Even in a world of heroes Los Santos is too corrupt for any true good to prosper. The Supers who come to fight the good fight soon fall, retreating from an unwinnable battle, being brutally murdered and made public warning or, worse, plunging fast and hard into the ever growing ranks of villainy that rule the city. And really, is there anything more dangerous than a villain with a cause? A baddie with all the self-entitled righteousness of a former hero, the taste for glory, for public deference, for power.
It’s not like there are rules, no handbook for the Powered to follow, checkboxes for being good vs being evil, no set destiny determining that one must be one or the other but things always seem to play out in the same way. Humans aren’t half as complex as they’d like to believe, all follow the same broad paths sooner or later; the ones who hide themselves away, the ones who take what they want, and the ones who think to stand up and protect their idea of justice.
When the Powered came into the public eye there was fear, jealously, there were calls to register, to lock up the powerful, demands to go to any extreme to ensure the protection of the Non-powered. Not all Powers are equal, for every terrifyingly notable gift there are dozens of negligible abilities, little more than party tricks or cosmetic changes, but most Non-powered didn’t care to see the difference. The lack of rhyme or reason scared them, the fact that unknown powers may have manifested in anyone from a childhood friend to a nephew, a nun to a super-max criminal, newfound supremacy with no regard for class or wealth. Many of the Powered were talented beyond belief, some stronger than anyone could deem reasonable, but the Non-powered would always have numbers and the ever reliable quality of hating anyone who was different.
Overall it was handled poorly, even in areas not screaming for imprisonment or execution, places where Powers were seen as gifts, amazing and awe-inspiring, society simply lacked adequate infrastructure to support so many new abilities. Prison cells were no longer adequately applicable to all people, some were now immune to necessary medicines, the limits of human weight and strength had gone out the window and airspace no longer belonged solely to machines. Worse though was the fact that there was nothing in place to protect the Powered from the hateful masses, nothing to help identify and channel the newly Powered into appropriate support and education programs, nothing to mitigate the growing tensions and unease. And, yes, nothing at all which could combat the inevitable pushback, fight off the onslaught of Powered coming for law-enforcement and society alike, not just actual criminals but also mismanaged children and the inescapable furious retribution from regular Powered when it all goes wrong.
It was a dark time, Powered persecuted without cause or mercy and Non-Powered constantly looking over their shoulders lest they be the target of rebel vengeance, a world-wide uproar which eventually gave rise to the Supers. Because there were of course Powered who believed in justice, who wanted to help, who stood up to stand up against their own kind when things got dire and led the charge to bring peace and understanding between Powered and Non.
So things eventually settle, an uneasy truce, but there will always be those who use their Powers for their own benefits, society be damned, just as there will always be the do-gooders using their Powers to police how others behave. It of course takes the general public no time at all to start referring to them as Heroes and Villains, the comparison too close to ignore despite the general lack of spandex, but there was never going to be such a clean division.
Clearly those who think it’s simply black or white have never had to define the Powered who were scouted for shady corporations or government wet work, never had to draw the line between political or military ‘heroes’ and vigilante ‘villains’. Clearly those people had never been to Los Santos, where the heroes could be just as bad, could be far, far worse, than the villains had any hope of being.
It’s all well and good for the villains in Los Santos, at least a while - better to have the heroes get on board than have them chasing you down and ruining your every plan - but it’s getting a bit crowded to be honest. It’s hard to stretch your wings as a bad guy when there’s no one left to push back against, when on every job you trip over half a dozen bozos running their own gigs. When the levels of depravity some of these assholes stoop to start giving all the regular villains a bad name.
So, something has to be done, and if the good guys can’t hack it, the bad guys are going to have to. Or at least that’s how Ramsey sells it when he’s dragging a pack of semi-reluctant crooks together, cherry picking powers and personalities to build what will be an undeniably formidable crew so long as he can get them all onside. Considering Geoff’s gift of telepathy and thought implantation, limited though it may be, getting everyone to sign up and play nice with one another isn’t quite as difficult as one would expect.
Some of his choices are crooks he’s already worked with, Powers tried and tested, those who Geoff trusts more than anyone else on earth. Most notably of these are his ever faithful right hand, Jack, who manipulates wind and weather, and the ineffable Lindsay with her flaming wings. Then there’s Matt Bragg’s technological genius, Trevor’s ability to defy notice and walk unseen, Steffie’s unearthly level of multi-tasking and information analysis, and the host of loyal Powered friends they bring to the table.
