Cate Archer is exceedingly competent, fiercely intelligent, and stunningly attractive. Perhaps because she has had to work so much harder for recognition and advancement than her male colleagues, she is a sharper, more intuitive agent. Of course, while her impeccable record has earned the respect and admiration of many of her fellow agents, in others it has merely fostered deeper resentment, probably compounded by the fact that she is stubbornly inaccessible in social situations. However, even her rivals admit that she is a dedicated, loyal agent who never balks at danger. She has an uncanny gift for reading people and is also highly attuned to her environment, often registering details or patterns that others overlook. Background - Born, reluctantly, in Scotland in late March 1942, Cate came screaming into the world after more than 20 hours of labor. Her mother, a notoriously fragile woman, never recovered. Three weeks later, she died. Cate enjoyed a privileged childhood. However, Cate's father had relied heavily upon his wife to keep him sober and frugal. In her absence, he gradually whittled away his health and his inheritance until the family was destitute. One May evening in 1954, Cate's father put a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger. Cate went from an orphanage to various foster homes, but she never lasted anywhere for long. She had become an unruly, angry young woman and took to thieving, partially to provide for herself and partially because she found it rewarding. It wasn't long before she realized that she was exceptionally good at it.
In the space of several years, she went from a scrawny, impoverished waif to a successful, prosperous young felon. Although she made a point never to steal from people of modest means, she did not pretend that her activities were without consequence. Still, the thrill and satisfaction, not to mention monetary recompense that she earned from her adventures was all the rationale she needed to continue her budding career in thievery.
In 1958, however, her life changed again when she attempted to pilfer a stranger's wallet. This stranger, Bruno Lawrie, caught her and reprimanded her, but she still managed to escape with his watch. What she didn't know was that he was an agent working for UNITY, an international agency charged with combating terrorism around the globe, and that his watch had a built in tracking device. When she got home, he was waiting for her. Admiring her talent and fearlessness, he decided to give her a future. Now, nine years later, she is a covert operative for UNITY.
Bruno was once a dashing British super spy, but the lifestyle and time have taken their toll. Before he met Cate, he was aging rapidly, ruined by cigarettes, alcohol, women, and adrenaline, but in teaching her the tricks of his trade, he has found a form of redemption. Bruno lives now chiefly for Cate-to protect and guide her. Cate views Bruno as her mentor and perhaps as a substitute father figure.
Tom is a hearty, handsome fellow; a good-natured American agent with a winning smile and an indomitable will. He's personable, cheerful, and charmingly self-effacing. He's also a fine agent, having been in the employ of UNITY for over 10 years. Only problem is....he wears the most god awful shirts!
Mr. Smith & Mr. Jones
Smith and Jones run the operations of UNITY. They oversee the organization, and delegate assignments to field operatives. Both of them were field operatives as well, and therefore are experienced in all areas of being a spy. Smith is an extremely proper gentleman who expects perfection from himself as well as his agents. Smith sees any type of mistake as complete failure. He is therefore very demanding of his agents.
Jones on the other hand is more flexible. He is also unwilling to accept failure, however he is a bit more understanding. He is generally willing to give his agents the benefit of the doubt.
Inge is a German nightclub proprietor living in Bremen, West Germany. Because of her distant kinship to renowned composer Richard Wagner, Inge endured tremendous pressure as a child to become an opera singer. Unfortunately, she's completely tone deaf and never had even a remote chance of succeeding in this endeavor. Nonetheless, her doting parents encouraged Inge so relentlessly that the unwavering adulation eventually transformed her into a self-obsessed, neurotic diva with insufficient talent to earn a living in her chosen profession. Rumor has it she turned to crime in order to make ends meet.
Sergeant Magnus Armstrong
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, 1925, Magnus is a Scottish Demolition Expert. Magnus was frequently in trouble as a youth due to a penchant for fighting. By all accounts, he was a good-natured, likable young man who only picked fights with willing opponents. He was expelled from several schools before his parents finally sent him to a military academy.
During the war, he served as a sapper in France and Germany, with duties ranging from mine removal to demolitions and sabotage. He was officially reprimanded on many occasions for his reckless antics. The most popular legend had to do with a bridge he allegedly crippled with nothing but a shovel and a hand grenade. A German supply train did the rest. When it reached the weakened section of the bridge, the whole structure came crashing down.
Most of his arrests since returning from the war have been related to public brawling.
Volkov is not burdened with such inconveniences as passion or sympathy. His motives derive purely from intellectual curiosity. He has chosen his criminal lifestyle because he finds it interesting, not because of any hostility toward authority. He is a brilliant, resourceful man whose only vulnerability is his innate scientific inquisitiveness.
Volkov was born in Kamchatka in 1921. By the age of eight, he had distinguished himself as an academic prodigy and master chess player, also earning notoriety for refining various torture techniques on neighbors' pets. In 1937 he joined the NKVD and served as a disciplinarian in a Gulag near Kiev. His whereabouts during the war are unknown; however, sometime after the war, he emerged in the employ of SMERSH. He is personally credited with the execution of well over a thousand spies and Soviet dissidents. In 1961, a failed assassination attempt left him without an eye, but he escaped by throwing himself off a 70-foot cliff into an icy river. It is presumed that he survived, as no body was ever recovered. Recent reports link Volkov to an organization calling itself H.A.R.M.