Chapter 5 The next morning I'm reading the paper. The news blackout is real. Even the local newspapers are in on it. Basically any news coming out of Europe regarding the monster invasions is being cracked down on! Amazing! Whole small towns and villages in Europe disappearing are a norm! I found on a site evidence that a Polish Wasteland coastal town had been swallowed by monsters. During the night it was completely obliterated, over a thousand people with no survivors! But nobody is telling the story. If you really want to know what's going on you have to go on Zootube and other places and look for citizens journalists and then back track to see how their stories a year ago or 8 months ago checked out in terms of credibility. This was how I'd figured out where to find news stories on orcs and goblins in Europe! "Damn!" "Language! We're at the table, son," Dad told me. He's near me getting some toast and bacon for breakfast. "Sorry." Right...I can't tell dad about this stuff. It just stresses him out. He makes up for it in other ways but he keeps telling me to stay positive and get out of the negative stuff. I think he's wrong but he's my only supporter. I looked at my watch, 8:39 AM. I wonder... "Got any plans today?" Dad asked. "I'm going to try to score a job interview if I can. I don't have anything yet, but I'll try really hard. But no promises," I told him. "I get it. People that promise a lot break them," dad grunted. He's eating a slice of bacon that smells good. My brothers and mom are still asleep. It's just him and me. "Go for it son. I believe in you. I wish your brothers were more like you. I know you think life sucks but I see you making good choices and that's all someone can do," he said. Dad's the only thing good in my life. "Thanks." I was moved by what he said. He was telling the truth also, and not trying to just say something nice. "If you don't get it, I'll understand. Just keep trying and plugging along," he encouraged. I go back to my room. I'll sink out a few more resume places and then go from there. I have enough funds to keep me afloat for over 6 months if I'm careful. This is only because I'd been such a penny pincher. I'd been saving the money to go to college next year, but now that's not working out either. But I can only make my funds work if there's no extra stuff being paid like rent, and unnecessary stuff. That's only if I'm pinching every penny though. I check online and look a few things up. "WOW!" There's a paladin recruitment center not far from here! I'd found it by accident. But this is only after I figured out they were real! Of course I'd never have been able to tell that before because I didn't know that it was real. If they are recruiting normal civilians, then that means... There is a way for people to become supernaturals! It probably won't be easy. I'd really have to spit death in the face up close I think, even. But what other choice is there? There aren't paladin recruitment centers in every town or state even. We're just lucky that there is one here up in Boise, Idaho. That's not too far from here, but not in the same town. So I'll have to take the bus a few hundred miles there. Everything is cold here too in winter, and sometimes even in early spring. Why would the paladins have a recruitment center here, but not have one in places like Salt Lake, Cheyenne, or Denver? But the map of where they have them seems weird. And it doesn't really match up well with where you'd think they would be putting them strategically. There must be a mystery here. They also have one listed for Las Vegas of all places, and one for Sacrament and Los Angeles, but not for Portland. There isn't one for Montana but there is one for Seattle. I find it hard to believe anything good could be recruited out of Vegas, but that’s just my opinion. I looked at their website. It almost looks like a military recruitment strategy. The head post figure even looks like a paladin version of the traditional military icon from WW2, of 'Uncle Sam', asking you to join the US Army. There are clear differences of course. Instead of red, white, and blue its become white and silver plus silver white armor, pure white cloak, fire sword, and catchy helmet, and goggles. Money for college; check. Annual salary; check...you will work hard though. Paid training on the job, and learn real life skills; check. Chance to learn magic; conditions apply, see fine print for details. Oh what's this...hm, more fine print. Naturally they tell people with chronic illness, heart conditions, diabetes,...and all number of plague like health conditions that this won't be right for them. I read over it. You have to pass a doctor's physical first. Then they take your application. If you qualify they put you in the field. But there are also screening questions on the application. If you qualify they they pay you on the job to learn magic also. But there's a catch, you have to qualify. And they don't tell you how they screen people. And there's fatalities... The first year fatality rate working for paladins is actually pretty high. According to them, their