James Palatine is an inventor.
I struggled for a while on what to identify this man as. I toyed with the 'agent' description and affiliated him with MI6 for a while but then removed that. I had 'professor' in for a time and pulled it as well. I finally decided on what he is when we first meet him - an inventor of a pretty nifty and very scary surveillance device everyone wants and lots of people will kill to obtain.
Which does nothing to show just how deadly and dangerous this man on his own in. He shows that in the first couple pages of the first recorded adventure and from then on we the readers are well aware of the fact that though this man is extremely intelligent, he is also well able to take care of himself and confident enough in that ability to not shirk dangerous situations.
When we meet him, he is, in addition to other things, teaching at Imperial College. I have not determined how his students and fellow faculty feel about him but early on I learn that some of those in the Intelligence community who have to deal with him are a bit on the nervous side. One remarked, "Every time I meet him I have the feeling he's working out the quickest way to kill me". Also, in one description of him, we are told that he was "tall, rangy, with wolf-like grey eyes and an arrogant manner. He'd been standing in a group of men who seemed to be keeping their distance, as if instinctively aware that proximity to Palatine would do them no favours and might possibly be dangerous".
His dossier at MI6 informs us that "He took a commission with the Intelligence Corps, and spent much of his time on assignments with the SAS in the Middle East and Kosovo. As well as training in combat and survival to the level required for an SAS secondment, he attended courses in surveillance and counter-surveillance, explosives and artillery. He also studied Arabic and is said to have an exceptional facility for languages. Palatine endured a fractious relationship with his senior officers and intelligence service liaisons, frequently questioning orders and proving resistant to the disciplines inherent in a military career. He is reported to have shown exceptional courage and cool-headedness in combat situations, but his detractors point to an aptitude for violence that is alarming even for a serving soldier. Despite successfully completing assignments that could probably not have been carried out by any other operative, he is now regarded as unreliable."
An interesting man, Dr. Palatine is.women seem threatening?"
"Know everything, expect nothing." his t'ai chi instructor cautioned him.