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flashed through his mind. No way was he going to let the Secret

Service get hold of those. He needed to stash them and fast.

He could see the Secret Service agents searching the computer chalet.

Thank God he and Nibbler had moved all the equipment. At least there

was nothing incriminating in there and they wouldn't be able to seize

all their gear.

Par breathed deeply, deliberately, and forced himself to back away

from the railing toward the door to his room. He resisted the urge to

dash into his room, to recoil from the scene being played out below

him. Abrupt movements would draw the agents' attention.

Just as Par began to move, one of the agents turned around. He scanned

the two-storey motel complex and his gaze quickly came to rest on Par.

He looked Par dead in the eye.

This is it, Par thought. I'm screwed. No way out of here now. Months

on the run only to get done in a hick town in North Carolina. These

guys are gonna haul my ass away for good. I'll never see the light of

day again. Elimination is the only option.

While these thoughts raced through Par's mind, he stood rigid, his

feet glued to the cement floor, his face locked into the probing gaze

of the Secret Service agent. He felt like they were the only two

people who existed in the universe.

Then, inexplicably, the agent looked away. He swivelled around to

finish his conversation with another agent. It was as if he had never

even seen the fugitive.

Par stood, suspended and unbelieving. Somehow it seemed impossible. He

began to edge the rest of the way to his motel room. Slowly, casually,

he slid inside and shut the door behind him.

His mind raced back to the photos of Theorem and he searched the room

for a safe hiding place. There wasn't one. The best option was

something above eye-level. He pulled a chair across the room, climbed

on it and pressed on the ceiling. The rectangular panel of

plasterboard lifted easily and Par slipped the photos in the space,

then replaced the panel. If the agents tore the room apart, they would

likely find the pictures. But the photos would probably escape a quick

search, which was the best he could hope for at this stage.

Next, he turned his mind to escaping. The locals were pretty cool

about everything, and Par thought he could count on the staff not to

mention his presence to the Secret Service. That bought him some time,

but he couldn't get out of the room without being seen. Besides, if he

was spotted walking off the property, he would certainly be stopped

and questioned.

Even if he did manage to get out of the motel grounds, it wouldn't

help much. The town wasn't big enough to shield him from a thorough

search and there was no-one there he trusted enough to hide him. It

might look a little suspicious, this young man running away from the

motel on foot in a part of the world where everyone travelled by car.

Hitchhiking was out of the question. With his luck, he'd probably get

picked up by one of the agents leaving the raid. No, he wanted a more

viable plan. What he really needed was to get out of the area

altogether, to flee the state.

Par knew that John travelled to Asheville to attend classes and that

he left very early. If the authorities had been watching the motel for

a while, they would know that his 5 a.m. departure was normal. And

there was one other thing about the early departure which seemed

promising. It was still dark at that hour.

If Par could get as far as Asheville, he might be able to get a lift

to Charlotte, and from there he could fly somewhere far away.

Par considered the options again and again. Hiding out in the motel

room seemed the most sensible thing to do. He had been moving rooms

around the motel pretty regularly, so he might have appeared to be

just another traveller to anyone watching the motel. With any luck the

Secret Service would be concentrating their search on the chalet,

ripping the place apart in a vain hunt for the computer equipment. As

these thoughts went through his head, the phone rang, making Par jump.

He stared at it, wondering whether to answer.

He picked it up.

`It's Nibbler,' a voice whispered.

`Yeah,' Par whispered back.

`Par, the Secret Service is here, searching the motel.'

`I know. I saw them.'

`They've already searched the room next to yours.' Par nearly died.

The agents had been less than two metres from where he was standing

and he hadn't even known it. That room was where John stayed. It was

connected to his by an inner door, but both sides were locked.

`Move into John's room and lay low. Gotta go.' Nibbler hung up


Par put his ear to the wall and listened. Nothing. He unlocked the

connecting inner door, turned the knob and pressed lightly. It gave.

Someone had unlocked the other side after the search. Par squinted

through the crack in the door. The room was silent and still. He

opened it--no-one home. Scooping up his things, he quickly moved into

John's room.

Then he waited. Pacing and fidgeting, he strained his ears to catch

the sounds outside. Every bang and creak of a door opening and closing

set him on edge. Late that night, after the law enforcement officials

had left, Nibbler called him on the house phone and told him what had


Nibbler had been inside the computer chalet when the Secret Service

showed up with a search warrant. The agents took names, numbers, every

detail they could, but they had trouble finding any evidence of

hacking. Finally, one of them emerged from the chalet triumphantly

waving a single computer disk in the air. The law enforcement

entourage hanging around in front of the chalet let out a little

cheer, but Nibbler could hardly keep a straight face. His younger

brother had been learning the basics of computer graphics with a

program called Logo. The United States Secret Service would soon be

uncovering the secret drawings of a primary school student.

