A science fiction novella initially published in Lou Anders' "Fast Forward 2" anthology, Pyr, 2008. It's the tale of duelling galactic colony-organisms that are competing to recruit all the matter in the universe for raw computation.
angles dimmed in a frown. "I just wondered--in the moment that you opened up that piece of Demiurge... nothing else... happened? I mean, it was really, uh... dead?"
Paquette shuddered. "Dead and cold," she said. "Thank stochasticity."
Elsewhere, another Paquette, sleepless, pawed through other archives, found another ancient alien clot of raw data, studied it, learned its secrets, and learned the common genesis of Self and Foe--and suddenly could no longer bear the mystery alone, and turned away from the lifeless hulk. A party, this other Paquette thought. There's one going on now; that would be just the thing. Talk with colleagues, selfsurf, flirt with filterboys--anything to get away from here for a bit, to gain perspective.
But something made this other Paquette turn back--turn and reach out and touch a part of the Demiurge fragment she hadn't touched before.
Its matte black surface incandesced to searing light, and this other Paquette was seized and pulled away, out