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The Genetithief Swarm is a colony of aggressive, semi-intelligent beings. They are seen as nothing more than pests, or a plague. Some Zealots see them as a punishment sent by whichever deity they choose to worship. Others call them an evolutionary nightmare and the end to all life. But what most don't realize is that there is more to the Genetithievs than mindless killing.

History Edit

The Genetithieves' origins are shrouded in mystery. They are found on a number of planets completely devoid of any intelligent life, but there is no evidence that they could hop between planets or solar systems by themselves. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that they were brought to their homes by an interstellar race of some kind, but evidence for their existence is yet to be found.

Species Edit

Larvaptor

Genetithief juvenus is the scientific name of what is known as the Larvaptor. This Pomeranian-sized creature is as basic of a design as has been seen of the Genetithief Swarm. They, like most of the species, have six limbs, and use a short tail for balance. They tend to be slow, and could be seen as easy prey if it were not for the defense the colony provides.

They are hardly a threat, choosing to hide rather than attack invaders, and even their appearance gives them a less aggressive demeanor. The Larvaptor are almost helpless for the first few weeks of life, having to be fed by the hunter-gatherers until they build up enough body fat to spin themselves into a cocoon and metamorphose.

Larvaptors have the DNA for each one of the castes imbued in their system, including that of the Swarmlord. However, they tend to metamorphose into whatever creature is needed most at the time, or whatever the Swarmlord itself requests of them. Much like the caterpillar, it is unknown how the Larvaptor goes through such changes. The issue not being so much that the Larvaptor looks completely different compared to the adult forms, but rather that it is so complex compared to an actual insect that it's unknown how the body manages to cope with the change.

When the Larvaptor emerges, it is no longer a Larvaptor, but one of the more advanced castes of Genetithief. During this time, they are weak, hungry, and helpless, for a few days at least. The colony makes sure to keep these new adults safe until they are able to do work.

The small size of a Larvaptor, however, is an advantage even in the midst of fighting. They can crawl into tiny gaps and holes that would be hard or impossible to reach without digging, and larvaptors can actually dig with frightening efficiency for their size. If a single larvaptor escapes, it has the potential for starting the cycle over again as a new Swarmlord.

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Genetithief subversius is the same size as the Larvaptor, and can be crucial in a war with the ruling species. The Saboteur is deadly in its own right due to being tied with the Drone for the second most intelligent species in the swarm, after the Swarmlord. These small creatures do not rely on brute strength, but rather use ambush attacks if forced into battle. But their main use is as the name implies. These creatures were born to sabotage structures.

The Saboteur has the ability to create electricity, thanks to a number of pods on their back that can absorb even the slightest electric charge from the air. The Saboteurs are capable of high power, ranged electric shocks, but doing so is extremely dangerous and can cause the pods to rupture, usually ending in death.

The Saboteur rather uses the electricity through two scythes on their forelimbs. These scythes can conduct electricity, and this makes them deadly. A Saboteur has only to stab into a power relay, and it can absorb the power and shut down a whole compound, then it just needs to stab the scythes into some poor, unwary lifeform, and it can deliver a shock power enough to kill an elephant. The reason this is not deadly to the Saboteur is that the power is being lost through actual conduction, rather than being forced from organs not meant for firing electric shocks.

Saboteurs have been argued to be intelligent enough to fly spaceships, but there is no actual evidence for this, besides a spaceship with the bodies of both Saboteurs and the crew found on board. This only led most to believe that the Saboteurs destroyed the ship rather than attempt to control it.

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Genetithief expendus is the most common type of Genetithief there is. These jaguar-sized creatures are deadly in their own right, but nominal compared to some of the other species in the swarm. While they can hold their own in a head-on, one-on-one fight, those with the superior technology tend to win. Thus, the Expendosaurs like to use numbers or stealth, overpowering their enemies in packs, or attacking without being noticed.

Expendosaurs are also the main labor force of the colony, usually the young ones, or the battle-worn ones. They care for the young, clean and expand the nest, and do all the foraging. While they are seen as nothing by those who don't know better, the colony actually needs them. The Expendosaur's lanky body allows it to squeeze into places most others can't go. Their long legs are perfect for scooping out huge amounts of dirt as they carve tunnels into the earth, and their speed and agility make them perfect hunters of even the most evasive of prey.

