It was a half hour before our reservation time and a crowd had already gathered by the Hungry Bear Jamboree restaurant. As we passed under the railroad bridge that marks the border between Critter Country and Galaxy’s Edge, a few strings of familiar Star Wars score could be heard – but as we entered the Resistance encampment in the wilderness outside Black Spire Outpost, the music gave way to the occasional growl from unseen alien wildlife.
The crowd was stopped again, this time within eyesight of an X-Wing and an A-Wing, both full-sized and gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight. In the distance, we could make out a few buildings from the Outpost, but for the most part, trees and rock formations blocked our view as we were given last-minute instructions on how to secure the best chance of experiencing the two attractions with the lowest capacity: building a custom lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop and enjoying a drink at Oga’s Cantina. Another member of our traveling party was excited at the prospect of building her own lightsaber, but I only had eyes for the Bespin Fizz… or maybe the Fuzzy Tauntaun.
Black Spire Outpost
At five o’clock sharp, our reservation window opened, and the crowd began its procession toward the spires. I knew from Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn: Alliances that the tall spires that surround the outpost and serve as its namesake were petrified trees… but as we approached the marketplace and the residents of Batuu waved cheerfully and offered a greeting of “Bright Suns,” I found my knowledge of Star Wars lore giving way to slack-jawed awe. Fortunately, my assignment was to secure a reservation at the cantina, so I was able to follow the orange rag on a pole that signifies the line for Oga’s rather than simply freeze in the middle of the path and stare.
As the crowd made its way through the streets of Black Spire, I saw First Order stormtroopers patrolling the roofs of several nearby buildings. They prominently displayed their blaster rifles and occasionally made remarks assessing the arriving travelers. When the cantina procession finally reached its terminus just in front of the First Order TIE/ES Assault Shuttle, I struck up a conversation with the traveler ahead of me in line, who tells me that it’s his second time on Batuu and provides some useful tips. While the residents of Batuu are happy to answer questions, there is comparatively little signage in Galaxy’s Edge, and information sharing between travelers is an integral part of the experience.
Blue Milk, Green Milk
Once my reservation was secured, I checked in with the rest of my party. Although our traveling companion was still waiting to obtain her reservation at Savi’s, she was able to place a mobile order at the irresistible Milk Stand from her place in line. I picked up the glasses of blue and green milk, and, unable to resist, took a big swig of the latter, relishing the green milk mustache. The beverage contains no dairy, and is extremely sweet and fruity – but very cold and surprisingly refreshing.
I made my way over to the scrapyard, where the line for Savi’s was located, so my traveling companion could try the drink she ordered. I was stopped at the gate by a small group of Batuu residents. When I asked if I could enter, one told me that she might be willing to grant me admission, if the price was right – and the price was secrets.
“Kylo Ren throws huge temper-tantrums,” I told her. “Honestly, he really embarrasses himself.”
“I bet you wouldn’t say that to his face, though,” she countered.
“Well, I did run away from him when I saw him a few moments ago,” I admitted, then realized what I said. “Great, now I’ve told you one of my secrets.”
With a smirk, she granted me admission to the scrapyard.
Flight of the Falcon
Once my traveling companion had secured her reservation for Savi’s, we headed over to Ohnaka Transport Solutions. Naturally, we were completely arrested by the sight of the Millennium Falcon. After pausing to pose for the obligatory picture, we headed into the standby line (which affords some very cool perspectives of the titular hunk of junk).
After receiving some last-minute flight instructions from completely legitimate business owner Hondo Ohnaka, we were given our assignments and shuffled into the Falcon’s waiting room. At the last moment, my traveling companions abandoned me to hurry to their appointment with Savi. The three strangers who remained in my flight crew and I approached the Ohnaka Transport Solutions employee when our group was called.
“What happened to the rest of your crew?” she asked. “Well, you can manage with four. Who’s done this before?”
We exchanged blank stares.
“Hoo boy,” said the employee. “Well, good luck.”
