Saeed Malekpour was passionate about computers. He always had been. At 33 years old, he had spent most of his adult life messing with algorithms and code. He was good at it, so people were willing to buy his programs.
He passed his Materials Engineering degree with a dissertation which included, in part, simulation software, which he had written himself. It was easy to fall into a job after that.
Iran Khodro, the largest car manufacturers in the country, had employed him part-time throughout his course, at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. Once Saeed had graduated, they snapped him up for a permanent, full-time job. He was soon head-hunted by RMRC, a metallurgical research company. The code that he produced for them is still amongst their best-selling digital products.
But an education wasn't all that he'd gained from those years at University. While part of a chess competition, he had also met a Physics student named Fatemah Eftekhari. She had her own career path ahead of her and that meant emigrating to Canada to study for her PhD.
Saeed wanted to be part of that. He married her and quit his job. The couple moved to Richmond Hill, Ontario, where they legally became permanent residents. While Fatemah lost herself in her research, Saeed supported them both with freelance programming and software development.
As his skills grew, so did his confidence and pride. Each algorithm, each piece of code out there, bore both his name and e-mail address. That way anyone admiring it might trace him and perhaps hire him too.
The couple had a plan. As soon as Fatemah achieved her doctorate, then their roles would reverse. It would be her turn to support them and the time was close. Saeed had just enrolled in a Master's Degree course, with an option to continue into his PhD, when the call came.
Back home in Iran, his father was dangerously ill. Saeed had to fly to his side immediately or risk being too late. The couple hurriedly packed and left, totally unaware that an even bigger nightmare awaited their arrival in Tehran.