Page 101


Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   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

   city.

  

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