Even the ringers who Geoff’s not actually trialled have been vigorously investigated, carefully selected from the hundreds of possible Powered criminals in Los Santos. He’d built up some rapport with the foreigner, Free, who’s been running with two other Powered, a little crew he won’t leave behind, not that Geoff actually wants him to. He was after Gavin’s power, inherent luck and the manipulation of probabilities an indispensable quality in his endeavour, but he’d be a fool not to snatch up Gavin’s friends while he’s at it. Jones with his control of heat, of fire and ice, and Dooley’s ability to change his own density at will makes the pair near indomitable in a fight, an unquestionably powerful duo to have in your corner. And last, but by no means least, was the terrible Vagabond, the corrupted healer who takes people apart from the inside out, a living nightmare even in Los Santos. Ryan was by far the hardest to win over to the cause, but once he’s in Geoff knows they’re golden.
It’s quite a line-up but even with that security there is no scattergun approach, Geoff’s done his homework, has villains and ex-heroes categorised by the danger their powers pose and the difficulty in taking them down. The first few jobs are so quick and ruthless the targets have no time to see them coming, to prepare proper defences, no chance to combat the array of abilities they’re faced with. From there word gets out, but while they lose the element of surprise they’re still in the unique position of being united; it’s so rare for those who are Powered to truly combine forces, rarer still in a group of more than two or three, and without any backstabbing or infighting Ramsey’s collection have found themselves to be near unstoppable.
Between them they have the best plans, horrifyingly efficient fighters, have infiltration, manipulation and extermination completely covered. Hell they even have a preternaturally skilful wheelman to get them all the hell out of dodge when things take a turn. Perhaps best of all, though, is the fact that to some degree they have the support of the city; law enforcement, struggling Supers and civilians alike, who’ve noticed this new group shaking up the powers that be in the underbelly of the city. Who might not all be actively helping but certainly aren’t hindering, stepping back and giving Geoff and his people free reign to finally fix up the wicked city.
So for a moment they are beacons, a spot of light pushing back the darkness in Los Santos, persevering where others have been crushed, relentless in their quest to take out the worst elements of the city. It is, of course, difficult to be swayed from the right path when you were never on it in the first place, can’t fall from grace when you never had any to start with. Ramsey’s gang seem invulnerable to the filth and corruption of Los Santos simply because the darkness was in them all along, their goals have never been anything close to altruistic.
Some still believe, see only what they have intentionally been shown, think Ramsey’s crew vigilantes, perhaps too harsh, too violent, but only out of necessity, the strong hand of justice the depraved city of sin has been crying out for. They think the attacks will cease once the city has been cleansed, cheer on their counterfeit champions right up until the moment they finally realise that they’ve been played, that Ramsey and his gang of reprobates will never be the good guys.
Because no matter what the idealists would like to believe, no matter what other crooks might sneer and spit, no one who’s paying attention could truly think Ramsey’s crew had gone light side, not by a long shot. They take down other villains, yes, but not in ways the so called good would approve of, not peacefully, not humanely, not even remotely quick, clean or painless. They take down other villains, sure, but for their own benefit, for their own power and greed, their own amusement. They take down other villains but they don’t spare the cops. They take down other villain’s but they aren’t saving civilians, aren’t restoring peace, they don’t return stolen goods or misappropriated funds, don’t seek to inspire children or bring safety back to the streets.
When all the Powered formidable enough to have half a chance of beating them have been overthrown, Ramsey and his crew are right there to see their plan through. They’ve not been cleaning up Los Santos so much as they’ve been claiming it, taking full control over the city that has been thought for so long to be utterly untameable, all the while ensuring there will be no one left to challenge them. An empire built on fallen bodies, tacitly approved by the masses, a violent take over sold under the guise of justice. And in that they have found a whole new way to be devious, a fresh take on villainy, giving hope to those who’d thought themselves hopeless only to dash it all away again. Those false heroes, those reprehensible Fakes.
Ed in F2 requested by anonymous and Jon also kinda in F2 requested by @takedasangel l but asked for a British uniform instead, (most images i looked up for this uniform looked similar so i hope this is ok).
(jon is totally holding Ed’s school bag like a good BF)
its 8am and i just remembered that post that said homestucks weirdass pacing and nonlinearity doesnt have literary worth bc it serves no other purpose than to needlessly complicate and im just . yes? thats why it has lit worth?