He awoke in darkness, as always, and for some while was disoriented. But soon enough he opened his eyes. It was still a little warm, but it was still quite cool enough for him, and obviously it would be getting colder or he wouldn't have awakened from quiescence.

He stretched himself and went to investigate the situation. He clucked his tongue. Once again, the light of that hateful heat-source was obscured by large clouds of particulate matter. The high levels of radiation made it unlikely to have been just an asteroid this time, though.

He tried to remember what had been going on, that time he'd woken up. Things had been a little cool, but he didn't do more than attend to urgent needs before slipping back into estivation. Those small bristly creatures had radiated into the niches left vacant by the large scaly ones, hadn't they? It was so hard to predict these things. He was glad he'd never gotten into the habit of betting on it. He would've lost everything he owned betting on those segmented ones, but who would've thought the chordates could have lasted so long?

Well, from the looks of things the segmented ones would have their chance again. The bristly chordates seemed to have discovered thermonuclear weapons, and then used them on each other. Some creatures just never learned. Oh, well, it was always more peaceful without other intelligent life, though that radiation was a nuisance. By the time it dissipated, things would be too hot again.

While he was up, he decided to check his messages. Enetop was crowing about how much he'd won by betting on some diaphanous creature that outlasted the ice-worms his opponent had chosen. Faille was contemplating fission again. He wondered how she could stand it. She even sometimes lived with herself for an eon or two afterward. He shuddered. He could never understand gregarious people like that.

He was hungry, he realized. Undulating his outer mantle, he wafted over to the siphon.

[ (Stevi Deter) gave me the words


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The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey /