Ballard is an agent for SURVIVAL.
As his cover, he is also a reporter for a large magazine, sometimes working as a roving reporter and sometimes as a bureau chief in Washington. In this capacity, he travels the world and sees a considerable amount of action.
He is also a member of SURVIVAL, an orgainization founded in White Plains, New York, right after the end of the Second World War when a group of scientists met to discuss the fact that with the existance of the nuclear weapon, the world had changed forever. They felt that while there was little they could do to stop any war between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., they might have luck in tempering situations elsewhere in the world. They dedicated themselves to that end and created the independent agency. Its leadership is made up of wealthy people of like thinking who provide the financial wherewithal to pay the hefty bill.
One of the members is the publisher of the magazine that Ballard works for, and thus his ability to go where needed when needed. With the power and resources of the members, the agents of SURVIVAL had everything they need to get the job done except manpower. There is a limit to the number of people a secret organization can have and still remain secret. And the forces aligned against them are virtual without limit to their people and their determination.
As the series opens, Ballard is leaving a Moscow bureau which he headed to take on different assignments around the globe, both for his magazine and for SURVIVAL.