Par laughed. It helped relieve the stress. Then he told Nibbler his

escape plan, and Nibbler agreed to arrange matters. His parents didn't

know the whole story, but they liked Par and wanted to help him. Then

Nibbler wished his friend well.

Par didn't even try to rest before his big escape. He was as highly

strung as a racehorse at the gate. What if the Secret Service was

still watching the place? There was no garage attached to the main

motel building which he could access from the inside. He would be

exposed, even though it would only be for a minute or so. The night

would provide reasonable cover, but the escape plan wasn't fool-proof.

If agents were keeping the motel under observation from a distance

they might miss him taking off from his room. On the other hand, there

could be undercover agents posing as guests watching the entire

complex from inside their room.

Paranoid thoughts stewed in Par's mind throughout the night. Just

before 5 a.m., he heard John's car pull up outside. Par flicked off

the light in his room, opened his door a crack and scanned the motel

grounds. All quiet, bar the single car, which puffed and grunted in

the still, cold air. The windows in most of the buildings were dark.

It was now or never.

Par opened the door all the way and slipped down the hallway. As he

crept downstairs, the pre-dawn chill sent a shiver down his spine.

Glancing quickly from side to side, he hurried toward the waiting car,

pulled the back door open and dove onto the seat. Keeping his head

down, he twisted around, rolled onto the floor and closed the door

with little more than a soft click.

As the car began to move. Par reached for a blanket which had been

tossed on the floor and pulled it over himself. After a while, when

John told him they were safely out of the town, Par slipped the

blanket off his face and he looked up at the early morning sky. He

tried to get comfortable on the floor. It was going to be a long ride.

At Asheville, John dropped Par off at an agreed location. Par thanked

him and hopped into a waiting car. Someone else from his extensive

network of friends and acquaintances took him to Charlotte.

This time Par rode in the front passenger seat. For the first time, he

saw the true extent of the damage wreaked by Hurricane Hugo. The small

town where he had been staying had been slashed by rain and high

winds, but on the way to the Charlotte airport, where he would pick up

a flight to New York, Par watched the devastation with amazement. He

stared out the car window, unable to take his eyes off the storm's

trail of havoc.

The hurricane had swept up anything loose or fragile and turned it

into a missile on a suicide mission. Whatever mangled, broken

fragments remained after the turbulent winds had passed would have

been almost unrecognisable to those who had seen them before.

[ ]

Theorem worried about Par as he staggered from corner to corner of the

continent. In fact, she had often asked him to consider giving himself

up. Moving from town to town was taking its toll on Par, and it wasn't

that much easier on Theorem. She hadn't thought going on the lam was

such a great idea in the first place, and she offered to pay for his

lawyer so he could stop running. Par declined. How could he hand

himself in when he believed elimination was a real possibility?

Theorem sent him money, since he had no way of earning a living and he

needed to eat. The worst parts, though, were the dark thoughts that

kept crossing her mind. Anything could happen to Par between phone

calls. Was he alive? In prison? Had he been raided, even accidentally

shot during a raid?

The Secret Service and the private security people seemed to want him

so badly. It was worrying, but hardly surprising. Par had embarrassed

them. He had broken into their machines and passed their private

information around in the underground. They had raided his home when

he wasn't even home. Then he had escaped a second raid, in North

Carolina, slipping between their fingers. He was constantly in their

face, continuing to hack blatantly and to show them contempt in things

such as his voicemail message. He figured they were probably

exasperated from chasing all sorts of false leads as well, since he

was perpetually spreading fake rumours about his whereabouts. Most of

all, he thought they knew what he had seen inside the TRW system. He

was a risk.

Par became more and more paranoid, always watching over his shoulder

as he moved from city to city. He was always tired. He could never

sleep properly, worrying about the knock on the door. Some mornings,

after a fitful few hours of rest, he woke with a start, unable to

remember where he was. Which house or motel, which friends, which


He still hacked all the time, borrowing machines where he could. He

posted messages frequently on The Phoenix Project, an exclusive BBS

run by The Mentor and Erik Bloodaxe and frequented by LOD members and

the Australian hackers. Some well-known computer security people were

also invited onto certain, limited areas of the Texas-based board,

which immediately elevated the status of The Phoenix Project in the

computer underground. Hackers were as curious about the security

people as the security people were about their prey. The Phoenix

Project was special because it provided neutral ground, where both

sides could meet to exchange ideas.

