(Arthur met the three snooty, noble goblins and thought they'd be good enough. Then he introduced them to their gunner and pilot. The gunner was a new character, a female bigfoot called Soft Ann Squatchy. The pilot was Bartram Ginster of Goblins Versus Yetis fame.)
The tower of Awat (which is only the name Tawa turned around backwards) didn't so much loom in the distance as flibble. Now flibble isn't really a word and even if it was I don't know what it means. Something similar to loomed but either more or less ominous depending on my mood.
"What's he on about?" listened to my thoughts thought Ruhtra.
The goblins seemed to have no idea what he was on about and thought that he might have been speaking about Bartram. Now Bartram had no direct orders so, using his common sense, landed behind some tallish trees and bushes to hide the ship from the tower.
"What is he doing?" moaned the shape changer who assumed he was in charge even though he was just a liaison officer. He went to see the yeti. As he entered the bridge he started to chunter, "And what do you think you are dong?"
"I had no direct orders so..."
"No no, sew so."
"What does that mean?"
"Not sew but so?"
“Erm, to get back on track, why did you land so far from the tower?”
“We don't want to be seen by the bad guys before we get there do we? We want to remain inconspicuous for as long as possible, until we have the queen at least. They might phase back into that semi-dimension thing the Author mentioned at the beginning.”
“Whatever.” Ruhtra rolled his eyes (but not along the floor as he could do), “I suppose you're right, I'd better change.”
“A goblin prince, what else. You two can wait with the ship until we get back. If I make the signal then come and pick us up.”
“Er, a flare in the sky?”
“Have you got a flare gun?”
“Well how are you going to do that then?”
“I don't know.” Bartram reached into one of the drawers of the bridge and retrieved a flare gun with two flares and then handed it and them to Ruhtra.
“Why two flares?”
“In case one doesn't work.”
“Oh,” ohed Ruhtra as he morphed into a goblin prince then accepted the flare gun and flares.
As the four of them were on the way, Tunning-Cymbals was whacking some high grass with a stick.
“Who are we supposed to be again?” he shouted towards Ruhtra.
“Erm...” ermed Ruhtra, because he had not thought that far forward.
“What!” exclaimed Smetherwick the 3rd, “we are just walking into an enemy goblin camp without a proper backstory?”
“You're goblins aren't you? Wibbled Ruhtra in his general direction.
“What does that mean, we're from a different tribe?”
“Clone factory don't you mean,” inserted Jamestown Vinegrette.
Smetherwick looked witheringly at Vinegrette, “That's not the point,” he looked back at Ruhtra, “goblins from different tribes don't get on unless they have strong leadership. We don't know any of the call signs or special phrases.”
“What special phrases?” queried their temporary leader.
“Every tribe uses special phrases in conversation with other goblins to feel part of the group and to find out if there are spies among them.”
Ruhtra wondered, “So what are your special phrases then?”
“Can you hear me mother!”
“Very Sandy Powell,” withered Ruhtra.
“Sandy Powell?” queried Tunning-Cymbals.
“Don't say that it's just a coincidence that you are using one of his catch phrases?”
“It's just a coincidence.”
“I said don't say it !”
"Actually you said 'Don't say it's just a coincidence that you're using one of his catch phrases'." Corrected Tunning-Cymbals.
So I came up with an idea and gave it to TC, who looked at it but couldn't read my writing and guessed, "I think that we will need to kidnap one of their goblins to find out the tribal phrase."
"Kidnap?" queried Vinigrette,"couldn't we just trick it out of one of them? A bit like that Johnny Depp film."
"Do we really need to do all of this?" moaned Ruhtra, "I could just morph into a copy of one of them and walk through the base to rescue Shill."
Smetherwick reminded him, "Anti-shapechanger technology?"
Ruhtra thought to himself, "I'm going to need a piece of technology to deal with that in future stories." He pondered for a little then mused, "If I can get a look at a couple of them then I can copy one of them and engage the other in conversation. Then we don't need to kidnap anyone."
"OK then," agreed Ruhtra, "we'll try it your way first. If it fails then they may raise the alarm, and then where will we be?"