A few minutes later and the four of us were making the jump to hyperspace. The two pilots were far more skilled than I would have been (I served as the starboard gunner). By the time we had completed our mission, we were laughing with one another about the adventure we had shared. As we exited the tunnels beneath Ohnaka Transport Solutions and waved goodbye, I glanced at my Datapad and saw Hondo had deposited the credits he owed me for my work as a gunner – minus the cost of repairs to the Falcon and his “modest cut,” of course.
Shortly thereafter, a notification popped up in the app, informing me I’d been awarded the achievement of “Rookie Scoundrel,” based on my choices exploring Black Spire Outpost so far. You can’t escape your destiny, I suppose.
To Live and Vi in Black Spire Outpost
When I arrived back outside Savi’s, I recognized the distinct orange jacket and blue hair of Vi Moradi, a Resistance spy and key character in Delilah S. Dawson’s novel Phasma, as well as the protagonist of her forthcoming novel Black Spire. Overcome with excitement at seeing the character leap off the page, I unthinkingly blurted out, “Vi Moradi!”
Her head snapped toward me and, in a panic, I scurried over to the wall of the Droid Depot – only to turn around and find myself face to face with the master Resistance spy.
“Why are you screaming my name?” she demanded, looking over her shoulder. “Do you know what the First Order will do if they find out I’m here?”
I giggled deliriously.
“What’s your codename?” she demanded.
“I – I don’t have one?”
A few moments later and I had been assigned the alias of “Pink Loth-Cat,” which might be the most wizard codename I’ve ever heard. She asked me what I was looking for and I told her I wanted to help the Resistance. She looked me up and down and then beckoned me to follow her.
I walked with her past the Droid Workshop as she gave me a rundown of the threat the First Order posed to life in Black Spire Outpost (and explained that Chewbacca rarely came into town because Oga, the cantina owner, was still sore about her ex, a Wookie named Dhoran). We paused by the courtyard antenna so she could brief me on the hacking functions of the Datapad, then she sent me on a mission to slice into the dataport beside the First Order Cargo shop.
As I followed through on the assignment, I overheard a couple of other travelers using the app declare that this was just like living a video game. I smiled to myself but didn’t say anything to them – I was undercover, after all. I’m kind of a big deal in the Resistance.
A Round at Oga’s
Soon after I completed my mission, the time had arrived for our reservation at Oga’s. Just before entering, a resident of Batuu asked if it was true that we worshiped a mouse that lives in a castle. When I conceded that was the case, she looked me in the eye and said, “Well, you’re off-world now. Things might get a little rough in there!”
We were seated at a booth just beside DJ RX. We ordered a Fuzzy Tauntuan, a Bespin Fizz, a Jedi Mind Trick, and a Dagobah Slug Slinger, along with an order of Batuu Bits, the cantina’s singular version of bar mix. As the server placed the multicolored drinks on our table, he informed us that off-worlders have strange reactions to the foam atop the Fizzy Tauntaun.
“It might make your lips tingle,” he told us. “That’s normal. If the tingling spreads to your arms, come get me. If the tingling makes it to your legs… Well, there’s nothing we can do for you.”
The drinks were a cavalcade of strange flavors and unique sensations, with the mist rising from the Bespin Fizz providing an especially eye-popping effect. Soon we had befriended the party at the other end of the table, taking turns describing the weird flavors of our respective orders to one another. It was easily one of the most unique experiences I have ever had inside a bar – and yet, when DJ R-3X began to spin a remix of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes’ greatest hit, I couldn’t help but feel entirely at home.
It’s True, All of It
There was a moment in the middle of my adventure in Black Spire when the sound of a ship taking off echoed through the walls of the surrounding Outpost buildings. I craned my head and searched the sky. So did everyone standing around me.
Deep down, I knew that there was no ship above me. But the details in Galaxy’s Edge are so immersive and complete that I don’t know that I would have been surprised to see a Corellian freighter passing through the towering spires as it left the atmosphere toward its next planetary destination.
I can’t help but shake the feeling that I’ll be thinking of my four hours in Galaxy’s Edge for a very long time to come. How long, exactly? As the residents of Batuu say as you leave: Until the Spire.