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Private desires a promotion so that he can read classified documents and is tasked with surviving a fight with a mysterious beast.


Private desires a promotion after Skipper forbids him to look at a joke contained in a classified mission file. Skipper agrees to such a promotion, but only if Private can pass a one-on-one survival test against "the most fearsome beast in the concrete jungle" on the streets of New York, where he is soon taken.

Left alone in an alley, Private is passed a cassette player by the other penguins containing audio instructions on how to outwit this enemy. However, Private's test is soon interrupted by the arrival of the lemurs, who believe they are on a camping trip and consistently get in the way of Private trying to follow the tape's directive. The tape tells Private three tactics that the lemurs interfere with, but Julien interferes by:

  1. Stealing Private's telescope to make a fire,
  2. Using Private's newspaper camouflage as arts & craft supplies,
  3. And stealing Private's string for a bow and arrow (or a whip) to use as a banjo string.

Then, when Private tries to tell Julien to stop, The time had come, midnight, Skipper jumps out of nowhere and reminds Private that he is supposed to fight on his own and tells Private they are going to introduce him to the enemy in song.

Eventually, Kowalski reveals the specificity of the enemy Private must confront through song: an evil, ghostly city bus notorious for making roadkill out of animals known as the "Graveyard Eight." In order to pass his test, Private must confront the bus and bring back a souvenir from it.

This inevitable confrontation occurs when the bus comes by while the lemurs are "sewer fishing" and entangles their fishing lines in its bumper, taking them with it as Private races to catch up.

Julien soon gets himself free, but goes inside the bus with Private to look for something sharp to free the others, which Private accomplishes with the name badge of the driver, a short, elderly woman with a deep voice who couldn't see the road (which is why she ran over the other animals).

For his successful encounter with Graveyard Eight, Private is promoted to Private First Class. He went through the test only to find the classified joke not funny to him because he doesn't know what it means.