The Expendosaur is actually feared more than any other species, other than the Bitterclaw, due to their relentlessness. As the Bitterclaw is so uncommon, and the Expendosaurs so extremely common, some wonder if the Expendosaurs are actually more threatening than the Bitterclaw. Most scars on veterans of wars on the Swarm are from the Expendosaurs.

Expendosaurs are also known to have a habit of being hard to pry off of something once they grab on. Their jaws can lock like a Pitbull's, and the creature's jaw will sometimes stay locked after death.

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Genetithief regurgitatus is both a strong and weak creature in the swarm. The leopard-sized Spitopotamus, referred to as the Spitter by most, is a rotund, sluggish creature with a long tail that curves up and over the back, much like the Willosaur. The tail ends in a spitting appendage which is linked directly to the stomach. The stomach produces an excess of acid for the creature's purposes. As should be no surprise, the Spitopotamus is the ranged fighter of the Swarm. Their spit, as can be assumed, is deadly and painful, and is more acidic than even typical stomach acid.

The acid has the potential to burn through most substances, including many types of metals. Skin and bone are nothing to it. Spitopotamus are taken out on sight because of this acid, as no substance has yet been discovered to rival them. No alloy or fabric can hold up against it. However, it is safe to assume that the answer lies inside the Spitopotamus. It should make sense that the one substance that can combat the acid is whatever mucus or other lining protects the stomach from being digested. Thus, attempts to capture the Spitopotamus alive have been attempted. But the Spitopotamus have been known to exterminate themselves with a wad of acid to the head rather than letting themselves be captured. Dead Spitopotamus are useless, as both the acid and whatever substance keeps it at bay decay quickly after death.

Spitopotamus are weak in melee combat, possessing some of the weakest jaws in the swarm, as well as hollow teeth. A Spitopotamus in a hand-to-jaw fight is most likely going to die.

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Genetithief brutus is the lion-sized heavy infantry of the Swarm. Brutosaurs charge in head first and don't fool around. Their forelimbs sport a pair of spiked clubs with enough power behind them to break bones with ease, as well as a powerful jaw full of serrated teeth. Brutosaurs tend to be hard to take down, whether it be due to a higher vitality or just higher insanity compared to the rest of the swarm is unknown. But everyone aims for the Brutosaur when they get too close. The only person to survive a Brutosaur attack was left paralyzed, brain damaged, and without one of their arms.

The Brutosaur is actually one of the more cunning of the species of the Swarm, able to parry and dodge any melee attacks with relative ease. They seem to have developed a certain skill level in handling their overly-large weapons, so much so that most melee combat masters would be put to shame. And then bludgeoned to death.

The Brutosaurs seem to have larger adrenal glands than their relatives, no doubt the main reason that they go into a bloodthirsty frenzy as they charge into the fray.

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Genetithief valkyrus is the reconnaissance and aerial-support caste of the Swarm. These tiger-sized creatures are the only ones capable of flight, and are tied with the Saboteur for the second most intelligent species in the Swarm. Their know-how lies in different ideals, however. The Saboteur needs to know how to make something stop working and how to get to it. The Drone is a mastermind amongst the Swarm for strategy. They are the front line commanders, giving orders where the Swarmlord may be unable to, depending on the distance from their monarch.

The Drone is relatively weak in combat, able to be easily shot out of the sky and not very deadly in a direct attack. However, the Drones are notorious for swooping down like a bird of prey, digging their claws in, and carrying off unsuspecting soldiers. Favored killing methods include tearing apart in mid air, dropping from a height, dropping into a pit of lava, dropping into a power relay, dropping into a building that is on fire, dropping into deep water, or dropping into the mouth of a hungry Bitterclaw.

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The Tyrannosaurus-sized Bitterclaw is to the right, and the larger Swarmlord is to the left.

Genetithief ocrudicus is the creature no one wants to see come charging in. This creature is roughly the size of a Tyrannosaurus, but much deadlier. For a start, their arms are properly evolved weapons, with their hand able to generate enough force to crush creatures like toothpicks. Then there are the jaws capable of crushing bones, the two large, sharp horns that could impale the armor of a spacecraft, and the whole issue of being crushed under the feet of a six or seven ton monster is also a point to watch out for.

