on a job. During the getaway, Ray caught a bullet from a persistent cop. The last thing he said to me was ‘sorry boss, looks like I’m not finishing this one.” Geoff looked like he was about to cry. “It was like he knew he wasn’t coming back. I waited for three days before I buried him. When I got back and everyone was pestering me with questions about Ray, I couldn’t bring myself to tell them the truth. I didn’t know why he stayed dead, but I didn’t want the knowledge that it could happen to tear the crew apart. In the millennia I’ve been alive, it’s only happened once.” Trevor understood Geoff’s fear. The knowledge that one of the times that Trevor catches a stray bullet, or get’s blown up by the crew on accident, he could just not wake up again is terrifying. It made him want to curl up and not go on another job. The phone on the table suddenly felt like it was threatening to pull Trevor into the void. Geoff was staring Trevor in the face to see his reaction, whether he had chosen correctly to take a chance on Trevor. Trevor pushed the fear out of his head. It’d only ever happened once. It could have been Ray. None of them knew who he was before the Crew, not even Geoff. He could have had conditional immortality for all they knew.
“Geoff, I’m sorry you had to hold that truth on your own for so long.” Trevor said, his voice soft as he placed his hand on Geoff’s. Geoff really did cry then. Afterwards, occasionally Trevor would catch him dialing Ray’s phone. Those were never good days, and it was no mystery to Trevor why tissue boxes seemed to disappear. Trevor didn’t know Ray as well as Geoff did, but he still understood the pain.
“We aren’t going to have another Ray. Not if I can help it.” Geoff said to Trevor, determined. Geoff switched to coms, “Alright boys, slow your roll. We’re gonna take this one nice and slow. I don’t want to deal with another FIB scandal because we walked into something over our heads and y’all decided to get your brains spilled on the pavement. Capiche?”
“Aww you take away all our fun.” Gav said.
“Bet I can get shot less than you.” Michael said.
“I’ll take that bet.” Fredo replied, his grin audible.
Trevor hated herding Geoff like that, but the feeling he was getting from this warehouse was bad. The five of them piled out of the cars and lined up against the building behind Trevor. He concentrated on the surrounding area, keeping his senses open to wardings or hexes in their vicinity. Finding none, he gave the go ahead and ventured inside.
The inside was pitch black. From the blueprints that they had gone over before heading out, they should be in a small front office meant for receiving customers and what not. A door opposite them behind the desk should lead into the warehouse proper. While Trevor was not a prodigy with magic, he knew enough from watching the crew that he could manage low light vision if the need arose. Michael was much better with that sort of magic than Trevor, which always struck him as ironic, considering Michael has the worst vision on the crew otherwise.
“Uhh guys, there’s supposed to be an office here, right?” Michael whispered.
“Yeahh.” Trevor said, still fumbling with the delicate magic so he could see.
“I have bad news then.”
“Michael what do you see Michael?” Gav said. They all knew Michael could see the farthest without a doubt.
“Uhm, it’s hard to describe.” Trevor took an unintentional step forward as Gav tripped over something and fell into him.
“Hey Gav, watch…it…” Trevor trailed off.
Little motes of light floated around the crew, illuminating them in a soft blue glow. They seemed to create a path that led to what looked like a house. The lights in the house were off.
“Should we… you know?” Gav whispered. It struck Trevor that they hadn’t heard from Matt in a little while, or Jack and Jeremy for that matter.
“Matt? Jeremy? Can you hear us?” He said into coms. Nothing. “Uhh guys, I think we should stick together if we go farther in, which seems like a bad idea because coms are down.”
“I am not letting some magician on a power trip into my city unchecked. We have 15 minutes, then we leave, but I want some answers about what’s happening here.” Geoff said taking point.
Trevor fell into line behind Geoff with the rest after him. As they approached the house, they could hear chanting from inside.
“Trevor and I will go around the right side of the house, you three go around the left, see if you can see anything in those windows. We meet at the back.” Geoff whispered. They all nodded and split off. Trevor’s feeling went from bad to worse.
“Geoff, are you sure this is a good idea?” Trevor whispered as they began their circuit around the house.
“No, but the alternative is worse.”
They couldn’t see anything in the first couple windows they looked in. Trevor spotted a basement window, which was odd for a house in Los Santos, but then again houses with white picket fences didn’t belong in warehouses. As he got down on his stomach to look in the window, he could see the source of the chanting. A muted green light was emanating from a circle inscribed on the floor of the basement. Trevor could just make out a ring of people in black at the edge of the green light. In the middle was the naked body of a man, an obvious knife wound in his chest.
