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Book 41: Highway Holocaust [Freeway Warrior series]

Dateline to Disaster

Rise of global terrorism on an unprecedented scale. Political violence funded by organized crime syndicate called HAVOC—The Hijack, Assassination, and Violent Opposition Consortium.
The governments of many small and impoverished nations fall into the hands of HAVOC. International terrorists receive arms, training, and shelter in these ‘Badlands’.
Raids on oil and gas installations, assassinations, and the kidnapping of prominent world statesmen become commonplace as HAVOC attempts to terrorize the civilized world into submission. Despite public outrage and growing international tension, the major powers steadfastly refuse to give in to HAVOC’s demands.
President of the United States and General Secretary of Supreme Soviet both assassinated at emergency summit meeting. US, USSR, and major European nations create the World Defence League and declare war on HAVOC. The Badlands are invaded, key HAVOC bases destroyed, and thousands of HAVOC agents are captured.
HAVOC leaders imprisoned for life in ‘Deep Pens’—maximum security gaols located deep underground—to prevent their escape or release by HAVOC agents still at large.
New leadership emerges to unify the scattered remnants of HAVOC and plan revenge.
A WDL train transporting seventeen 100-kiloton nuclear warheads, slated to be neutralized and dismantled, is attacked by HAVOC agents. The train is destroyed and its deadly cargo stolen.
2012 New Year’s Day
HAVOC hijacks a WDL news satellite and broadcasts a chilling ultimatum. They have planted the seventeen stolen warheads in major cities throughout the US, USSR, and Europe. They call for the immediate release of all HAVOC agents held in Deep Pens, plus the payment of $2 trillion in gold bullion, or they will trigger the warheads one by one until their demands are met in full. A twenty-four hour deadline is set. WDL leaders declare an emergency and request that the deadline be extended. HAVOC refuses.
2nd January
First warhead detonated at Brie Nuclear Energy Plant, ten miles south of Paris, France. Blast and radioactive fallout claim millions of lives. HAVOC repeats its demand and extends deadline by twenty-four hours.
3rd January ‘The Day’
World Defence League agents discover location of HAVOC command headquarters on an island in the South Pacific Ocean. Immediately orders are given to infiltrate and destroy the HQ and its occupants. The assault is swift and decisive; the complex is quickly overrun and its inhabitants are killed. Yet, ironically, as the news of this victory is being relayed around the world, HAVOC enacts its ultimate revenge. A transmitter hidden on the island, fitted with a time-delay mechanism, clicks on, sending its high-frequency radio signal to a communications satellite orbiting the earth. This signal is amplified and returned to earth where, simultaneously, it triggers the remaining nuclear warheads. The initial explosions set off a disastrous chain reaction that feeds on civil and military nuclear installations all across the northern hemisphere. Hundreds of millions of people are killed within days, and many more perish during the years that follow, falling victim to the lingering radioactivity and the severe climatic changes that affect the earth.
Gale force winds sweep across the world, carrying enormous amounts of dust into the upper atmosphere and preventing much sunlight from reaching the earth’s surface. Temperatures plummet, deterring survivors from remaining above ground. Communications are disrupted by gamma radiation, making all radio, cable, and satellite contact impossible. Small colonies of survivors develop in total isolation from one another during these years of darkness.
Gradually, the dust storms die down and the sun penetrates the atmosphere, thawing the earth’s frozen surface. Radiation has decayed to tolerable levels, and survivors emerge to reclaim what little remains of the world they once knew.

Cal’s Story

You are Cal Phoenix, a survivor, born on Thanksgiving in the year 2000 AD. When you cast your mind back to the time before ‘The Day’, you recall your two brothers and your sister, your parents’ house in California, and summer vacations spent cruising the blue Pacific off Catalina Island aboard your father’s boat. They are your fondest memories, yet your most vivid recollections are of winter vacations, when the family would drive to Dallas to spend Christmas with Uncle Jonas and Aunt Betty-Ann. Of all your Texan Christmases, the 2011 visit was the most memorable. It was also the last time you saw your family alive.

