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   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.