Emma Caldridge is a biochemist.
She is also an ultramarathon runner and someone who likes a challenge. More importantly for the situations she invariably finds herself in, she is extremely good at taking care of herself, an ability that has proven of necessity on several occasions because while she never openly sought danger, as someone pointed out to her once, deep down she was a danger junkie.
Caldridge is highly respected in her field. How high her education level extends is not explained and remains a mystery. She never addresses herself as 'doctor' which might lend weight to her not having a doctorate except she seldom says anything that comes close to blowing her own horn. Her confidence level, based on several years of experience and an incredibly sharp intellect, allows her to not feel the need to brag. On the rare occasion where her judgment is questioned, her retorts are invariably based on annoyance not at having her ego bruised but at having her time wasted.
Possessing the confidence that comes from knowing she would be hired by any firm that utilized top notch chemists, Caldridge prefers to run her own small firm, Pure Chemistry, a boutique agency that takes assignments that interest her, and pays well. She runs it out of Miami Beach where she moved recently to help overcome the grief from the loss of her fiancee, Patrick, killed by a drunk driver a year before the first recorded adventure. The contracts she takes vary considerably but many of them keep her in the cosmetic industry where the search for a better age-fighting cream or lip gloss achieves two most sought results: gainful and profitable employment for her and her small group, and a chance to get out into the field frequently.
The field is where she loves to be and its nature can vary greatly as long as there is the opportunity to run. Running is Caldridge's passion in life as well as her main escape valve. Ultramarathon running pushes her to extremes with distances that go far beyond the already gruelling 26 miles of a normal marathan, pressing up to 100 miles in a single event. Though she is not a champion at it, she presents quite acceptable times and is pleased with her results. Running helps her cope.
Running also helps her survive the situations she gets into. She is smart enough to know she cannot outrun a bullet or a bomb or a knife but when she finds herself in extraordinary situations with people wanting her dead, or worse, she knows that if she can get to a place where they have to catch her, good luck to them with that.
And she is slowly learning to shoot. She did not want to know but the adventures she has been thrown into has forced her to start learning. And there is no one better at teaching her than former sniper and current anti-drug pilot Cameron Sumner. This tall, taciturn man with the intense expression was on the same plane as Caldridge during the first book and was one of the survivors of the crash. When Columbian rebels sieged those still alive, he fought and nearly died. She saved his life both physically by fighting off some bad guys and professionally by knowing how to handle severe infection and fever. He was kind enough to save her life later. Since then, their relationship has grown deeper than either anticipated and though, as of the fourth adventure, they had not become physically intimate, their emotional bond is solid and unflinching.
That closeness is vital because both can find ways of getting into scrapes where the other's help is required. This comes sometimes through the good graces of a man named Banner, CEO of a private intelligence and security company called Darkview which provided the Department of Defense with highly trained professional soldiers for specialized assignments where either expediency or deniability is called for. Banner is very true to his word and incredibly loyal to his people and when situations pushed both Caldridge and Sumner into that collection, he welcomed them and they him. As time passes, Banner will hire both Caldridge and Sumner for a job or two, separately, and will be there to have their backs when needed.
Caldridge is a biochemist. She is also one who has, so far, gone up against Columbian rebels, Somali pirates, Mexican druglords, Caribbean voodoo shaman, and worst of all, Washington politicians and bureaucrats. It is a very good thing she can run fast.