The City in the Sea. The docks. Midnight. Hammer is up to his usual antics, stealing a large pile driver and shifting it onto his boat, but before he can leave he's accosted by his foe - Jack Tenrec!
The two do what they do best and start
punching each others' lights out, though Jack gains the upper hand frequently,
paying particular notice to a tattoo on the palm of Hammer's hand. However, the
emergency alarm button is pressed amidst the scuffle and Jack is dumped in a
stack of planks as Hammer makes his getaway, leaving his slither-tooth necklace
behind. Before Jack can give chase...
Captain Noc arrives, declaring Tenrec under arrest!
The next morning, Jack is brought upon the council to be tried, Noc giving his testimony first. The captain has had a grudge on Jack for a long time after he blew the whistle on his black market activities, and this is made clear when Noc claims the man who stole the pile driver was not only a friend of Jack's, but an old-blood mechanic. Scandalous!
Jack is incensed by this, and is then asked
to tell his side of the story. It began when he witnessed a demonstration of the
pile driver the day before, where he complained to Scharnhorst about how it
could be used for malicious purposes, as its ability to tear up the earth with
ease but inability to restore it was against his ethos. He then left, but bore
witness to Hammer spying on the demonstration.
He followed Hammer back to the City in the Sea, where the thug was keen on half-inching the large machine. Hannah told him it wasn't worth pursuing - after all, why would Hammer steal from Scharnhorst? Jack explains that the poachers are becoming more organised, getting access to all manner of high-tech machinery, and the pile driver would be barbaric if turned into a weapon. Of course, once he arrived at the docks, he identified the man stealing the pile driver as Hammer Terhoun.
The council is dubious of Jack's claim, and his attempt at backing himself up with the slither-tooth necklace doesn't go well since that evidence is not present. Scharnhorst proceeds to probe Hannah Dundee on Jack's behaviour, how he didn't approve of the pile driver and has had a history of destroying city property (though Hannah explains it was all in the name of safety), and she accidentally admits it's likely he would destroy the machine. Jack is thereby sentenced to five years of hard labour in a penal colony, though he gives Hannah a farewell hug and a sneaky message before he leaves.
Jack isn't taking that sitting down. No sir, he uses a screw driver to unscrew his seat, a metal pole to puncture the fuel pump which causes the car to flip over, and then uses the spinning axels of its underside to cut his chains.
Yeah, I'll just let that sink in, shall I?
His escape is a little less awesome, just hiding in a hole until the guards forget about him, but we'll forgive him on that one.
He reunites with Hannah and his Cadillac, who had followed the instructions on his note to get there, and released Hermes into the wild as he wanted. She's immeasurably sorry for having gotten Jack convicted because of her motor-mouth, though he's not bothered at all, he's only interested in knowing what the poachers are going to do with the pile driver. Hannah vows to find out what happened to the slither tooth, though given her previous blunder, Jack believes she's done enough help for one day before driving off.
Back at the City in the Sea, Scharnhorst is raging - she had Jack where she wanted him, and now he's escaped! However, she knows the very man who can best the mechanic: Lazarus Brink, bounty hunter. A man of few words, he merely needs told who his target is and where he was last seen, as he knows he will capture him successfully.
Jack makes his way into mack territory and
notices a stone slab bearing the same marking as Hammer's tattoo - the poachers
are now marking where the best hunting grounds are. Sinister!
To no one's surprise, a mack charges at him!
With no time to drive out of there, he decides to whistle, summoning Hermes to
the rescue! A single roar from his pet cutter is all it takes to send the
blundering behemoth turning tail. He continues on his search, though has to
leave Hermes behind for now.
Mustapha and Hannah get searching for the slither tooth, to no avail. Hannah suspects Noc is in possession of it, and aims to bust his balls to reclaim it.
Jack stumbles upon a poacher and points a gun at his face, using it to get all the answers he wants, learning that the poachers' gathering spot is located in the forest to the north. But before he can head over there...
