A massive alien artifact is discovered beneath the desert outside of Laguna, New Mexico. Before its existence can be concealed, the object unearths itself and news of the discovery is leaked to the international media. As religious leaders strive to reconcile the artifact's existence with their faiths and governments wrestle over its many secrets and how to exploit them, ordinary men and women around the world struggle to make sense of a perpetual onslaught of live and unfiltered news broadcasts about the object. When a survey team is sent in to examine and explore it, they discover that not only is the artifact still operational, but it is conscious and has been waiting for tens of millions of years...
In the beginning all was void and without form. There was no substance, no matter or energy. The elemental forces did not exist; neither did space or time. All that existed was nothing. Born of this irresolute paradox the Universe came into being and for the first time the eternal dark was broken by the Light.
The order of oblivion was shattered by the chaos of creation. Elemental forces of unstoppable violence roiled, pushing back the void to make room for the strange powers and energies that were screaming out from the core of creation to find their place in the new reality. The elemental powers, titans of weak and strong and strange attractors defined the first basic laws that governed creation. Their wrestling war against one another unleashed the energy that fuelled the continued growth of existence. Protomatter coalesced from burning plasma caught in fields of cold unmerciful gravity only to be rent asunder and scattered in an ever-widening sphere. The farther away from the violent chaos of creation these scattered elements fled the cooler they became. And as the matter and energy of the newborn universe began to cool a new order descended over all.
Vast nebulae formed from cooling gasses and strange, elemental particles. These nebulae grew so large and dense, so fertile with the stuff of creation that they began to collapse upon themselves. As matter condensed energy was released in violent reactions and chain reactions. New explosions dawned in a universe scarcely a billion years old. Globules of superhot matter and energy were scattered to the winds of spacetime, trailing dust in their wake. When these burning spheres finally came to rest rotating gracefully on their own axes, the dust they had stolen began to settle into rings and disks around them. Slowly these disks of dust underwent their own transformations, forming dense pockets of matter and trapped energy all their own. Sometimes enough substance would collect into spheres of gas. Sometimes these spheres would collapse and ignite, becoming new, smaller stars. In other cases the matter would collect into loosely affiliated but nevertheless super dense clouds of gas. Just as often matter would collect into spheres dense enough to harden into planets or cold, random lumps of rock. Other stranger forms of matter and energy were often born but their placement would remain as much a mystery as their substance.
Not every world would bear the gift of life, but life still appeared and in many cases flourished in the otherwise barren universe. Not all worlds that held life held it long enough for sentience to emerge. And not all worlds that held sentient life would live long enough for that life to spread out beyond the cradle of its birth. And tragically the losses on these worlds went unnoticed by the universe at large. On many of these worlds civilizations rose and fell, succeeding and often failing on their own merits. Other times it was blind and uncaring cosmic chance that decided their fates.
But on every world where life did prosper, where sentience emerged, the desire to understand the origins of their world, their universe emerged as well. Many worlds approached these issues from a philosophical standpoint, looking to the sun, to spirits, to gods to ponder questions about the nature of the universe and why they were in it. Other worlds looked at creation analytically, using the methods of empirical knowledge to determine how they came to be. Many worlds asked both how and why, trying to merge the twin opposites of science and religion into one. Invariably whether worlds of individuals or hive-like superorganisms, whether peaceful or warlike, whether superstitious or scientific, all sentient worlds turned their attention beyond their nesting spheres and out into the heavens. The ships created by these worlds were as wide in variety as the races that spawned them. Their means of propulsion were diverse, sometimes using systems of kinesis and power that the scientists of other worlds would maintain were impossible.
Make sure you read Steve's next novel: Through Darkness and Stars, available free on obooko