The year is 2432,
Sergeant Dunning Spitz is thirsty, he's been on patrol in this God forsaken hell hole for 6 weeks now and the heat is the one thing he simply can't take.
Africa is hot, a kind of hot you remember like no other but Dunning was still thankful...thankful that most of his reconnaissance was being done by proxy of his swarm. See, Dunning is a field Covert Operations specialist (CoPs), he uses his active camo. gear to appear as little more than a shimmer on the soil to those no closer than 10 yards away and he's got a nearly silent robo carrier upon which he is riding...and riding he must....the terrain in this part of Africa is a twisted mess of wet rocks and roots that would have ones feet feeling like they'd been beaten intentionally after only a few hours.
But damn there is that heat, as he takes out his canteen to get a sip of Peltier cooled water his perimeter sensor beeps indicating that one of his drones is returning from its distal surveillance run. Distal surveillance for these drones which look remarkably like dragon flies can be miles ahead of their CoPs, see these drones are the most efficient that the Marines could buy. Complete with wings that double as photo conductive surfaces they could stay on the wing indefinitely, their power stored in super capacitors that could provide them enough power for full flight capability during an equatorial night. However flying is the easy thing for these guys, the on board brain is capable of performing the full suite of flight maneuvers of a real dragon fly including the amazing ability to hover in a spot and turn on a dime....no, the real power of the swarm drone lay in its ability to record high resolution video of what ever its night sensitive eyes are looking at, it has two and thus is able to capture binocular images of the scene complete with the depth perception that binocular vision provides.
Each CoPs is usually deployed with 4 "snitch" drones (as the aforementioned surveillance drones are called) and two "justice" drones. The snitches are barely 5 inches long but they contain a radio for long range transmission of their video data back to the CoPs who can then analyze that data in place or relay that data further back to rearward positions. Using a Mesh network 4 snitches can roam as far as 4 miles ahead of the CoPs. These drones offer continuous visibility over large areas of land...there is basically nothing of a dangerous nature that can come within a mile of the CoPs with out a snitch notifying them of their presence.
But what good is knowing danger is about when you can't do anything about it?
That's what the "justice" drones are for, they are bigger about 15 inches each and they are also solar powered but because they have a larger super capacitor they are faster...also unlike the snitches, "justice" drones patrol vertically above the CoPs in a scan zone that can see far beyond the patrol range of the snitches below...but all are in the same Mesh network...sharing and relaying information. The purpose of the "justice" bots? Why to bring down the wrath of God on any thing determined to be a target by any of the swarm snitches.
In a process called delegation and consensus, the snitches and justice drones analyze data gathered by the snitches and sent up to the justice drones. Rearward positions have long range artillery of both ballistic and kinetic nature that can be given precise coordinates for identified targets. Delegation is the process through which "snitch" drones identify ground level potential threats and negotiate with "justice" drones over the merits of the data, often snitches "commune" by gathering data on a single target from multiple vantage points...the data is then analyzed by the "justice" drone over head and consensus is reached on what to do. Once consensus on a strike is agreed by all observers in the interaction, the data is sent rearward to program the artillery which neutralizes the threat with a precision delivered strike. Once concluded the snitches survey the strike zone and if the target is neutralized return back to the CoPs.
That is what the little guy was doing when Dunning was drinking his water returning back from mission, the snitch came in and perched on two of the 4 mounts provided for its sibling snitches, 3 of which were still away on mission. Dunning is already reviewing the mission data from the strike to make sure all went well...he's been field deployed for 6 weeks has had his swarm neutralize 32 enemy targets and he's never seen a single combatant with his own eyes...he marvels for a bit at the irony that here he is engaged in a war that is being fought for him by proxy of his snitches, his justice and the rearward mighty hand of God....but then takes another sip of cool water thinking "damned heat!"