At the thick of a jungle in the dead of night, a group of researchers from Wassoon are out on a voyage to the City in the Sea. The Wassoon tribe have been relatively sheltered during the 26th century, and this will be their first encounter with other survivors outside of their homeland, but they're in high spirits and are aware that the residents over there are also trying to rebuild civilisation, so they believe they'll be warmly welcomed.
Suddenly, an ambush! One by one, the trucks
are ensnared in nets, rammed off-road or simply destroyed, but Hannah Dundee
and the leader manage to make it out alright. The leader of the voyage is
bewildered - the people of the City in the Sea are supposed to be friendly and
productive! As they watch the attackers leave with their vehicles and supplies,
they realise those aren't your average people; that was the band of renegades
under the command of Hammer Terhune! As the bandits go looking for
survivors, Hannah is forced to leave her leader, him telling her that the
Wassoon tribe making an alliance with the City in the Sea is in the best
interests of mankind's survival.
Meanwhile, Cadillac fanatic Jack Tenrec is out driving, only to witness a fire amongst the trees. He drops by to see a group of workers trying to quench the flames, but upon seeing him, he's set upon with threats and pointed fingers. A shivat stomped on down and destroyed their houses, and they're blaming Jack for it - he said those creatures never ventured down from higher ground! They fear that next it'll be their lives that'll be lost, and Jack reluctantly vows to destroy the shivat should it ever approach the site again.
Over at Hammer's camp, the head honcho is
undergoing a business transaction with the governor of the City in the Sea,
Wilhelmina Scharnhorst, who's given him a box of grenades for having
destroyed the village, and promises more once Jack Tenrec has been eliminated.
But to do that, more villages will need destroyed so the residents will lose
their faith in Tenrec and turn to her for protection, losing their value for the
Machinatio Vitae (the balance of life). Hammer, Vice and Wrench head out to cause
more carnage, with their transmitter-controlled shivat!
Hannah Dundee finally makes it out of the jungle and finds herself outside the City in the Sea, which is almost like a mythological landscape to her tribe. However, her tribe places particular prominence on maintaining the knowledge of the ancients, so she is relieved to see that the New York Public Library is still intact. But before she can actually try and make her way there, cutter attack!
Okay it's actually like three feet tall and completely harmless. However, it's soon followed up by a giant freakin' shivat! It appears bothered by something, rubbing its neck against a tree, but otherwise strolls on by without noticing. Hannah can't get a moment's peace, as a car is soon heard approaching, so she busts its tires with her crossbow...
... causing Jack to crash his Cadillac and get rendered unconscious. He has a vision of a member of the Grith, Hobb urging him to remember the way of his blood, that the balance of life must be maintained; he claims that there's no choice, the shivat must be destroyed, but he is told that there is always another way.
He wakes up to see Hannah threatening him with a bolt to the neck, believing him to be among the group who ambushed her convoy; that, or a poacher hoping to kill the shivat. He claims he's neither, and the poachers are his very enemy, as he's an old-blood mechanic.
Hannah is aware of those people, but the ones from Wassoon all died out long ago, though Jack claims there's still a few around in these parts of the world. However, at this point she's not interested in hearing his philosophy, just simply making her way to the City, so Jack sets about repairing the car with her assistance. While introducing each other, Hannah reveals that she's a diplomat and also a scientist, both occupations that Jack does not think highly of.
While driving through the outback, Jack
gives Hannah a sample of the only radio station available - a propaganda speech
by Scharnhorst, badmouthing the mechanics and complaining about their way of
life, claiming their demands and advice is doing nothing but hindering progress.
Jack plants a boot through the radio in response.
The two of them eventually make it to Jack's
garage - a towering fortress with a drawbridge over a moat of lava. Hannah is
introduced to Mustapha Cairo, another mechanic, while Jack tries to track the shivat's movements on a map. He comments that its movements seem to suggest it
wants to move back to the foothills, but its path then seems to change until its
headed towards the settlements again. Suddenly out of nowhere CUTTER ATTACK!
