This is one of several stories whose background is based on my time in the Department (now School) of Computer Science at the University of Manchester - a period of time I have previously referred to as an incarceration for twenty years, man and boy.

It would be grossly unfair - and untrue - for me to suggest that the character of Doctor Dick is based on any one individual. He is of course an amalgam of many people I have met in the academic world over the years. Nevertheless, the politicking and infighting I have depicted seems quite typical to me, although I suspect it might come as something of a surprise to outsiders who might think that Ivory Tower research is beyond any such petty wrangling. It is all so very similar in the IT industry, where I escaped to, although admittedly with fewer teenagers involved.

I strongly suspect that every human endeavour falls foul of these competitive aspects, as individuals and small groups vie with each other to further their particular ends. Sometimes it seems so very wasteful, although I wonder that, without that competitive drive, we would never get anything done.

It has been suggested that the basis of this story could form an entire novel of the genre known as 'conspiracy thrillers'. Watch this space...

Part 2