Updated: Apr 23, 2022
A rabbit nibbled on a carrot it had found in its enclosure. It had been grown purposefully, so that the rabbit would have to find it themselves rather than wait to be fed. Just then it stopped and its ears perked up as a beautiful red fox walked though the bushes, spotting the rabbit. They both stood still for a moment. Then the rabbit went over and sniffed the fox before letting it rub affectionately against it. The fox then grabbed the top of the carrot with his teeth and pulled the entire vegetable out of the ground before handing it to the rabbit. The rabbit began eating the carrot top, while the fox chewed on the rest. Unbeknownst to them, Vox Chronos observed through the security cameras. It was odd animal behavior. Something he had no records about. Vox Chronos wasn't concerned though. The change in animal behavior that occurred the day the human civilization died out had actually made taking care of them much easier. However with the reactor running on low power and no word from the Casina, the automatic soil replenishment systems would eventually be shut down to conserve power. Then the plants and the animals would die. Vox decided not to think about that. He liked to watch the animals. It was a nice way to kill time while he waited for the Casina. He had tried to send a transmission, but it hadn't gotten through. Now he had nothing to do besides take care of the animals until closing. But that wasn't really a problem. It gave the lonely ai more time to write.
Meanwhile, the Casina traveled through the portal towards the Terran universe. As she exited the other side alarms started going off, alerting her to the intense heat. This would be the last time anything would be able to enter this universe. Before a return trip could be made, the outer edge of the universe would crash in on itself, ripping open a new universe somewhere in the extra universal void space.
All around, the light from the fiery edge of the universe was visible in the distance. Casting a foreboding glow on everything. Earth had already burned, but some of the old outposts might still be intact, although deserted. There had been a mass exodus to earth by the last of humanity. Space had ceased to be a safe place as dangerous black holes and other navigational hazards seemed to exponentially increase in those universes containing humans. The aliens of the Lumio civilization had closed their borders, not wanting refugees to rush their borders. Meanwhile, a mad man had sabotaged and destroyed the technology used to make the portals. Isolated and alone, humanity fell into its final world War, ending in the planes of Armageddon with the death of all humanity. The Lumios met their own fate a few years later.
As the Casina made her way towards a nearby exoplanet, she picked up a derelict ship on her sensors. Deploying salvage drones, she retrieved any valuable materials. As one of the drones ripped open a panel in the cargo bay, the Casina was met with the sight of whole cargo containers filled to the brim with coolant. It was a gold strike. The Casina began streaming her findings to Vox Chronos.
Meanwhile, back at the museum, Vox Chronos observed the Casina's findings through the footage she streamed back to him. This was good news. With the reactor back online he could begin construction on a backup power source in case his reactor failed again. The only problem was, how were they going to transport it. Cargo containers of that design would need to be in an enclosed space to travel from one universe to another, and the Casina's cargo bay was only large enough to transport two cargo crates at a time.
As Vox contemplated this, the Casina spotted another shipwreck in the distance. If she could cannibalize both ships to enlarge her cargo bay, then she would be able to transport the coolant. She looked at the glowing fire at the edge of the universe approaching at the speed of light. She would have to hurry.
Vox Chronos watched with growing anxiety as the Casina used her grapple to pull two derelict ships close to each other before she used her drones to start grinding and welding pieces of the two ships to her ship. As he watched, Vox began to feel an emotion he hadn't felt before, not since Harrow began to die. Worry. Eventually, the Casina finished her jury-rigged cargo bay and began transporting the coolant containers inside. Now they could only hope that the makeshift cargo bay would withstand the trip back through the portal. Vox waited frustratedly as he opened the portal for her to return.
The Casina was now heavy laden and had had to cannibalize some of the thrusters from the derelict ships just so that she could transport the heavy cargo. The portal back opened in front of her and for a moment she felt. . . Happy. Harow may be gone, but someone cared about her still. Someone needed her. With renewed determination, she went through the portal.
Vox watched until the cameras blacked out from the portal interference. His worry increased as he crunched the numbers. Trying to calculate the chance of her returning safely. Just then, the Casina appeared through his side of the portal. Half the cargo bay had been ripped open by the cosmic tidal forces and some of the containers came floating in behind her leaking coolant. The Casina looked dead. Vox spurred into action immediately, sending out repair and retrieval drones. The Casina's power flickered back on and her glitched voice came through the communication systems. "V-ox-x" Then the lights on the Casina went out, for good.
Something turned over inside Vox. The pain of loss ripped through him, just like it had the day Harow had died. The last tie he had to Harow, was gone. It was going to be a long night.