That's actually Jack's burglar alarm, Hermes, an adolescent cutter he took under his wing after its mother was killed by poachers, and it's just welcoming him home. Hannah is still anxious to check out the City and is informed a ferry goes there twice a day, but something else catches their eye - smoke. The shivat is on the rampage again! Jack heads out after it alone, equipped with all of his tranquilisers, and doesn't like the thought of turning his back on his beliefs.
The governors of the City in the Sea receive a message concerning the shivat attack, and this shocks all but Scharnhorst - they had built the foundations of their society around the prophecy and teachings of Jack Tenrec and the engineers, who had claimed there was nothing to fear from the beasts if they maintained the balance of life. Scharnhorst sees this as the turning point of their society, however; they won't need to listen to their demands, so they can build where they want, destroy what they want, and live any way they want to! Governors Dahlgren and Toulouse maintain mild faith in Tenrec, and are merely bothered by how Scharnhorst doesn't give a damn about the villages under attack.
Jack arrives at the settlement and is greeted by people badmouthing him for misleading them about the shivat, but he simply pushes his way past them and looks for a good vantage point to shoot it from. Hobb appears in a vision again, urging him not to go ahead, reminding him that an old-blood cannot take a life, though he retorts that he can't let his tribe get slaughtered either. He prepares to blast it with a lethal dose of tranquiliser...
Only to notice a mechanical device attached to the back of its head. Unfortunately, the shivat finally notices him and takes a bite out of the tree he's on, though this allows him to hop on and try to pry the device off, though it's not giving up without a fight.
After being rammed into a tree, he finally manages to pry it off the shivat's neck at the expense of losing his grip and falling to the jungle floor. The shivat turns and looks like he's going to chow down, so he smashes the machine with his elbow... and the shivat stops. It sniffs him, stands back up, and meanders away.
Hannah and Mustapha arrive and find Jack. Hannah deduces that the machine is a short-range frequency receiver which emitted a sound that was driving the beast crazy, but was otherwise inaudible to human ears, and whoever was generating the sounds must be nearby!
Surprise surprise, it's the dirty work of Vice and Wrench, Hammer's bumbling brothers. Mustapha and Hannah charge in and knock the stuffing out of them.
Hammer and his gang are spying on the village and notice that the shivat is no longer rampaging, so he goes to see what his brothers are up to. Jack intercepts him from the trees and the two get brawling, Hammer going so far as to bring a knife to a fist fight, though Tenrec's quick wits bring him down.
However, they're not far from Hammer's bike, so the no-good thug takes hold of a grenade and drops it at Jack's feet before vamoosing, blowing him a fair distance and rendering the engineer fairly winded. Hammer prepares to bludgeon him to death, but Jack reminds him that the shivat has his scent, and having been tormented by the renegade's device for so long, it's going to be pissed. They have teeth like gigantic knives which can tear through flesh like melted cheese, and Jack ponders how many bites it would take to wolf down Hammer - judging by the rustling on nearby, he imagines they'll know soon enough. Scared out of his wits, Hammer hightails it out of there.
Mustapha and Hannah return from behind the trees, their rustling ruse a complete success, and the group make their way to the governors' office. Jack confronts Scharnhorst with Vice and Wrench's transmitter, well aware that thugs like them could only get such a device from the governors, and she's the only one corrupt enough to share such goods; if that evidence is shown to the board officials, Scharnhorst will be kicked out faster than a shivat snaps. She just smiles, crushes the transmitter in her hand and asks "what evidence?"
So, that didn't go well! Still, the two are well aware they'll have run-ins with each other in the future, and given how the Machinatio Vitae beliefs are, in a nutshell, "what goes around comes around," Jack knows for sure Scharnhorst will get her just deserts sometime. Sometime.
This episode was written by Steven E. de Souza, who was also responsible for developing the comic for this cartoon format. He wrote the screenplays of such films as Die Hard, Commando and Hudson Hawk, but we all know him as the dude who wrote Street Fighter, don't we?
The license plate on Jack's Cadillac is ZNOZOIC, a reference to the original title of the comic book, Xenozoic Tales.
Mustapha's shirt changes from purple to a vaguely-defined greyish-brown hue from time to time.
This happens throughout the whole series, mind you, but it's one of those minor things that really irks me.