After a brief hiatus, I have once again started participating with some other writers in an informal workshop to improve and inspire our writing. For the last few weeks, the RT leader has been helping us prepare for NaNoWriMo with writing prompts regarding characters, plot summaries and etc... Here is this week's assignment:
Write a passage of 500-1000 words describing the location; the neighborhood, city, state, country, territory, or region in which your work will take place. But write it as though a travel magazine article and try to include some aspect of the plot.
Since I am purposely NOT planning anything for NaNoWriMo this year I simply decided to create an all new setting just for the assignment. I kind of missed the travel magazine mark, but I think it accomplishes the same basic purpose. Enjoy!
Harold was roused from his peaceful slumber by a crackle of static as the Captain got on the PA system. Harold was surprised to see that the ship was already sitting on the ground at the destination spaceport and being taxied towards the terminal by a small insect-looking contraption. As he sat up and began gathering his things, he listened to the bored voice of the Captain recite the now familiar speech for all vessels landing on Philornia-4.
“Attention passengers, this is your Captain speaking. We have arrived at the Philornia-4 spaceport and will be disembarking shortly, as soon as we reach the terminal. Passengers making connections to other planets in this star system please contact the gate attendant immediately after exiting the spacecraft. We are a bit behind schedule, and you may need to make some adjustments to your itinerary. For those whose final destination is this planet, I am required by the Philornian Tourism and Security Administration to read the following statement. As you pass through the customs office, you will receive the same information in pamphlet form, and will be required to sign a waiver acknowledging receipt of and understanding of this information. Welcome to scenic Philornia-4, the crown jewel of the Philornia solar system! Millions of visitors each year enjoy our pristine beaches, our permanently sunny weather, and our very robust night-life. The Philornian Tourism and Security Administration (or PTSA) has the privelige of ensuring that your stay on our planet is a safe and enjoyable one. Therefore, while we are one of the premier tourist destinations in the universe, there are some things that first-time visitors ought to be aware of before disembarking. 1. Free medical care is available at the PTSA clinic in each city. Should you find yourself in need of any medical care, please proceed immediately to the nearest clinic and identify yourself as a tourist. If you cannot make it to the clinic yourself, please locate the nearest sub-space communications console, and dial 911. We will send a paramedic team to your location as rapidly as possible. 2. The Tourism Zone of Philornia-4 has been certified by the Universal Tourism Board as safe for a broad range of carbon-based life-forms without need for any environmental or physical assistance. However, you should consult the PTSA agent at the spaceport with any species specific concerns you may have about the oxygen content and pressure of the atmosphere, or gravitational pull. We are happy to make whatever accommodations possible, but remember, you are ultimately responsible to ensure that your species is compatible with our environment. 3. Outside the Tourism Zone, you may encounter unfavorable weather patterns, wildlife in their natural habitat, or possibly even criminal elements. For this reason, non-Philornia citizens are strictly prohibited from straying outside the Tourism Zone. Only those traveling with a work permit or on official Universal Government business will be excepted. Penalties for disregarding this restriction include, but are not limited to: Deportation off-world, detention, fines, and/or death. 4. The perpetual sunshine experienced throughout the Tourism Zone is one of the reasons we are the most popular destination in the Universe. Unfortunately, for some species, extended exposure to the sun can result in adverse medical conditions. Ensure you are familiar with your particular species’ reaction to extended sunlight, and take all necessary protective measures. Thanks again for visiting us. We hope you have an enjoyable visit. “
The PA system clicked off with an abrupt click and Harold stood with the rest of the passengers as the cabin door opened and the warm tropical breeze blew into the cabin, bringing with it the salt-tang of the oceans and the smoky smell of beach campfires. Harold furtively checked that his blaster was still in place under his arm, and putting on his sunglasses he muttered into the audio pickup that transmitted his voice to Central, “On the ground. Mission is a go.” Then he shuffled patiently down the aisle and off the spacecraft with the rest of the passengers.