As you may recall from the last episode, the small Animal submarine called the Argonaut had picked up a coded message in the form of a tea towel. The Argonaut was making its approach to the storm drain on Illinois Street by way of the sewer main when Cultural Archivist Dog discovered that Captain Goat's charts were old - ancient in fact- and that storm drains no longer connected with the sewer system! Meanwhile, the tea towel was successfully decoded with the help of Lefty, Piggles, Intelligence Officer Bink, Cleopatra and her great understanding of perfume, and the mysterious, possibly French, Code Bear! Mais oui, c'est vrai! Communications Officer (aka Your Hostess Pinky) was tuning into Chanel No. 5 when we left our brave Animal crew...
As soon as Communications Officer Pinky tuned in, an eerie wailing song filled the little submarine. For a moment no one spoke - nothing like this had ever been heard in Big Bed Land- frightening, and yet fatally attractive. Bink was about to say how strange police sirens sounded when resonating down a storm drain and through the sewer pipes, almost like a giant pipe organ, when he suddenly felt an irresistable desire to leave the submarine. Others felt it too, and Polar Knight began shouting, "Everyone cover your ears! And tie me to the mast!"
He spoke with such urgency that the Animals obeyed instantly and covered their ears. In pantomime and with his ears covered, Bink pointed out that there was no mast on a submarine. Polar Knight indicated that the shaft of the periscope would do. The periscope was quivering in the waves of sound that flooded Polar Knight with a strange destructive ecstasy and they lashed the poet to it, holding the ropes in their teeth so they could keep their ears covered. Alas, the crew was not fitted out with ear-plugs as the wise old ancients were! Cleopatra was the only one who could listen to the Sirens singing without any difficulty. She listened intently, and never spoke of what she heard.
Goat, however, as captain, went to the little box reading: In Case of Emergency Break Glass and immediately put on the earmuffs that were inside the box. He did all he could to keep the submarine from smashing into what was once the connecting pipe to from the storm drain to the sewer main as the Sirens lashed the water into sound and fury!
Polar Bink, as an experienced poet, knew that Sirens were creatures of ecstasy - destructive through no real fault of their own. They didn't harm themselves in the ecstatic longing they engendered, and didn't really understand that sailors couldn't breathe in the atmosphere they created. Even if they had known, it wouldn't have made them stop. Wild longing hurt them no more than a flower is hurt when releasing fragrance. The Sirens were only mildly perplexed by the motionless bodies that gathered in their wake. Why do sailors want to play and then go motionless like that? they wondered briefly, not being, themselves, subject to death. They just shrugged and went on. They never stay in one place for long.
And this is exactly what happened - in a few moments (though it seemed far longer to the Animals) the Sirens moved on and the submarine was released from the pulsing waves that throbbed with a song of unearthly beauty. Goat thought this was due to his navigation, and Polar Knight let him continue in this belief. Polar Knight didn't care about glory, being a poet (of course, at that moment, forgetting about all the times he had cared intensely about glory) and having just had an experience the likes of which few poets ever really knew. Would he ever recover? Was he changed forever? These were questions that only the future could answer...
One problem he hadn't considered when the Animals had tied him up - how do you tell the crew they can uncover their ears when you are lashed to a periscope? He yelled and wriggled and no one noticed, they were still dashing from porthole to porthole. Finally Goat saw the poet's mouth moving and cautiously removed the earmuffs of command. The two Animals shared a moment of quiet triumph before approaching the other Animals with the news of victory.
The Animals were thrilled and also very hungry.
"What's for lunch?" they cried.
Goat thought hard for a moment. "Well, all we have left is emergency rations."
The Animals groaned. What they didn't know was that Goat always laid in a supply of everyone's absolutely most favorite food for starvation rations. He had decided that if you get to the point of using them, that's when you really need a boost. Since the Argonaut would be home in an hour, they might as well celebrate, he thought, and have starvation rations. He was sure that his own starvation lunchbox was packed with a complete picnic - veggieburger, potato salad, chips, pickles, and strawberry rhubarb pie.
Goat hid his own disappointment goatfully. There had been no mention of the Golden Eye-Patch at all. Well, he knew he didn't really deserve it. And he wouldn't let his disappointment spoil anybody's lunch. That's how a true captain acted. But he wasn't really sure he wanted a picnic anymore. Then he felt surrounded suddenly by the presence of the Code Bear herself! "When you come home," she whispered, "you will have all that you desire."
"Huh," Goat thought to himself in some disgust. "That's not French- I understood it perfectly and I don't speak French. She's not French after all, what a bunch of nonsense all that is, how can Animals believe in this kind of thing. I know that wasn't French - unless - but I thought the Universal Translator was on the blink - it can't be working..." And so Goat went to check out the Universal Translator, feeling like a true captain once again.