Ryan Kaine is a security consultant.
That is what this former Royal Marine is when we first meet him, handling what seems like an interesting but ultimately simple assignment. It does not turn out to be simple and it will change his life forever and end the lives of 83 others in the process.
Prior to this horrific and momentous mission, Kaine had served for quite a few years in the Marines, most of those as a proud member of the elite British Special Boat Service (SBS). "We're the Royal Navy's version of the SAS, only we do our stuff in boats. Think of us as the UK's Navy SEALS, but with more class and skill".
According to Kaine, he "spent the best part of twenty years in the Royal Navy, the last fifteen with the SBS. [He] expected to pull another ten and retire on a half-decent pension." Unfortunately, budget cuts and staff reductions pushed him and half of his operations group out, leaving this then 39-year-old man in need of a job. As he put it, he "had all these mad fighting skills and an intimate knowledge of state-of-the-art weaponry, but bugger-all else".
A couple of years were spent trying different lines of work, including close protection detail, none of which suited him. That is when one of his former commanders, a man he particularly liked and trusted, offered him a job with the 'specialized consultancy' company that man had formed. Needing income and work and a purpose, Kaine gladly took it. Lots of interesting work was then coming his way again, including a few exciting and dangerous hostage rescue missions.
Jump ahead a couple of years to a Kaine now in his mid-40's and the simple assignment mentioned above. A client, a prominent British arms maker, had a new handheld surface-to-air missile needing field certification. The job was to head off-shore alone on a small ship, receive a transponder code for the target drone a couple miles out, and then fire the weapon and observe it destroying the target. The weapon worked fine. The target was destroyed.
Unfortunately, the target was not a drone but in fact a commercial aircraft the real client wanted destroyed to eliminate a passenger who was a threat to the client's business. Kaine, knowing nothing of this and trusting his employer and that client, had launched the destruction of 83 people on that plane.
From that moment, Kaine's only purpose in life is to find and punish the ones behind turning him into a murderer and Britain's most hated terrorist. And then, when that was done, to devote his energies in protecting the families of the victims of that act, the 83.