Lloyd Nicolson is an agent for Counterstroke.
While Counterstroke is the name the very few who know of its existence call it, its proper name is the International Trade Research Bureau. The President, Secretary of Defense, key people at the Pentagon, and a few at the CIA, are the ones who know of it and who can call upon it in times of trouble.
Its role is to "combat, as non-violently as possible, certain enemy activities which could not be handled with diplomatic propriety by the regular, above-ground agencies." It isn't tasked with espionage nor counter-espionage; mainly trouble-shooting problems in which the US government would prefer not be involved.
One of its best agents is Lloyd Nicolson, though possibly the least enthusiastic. For the past five years, he has worked for Counterstroke, even after he lost a leg in an explosion in Mexico. Prior to his work there, he had been content to use his gift with foreign languages at G-2 in the Pentagon. Now he routinely risks his life yearning for the chance to get out of his contract and go back to reading Russian newspapers.
The protagonist is a reluctant hero. He does not particularly like his job. He does not care for shooting people or being shot at, which he has been on several occasions and hit one as well. He liked his old job and would not mind having it back. He impatiently awaits the day he can go back to it.
Nicolson is in his mid-30's and has the rank of Captain in the Army, at least he did back when he was in the Army. He likes to think that he still it because he never resigned his commission nor was he fired. He was loaned out to the I.T.R.B. for a set period of time and until that time ran out, he was treated like a civilian. He would rather not be.