Backmatter Part 8: Helter Skelter

High Concept: “Hair” meets “Red Dawn”

Genre: Telepunk: Cyberpunk meets 1970s grindhouse

Overview: Everyone assumed that the Prophet was a kook, one of the fleeting nightmares of the Summer of Love. He was in jail, the Family was scattered and there were more pressing issues at hand.

The jokes stopped when a blue-clad Family acolyte deposited the Veep’s head on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in January 1971.

By 1973, Family members, trained alongside PLO, IRA and Red Army Faction revolutionaries, used car bombings and suicide raids to turn Washington into Beirut.

Now, it’s 1976. The Administration, secured in its redoubt at Weather Mountain, was quick to react, cracking down on all of the counterculture and sending Liddy’s Armed Interdiction Patrols (nicknamed “Apes” in the Underground) to crush dissent and serve as the iron fist of an increasingly totalitarian and erratic government.

Now, small cells struggle against the Apes, the Family and a thousand other enemies. Some are working through communications, linking up through out-of-the-way CB frequencies and phreaked phone calls or sneaking onto the Government’s ARPANet system to help keep their comrades one step ahead of the Man and releasing the truth through pirate radio stations and television programs. Direct action groups fight to push back the narcocrats making Harlem into a battlefield, the Family cells across California and the chopper gangs ravaging the Southwest from desert air bases. Other cells ferry dissidents and “undesirables” across the wall to Canada, rescuing them from the network of AIP gulags (or “Monkey Houses”) where the rule of law is a distant rumor. The most daring of the cells fight toe-to-toe with the Family, trying to stop the Prophet and bring America back from the brink of destruction.

The Movements of the past all had more their share of slogans, back in the day. “The people united will never be defeated,” “All power to the people,” “Never trust anyone over thirty,” “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud.” Now, there’s one battle cry that the Movement hopes will lead them to a brighter future:

It’s us or them.

System: Savage Worlds
Illustrator: Laurenn McCubbin, as she’d draw an ass-kickin’ scary Manson
Director: Oliver Stone
Potential casting: Larenz Tate, Zooey Deschanel, Sam Elliot, Michael Chiklis, Dennis Hopper, Jane Fonda, Benicio Del Toro, David Strathairn, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Fonda (circa 1970), Goldie Hawn (circa 1972)
Royalties paid in advance to: Charles Manson, Lynette Fromme and the estate of Richard Milhous Nixon

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