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Jun 08, 2023 7:10 PM
A Christmas-decorated Milliways hosts Darth Plagueis and Asatyyl.
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There is a door. On the other side of the door is a bar. Previously, there was something else on the other side of this door. The bar does not consider this especially relevant.

Asatyyl, the being who has just found himself inside of this bar, might notice several oddities about this bar, beyond just its sudden appearance. Such as that it contains no bartender, and at the moment, no customers; or that there is a window displaying a frightening yet alluring view of galaxies' worth of stars exploding in vast supernovae, or that the bar appears to be decorated for Christmastime. There are trees adorned in ornaments and lights, as well as what appears to be snow falling from somewhere that is not quite the ceiling, but is not identifiably any other location.

Or perhaps it won't be any of these things that he notices. He's not human; he comes from a universe that may have different expectations for would be out of the ordinary. Most of the multiversal guests at this bar, though, quickly find quite a few expectations subverted, whatsoever they might be.

So what does Asatyyl do, when this bar appears in his doorway?

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Asatyyl's latest diplomatic endeavor ended up becoming rather more aggressive than he's used to; only technically can he assert that he arrived back on his home planet in one piece.

He's been recouperating at his parents' new house in Tem-mitzni for the last couple decadays. Father has been moving up in the world, and this place is palatial compared to the small cottage Asatyyl grew up in. He's still familiarizing himself with its myriad rooms.

He doesn't, at first, find it completely unbelievable to discover a bar on the other side of one of these doors. Amassing political power often involves entertaining a lot of guests, after all.

However, the more he looks around, the more things don't add up. The decor involves some sort of wholly unfamiliar foliage. He'd thought he was on an underground level of the house, which should not contain a disturbingly realistic window into some overactive region of space. There's snow? Falling from somewhere up above him that he can't quite figure out?

And it doesn't smell like a place where a lot of adult Oukhim or even juvenile Tergen  congregate. In fact, it smells much more like any number of off-planet establishments he's visited, frequented by all manner of alien species.

But by the time he's sure something questionable is going on, the door has clicked closed behind him.


If he looks around for a little, he'll find a napkin on the table of the bar. Which was not actually there when he stepped inside, despite the apparent lack of anyone to have placed the napkin there.

Welcome to Milliways! it reads. This is a restaurant outside of space and time, where you can meet various exciting people from universes other than your own. We also offer any form of food and drink you might be interested in. The first drink is free!


As he reads the note, Asatyyl finds himself unconsciously checking whether his translation implant is engaging. But as far as he can tell, the writing appears to be in his own native language.

He feels a sudden sense of vertigo. Outside of space and time? What could have caused him to end up here? Will he be able to get back? He takes a deep breath, then another. He hesitantly opens the door. Sees the same hallway he entered from.

Well, in that case, it may be worth sticking around to meet some of these promised exciting people from universes other than your own. Meeting new people and learning new perspectives was what drove him out into the wilds of his own galaxy in the first place, and this opportunity sounds like it could be all that but more.

He considers whether to take advantage of a free drink. His species does not normally eat or drink publically, but his experience consorting with species who do has thoroughly eroded that taboo. And besides, when is he going to have the chance to sample libations from another universe?

Unfortunately, he sees no one staffing the bar, nor any automated system that he can recognize. "Uh, pardon me?" he says aloud hopefully.


Yes? asks another napkin, which also doesn't seem to have any plausible way to have gotten onto his table.


Asatyyl blinks. This is apparently how communication works in bars outside of time and space?


"H...ello. May I order a drink? I'd love to try something I've never seen before." Hopefully he'll be able to tell by smell whether it's likely to do him any damage.


A drink will end up on the table, accompanied by a napkin! This is wine, an alcoholic beverage made from "grapes," a fruit from a planet called Earth, from which Milliways gets many of its visitors. It will be safe for you, although in large quantities it has the standard effects of alcohol.


He examines the color. Sniffs it--the fragrance is wonderfully complex. He wonders by what process it's made when it's not appearing by uncertain means in an improbable bar. He takes a small sip--the alcohol content isn't very much, and he enjoys the flavors it carries with it. Very nice.

