Alan, Pete, and Galen are going along the beach to avoid leaving tracks, and Galen points out that apes aren't as comfortable with water as humans. Pee spots a raft floating out to sea, and he and Alan go out to pull it in. They find an old man tied to it and realize that he's a victim, and take the raft to shore. A shark circles them but the astronauts manage to get the raft ashore and untie the man. They then carry him to a cave that they find and the man, Gahto, insists that he is dead. Galen figures that they should leave him, but the humans refuse to abandon Gahto. Gahto says that the gods willed him dead and he is, and gives him their name. They find the band of an enforced labor camp on Gahto's wrist, and Galen warns that Gahto will be killed if he's found wandering away from a labor center. Galen suggests that if Gahto wants to be dead then they should leave him dead, and Alan tells Galen to keep an eye on Gahto while they go out and find out who Gahto belongs to.
At the labor center, humans are forced to spear fish in the waters while armed gorillas watch over them. A soldier spots a shark that is swimming toward one human. The gorilla fires, trying to drive it off, while Pete and Alan watch from nearby. They see the same bracelets on the human laborers and a gorilla comes up and demands to know who they are. He takes them to the nearby huts and goes on ahead. The astronauts ask the humans if anyone knows Gahto, but they quickly walk away. Meanwhile, the gorilla brings the astronauts in to see the headman, Hurton. Hurton accuses them of stealing fish and orders the soldier to kill them. Pete says that they're the two best fishermen in the world and Alan says that they were farmers and released recently. He claims that they lost their release papers, and Hurton admits that he could use two new producers. The chimpanzee says that they'll let the fire decide the next day. if they can prove their swimming ability under the sheet of the flame, then he'll band them himself, and says that Bandor will be delighted. When Pete objects, Hurton says that he'll have them killed if they don't pass the test or participate.
At the cave, Galen brings Gahto some berries. Gahto says that he has failed the gods and is dead, and Galen promises to feed Gahto to the sharks if anything happens to his friends. He tells Gahto to stay there while he goes to find his friends.
The next day, Pete and Alan are taken to a small inlet. The water has been set on fire with gasoline and one human demonstrates how to swim beneath the flames and emerge on the other side. Everyone cheers, and Hurton has his men lead Alan to the water's edge. A gorilla fires a warning shot to get him moving, and Alan swims beneath the flames and comes out the other side.
A soldier finds the raft on shore and rides back to the labor center.
Pete goes next and comes out safely as well. Hurton says that Bandor will arrive with new quotas, but figures that he will surprise him with his new fishermen.
Galen sneaks into the labor center and sees one human, Romar, walk away from the others and goes to his wife, Soma. Soma. Soma figures that they saw her father Gahto and that he is alive, but Romar warns her to be quiet or the gods will hear and punish them. Meanwhile, Hurton tells the soldiers to let Pete and Alan occupy Gahto's old hut. Galen comes over and complains that Alan and Pete strayed, and starts to lead them off. Hurton demands an explanation and Galen talks to him privately. He gives a false name and says that he's on an expedition from Central City, and his servants wandered off. Hurton says that they gave him a different story, and Galen tells him that they're terrible liars. The headman says that since they have lied, only the gods of the sea--the sharks--can decide their fate.
Hurton has his men take the two astronauts to the shore and tells Galen that it is the law. Galen asks for the satisfaction of giving his humans a piece of his mind, and Hurton agrees. The chimpanzee slips a knife to Alan before stepping back. Pete and Alan enter the sea and a shark approaches them. Pete draws the shark in his direction, and Alan stabs it. The astronauts kill it and swim back to shore with the shark's body, and the humans cheer. A gorilla rides up and says that someone has defied the gods and freed Gahto. Hurton tells the soldier to find Gahto and says that Bandor must decide the astronauts' fate. If Gahto lives then someone must die.
Galen returns to the cave and finds Gahto gone. The chimpanzee finds a dazed Gahto wandering along the beach and takes him back to the cave. Gahto insists that he is dead, and Galen tells him that if he's seen then others will be killed. He promises that Gahto will be able to die eventually, but until then he must stay in the cave. Gahto sits down and Galen returns to the village and tells his friends what happened. They discuss what to do and Galen warns that if the patrols find Gahto and he points out the astronauts then they'll be killed. A soldier takes Pete and Alan to the ocean to fish.
The gorillas continue shooting at the sharks, and Pete and Alan add their fish to the collection. Alan notices some rope and studies it before going back to work.
Galen meets with Hurton, who complains that they raise his quota and he's forced to discard old producers without being able to raise new ones. He says that the law of possession holds and the humans came to him asking to be fisherman. Galen warns that they'll try to escape, and points out that if they're shot then Hurton will gain nothing and Galen will lose wo slaves. Hurton warns that Bandor knows Urko. When the humans come back, Galen tells his friends what he learned. Soma comes in and says that Gahto is their father, She tells them that Romar is worried that they will all be punished if they find Gahto alive. Alan says that they rescued Gahto and have him hiding, and Galen offers to take Soma to Gahto.
As night falls, Romar realizes that his wife is gone and goes to the astronauts to demand his wife's location. They tell him what's going on, but he figures that it's a trick and runs after Soma, but a soldier shoots him in the shoulder and takes him back to the village. Alan and Pete bind the wound and Romar says that he won't be able to pass the test. He blames the astronauts for his fate.
The next day, the orangutan Bandor arrives and Hurton welcomes him. He says that he has a surprise for Bandor.
On the beach, the ape workers notice that the wagon ropes are gone and figure that the factory workers took them.
Hurton gets Bandor a drink and says that two full-grown fishermen have joined them. Bandor isn't impressed, and Hurton has Pete and Alan brought in, explaining that they kill sharks with their bare hands. However, Hurton admits that they're runaway slaves owned by Galen, but disputes his claim to them. Hurton says that Galen has no papers and abducted Soma, and Bandor proclaims that he will band them himself and Galen will keep Soma.
That night, Pete and Alan reweave the stolen ropes and Alan assures him that his plan will work.
The next day, the humans gather for the banding ceremony. Bandor has the firs local banded since he has come of age, while Galen brings Soma and Gahto toward the village. Meanwhile, Bandor tells Hurton that they need more fish for fertilizer, and points out that Pete and Alan aren't there. The soldier confirms that they're missing, just as a gong rings out. Everyone goes to the shore were Pete is banging the gong. As the others approach, Pete joins Alan in the water.
The apes and humans arrive and find Pete and Alan using their net to gather hundreds of fish at one time. Galen, Soma, and Gahto are watching and Galen tells Gahto that it's his chance to be a live hero. Gahto steps forward and says that he invented the net, and Alan explains about how it can increase Hurton's production. Hurton plays along and takes credit for it, and Alan points out that the old people and women can fish so they don't need to be sacrificed to the gods. Galen brings Soma over and says that Hurton saved Gahto so that he can teach others how to make the net. Bandor claims that he kept Hurton in his position, and Hurton orders a celebration after they band Alan and Pete.
Alan asks Bandor to assist them in the greatest catch of all and takes him over to the nets. He then gives Galen a revolving mill, and Galen explains the largest fish can break the net. The rope attached to the mill will hold the mightiest fish, and they take the mill onto a raft. Galen sits on it as Pete and Alan drag it out to sea. Once they're far enough out, they row away and Galen drops the line. By the time they round the bend, it's too late for the soldiers to shoot.
Further down the shore, the astronauts take the raft ashore and want to discuss their owner-slave relationship with Galen. Galen jokingly says that he doesn't want to have to pull them out of another scrape and they chase him down.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 23, 2017