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Literature / Agent of Vega

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The Zone Agents of Vega are a group of idiosyncratic secret agents who guard the worlds of the Vegan Confederacy under a variety of guises. One, for instance, appears to be travelling saleswoman, living out of a little caravan drawn by a funny-looking draught animal — but the caravan is also a fully-functional spacecraft, and the "draught animal" is one of her fellow Agents.

They appear in four stories by James H. Schmitz, which appeared in various magazines (Astounding Science Fiction and Galaxy Science Fiction) in the late 1940s and early 1950s before being collected in book form in 1960 under the title Agent of Vega.

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The four stories, in original publication order, are:

  • "Agent of Vega"
  • "The Truth about Cushgar"
  • "The Second Night of Summer"
  • "The Illusionists"

This series contains examples of:

  • Brats with Slingshots: the Kid Hero of The Second Night of Summer uses one.
  • Broken Bird: Zamm combines this with Dark Action Girl for terrifying effect.
  • Cultural Posturing: System Chief Jasse semi-consciously engages in this as a result of her Traditionalist upbringing. A short sharp dose of reality (and a small amount of mind control) cures her of it.
  • Exact Words: when Agent Zamm attacks Cushgar, her robot is given orders to wake her the instant they make hostile contact. No orders cover the contingency that point her robot be cocooned in the middle of a friendly fleet...
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The relationship between Earth and the Confederacy is vaguely reminiscent of that between the UK and the USA.
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  • The Federation: The Confederacy of Vega.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: subtly done with Pagadan, who while unmistakably not human, still resembles an attractive woman "in permanent fancy dress."
  • Healing Vat: In "Agent of Vega", Iliff delivers his final mission report from one, after his near-fatal confrontation with the Big Bad of his story.
  • I Will Find You: Agent Zamm in "The Truth about Cushgar" is searching for her kidnapped husband and son.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Several Human Subspecies exist that grow about eight to nine feet tall.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Agent Pagadan is a female example. She is a humanoid (not human) alien from Lar-Sancaya, and she is, after Zamm, perhaps one of the best killers the Co-ordinator has.
  • Psychic Powers: Such powers, technologically boosted, are almost universal, though degree of strength varies.
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  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Agent Zamm is on a permanent one against most of the entire universe.
  • Space Elves: The Daya-Bals, a human-descended race of metaphysicists and artists.
  • Space Madness: In "The Illusionists", Moyuscane's fear of space has permeated the entire world he controls to the point where hardly anyone can go into space...and is eventually turned against him.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Cushgarians have spikes on their neck and back vertebrae.
  • Square Race, Round Class: Most people in the Vegan Confederacy wouldn't think one of the gentle, ethereal Daya-Bals could ever be a ruthless Zone Agent — unless they happen to meet Zamm.
  • Space Police: The Zone Agents.
  • The Spymaster: The Third Co-ordinator of the Vegan Confederacy.
  • Terror Hero: Agent Zamm to most of the people she comes in contact with...including the people she rescues.

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