Good day to you, Jedi and
welcome to the Jedi Travel Agency or JTA for short.
Since you ended up in our little corner
of the Universe, we assume you have an interest in a little vacation away from the
daily life of a Jedi and behold! The Force is with you; we have an exquisite destination
in store for you.
just over a 1000 Republic Credits you can book passage on one of our Luxury Space
Cruisers headed for planet Earth.
Earth itself is inhabited by humans and the occasional alien. Its atmosphere, even
if a bit polluted, is fit for any oxygen breather. If you’re not an oxygen
breather, you will be thrilled to hear that any of our Cruisers carry a large assortment
of inhalers and breathing packs. A little gas shouldn’t spoil the fun of being
able to visit planet Earth!
When you stay at Earth there’s certainly
one event that we recommend visiting and that’s the FACTS
Convention, which is held yearly in the International Congress Centre in
Ghent. Please indulge us while we will explain you what pleasant surprises that Convention
has in store for any of its visitors…
Centre and facilities
The actual International
nicknamed the ICC, is situated in the lush and green Citadel Park of Ghent. It is
not allowed to head to the ICC immediately by starship as the facilities do not include
their own docking bays. You’ll have to leave your starship in the Brussels
Spaceport and take the local public transport to the city of Ghent from there. The
ERT (Electric Rail Transport) will bring you to the “Gent Sint-Pieters” landing
platform, which is conveniently located at walking distance of the Citadel Park.
Be advised that tickets for this means of transport may already eat quite a substantial
part of your spending budget, so it may be good to consider the alternatives.
The ICC can easily be reached with your landspeeder or speeder bike as well. The
ICC premises include ample parking facilities to park you speeder or bike and it
is certainly recommended to come with your own transport if you are planning on doing
some extensive shopping. Be advised, though, that many humans, and aliens alike,
will think the same way. Be early when you opt for this way of travelling so you
are sure to find a free spot in the parking lot.
But instead of doing all the traveling
on the Convention days themselves, we actually recommend that you’ll stay in
one of the nice and cozy
can be found in the city of Ghent.
A fair number of them are only a brisk walk away from the Convention Center. They
will offer anything anybody of humanoid form may desire to rest or freshen up.
If your phenotype doesn’t match the humanoid one, you may decide to rent one
of our MHU’s (Mobile Home Unit) for the duration of the Convention.
Finding your way into the ICC will not be a difficult task: as soon as one hour
before the Convention doors open on Saturday morning a very long queue of enthusiasts
will point you to the entry gate.
Entry passes can be purchased there at the entrance. Note that, if you dress up as
one of your favourite holovid characters, you’ll be granted a discount.
You equally have the opportunity to register for an Early Bird pass in advance if
you’d like that. Even if these are slightly more expensive than the regular
entrance ticket, they will grant you entry significantly earlier than the big crowd
and are a very good option if you’d like to do most of your shopping quick
and in the quiet.
Any entrance ticket will allow you to walk in and out of the Convention Centre.
There will be so much activity going on
during the Convention that you’ll
likely forget about your human -or alien- needs. Still, if your stomach (or equivalent
thereof) starts to rumble and you’re looking for some wholesome nutritients;
there are a few options.
For one thing, there will be a Cantina in the ICC itself. Droids are not allowed
inside and will have to wait outside. Some of the munchings to be had there will
be named with a wink at Star Wars, but are furthermore harmless.
If you are looking for something heartier than Binks Burgers, Palpatine Pancakes
or Ewok Salads however, more food places can be found at walking distance of the
If you decide to go to a Convention such
as FACTS, chances are high that you’ll
be spending some credits. Be advised that planet Earth is situated in the Outer Rim
and as such doesn’t care much for Republic Credits as a currency. You’ll
be required to exchange your Credits into the local Euro currency. At the moment
of publication of this article, the exchange of the Republic Credit to the Euro is
0,78 to 1.
What the Convention is about…
We already said it: if you’re into
shopping, then you certainly have come to the right location. Toys, low- and high-end
collectibles from virtually any blockbuster holovid will be proffered on sale. FACTS
is heaven for collectors. For the 2008 edition there were no less than 110 different
sales houses from various Earth regions serving the fans.
If we may offer you some piece of advice: Tradesmen of the German Trade Federation
are usually the cheapest; they may be susceptible to Jedi mind-tricks as well, so
you can try suggesting lower prices and then especially on Sunday.
But be forewarned; shopping is certainly not all that is to be done….
Every year the FACTS organisation will invite a number of holovid actors and most
of the time this will include one or more people from the infamous Star Wars saga,
which is very popular on planet Earth.
