The Fourth Crimson's Column sequel
in search of a relatively safe passage through
STRATEGIC SIMULATIONS INC.
through collected passages from
Government Underground Biolab Journal - GUB director Herrell
Report from the Committee of Three - Jackson, Villiers, Laramie
Helgron's Highway Hoppers - President Jonathan T. Helgron
1. Excerpts from the GUB Journal, Final Updated Edition.
December 31, 1999.
The days tick away and Christmas is past. I fear that none of
us will survive another year in this dead place. Some of the
volunteers who are sent up to approach those gang leaders
managing to gain control over several cities simply disappear
forever; others come back without succeeding. Only twice has the
password been given to a leader, and both times these were heard
of no more. My men and I will try to hang on for as long as we
can, but many dangers exist and the hope for a new century
diminishes. All we can do now is wait.
February 13, 2000.
Maybe we have a chance. One of my men spotted a leader whose
gang was in control of eight cities; he was given the password.
Later this man used it, thus getting our address. A couple of
days later still we found him and his friends asking around town
looking for the right people to meet. We let him in and informed
him of our situation. He said at once he'd help; apparently he'd
been planning some form of reorganisation by himself.
His name is Jonathan Helgron, and my personal impression is
that we are dealing with a relatively well-educated but
basically uncouth, no-nonsense individual who has a very strong
feeling of moral behavior. So far, he hasn't conquered a single
city led by either National Lawful Guardsmen or Reborners. On the
contrary; he seems to have a special kind of interest in, as he
put it, "kicking the shit out of them Invaders". As I said, not
particularly diplomatic - but so far very effective.
March 3, 2000.
Pintero is back! Our man Helgron seems serious - serious
enough to realise that bringing back our agents is much more
important than fooling around with the multitude of enemies all
the time. Although I hear that the number of cities falling under
his control is constantly increasing, this seems to be due to
tactical necessity rather than lust for power. I think our Mr.
Helgron may come a long way.
June 20, 2000.
Five of our team of eight have been returned now. Looking for
the others will be increasingly difficult; if Helgron brings in
another one or two I'll give him our very last radio to aid in
his search. Bad weather conditions in the north of the land have
slowed him up significantly; also I hear he's been very close
to being defeated by a concurring road gang and has decided that
an increase of tactical insight is needed so he may effectively
control more vehicles.
September 1, 2000
Helgron has our only radio. If he doesn't return with the last
two agents, our chances at success are close to nil. Some of my
staff feel that I've made a mistake in trusting a non-conformist
like Helgron; others agree that he's our only chance - and that
the very extremity of his character may well be his greatest
asset. But our time's running out; if we don't hear from him very
soon, it will be too late to save this diseased, mutated,
October 27, 2000
He did it. Today Helgron returned with our last missing agent
- and now we can start healing the state. He doesn't know it yet,
but as of tomorrow our country will once more have a leader:
Jonathan T. Helgron, President of the United States of America.
GUB director Herrell
Hello again to sequel four in the neverending series of action
adventure hints & tips brought to you in Crimson's Column, and as
you have undoubtedly established by now we're looking at yet
another SSI title here,
ROADWAR 2000 by STRATEGIC SIMULATIONS INCORPORATED,
this being a post-holocaust sf game in the Mad Max tradition.
For those of you not familiar with my articles (I'll have
the generosity to accept any ol' excuse but don't you dare miss
one in the future) but interested in what I'll freely call
Adventure Ethics I should perhaps mention that explanations
concerning my style & approach, larded of course with a
plethora of reader unfriendly comments, can be found in earlier
issues. So far, articles on Sundog, Phantasie I and Brataccas
have been published in this great disk magazine. Please refer to
the section of ST NEWS where the making of back orders is
On with the show - our attention to the Committee Of Three.
2. Excerpts taken from the Report as presented by the C.O.T.
For months I had lived as a healer. Ever since the invasion
health conditions in our city had grown worse. Our hospitals were
all destroyed; only some of the basements and laboratories in the
outer perimeter had been partially preserved. After weeks and
weeks of gathering all the working equipment we could find, aided
in our efforts by the Guardsmen (ours had not left the path of
justice), we managed to establish some improvised clinics.