"Thank you," he tells the source of the napkins. "Is it--busier here at certain times than others?" he asks, not entirely sure how far "outside of time" applies, given that causality hasn't broken completely.


The number of people here does vary! But you should meet somebody pretty soon.


In what really isn't a coincidence at all, a man walks through the door right about now, a humanoid yet alien being with a tall, pale head beneath black and red robes.

Darth Plagueis was looking for his own laboratory, when he walked through that door. This is not his laboratory! Is this some kind of strange prank? But nobody at his company is supposed to even know about this lab, and who would be foolish enough to anger him by - is that a window into space?! He was on the ground, the last time he checked!

"What is going on here?" Plagueis snarls at the person sitting at the... bar? Why is there a bar?


Someone! Someone who does not look entirely pleased to be here. That's not entirely surprising, if they ended up here in anything like the way Asatyyl did, and expected to be somewhere else.

Still, Asatyyl trusts in his well-honed interpersonal skills to make something productive out of this meeting. "Welcome! I'm sorry if this place waylaid you like it did me. I don't know much about it, but it claims to be outside of time, space and dimensions. And it did offer me a free drink." He trusts that, based on what he's observed, "language barriers" is another thing this bar is outside. "My name is Asatyyl; it's nice to meet you."


"This is a Force nexus, then?" asks Plagueis. That's not entirely out of the ordinary; there are plenty of places where powerful Force-users have left an imprint of their consciousness, and they generally don't follow the laws of physics. Well, no, that's not it, even the Force does follow some physical laws. It's just been practically impossible for Plagueis to figure out what those are.

Of course, the specific details of this Force nexus are even stranger than usual. These decorations don't fit with any of the standard patterns associated with the Force, and he really wouldn't have predicted this showing up in his lab, even if in retrospect he has a few ideas as to why.

Also, this doesn't feel like the Force, either the light or the darkness. And the person in front of him doesn't have the Force aura that every living being should emanate. Is he just an illusion of some sort? Or he could have cut himself off from the Force itself, somehow, but that should require quite a lot of knowledge and power.


"Force nexus? That's not a term I'm familiar with, so I couldn't say." He waves one of his outer hands (if one looks close, he has four) in a wide arc. "It is as it appears to be, as far as I can tell, though as I said I only arrived here myself."


"It's a place with an affinity for the Force," Plagueis says, walking up towards the bar. "Not much is known about them, nor of all the ways they can form, but the recorded times they were created generally involved very powerful Force-sensitives leaving behind a fragment of their consciousnesses, often at their deaths. They warp space and time, and often generate quite convincing illusions."

"And unless you happen to be one of those illusions, why can't I detect your presence? The Force doesn't seem to be flowing through you at all."


Asatyyl shrugs, sips his drink. "I'm not an illusion, as far as I know. And according to my own senses I seem to be interacting normally with all the forces I'm aware of--gravity and electromagnetism and so forth. You seem to be talking about something a little different though. Maybe it's a phenomenon my universe doesn't have?" He probably doesn't have nearly the scientific background to properly appreciate this, but the possibility excites him all the same. This bar is certainly living up to its promise!


"Your... universe?"

By now, he's close enough to see the napkins. He reads through them fairly quickly, and then stares at Asatyyl in disbelief.

"Who's in charge of this place?"


I am! You can call me Bar; she/her pronouns. I can provide you with food, drink, and several other services offered here. As you read, the first drink is free!


Plagueis is starting to panic a little! But he is a Scientist and if this is anything like what it's represented to be, it is an opportunity for Discovery!

"All right, then. Assuming any of this is real, you came here from... another universe. Where you don't have the Force, you think - it's a sort of energy field, generated by microorganisms called midi-chlorians inside of every living thing. I've been trying to figure out how it works for decades, but that hasn't been going very well so far. One of its effects is allowing people with a high enough amount of midi-chlorians to do quite a few extraordinary things, including this."

Plagueis levitates a barstool with a flick of his hand.


Asatyyl's eyes widen a little. "Impressive! I've heard stories out of the Narad star cluster of rare individuals who can do that sort of thing, but I've never seen it myself. You say you're still studying how it works? How you get from midi...chlori..ans? To--this?"


