7

The story opens with a simple pastoral teenage boy in a forest proudly giving the pre-diaspora greeting chosen to make known the kinship of earthlings wherever encountered. A very militaristic male who has just landed on the planet gives the appropriate response. The boy's people, the inhabitants of the planet, live very peacefully and close to nature. They are in constant telepathic communication by means of a simple beaded belt worn at the waist securing their flowing robes. In the end the wannabe invader is shown how to make and maintain the belt. He knows that he will be a hero for taking home a tool that will be of great assistance to his people in their quest for galactic militaristic dominance. He only understands a small part of the powers of the belt.

2
  • Thank you for your service, 14111! I have been looking for this for some time. My son suggested that I try stackexchange, much appreciated. – Dale Morrow Sep 30 '16 at 13:38
  • You're welcome! – user14111 Sep 30 '16 at 13:50
5

"The Skills of Xanadu", a 1956 novelette by Theodore Sturgeon, also the answer to this question; first published in Galaxy Science Fiction, July 1956, which is available at the Internet Archive (click here for more download options).

a post-earth diaspora

And the Sun went nova and humanity fragmented and fled; and such is the self-knowledge of humankind that it knew it must guard its past as it guarded its being, or it would cease to be human; and such was its pride in itself that it made of its traditions a ritual and a standard.

The story opens with a simple pastoral teenage boy in a forest proudly giving the pre-diaspora greeting chosen to make known the kinship of earthlings wherever encountered. A very militaristic male who has just landed on the planet gives the appropriate response.

Bril emerged near the pink star, disliking its light, and found the fourth planet. It hung waiting for him like an exotic fruit. (And was it ripe, and could he ripen it? And what if it were poison?) He left his machine in orbit and descended in a bubble. A young savage watched him come and waited by a waterfall.

"Earth was my mother," said Bril from the bubble. It was the formal greeting of all humankind, spoken in the Old Tongue.

"And my father," said the savage, in an atrocious accent.

Watchfully, Bril emerged from the bubble, but stood very close by it. He completed his part of the ritual. "I respect the disparity of our wants, as individuals, and greet you."

"I respect the identity of our needs, as humans, and greet you. I am Wonyne," said the youth, "son of Tanyne, of the Senate, and Nina. This place is Xanadu, the district, on Xanadu, the fourth planet."

"I am Bril of Kit Carson, second planet of the Sumner System, and a member of the Sole Authority," said the newcomer, adding, "and I come in peace."

They are in constant telepathic communication

Noncommittally, Bril said, "How do I know that what I tell you is accurately relayed to the others?"

"It isn't related," said Tan frankly. "We all hear it simultaneously."

"Some sort of radio?"

Tan hesitated, then nodded. "Some sort of radio."

by means of a simple beaded belt worn at the waist securing their flowing robes.

He wore only a cobwebby tunic and a broad belt made of flat, black, brilliantly polished stones and could hardly have concealed so much as a dart.

In the end the wannabe invader is shown how to make and maintain the belt.

Just how the presses—little more than lids for the forms—operated, the Old Tongue couldn't tell him, but in four or five seconds the precipitate had turned into the black stones used in their belts, formed and polished, with a chemical formula in Old Tongue script cut into the back of the left buckle.

"One of our few superstitions," said Tanyne. "It's the formula for the belts—even a primitive chemistry could make them. We would like to see them copied, duplicated all over the Universe. They are what we are. Wear one, Bril. You would be one of us, then."

He knows that he will be a hero for taking home a tool that will be of great assistance to his people in their quest for galactic militaristic dominance.

And he understood the authority that lay in this new aura, and it came to him then how his home planet could be welded into a unit such as the universe had never seen. Xanadu had not done it, because Xanadu had grown randomly with its gift, without the preliminary pounding and shaping and milling of authority and discipline.

But Kit Carson! Carson with all skills and all talents shared among all its people, and overall and commanding, creating that vacuum of need and instant fulfillment, the Sole Authority and the State. It must be so (even though, far down, something in him wondered why the State kept so much understanding away from its people), for with this new depth came a solemn new dedication to his home and all it stood for.

He only understands a small part of the powers of the belt.

And then, as the designers in Xanadu had planned, all the other segments of the black belts joined the first meager two in full operation.

A billion and a half human souls, who had been given the techniques of music and the graphic arts, and the theory of technology, now had the others: philosophy and logic and love; sympathy, empathy, forbearance, unity in the idea of their species rather than in their obedience; membership in harmony with all life everywhere.

A people with such feelings and their derived skills cannot be slaves. As the light burst upon them, there was only one concentration possible to each of them—to be free, and the accomplished feeling of being free. As each found it, he was an expert in freedom, and expert succeeded expert, transcended expert, until (in a moment) a billion and a half human sould had no greater skill than the talent of freedom.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.