Motor City Cobra is a world of the future, where crime is king, and large cities are disintigrating strongholds. However, although living in a frightening climate, residents continue to strive for love and a small measure of historical understanding. Gangs and mobs, minor crime syndicates, and the Police compete against each other for dominance over declining markets, while alienated family members develop fragile alliances in order to survive.
Since the millennium, the United States had been plagued by twenty years of unrest, sparked by a large increase in income tax and the corrosive reports of Social Security's impending demise, along with tougher standards for education and the tidlewave of immigration. Crime in big cities burst out of all proportion, as people lashed out against what they considered un-American trends, and the White House was besieged by reports of decay on all fronts. Newly minted President Smith declared a state of martial law, and temporarily closed the borders of all states. In anticipation of an exodus, he and his staff formulated a Draconian measure-The Relocation Law-which only allowed married couples and their children, adopted or otherwise, to leave their environs. Demonized, President Smith nevertheless maintained that something drastic had to be introduced to save the greatest nation in the history of the world. Historians harkened back to the Revolutionary tax noose of Britain, and made a plea for clemency, arguing that the country was only suffering the temporary paranoia of a new millenium, prey to demons that just so happened to be universally shared.
New York kept a strict curfew in accordance with the Police State Act recently passed through Congress. This bill imposed a net after 6:00 p.m., and captives were incarcerated until morning(the Civil Liberties Union had vetoed the panther Sobriety Act, which would have illegalized alcohol; it had almost pounced on the masses before the unions could intercede). Individual states passed less stringent laws, which did not deter the sobering pattern of crime.
Los Angeles and New York were called "Terror Domes" by Ben and Ray, friends and local muscle in NY. The yearly homicide rate was now nearing one per fifty, due to the civil wars that only infrequently hit the suburbs. When persistent rumors flowered into actual seizures, they stuck especially close to each other, watching each other's backs. Ray always seemed to know which supposed cops were impersonators, and sometimes shot them preemptively. He would pull out their drivers' licenses afterward, pointing out the different faces, sometimes keeping the i.d.s, but always evenly splitting the money. Since grade school, they had been acquaintances, and had remained friends even through high school, when their neighborhoods went to war.
The outbreak occurred when they were in eleventh grade. At a recess they were surrounded, and told to fight each other. There were about thirty in all. They pulled out knives, and stood with feet wide apart, in what was called the "execution stand." Rain was pouring out of the sky, and little bits of hale bounced off their afros.
"Come on," said Ben. "It's too slippery for a good scrape. Can't you delay the executive order?"
"No go," replied the leader of both groups. He had a darker, and more smooth face than either Ben or Ray. He was one of those "dead-looking" brothers, with a shade of gray. He was tall and wiry, wearing a threadbare jacket with a huge, stiff collar(later, when the race wars touched Ben and Ray's sphere for the first time, he disappeared. He had an annoying habit of making loud clicking sounds between sentences. Ben and Ray used to joke that it was the sound he made as a baby sucking on his mother's teats. He was intelligent, though, and persuasive, which was why everyone followed him).
"Be reasonable, Tony," Ray said. "We're loyal to our groups. That's the main thing."
"No! Your relationship must be severed, as of today. This is the final, symbolic break for two neighborhoods. You two being friends mocks the virtue of the war."
"Virtue?" Ben said. "What is virtuous about war?"
"Loyalty to your tribe, brother, over everything else." Tony hissed. "Now you two cooperate with the executive decree. Unless you want to die, that is. And I must remind you that dying by knives is very painful."
Roy laughed and swung at Ben, who leaned back a bit too late. It caught him on the nose, and his feet slipped out from under him. His momentum brought him down on his head, and he came to with Ray cradling it. Tony was standing over him with a grin on his angular face. Ben struggled to get up, but Ray restrained him. Ben always kidded Ray about cheating, because otherwise he would have kicked his ass thoroughly.
For his part, Tony always said that is was a joke, and that his crew never had the intention of killing them in the first place. For many years afterward, there were rumors that he had founded a criminal empire somewhere in the Midwest, but there had never been any confirmation one way or another.