if [tribe] =
The subway station was guarded by soldiers of the AsiaTown set, one of the Five Families made up of the Korean, Japanese and Chinese gangs and their allies. AsiaTown had civil relations with Los Magos. The soldiers seemed completely indifferent to the passengers they let pass through the station. Stonewall spoke in short bursts to them, and they responded with the same curtness. Bridge, Aristotle, Stonewall and Mu boarded the empty train, which took off towards the Barn.
The Barn wasn’t a specific location. It was the name of the train where the Shotcallers of the Los Magos would meet when necessary. Bridge had never been on the Barn. “Stoney, where are we going?”
“The Barn, brother.”
“Yeah, I know that. Why are you taking us? Isn’t that some secret gangster shit we ain’t privy to?”
“Normally yeah. But if Pedro is dead, I need some support. They’re going to look to me for ideas, and I’ve only got two.”
Bride knew what those ideas were but he asked anyway. “And what ideas is that?”
“Revenge or submission.” He slumped back into the seat and sighed. “I know what Pedro would want. Shit, even you know what he would want and you only met him what, once? Twice?” Bridge nodded.
Pedro was famous among the Families and people who did business with them. Los Reyes Magos, the Wise King, as he had been known, Pedro did business a different way. He had taken over Los Magos during the riots, leading them to make surgical strikes against the police precincts that had done the most damage to the Hispanic neighborhoods in their zeal to quell the riots. Once the riots had ended, he had helped establish the Five Families and had preached a doctrine of peaceful cohabitation. Many of the Families had taken that approach as a sign of weakness, a predilection for submission. But they misunderstood Pedro. He would not hesitate to use violence when he felt cornered, when there was no other course. Brutal when pushed, those who underestimated his willingness to fight back often did not live to regret their decisions. Pedro had been the steady hand that had prevented a war when the gangs now known as El Diablos had decided to split with Los Magos. And now he was dead.
“Magos is going to want blood for blood,” Bridge admitted. Stonewall nodded. “And what do you think? You’re his second. Unless the other Shotcallers want to take the reins, they are going to look to you to make the call.”
“I think war is the last thing Pedro wanted,” Stonewall sighed. He stood and stared out the window into the uncaring darkness. The city sparkled, a brilliant tapestry of twinkling lights on a field of nothing. “We can’t hit back. The Families cannot afford a war, no matter how much that pendejo Nacho deserves retribution.” Nacho was the nickname of the current El Diablos leader. Bridge had tried to work with him on a few jobs, but his friendship with Stonewall had eighty-sixed any negotiation before it could begin. “I told you before that those Chronosoft pricks have been pushing, right? Well, it’s gotten worse since Boulder. They are tossing people out of their homes left and right, on the flimsiest of excuses. Every family is getting refugees out the yin yang. They ain’t moving the crime figures around anymore, they are inventing crimes and putting people out on the street. All it would take is one big blowup, and the CLED fuckers will come down on all the Families. They’d take the subways back first, then start pushing us into the Warehouse District.”