3061 End of the Warring Swarms Period

One of the last two major swarms (Krrz) succeeds in placing swarm markers at the swarm hearts of its competitor (Zchf). Immediately, the individuals of the respective Zchf swarm heart identify with Krrz switching sides. Thus 70% of the Chinti belong to Krrz. Individual Zchf swarm hearts continue to resist for several years. By 3070, Krrz takes over some smaller swarms that had, until then, managed to stay out of the big swarms' disputes. The last known Zchf swarm hearts are assimilated by 3073 unifying all Chinti into one single victorious swarm. This ends a nearly 300-year Period of Warring Swarms.

Chinti individuals of all castes are born with the genetic markers of the swarm heart. They are recognized by other members and consider themselves to be members of the swarm. It is not possible to persuade, bribe, or threaten a Chinti to switch sides. Their loyalty cannot be shaken because Chinti individuals are genetically imprinted to be loyal to the swarm heart marking them. In humans terms such a genetically based loyalty appears absolute and unchangeable. But the genetic structure Chinti biology is more flexible.

Chinti can send information through genetically encoded transmitter substances. Historically, much of the permanent information was stored genetically. While humans had to develop writing and the printing press, the Chinti have always had permanent gene-based storage capabilities hard-wired into their biology. In the modern information age, of course, the Chinti also use digital storage for the gigantic amounts of data of a modern civilization. But the basic mechanism for passing on genetic information remains.

Swarm markers are also genetically encoded. They can be transmitted through the air. Chinti biology is designed to detect and process even trace amounts of gene transmitters. Therefore, in conflicts Chinti are very receptive to swarm markers spread by victorious troops. Newly received swarm markers spread rapidly through the nervous system of a Chinti individual causing the individual to change swarm affiliation. From a human point of view, this looks like a viral infection that runs very fast manipulating opinions and thoughts of the infected. For the Chinti, however, this is the normal course of events. This is how information and beliefs spread – and also swarm affiliation.

The transmission of swarm markers needs biological contact though. Therefore, Chinti can resist with technical means: field screens or simple airtight protective suits. Of course, in space battles, no air transmission is possible. And without swarm marker transmission Chinti ships fight to the end, never giving up.

Historically, that was quite different. In ancient times open field battles between swarms were decided by the superiority of swarm markers in the air. As soon as one of the competing swarm's markers prevailed, the warriors switched sides. For this reason, the primary goal in military conflicts was to reduce the number of opposing warriors giving off swarm markers. Once one side had gained the upper hand genetically, achieving "air supremacy", the battle was decided. The remaining troops of the losing party did not have to be captured. They joined the victorious swarm immediately becoming full members. Of course, in battlefield tactics wind direction played an important role as well as the use of the marker caste specialized in spreading swarm markers in an artillery like fashion.

In modern conflicts between swarm hearts, the biological troops are protected from foreign swarm markers by technology. Today, in order to turn a Chinti warrior around it must be disarmed and its protective suit removed. However, since Chinti warriors never give up, it is not easy to disarm them. Over time, the Chinti have developed many techniques to mark even shielded enemy warriors. Initially they used fragmentation grenades that perforated protective suits with tiny nonlethal splinters. Defenders responded by reinforcing the suits and by adding self-healing gel layers. Later, at even higher tech levels, nanobots began to work their way through armor carrying gene transmitter agents right along with them. Defensive measures then included nanobots encasing warriors, field screens, and nanophages hunting intruding nanites. While Humans basically employ the same technologies, there is the small but important difference that Human weapons are made to kill or disable physically, while the Chinti primarily strive to mark and turn warriors around.

To completely assimilate an opposing swarm there is more to be done than just marking all Chinti individuals. The swarm heart must also be taken genetically. The swarm is represented by its heart, a building-sized organism that gives birth to all individuals and is regarded as the consciousness (some say the soul) of the swarm while not being intelligent by itself. Swarm hearts are much more resistant than individuals. They themselves have large amounts of gene transmitters in their glands. To take over a swarm heart, attackers must clean the heart by removing existing gene transmitters as best they can without harming the heart. Then several members of the marker caste try to gain gene sovereignty. How long this takes depends very much on the actual size of the swarm heart to be taken over. It is estimated that 10 to 20 Chinti of the marker caste will need several hours. Of course, the swarm heart is particularly well defended. So, the attackers must first take out the swarm heart's defenders securing the area.

Sometimes it is easier to turn all the enemy troops and then work on the undefended swarm heart. On the other hand, taking the swarm heart early has a significant advantage for attackers because Chinti individuals strive the have the same affiliation as their swarm heart. Once they learn that their swarm heart has been taken over, they try on their own to get the new genetic mark, either from their own swarm heart that has just been taken over or simply by ceasing to resist the sustained marking attacks. In other words, once the swarm heart is marked, the Chinti warriors and all other castes follow voluntarily.

Both strategies are equally promising. Victory is achieved either by defeating the enemy's troops or by capturing the swarm heart. The combination of both strategies results in a complex tactical situation. In game theory, this combination is called "Symmetric Capture the Flag with Victory Timer" concurrently with a "Team Deathmatch with Unit Flip".