Your parents had decided to cancel the trip to Dallas that year. The oil shortage had pushed up the price of gasolene to $30 a gallon, and only the rich could afford to drive long distances, even in cars equipped with solar-pacs. You were so disappointed when you heard the news that you decided to walk the 1300 miles to Dallas, and would have done so had your father not caught up with you three miles from home. Then, when Uncle Jonas and Aunt Betty-Ann got to hear of it, they fixed it with your parents so that you at least could spend Christmas with them at their ranch near Denton.

From the moment they met your charter flight at Addison Airport you knew it was going to be a vacation to remember. Uncle Jonas was an oilman. He had been one ever since he graduated from the University of Texas in ’95 with a degree in geology. Earlier that summer he had been put in charge of construction at a shale-oil mine near Austin, the very first of its kind in Texas, and as a special Christmas treat he promised to take you on a guided tour of the whole underground complex.


On New Year’s Day 2012, the three of you started out early on the road to your uncle’s mine, located on the Austin Chalk, over 200 miles south of Dallas. The trip would take at least two days, with an overnight stop in Waco, for, in an effort to conserve energy, the Federal government had imposed a speed restriction of fifteen miles per hour on all state highways. It was a slow journey, and despite the sombre radio bulletins that gave news of HAVOC’s latest threats, you can still remember your excitement at the thought of exploring those tunnels deep below the earth.

Your arrival at the mine was met by a military patrol, posted there by the World Defence League. The job of the patrol was to prevent sabotage; oil installations all over the world had become one of HAVOC’s primary targets in their campaign of terror. The mine was officially closed for the New Year’s recess but Uncle Jonas had right of access at all times and, after checking his papers, the patrol allowed you in. It was a massive complex and, for security reasons, it was totally self-supporting. A central shaft serviced the many working levels to which there were attached laboratories, workshops, and even refineries for processing the precious crude oil after it had been extracted from the rock. Uncle Jonas was explaining the function of these refineries, 300 feet below the surface, when it happened.

The ground shuddered when the shock waves from the first distant explosions reached the mine, and you remember thinking that it must be the start of an earthquake, the like of which you had experienced many times at home in California. But as the levels nearest the surface began to collapse and the central shaft filled with falling rubble, you realized the awful truth. The unthinkable had happened.

At first there was no way of telling the extent of the surface devastation. Below ground, the safety generators had automatically switched into operation when the main power supply failed, and the tremors faded quickly, encouraging your aunt and uncle to believe that the damage above was superficial. Uncle Jonas was confident that the military would mount a rescue operation and that you would be brought out within a few days—a week at the most. Aunt Betty-Ann was also optimistic. After all, there were emergency supplies, enough to feed 200 men for a whole month. Little did she know that the three of you would end up consuming all of those supplies, or that the mine would become your home, your shelter, and your prison for the next eight years of your lives.

It was a month after ‘The Day’ when the three of you accepted that there would never be a rescue operation. Many days had been spent in silence, hoping and praying for the sounds of excavation or a voice on the radio link to the surface. But all that could be heard was the static crackle of the gamma radiation which was blanketing the earth. Uncle Jonas proposed that an attempt be made to reach the surface by tunnelling through the blocked central shaft. It was an awesomely dangerous feat, to dig vertically through 300 feet of compressed concrete rubble and twisted steel girders, but there was no other way you could ever hope to escape from the mine. Progress was painfully slow but the work gave you all a sense of purpose, a reason to go on, even though you feared what could be awaiting you on the surface.

Those years spent in the mine taught you invaluable lessons in survival. Uncle Jonas showed you how to refine gasolene from crude oil to keep the generators alive; to coax fresh water from porous rock; to manufacture spare parts in order to maintain vital machinery. Aunt Betty-Ann, who had at one time been a nurse and a high school teacher in Denton County, attended to your education and made sure that you stayed fit and healthy. Their love and support enabled you to grow during those dark days underground despite the enormous sense of loss you felt for your parents, brothers, and sister. You vowed then that one day you would repay their kindness by protecting and caring for them.

It was early September in the year 2019 when finally you broke through to the surface. Aunt Betty-Ann was convinced that radiation levels would still be dangerously high, and at first she was against leaving the mine. But, during the last few months of your incarceration, the static that had always jammed the radio wavelengths had gradually cleared, and Uncle Jonas was able to persuade her that this meant it was now safe to live above ground.


