Jacob Welker is an agent with OSI.
Geoffrey Saboy is a cultural attache to the British Embassy in D.C.
The time frame is the late 30's, 1938 to be exact, when we first meet these gentlemen. War in Europe has not actually started but most people know and fear it is just a matter of months before hostilities begin. Back in the States, the determination to remain out of the fighting looks strong but it is fairly common knowledge that the enemy is constantly bringing in forces to fuel the neutrality sentiment as well as sabotage plans to assist England and France with supplies.
Which explains the existence of the OSI. According to Welker, the acronym stands for the Office of Special Intelligence which is a very new member of the nascent American Intelligence community. Welker admits early on that the OSI consists of him "and about six other guys right now" working out of an office in Manhattan. The OSI is officially connected to the State Department but gets its orders from the President.
The small size of the organization explains why Welker is not adverse to calling upon other people, civilians or not, to lend assistance in his inquiries. That explains how and why he becomes connected with Saboy.
In addition to being a member of the diplomatic entourage from the U.K., Saboy is also part of the aristocracy there. His full title is Lord Geoffrey Saboy, Viscount McComb, Second Son of the Duke of Caneben. Saboy's name and title makes him sound quite important and officious but while Saboy is well aware that any action he takes will reflect good or ill on his family's reputation as well as his country's, he does not take himself too seriously. Nor does his lovely wife Patricia.
One important fact on the Saboy's is that while they have considerable affection for each other and get along quite well, Patricia knows that she is 'a beard', a disguise meant to cover the fact that their marriage is a matter of convenience since Lord Saboy is a gay man in a time where one does not admit to being gay.
Also playing a major role in at least the first adventure is Andrew Blake, a 34-year old homeless man who provides the initial bit of vital intelligence in Welker's first recorded mission and who will be one of those civilians that Welker will draw into his sphere.
- "I have found that it is precisely those things that one does not wish to know that one cannot do without knowing."