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It's been a long time, so details are fuzzy, but here goes:

Humans are exploring some asteroid belt and they come across some space insects (& other weird biological creatures) instinctively mining ores and such. The humans start using artificial pheromones to control the bugs and make them give the ore to human mining ships. The upset to the hive's patterns ... wakes up a dormant intelligent mind ... which then threatens the humans with assimilation. One line that stuck with me is the hive brain telling the frightened miner: "That creature you see over there eating your vomit; a million years ago they called themselves the Lions, and were the terror of the Galaxy."

marked as duplicate by Au101, Valorum story-identification Mar 15 '17 at 23:14

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