When you first emerged from the mine, you thought you were on the surface of another planet. Surely this could not be Earth? Few structures had survived the blizzards and intense cold that had swept around the world in the years following ‘The Day’, and now, after the dust had settled and the sun returned, the once-fertile plains of Austin resembled little more than a desert of parched and broken rock, littered with the artefacts of an absent civilization. During the first few days, when you set out to explore this wilderness, it was easy to believe that you were the only survivors. But on the morning of the fifth day, Uncle Jonas made a chance radio contact with a family called Ewell who were living near the ruins of McKinney, thirty miles north of Dallas. They told him that they had been in touch with a handful of other groups who had managed somehow to survive the holocaust. Most were isolated, unable to move due to lack of fuel, food, or water. They had urged those who could travel to join them in McKinney, to start a new community, and some were already on their way. Your uncle and aunt also accepted their invitation. McKinney was not very far from Denton, and they were curious to see if anything remained of their ranch. They planned to return home, salvage whatever they could that might be of use, and then move on to McKinney. The Ewells were enthusiastic, but they warned that not everyone who had survived wanted to establish a new community. The ruins of Dallas and Fort Worth were controlled by gangs of criminals who fought with each other and terrorized anyone seeking to reestablish law and order. They advised you to avoid them at all costs when travelling north.

Interstate Freeway 35 was the only highway still intact amid the devastation that surrounded the mine. It offered a direct route home to Denton, if only transportation could be found, for Uncle Jonas considered conditions far too dangerous to attempt such a long journey on foot. It took more than a week to discover a vehicle that was still serviceable. It was an old school bus, one that had been parked in an underground lot and had survived the years of sub-zero blizzards. With a few new parts, a tankful of gas, and a lot of hard work it was eventually brought back to life.

Provisions, including a small generator, were hoisted out of the mine and stowed aboard before you began the journey back to the ranch. The noisy old bus bumped along the rock-strewn freeway that stretched northward across an empty sea of dust. It was a harrowing sight. Hardly a trace remained of what were once thriving communities, and the once-populous cities of Temple and Waco had barely enough buildings still standing to qualify as small towns.

It was not until you reached the outskirts of Fort Worth that you encountered signs of human habitation. The road ahead was blocked by a line of wrecked autos, and at your approach a group of hard faced men and women, clad in composite costumes of leather and rivetted steel, suddenly popped up from behind this barricade. Uncle Jonas was suspicious and slowed the bus almost to a halt. Suddenly they produced handguns and rifles and began to take aim at the windshield, and he knew it was not the time to stop to ask for directions! He told you and Aunt Betty-Ann to brace yourselves; then he stamped his foot on the gas and drove the bus straight through the wall of cars, scattering the punks like ten-pins in a strike. The bus was shot at many times as it sped through Fort Worth, but the street gangs had been caught out and you managed to escape from the ruined city before they could give chase.

When you got to Denton you discovered that the ranch, like all the other nearby dwellings, had been reduced to a heap of broken bricks and shattered timbers. The sight greatly upset your aunt, and Uncle Jonas felt it better not to stop but to continue overland to McKinney. It was easy to find where the Ewells lived, for their ranch was the only place in town that was still standing. It looked more like an old frontier post than a ranch, with its fortified perimeter wall, lookout posts, and stake-filled moat. But, after your brush with the citizens of Fort Worth, it was easy to understand the need for these defences.


‘Pop’ Ewell, the seventy-year-old grandfather of the Ewell family, was the leader of this small colony of survivors; it was he who had urged Uncle Jonas to join them when they had first made radio contact. The colony numbered less than a dozen at the time of your arrival, yet as the airwaves became clearer, soon this number had more than doubled to twenty-five. It was decided that a name was needed to identify the settlement. The name ‘Dallas Colony One’ was adopted—‘DC1’ for short—and from that day on everyone worked hard to make DC1 a secure haven for those seeking refuge from the hostile wastelands and marauding city gangs.

