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The Exact Center of Everything

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"The Great Clock! A marvel of science and sorcery, engineered by the brightest Zoni in all of existence, and constructed... in the EXACT center of the UNIVERSE! ...Give or take fifty feet."

The Big Bang isn't so much an "explosion" as a continuously expanding sphere of space and matter, this unquantifiably vast inflating balloon of creation being the universe. Fiction likes to think that at the very center of that balloon is something really special.

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This is born from a heliocentric worldview; if planets all revolve around the sun — this incredible, live-giving force beyond our comprehension that eclipses everything that orbits it — just imagine how awesome the thing the sun orbits must be. Or how awesome the thing that thing orbits must be. And so on.

Some think of it as the cosmic equivalent of a heart or an engine; a perpetuating natural phenomena that keeps the universe running. Those with a more esoteric frame of reference think that it's where God lives. If there's a planet there, expect the lifeforms that came from it to be really smug about it. What exactly is there at the center is irrelevant; the point of going to the center is that everyone wants to go there.

While the sheer immensity of outer space makes the distinction mostly irrelevant, the "center" comes in one of three variations:

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  • Galaxy: In a story set within the limits of a single galaxy, the center of that galaxy acts as the focal point both in the story and in a meta-sense. If there's a Galactic Superpower, expect it to have either made the center its headquarters, or have surrounded it with an armada to keep everyone away from it, either because there's something important to their authority or because there's something horrible there waiting and they don't want it spreading outward.

  • Universe: The heart of (known) creation must hold something especially impressive. More often than not, it's what Caused the Big Bang, though whether that thing was a natural force or something built by aliens depends on what kind of story you're getting yourself into.

  • Multiverse: Well, now things are getting audacious. The center of the universe of universes could just be yet another universe; the Prime-Universe where all other universes are funhouse-mirror reflections of. Or perhaps it could be the work-station of an Almighty Bastard that created all universes as prototypes or rejects for whatever grand design they're trying to perfect.
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Super-Trope of Danger in the Galactic Core. Sub-Trope of Artistic License – Space. See also Earth Is the Center of the Universe and Everything in Space Is a Galaxy.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Sailor Moon: The Galaxy Cauldron lies at the center of the Milky Way. It is where Star Seeds are born, which then sent out into the galaxy to become people, then return to the Cauldron when they die. After Chaos is absorbed into the Cauldron, Sailor Moon talks her future self, Sailor Cosmos, out of the destroying the Cauldron to allow the galaxy a slow but gentle death in favor of continuing to fight so that life can continue.
  • In a deleted chapter of Uzumaki, the cursed spiral that leads into the center of Kurozu-cho is implied to spread out on a cosmic scale, the spiral making up the entirety of the Milky Way Galaxy, if not the rest of the universe.

    Comic Books 
  • Green Lantern: Oa, the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps, is located in the center of the universe. In the Anti-Matter universe, that position is taken by the planet Qward. This would later be shown as a lie by the Guardians to protect the real location, Earth, as it's where the Life Entity that's the wellspring of all life in the universe was born and rests.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Spock's long-lost half-brother Sybok commandeers the Enterprise and makes the crew set a course for the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, where Sybok believes God is waiting.
  • In the Star Wars extended canon, the Galactic Core is a supermassive black hole that renders the center of the galaxy uninhabitable. No living person has ever seen it, droids being sent to observe it being the ones to confirm its existence.
  • In Thor: Love and Thunder, it's revealed that the center of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the Gates of Eternity, a temple that houses the titular Eternity. Anyone that can unlock the Gates of Eternity are given one wish by the titular being, Gorr the God-Butcher intending on wishing for the death of all gods in the universe.