“Uhh, Geoff, I don’t think we should go in there.”
“Why, what do you see?”
“A ritual of some kind. Looks like necromancy at the very least. Nasty business that.”
“Necromancy? I will not have another zombie scare. It was old in 2012, and it’s old now. Come on, let’s get the others.”
Trevor was trying to think of a plan to get them out of this. He knew a high-powered ritual when he saw one. Geoff was making it very difficult. They met up with the other three at the back door to the house. They were going quiet from here on in, shoot to kill. Trevor shook his head as he searched for wards on the house. Surprisingly, they were absent. Maybe they forwent wards in the hope that people would just think it was an abandoned warehouse and leave it be. The crew made sure that there was no one on the upper and ground floors before quietly making their way down.
The basement had several rooms. Trevor took point, navigating based on where the window he saw was supposed to be. The halls were all fresh sheetrock, unpainted. It smelled new too. Like it had been finished this morning. The chanting was louder in here, in a language that none of them could understand. Or at least that’s what Trevor thought. He couldn’t see the look on Geoff’s face behind him. The green light seemed to permeate the entire basement and they quickly found the source. They lined up on either side of the door, the green light a bright line under the door. Geoff counted down from three and they busted into the room and started shooting.
There was some protest from the mages around the room, but they were quickly silenced. It was unsettling though, as the ritual continued, and the death of the mages did not stop the chanting. It was reaching a crescendo and the body in the middle of the circle had green lines and whorls across their body.
“We have to stop this!” Geoff shouted over the chanting. He moved towards the circle.
“Geoff NO!” Trevor shouted, reaching for him. He grabbed his arm just as Geoff broke the circle. There was a flash of green light, a ringing in Trevor’s ears, then silence.
When Trevor’s vision came back, he was next to Geoff in the middle of a burnt-out room. He shot up to sitting, his vision swimming with the sudden movement. Looking down he saw the same green whorls and lines peeking out from the tears and burns in his clothes that made the circle Geoff had broken. He redirected his gaze to Geoff. Geoff looked much worse. He had the similar markings to Trevor, but it looked like they were carved into his skin with a hot knife. Geoff was on his side in the fetal position, shivering. Michael, Gav, and Fredo were nowhere to be seen. Trevor started to panic and curbed it, deciding to focus on the one member of Crew he could see.
“Geoff? Geoff! Can you hear me?” Trevor shouted, but his voice was muted, like someone had stuffed cotton in his ears. Geoff started to say something, but then his face screwed up in pain. If only the ringing in his ears would stop Trevor thought. Geoff seemed to realize this, and Trevor felt a slight pressure in his head, like someone else were in there too. Geoff seemed as surprised as Trevor at the lack of a spell.
"I can hear you just fine. Seems you can’t though."
"It’ll heal. Are you alright?"
"Oh definitely not."
"What do you mean?"
"I don’t think I’m making it out of here."
"No don’t say that."
"I know what Ray felt before he died now. I’m sorry Trevor, seems like you’re gonna be in charge sooner than I had planned."
"No Geoff, don’t do this! Please, you’re gonna come back."
"No Trevor, I can feel it. It’s different this time. It’s…colder. Softer."
"Don’t leave like this. You can’t leave like this!"
"Seems I don’t have a choice buddy. My hold is slipping already. But listen, this magic I’ve absorbed, it’s all wrong. It’s like a tear in the world. So much death, but yet a shadow of life." Geoff chuckled that turned into a wheezing cough. "Kinda like us actually."
Geoff… Trevor choked, hot tears on his face.
Trevor, find out what happened to me. Protect the Crew, they’re gonna need you.
With a spasm, and a surge in the magic he was holding, Geoff died. Don’t go. How am I going to do this without you? Trevor thought, hoping Geoff would hear him. But his head was achingly lonely now. Trevor stayed there with Geoff in his arms for who knows how long, tears staining the older man’s face. After some time, Trevor picked up the Kingpin and carried him out of the wreckage. He didn’t go find the crew; he didn’t go bury Geoff. He took his former mentor to one of the safehouses Trevor kept outside Crew ledgers up on Chiliad. Geoff looked like he was sleeping, peaceful despite the angry green burn marks all over him. Trevor’s phone got lost in the commotion, even so, he wouldn’t be able to bring himself to tell the crew. Not yet. He didn’t know what he was going to tell them. It’s not like he could tell them Geoff disappeared under mysterious circumstances. He wouldn’t be able to stand up to the questioning. Ray was one thing, but Geoff was another.
The only thing Trevor could do was cry.