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I read a story in a sci-fi magazine anthology in the early '80s about a "primitive" culture on some faraway planet. The story started with a young boy practicing fighting in a group of other young boys, each armed with a wooden stick and shield, wearing loincloths and painting the picture of your standard low-tech backwater primitive culture.

Later, the planet is invaded by what we would think of as standard Terran Marines with armor and laser guns, and that same boy is now grown and fighting back in guerrilla warfare in the jungle with the rest of his people. Now they use high-tech shields that absorb the laser fire and use the energy to power their lances, which are a sort of combination of lightsabers and point-to-shoot wands.

I don't remember getting the impression that they were given any technology, I think the overall moral of the story was that they were never really primitives at all. They could have used this technology at any time, but chose to live as simply as the demands of their surroundings necessitated, and only began implementing it to counter the invaders.

There was some illustration with the story that showed the shields being transparent and a cable leading from the shields and wands to a backpack power storage.

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    Do you recall if their high-tech shields and weapons were something they already had in reserve somewhere, or were they given to the "primitives" by another off-world group? – DavidW Mar 6 at 22:06
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    I don't remember getting the impression that they were given any technology, I think the overall moral of the story was that they were never really primitives at all. They could have used this technology at any time, but chose to live as simply as the demands of their surroundings necessitated, and only began implementing it to counter the invaders. I seem to recall that they were very sophisticated with energy exchange and storage but what little technology they used was hidden beneath a veneer of simplicity and hand-made items. – Seneca Mar 6 at 22:10
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    I gotta ask....who won? – DannyMcG Mar 11 at 17:04
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    @Danny3414: As is usual when we're talking about warfare, nobody won. I seem to recall the fighting had been come to a stalemate, but the native's culture and population had been decimated and the invaders could still get resupply and reinforcements from out-system. – Seneca Mar 11 at 17:30
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    I think the story is The Jaren. I was just about to write a proper answer untill I found this. – Andrew Whitwham Mar 13 at 17:39

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