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Horace Bowne Fyfe (1918-1997) was an American author whose first science fiction story, "Locked Out", appeared in Astounding in February 1940, but who became fully active, mainly with further stories in Astounding though with appearances in most other SF Magazines, only after army service in World War Two. By 1967, when he became inactive, he had published nearly 60 stories. His five Bureau of Slick Tricks tales, beginning with "Bureau of Slick Tricks" (December 1948 Astounding) and continuing in Astounding to March 1952, are typical of John W Campbell Jr.'s fondness for stories in which humans deftly outwit thick-skulled (often bureaucratic) Aliens.
Five citizens of Terra were being held on other worlds -- and the ultra-secret Department 99 existed only to set them, and others like them, free.