Saasnoah hesitated before stepping purposefully into the abyss. Once she had passed the rift nothing was visible except the light from the lab behind her, and, as that slowly sealed, all was darkness.
As far as she could tell, she was still alive. This fact she could once again credit to the mathematicians back at the research center and their years of hard work. This was her fifth such exploration, which meant her fifth team of mathematicians. Each new universe required several lifetimes’ worth of researchers to figure it out. Mathematics could describe, not only Saasnoah’s own Universe, but every other possible Universe as well.
Multiply her five explorations against the thousands of other omninauts adventuring into the multiverse, and you could easily see how mathematics had become the most lucrative career in the galaxy. Possibly the same was true in the entire Universe, if the theorists were correct in surmising all the other galaxies were in their final stages as well. Legend had it that the skies were once full of them, hundreds of billions of years ago, but now there was only the Milky Way, floating alone in a vast expanse of darkness, and soon not even that.
“The field is holding,” Saasnoah reported. The bubble of her home Universe had successfully penetrated this otherverse. There were case studies of omninauts whose fields had failed them. The result was… difficult to comprehend, trying to understand what the physical laws of alien universe had done to a once living peer. She wondered what her copies back at the lab would think of observing themselves so transmogrified.
Best to keep her other selves from finding out. Saasnoah deployed the probes, extending tendrils of the field out in all directions. In fact, thanks to the other dimensions of this particular universe, each one of her feelers was traveling in multiple directions at once and traveling at several times her home Universe’s speed of light, taking measurements, determining the dimensions of this universe, and searching for any sign that it wasn’t completely depleted.
It was nearly one-hundred million years before she had her definitive answer: this universe was uniformly cold, near absolute zero. The only entropy here was the entropy she had brought with her.
The rift back to her own universe reopened, and she gladly returned. It was much brighter here than the cold, dead universe she had explored, but less bright than she remembered it.