But more and more people died of this strange disease, and as
the mutants proliferated, we desperately tried to find ways to
make an antidote. It took us a long time, but finally, in the
winter of 1999, we came up with a reliable antitoxin. Making this
antitoxin requires great amounts of chemicals, and as we lack the
means to make some of the ingredients necessary, we can only
fabricate the antitoxin when we get our hands on adequate other
Then, halfway through April in 2000, our town was visited by
one of the many roadgangs that roam the streets more and more
frequently. But where some gangs persist in looting and
destroying all they can, these people were sufficiently polite to
send envoys, scouting the city. One of the patrolmen told them
how things stood, and this seemed to satisfy them - they said
they'd leave the city as soon as they'd found some people to take
the places of those who had died of the disease.
That night I talked with my collegues, and although some
called it insane, I decided to help these people, to see what I
could do to heal their ill (or keep them from contracting
diseases) and to aid them in their quest for G.U.B. agents.
In the morning of April 18 in the year 2000 I joined Helgron's
Rebecca Laramie, MD.
Training is essential. If you can't convince whoever's in
charge of running things of the fact that, without training,
there's no military basis (let alone prowess), then you know
you're on the losing side. Which is the wrong side in any ol'
war, from my point of view.
The Muthuh Truckers certainly weren't the best outfit in the
country - but at least they had the common sense to pay attention
to battle techniques, as well as an extensive knowledge of sound
engineering. Their cars were always rolling, most of them
substantially altered with regard to engine capacity,
maneuvrability and protection. Also they took a lot of time
looting cities, trying to find speed shops and such. Of course, a
sound engine is no good if the man operating it is an
undisciplined over-the-edge egg-head. Which leads me to the
unfortunate conclusion that the Muthuh's organisation held room
One day in May, we were on the road in the West Central when
we ran into this group of six vehicles. Unlike our own team,
whose leader insisted on uniformity and therefore used the same
type of vehicle for everyone, this road gang had anything from a
sportscar to busses - even a trailer truck. And while the
Muthuh's laughed at what they called "a circus parade", our enemy
took its positions.
Before Big Red Ralph could shout his battle cry, I warned him
that these guys were not, by the looks of their positions and
division of personnel, amateurs. But Big Red simply ignored me,
laughed, and yelled, "Clearrrrr.... the ROAD!" - and all Muthuh
We lost the battle in no time flat - and our adversaries did
not merely ram us; when it became clear that we were losing,
their chief gave the order to start boarding our vehicles,
keeping them in one piece. Theirs was a smart leader.
The Muthuh's fought to the last man and lost. Me, I'm a
professional - when our cause was lost, I surrendered. And seeing
that a military man without an outfit is just so much wasted
space, I offered them my services. Their man Helgron accepted me,
and for the first time in my post-war career I had the idea I'd
joined a group worthy of loyalty. Soon after that, I began
training their members and improving upon their car battle
Commander Raul Villiers
Everybody knows there are many kinds of politicians. Some of
them are merely slick, others lack integrity, still others are
led by ambition only. Perhaps most of us are weak, but surely we
are all human.
When I joined J.T. Helgron's freedom fighters they were just
about to rid themselves of a man called Geoffrey Mulligan, a
politician of the kind that might be called "slick". His services
had not been satisfactory to the group, and when I offered them
my own it didn't take very long before Mulligan was retired and I
became P.R.-representative and spokeswoman for the group.
As anyone with a tinge of perception could see, J.T. Helgron
had the makings of a winner. Not only did he have those qualities
that we look for in a leader, he also had the backup of a great
team - a loyal military advisor, a competent physician, and a
well-trained well-equipped resistance force.
