Mark “Coop” Cooper
Location: Toronto-Buffalo-Cleveland-Detroit Metropolis, Earth, United Commonwealth of Colonies
Coop and Hailey moved quickly through the last few rays of sunlight. The sun itself wouldn’t be down for another thirty minutes to an hour, but the smog in the PHA was bad enough today that the weak beams weren’t going to penetrate down to street level. Whether real or pollution induced, darkness was a Rat’s worst nightmare; you weren’t safe unless a whole bunch of people had your back. Coop and Hailey only had each other, so their quick steps turned into a run as the shadows continued to grow.
Thankfully, they only had to go one block to reach the four tower complex that he called home. There were two men standing just inside the sole entry to Coop’s tower, and both gave the two Rats a pointed look when they arrived out of breath. Unlike a lot of towers in the PHA, Coop’s wasn’t run by the various gangs that infested the PHA. In Coop’s tower, the men and boys banded together to form a thin line against gang aggression.
Coop wasn’t part of that small force. Playing with others wasn’t his forte, unless those others had boobs. That had always been a point of contention between him and the men of his tower. All fighting age males got recruited into something. Usually it was one of the gangs, but here Coop had an option. It surprised everyone when he decided to do his own thing. If Coop had a job title it would be a freelance consultant. He would work for anyone who paid him.
“Your old man is lookin’ for ya,” one of the guys at the door said. He was a scarecrow of a man, with arms as thin as the barrel of the old gas-powered pistol he was carrying.
“Sure,” Coop replied gruffly. He was still in his dad’s old suit.
Coop had two things he wanted to do right away. He wanted to get himself out of these clothes, and then get Hailey out of hers. Then he wanted to repeat some depraved activities over and over until he was so dehydrated he couldn’t move. It was going to be his last chance to do it for a long time; whatever his choice. The downside was that to do either of those he first had to go through his dad.
Coop led Hailey past the two guards and into the PHA tower. As far as he knew all the towers were the same. Fifty stories of reinforced cement and polyplast were built around a twenty-five by twenty-five meter empty core. A blast door served as the ceiling, and could be opened and closed depending on the air quality. More people than Coop could count had jumped from the higher floors into the core, and splattered like pieces of rotten fruit in the lobby.
Originally, the lobby was designed to be a shopping area that could offer the welfare Rats anything they needed. The idea was good a few generations ago when there was still some disposable income, but when no one made any money it was difficult to buy anything. The businesses that had been there had withered and died. Now, all that was left was the medical clinic. The other empty spaces were used for people to hide in, get high in, or fuck in. Coop was pretty sure he’d been conceived in one of those dusty, dark, and decrepit shops.
Everyone was starting to clear out of the lobby now that the sun had effectively set. Even with the tower’s men standing guard at the entrance the chance of violence was more than most people were willing to deal with. Gang raids weren’t unheard of.
The last few vendors were packing up their jerry-rigged carts. It was mostly random bits of cloth to patch clothing, and food that looked like it was about to expire. That was the scope of the tower’s economy; that and the drug dealers and hookers.
The people at the medical center were slower to depart. With only one medic on staff they’d been standing there all day. People had to get up at four or five in the morning to get in line if they wanted to be seen. No one wanted to go to bed sick just to have to wake up early and stand in line all over again.
Coop and Hailey passed by all of them and headed for the elevators at the far side of the wide open space. He reflexively looked up as they passed under the open core of the building. Everyone in the tower kept their eyes on the core when they passed under it. Not doing so was a good way to get flattened by a jumper.
Another guard with a pistol in a leg holster stood inside the elevator. In most towers the elevator was a good place to get mugged. The tower’s men made sure that people had the luxury of an effortless ride, and that meant a lot to a lot of people. Coop and Hailey shoved themselves into a back corner as the elevator filled to capacity. The armed elevator operator hit the buttons for the floors people called out. Coop’s apartment was on the fifth floor, so he’d be one of the first to get off.
He spent the short, squeaky ride exploring Hailey’s body with his hands. “Mmm,” she groaned appreciatively. “Keep it in your pants, big guy. Two minutes and I’m all yours.”
Two minutes was too long, but before Coop could reply the elevator screeched to a stop. “Fifth floor,” the operator announced, shooting the two teenagers a pointed look. He didn’t want anyone screwing on his elevator.
Coop and Hailey forced their way through the crowded box, and exited onto the floor. There were a decent amount of people still milling about. The hallways were only wide enough for three people to walk through shoulder to shoulder; another step by the urban planners to fit as many people as possible into the towers. They didn’t have to go far to reach Coop’s apartment.