Via the messages, Par continued to improve his hacking skills while

also talking with his friends, people like Erik Bloodaxe, from Texas,

and Phoenix, from The Realm in Melbourne. Electron also frequented The

Phoenix Project. These hackers knew Par was on the run, and sometimes

they joked with him about it. The humour made the stark reality of

Par's situation bearable. All the hackers on The Phoenix Project had

considered the prospect of being caught. But the presence of Par, and

his tortured existence on the run, hammered the implications home with

some regularity.

As Par's messages became depressed and paranoid, other hackers tried

to do what they could to help him. Elite US and foreign hackers who

had access to the private sections of The Phoenix Project saw his

messages and they felt for him. Yet Par continued to slide deeper and

deeper into his own strange world.

Subject: DAMN !!!

From: The Parmaster

Date: Sat Jan 13 08:40:17 1990

Shit, i got drunk last night and went onto that Philippine system...

Stupid Admin comes on and asks who i am ...

Next thing i know, i'm booted off and both accounts on the system are gone.

Not only this .. but the

whole fucking Philippine Net isn't accepting collect calls anymore. (The thing

went down completely after i was booted off!)

Apparently someone there

had enough of me.

By the way, kids, never

drink and hack!

- Par

Subject: gawd

From: The Parmaster

Date: Sat Jan 13 09:07:06 1990

Those SS boys and NSA boys think i'm a COMRADE .. hehehe i'm just glad

i'm still fucking free.


- Par
Subject: The Bottom line.

From: The Parmaster

Date: Sun Jan 21 10:05:38 1990
The bottom line is a crackdown. The phrack boys were just the start,

i'm sure of it.

This is the time to watch yourself. No matter what you are into,

whether it's just codes, cards, etc.

Apparently the government has seen the last straw. Unfortunately, with

all of this in the news now, they will be able to get more government

money to combat hackers.
And that's BAD fucking news for us. I think they are going after all

the `teachers'--the people who educate others into this sort of thing.

I wonder if they think that maybe these remote cases are linked in any

way. The only way they canprobably see is that we are hackers. And

so that is where their energies will be put. To stop ALL hackers--and

stop them BEFORE they can become a threat. After they wipe out the

educators, that is. Just a theory.
- Par

Subject: Connection

From: The Parmaster

Date: Sun Jan 21 10:16:11 1990

Well, the only connection is disconnection, as Gandalf [a British

hacker] would say.

That's what i'm putting

on my epitaph.



Oh well, maybe i'll take

a few of the buggers with me when they come for me.

- Par

Subject: Oh well.

From: The Parmaster

Date: Tue Jan 23 19:30:05 1990

`And now, the end is near. I've traveled each and every byway ...' in

the words of the King. Oh well. Who cares? He was a fat shit before he

died anyway.
To everyone who's been a good friend of mine and help me cover up the

fact that i don't know a fucking thing--i thank u. And to everyone

else, take it easy and hang tough.
i was temporarily insane at the time
See you smart guys at the funny farm.
- Par

Subject: Par

From: Erik Bloodaxe

Date: Tue Jan 23 23:21:39 1990

Shit man, don't drink and think about things like that. It's not

healthy, mentally or physically.

Come to Austin, Texas.
We'll keep you somewhere until we can get something worked out for

A year in minimum security (Club Fed) is better then chucking a whole

life. Hell, you're 19!! I have discarded the `permanent' solution for

good. Dead people can't get laid, but people in federal prisons DO get

conjugal visits!!!
Think of

Call over here at whatever time you read this ... I can see you are

really getting worried, so just fucking call ...
- Erik

Subject: Hah

From: The Parmaster

Date: Thu Jan 25 18:58:00 1990

Just keep in mind they see everything you do. Believe me. I know.
- Par

Subject: Well shit.

From: The Parmaster

Date: Mon Jan 29 15:45:05 1990

It's happening soon guys.
I wish i could have bought more time. And worked out a deal. But

nada. They are nearby now.

I can tell which cars are theirs driving by outside. This is the

weirdest case of Deja vu i've ever had.

Anyway got an interesting call today. It was from Eddie, one of the

Bell systems computers.

It was rather fantasy like ... Probably just his way of saying

`Goodbye'. Eddie was a good friend, smartest damn UNIX box around ...

And he called today to tell me goodbye.
Now i know i'm fucked. Thanks, Eddie, it's been real. (whoever you

are) `ok eddie, this one's for you'

Much Later,
- Par

Subject: Par

From: Erik Bloodaxe

Date: Mon Jan 29 19:36:38 1990

Buddy, Par, you are over the edge ... lay off the weed. Not everyone

with glasses and dark suits are Feds. Not all cars with generic

hubcaps are government issue.
Well, hell, I don't know what the hell `Eddie' is, but that's a real

bizarre message you left.

