This is the first of two parts and features a pair of Series 800 terminators running afoul of a satanist biker gang run by "Killerman" aka Frederic Austen, and the Bounty Hunter Mr. VanDirk, a one-eyed ex-cop seeking to extricate Senator Evert's daughter Cindy Evert from their ranks.
They are on the standard mission to seek out and kill John Connor in 1998, but were misdirected to an appearance in Death Valley after Skynet's partial interrogation in 2029 of a captured Tech-Com member, Lt. Martin Stamford, ended in his suicide to prevent exposure of Connor's history. Stamford was captured after leading a raid against a large HK-Tank to scavenge for weapons. Unfortunately, Skynet has begun concealing Series 800 HKs (combat endoskeletons) inside the chassis of the HK-Tanks, like an APC.
Capturing a member of Killerman's gang, Donnie, The Bounty Hunter forces him across the desert barefoot to learn the location of the hideout. Dragging Donnie on a rope to the cavern entrance, the hunter forces him in first, where he is gunned down by his own gang. As this happens, the terminators arrive via TDE jump only a mile away, and detect the hideout as a source of clothes, weapons, and information. While The Bounty Hunter confronts the gang, the terminators enter and begin systematically terminating gang members, asking for information about the Connors. Unfortunately for him, in a ploy to distract the terminators for an ambush attack, Killerman says he knows the Connors but won't tell them as he initiates a counterattack. As the battle ensues. Cindy is accidentally shot by VanDirk and the rest of the members of Killerman's gang are terminated as Killerman collapses the cavern entrance with dynamite as he makes a break for it. The Bounty Hunter is left wounded in the wreckage of the gang's cavern lair, while Killerman escapes on his bike. The terminators, certain Killerman has useful information, break free and set out in pursuit on the remaining gang motorcycles after securing clothes and weapons. The Bounty Hunter survived the devastation.
Killerman flees to the Furnace Creek Visitor's Center and tries to lose himself in the crowds. The terminators follow and decide on direct action to capture their target, charging in and laying waste to the occupants. VanDirk finally regains consciousness and crawls out of the cavern and back to his vehicle. The terminators change their disguise to that of park rangers and continue their pursuit of Killerman. Choosing to go off-road to evade police inquiry into his disastrous and unlicensed pursuit of the gang, VanDirk runs his vehicle into the mud beds wrecks. He is rescued by an old gold prospector, Scotty and his mule Jezebel. Killerman decides that his only chance for survival is to give the terminators what they want, and he sets out to find the Connors.
The Norden family, Ken, Sara, and their son Jon have been living in a camper in the ruins of an old ghost town while Ken works on environmental studies for two weeks. Sara has reached the breaking point and declares she is going to take Jon and return to San Francisco. D810.X begins to ask D800.L probing questions about humanity while scanning a remote desert grave (David Foster-1911-Heatstroke). Killerman takes the Nordens hostage, because they are the only John and Sarah he knows of.
News broadcasts of the assault on the Visitor's Center are seen by the real Sarah who is working in a desert motel as a housekeeper using the alias Mrs. Stanton. Recognizing the hallmarks of a terminator's killing spree she realizes the chase is on again and she must get John and immediately flee. The terminators' vehicle also falls prey to the hazards of the desert floor and they are delayed in their pursuit again. Scotty and VanDirk hear of the attack and the pursuit by the authorities on Scotty's scanner, and VanDirk cannot let the killers go on without vengeance for Cindy. D810.X continues over contemplating the meaning of life and the purpose of the living. A pursuing police helicopter tracks their stolen ranger car and another battle ensues. In the aftermath, D810.X tries to stop D800.L from terminating a survivor, feeling it unnecessary. With the terminators closing on the Nordens camp, Killerman realizes that his pursuers aren't going to be interested in deals and flees it the desert with his captives after crashing an old mine cart onto them.
Meanwhile, a prototype unmanned combat robot, KZ-1, developed by Dr. Edward Newbert for marketing to the U.S. Military is being demonstrated at the China Lake Naval Weapons Research range. Following a less-than successful field test Dr. Newbert directed the unit to execute the military representatives and decided to place the technology on the open market, contacting a Russian arms dealer, Nikolai.
With darkness falling and a storm on the way, Killerman forces the Nordens to make camp at an old rail line station, where the terminators catch up with them after dawn. Killerman forces Ken out to negotiate with the machines and got him terminated for his troubles. This drove Sara to attack Killerman in a rage. The tables were turned however when VanDirk and Scotty crash a locomotive into the terminators as they closed on the battling humans.
After pleading for his life, Killerman was allowed to join the rest of the humans fleeing the machines in the train. D810.X continued the pursuit of the humans while D800.L repaired itself and boarded the train on a mission of death. Killerman redeemed himself (at least a little) in the eyes of VanDirk by sacrificing himself in hand-to-hand combat against D810.X as the train rocketed out of control around a curve, allowing the survivors a chance to escape before it derailed. While D800.L was busy attempting self-repairs, and D810.X worked to extracate itself from the wreckage of the train, the surviving humans split up, with Jon and Scotty heading for an Indian settlement and VanDirk and Sara holing up at the nearby Skull Mine due to a leg injury that prevented her from fleeing on foot.
As the heavily damaged terminators continue to relentlessly stalk the surviving humans, they are delayed in their pursuit by encountering the progenitor HK-Tank KZ-1. D800.L and D810.X proved to be far more than the prototype could deal with, however. After making short work of the robot and it's handler, Dr. Newbert. the terminators finally catch up to Sara and VanDirk.
Laying a trap for the terminators, VanDirk and Sara engage in a last pitched battle. D810.X beats Sara within an inch of her life and assumes she has been terminated. Only by virtue of it's excessive damage does it make that mistake. D800.L corners VanDirk and in a strange moment of compassion, spares his life and returns to 810.X issuing a false report of successful termination. Both units are caught in the blast of three sticks of dynamite scavenged from the mine and destroyed.
- Lt. Martin Stamford
- VanDirk, The Bounty Hunter
- Cindy Evert, Senator's daughter
- Senator Evert, Cindy's father (Mentioned only)
- Scotty, Prospector
- Ken Norden
- Sara Norden
- Jon Norden
- Sarah Connor
- John Connor
- Killerman, Satanist gang leader
- Dr. Edward Newbert, Military Industrialist
- KZ-1 prototype combat robot
- Nikolai Russian arms dealer (Mentioned only)
- Unit D800.L Series 800, Model 800 (oriental female)
- Unit D810.X Series 800, Model 810 (burly redhead male)
- Special (January 1998)
- (February 1998)
- (March 1998)
- (April 1998)
- (December 1998)
- Written by
- Illustrated by
- The Terminator: Death Valley
- The Terminator: The Dark Years