Shaun Perry's worth was a matter of considered opinion. In self-assessment, he regarded himself as being quite invaluable, although, in fairness, he was by nature neither vain nor arrogant. He was, however, naive enough to consider that an appointment within the Intelligence Department of The Rector's underground organisation was no more than an acknowledgment of his mental aptitude. It had come as something of a shock, therefore, to discern that it was necessary to do more than simply demonstrate intelligence - he was required to provide it.
He had been a straight A student. One of those particularly rare children who took a fastidious pleasure in scholarship. From an early age he had been applauded by his masters and, academically, had soon risen a number of levels above his peers in almost all subjects. Excluded, perhaps somewhat typically, from this manifest was the dreaded and most embarrassing of endurance rituals designated as Physical Education. At a very early age, he had enjoyed the playground rough and tumble as much as any of his classmates, for that was all that it was. Once he had moved on from primary school, however, the activities became structured into demonstrations of individual prowess (or otherwise) and the element of competition was inevitably introduced. He quickly developed a rather unhealthy fear of such unavoidably public displays of his ineptitude in this regard, and this somewhat self perpetuated the predicament. It was not that he was unable to run, or throw, or kick a ball - these were all activities that he had fond memories of from his younger years. A major contributing factor was, perhaps, his atypical build. He was slight of frame to the extent of being spindly, yet he was tall with it. This alone certainly didn't preclude him from athletic activities but, unfortunately, his unusual gangliness quickly led to him being the subject of other children's ridicule, both boys and girls and, most embarrassingly, children younger than himself who would normally take a wide berth around more senior pupils. As a result, he quickly descended into a spiralling lack of confidence, each enforced participation only serving to demonstrate his worryingly deteriorating co-ordination and ability, fueled by his escalating anxiety and his abhorrence of the increasingly difficult acts he was required to perform.
To his credit, however, he remained unaffected by the scornful jibes that he received as a result of his obvious prowess in academic subjects. His complete immersion in the particular subject matter provided him with a sort of immunity to the negativity of his peers. The fact that he was virtually friendless was immaterial when he could so easily lose himself amidst the subtle equations of higher mathematics. Potentially hurtful comments didn't even sink in, so wrapped up was he in the boundless revelations of physical and chemical sciences. He applied himself willingly to the humanities, fascinated as he was by both the relentless march of history and the effect that man and time itself had had upon the landscape of the world.