Humanity.  Over the countless ages of the Universe, we have prevailed.  At times, it seemed that the Universe itself was conspiring against us.  We have stared extinction in the face more times than any persisting today cares think about.  We have conquered every star, colonized untold galaxies and made them home.    There was a time when all sentient life in the observable Universe knew the face of Man.  We lived in peace with some, and made war on others.  We, and most intelligent species in the Universe, measure time based on how long it took a long dead planet to circle a long dead star. A trillion trillion trillion humans made their home in the Universe.  Our sphere of influence measured some 30 billion light years.

The origin, evolution, and ultimate fate of the Universe have been known to us for billions of years.  Dark energy is our bitch.  We know how life came to be, and what happens when it ends.  We are all painfully aware of that particular bit of knowledge.  We thought ourselves immortal, and many of us have indeed been living, in one form or another, for billions of years.

But what happens next, no one can prevent.  We have known it was coming.  Since all other knowledge of the Universe has been long since probed, it has been the sole target of all Universal research for 10 billion years.  But no answer has been found.  And with time as short as it is, no answer will be found.  

The Universe is expanding.  Faster and faster, too fast for its own good.  Gravity itself is being outrun by the expansion.  From a given point in the Universe, you can only see so far.  By the time light reaches you, the point it emanated from has receded.  As every point in the Universe accelerates away from every other point, the distance from which light, and the effects of gravity, can reach you shrinks.  We call this the observable universe.  When first realized, that distance was on the order of 50 billion light years.  Now... now that wavefront has breached solar systems and separated stars from their planets.  It won't be much longer until the planets themselves are gravitationally unbound, and everything down to quarks and gluons will be totally isolated, tiny Universes in their own right.  We can't outrun it, it's coming from every direction.  Hell, we can't even dive into it and get to the End faster; every point in the Universe is affected exactly the same.  

A month ago the red dwarf star around which my home rotates vanished from the sky.  I will never again see the star I grew up under.  I wish it didn't have to end this way.  Everyone and everything will be alone before it ends.  The Universe has been disappearing for billions of years.  Starting with the galaxies.  The Andromedy Way, where it all began, hasn't been seen for a billion years.   I never had the chance to see it.  The last star in the sky faded a mere hundred years ago.  

 I've picked myself out a great spot, at least.  This planet has some great scenery.  All of it lit up artificially, of course.  Maybe I'll see the mountains in the distance wink out before it hits me.  Of course when that happens, there will only be seconds left.  It can't be long now.  The mountains just vanished.  Who am I kidding... I wasn't ready for th

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