peace time fatality rate is 40%. Why is it so high? And are they the only organization? You don't hear about them getting killed in the news. Its weird. How did they cover it up? I looked around and can't really tell if there are others. I did discover there are mage groups and others where you can try to find. But most often they don't have contact lists, or offices listed. What few there are, basically say email our public relations office or home office for requests. When you email them, they promise to get back to you within 24 hours. Then you get a computer response chain letter. So...I can't find out about mage groups or anything. That was the other part of the supernatural box I'd discovered; mages are real along with monsters, and other undesirables. Paladins were the icing on the cake with a murky dark underworld underneath. What...this is such a pain. I'm trying so hard too. I still am trying to work out the normal person everyday options. I don't have to go the risk your neck for only a chance option. Also while working today I sent out 20 resumes with cover letters to companies within driving distance of my house. Every day I try to hit a quota of a certain number of jobs applied to. But its hard also to do that because some days have more ads than other days. I'll follow up with them at the ideal timing. But while that's happening I'm also scrambling to work towards seeing if I can join a supernatural group or some other group that will help humans. One of my Doogle searches landed a hit. Eh? What's that? 'So you've decided to become a dungeon adventurer' pops up on screen. I've never seen a popup like this before. Its got a lot of bling and cool features. And the normal way of closing it through finding the control alt delete sub-program isn't working. "What the hell...? How do I close this thing?" I mumbled to myself. This ad is so life like it almost wants to crawl out of the screen! What is this, a forum? And where the hell did this popup come from? By all intents and purposes it shouldn't have popped up. I open the forum link because I'm curious. But there's trouble and delays because first you have to sign up and get a user name and password. I lost about 10 minutes doing that as fast as I can. I freaking hate passwords. I have too much to do to remember all that shit so I forget them easy. When I log into the forum I see it's a question and answer forum for dungeon adventurer wannabes... Let's see where do I go? There's not a great place for a newbie like me to start out. I don't know what to even ask first, other than it seems like normal people want in with dungeoneering. Is there something here or not? I start contacting other users on the site. You can do this by clicking on someone's name, and then there's a 'contact me' button, and an 'email me' button. I did that asking questions about how to become a supernatural to like 10 different people. Surprisingly, no I don't think I'm going to get 10 responses. I mailed 10 because I think only 1 will respond, and maybe that 1 might even be a lie. I kept working. It seems to have some of the leads going to this paladin recruitment center and training program. But other parts are going somewhere else; somewhere that feels a bit more dark. ... There's a knock on my bedroom door, while I'd been working for awhile. "Yes?" "Honey, is it safe to come in?" mom asked. Jeez she sounds old. "What are you doing?" she asks me suspiciously. "I'm not surfing porn mom. I'm really trying hard." "I-I knew that honey. But your brothers...well I can never tell." "What do you need mom?" I asked. "Can you look at my car? It's making a funny noise. And I need to borrow $20," she asked. "OK, sure." Despite that, she's working more than me, yet still borrows from people more needy than she is. It's a classic reason what's wrong with this country. It's a pain. But if I don't give her $20, she'll tell dad something to make him mad at me just because. Women get to do that to men, but if the man’s in trouble the women don’t help, they just turn their backs on them. Maybe dad will pay me back. Sometimes he does, and understands her better than me. It's taken him a long time to see through her lies. "Please can you do it now? I am on my break from work," she told me. "Lunch break?" "Yes." I had to stop for now. There's a time limit. Dang it. I can come back to the research later easily, but I was so close to reaching a breakthrough. I do want to help mom. And dad is over at grandma's house at the moment. "What did you say the noise felt like?" I asked. I'm not a car expert, but I can do simple stuff like checking fluids, windshield wipers and so on. It looks like she's just got dirt caught in the brake discs. This happens in place that get lots of ice and snow in winter. Our other brother is the true mechanic though, so he'll get assigned to it. Dad will pay him probably $50 dollars to clean off the brake discs. Then he'll go use all of that money to buy beer, while stealing mom's car insurance to cover his car, con my sister to pay for his phone, and steal my groceries. 'What a wonderful world!