Brink shows up! He disarms the mechanic and takes him under his custody, putting him in shackles and taking him away in his sidecar. Jack tries to convince him that he's not the criminal, how the poachers have the pile driver, the council can't be trusted, blah blah blah, but Brink doesn't give a hoot.
Realising he's not going to give in to his preaching, Jack chooses to distract him long enough to crash the bike into a tree, splitting the sidecar off and allowing him to unscrew his shackles before he lands in a pond. Unable to find him, Brink drives off.
Hannah and Mustapha spy on a rich merchant who's receives a visit from Noc, who aims to sell him the slither tooth, disposing of the evidence while making a profit. The sneaky bugger.
Jack runs into the same poacher again, this time stealing his clothes and wanting more details about the poachers' gathering spot, using Hermes to extract the necessary info out of him. Upon knowing the exact distance and whereabouts (and totally confirming the poachers are organised by seeing the guy's tattoo), he heads on his way in the poacher's car and leaves his pet cutter to send the no-good thug home.
Brink catches up with Tenrec and hops aboard his stolen car, telling him to pull over. Jack does precisely that and crashes the car. The two of them begin brawling, Jack still trying to explain the situation and his attempt to catch the real criminal, though Brink merely repeats his orders. Tossing him aside and totalling his bike, Jack argues that if he can't see where the real danger is, he should stay out of his way, and drives off once again.
Using the radio communicator from his bike, Brink enquires for information about Hammer from Scharnhorst, what with Jack telling him he's the one responsible for the theft, but she claims he shouldn't worry about him. Brink walks on before she's finished talking.
Back with the other group, the merchant is ecstatic upon seeing the tooth - it belongs to the rarest slither in existence! Before money can be exchanged, Mustapha and Hannah barge in, accusing him of suppressing evidence, and he does just that by throwing the tooth out the window, shattering into pieces upon the pavement. The merchant vents his rage upon Hannah but gets thrown into a wall for his troubles, while Mustapha chases after Noc, though they lose track of him in the dilapidated building.
They eventually manage to catch Noc trying to leap from a window, but without the tooth it's a hollow victory. Good thing there's a random stranger nearby, who claims judging from the remains of the tooth, it was actually a porcelain copy. After all, why sell an original when he can sell a dozen fakes? They find the real tooth in a box in Noc's coat pocket, so with evidence in hand, they pay Scharnhorst a visit. She's not too concerned with her subordinate's cheating ways, but is distressed upon hearing that Hammer was definitely the pile driver pincher.
Jack finally finds the poacher camp, painting the marking upon his hand to gain access, and finds the pile driver inside a garage where it's been converted into a giant slither-sniping crossbow! Brink also makes his way inside the camp by cutting open the fence, but is soon swarmed by poachers who don't approve of him and his bounty hunting ways.
Of course, poachers don't just kill people - they lower them into pits full of slithers! However, Jack sends them all fleeing when he aims a huge fuck-off gun at their faces and rescues the bounty hunter. He allows Jack to go free...
... giving him time to find the pile driver and use it to blow up a reactor core. The camp catches fire, the poachers make haste, and Brink uses this opportunity to arrest Hammer, catching a ride back to the city with Jack and his car.
The two talk more lightly about their run-ins - Jack knows Scharnhorst won't like Hammer being arrested, what with him being "her personal pitbull" and all, but Brink now admits law and order is different from right and wrong, and he'll make his own judgments from now on.
Back at Jack's garage, Hannah is pleased to have finally gotten Jack free of his charges, though he's still a little miffed by getting convicted in the first place. She doesn't know why he's so cranky - he's a free man now and managed to take down a poacher colony, suggesting she go to the council and ask for a reward for that deed, though given her bumbling at the beginning of this escapade, Jack merely worries she'll land him with another sentence in the penal colony. Oh, Jack!
Another episode by David Wise, and probably one of his better ones.
When we first see the poacher Jack continually hassles, he doesn't have a tattoo on his palm. In his very next appearance, guess what's there? Unless the guy decided to take a break from poaching and got a quick tattoo within an hour or so, that's just a little bit wacky.