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   When he told Theorem, she offered to help pay for it. A cheque for

   $700 showed up not long after. It made the task of explaining

   Telecom's reminder notice to his father much easier.

  

   The romantic relationship progressed throughout 1987 and the first

   half of 1988. Electron and Theorem exchanged love letters and tender

   intimacies over 16000 kilometres of computer networks, but the

   long-distance relationship had some bumpy periods. Like when she had

   an affair over several months with Pengo. A well-known German hacker

   with links to the German hacking group called the Chaos Computer Club,

   Pengo was also a friend and mentor to Electron. Pengo was, however,

   only a short train ride away from Theorem. She became friends with

   Pengo on Altos and eventually visited him. Things progressed from

   there.

  

   Theorem was honest with Electron about the affair, but there was

   something unspoken, something below the surface. Even after the affair

   ended, Theorem was sweet on Pengo the way a girl remains fond of her

   first love regardless of how many other men she has slept with since

   then.

  

   Electron felt hurt and angry, but he swallowed his pride and forgave

   Theorem her dalliance. Eventually, Pengo disappeared from the scene.

  

   Pengo had been involved with people who sold US military

   secrets--taken from computers--to the KGB. Although his direct

   involvement in the ongoing international computer espionage had been

   limited, he began to worry about the risks. His real interest was in

   hacking, not spying. The Russian connection simply enabled him to get

   access to bigger and better computers. Beyond that, he felt no loyalty

   to the Russians.

  

   In the first half of 1988, he handed himself in to the German

   authorities. Under West German law at the time, a citizen-spy who

   surrendered himself before the state discovered the crime, and thus

   averted more damage to the state, acquired immunity from prosecution.

   Having already been busted in December 1986 for using a stolen NUI,

   Pengo decided that turning himself in would be his best hope of taking

   advantage of this legal largesse.

  

   By the end of the year, things had become somewhat hairy for Pengo and

   in March 1989 the twenty-year-old from Berlin was raided again, this

   time with the four others involved in the spy ring. The story broke

   and the media exposed Pengo's real name. He didn't know if he would

   eventually be tried and convicted of something related to the

   incident. Pengo had a few things on his mind other than the six-foot

   Swiss girl.

  

   With Pengo out of the way, the situation between Theorem and the

   Australian hacker improved. Until Par came along.

  

   Theorem and Par began innocently enough. Being one of only a few girls

   in the international hacking and phreaking scene and, more

   particularly, on Altos, she was treated differently. She had lots of

   male friends on the German chat system, and the boys told her things

   in confidence they would never tell each other. They sought out her

   advice. She often felt like she wore many hats--mother, girlfriend,

   psychiatrist--when she spoke with the boys on Altos.

  

   Par had been having trouble with his on-line girlfriend, Nora, and