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Story is set on an earth of the relatively near future that recognises potential danger of first contact so viruses have been seeded in the outer reaches to infect the minds of aliens with a mental bridge to human operators. When a virus is eventually discovered by an alien race so begins the story of the human 'controllers' race to discover enough about the more technically advanced aliens so when physical contact is made humans can bluff them sufficiently to prevent war. The aliens I recall are an ant like race with similar specialised castes including very powerful 'soldier' types vastly more powerful than humans.

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    When did you read it? Where? Do you remember anything about the cover, or any other details? Welcome to the SF&Fantasy Stack, by the way. – SQB Oct 17 '16 at 6:56

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