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"It wasn't until I was past forty that it bacame clear that I was going to be quote, successful, unquote."
- Isaac Asimov

Inviolability Field  
  A kind of field of force built into a robe, to protect an individual person.  

“You have been taught that inviolability proceeds from the priest, a divine aura projected by his holy flesh and controlled by his will power. Watch!”

He slapped the breast of the empty robe smartly. Instantly it mushroomed outward. He pushed it away from him. It floated out and down from the bench. Commoners shoved wildly and clawed at each other, in their desire to avoid being touched by it.

It came to rest about two feet from the ground, jogging up and down gently, for all the world like a recumbent priest, complete even to the puffed scarlet gloves—except that there was no gleaming shaven head under the eerily glowing violet halo which all men knew to be an outward sign of the priest’s holy thoughts.

The panic-stricken ones regathered in a circle around it, at what they hoped was a safe and reverent distance.

Jarles’ voice was bitter as medicine. “Maybe you can get to the Hierarchy’s heaven the way that robe’s trying to. I know of no other. Can’t you see it’s a trick? Rip open that robe”—a commoner gaped horrifiedly at him for a moment, thinking the words a command—“and you’ll find a network of fine wires. What does the Great God need with wires? They make what’s called a bilateral, short-range, multipurpose repulsor field. Something that pushes, see? Something very useful for protecting a priest from injury and powering his flabby fingers so that they’re stronger than those of a smith’s. And it props up his halo! Stop gawking at it, you fools! It’s just a trick, I tell you!

From Gather, Darkness!, by Fritz Leiber.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1943
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