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I read this story in a collection of short stories the 1980's and I am now looking for the publication. All I can recall is that it was about a warrior race imprisoned on their own planet by an Alliance of other planets. This imprisonment took the form of placing a force field around the entire planet that was controlled by the planet's moon. The Alliance does not contact the warrior race for years; but eventually sends a delegation to the planet to ask for their help defending against an invader. The Alliance finds what appears to be a peaceful agrarian society with little or no appearance of a warrior race. Most of the Alliance delegation thinks there is little that the former Warrior race can do to help so they agree to turn off the moon force shield and the former Warrior race agrees to come to their aid. In the mean time an away party, not the negotiation party finds out that the entire planet is filled with machinery, but they are unable to communicate this to the negotiation party before they leave.

At the end of the story the Alliance ask will the Warrior race help since they do not appear to have any ships; the story ends with the entire planet being revealed as a ship and the formal imprisoning moon being drawn along with the planet ship, once the force field generator is destroyed. Can anyone name this story or help me find it???

marked as duplicate by Daniel Roseman, Jason Baker, Null, Ward, Often Right Oct 28 '15 at 6:43

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Sounds like it could be With Friends Like These by Alan Dean Foster. The full text is on this Reddit webpage.

On the shield:

"Then a great scientist of one of the allied races of the Veen discovered, quite by accident, the quasi-mathematical principle behind the Shield. The nature of the Shield forbade its use on anything smaller than a good-sized moon. It was thus useless for such obvious military applications as, for example, a ship defensive screen. Then someone got the bright idea of enveloping the entire planet of Terra in one huge Shield, making it into an impenetrable cage. At worst, it would provide the Empire with a breathing spell in which to marshal its sorely battered forces. At best it would restrict the Terrans to their own fortress until such time as the Veen saw fit to let them out. The chances of the Terrans accidentally stumbling onto the same principle was considered to be slight. As you can now see, this indeed has been the case." The Professor sighed again, a high, whistling sound.

Turning it off:

He paused, open-mouthed, concentration broken. The Terran was staring upward. His face had . . . changed. It was brightening, expanding, opening hitherto unsuspecting vistas to their startled gaze, like a night-blooming flower. Within those two small oculars, previously so gray and limpid, there now glowed a deep-down fire that seemed to pierce upward and spread over all present like a nerve-deadening drug. It made the commander draw back and Zinin hiss involuntarily. "The Shield Is Down!" shouted the native, flinging its arms wide. "The Shield Is Down!" answered his wife. And all over the planet, among all the members, large and small, of the Brotherhood of Warmblood; the dogs, the mice; the cats and orcas, birds and shrews; ungulates, carnivores, herbivores, and omni-vores, the great telepathic shout went up: "THE SHIELD IS DOWN!"

Regarding The Moon being drawn along

On board the cruiser it was very quiet.

"I see," whispered Rappan idly, "that they are bringing their moon along also."

"You get accustomed to something like that," breathed an engineer. "A moon, I mean."

  • And if so, it's a duplicate of this question (and others, but this one has an accepted answer). – Mr Lister Oct 21 '15 at 19:16
  • Good find. Beat me by a few seconds. – Valorum Oct 21 '15 at 19:19
  • With Friends Like These - Alan Dean Foster : Yes, this was it. Thanks for helping me ID. Sincerely, S. – Stephen G Oct 27 '15 at 16:51
  • @StephenG Please accept this answer to indicate that it is correct (click the checkmark at the top left of the answer). – Null Oct 28 '15 at 3:12

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