March 6, 2029
10:02 p.m.

Bridge felt the dizzying rush of air blowing him slightly off course in the seconds he hung dangerously in the air between trains. The cars couldn't have been going more than five miles an hour, but it still made his testicles shrivel and took his breath away. His feet hit the floor of The Barn and twisted, tumbling him over onto one of the catchers standing poised to brace the jumper's fall. Before he could even regain his balance, Aristotle and Mu slammed into him, sending the whole group sprawling up against the opposite door of the train. Bridge flailed out and grabbed a nearby seat back, hearing the door slam shut behind him with a hiss. The suddenly quieter train car was thick with tension as Bridge got a look at the occupants.

Los Magos was a collection of various Hispanic street gangs and citizen groups. All those different gangs and their leaders participated in an ad hoc ruling council, with the leaders of each faction, the Shotcallers, sent to represent their interests. Since the riots, the organization had taken on a much more formal structure with the addition of the Magic Men hacker gang and displaced citizens made homeless by the violence and police reprisals. The Magic Men and the Citizens Brigade sent their own Shotcaller to the council.

Bridge looked around at the gathered assembly. In all, there were eighteen people in the train besides himself, his two bodyguards and Stonewall. Every Shotcaller seemed to have one bodyguard or lieutenant with them. The Magic Men's representative was a bodyguard holding a holographic projector as he lounged in the back with a bored expression. The hologram depicting a muscular brown man with a skeleton tattooed across its face, represented C@L@C@, one of the more renowned hackers in the Los Angeles area. He was no Michael Freeman, but Bridge reckoned he could hold his own against Angela in a pinch. A balding man in his mid-forties, David Hernandez, represented the Citizens. Hernandez, as normal looking a guy as you could possibly imagine, appeared uncomfortably out of place amongst these tattooed, hardassed individuals.

"You're a little over-represented, ain't you, brother?" one of the Shotcallers Bridge recognized asked Stonewall. The man's measured voice was thick with unexpected venom. Goyo Cardenas, the oldest living Shotcaller of the Los Magos gangs, familial head of the Valley Locos, was an imposing figure even as he sat leaning on his cane. Were it not for the elaborate tattoos that covered his hands, he might look like nothing more than a typical middle-aged Mexican approaching his golden years. But the eyes, set into a craggy face lined with age, toil and perhaps even wisdom, the eyes told of a cunning that belied his average appearance. The cane was a necessity. He walked with a limp, the result of a gunshot in his younger years. Bridge had always wondered why he never chose to replace the leg with cybernetics. "They ain't even family. What are you doing bringing them to the Barn?"

Stonewall straightened his tuxedo. "These two saved my life tonight," he said, pointing at Mu and Aristotle. "And they come with the Bridge. You know the Bridge."

Goyo nodded with a scowl. "Yeah, I know the Bridge. I know this puta got no loyalty to nobody. He been trying to chat up El Diablos for months now."

"Business is business," Bridge replied deferentially.

"See, no loyalty."