Title: The Library
Author: LadyElaine
Disclaimer: This is going to be a long one, so sit tight. First of all, despite the comment of one of the characters, the Star Wars universe is due entirely to one man's vision. Star Wars in all its splendour belongs solely to George Lucas.
Karl Jaspers, author of "The Question of German Guilt," was a German psychologist-turned-philosopher. Nietzche (if you don't know him already) was a Prussian existential philosopher, whose works, including "The Will to Power," influenced Nazism. Albert Camus was a French writer and another existentialist. William James was an American theologian and philosopher whose ideas are still around today. Webster Kitchell is a Unitarian Universalist minister and the author of the delightful "Conversations with Coyote" series.
Archive: What, you mean you actually want this stuff?
Feedback: dragonlady75069@attbi.com
Summary: Star Wars canon uses all sorts of religious and philosophical influences, so why shouldn't I? If you're not looking to play mental twister with said influences, then this isn't the fanfic you're looking for. *hand wave* Move along.



The Library


Jack slammed his book closed, sighed, and rubbed his eyes. He was supposed to be researching existential influences on modern thought, but he felt rather existential himself, right now. He glared at his computer, and seriously considered setting his desk on fire.

"Why," he asked himself for the twelfth time that day, "did I ever think going back to school was a good idea?" Jaspers, Nietzche, and Camus laughed at him dryly from amid the pile of books on the desk. James whispered that he still had a paper to finish, but Kitchell told him to forget all that, and go for a ride in the desert.

"Well..." he said. "I suppose I could use a break. Especially if I'm answering my books." Jack ignored the ludicrousness of that particular statement. The desert, in fact, sounded pretty damn nice right about now. Too bad he was a few hundred miles away from the nearest one. Then another book, buried and almost forgotten, caught his eye. "Sorry, Coyote, but Star Wars wins out."

It was the latest book in the New Jedi Order series. Jack had already read it through once, but the bookmark told him he must have restarted it at some point. He opened it at the marked page and chuckled. "Speaking of existential influences...." After a few paragraphs, though, his eyes sagged shut. His mind started racing the way it always did when he was overly tired, toying with the idea of writing his thesis on the impact World War II-era thought was having on the NJO storyline.

"Yeah, right," he said to himself. "That'd never stand."

"But what was the prevailing question of World War II? And what's the question in the NJO books?"

"Occupied Europe asked, 'Can a moral man retain his morality in an immoral world?' The New Jedi Order is asking, 'Can the Jedi fight a ruthless enemy without becoming ruthless themselves?'"

"Same question, different words."

"Except one's fiction."

"Really."

Jack's eyes snapped open. Had he been asleep? Or just talking to himself again? He stared at the desk his head was resting on. The books piled on it had changed. The desk had changed, too. He looked up.

A woman stood at the far end of the desk--no, it was a long table now. Ash blond hair fell not quite to her shoulders; what looked suspiciously like Jedi robes covered the rest. She was making notations, bent over one of several books lying on the table. The look on her face was somewhere between amusement and annoyance. He risked a glance out of the huge window behind her.

No, not possible. "What the...?"

"Awfully eloquent for someone in seminary."

"Who are you?" Some insane part of him wondered if he would be able to see the Jedi Temple from here.

Amusement won out. "I suppose you can call me Cathleen." She put the book and pen down and picked up another book, filing it away on one of the shelves that covered the walls. "And no, you can't see the Temple from here."

"What? Where are we?"

"We are inside a vergence in the Force. Actually, maybe I should say, the Vergence."

"The Vergence?" How he managed to pronounce the capital 'V,' he would never figure out.

"You know, as in the Maker, the Cosmos, the Big Bang. We're also inside the Jedi Temple. That's why you can't see it from here."

Sometime during this excuse for an intelligent conversation, Jack had stood up, almost knocking his chair down. He turned and looked around.

"The Jedi Temple needs blast doors?"

"No. The Temple doesn't have any blast doors. If you can wrap that mind of yours around this, we're inside the Vergence that the Temple was originally built on."

Jack turned back around. "So what's that door doing there?"

Cathleen smiled. "Consider it a literary device."

He rubbed his face. "Okay, I'm officially nuts."

A soft touch stole his hands from his face. "If it helps any, you're not the only one this has happened to." She was suddenly beside him, though he hadn't heard her move.