The actors will sell autographed items, keep Q&A sessions on fixed times and
will also keep themselves available for the making of holographic pictures. Of course
it’s only polite that you’ll ask up front if you can take their picture
before actually doing so! You should make the Convention experience a pleasant one
for both the actors and yourselves! If you require help you should know that every
actor will be accompanied by a person of the FACTS organisation who’ll be happy
to help you out.
To give you an idea of what to expect, we have included a summary of the guest
star attendance for the last few years on this page.
Dressing up and looking the part
When you wander the ICC premises during the Convention time you may notice many
familiar-looking creatures, aliens and even Rebel and Imperial officials. Of course,
they are not the real thing, but holovid fans dressing up as their favourite character.
Mind, however, that humans wearing a military-looking costume with a tag saying “Police” are
Earth security force members. You should follow up their directives promptly
in case they address you.
On the topic of security: special rules with respect to carrying weapons on the Convention
floor and outside have been issued and you must respect them. It is allowed to carry
your weapon within the ICC premises; outside, however, you are kindly requested to
at least conceal your weaponry in a bid not to alarm the local population. They are
not used to the sight of weapons being carried around openly. Of course, brawls involving
laser or other weapons are strictly forbidden as well.
At fixed times in the schedule, demonstrations and parades will be given involving
the dressed-up fans. Those are the only times that weapons, both of the modern and
ancient nature, can be put to use and then still only by the partaking fans.
Taking all of these directives into account,
you may yet decide to come dressed up yourself and subscribe to the “Cosplay” competitions
that will be held during the convention. If not, you should know that anybody in
ordinary Jedi robes will equally be admitted to the Convention floor without any
If you want to get into the art of costume building, then the Convention may be a
good place to start. Not only will the Fan Village have many costumes on display;
there are many fans who’ll be wanting to guide you in your first steps giving
you valuable tips.
The Convention usually hosts a fair number
of “R2 builders”.
R2 units in various stages of completion will be on display and if that is something
to your liking, you can engage in entertaining technical discussions with their makers.
It is rumoured that even the Ultimate Maker, George Lucas has already shown some
interest in the endeavours of these R2 builders, so that only emphasises the quality
of the work they deliver.
The R2 units you’ll see will not all be powered down completely; some will
be allowed to function to some extent. So if you’re bringing your own astromech
droid to the Convention you should be careful not to let it out of sight. It may
easily be lured into activating the units on display, which may in its turn not fall
very well with the R2 unit’s owner.
On Earth the traditions of both electronic
and traditional game play are still held up. In specialised booths you will be able
to test the latest popular electronic games that currently circulate on Earth. They
may appear to be a little bit “classic” to
someone who is used to a fair standard of automation and advanced electronics, but
they remain a pleasant pass-time anyway.
If you are lucky enough to visit the Fan Village at the right times you may enroll
in demonstration sessions of a number of card and board games. You will not find
things such as a Sabbacc table -gambling is illegal in this particular place on planet
Earth- but some of the board games will certainly have a very recognisable touch
to them and are very fun to play.
As befits a Convention the size of FACTS,
there’s also an artist alley in
which you can see the masters themselves at work. Comics are still very much considered
as art on planet Earth and with good reason, as the human population sports a big
deal of talent in that area. The artists’ prowess with the pencil can really
work very inspiring!
Each artist will of course be selling autographed items or even works on commission
for the duration of the Convention.
One special word has to be said about one artist who’s a fixed value in the
FACTS scene and that’s cartoonist Lectrr. If you didn’t yet meet up with
this Master of the Farce, then you should certainly take the time to do so. It will
be no problem finding Lectrr either … just follow the trail of laughs.
Fun fan facts
Fans will do anything to live the life
as pictured in their favourite holovids if even for a day or two. You will therefore
find a number of life-size diorama’s
at display in the Convention area, some of which will be eerily recognisable by anybody
who has ever visited Coruscant or other planets in the known universe. But FACTS
holds a surprise for everybody, whatever your size. If life-size decors aren’t
your thing, then you can still marvel at the scaled dioramas in the Fan Village;
what do you think of the entire epic battle of Hoth made of nothing but little plastic
you have attended the FACTS Convention for the duration of two days and participated
in its program for two days you’ll find it difficult to tell it goodbye again.
Luckily, you can still delay that moment a bit by attending the John Williams’ concert.
John Williams should be a name that rings a bell, since he’s the writer and
composer of the fantastic holovid score that was put under the Star Wars films.
I’m sure that you now are convinced that the FACTS Convention is an event
that is not to be missed. I’m sure you’ll want to book your passage timely
so please proceed to our Ticket Dispenser Droid ATM-2 if that is the case. It will
accept most of the common credit cards such as Coruscant Express, Utinni Chip and
any card carrying a Jedi Maestro chip.
Thanks for your visit and … bon voyage!