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I'm trying to identify a short story that I read in a sci-fi anthology from the late 60s or 70s about an expedition to an alien world.

The spaceship encounters a civilization and sends one crew member to the surface. This crew member meets the aliens, realizes something is amiss, and contacts the ship, "Hey, there's something wrong here, these guys are ... no, wait. Everything's fine. These guys are great. Come on down..." The crew member on the ship realizes the aliens are hostile and are trying to control his shipmate's mind.

Not knowing how far they can project their mind-control technique, the crew member onboard the spaceship hits the panic button that sends his ship hurtling back towards Earth where he warns everyone about the hostile aliens.

Earth prepares itself for attack, knowing that the aliens must have found out about Earth's location by picking the lost crew member's brain, but Earth's early-warning system proves ineffective when the aliens simply use mind-control to make the Earthlings ignore their own electronic warning system (which is sounding even as the Earth ships zoom away to oblivion).

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This is "The Hour of Battle" by Robert Sheckley.

You mention:

Earth's early-warning system proves ineffective when the aliens simply use mind-control to make the Earthlings ignore their own electronic warning system (which is sounding even as the Earth ships zoom away to oblivion).

It ends:

"That dial hasn't moved yet, has it?" Edwardson asked, over the clamor of the Detector alarm bell.

"Not a move out of it," Cassel said, looking at the dial with its indicator slammed all the way over to the highest notch.

  • That's it. Thank you so much. – JamesP Nov 2 '18 at 16:27
  • You're quite welcome, and welcome to the site! – Organic Marble Nov 2 '18 at 16:28

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