Ad Fundum Universum, Ad Fundum

⚠️ Spoiler Warning ↑

I woke up in a state of drunkenness in a godforsaken bar. Everything was spinning, and my vision was blurry. I tried to move, but couldn't. Too much pain and too numb to move. I don't remember entering this bar, let alone how much I had drunk. The last thing I actually remembered was me falling down on a planet like a meteor.

I must confess it was quite comfortable laying behind the counter but there was this feeling of being watched by an unknown presence. Yet my perception didn't spot a single soul around, probably because I hadn't lifted my head yet, and fuck, these lights were killing me! Almost as if they were the stars itself, which not much later, I realized that they actually were. Half of the bar, roof and floorboards alike, deteriorated slowly into space, as if it was slowly floating in the universe.

I was able to move one of my heavy arms and rang the bell on the counter, to no avail. I turned my head and smacked down on the other side of my face. There were multiple, wildly different, sundials on the wall. It reminded me of clocks in an airport terminal, just prettier, although I didn't understand how they'd work inside.

Right below was a liquor cabinet full of foreign bottles I didn't recognize even a single one from. They would probably make for some good cocktails, but I didn't want to find out. Before I could let my gaze wander further, a person, or at least a being resembling a person, gained my attention. I did not hear them coming but it was clear they stood in front of me. I slowly raised my pulsing head to face my new acquaintance.

Their torso was dressed up rather formal, a white shirt complimented by a black tie and a golden clip folded underneath an equally black vest. But the face before me was-

Well, there was no face.

There was a complete pitch black void in front what mostly seemed to resemble a human head. And it moved inside itself like some kind of stream. The sides of his face were normal and his hair was as dark as his face, but seemed to sparkle as the night sky. I kept staring, most likely something that would be considered rude, until I was snapped out of my focus.

"What would you like to order, Sir?"

"Uh… Excuse me?"

"Ah, my apologies. I forgot that you are new to this establishment. Would you like to-"

"Okay… hold on a second. What is this place? Where am I? Who are you? How-"

"How did I get here? How did I end up in a bar whilst traveling the universe? Did I have a drink last night? Oh Sir, I know the questions on your mind, or rather on every newcomer's mind. Please, let me elaborate whilst I pour you a drink."

"But I don't have-"

"Any money? Sir, I never take payment for drinks or food. It's on the house anyway. Now please tell me, what can I pour you?" They said as the void in their face seemed to swirl yet be at a complete standstill at the same time. God, why couldn't I have those obnoxious smiling barmen with a real mouth instead? I couldn't get a read on this guy.

"You know what, can you get me some water?" I answered.

"Wa- Water?"

"Yes, Water! Please! It's been so long since I was able to drink anything. I don't care if it's cliché but I need to ease this thirst."

"Please, give me a moment." And they poured a glass of crystal clear water in a rather fancy glass. In excitement I took the glass and downed it before they could add the ice.


"Please, feel free to help yourself." He said, as he put another glass before me, this time the ice was already floating graciously on the surface.

"Don't mind if I do!" I probably drank more water than a Viking drank beer during a feast, and I was only stopped by a short;

"So, my dear guest, shall we start over?"

"Yeah, so where am I?"

"Well, this bar is mostly called the thought-end tavern by others. In some simpler dialects, they refer to it as the void-end pub. It exists somewhere between unconsciousness and being awake. I made it rather hard to find. Keeps most abysmal drinkers from entering."

"So I'm something like the noosphere? I never really got that 'plane of collective consciousness' stuff."

"Yes, something like that."

"Well, seems like it's indeed hard to find. Not to be rude, but you don't have much patrons here at the moment."

"Normally, as within any bar, a barman only serves one at the time whilst overlooking many."

"Based on the rather fine style here, what am I doing here? I feel rather out of place in this… noospheric plane? Even if it isn't for some elite class, this is quite the unique situation."

"You tell me, how did you end up here? I must confess, I already know, but I would love to hear things from your perspective."

"Well, I can put it real simple but the full story is gonna take quite a bit of time."

"Hmm, not that we don't have time, I mean you already took three months to regain consciousness once and get here. But I think the short version is good enough for now."

"… Wait, three months?! I was out for three months?"

"Look, I don't know how you survived or were able to reform yourself, but you were reduced to a pile of red liquid you call blood. The fact that you somehow came back is already more than impressive. Even without accounting that you are in fact a human."

The silence that fell took more than just a moment.

"What about my body?! How is it?!"

"It's taking its sweet time. You should consider yourself lucky the planet you crashed into doesn't have predators, or rather life at all. I could show you."

