Without a Trace

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The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest
"Without a Trace"
Episode no. H00616-94034
Airdate December 30, 1996
Chief locations Salt Lake City, Utah 112.14W, 42.31N (2,192 miles)
Writer(s) Michael Ryan
Story by Melody Fox
Guest roles Quinton Flynn (Soldier / Denver Control)
Rob Paulsen (Lorenzo / General Wincroft)
John de Lancie (Agent #1)
Frank Welker (Surd / President)
Nancy Linari (Julia / Zaftig Woman)
Ed Winter (President / Sarge)
Charles Napier (Hinkle)
Episode sequence Eclipse <--> Village of the Doomed
Other episodes

Airforce One has been hijacked, and the government has arrested Dr. Quest as its prime suspect. Jonny and the gang struggle to find the plane and challenge Surd, armed with his infamous nerve gas and Questworld tricks.

Plot Summary


Famed airplane Airforce One is en route to Denver with the President aboard, engaged in debate over the use of biochemical weapons. The President frustrates his advisors and a general on board by refusing to sanction their use in America's armed forces. The plane nears landing, but suddenly the autopilot is engaged and the craft takes a wild path through the air. Ground control orders jet planes to be scrambled from the nearest airbase immediately.

Act One

Dr. Quest and Race are apprehended

Jonny Quest and Jessie Bannon are playing a flight simulator in Questworld. Outside, Navy frogmen and agents emerge from the sea and encircle the Quest Compound. Dr. Quest mentions to Race that he'll need Hadji later on for laboratory calibration tests. As he finishes his sentence, the combatants burst through the entrances of the compound. Tear gas is used and Dr. Quest is quickly subdued as Race struggles to put up a fight. With Dr. Quest in jeopardy, Race reluctantly puts down his weapon; the two are then informed that they are under arrest for kidnapping the President of the United States. The Sarge declares that the satellite uplink used to engage the autopilot was tracked to Dr. Quest's computer systems. Jonny and his friends watch the entire ordeal from the lighthouse's security monitors, and decide they must prove Benton's innocence. They flee to a small cover beneath the compound's rocky outcropping to avoid capture, and follow the beach into town.

Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, Race and Dr. Quest are being interrogated in orange jumpsuits. Hinkle, the one leading the inquiry, airs security footage of the Quest Compound showing the entire team huddled around a computer. Dr. Quest declares that he's taken over Airforce One and will demand complete nuclear disarmament and a halt on biochemical weapon manufacturing; Race echoes the sentiments. The real Dr. Quest points out that it's a forgery and asks for a computer to prove it; Hinkle demands answers and tells Quest that he'll get nothing until some are provided. Race tries to get them to contact an old commander, but Hinkle laughs that all of Race's "cronies" were ousted in the last election. Back in Maine, Jessie connects to the Quest computer files with her laptop and finds that they were indeed hacked; Jonny guesses that Jeremiah Surd did it. The scene shifts to a remote location in canyons, where a large tarp has been thrown over the landed plane. The President awakes to find Surd and Julia, who have sedated his entire staff. Surd asks the President to remember years ago when he cut funding as a Congressman to Surd's program, starting the chain of events that led him to become paralyzed.

Surd holds the President

Surd has Lorenzo drill a canister of the nerve gas into the floor of the plane, set to go off in eighteen hours. He then affixes a Questworld eyepiece to the President to make him suffer in a special cyberspace hell. Across the country, Jonny Quest and the others duck into a clothing shop to avoid capture by special agents. Inside, Hadji pretends to be an employee to ward off customers from the dressing rooms, where Jessie and Jonny have set up an attempt to enter Surd's system via a back door. The agents discover that the payphone outside of the shop has had its line cut, and enter the store. Meanwhile, a woman wants to use the dressing rooms; Hadji leads her to room two to avoid having her stumble in on the gang in three. The agents search the place just as Jessie learns that Surd used a flight simulator to guide the plane one hundred and twelve miles south southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. Outside, the team hear the cocking of a handgun.

Act Two

Jonny notices the edge of the woman's fur coat spilling over into their dressing room. He orders Bandit to attack it, causing the woman to fall out onto the guards. The team escape through the store's back door; Jonny manages to get Bandit to retreat to him before the agents can recover their composure. Outside, they speed away in the government car. Searching for a way to Utah, Hadji finds an agent's wallet underneath the driver's seat and books a passenger plane to Salt Lake City. They take the car to the canyon where Airforce One lies, but are intercepted by Lorenzo. Surd has them thrown in the plane to be gassed with the President, including Bandit (who Lorenzo tries to keep for himself). In Surd's helicopter, he straps in to a large orb whose insides are linked via Questworld to Airforce One's autopilot and begins engaging the plane.

Jonny and Surd face off

Surd takes Airforce One to the skies as Hadji slips out of his ropes. He unties the others, but cannot find a way to deactivate the nerve gas. Jonny has an idea, and Jessie helps realize it by linking him to Questworld in the flight simulator program. Jonny boards Surd's Airforce One and battles him in the cockpit for control. The skirmish dips the controls to take the plane directly into a mountain. Surd laughs at this outcome, and has Julia pull him from Questworld; Jonny narrowly misses the rocks and saves the craft. With under two minutes until the nerve gas releases, Jonny concocts a plan and takes Airforce One as high as she'll go. Hadji makes sure everyone is strapped in, and gives Jessie the signal once the gas is emitted. Jessie uses a rope to open one of the entrance doors, creating a vacuum that sucks the gas out along with a few seats. Once the gas is gone, Jonny regains control and the team use oxygen packs while landing on a strip of highway. At the White House, the President thanks the team. Race asks for a favor in eliminating Hinkle, but the President reveals that he's already been reassigned to the frozen reaches of the world.



  • Sarge - "I've been watching you, Quest. Bleeding heart liberals like you are what's made this country weak!"


  • Surd - "Now that you've gained the office, I felt the need to make a political statement—namely, your death! But for your last eighteen hours alive, I've devised a little private hell for you. Just in case the torments of your next life are not enough to suit my sense of justice! You see, through virtual reality, you will live as I have lived...the torment of being trapped in a powerless body—the horror of phantom pain—the ridicule and prejudice! I hope you enjoy your little session in virtual reality. It will be the very last thing you ever experience!!"


  • Agent - "Aw, tell me you didn't leave the keys in the ignition!"


  • Jonny - "Not a problem, Mr. President. We do this kind of stuff all the time!"


  • It's anyone's guess how accurate the location coordinates will be for each show, but 112.14W, 42.31N is over a hundred miles off from Salt Lake.


  • Questworld is animated in vibrant colors with a watery filter in the foreground to simulate virtual reality. Perhaps the change was made due to budgetary constraints and the issue of rendering the complex airplane sequences.
  • This episode does not feature a Quest Byte.
  • Frank Welker is also credited as the President; he probably did the screaming bits when he was tied in to Surd's "private hell".

From: Episodes