they’ve got him in the interrogation room every officer seems to have
the same question; was it worth it? With all that happened, with how
it turned out, the years of drunken revelry, the constant media
attention, the heists, the hubris, the way it ended in a bloodbath
the likes of which Los Santos has never seen. This is your legacy
Ramsey, was it worth it?
They ask like his answer means anything, ask like they even care what he thinks, ask like they don’t think he feels anything at all. They ask like it wasn’t his plans that brought him here. Like it wasn’t his plans the led to six body bags and a single pair of handcuffs, a room full of tactless officers and a kingpin with no one left to call crew. They ask like can’t help themselves from asking.
Was it worth it?
There’s never a serious discussion, no big heart to heart, but there’s no escaping the fact that the Fake’s all know they are dying in slow motion. More or less signed their own death certificate’s years ago, living on stolen time, and sooner or later they’ll find themselves in the ground.
They took Los Santos by storm and defended it with their lives. With each others lives. Have sacrificed themselves and the ones they love to a city that takes no prisoners. They fought hard for their crown, and kept on fighting every single day to succeed, to profit, to reaffirm themselves as the city’s biggest bads. They knew that they would only be unstoppable until they aren’t. Until the day they fall, and eventually they must fall.
Even after all the years of action, all the blood, sweat and tears they’ve poured into this empire, everyone knows there is no such thing as retirement for the Fake AH Crew; for all they’ve already trained their own successors the frontrunners of the reigning crew in Los Santos will never be allowed to simply step down and move aside when their time is over. Between old enemies and constant rivals, members of law enforcement and anyone simply looking to boost their own reputation, there are countless numbers who would hunt them to the ends of the earth. Everyone knows, one way or another, the FAHC is going out bloody.
And by god, did they go out bloody.
Fake’s die halfway through the afternoon on a Tuesday. What a fucking
inconsequential day right? They were owed a Friday at the very least,
were meant to go out past midnight, meant to go out in a blaze of
glory. They were meant to go out all together. They weren’t meant to
go out at all.
The wheels fell off weeks before, a series of questionable jobs and public fights, a level of disorder totally out of line with the crew’s trademark cohesion. Rumour has it they were rife with in-fighting. Rumour has it after all this time the cracks were finally showing. Its easy, afterwards, to read into the events that came before, to manufacture clues, to swear the writing was on the wall for anyone to see. In reality no one saw it coming. In reality the whole damn city was taken by surprise.
Maybe they bit off more than they could chew, maybe they were distracted, out of sync, or maybe it was just the inevitable finally catching up with them but in the end the Fake’s wind up in a firefight they aren’t winning. After endless years of near misses and close calls, of lucky runs and brilliant timing, after thousands of impossible victories, the FAHC finally lost.
To lose like this, picked off one by one, powerless to save themselves, to save each other, must have been their worst nightmare. With every body on the ground those left only grew more furious, more reckless, lose whatever feeble grasp on self-preservation they ever had, throwing away any possibility of retreat in favour of retribution. It wasn’t enough.
In the end the only one left breathing on either side is Ramsey. The scene finally gone still, silent, the echoes of screams and gunfire fading away into a shivery stunned kind of shock. They say Ramsey’d fallen to his knees amongst the grime, iconic suit near indistinguishable under all the dirt and ash, the blood of men and women who thought they’d live forever. He kneels there in silence while sirens grow ever louder, makes no move to flee, doesn’t even look up from bodies as cars scream to a stop around him.
The messed up thing, the really fucked up part? They say Ramsey was laughing by the time the police got there. Say he stood and brushed himself off, surrounded by the bodies of those he claimed family, drenched sickly red while his empire lay in ruins, and laughed. And god doesn’t that confirm what everyone’s always thought, doesn’t that just prove he always was a monster. Never cared for anyone, for anything, not really. People used to say the one thing Geoff loved was his crew but it seems Ramsey’s cold-blooded ruthlessness won out in the end.
In the fallout of a travesty, of a victory, of an unexpected bloodbath, in a stark grey room faced with a distressingly apathetic villain, in circumstances none could have predicted, all the detectives seem capable of asking is if it was worth it in the end. They ask and ask and Ramsey’s answer never changes, his cold smirk never fades, so calm and unconcerned they catch him glancing at the clock, as though he’s bored. As though even now he’s got somewhere better to be. And still, full of horrified disbelief, they have to ask.
it worth it? Yes. Was it worth it? Always. Knowing what you know now, knowing how it ends, how they all go down
for you, would you do it all again? Every
damn time. Surely you have regrets, you had to know one day it would end like
Oh baby, who says it’s over?
