As a military officer reports into his isolated, and far flung duty station, he learns of the locals, and some of their traditions and customs. A tribe of pottery makers are a wild and fearless bunch who raid the mild natives to collect the bones of the dead. The bones are used to make the pottery, and the belief is the souls of the dead then live on forever in the glaze of the pottery. When there’s not enough dead to meet the demand for the pottery production, live natives are taken to meet the quota.
When the native girl that our officer is sweet on, comes up missing, he goes to investigate. The settlement commander is determined to use heavy handed tactics to enforce peace, especially if it proves true the barbaric band off potters are actually kidnapping living natives to harvest their bones. Yeah, just drop a nuke on them. That’ll teach them to not kill innocent natives.
Our quick thinking officer swings a peaceful bargain with the tribal leader to set the living natives free. Even better, they promise never to do it again. All it’ll cost him is shipments of pure lime to meet all production demands, and the kicker is… the secret to making the rare, and yet unknown yellow glaze.
Can the glaze be produced in such short notice? What chemical, or technology might the resourceful man think up to win the day? In the end, the commander is furious that his orders were disobeyed, it took so long to deal with the tribe, and his biolent methods were abandonned for peaceful ones. The nuclear meltdown of tempers has a twist ending that lets peace rule the day.