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I am trying to find a short story about aliens that take over the world's government. The premise is that humanity finds a species at a similar level of technological development. Earth's fleet takes off to fight, but simply disappears, while the alien fleet takes over the world (peacefully, since no one is around to protest). The government is benevolent, and the quality of life on Earth increases dramatically. It turns out that Earth's fleet had performed a similar operation on the alien planet. Both organizations seek highly motivated and idealistic individuals to replenish their ranks and perpetrate the ruse.

The story is told from the point of view of one such highly motivated candidate. He was brain-washed to believe that he belongs to an anti-alien insurgency, and discovers the truth throughout the story. His companion is an alien female, whom he has to transport somewhere in secrecy. Throughout the story, he meets common people that pretty much unilaterally support the new overlords, and realizes that the insurgents are in the minority, but tolerated/manipulated as a necessary evil.

One of the minor plot points is the construction of a highway around the entire globe, that was shown to have created gainful employment for a significant portion of the population, and made travel and trade that much easier for the general population.

The aliens as described as nearly human, but with blue skin. At least the females have partially shape-shifting ability.

I don't remember the exact format of the story (novel, novella or short story). I read it in an anthology some time within the last 10 years, but the story could be much older.

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    Could it be "Triple Detente" by Piers Anthony, as mentioned in this scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/193259/… ? The answer is accepted in the latter, so this one might be a dupe. – Rebel-Scum Feb 24 at 19:21
  • @Rebel-Scum. Weird. I'm very tempted to close, but the story I read simply ended with the protagonist joining the ranks. It was very self-contained, and there was nothing about a third race. At the same time, it could have been "part 1" or so. I'll read the potential dupe before shutting this one down. In the meantime, perhaps someone will come up with an alternative. – Mad Physicist Feb 24 at 19:28
  • On reading this description, I immediately came up with Triple Detente; it just has too many points that match... – Jeff Zeitlin Feb 24 at 19:51
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    I was in the middle of posting an answer that this might actually be "The Alien Rulers" by Piers Anthony, which was anthologized in both Space Wars (1988) and Invasions (1990). It was later expanded into Triple Detente (1974). It's been a long time since I read it, but ISTR that the 3rd race part was added for the novel. – DavidW Feb 24 at 21:10
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    I would like to have this re-opened. The novelette in question, especially based on OP's comment "It started to match at chapter 4," is "The Alien Rulers" which became chapters 4 through 6 of Triple Detente, so this is not actually a duplicate of the answer Triple Detente. – DavidW Feb 24 at 22:00
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I believe you are remembering the novelette "The Alien Rulers" (1968) by Piers Anthony. It was later expanded into the novel Triple Detente (1974), where it became chapters 4 through 6. (Chapters 1-3 backfill the creation of the cross-rulership system, and the chapters from 7 onward detail the problems when a 3rd race is encountered.)

The novelette deals with a revolutionary, Richard (Dick) Henrys and his co-option by Bitool, the Kazo overlord of his region (America, North-Central). It starts with a discussion, in lieu of an interrogation, and the subsequent assignment of Henrys to be the caretaker of Serena, the first female Kazo to visit Earth.

His sense of honour sees that he keeps her safe from the other revolutionaries, and she and the retired master-sergeant they shelter with give him perspective to analyze his revolutionary impulses. (Which he incidentally discovers may have been planted in the first place.)

Master-sergeant Notchez (ret.) worked on the Global Highway, a project instituted by the Kazo, and it earns a couple of pages of description.

Ultimately Henrys comes to see that people, in general, are happy enough under Kazo rule, and actually approve of them individually. Notchez' grandchildren are even quite enthusiastic about meeting Serena.

The revolution falls apart because the revolutionaries are unable to gain any popular sympathy for it, and the Kazo have all successfully hidden from them anyway. Henrys meets up with Bitool again in his office, deliving Serena back to him, and is recruited to join the human rulers of the Kazo homeworld.

"The Alien Rulers" was anthologized twice, in Space Wars (1988) and Invasions (1990). You might recognize one of these covers:

Cover of Space Wars Cover of Invasions

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    I saw this story in Invasions. Thanks very much for the answer. I just finished reading the novel, and saw the note at the end: "A portion of this novel is derived from the novellette, The Alien Rulers, appearing in the March 1968 issue of Analog, © 1968 by Condé-Nast Publications, Inc." – Mad Physicist Feb 25 at 1:45
  • Do you know if there was ever a sequel or continuation? I haven't been able to find anything, but that doesn't mean much. – Mad Physicist Feb 25 at 1:48
  • @MadPhysicist I have Space Wars; I didn't do a good job collecting mixed-author anthologies in the '80s so I only have 2 of the Asimov-edited series (Supermen and Tin Stars); I picked up Space Wars used a decade later. There don't appear to be any related works. Both ISFDb and the Encyclopedia of SF list Triple Detente as a standalone work, both noting it is an expansion of "The Alien Rulers." – DavidW Feb 25 at 17:04

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