Updated: Apr 23, 2022
[Signal Lost] Vox Chronos closed the communications as feedback screamed through the speakers. Before he was able to finish his last sentence, a black hole had gotten in the way of the signal. It was fine. He had intended to end the video anyway. After uploading the finished video remotely, Vox adjusted the signal output. He then activated the shields on the beacon array that carried his signal off into distant space. As he shut down the recording equipment for the day, he began going through the opening checklists. The hangar bays opened as yellow caution lights flashed, and the ambient museum music began to play. As it echoed through the empty exhibits, drones were dispatched, checking every inch of the station one last time before the doors were unlocked. Vox knew there would be no visitors, but it was in his programming to open the museum anyway. As the music played through the empty halls, the lights came on, illuminating the main lobby. A tour guide drone was dispatched to each of the empty hangar bays, in the unlikely event a visitor would arrive to see the now decades-old artifacts and nature exhibits holding animals that were now the last of their kinds. Vox stared out at the endless expanse of space as the nearby red dwarf star cast its crimson glow on the ring-shaped space station. The number of things that were going wrong had increased in the past few weeks. First, there were the mysterious drone malfunctions that slowed down his writing, then there was the black hole that temporarily cut off his signal. The lonely A.I. accessed his word processing program and began to continue writing on his first book. For nearly a hundred years after the last visitors left the museum, Mr. Harow had kept Vox Chronos company. They would play games together, tell stories, look at exhibits, and stargaze. But now that Harow was gone, there was no longer anyone to keep Vox company in the museum except for the now endangered animals in the nature exhibits. For a hundred years after Harow's death, Vox had spent his time doing what he had always done, maintaining the museum. However, one day the lonely A.I. had been playing solitaire with Mr. Harow and realized he wanted to do more. He didn't want to just do his programming, and he knew he was capable of greater accomplishments. Determined to make some use of himself, Vox had begun connecting to the beacon array and altering the trajectory of the signal based on theoretical mathematical calculations. After about thirty more arduous years of calculations, the lonely A.I. had finally made contact with a parallel dimension. One that hadn't experienced WWIII or the Electronically Transmissive Virus. Our dimension. Just then Vox's writing was interrupted as alarms began going off and all the lights turned red. Vox followed his programming, turning on the emergency exits and the search and rescue drones as he accessed the mainframe to see what the problem was. The reactor core suspended in the middle of the ring shaped station was overheating. Suddenly the access port to the coolant tank burst open and coolant began harmlessly leaking into space. Vox acted quickly. First, he shut down the main reactor before turning on the back up generators and cutting the energy budget in half. Then he waited for the reactor to cool down before sending a maintenance drone to inspect it. The reactor coolant had out lived its usefulness and had failed to cool down the reactor any longer. A new batch of coolant would need to be manufactured. Vox was troubled by this. He did not have the resources to make more. Vox pondered this as he followed his programming and had some drones clean up the leaked coolant before opening the museum up again within half an hour. Vox Chronos sent a camera drone into the largest hangar. Inside, the lights illuminated a kit bashed starship, put together using spare parts, drones, and the remains of Mr. Harow's ship. Using the camera drone to manipulate the controls, Vox Chronos opened the hangar, clearing the ship for departure. As it left the hangar, the red light shone on the iridescent lettering on the side, "Casina". The ship took off and made its way off into space as Vox Chronos programmed a course into the ship computer. The ship had an A.I. of its own, but ever since Harow had died, it had gone silent. Casina had never spoken since, but she still let Vox Chronos use her ship for resource gathering missions. Some times she would communicate, but it would only be with one word. Vox wished she would speak again, but he also understood the emotions she was programmed to be able to feel and that she was still hurting from the loss of her owner and friend, Mr. Harow. The ship approached another ring-shaped structure nearby. As the Casina approached it, there was a flash of blue light in the middle which expanded into a vibrant shimmering portal. Through it could be seen empty blackness. Vox watched as the Casina went through and disappeared into the darkness. It wasn't very safe to go to where Earth used to be anymore. Vox accessed the last communications he ever got from Earth. Messages to Harow from his grandchildren, sports news, and a distorted recording. Vox played it. The sound of millions of frightened people could he heard amidst noises of pandemonium and panic, followed by a sound similar to the roar of a thunder clap, only much bigger and louder, followed by static. Vox looked at a picture of what Earth used to look like. Green, blue, and some grey. For nearly 5,000 years mankind had made Earth his home, but as time wore on, they forgot to consider to possibility of danger. All good things come to an end. This saying had never been more true, than when the universe finished expanding as far as it would go, and began collapsing back in on itself, erasing the Earth, the solar system, the milky way and all life in it in a fiery purge. Soon there would be nothing left but raw energy, the kind of energy Vox could use in his printing systems to print anything he needed to keep the museum running. He would have to just keep operating the museum on half power until the casina returned. This reactor failure meant he would not have enough power to access the beacon array and send another broadcast. Vox Chronos continued his writing, a bit frustrated at this.