"Yes, or at least that's the goal. Do you have any idea how we're speaking the same language? Because I'm not sure how Basic would have spread to wherever..."

He pauses for a second, and then looks back at the napkins that Asatyyl had received. When he looks closely, they aren't in Basic, or even written in the standard alphabet. The meaning is still entirely clear. And now that he thinks about it, the syllables he's been hearing from Asatyyl might not be Basic, even if the words sounded like they were familiar.

"How is this translation even supposed to work? Forget the Force, what are the rules here?!"


I'm not sure! I'm not responsible for bringing people here, nor for most of the unusual characteristics I have. I don't know who is. In fact, the rules of how I function don't even stay exactly the same from time to time!

I would advise you try not to think about it too much. This is a place to make friends!


He's not just going to stop thinking about things because someone told him to! But it seems like he should probably be focusing on talking to this Asatyyl, not the... napkin-generating system.

"So. Ah... what is your universe like?"


Asatyyl laughs. "What a question to be asked! To describe an entire universe, which until just now was all I had ever known. Hmmm--I suppose I could start small and work my way outward?"

"I was born in the city of Tem-mitzni, which is one of the larger cities on the planet--let me know if we run into any concepts that need further explanation, by the way. Raishenzë--that's the planet--orbits a star that...I'm not the sort of person that could give you all the scientific details, unfortunately, and I wasn't planning on leaving my house today so I don't actually have my connection device on me, if you could even connect to our planetary network from here. It uses electromagnetic signals for fast communication across the entire planet, I don't know if you're familiar with anything like that.

Anyway, the star is big and bright and whitish-blue if you could look straight at it, which you can't without injuring yourself, we're not even meant to be out and about while our side of the planet is facing the star--the planet rotates, once every...oh, tens of times since we've been here talking.

I don't think I'm going to get to 'the universe' very fast at this rate--our star is part of a much larger collection of stars, we have at least passing diplomatic contact with the peoples of 493 of them, arranged in various levels of govenrments and alliances. There are other groups of stars we have no contact with yet because they're too far away to contact by light-based communication and we haven't yet figured out how to physically travel to them safely, but the evidence suggests they should be just as populated as our own corner of the universe.

Is there anything more specific you'd like to know about?"


"Yes, I suppose the universe is a fairly broad topic."

"Well, my name is Plagueis. I come from a planet called Mygeeto, which is covered in large structures of crystal and ice. It's a beautiful place, really - hang on." Plagueis does have a device on him, and while it doesn't seem to have access to the network from another dimension, there are saved pictures. "We're one of the more plentiful planets in the galaxy; we're actually the home of the main interplanetary bank. Our galaxy has nearly a hundred thousand populated star systems that we know of, and we have technology that can go beyond lightspeed, so we're capable of communication with most of them."

"How does your planet even function if it rotates in less than a minute, and it's so bright? Do you spend all of your time inside? That seems like quite an inconvenience; are you able to leave Raishenzë?"


"That is beautiful," Asatyyl agrees at the picture. He's seen the beauties of many planets, but each new one he sees holds something unique.

"And--oh, I think I got ahead of myself, and misspoke. We've been here for about a fortieth of the time it takes my planet to rotate, so far. We also have the ability to travel faster than the speed of light--I wonder if it's the same speed--but only along known, safe paths. They can be predicted to a degree, but exploration is still dangerous, especially as the distance increases between gravity wells.

A hundred thousand systems! Do they mostly negotiate with each other individually, or are they organized into larger polities?"


"Ah, I thought you meant it had rotated more than ten times since now. That makes more sense, then."

"Most of the galaxy is, ostensibly, under the control of a single government. They call themselves the Galactic Republic. They're... not the best government we could have. There's quite a bit of corruption; a decent portion of the Senators are accepting bribes. But they don't actually have much power to enforce their laws, either, so even when supposedly pledged to the Republic, most planets are pretty close to independent. There are smaller coalitions and trade networks, which depend on a few intergalactic businesses, including the Trade Federation and Mygeeto's own Banking Clan."

"Actually, on the topic of trade, we might be able to use this place to connect our universes, and find things that we each specialize in. It'll be a little hard to fit large shipments through those doors, but we can find materials that maximize density of value, and if we can hook up a high-speed transportation line - "

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