‘Cutter’ Jacks was one such refugee. Before the holocaust he had been chief mechanic at the International Grand Prix Circuit near Lake Dallas, and his incredible skill and knowledge of engines was soon to prove invaluable to the colony. He taught you how to drive, and from a pile of old wrecks that you helped him salvage from the circuit he built you a powerful, customized car. You used it to patrol the highways north of the city, keeping a lookout for gangs of city punks who frequently mounted raids to steal or destroy DC1’s supplies. ‘Cutter’ also taught you to shoot, and it was your prowess with a gun and your skill behind the wheel that was to earn you the begrudging respect of your enemies who took to calling you ‘Freeway Warrior’.


Six months after you arrived at DC1, the colony was faced with a major crisis. A heat wave was causing a drought that threatened to destroy the food supply. Crops were failing and the colony’s artesian well—its only source of uncontaminated water—was beginning to dry up. The drought was also provoking more attacks from the city punks who were desperate for food and water. Their common need united them and they posed a very real threat to the security of DC1.

It was the last day of May 2020 when Pop Ewell made radio contact with another colony who were based in the city of Big Spring, 300 miles west of McKinney. It appeared that their situation was completely the reverse of DC1’s: they had plenty of food and water but they were desperately short of fuel. They told of their contact with survivors in Tucson, Arizona, who were also without fuel. The Tucson colony reported that the territories west of the mountains of the Sierra Nevada had been spared the worst effects of the radioactive blizzards that had devastated the rest of the country and, miraculously, much of southern California was still widely populated. It had survived the last eight years virtually intact. When you heard the news you could hardly believe your ears. Perhaps your family were alive. You might be reunited after all!

Pop Ewell called for a meeting to decide how best to deal with the crisis now facing DC1. Everyone agreed that to stay at McKinney would lead to eventual death, either slowly from starvation or suddenly at the hands of the murderous city gangs. The only option open to DC1 was to try to reach California; only there lay any real hope for the future of the colony. Your decision was relayed to the survivors at Big Spring and a deal was struck to rendezvous with them as soon as possible. DC1 would exchange fuel for food and water, and together they would join up with the Tucson colony for the final journey to California.

Preparations began almost immediately. Morale was so high that a heady sense of adventure and optimism enveloped everyone. Few guessed just how fraught with danger the journey would be.

The Game Rules

Before embarking on your adventure, you must first determine your personal characteristics and the weapons and provisions with which you are equipped. An Action Chart has been supplied on which to record and amend these details as the adventure unfolds.

Your personal characteristics comprise two basic attributes: CLOSE COMBAT SKILL and ENDURANCE. To discover your initial CLOSE COMBAT SKILL, take a pencil and, with your eyes closed, point the blunt end of it onto the Random Number Table. If you pick a 0 it counts as zero. Add 10 to the number you have picked and write the total in the CLOSE COMBAT SKILL section of your Action Chart (for example, if your pencil falls on the number 5 in the Random Number Table, you have a CLOSE COMBAT SKILL total of 15). When you fight an enemy in hand-to-hand combat, your CLOSE COMBAT SKILL will be measured against that of your enemy, so a high score in this section is desirable.

To discover your ENDURANCE level, repeat the process, but this time add 20 to the number you have picked from the Random Number Table. Write the total in the ENDURANCE section of your Action Chart (for example, if your pencil falls on the number 8 on the Random Number Table, you have a total ENDURANCE score of 28). If you are wounded in combat, or injured at any other time during your adventure, you will lose ENDURANCE points. If, at any time, your ENDURANCE points total falls to zero or below, you are dead and the adventure is over. You can regain lost ENDURANCE points during the course of the adventure, but your ENDURANCE level can never rise above your initial score.

Survival Skills

Ever since the day you returned to the surface, you have endeavoured to develop your skills and natural instincts fully in order to best defend yourself and your colony.

Listed on your Action Chart are your five basic Survival Skills:


Your ability to control powered vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, and trucks.


Your familiarity and experience in the use of missile weapons, such as pistols, machine pistols, shotguns, and rifles.

Field craft

Your knowledge and experience of all aspects of outdoor survival.


Your physical fitness, the speed of your reflexes, and your dexterity.


Your intelligence, your ability to evaluate information, your education, and your mental alertness.

