Alex 'Axe' Southmark and Haley Cross are agents of the President of the United States.
At least they will be after events are shown to the Chief Executive that he really was in need of a couple of operatives answering to his orders and not being instead directed by some agency or bureau or department director who in turn passes the orders, possibly altered a tad bit, to subordinates to then send agents into the field. Most of all these people in the chain are good, honest, trustworthy people who really want to give the President what he asks for. Some are not, hence the perceived need of having a couple of proven assets standing by, just in case.
We first meet Axe, Southmark's call sign and the way he prefers to be called, as a leader of a SEAL team. He has been with his team for several years and was now in charge of them through rank and seniority, earning both. In the particularly nasty skirmish we follow he and his team on, he is able to save his team and complete the mission but in doing so came to one disheartening but, to him, inescapable truth: he was slowing down. "Face it. I'm getting old," he admitted to his colleagues and then to himself stated, "after a certain age, people either got out or moved up." He opted, with regret, to get out. He would move to the cabin in the woods he had been left and use the small inheritance he had been given and see what came next for his life.
That next would be stalking and hunting and shooting a variety of targets - all with his camera. He was able to make a modest living doing this because his pictures sold reasonably well. He never claimed to be a "gifted photographer". He was just willing, or crazy enough, to go where others might balk, and take a lot of photos hoping some turned out alright. This would keep him happy and busy - for a while.
Haley Cross is an analyst for the Central Analysis Group, "an elite, relatively new intelligence gathering and analysis division of the U.S. government". She was, in fact, the best that the agency had but she suffered from three elements that played a major role in her life. One, she was still quite young, barely old enough to buy her own drinks, so a lot of those older tended to discount what she had to say. Two, she was a beautiful blonde-haired woman which made many she dealt with see only her looks and her gender and not consider there might be a sharp brain behind the pretty. Three, she was highly intuitive and able to see "the big picture" far sooner than others but often that picture came without the verifiable steps needed to "show her work".
One other little-known but very important fact about Haley. Her mother was a life-long best friend of the woman now known as the First Lady and 'Uncle Jimmy' was in fact President James Heringten.
When circumstances bring these two together, they find that in spite of their age and experience differences, they made a darn good team. One other person who thought the same thing was the President.
- "Rule number one: the intelligence is always wrong."
- Addendum to Rule Number One - "Not that it mattered."