Max Segredo is an agent with S.P.I.E.S.
That rather telling acronym stands for Systematic Protection, Intelligence, and Espionage Services. It might be obvious by that name, especially the 'Services' part, that this is a business whose main purpose, like every other business out there, is to make a profit, or at least break even. It does so by hiring its team of highly trained operatives out for dangerous and difficult missions.
It knows that its agents, like Max Segredo, are fully trained because it does the training itself and its students are all found as wards of the Merry Sunshine Orphanage. That locale can be found in a "neighborhood of shabby redbrick homes and down-at-the-heels businesses". Its "grimy brick building" was just like all the other grimy brick buildings on the street except for the "wicked-looking spikes and barbed wire decorating the rooftop edges, the barred windows, and the discreet cameras watching the street and walkway". Seeing it for the first time, Segredo said snidely, "Cheerful place. Who's their decorator, Martha Paranoid?"
The orphanage is run by Hantai Annie Wong, a tall, skinny woman who comes across as quite formidable to Segredo from the moment he arrived and she answered the knock on the door by the case officer with a snarl and holding a pistol.
Segredo is being sent there because he is, and has been for some time, an orphan and the system has run out of foster homes willing to give him a try. The latest one demanded he be remanded when their house was engulfed in flames. Segredo swears it was not him but once you have a reputation for pyromania, it kind of sticks.
Segredo is of mixed race; as he describes it, his mum was Thai and his dad was "some white guy [who] ran off and died" when Segredo was little. Since the passing of his parents, he has gone through several fosters already. His first three died (one eaten by a crocodile, one executed by a Gurlukh warlord, and one fried in a bathtub accident where a radio and yoyo were involved). The others rejected him because of accusations of arson and theft. [On that last one, Segredo is shocked to hear Director Wong chide him with a "if you are stealing, don't get caught".
That is when Segredo started to realize this was no ordinary orphanage. The learning it was a school for spies would come immediately afterwards.
Oh, one more thing. S.P.I.E.S. has a archenemy in LOTUS, an international group bent on world domination. They are especially anxious to take out Director Wong at the same time they take down S.P.I.E.S.