Your ability in each of these five individual skills is measured in skill points. You begin with 3 points per skill. Before starting the adventure, you may allocate an additional 4 skill points to your list of five Survival Skills. These 4 extra points can be used to improve one or more of your five skills. During your adventure, all five skills will be severely tested; therefore the higher the individual skill level, the better your chances of survival. You may allocate your 4 additional points entirely how you like.

When you have decided where to allocate your 4 additional skill points, make a note of the totals in the Survival Skills section of your Action Chart. (In your first adventure, your total number of skill points should be 19: five skills x 3 points each = 15, plus 4 additional skill points = 19 points.)

If you complete successfully the mission set in Book 1 of the Freeway Warrior series, you may add an additional 4 points to your Survival Skills in Book 2. These additional points, together with any equipment and provisions that you possess at the end of Book 1, may then be used in the next Freeway Warrior adventure, which is called Slaughter Mountain Run.


Apart from your clothing, a number of useful items form your basic equipment. These comprise a Backpack and a belt on which hang your Ammo Pouch, Medi-kit, Water Canteen, and Hunting Knife. In addition to these items, you possess a Map of Central Texas, which you carry tucked inside your leather jacket.


Up to ten separate items may be stored and carried in your Backpack at any time. However, if more than three items are carried, your Stealth level will be reduced by 1 point. If more than six items are carried, your Stealth level will be reduced by 2 points; and if you carry a full Backpack (containing ten items), your Stealth level will be reduced by 3 points.

In order to equip yourself for the task ahead, you may choose up to four items from the following list:


List the items you have chosen on your Action Chart. If you have picked four items, adjust your current Stealth level accordingly.

Opportunities may arise during your adventure for you to pick up useful items. These items will appear in the text in bold print and, unless you are instructed otherwise, they can be stored and carried in your Backpack.

You will need to eat regularly. If you do not possess any food when you are instructed to eat a Meal, you will lose 3 ENDURANCE points.

Ammo Pouch

Your Ammo Pouch is where you store any spare ammunition for firearms. It can hold a maximum of the following:

40 rounds of 9mm calibre Pistol/Machine Pistol ammunition
20 rounds of 7.62mm calibre Rifle ammunition
10 rounds of 12-gauge calibre Shotgun ammunition

When carrying mixed calibres of ammunition, use this equation to check how much space you have left in your Ammo Pouch:

4 x 9mm rounds = 2 x 7.62 rounds = 1 x 12 gauge round

Additional ammunition can be carried in your Backpack. Ammunition occupies one space for each quantity that is equal to (or less than) the maximum that can be carried in one Ammo Pouch.


A well-stocked Medi-kit can make all the difference to your chances of survival should you suffer injury in the field or as a result of combat. It contains useful first aid supplies, such as dressings, antiseptics, antibiotics, water purification tablets, sulfonamides, pain killers, potassium iodide tablets (to delay absorption of radioactivity), and sutures.

For convenience, these medical supplies are grouped into units. To find how many units you have in your Medi-kit, pick a number from the Random Number Table (0 equals 10) and add 2. Your total score equals the number of units with which you begin your adventure. To keep a record of them, circle the appropriate number of unit symbols in the Medi-kit section of your Action Chart. The maximum number of units you can carry in your Medi-kit is twelve.

You may use your Medi-kit units to restore lost ENDURANCE points; each unit used in this way restores 3 points. Units cannot be used to restore ENDURANCE points in lieu of a Meal or Water when instructed to eat or drink.

Water Canteen

Water is essential to life, and your life will depend on having a sufficient, uncontaminated supply. You will need to drink regularly during your adventure. One drink is equivalent to half a pint and your canteen holds exactly two pints of water: enough for one day’s needs. When instructed to drink, be sure to tick off one box in the Water section of your Action Chart.

If you do not have any Water when instructed to drink, you must lose 3 ENDURANCE points.


Close Combat Weapons

These weapons aid you in hand-to-hand fighting. You begin your adventure armed with a Hunting Knife which, when used in close combat, adds 2 points to your CLOSE COMBAT SKILL. Note this Hunting Knife in the Close Combat Weapons section of your Action Chart.

If you find a close combat weapon during your adventure, you may pick it up and use it. Close combat weapons will appear in the text with a close combat skill number, for example, Machete (3). This number indicates how many points this weapon will add to your CLOSE COMBAT SKILL when used in a hand-to-hand fight.

