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Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   The Realm. Then you could call up the BBS and post a message. `Hey, I

   found a really cool Primos system at this address. Ran into problems

   trying to figure the parameters of the Netlink command. Ideas anyone?'

   And someone from your team would step forward to help.

  

   In The Realm, Force tried to assemble a diverse group of Australia's

   best hackers, each with a different area of expertise. And he happened

   to be the resident expert in Prime computers.

  

   Although Force wouldn't give DEFCON to anyone outside The Realm, he

   wasn't unreasonable. If you weren't in the system but you had an

   interesting network you wanted mapped, he would scan it for you. Force

   referred to scans for network user addresses as `NUA sprints'. He

   would give you a copy of the NUA sprint. While he was at it, he would

   also keep a copy for The Realm. That was efficient. Force's pet

   project was creating a database of systems and networks for The Realm,

   so he simply added the new information to its database.

  

   Force's great passion was mapping new networks, and new mini-networks

   were being added to the main X.25 networks all the time. A large

   corporation, such a BHP, might set up its own small-scale network

   connecting its offices in Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and

   the United Kingdom. That mini-network might be attached to a

   particular X.25 network, such as Austpac. Get into the Austpac network

   and chances were you could get into any of the company's sites.

  

   Exploration of all this uncharted territory consumed most of Force's

   time. There was something cutting-edge, something truly adventurous

   about finding a new network and carefully piecing together a picture

   of what the expanding web looked like. He drew detailed pictures and

   diagrams showing how a new part of the network connected to the rest.

   Perhaps it appealed to his sense of order, or maybe he was just an

   adventurer at heart. Whatever the underlying motivation, the maps

   provided The Realm with yet another highly prized asset.

  

   When he wasn't mapping networks, Force published Australia's first

   underground hacking journal, Globetrotter. Widely read in the

   international hacking community, Globetrotter reaffirmed Australian

   hackers' pre-eminent position in the international underground.

  

   But on this particular day, Par wasn't thinking about getting a copy

   of Globetrotter or asking Force to scan a network for him. He was

   thinking about that secret. Force's new secret. The secret Parmaster

   desperately wanted.

  

   Force had been using DEFCON to scan half a dozen networks while he

   chatted to Par on Altos. He found an interesting connection from the

   scan, so he went off to investigate it. When he connected to the

   unknown computer, it started firing off strings of numbers at Force's

   machine. Force sat at his desk and watched the characters rush by on

   his screen.

  

   It was very odd. He hadn't done anything. He hadn't sent any commands

   to the mystery computer. He hadn't made the slightest attempt to break

   into the machine. Yet here the thing was throwing streams of numbers.

   What kind of computer was this? There might have been some sort of

   header which would identify the computer, but it had zoomed by so fast

   in the unexpected data dump that Force had missed it.

  

   Force flipped over to his chat with Par on Altos. He didn't completely