James H Schmitz's "Oneness" (short story, telepathy, free): Moving from autocracy towards something more benign
Story summary.Earth is run with an iron hand by a political entity called "the Machine" - essentially the rule of a few powerful men, without checks. Political dissent is severely dealt with. A penal colony was set up on Mars, & has a lot of dissidents with good scientific training.
One find day, these "Mars Convicts" develop stardrive & escape. Now, 50 years later, a lone ship of theirs, with a single passenger, is back. The passenger is Rainbolt, "a trained specialist" in the "practical applications" of "the principles of Oneness" they've developed. He's captured, of course.
His magic begins to spread as his interrogation, including torture, begins...
Fact sheet.First published: Analog, May 1963.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg.
Among the stories from Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.
Related: Stories of James H Schmitz.