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   Eventually, the older agent came back into the room, dragged the

   pitbull agent away and took him outside for a whispered chat. After

   that, the pitbull agent was all sweetness and light with Par. Not

   another word about TRW.

  

   Par wondered why a senior guy from the Secret Service would tell his

   minion to clam up about the defence contractor? What was behind the

   sudden silence? The abrupt shift alarmed Par almost as much as the

   questions had in the first place.

  

   The agent told Par he would be remanded in custody while awaiting

   extradition to California. After all the paperwork had been completed,

   they released him from the handcuffs and let him stand to stretch. Par

   asked for a cigarette and one of the agents gave him one. Then a

   couple of other agents--junior guys--came in.

  

   The junior agents were very friendly. One of them even shook Par's

   hand and introduced himself. They knew all about the hacker. They knew

   his voice from outgoing messages on voicemail boxes he had created for

   himself. They knew what he looked like from his California police

   file, and maybe even surveillance photos. They knew his personality

   from telephone bridge conversations which had been recorded and from

   the details of his Secret Service file. Perhaps they had even tracked

   him around the country, following a trail of clues left in his

   flightpath. Whatever research they had done, one thing was clear.

   These agents felt like they knew him intimately--Par the person, not

   just Par the hacker.

  

   It was a strange sensation. These guys Par had never met before

   chatted with him about the latest Michael Jackson video as if he was a

   neighbour or friend just returned from out of town. Then they took him

   further uptown, to a police station, for more extradition paperwork.

  

   This place was no World Trade Center deluxe office. Par stared at the

   peeling grey paint in the ancient room, and then watched officers

   typing out reports using the two-finger hunt-and-peck method on

   electric typewriters--not a computer in sight. The officers didn't

   cuff Par to the desk. Par was in the heart of a police station and

   there was no way he was going anywhere.

  

   While the officer handling Par was away from his desk for ten minutes,

   Par felt bored. So he began flipping through the folders with

   information on other cases on the officer's desk. They were heavy duty

   fraud cases--mafia and drug-money laundering--cases which carried

   reference to FBI involvement. These people looked hairy.

  

   That day, Par had a quick appearance in court, just long enough to be

   given protective custody in the Manhattan detention complex known as

   the Tombs while he waited for the authorities from California to come

   and pick him up.

  

   Par spent almost a week in the Tombs. By day three, he was climbing

   the walls. It was like being buried alive.

  

   During that week, Par had almost no contact with other human beings--a

   terrible punishment for someone with so much need for a continual flow

   of new information. He never left his cell. His jailer slid trays of

   food into his cell and took them away.

  

   On day six, Par went nuts. He threw a fit, began screaming and banging