"Please do." I hesitantly said, hoping to not see myself as some piece of body horror. A circular opening opened behind my host and showed me my current state.

"Fuck, that's … Oh God!"

"Need a drink? I can also offer you a bucket if you need to puke."

"I'd rather have that drink." I looked back to the weird cabinet and still didn't recognize anything. There were bottles of all kind of colours and shapes but some stood out more than others. One whose liquid glowed and moved like a lavalamp caught my eye in particular.

"Actually, I'm probably going to need both after trying that." as I pointed to that horrific drink.

"That one it is then." And suddenly the liquor appeared in front of us.

"Also, you still haven't really told me about yourself."

"I'd rather not, and before you claim you told me about yourself, again, I already knew. Also I don't believe I've been a rude host. But if I may ask, it's partially my face that makes you curious isn't it?"

"Well, yeah. I mean, I've seen some humanoid anomalies where I came from, but I just can't place you. And I seem pretty much stuck here for the time being."

"I'm not against it, but I only reveal things to people that have bested me."

"Please don't tell me you mean as in actual combat."

"I suppose you could challenge me in combat, but anything is fine really. Just a heads up, you can give it a shot and you don't have a thing to lose, but don't expect to win. I won't go easy on you. Anyway, here is your drink."

A small shot glass of glowing liquid stood in front of me. Bright enough to tingle my eyes, but not enough to hurt them. Perhaps I'd taste like that as well. "A shot, huh?" I took the glass but didn't down it.

"Would you like a drink that resembles something you are more familiar with?"

"No, in fact, give me another shot."

Another shot was placed right next to the other glass. "Well, someone wants to get buzzy." Somehow I got the feeling a small grin would have been on their face. I began to like them.

"I think you misunderstood me. This glass is yours."

"Uh, excuse me?"

"I challenge you to a drinking game."

We had changed our seats to a more secluded table adjacent to the sundial wall. Whilst the table clearly ended there, my companion had poured out two infinite rows of shots that seemingly went beyond. Then the empty face in front of me stopped swirling.

"What, don't want to drink on the job?"

"It's not that, whether you win or not, this is gonna be quite the ride. Well… Cheers!"


We both raised our glass and downed it.


We suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a deep body of water with a glow underneath our feet even deeper below. Some kind of liquid planet perhaps? It didn't matter, we didn't stay long.


We now sat in a pub, only our table was set on the ceiling, as if we mirrored one of the tables below- above us? How didn't we fall down was beyond me.


Dark, it was dark. Then the walls around us moved by the wind and revealed themselves to be the petals of a giant flower which gently fell open, showing us a lushious garden of-


WHAM! Back in the bar.

"Can't keep up?"

"I mean this is some pretty strong stuff, but I am not down for the count just yet."

"Relax, I know you were taking in the view. I quite like it too."

"Where the hell did you find this drink?"

"I brew it myself, used quite a bit of power for it."

"I'm drinking your power or some Hick. shit like that? Who the hell are you?"

"I believe those answers were part of our wager, weren't they?"

"You got me there." And we clinked our next glasses. "Bottom's up!"


Ruins around us, floating in the sky on multiple islands no less. A giant two-headed bird spotted us and seemed to take us for it's next meal. Immediately it torpedoed at an incredible speed towards us in a nosedive that would put a buzzard to shame. Oh god, wouldn't you know it, that thing has goddamn tee-


Complete white.


Prokaryotes around us. The sound of them moving was very unsettling, if not straight up disturbing. Wasn't as bad as the smell though, something was either being digested or decaying. Then I heard it;

"Aight, fuck it, I'm gonna pull a little stunt here."


Site-19. Middle of the cafetaria. Our table floating no less than a meter over their heads. I couldn't hold myself back when I realised;

"Good luck with the paperwork suckers!"


Back at the bar. However, somehow we changed from seat… and clothes. I just realized that I could have gone back to earth multiple times by now… My drinking mate, knew as well. And yet, I was not having any regrets at the moment. Perhaps it was the alcohol? Aaaah, the alcohol.


Some random place in the middle of space, with stars and stars wherever you could see. Reminded me of the face in front of me. How do they even drink? Fuck it, I might not see how they drink, but I certainly will see if they can hold their liquor.


Back at the bar. On the right side of the table, and more importantly back in my own clothes. Neither of us reached to the next glass.

"Please don't tell me I'm the only one that's feeling like vomiting after all this."

"Can you even do that? You pour drinks into your bottomless face and get drunk, didn't think it could work the other way around."

"If you thought it was bottomless, why would you challenge me to drink with you?"

