"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
Rick Vallejos (Daredevil or [email protected])
Where do I begin... to write down my misadventure. I would have never picked up a pen and began had it not been for my host. He\'s the type of fellow who tells you what to do and his partners (soldiers) make sure you did just as your told. This hideout, this fortress has more weapons than I\'ve seen in months. There is a guard at my door this minute, put there for my protection so I was told. Yeh right! He\'s got a mean looking revolver with a huge bore. That\'s bad enough but he points it directly at my chest and waves it around when he addresses me. I can\'t describe the look in his eyes. I truly believe he would love to do me in. He thinks I\'m an enemy and a threat to my host. I am a guest of the leader of this organization.
I sit here and think of what has happened to bring me here. My mind wanders back to when I was an innocent eight year old kid. I worried more about what games to play than anything else. My mom brought us to the Mile High City after she and my dad started fighting. She thought it would be good to grow up near relatives. She never knew what was in store for us all. No one knew except the scientist and interfering generals who were developing project "UnderNet". The national/global computer network that was going to make our lives simpler by linking the regional infrastructure management computers. It made sense to have a system where electricity was diverted from one grid to another were it was needed more. Same with all the other resources of man.. fuel, water, food, and even surplus peoplepower in the form of the ten year old National Civilian Corp. If only the military hadn\'t been involved. They think everything has to be a part of the defense plans for our country. When the system went on-line, their supercomputers were blamed for the cold, heartless decision of the system. They were designed to keep on working through any natural or man-made disaster, including this Civil War of 2009. Most people think that the "UnderNet" planned and orchestrated the civil war. The first outbreaks were over resources. Fuel and water that was going to the big cities at the expense of the rural communities. \'The greatest good for the greatest amount of people\' we were all told.
Now, after three years of civil war, life is very hard. This brings us up to a week ago. My story, in my opinion, is about a kid trying to stay alive in the streets of the Mile High City. Each day a struggle for food and a safe place to sleep at night. I lost my mom at the disaster relief center set up in the city park. She was killed for the contents of her small backpack. Most of it was family keepsakes like old pictures of my grandparents and of me as a buck-naked baby. I haven\'t seen a relative for months.
I was searching the rubble of the government buildings in the federal center on Alameda Blvd. when I found the doorway. It was buried under the exploded four-story building but I wiggled my way down to it. If I was ten pounds heavier, I would have never gotten in, but I did. The door was solid metal at least three inches thick but the explosion had split part of the door frame and I could squeeze through. I was giddy with the thought of what I might find. Nowadays, you traded for what you needed. I found a room that I was sure no others had looted. I wasn\'t worried about getting things out because all I would take was small items I could hide in my clothes. The street gangs would take anything larger they saw me carrying.
When I got my shoulders through the split in the door frame, I crawled through into the dusty floor. It was black as coal in the room and I hadn\'t thought of bringing a light. That black is why the glowing red switch was
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