As advisor to the Chief, my first and most important job was
establishing and maintaining contact with other groups of people
- whether the individual neighbor or large gangs of mobs,
mercenaries, street gangsters, rabble or needy individuals; I was
the one called on first. Then, if my negotiations were either
unsuccessful or just not the right method, and contact was still
required, Helgron would send envoys. Usually, this would mean a
couple of armsmasters and some bodyguards; sometimes he would
send escorts as well. I'm glad to say that in my time as go-
between I managed to make quite a few contacts that worked
satisfactory for both sides.
The Secretary of State, Paula Jackson
3. Helgron's Highway Hoppers
As a combined university graduate and ex-convict you can get
to know a lot of different people. After disaster struck our
country, most of my friends were dead or gone - and the ability
to make social contacts and finding the right people for the
right jobs became essential to the survival of our community. I
was not exactly elected mayor of the city (it was more like an
appointment if anything), but the effect might have been the
same. I spend several months rallying all women, men and
equipment that could be used for building a new society - in the
meantime expecting news from either our government, or the
invaders. But half a year passed and there was still no sign of
anyone taking control - all I received were unconfirmed reports
about cities being taken over by gangsters, invaders or
satanists, and the land terrorized by motorgangs.
Two more months I waited before I came to realise that the
growing threats from outside and the increasing disease-spreading
mutants inside our city were going to kill us all unless
something was done about it. So I took the initiave, asked for
volunteers and started an entirely new road gang, intended to
link rather than separate our nation's cities, under the name of
Helgron's Highway Hoppers. We started off with no more than a
sports car hard top, six men including myself, and a very limited
storage of supplies.
The first thing I learned was that one vehicle wasn't going to
make us a formidable road force. So we skimmed the city of some
of its surplus ironware and put together a six-vehicle fighting
force - not more because it was hard enough feeding the people
needed to man the cars and also I was aware of the fact that I
needed much more experience in battle contacts before I'd be able
to efficiently hold command over a larger number of vehicles.
I was careful not to take too many small vehicles, but also
not just busses (good for shooting) or trailer trucks (great for
ramming) because chances were that people would outmaneuver us.
When all was ready, I decided to move up to New York, to see if
there was any such thing left as the United Nations Headquarters.
From there on, we'd drive through the Northeast into North
Central, hoping that cities such as Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and,
of course, Detroit would harbor possibilities to enhance our
Moving from city to city looked easy enough on the maps but
turned out to be quite a problem in reality. Some of the
multitude of road gangs we ran into minded their own business and
steered clear from us, but the vast majority of wheelers declared
us easy prey and attacked on sight. Now anyone with the slightest
shimmer of tactical insight knows that it's relatively easy for a
well-trained six-vehicle roadgang to make short work of a couple
of blindly attacking sidecars. Suicidal is the right word for
'em. But the point is, if you don't watch it even sidecars can be
the death of you - because ramming damages your cars, and you
can always fix flat tires but you just can't have structural
repairs until you're in a town or city. Major repairs have to be
sought in such places as taxi garages or high school mechanics
departments. And many is the time I lost a vehicle to relatively
inferior combat groups simply because we had trouble finding
repair centers in time.
So after a while we came in control of various cities,
because in a town controlled by Lawful National Guardsmen I keep
myself to the rules, but for invaders, satanists, and gangsters I
have no mercy. Upon entering a new town, we always looked around
for a good while. In the beginning, this was dangerous, but once
we found ourselves a special way of preserving food and also had
ways to make do with fuel much longer, our supply-worries
decreased. What really scared me was the ever increasing number
of attacks by diseased mutants - because antitoxin was hard to
After controlling some eight cities we came into contact with
GUB personnel - first a password, then their location. They had
established themselves in a town controlled by reborners, who
don't put up any resistance but as they are a peaceful and
lovable bunch it's unnecessary to take over control in their
cities - besides which, I've learned to respect my men's
loyalties & sympathies. As to the GUB director, he required our
help. And got it. Not only because he seemed a standup guy;
mostly because here, finally, I'd met someone with a plan. And
the way I saw it, a pretty good plan.