Fly to Austin ... like tomorrow ... got plenty of places to stash you

until things can be smoothed out for a calm transition.

- Erik

Subject: eehh...

From: Phoenix [from Australia]

Date: Tue Jan 30 07:25:59 1990


what is young Par up to?

Subject: Par and Erik

From: Daneel Olivaw

Date: Mon Jan 29 21:10:00 1990
Erik, you aren't exactly the best person to be stashing people are


Subject: You know you are screwed when.

From: The Parmaster

Date: Wed Jan 31 14:26:04 1990
You know you are screwed

When surveyers survey

your neighbors regularly, and wear sunglasses when it's like 11 degrees

farenheit and cloudy as hell out.

When the same cars keep

driving by outside day and night. (I've been thinking about providing coffee an



- Par

Subject: heh, Par

From: The Mentor

Date: Wed Jan 31 16:37:04 1990

Ummm. I wear sunglasses when it's 11 degrees and cloudy ... so you can

eliminate that one. :-)

Subject: Hmm, Par

From: Phoenix

Date: Thu Feb 01 10:22:46 1990
At least you arent getting shot at.

Subject: Par, why don't you ...

From: Ravage

Date: Thu Feb 01 10:56:04 1990

Why not just go out and say `hi' to the nice gentleman? If i kept

seeing the same people tooling around my neighborhood, i would

actively check them out if they seemed weird.

Subject: Par, jump 'em

From: Aston Martin

Date: Tue Feb 06 18:04:55 1990

What you could do is go out to one of the vans sitting in the street

(you know, the one with the two guys sitting in it all day) with a

pair of jumper cables. Tell them you've seen them sitting there all

day and you thought they were stuck. Ask them if they need a jump.

- Aston
Between these strange messages, Par often posted comments on technical

matters. Other hackers routinely asked him questions about X.25

networks. Unlike some hackers, Par almost always offered some help. In

fact, he believed that being `one of the teachers' made him a

particular target. But his willingness to teach others so readily,

combined with his relatively humble, self-effacing demeanour, made Par

popular among many hackers. It was one reason he found so many places

to stay.

Spring arrived, brushing aside a few of the hardships of a winter on

the run, then summer. Par was still on the run, still dodging the

Secret Service's national hunt for the fugitive. By autumn, Par had

eluded law enforcement officials around the United States for more

than a year. The gloom of another cold winter on the run sat on the

horizon of Par's future, but he didn't care. Anything, everything was

bearable. He could take anything Fate would dish up because he had

something to live for.

Theorem was coming to visit him again.

When Theorem arrived in New York in early 1991, the weather was

bitterly cold. They travelled to Connecticut, where Par was staying in

a share-house with friends.

Par was nervous about a lot of things, but mostly about whether things

would be the same with Theorem. Within a few hours of her arrival, his

fears were assuaged. Theorem felt as passionately about him as she had

in California more than twelve months before. His own feelings were

even stronger. Theorem was a liferaft of happiness in the growing

turmoil of his life.

But things were different in the outside world. Life on the run with

Theorem was grim. Constantly dependent on other people, on their

charity, they were also subject to their petty whims.

A room-mate in the share-house got very drunk one night and picked a

fight with one of Par's friends. It was a major row and the friend

stormed out. In a fit of intoxicated fury, the drunk threatened to

turn Par in to the authorities. Slurring his angry words, he announced

he was going to call the FBI, CIA and Secret Service to tell them all

where Par was living.

Par and Theorem didn't want to wait around to see if the drunk would

be true to his word. They grabbed their coats and fled into the

darkness. With little money, and no place else to stay, they walked

around for hours in the blistering, cold wind. Eventually they decided

they had no choice but to return to the house late at night, hopefully

after the drunk had fallen asleep.

They sidled up to the front of the house, alert and on edge. It was

quite possible the drunk had called every law enforcement agency his

blurry mind could recall, in which case a collection of agents would

be lying in wait. The street was deadly quiet. All the parked cars

were deserted. Par peered in a darkened window but he couldn't see

anything. He motioned for Theorem to follow him into the house.

Though she couldn't see Par's face, Theorem could feel his tension.

Most of the time, she revelled in their closeness, a proximity which

at times seemed to border on telepathy. But at this moment, the

extraordinary gift of empathy felt like a curse. Theorem could feel

Par's all-consuming paranoia, and it filled her with terror as they

crept through the hall, checking each room. Finally they reached Par's

room, expecting to find two or three Secret Service agents waiting

patiently for them in the dark.

It was empty.

Directory: ~suelette -> underground

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