Simon Abelard is an agent with the British intelligence agency called the Outfit.
Abelard is of mixed races, being the son of a black Cardiff dock worker from the West Indies and a white mother. He grew up in the rough and tumble region known as Tiger Bay where being of one race meant the other race would be after you but being of both races meant everyone was after you. He learned to fight well and hard and to use any advantage he could find. He learned also there were times to run and times to take the fight to others.
Despite the low income upbringing, he managed to have good enough grades to get a scholarship to University where his intelligence got him a degree and noticed by the Outfit. The Outfit did not take volunteers. You had to be recommended by someone they trusted then then intensely vetted. He passed their muster and they made their approach as he neared completion of his studies.
Being an agent for the Outfit was rewarding and, most importantly, it was exciting. He was doing something for his country as well as having the action that he still needed from his childhood. And it was thrilling. The Outfit in those days were similar to MI-6 and went looking for secrets. He spent several years overseas plying that trade. Then the Wall came down and the number of secrets to be gotten got fewer and fewer. His department changed to being a spy-hunter like MI-5 but even that didn't last but a couple of years as the number of people wanting to steal secrets grew less and less.
Now, many years later with, as he muses at times, less true enemies to pursue or evade, the Outfit had become closer to a police force than a spy organization. Certainly he seemed to spend more time on surveillance than anything else. Though he could find work elsewhere, as a teacher or a drug store chemist as his mother, who lives with him, often tells him, he stays because his dedication to duty has only slipped a bit, not left completely. And anything else would be far too dull.
Of amusing note, the department for which he works, the Outfit, is under the direction of a gnome from Wales with the remarkable name of Verdu Cadwallader.