We started on our own little cruisade then, conquering cities
no longer our goal, and went from one part of the country to
another to locate GUB agents. Which would have been a piece of
cake if it hadn't been for the road gang wars going on. Some of
these guys gave us a really hard time, and before long I came to
realize that without extra training and tactics we'd soon share
the fate of so many of our adversaries. I consulted with my fresh
new drill sergeant and both of us agreed that more training was
essential - preferably in a city because it's good to have a
chance to make repairs in between fights.
After "enhancing" our battle tactics, basically by eliminating
some of the multitude of mistakes I'd been making hitherto (such
as shooting through the front of a bus, where anyone could see
that side-fire is much more effective), sergeant Villiers and I
decided that fifteen vehicles was the absolute max in terms of
manageability, crew nourishment and fuel consumption. In the end
of June, we left our training base and once more hit the roads -
this time as a well co-ordinated, superbly trained combat team.
And although we still lost a minor vehicle now and then, we never
again came anywhere near losing them all.
We located six agents without much trouble, and brought them
back to GUB HQ. After our last "delivery", the GUB director
handed us their last radio. Used as a homing device, we had
little trouble finding our last two lost souls. At the end of
October, we returned the 8th agent from the scattered GUB team to
homebase, thus concluding the first phase in the Battle for a Re-
And the very next day I found myself being pushed into the
undesirably responsible seat of President. Democracy? Come on, I
didn't even put myself up as a candidate. I was framed - showed
me once more that I'm a real sucker for flattery; people telling
me how indispensable I am & more such nonsense. Damn my ego; this
is one four year job I'm not anxious to perform.
But then, someone has to. And fact is a lot of road gangs
listen to me now. Time we healed our country and kicked out the
rest of these invaders.
So far for the hidden hints & tips. What follows is what you
need to do to play Roadwar 2000 "from scratch".
First, make sure you have an extra (formatted) disk that can
be used to save a game on. Keep the original write-protected.
Second, insert the game disk. When the program asks if you want
to load an old game - say "no". Next, give your roadgang a name.
Now you're ready. Simple, really.
Seeing how the manual supplied with the game is, if anything,
overcomplete, I will refrain from what would be a totally
redundant set of instructions and explanations. It's all in the
book, and anyone who really wants to get to the bottom of Roadwar
2000 will find himself well-occupied for a long time - and that's
just the rules I'm talking about. Tactics are up to you.
Free sample. To all (three, is it?) dedicated if not exactly
educated readers of this, my column, I hereby freely supply you
with the #1 Instant Reply from the coming Great Masters Series of
Roaring Rebukes. This particular phrase (or minor variations on
it which are left to your own - hopefully existent - imagination)
to be used when contacted (just as I was, a couple of days ago on
¯the phone) by some unknowing fool trying to sell you an obsolete
8-bit "computer". (I am frustrated to admit that considerations
of impending lawsuits prohibit me from adding a certain company
"Excuse me, dear Lady, but I feel obliged to interrupt your
kind offer and inform you that, in my humble opinion, the mere
attempt of trying to sell a machine incorporating such improbably
worthless characteristics as the (name omitted) indicates the
existence of an almost unbelievable optimism, combined with what
must be seen as an outright dangerous naivity. Please contact the
nearest available psychiatrist. This consult is free."
At this point, in blatant disregard of what is generally
considered "good manners", hang up. After all, you are the proud
owner of an ST and this mere fact should suffice to keep your
persona exempt from disdainful commercial approaches which, in my
far from humble point of view, are not only an insufferable
infringement on a person's privacy but also constitute an
unacceptable insult towards one's intellectual dignity.
Let the record show no mercy on hawkers.
As usual, my undivided attention awaits all possible signs of
interest and/or appreciation with regard to articles written. So
far, the most positive reaction I have received is a Final
Warning from the Post Office that used subway tickets from the
Boston Metropolitan Area are not acceptable postage.
As far as the most negative reaction's concerned; Pterry will
see to that. BEWARE THE SKIES!
What did Willy say?
"Thou shouldst not have been old
before thou hadst been wise."
King Lear I-V-49
Correspondence: Lucas van den Berg
6511 RL Nijmegen
-- The Netherlands --
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.