    Literature 
  • In the last book of the Cities in Flight, series, the Universe is about to be destroyed by collision with its antimatter counterpart, after which a new Big Bang will create a new Universe. The protagonists discover a way that they can influence the creation of the new Universe, but it has to be performed at the centre of the current Universe. So they set out for it, racing against time and an enigmatic and hostile alien civilisation.
  • In the Cthulhu Mythos, the Primordial Chaos Azathoth nominally rules all of time and space from the center of the universe. He's totally mindless and is kept in eternal slumber by his attendants, so his court isn't a popular destination.
  • The Divine Comedy is based on a Christian take on Ptolemy's geocentric model of the Universe. Heaven is set beyond the physical world and it surrounds the latter from all directions. One step below, the Sun, the planets and all stars orbit Earth, the hemispheres of which are entirely covered by the known landmasses (Northern Emisphere) und a single ocean (Southern Empisphere) surrounding the mountain of Purgatory. This description sounds like an ode to the physical world, but in reality it would be more correct to say that, according to Dante, Earth is the least clean place in existence because it is the center of the physical world. The farther a soul is from the grace of God (who, again, surrounds the physical world), the more impure it becomes. This is taken to its logical extreme in the case of Satan, who is eternally trapped at the very center of the deepest circle of Hell (and yes, that also means his crotch marks the center of everything). This is also the reason why the repented souls of Purgatory are allowed to climb up the mountain only after completing their penitence in each of the seven circles: the less sins they're carrying, the purer they are and the closer they can get to God, until they eventually enter the Garden of Even and ascend to Heaven, leaving the physical sphere for good.
  • In Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series the capital planet of the Galactic Empire is the City Planet of Trantor, which in the original works of the series was simply declared to be at "the center of the Galaxy". This was later Retconned a bit to say that Trantor is somewhat off to the side from the actual center — as close to the center as a human-habitable planet can be — as it was realized just how violent and inhospitable a place the center of a galaxy actually is.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Doctor Who story "Terminus", the titular Big Dumb Object is at the exact centre of the universe. It's a derelict spaceship created by an unknown, super-advanced, ancient alien species that may be from another universe before the Big Bang, and a leak from its fuel tanks might actually have caused the Big Bang. When the Fifth Doctor visited, it was being used as an underfunded and squalid hospital for victims of an intergalactic disease epidemic.
  • This was the focus of one episode of SeaQuest DSV. The antagonist of the week abducts Darwin the dolphin because he's convinced that the hyperintelligent creature can tell him how to reach the center of the universe. He's apprehended at the end, but allowed to ask the dolphin for the answer to his question. Where does Darwin say the center of the universe is? "In you."

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Planescape AD&D campaign setting has the Outlands, the plane of true neutrality around which all the other outer planes revolve, and at its center an infinitely tall spire atop which is placed the city of Sigil, considered by many to be the center of the multiverse. The notion of planes which are ostensibly infinite having a 'center', or a spire which is ostensibly infinite having a top, is just part of the Mind Screw nature of the setting.

    Video Games 
  • In No Man's Sky, the Galactic Centre is the exact center of the galaxy. The Galactic Centre contains a wormhole that can take the player to a different galaxy, starting the game all over again.
  • In Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, it's revealed that after Fongoids misused the ability to time-travel given to them by the Zoni, the Zoni created The Great Clock to prevent a Reality-Breaking Paradox from destroying the universe, giving it a "heart-transplant." The Great Clock was constructed and is maintained in the center of the universe (give or take 50-feet).
  • In Space Engine, the simulated universe expands for several (accurately-scaled!) gigaparsecs in six directions to form a cube, in which the game stores your position as XYZ coordinates. And at the center of it all, in Coordinate 0,0,0 is... the Sun. Granted, this is purely for practical reasons; Space Engine is more a simulator than a game and, as such, has no story, but the procedural generation needed some kind of objective anchor.
  • Spore: Upon reaching the Galactic Core, you'll encounter a Precursor alien named Steve who awards you with the Staff of Life. The staff is a powerful terraforming tool that instantly makes any planet habitable.
  • Super Mario Galaxy: The final mission of the game, Bowser's Galaxy Reactor, is stationed in the center of the universe.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: As shown in "The Day Earth Stood Stupid", at the very centre of the universe lies Planet Eternium, homeworld of the oldest race of aliens in the universe, the Nibblonians.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), Eternia is the location where the Big Bang occurred. As a result, it still contains part of its power in the form of the Starseed, an artifact granting omnipotence to its holder.

    Real Life 
  • Many galaxies in the universe are confirmed to have supermassive black holes in their galactic cores, and they're believed to be the progenitor seeds that kickstarted galaxy formation back in the universe's early years. The two most well-known supermassive black holes are Sagittarius A* (pronounced "A-star") in our Milky Way Galaxy and the M87 black hole in the galaxy named Messier 87, particularly because these two black holes are the only ones that have been directly imaged from Earth.
  • As far as the laws of physics are concerned, there's no true center of the universe in Real Life. Instead, the "center" is all relative based on perspective of the object, so any point in space (yes, even Earth) can be considered the "center of the universe".

 
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Meeting Steve

Upon reaching the Galactic Core, you'll encounter a Precursor alien named Steve who awards you with the Staff of Life. The staff is a powerful terraforming tool that instantly makes any planet habitable.

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