It comes together as a joke more than anything, the cumulation of too many late nights followed by too many bad movies. Their last job was tense, a heist with months of preparations and so much on the line, and while they’ve certainly celebrated their victory like royalty they didn’t come away unscathed. The injuries, numerous though mostly minor, serve to once again remind them all how lucky they’ve been so far. How most don’t make it nearly this many years without tragedy, couldn’t be in the game this long, let alone running the game this long without signing up for devastation. How losing a member, to outright death or crippling injury, is without a doubt only a matter of time at this point. How such a loss will be so much worse in this ridiculously close-knit crew than any they’d experienced before.
Sobering thoughts, combined with the difficulties of winding down after endless weeks of stress eventually leads to the discussion they never have, the question of what else they could be doing with their lives, what choices brought them here, what they would do if they could just step out, sign off, retire. It’s not that they’re bored of this life they’ve built – how could they be when the world is their oyster – but there’s no denying the fact that after all this time terrorising Los Santos doesn’t quite thrill them like it used to.
If you’d asked any of them ten, five, hell even two years ago they’d have scoffed at the idea of ever retiring, would have sworn up and down that they wanted to go down in flames, to end with a bang, and at the time they meant it. At the time it was true. It still is, in a way, they’ll probably always see something dreadfully appealing in going out on top, but with every passing year it’s harder and harder to look at a room full of people they love and consider playing a role in their deaths. Every time they get hurt it takes a little longer to heal, the old aches and pains are becoming more prominent, and their ever growing patchwork of scars have started looking less badge of honour than they do morbid countdown. Obviously they’ve still got it, still in their prime enough to keep their crown, but between age and gratuitous injury, time is creeping up on them all.
The Fake’s used to joke about the end, said whoever lasted longest won, got to make off with the fortunes, live like a king, but that reality isn’t quite so funny anymore. The idea of surviving, of being left behind with nothing but cold hard cash and heyday memories is enough to make them physically ill. So maybe retiring doesn’t seem quite so unappealing anymore.
Maybe a passing comment way too late at night, after far too much mixing of alcohol and pain meds, in the spirit of some dumb con movie they’d all been heckling, was enough to plant an idea. A ridiculous, unrealistic, completely unattainable idea, but still an idea nonetheless. They’re all a bit hung up on it, still joking, still assuring one another that they aren’t serious, but still bringing it up all the same, running through all the possibilities.
It would take far more than simply disappearing; they have too much wealth and notoriety, have far too many enemies, the world is simply too easy a place to comb through these days. People, at least the vast majority of people, would have to be convinced not to come looking. Convinced there was nothing to look for, nothing to track, would have to think the absent members of the Fake AH Crew were in the one place no one could ever reach them.
There are ways, of course, to feign death. For those with the right contacts, with endless money and enough resources, there are ways to trick the body into something close enough to pass, at least for a time. But even then it’s not so simple; there must be witnesses, there must be evidence, crook and cop alike must be sure. Of course with a public death comes increased risk- it wouldn’t do to go so far in their act that appearances became reality, to go to such lengths to imitate death only to wind up that way regardless. Somehow, someone’s going to have to play guardian, prevent anyone’s corpse from catching a stray bullet to the brain, or jerking back to life too late with guts already laid out on an autopsy table. Someone has to be ready to whisk them all away, and who do any of them trust more than the man they’ve been following all these years. The boss they’d die for. The boss they will die for.
They don’t talk about it, because no one wants to admit it might be happening, no one wants to burst the bubble, to invite reality to rush in and crush the unbelievable thought that the Fake’s might get a happy ending, but at some point they stop laughing. At some point they each quietly start getting all their ducks in a row, using their free time to organise their affair.
No one questions the way Geoff and Jack have started having day-long meetings with the support crew in-between jobs, the way Lindsay’s spending far more of her time recruiting than ever before, the way Gavin’s taking calls at all hours of the day, rarely in english, clearly haggling over something. They don’t wonder why all their money is getting moved around, why Ryan and Michael are busy collecting all outstanding debts while Jeremy and Ray are plotting the layout of the police station, the morgue.
