AGENT OF T.E.R.R.A.

 
Full Name: Hannibal Fortune
Nationality: Unknown
Organization: T.E.R.R.A.
Occupation Agent

Creator: Larry Maddock
Time Span: 1960 - 1969
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Hannibal Fortune is an agent with T.E.R.R.A.
       That acronym stands for the Temporal Entropy Restructure and Repair Agency. It is a very unusual intelligence/law enforcement organization that virtually nobody knew about. its job was the protection of the status quo in a very unusual style in that it did not exist to keep current governments in place but to keep the current time continuum as it was.
       The year, for Fortune, is 2572. The place is the Milky Way galaxy. The government is the Galactic Federation made up of the 47 known solar systems and its trillions of citizens.
       In 2548 a time machine was invented. By 2554, the Federation had outlawed it because of the extremely dangerous potential the device had for mischief. Four years after the ban, T.E.R.R.A. was created to go up against a very resourceful would-be galactic ruler named Gregor Malik and his sinister organizaiton called Empire.
       Malik wanted to rule his planet as he saw fit and if he also could control a few neighboring worlds, so much the better. To do that, he needed to either get rid of the GF or weaken it sufficiently to keep it out of the way. Messing with a planet's timeline to change a world's government was a very underhanded and potentially effective way of doing it. And with Empire, he got together a dozen or so like minded miscreants and promised them the same power on their worlds. So T.E.R.R.A. was created to fight Malik and his crew as well as anyone who might come later.
       Fortune has been an agent for 12 years but, "thanks to the illegal temporal transporter which T.E.R.R.A.'s scientists were continually perfecting, he'd logged some sixty years' experience fighting Empire". Out of the many thousands of people that T.E.R.R.A. employed, he was one of the few who were empowered to take action. Most of the others were researchers, observers, and support staff. Fortune was "Licensed to Tamper".
       Assisting each of the human agents of T.E.R.R.A., and many of the observers placed in various parts of each world's history, were creatures like Webley, described as "a fifteen pound protoplasmic alien that could shape-change." Exactly which planet Webley hails from is not stated nor have I found a name for the species. What is known is the fact that the race can morph into an assortment of shapes, all keeping its mass constant. On Earth, Webley has discovered that being a cat was the most convenient because cats can go lots of place and be mostly inconspicuous. Or he can become a bird and fly. Or a small dog though he is not partial to that one. Webley is also telepathic. The relationship between Fortune and Webley, as with the other agents in T.E.R.R.A., is a symbiotic one. Webley's small size keeps him from being able to accomplish much physically but his intelligence gathering skills are terrific.
       Each agent has a planet of specialty. Fortune's turf is Earth. He may or may not actually be from that planet but he has a fondness for it and it is his chosen land. He knows its history quite well which is handy because he never knows when or where he might end up.

BOOKS

Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1966
Last Appearance:1969

1 The Flying Saucer Gambit The Flying Saucer Gambit
Written by Larry Maddock
Copyright: 1966

Time traveling to the year 1966, Hannibal Fortune and Webley are assigned to investigate the death of the resident agent who was killed to stop his reporting of the E.M.P.I.R.E.'s plan to use a weapon that turns people into lunatics.

2 The Green Goddess Gambit The Green Goddess Gambit
Written by Larry Maddock
Copyright: 1967

In ancient Crete, the resident agent finds proof of the use of that land's language 1000 years before it came into existence. Hannibal Fortune and Webley are sent to that period to find out what E.M.P.I.R.E. is up to.

3 The Emerald Elephant Gambit The Emerald Elephant Gambit
Written by Larry Maddock
Copyright: 1967

In 1500 BCE, the kingdom of Mohenjo-daro fell to invading barbarians. That is what history clearly showed. Now the bad guys from E.M.P.I.R.E. are working to save this fine land in order to destroy the future. To save that future, Hannibal Fortune and Webley must make sure the barbarians win. Not a fun assignment.

4 The Time Trap Gambit The Time Trap Gambit
Written by Larry Maddock
Copyright: 1969

Tired of Hannibal Fortune's successes against it, E.M.P.I.R.E. set up a situation that forces him and Webley to travel to a time period he has already visited, a great no-no in time travel. This is likely to result in Fortune ceasing to exist.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:3
First Appearance:1960
Last Appearance:1960

       A half decade before he would write about the time-travelling secret agent, Hannibal Fortune, aka the Agent of T.E.R.R.A., and his rather ascerbic symbiote partner, Webley, Larry Maddock wrote a trio of short stories for a British science fiction magazine.
       In those short tales, the alien shape-shifter Webley was a newcomer to planet Earth and rather in need of money. So was the human, Bill Grant, that he happened upon. It was Grant who came up with the idea for the method of stealing that got them credits for food as well as seed money for their legitimate business, Creatures, Inc.
       These three tales were all quick, cute tales unrelated to the secret agent business but still involving Webley and still fun to read.

1 Creatures, Incorporated Creatures, Incorporated
Written by Larry Maddock
Copyright: 1960

Bill Grant is broke. Webley the shape-shifting alien is broke. Sitting around with nothing, they come up with an idea to solve their financial troubles by starting a company no one really thought was needed.

2 Alien For Hire Alien For Hire
Written by Larry Maddock
Copyright: 1960

If your job is to find jobs for aliens, what on Earth (literally) do you do with an intelligent but broke ostrich? Creatures, Inc. comes through again but not without the help of a lovely new secretary.

3 When In Doubt When In Doubt
Written by Larry Maddock
Copyright: 1960

Who knew if you put six Venusian burrowers on a job to create a new tunnel, it is a very bad idea to add a 7th. Creatures, Inc. did not have a clue but when they sent that last one to the dig site, they ended up with an orgy. Like I said, who knew?

MY COMMENTS

       I read the first couple of this four-book series back in the early 70s and loved them. When I started my spy series site, I briefly considered them but then decided that my area of concentration would be 1946-to-present so just as historical spy series would be out, so would futuristic ones.
       A couple years ago I changed that limitation and decided all spy series might apply regardless of when they were taking place. So I literally and figuratively dusted off my copies and here we are.
       Fortune is a very intelligent and versatile operative who not only knows his history and his opponents, he understands the both strategy and tactics of using time as a weapon. In at least one occasion, knowing he had to sneak into a location held by the bad guys, he goes further back in time to before the occupation, planted something he was certain would be needed, and then returned to original time and just sort of waited for his own help to arrive. Crafty and smart.
       He is a lover of women and is good looking enough to be of interest to them so throughout Earth's history, there are an assortment of young women with a smile on their face when thinking of his visit.
       And Webley - what a character! He has a less than optimistic opinion of humanity and it might be desireable to reply "oh yeah!?" to a couple of his comments but they are spot on so I tended to go, "oh!, well, yeah!"
       This is a light-hearted combination of spycraft and scifi-craft that I recommend to anyone who is looking for easy reading that brings a smile to the face on more than one occasion.

GRADE

My Grade: B

YOUR OPINIONS
Be the first to leave your own comments about this series.

Tell us what you think of the series. Give your grade and comments.

Your Grade:
Your Comments:

To give your opinion, you must be logged in.

Sign In

Register