The maximum number of close combat weapons you may carry is two, though you may only wield one at any time.

Missile Weapons

There are four types of missile weapon:

You begin your adventure armed with only one of these weapons. Make your choice and then record the weapon you have chosen, together with its calibre and rate of fire details, in the Missile Weapons section of your Action Chart.

In order to be able to use a missile weapon, you must have sufficient ammunition of the correct calibre. The following list shows the calibre of each weapon, the amount that is used every time the weapon is fired, and the number of rounds that you possess at the start of your adventure:

CalibreRate of FireInitial No. of Rounds
Machine Pistol9mm630

The initial number of rounds should be noted in the Ammo Pouch section of your Action Chart. Missile weapons cannot be used if you run out of ammunition or possess only rounds of the wrong calibre. However, the opportunity may arise for you to replenish your supply of ammunition and/or discover a weapon of the correct calibre.

You may carry a maximum of three missile weapons. However, for every missile weapon that you carry (excluding your initial choice), you must reduce your Stealth level by 1 point.

Rules for Close Combat

There will be occasions when you will have to fight an enemy in hand-to-hand combat. The enemy’s CLOSE COMBAT SKILL and ENDURANCE level will both be given in the text. Your aim in close combat is to kill the enemy by reducing his ENDURANCE points to zero or below while losing as few of your own ENDURANCE points as possible.

At the start of a close combat, enter both your own and your enemy’s ENDURANCE points in the appropriate boxes on the Close Combat Record section of your Action Chart. The sequence for close combat is as follows:

  1. Add any extra points gained through the use of close combat weapons to your current CLOSE COMBAT SKILL total.

  2. Subtract the CLOSE COMBAT SKILL of your enemy from this total. The result is your Combat Ratio. Enter it on the Action Chart.

    Cal Phoenix (CLOSE COMBAT SKILL 17) is attacked by a Renegade Clansman (CLOSE COMBAT SKILL 18). He is not given the opportunity to evade close combat, but must stand and fight his adversary. Cal Phoenix is armed with a Hunting Knife, so he adds 2 points to his CLOSE COMBAT SKILL, giving a total CLOSE COMBAT SKILL of 19.

    He subtracts the Renegade Clansman’s CLOSE COMBAT SKILL from his own, giving a Combat Ratio of +1 (19 − 18 = +1). He notes this +1 on his Action Chart as the Combat Ratio.

  3. After working out your Combat Ratio, pick a number from the Random Number Table.

  4. Turn to the Close Combat Results Table. Along the top of the chart are the Combat Ratio numbers. Find the number that is the same as your Combat Ratio and cross-reference it with the number that you have picked (the random numbers appear down the side of the chart). You now have the ENDURANCE points lost by both Cal Phoenix and his enemy in this round of close combat. (E represents points lost by the enemy; CP represents points lost by Cal Phoenix.)

    The Combat Ratio between Cal Phoenix and the Renegade Clansman has been established as +1. If the number picked from the Random Number Table is a 4, then the result of the first round of close combat is:

    • Cal Phoenix loses 3 ENDURANCE points.
    • Renegade Clansman loses 4 ENDURANCE points.

  5. On the Action Chart, mark the changes in ENDURANCE points to the participants in the close combat.

  6. Unless otherwise instructed, or unless you have an option to evade, start the next round of close combat.

  7. Repeat the sequence from stage 3.

This procedure continues until the ENDURANCE points of either the enemy or Cal Phoenix are reduced to zero or below, at which point that combatant is declared dead. If Cal Phoenix is dead, the adventure is over. If the enemy is dead, Cal Phoenix proceeds but with his ENDURANCE points possibly reduced.

A Summary of the Close Combat Rules appears on the page after the Random Number Table.

Evasion of Combat

During your adventure you may be given the chance to evade close combat. If you have already engaged in a round of close combat and decide to evade, calculate the combat for that round in the usual manner. All ENDURANCE points lost by the enemy as a result of that round are ignored; only Cal Phoenix may lose ENDURANCE points during that round, but that is the risk of running away! You may evade combat only if the text of the particular section allows you to do so.

Begin your adventure