Colin Pearce is a part-time agent with the CIA.
He undoubtedly would get annoyed with that description because it is, and isn't, true.
He is a pilot. That's what he loves to do, it's what he has done for quite a few years, and it is what he wants to keep doing it for as long as they will let him.
For a good while, they was the United States Air Force. He had attended the USAF Academy and earned his degree, commission, and wings. He served proudly and properly for some time. Then the event happened and suddenly he was not in the military any more.
But he was still a pilot and still loved being so. And at the age of 50 when the first recorded adventure takes place, he is likely going to be able to stay at it for more than a few years.
Unless they get him killed. The 'they' this time is the CIA because a couple of operatives in that organization learn that he is in the best position to help them out of a tight spot and they pretty well pressure him into helping. And once in, always in, apparently.
In his day job, the one that he approves of and which generally pays the bills and, more importantly, does not often almost get him killed, he is a contractor pilot, taking ad hoc gigs. If some outfit has a plane and a passenger and needs a driver, he is on call and he has a small but steady clientèle so he makes a decent living. He is always, though, open to new clients because old ones go away on occasion and replacements are needed. Which is why he took the call that would change his life. As he put it, "... I’m a contractor and contractors answer their phones or they don’t work. It’s as simple as that. I hit the green button." Obviously, the person on the other end of that call was one of the they just mentioned.