It’s all happening on the down low, all behind business as usual, but eventually, after nearly a year of quiet organisation, they are just about ready to disappear. All that’s left is the bang, the flashy smoke and mirrors, the hook to stop anyone coming after them, anyone even thinking to track them down. One final step, one last decision to make, a choice they must commit to as one or not at all. All they’ve got left to do is die.
Over the years the Fake AH Crew has grown exponentially but the original elements have never drifted apart, never gone looking for something else or turned on one another. The crew has flourished, become a full blown empire, but nothing can touch the unity of the innermost members, as strong now as it have ever been. For all their loyal familiarity was mocked back in the day, for all their closeness was seen as a weakness, after all these years it seems only death itself will seperate them now. If they had the chance to evade their own mortality one last time, to get out, to be free, would they make the leap?
The Fake’s die halfway through the afternoon on a Tuesday. Pattillo, the Vagabond, Mogar and the Golden Boy, Little J and Brownman, but not the boss. Well not on paper anyway – any who knew them must know Ramsey’d never recover from the loss. Any who didn’t just know the LSPD took seven bodies away that day and none of them ever came back. It’s not a stretch to assume Ramsey’s survival was a rumour. To believe it wishful thinking, to say he died at the scene or died at the station, delayed injury or the cops cleaning up the last loose thread of the group who’d made their lives living hell for years.
There’s paperwork out there, somewhere, claiming a different story. A report that barely makes a lick of sense, the sworn record that a kingpin arrived in chains and left with corpses, slipped out of his cell like he was never there, without a hint as to how he got free. He disappeared like smoke, not a trace left behind, and none of the seven alive or dead ever resurfaced. The story is embarrassing, inexplicable, and it reflects badly enough on the LSPD that it is quickly buried.
Even if it hadn’t been there are few who would believe it. Few who could believe for even a moment that Ramsey could walk free and not be with the last of his crew, that he would let another run his empire, run his city, if he was in any way capable of preventing it. No, however it went down Ramsey did not survive. It’s fitting, really. No one can live forever and the OG Fake’s were certainty pushing their luck, had been pushing it for years; a crew that close should go out together.
The Fall of the Fake AH Crew isn’t much of a fall, in the end. The seemingly inevitable power vacuum one would expect following the death of the group who’d been running the city for endless years never comes. It shouldn’t be possible but even after the most devastating loss imaginable the the FAHC isn’t toppled from their throne. They restructure almost overnight; many of the oldest, original members of the support crew bow out, disappear on the wind without a trace, but there are more than enough left behind to fill their shoes. It’s almost perfect, almost unbelievable, some of support shuffling into the spotlight while still more unknown faces are revealed to boost their ranks. Their ability to keep their enemies at bay during the turmoil is impressive enough, but it’s the absence of internal conflicts that is truely boggling; there are no betrayals or executions, no public power plays or jealous feuds, somehow the city’s most scrutinised gang managed to completely restructure after the loss of not just their leader but all their key members without a single hitch. Almost like they were ready, like it was planned.
If the Fake’s had the chance to stay together, to start over somewhere else, stop waiting for the day one of them inevitably doesn’t make it home, but in return they had to step away from the action, give up everything they’d built, hand if off to legacy and fade out into legend, would it be worth it?
Apparently, yes. For all of them, from the moment the possibility arises, throughout every conversation, every debate and consideration, with everything they will lose, with everything they stand to gain, every goddamn time without fail, yes.
Somewhere out there, worlds away from Los Santos, a man sits on a private beach. He isn’t armed with anything more than a beer, there are no weapons, he simply sits upon the sand enjoying the breeze. There’s a woman to his right, sunbathing, a man to his left doing the same; golden tans make their startling number of scars stand out in stark relief but the heat of the sun does wonders for stubborn pains. At the shoreline old friends are knocking shoulders, bumping each other nearer and nearer to the water, not quite rough-housing like little boys but they’re getting close, voices rising on the wind.
The single house behind them is huge and noisy, full of music and chatter, full of monsters and overgrown children, the most loyal humans the man has ever had the honour of knowing. In a brief moment of silence sound from the television drifts down to the beach, an American news anchor reporting the latest infraction of some criminal organisation in a far away city; the house cheers and kicks back into a merry roar. Down by the water there is a betrayal, a splash and screeching protest as one winds up in the waves against his will. Safe on the sand, without a trouble in the world, the man laughs.