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Back in the '80s I read a short story (which might have been old, then) about aliens in a war with other aliens finding Earth which had previously been locked away, I think, by some kind of lock on the Moon. After some misgivings, they unlocked Earth and landed to ask for help. Earth seemed completely pastoral and they almost gave up hope of getting help, but persisted and humans finally agreed to help them. At the end of the story, they get back in their space ship and wait for Earth's space ships to fly out and help them when the Earth itself grows an engine and flies after them.

I have been looking for this story on and off for a couple of decades and have never found it, but my daughter was asking about some of the short stories I enjoyed as a youngster and this one came up, so I'd really like to find it, now. I've looked through several hundred old anthologies and haven't found it, yet, but I found StackExchange, so I'm hoping someone here can help me. I know this isn't much detail to work with, but I'm working from old memories. Thanks in advance for the help (or attempt).

marked as duplicate by John Rennie, Gallifreyan, Rand al'Thor Jan 8 '17 at 11:57

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  • 4
    Maybe "With Friends Like These" by Alan Dean Foster? This story has come up in previous questions on this site. – user14111 Jan 8 '17 at 7:21
  • 2
    Check out these questions and answers: 1, 2, 3, 4, . . . – user14111 Jan 8 '17 at 7:32
  • 3
    . . . 5, 6, 7. Looks like it's a mighty popular story. – user14111 Jan 8 '17 at 7:35
  • That certainly looks right. I haven't been able to find an available copy (there don't appear to be any e-books containing this short story), so I can't be sure, but this appears to be a duplicate with all those other questions. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do, now, except thank you for your help. – GreyGrowl Jan 8 '17 at 8:04
  • 2
    This is the story I was looking for and is a duplicate of the other questions. I found where someone had pasted some of it online and verified it. Now, I have to find a physical copy of the book since I can't find an electronic copy so I can read it, again. I just hate having an excuse to visit a bunch of used book stores... Thank you all for your help. – GreyGrowl Jan 8 '17 at 19:45