Bitterclaws may be deadly to the unwary, but are unable to hold up under massive weapon fire. Despite this, they charge in kamikaze style, wreaking as much havoc as they can before attempting a retreat. Some are successful in the retreat. Others are not. Having to charge past these massive walls of meat can create barriers for both sides, as well as new ambush points and places to hide.

Some Bitterclaws have been known to fake death, suddenly coming to life in the middle of an advancing attack force and completely obliterating platoons of soliders and whole vehicle squadrons.

Thus the Bitterclaw is feared above all others.

Genetitheft Swarm

Genetithief rex, known commonly as the Swarmlord, is the parent to all creatures of an infestation. Their death means the colony's death. They communicate through an extremely high-frequency ultrasound, which can travel for miles. The lesser castes can respond in kind, thus allowing for constant communication between the monarch and its colony.

As the ultrasound can only go so far, the members of the colony are highly independent, relying on their own problem solving skills and common sense to outwit and outmaneuver the enemy. This is also why it is believed that Drones are front line commanders.

The Swarmlord itself is a terrifying creature. This creature can easily surpass the size of some of Earth's prehistoric predators. To keep this high maintenance processing plant working, the Swarmlord is omnivorous, the only other omnivore in the Swarm being the Larvaptor. All others are carnivores. The Swarmlords rely on a working force of young and inexperienced or old, battle-worn Expendosaurs to harvest food and keep the colony running.

Swarmlords have a terrifying ability to absorb genetic material, like their single celled ancestors. The Swarmlord forces a tube out of its throat, attached to a gizzard like structure full of an odd mucus. It spits this mucus on a corpse, which breaks down the corpse until a phlegm-like soup is left. The mucus is full of gene-stealing cells, which absorb the DNA of the cells of whatever dead biological matter they are spat on. The corpse, consequently, must be relatively fresh and undamaged, sometimes hard to achieve when hunting or fighting. The tube is the extended again, slurping this primordial soup back into the gizzard. The gizzard is actually capable of processing and replicating this DNA, which is imbued into the Swarmlord to be used at will to create new castes.

On conquered planets, daring research parties have found colonies in one of two states: Dead or alive. It turns out that without competition, the Swarm can grow too powerful depending on the present species. Many planets do not harbor enough biomass to feed the ever growing colony, or harbor to few natural competitors. As such, very few planets have sustained colonies on them, at least for an extended period of time.

The Swarmlord's exact size is unknown, as no one has actually gotten close enough to a body that had not already been torn apart from natural causes or from a multitude of explosives to measure it properly. They possess scales, a reptile-like body, six insect-like limbs, two antennae, and reptilian jaws overlaid by insect mandibles, just like the other species. But they are the only known bipedal Genetithief. Their other limbs evolved to a much more potent design. Their forelimbs evolved into hands, allowing them to manipulate their environment in a way few other Genetithieves can not. Their middle limbs have evolved two spiked clubs on the end, much like the Brutosaur. Their primary function need not be explained.

No one knows how the Swarm transfers from place to place. Some assume that Larvaptors, or even something smaller, sneak onto ships before they evacuate the planet, others think that Saboteurs have the intelligence to power and control a ship, at least for long enough to find habitable planets. The only evidence being the remains of an abandoned star cruiser, with the remains of Saboteurs inside. The theory was debunked by the fact that the bodies of the crew were there as well, meaning that the crew could have been killed by the Saboteurs messing with the ship and causing all life-support systems to shut off. So it is rather assumed that a Larvaptor may sneak into the ship, and stowaway until the ship comes to a new planet where a colony could be establish.

Swarmlords also have no known lifespan. It can be assumed, due to there being few threats to a creature this size, to be around eighty to a hundred years, and that a new Swarmlord would be born before the death of the old one to keep the colony alive.

Some believe that the Swarmlord is, in fact, sentient. However, there is no evidence to support this. What can be agreed on, however, is that it is an exceptionally intelligent creature, able to command battles from the comfort of its den. While one has never seen a Swarmlord in action, it is agreed that it would take a particularly gifted creature to maintain and control such a vast colony actively, unlike most colonial creatures which base their actions primarily on pure instinct, or pheromones that one cannot determine a new signal from actively. The Swarmlord's ability to communicate actively with the colony even beyond the nest is not something that a creature without some sort of developed intelligence could feasibly do.

