Thanks everyone! Great responses! I especially like the idea of a Matrician. Perhaps an election campaign? But then again, democracy is unlikely to thrive in the city.
Espionage has previously been c=mentioned in books, I seem to recall it in the 5th Elephant but can't remember the exact context without a re-read. There is also the Q parody with the history monks in Night Watch which lends itself to the Bond theme so already plenty to work with and build on.
“You can't trample infidels when you're a tortoise. I mean, all you could do is give them a meaningful look.”