The Earthman

one-tenth of the Earth people had never been rounded up and resettled in the prison compounds; bandit raids increased that number steadily. How the rebels survived no one knew, for any large scale food production would have been spotted by the patrols and wiped out. One or two crackpot theorists said the bandits fed themselves by hunting wild game, but that was absurd. It was common fact throughout the civilized galaxy that any culture which evolved as far as the Power Age would, in the normal process of growth, eliminate all planetary animal life. The accepted explanation was the food cache theory. According to it, the Earthmen—sometime after the conquest and before the prison compounds were set up—had raided their own cities and hidden the packaged food in remote mountain areas. The supply was decidedly limited. When it was gone, the rebels faced starvation unless they returned voluntarily to the compounds.

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