He pressed his finger to the thumb pad on the door, and the slab of polyplast popped open with a hiss. “Don’t let all the good air out!” a voice yelled from inside.
Coop and Hailey shuffled inside and quickly resealed the hatch. They’d kept their breathing masks on up until now, even though the air-recyclers made the air breathable inside the tower. Now that they were able to take their masks off and breathe easy, Coop took the opportunity to stick his tongue down Hailey’s throat.
Hailey threw her arms around him, raking her fingernails against his coat hard enough for him to feel it through the fabric. Coop liked that she had a tendency to be a little rough. They grinded their bodies against each other for a few seconds before a gruff cough cut short their make-out session.
“What?” Coop growled, turning his glare on the older man standing in the doorway.
“That’s my good suit, I don’t want you two messing it up when you go do the nasty,” Coop’s father gave the two teenagers a level stare.
“No one says ‘do the nasty’ anymore, Mr. Cooper,” Hailey pushed Coop away and gave the older man a smile. “That’s so twenty-third century.”
“Well excuse me,” Walter Cooper threw up his hands in mock surrender. “I guess I’m not hip with the lingo.”
“Please shut up,” Coop groaned.
At first, Coop thought it was a good thing that his dad and his girl got along. Since she was over a couple times a week it helped he didn’t have to lie about what they were doing when they locked themselves in his bedroom. Not that he’d be able to hide it; polyplast walls were far from soundproof. Now he knew better. Hailey and his father’s friendly relationship had left him with more than one case of blue balls. With one day of freedom left, the last thing Coop wanted was an aching pain in his crotch.
“I’ll shut up when you tell me how it went today,” Walter countered.
This was the last thing Coop wanted to do. He just wanted to change and get fucked. He wanted to forget that this was going to be his last night in this polyplast box; his last night with Hailey, and his last night with everything he’d ever known. So instead of just explaining, Coop lashed out in anger.
“It was fucking great, dad. Got my first welfare check and had to give it all back to some PHA bitch who looked like she was about to fall right out of her smartcloth. Stupid fat fuck,” Coop seethed, stripping out of his suit jacket and throwing it at his father. “But the rent is paid, so you’re good to live in this god damn shoe box,” next off was his shirt; which also got thrown at his father. “Then I got to go sit in court all day where some slut tried to talk to me like she knew me,” a harsh laugh escaped his throat as he remembered how the whore had been shocked and tossed from the room. “And of course, the highlight of my day. The judge throws the book at me because some Fleet fuckwad left his stuff in the back of that air-car. Now I’ve got until tomorrow to choose between a dime in Attica or four years in our Commonwealth’s glorious armed forces.” He heard Hailey’s sharp intake of breath at the admission, but kept on going. “So, dad, it went pretty fucking shitty. All I want to do is go into my room, fuck my girlfriend, and then forget today ever happened.”
Coop was breathing hard by the time he finished. His chest heaved with anger and exertion, and he hadn’t realized he’d clamped his hand down on Hailey’s forearm. Her slight whimper told him she was hurting, and he released her, but kept his glare digging into his father.
Walter Cooper looked like an older version of Coop. They were both a hair under 185 centimeters, and thin with wiry muscles. They both had short cropped dirty blonde hair, and stormy blue eyes that were attractive if Hailey had anything to say about it. The only difference was the graying of Walter’s hair around the temples, and the experience in the older man’s eyes. Right now those eyes were sad.
Coop was all piss and vinegar; ready to tell the world to take its crap and shove it up its ass, and willing to throw down if things didn’t go his way. Walter had been that way once, but reality had shoved crap down his throat despite his best efforts.
Walter just stared back as his son fumed in front of him. Coop had lost his mother when he was young. She’d been a jumper, and Coop had always blamed his dad because of that. Even though Walter was high up in the pecking order of men who protected the tower; he was still just another welfare Rat that hadn’t been able to save his wife or provide for his son.
“Ok,” it was not the answer Coop was expecting, but he didn’t let his father see his surprise. “You two have fun; I’ll see you in the morning.”
“I don’t need your permission,” Coop grabbed Hailey by the other arm, and dragged her into his room.
He slammed the door shut behind them, and leaned up against it for support. “Fuuuuuck…” he dragged the word out, as Hailey hurried to undo his pants.
“Shhh…it’s ok babe, I’m going to make you feel better,” she kneeled in front of him and yanked down the nice pair of slacks. “Just relax.” Despite her soothing words, he could tell she was crying.
Coop tried to relax, but even as the first wave of pleasure made his body shudder, he couldn’t push the decision from his mind.