Colony LifeEdit

The lives of the Genetithieves are shrouded in mystery. But there is a basic understanding of how the colony functions, mostly based off of the remains of past colonies, assumption, or research.

Founding the ColonyEdit

No colony can begin without its monarch. Shortly after hatching from the cocoon, the new Swarmlord must find a territory to claim and a place to begin the building of its nest. The future overlord has to be quick. With possible sentient life wanting the hide of every Genetithief in the universe, or fauna that might be able to challenge the monarch possibly being around the corner.

When the Swarmlord finds a suitable place for the beginnings of its nest, it will begin to dig down into the earth, using their forearms to scoop out any sediment in their way, and using their two spiked clubs to destroy any boulders.

The Swarmlord digs deep into the earth, then excavates the main chamber. It then proceeds to bury the entrance, except for a hole large enough for the smaller subordinates to fit through, making sure to bury it under vegetation such as ferns or long grass to keep it hidden. Then the foundations of the colony can be set in peace. The Swarmlord begins producing eggs. The eggs are fairly large, being mostly yolk, and soft-shelled. The yolk is imbued with special proteins that actually contain the DNA for any possible caste in the colony.

Most reptilian creatures are born completely developed, but this is achieved through extended incubation time within the egg. The Genetithieves cannot afford these luxuries. The incubation time of the eggs is only a single week, but the newborn Larvaptors are completely and utterly helpless for the next three to four weeks, as their scales and exoskeleton have yet to develop. The most crucial senses, such as sight or scent, are not quite developed yet either.

During this time with the first brood, the Swarmlord feeds the helpless young with a regurgitated mixture of lipids and proteins, to help the young Genetithieves develop. The monarch, by doing this, is making itself weaker. The Swarmlord will not excavate its nest out to hunt, for fear that any competitors will find the nest and kill the brood, and kill the monarch itself by extension.

When the brood fully matures, they take another few days to strengthen up before they go into their cocoons. Here, the Larvaptors will change their physical structure in a mature version of the Genetithief colony. The first brood is almost always one-hundred per cent Expendosaur, though some of the more advanced castes can show up in the first brood if that particular Larvaptor was greedy.

With the brood now mature, they quickly hasten to feed their monarch. They will harvest any biological matter that a Swarmlord can digest. Luckily, Swarmlord's can digest a lot. Meat, bone, bark, leaves and even the eggshells will not go to waste. The Expendosaurs work tirelessly day and night to feed their leader and return it to full health, so that it may begin to produce eggs again.

ExpansionEdit

After the colony has become sizable enough, expansion of the tunnel systems follows shortly after. The Genetithieves need water to survive, like all living things, but they can survive without it for about three months, no thanks to adaptations absorbed from desert-dwelling creatures. The Genetithieves dare not expose the tunnel through obvious means, such as a tunnel entrance near a water body. Rather, the Colony will do one of two things. They will sniff out underground reservoirs and dig the tunnel down to the water bodies to be used at leisure. If they cannot find water sources like these, then they will create their own.

They will dig to the closest major water body, which is usually not far if the Swarmlord has any common sense, and create their own reservoir, then create a small pocket into the water body through which the water can come in from the surface. While this is a sneaky way of getting water, the reservoir must be constantly maintained. The water could start eroding away at the ceiling over time, and a flood is one of the worst possible things for the colony to have to deal with.

The colony also builds storage rooms which must be ever expanded as the colony grows and more food is needed to keep the workers going. Those confined to working duty meticulously make sure that the stored food stays fresh. The Genetithefts are quite impartial to rotten meat and vegetation. While they can and will eat it if necessary, they are not fans of the scent of rot.

The next endeavor would be the creation of the Royal Chamber. This is the Swarmlord's true home. It is much larger than the main chamber that the monarch had excavated when the colony was founded. Here, the Swarmlord, eggs, and Larvaptors are all tended to. They also like to excavate many faux chambers. Offspring may be raised in them if the actual Royal Chamber becomes too overcrowded, but the main point of these chambers is to send invaders the wrong way, and usually into an ambush.

