Rif and Sandy have a discussion about running out of food. They are interrupted by approaching sounds. Sandy hides while Rif investigates.
What Rif discovers is a group of Sheep, apparently refugees from the burned village Rhene and Mama Bear encountered earlier. Their village was attacked by the crew of a ship with black sails and led by a white Fox. The crew has strange weapons that a Lamb calls zap sticks, which Rif believes are of human origin. Rif suggests the Sheep can find safety at the nearby Wildcat village, as the chieftess is a friend.
Rif becomes very angry at Sandy, as it is obvious he has some relationship with the "pirates" from the ship. Sandy says he was only an errand boy.
Rhene and Mama Bear find signs of a fox being at the burned Sheep village, and they decide to head north based on the information Rhene received from Elara earlier.
Sandy tells Rif the story of how he came aboard the ship, his activities on board and what led him to being washed-up on the beach. Although Sandy continues to try to hide some details, it is obvious to Rif that the story is incomplete; but it is enough to satisfy him for now. Also, Sandy seems genuinely worried about what the pirates might do to his mother.
Rif and Sandy finally reach the latitude found on the scrap of paper and decide to turn west towards the coast. Sandy tells Rif about his fascination with the night sky and the wandering stars; i.e., the planets.
Rhene and Mama Bear arrive at a town on the coast. They locate the dwelling of the only wolf family in the town. Kyrrah, the she-wolf, has been worried about her son, who went missing recently after spending too much time around the docks. To Rhene’s surprise, Kyrrah says that her son’s name is not Sandy!
Their conversation is interrupted by a shout that the black ship has returned, and there are injuries needing Kyrrah’s healing skills. Rhene goes with Kyrrah to the ship (as an "assistant") while Mama Bear remains behind to rest.
After an arduous journey through the Wild Lands, Rif and Sandy arrive at the Sandy’s home village. Sandy’s plan is to sneak on board the black ship and return the sextant, thereby reducing the chance that the crew will seek revenge on Sandy and his mother. Rif decides to go along with the plan.
Rif discovers that the ship is named The Black Raccoon and muses over the possibility that his old foe Chota the Raccoon is involved somehow.
On board the ship Rhene is confronted by the ship’s first mate, a white Fox named Elrik. He makes unwanted advances towards Rhene, who hopes to get off the ship before the dinner Elrik has planned for her.
Elrik and the ship’s captain, Jarkum the Otter, discuss the botched attempt to get emergency supplies from the Sheep village. The captain punishes the Boar that inadvertently started the fire that consumed the village. Jarkum bemoans the fact that sextant has not been recovered and that there plans have gone awry since Chota "abandoned" them.
Mama Bear is feeling better and steps outside Kyrrah’s home. She spies Rufi heading toward the ship, but is unable to stop him from reaching the ship and going on-board.
Rif and Sandy are able to gain access to the captain’s quarters without being detected. There they find plans for the ship and a box of power cells for the zap sticks. At the time Rufi recognizes Rhene on-board and starts a commotion. In haste Sandy throws the box of power cells into the bay, much to Rif's chagrin.
Rif opens the cabin door to see what is happening, but Elrik sees him. Rif is captured, but Sandy escapes undetected.
Jarkim tries to ask Rif and Rhene questions, but the couple spends that time bringing each other up-to-date instead. When the sextant is found in the cabin, Jarkim tells the crew to search for Sandy, Kyrrah pleads with the Captain not to hurt her son, but Jarkim orders her taken below-decks.
When the crew fails to find Sandy, Jarkim orders the crew to get their zap sticks and search the village. That plan is dashed when it is discovered the power cells are gone.
An infuriated Jarkim pulls out a real sword and threatens to dispatch Rif. In the middle of giving orders, he is shocked unconscience by a zap-stick-wielding Sandy! When Rif asks Sandy where he got a power cell for the zap stick, Sandy tosses down Rif's clock with the power cell removed.
A battle for control of the sword (now on the ship's deck) begins. First, Elrik is able to beat Rif to the sword, but he is disarmed when Mama Bear (who has snuck on-board) tosses the White Fox overboard into the bay. Rufi then grabs the sword and declares himself captain, but Rhene knocks him cold with an oar. When Rhene grabs the sword and asks who wants to be captain next, no one is interested.
A furious crowd of villagers shows-up seeking vengeance. Rif and company are able to persuade the villagers to calm down and that justice will be done, especially after a heartfelt speech from Willis, one of the crew.
Sandy and his mother are reunited. When Kyrrah tries to call Sandy by his real name, he objects! He likes the name Sandy better.
Weeks later, the ship is about to arrive back in the Known Lands,with Willis as the acting captain. Sandy and Kyrrah have decided to join the others on the journey. Rhene suggests that, as a medic, Kyrrah could find a position at the Sanctuary of the Orb. Sandy wonders what he would do, and Rif says that Tycho Northpaw could use an apprentice.
Rhene wonders what happened to Elric, the White Fox. Rif thinks it doesn’t really matter, but the last panel indicates it matters to Elric.
Go to Part 2