"What has happened?" Finally, an intelligent question. "This can't be real."

She pinched him. "Real enough for you?" He flinched more at her tone than at the pinch. "How many hundreds, even thousands, of people are fans of the Star Wars universe? And how many of those have added to it? It's not just one man's vision any more. See all this?"

Jack looked again--really looked. Books, datapads, holoscreens. Some of the titles were familiar. One was very familiar. "Hey!" He strode over to the book, pulled it out. "I wrote this!" He flipped through it, found his old characters. "What's my fan fiction doing here?"

"This is the Library. This is the center of the Star Wars galaxy. This is where everything begins."

"I don't get it."

"These are all the works of fiction and film that have ever been put together for love of this universe. Philosophize this for me, Jack." First, she read his mind, now she knew his name. What the hell was going on here? "What makes human beings so special? What separates you from other animals? What's your greatest gift, and greatest curse?"

"I don't know. What are you, the Sphinx?"

Another flash of annoyance. "Pay attention. You're determining your future, here, you know. It's your creativity. You're never satisfied with what you're given, so you make more. Whether it's architecture or literature or medicine or religion, you can't help but build on what you're born with."

"And the point of this would be...?"

Cathleen put her hands on her hips in exasperation. "What, according to Jewish lore, is the reason humans were made?"

"Yahweh created humankind to complete creation." A thought intruded, not entirely unwelcome. "What did you mean earlier, when you said I wasn't the only one this has happened to?"

Cathleen waved him over to the window. "Look out there. How many people can you see?"

"I can't see any people, but just from the air traffic, there must be billions."

"The stories that have been told about this universe are just the tip of the iceberg. Not all those people are Skywalkers, you know. Everyone's life is just a story being written. Theirs, just as much as yours."

If my life really is just a story, he thought, then I have a few issues with the author.

She laughed, reading his mind again. "You were a cop, am I right?" She had a book open once more, and was scanning down the page. "Then you decided to go into the ministry. What, is saving souls more important than saving lives now?"

"I'd do both, if I could," he snapped.

That not-so-innocent smile was back. She pointed to the other side of the room. "There's the door."

"Huh?" Brilliant reply, as always.

"Ever hear of the Siege Perilous?" At his nod, she continued. "As it happens, Camelot is the last place that the human collective imagination made real--so many people telling the story in so many ways, you know?" He didn't know. "Quantum physics," she said. "Multiple universes. Anything that can be imagined has already happened somewhere."

"Like a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away?" he quipped.

"Now you're catching on. And sometimes, just by chance and the universe's sense of humor, someone breaks through from one side to the other."

He sat back down, and put his head in his hands. Suddenly, Nietzche didn't look so daunting, after all.

Cathleen pulled up another chair, sat beside him, and took one of his hands in her own. "Despite your imagination, this is always hard for you people. But see, now you have the chance that hardly anyone ever gets. You said you'd save lives and souls both, if you could. Well, look at yourself."

He did. A beige tunic, covered by a slightly darker tabard. A dark brown robe over it all. Sturdy boots. A lightsaber. He should have been surprised. "I'm no Jedi, Cathleen. And this is ridiculous."

"Why?"

"I have a real world, real friends and family, and real people who depend on me. This is just--"

"As real as your own universe. Your world is just someone else's fiction, you know. Trust a would-be man of the cloth to have no faith."

He managed a weak chuckle.

"Remember all those late-night internet chats about the Force? You could go beyond speculation now." She frowned suddenly, seeming to catch a stray thought. "Or...you could go back to your world of philosophical discussion groups and theological chitchat. Drop by once a week with donuts at your old precinct."

"Just.... How do I get home?" He stood up, his hands shaking.

"That door will take you where you need to be. Emphasis on the 'need.' Maybe back to your computer and your books--or maybe to a Jedi starfighter. Your subconscious has already made up its mind, no matter what you think you want. It's the Siege Perilous of this universe."

He gave her a curious look. "So what happens when you go through it?"

"I wind up right back here. This is where I need to be."

He was at the threshold now, sure that he'd be back home soon, but laughed at a sudden thought. "So, did Lucas ever walk through this door?"

Cathleen grinned back at him. "Even if I knew, I'd never tell."

Shaking his head, Jack hit the door controls, stepped through, and disappeared.

The woman who sometimes called herself Cathleen stood smiling for a moment longer, then turned back to the table and opened her new book.



End.