How would you feel if you found out life, as you know it, is all a lie?
After the 3rd world war, Earth is drastically damaged. By the 23rd century generations have passed, the facts twisted, history revised so it is unrecognizable and below ground a utopian society is established. Or is it?
Major Cooper Sayer, an imposing intelligent member of the special security forces, and Maris Gower, a peaceful soul who works in the New American Central Library, are an officially partnered couple. Life is comfortable, full of love for each other, and yet it took them less than fifteen minutes to decide on a radical change.
With the dangers of residing below ground growing daily and the low life expectancy rate continually dropping, chances of a long and happy life together are becoming remote. The complete trust Maris has in Cooper is never questioned, even when he tells her they are going above for a chance at a longer life. A place that she has always believed meant instant death and he knows better.
WARNING: Warning: This story contains hot, steamy explicit sex, written in contemporary language!
Copyright© 2006 Tilly Greene
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
In the pitch black room, he pulled his lover closer and luxuriated in the soft suppleness of her body. There was a turning point in their lives coming up and the seriousness of the situation had him unsettled. But he was a fighting man and would do anything to ensure Maris had a happy and full life, with him.
On a sigh, Cooper took a moment to trace through the path his life had taken to bring him to this point, to make sure he had chosen the right one for them.
The late twenty-third century world he found himself living in was remarkably different from what early scholars had anticipated. Some changes were more drastic than others, but it was widely reported such measures were necessary after the near annihilation left by the Third World War. Entire continents had been left uninhabitable and the landscape on those that were able to sustain life had drastically changed.
The world created from the decimated remains of WWIII was not shaped into a utopian society for all, which clearly would be an impossible objective to achieve. However, as would be expected, some people had found it easier to live more fulfilling lives than others.
As after any war, major changes had taken place around the world, both physical and political, but none as drastic as what had happened in the United States, the free world, now called New America. There were no longer states; all citizens resided between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River. The biggest difference was life no longer extended outdoors.
Residents of New America lived below ground in communities spiraling down for mile upon mile. Above ground was understood to be a wasteland, destroyed by many different causes, not merely global warming, as was the opinion being touted starting in the twentieth century, nor the war to end all wars. Legend said that whoever went up died a horrible death instantly. Time had moved on, enough so there was not a thought given to what life had been like before the final war.
Cooper closed his eyes with the pain that haunted him and pulled the warm sleeping woman in his arms even closer. He dropped a gentle kiss on the top of her head, in a bid to mentally move away from his previous acceptance of the atrocities being played out on humanity.
It didn’t make it any easier to live knowing the truth, and he has existed on the edge of breaking under the weight for years. If not for Maris, he felt he would have long been lost.
One point he’d always found difficult to accept was the longevity of life in the twenty-third century, now shockingly low. For a relatively healthy and active adult, life expectancy was approximately thirty-five. The human body had not been created to exist below ground. The residents had adapted well to the new conditions they now existed under, but there was still much more that needed to be accomplished in order for them to live longer.
To make matters worse, life wasn’t without its dangers down below. Bursting points were becoming increasingly more common. Poisonous gases violently breaking through the barriers and leaking into homes, businesses, even hallways, were everyday occurrences. Death was inevitable and grotesque. People died and, in some cases, were not found for long periods of time. When the yellow dot denoting a burst point showed up on a sealed door, neighbors quickly put in moving requests.
Changes of major milestones had become necessary, as well. Sixteen was the age of adulthood, which entailed voting and leaving the family home to achieve either advancements in chosen profession or education. By eighteen, most New America residents were partnered for the first time. Sadly, it had recently been noted children were becoming more difficult to conceive and carry to term. The population of New America was slowly dying out.
Partnerships were a common way for one person to show another they wished for a monogamous relationship. It was a binding agreement, with a notification being published in the Hall of Records, and the couple was granted permission to conceive children.
The day Maris had become his official partner was a day he would always remember. Nudging his nose along the line of her neck, he now acknowledged wanting more. Like the warrior in their fantasy disk, he wanted firmer ties to hold her closer, longer, forever.
A need of a long forever instantly and inevitably led his train of thought to his boss.
At twenty-seven, he worked for the government in the special security forces, a job that took him away from home for long periods of time. One of the more difficult things expected of him was to never discuss anything he experienced with his partner. It was against regulations and was a line that, if crossed, would assuredly result in both their deaths, no matter who they were. Besides, there were times when he wasn’t entirely sure how she would take what he’d have to say.
The major employer of New America was the government, or NAG. They had over three-quarters of all residents working for them. One interesting note was NAG ministers’ identities being purposely hidden, no photographs allowed. It was said this practice allowed them to be treated like any other person and not with any special treatment, but Cooper knew differently.