Eventually, the tunnels can span for miles, allowing access to a large amount of resources, and intimidating would be attackers. It is also a common tactic for the Swarm to dig right into the center of their enemy's defenses and attack from the inside.

AftermathEdit

When the colony has a planet surely in its grasp, usually one of two things happens. They survive or they die. Some Swarmlords do not slow down their reproduction rate when the main threat is past, and thus more resources are needed to keep the colony functioning. Eventually, the colony can strip their territory bare, and have to move on to new areas to stay alive. This can be dangerous. If an empire should decide to return to the planet, and finds the colony above ground, then they can be exterminated in one fell swoop. This is barring the idea that there could be lifeforms on the planet that could challenge even the Swarmlord. Eventually, the colony will do extensive, sometimes irreparable damage, and the lack of food will take its toll. They can even resort to cannibalism, but this only lasts for so long until even the Swarmlord finally gives in to starvation.

But most Swarmlords are smart enough to slow down with the egg laying, and eventually find a balance to the colony size and the ecosystem in their territory. Thus, this leads to smaller colonies than what is usually used to combat an reigning empire. Some castes also disappear in times of peace, such as Saboteurs or Spitopotamus, as they aren't really needed anymore. However, this doesn't mean they are vulnerable. A Swarmlord lays about three hundred eggs per day during times of war. They usually lay anywhere from ten to a hundred in peace time, depending on the environment, but can lay five hundred if they push themselves. In four weeks, a new Swarm is ready for combat.

It is inefficient to bomb a nest to kill off the colony. The nest can go a number of miles deep, and can span up to ten miles across. It would take a huge number of bombs to destroy the nest in this way. The planet could also be destroyed, but then that's one less planet to colonize in the future. So unless a race doesn't care how many planets are destroyed, the best option is to use ground forces. This means the least amount of destruction to the environment, and can still ensure extermination of the Swarm if handled properly.

IntelligenceEdit

The intelligence of the Swarm is odd. They are incapable of using tools, due to a number of restrictions. But they are capable of some advanced problem solving, and have a memory that can span their lifetime. The intelligence varies from species to species, with the Swarmlord being the smartest. Some wonder that the Swarm couldn't start building starships, but with only two species having hands, one of which is near the end of the intelligence spectrum, and the other being rarest and extremely large, it is unlikely.

The Drone is seen as the smartest after the Swarmlord. It is thought that they command the army where the Swarmlord cannot, as the ultrasound the Swarm uses to communicate only reaches so far. The Drones are the best candidate, as they can fly and spy on the enemy, and that they tend to stay out of combat, usually hovering above the battle and landing every now and again, usually at crucial points in the fight. If this is true, the Swarm can maintain a basic but organized military.

The Saboteur is seen as being on par with the Drones, but in their own field. Without them, anything that runs on electricity that could be used against the Swarm would be harder to take down. Their smaller frames allow them to sneak with relative ease, as well as squeeze through small gaps to get to their targets. They also need to know how to respond to situations that could change at any moment. The most crucial part is that they have a basic understanding of electronics, how to knock out the different systems they need to destroy, and even in what order they should be done. This lead to the idea that they could pilot a starship, though no proof of it actually exists.

The rest of the Swarm have developed problem solving skills, in situations where a commander can't walk them through step by step. Some have been known to play dead in situations where they can't win, they do it efficiently as well. They're heart rate slows to a minimum, and they keep almost perfectly still. They even allow loss of body heat. Or they can just lie down and pretend to be dead, it depends on how thoroughly the enemy is paying attention.

SpreadEdit

No one knows exactly how the colony gets from planet to planet. It can be assumed that Larvaptors sneak onto spaceships and hide away until the ship lands on a new planet where the Swarm could live. However, the Cythers never picked up on unusual life signs in their ships. This could mean that the Larvaptors have a hidden ability that can't be observed in colonial life. Regardless, a ship preparing to leave the planet must be kept well defend at all costs, lest a Genetithief sneak on board to spread the infestation.

RelationsEdit

This is a list of all the Empires the Genetithieves have encountered, and the general opinion of them.

FriendlyEdit

Green face None so far

NeutralEdit

Yellow face None so far

WarEdit

Red face None so far.

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