"No need to panic," said Capt. Cookie again, "but it looks like we've been hit by a spiky sea anemone." The panicking in the cabin went up a notch or two. "There seems to be a little bit of a hole in the balloon. We're losing altitude. We need a volunteer to go outside and fix the hole in the balloon," he said. "Thank you very much for your cooperation. No need to panic." A couple more notches.
Ron remembered the mouse who had volunteered to act as bait to lure the snake out of the Cocktail Lounge. But now all the penguins were looking at Ron. The Captain's voice again: "No need to panic, but if we don't fix the hole the airship will crash." The penguins picked Ron up and the stewards tied a rope around his ankle and put a roll of sticky-tape around his wing-wrist. Before Ron had time to protest he was pushed through the open door out into the freezing air. Then he was standing on a little step at the foot of the cabin door. With the door now tightly closed, he couldn't hear the penguins squawking anymore, but he could see their wide-eyed faces squashed up against the glass of the airship cabin's portholes, like a row of crazy portraits. There was no way they would let him back in, but what was he going to do? How was he going to fix the puncture?