"Well, I kinda expected you to not have much of a body, if at all. Especially since- Hick. If this weren't some conceptual or mind boggling plane or whatever, the Foundation, and I to a certain extend, would definitely already found out that much."

"It surprises me how you are both so right, yet so wrong and you don't even know it."

"Care to explain?"

"Oh, I will… if you manage to beat me."


Overconfidently, we took our shots. Their face started to lower to the table a mere moment earlier than mine. And then they hit their face against it. Then the weird shifting stuff happened again, not uncontrollably or continuously as I expected now that my drinking mate was out. No, it happened just one more time.

We ended up on a bench. You know, one of the wooden kind you'd find in a well kept park. It looked out over a nebula partially hidden by a pink fog that subtly emitted light. I raised my head, which reminded me of how I got into this situation in the first place, and let my eyes rest on the breathtaking view. They probably were glimmering from, and back to, all the stars it showed me. Whilst I waited for my new friend to sober up, the silence had fallen gentler than a hatchling's plume and kept me company.

I don't know how long I'd been there, it could have been another three months for all that I cared.

I did not mind.

And they, they too liked the silence and the change of pace. They didn't talk right away, perhaps due to the influence of a hangover as well. But eventually my fairly won explanation came.

"So, who do you think I am?"

"Weren't you supposed to tell me that?"

"Yes, but I'd like to know how you see me before I drop the facade, or rather, some facts."

"I don't know. A spiritual celestial being or something? You make for one hell of a bartender though. A shame I can't tip you."

"Thanks, but money isn't really an issue. I'm- I'm-"


"I'm the universe. No, I'm just the awareness of the universe nowadays."

"Wait, how would that wo-"

"I lost control of my body, or at least nearly all of it. You know, stars and constellations, planets, orbits, entire clusters, and all the rest."

"How would that even happen. Like aren't you omnipotent or something?"

"No, I'm not. You see I can do a lot, or at least, I could. Still can do some tricks though as you saw between our drinking. The problem is… my body, the actual universe- Wait no, the original universe died a long time ago."

"The original?"

"Yeah, it- I died or rather am dying repeatedly. Or at least something in those trends. It's a bit hard to explain, especially since it happened so long ago. I know we have all the time in the world- No universe, now, but it is complicated."

"Wait so the universe is dying or something? Can't you interfere?"

"Why would I? Hell, why should I? I am just letting most things run their course. I don't mind living a bit longer if it makes everyone happy, but I won't go against nature anymore. Besides I can't do that anymore even if I wanted to."

"So you have manipulated things here and there along the lines?"

"Yes and no, see when I first thought I was going to die, and didn't because I wound up in a reset loop, everything seemed fine. But after more and more loops things started to get a little weird. More different settings and anomalies as you'd know them appeared. Some things keep existing, others disappear, sometimes even reappear."

"That does not-"

"Answer your question? No, it doesn't. Well, one day something showed up. Even I don't know how to look at it. Is it like a corruption in computers that happened over multiple reboots? Is it a thing enforcing something natural? Is it perhaps a part of me that wants to die or became its own being? Regardless of what it actually is, it is destructive and I could not make it disappear in the following loops. Trust me, I tried. That's what I tried to manipulate. Whether it's the right or wrong call I don't know. Even the universe makes mistakes."

"Making mistakes is a human thing to do as well."

"No, making mistakes is a universal thing to do, I just look humane to you because this is the form I shifted into. I think it's just a nice courtesy."

"So what you gonna do about it?"

"I was able to trap it in a planet, only for it to keep appearing from inside said planet. Then when it began breaking out, I reached out to other species to help."

"How did it go?"

"They are now extinct."


"Well, if you can think of a way to stop it, feel free to let me know."

"I guess I can do a pitstop before trying to go home, also I think I'm pretty much unkillable. Not that I want to but it definitely might come in handy."

"Please, don't actually consider that. Because that thing will kill you, and if not you'll just die on repeat as well. Loops like that aren't something to take lightly, you should know from what I just told you."

There was a genuine trembling in their voice, and it was at this moment that I saw one last shot at my feed.

"I'll think about it. You've been one hell of a dude but I think it's beginning to be time for me to take my leave."

"Dude? Mate, I'm the universe, I'm unisex. Anyway, I'll get you out of here but please promise me-"

"My bad, won't happen again. Oh, and about leaving, I wasn't asking."


I took the shot between my two fingers and raised it; "Ad fundum!"

They shouted; "Wait!" and reached out with one hand.

Now, I can't say for sure if they helped me get back, but I woke up in a desert with dried blood all around me. I don't know if something happened in between, but everything hurt a lot, more than expected.

But my hangover was the worst.

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