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Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   More than 10 per cent of the company's employees worked in this

   division, designing spacecraft systems, communications systems,

   satellites and other, unspecified, space `instruments'.

  

   The siezed disk had some mail from the company's TRWMAIL systems. It

   wasn't particularly sensitive, mostly just company propaganda sent to

   employees, but the Secret Service might think that where there was

   smoke, there was bound to be fire. TRW did the kind of work that makes

   governments very nervous when it comes to unauthorised access. And Par

   had visited certain TRW machines; he knew that company had a missiles

   research section, and even a space weapons section.

  

   With so many people out to get him--Citibank, the Secret Service, the

   local police, even his own mother had helped the other side--it was

   only a matter of time before they unearthed the really secret things

   he had seen while hacking. Par began to wonder if was such a good idea

   for him to stay around for the trial.

  

                            [ ]

 

   In early 1989, when Theorem stepped off the plane which carried her

   from Switzerland to San Francisco, she was pleased that she had

   managed to keep a promise to herself. It wasn't always an easy

   promise. There were times of intimacy, of perfect connection, between

   the two voices on opposite sides of the globe, when it seemed so

   breakable.

  

   Meanwhile, Par braced himself. Theorem had described herself in such

   disparaging terms. He had even heard from others on Altos that she was

   homely. But that description had ultimately come from her anyway, so

   it didn't really count.

  

   Finally, as he watched the stream of passengers snake out to the

   waiting area, he told himself it didn't matter anyway. After all, he

   had fallen in love with her--her being, her essence--not her image as

   it appeared in flesh. And he had told her so. She had said the same

   back to him.

  

   Suddenly she was there, in front of him. Par had to look up slightly

   to reach her eyes, since she was a little more than an inch taller.

   She was quite pretty, with straight, brown shoulder-length hair and

   brown eyes. He was just thinking how much more attractive she was than

   he had expected, when it happened.

  

   Theorem smiled.

  

   Par almost lost his balance. It was a devastating smile, big and

   toothy, warm and genuine. Her whole face lit up with a fire of

   animation. That smile sealed it.

  

   She had kept her promise to herself. There was no clear image of Par

   in her mind before meeting him in person. After meeting a few people

   from Altos at a party in Munich the year before, she had tried not to

   create images of people based on their on-line personalities. That way

   she would never suffer disappointment.

  

   Par and Theorem picked up her bags and got into Brian's car. Brian, a

   friend who offered to play airport taxi because Par didn't have a car,

   thought Theorem was pretty cool. A six-foot-tall French-speaking Swiss

   woman. It was definitely cool. They drove back to Par's house. Then