Author: Randall Garrett
Original language: English
Publisher: Street & Smith Publications, Inc., 1957
From Robert Silverberg’s “Earthmen and Strangers” anthology, 1966:
When human beings begin to encounter strangers in the universe, conflict is likely to erupt. Earthmen, by and large, are an aggressive sort of people, and it would not be surprising to run into a race of equally aggressive, militaristic creatures Out There. This could produce a nasty crash as one culture meets the other in a head-on impact.
However, one feature of alien beings is their alienness: They are not likely to think the way we do. This story suggests, in a deliciously deadpan way, how a suitably clever human can befuddle and bamboozle his extraterrestrial captors simply by telling the truth. Randall Garrett, who wrote it, is a bearded, booming-voiced man who now makes his home in Texas and who has spent considerable time studying the art of creating confusion without exactly lying. His high-spirited stories have been appearing in science fiction’s leading magazines since 1944, with some time out for service with the United States Marine Corps.