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Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   Sad-eyed and feeling dark on the world, Craig Bowen turned off PI and

   Zen forever.

 

                            [ ]

  

   Sitting at his computer sometime in the second half of 1989, Force

   stared at his screen without seeing anything, his mind a million miles

   away. The situation was bad, very bad, and lost in thought, he toyed

   with his mouse absent-mindedly, thinking about how to deal with this

   problem.

  

   The problem was that someone in Melbourne was going to be busted.

  

   Force wanted to discount the secret warning, to rack it up as just

   another in a long line of rumours which swept through the underground

   periodically, but he knew he couldn't do that. The warning was rock

   solid; it had come from Gavin.*

  

   The way Force told it, his friend Gavin worked as a contractor to

   Telecom by day and played at hacking at night. He was Force's little

   secret, who he kept from the other members of The Realm. Gavin was

   definitely not part of the hacker BBS scene. He was older, he didn't

   even have a handle and he hacked alone, or with Force, because he saw

   hacking in groups as risky.

  

   As a Telecom contractor, Gavin had the kind of access to computers and

   networks which most hackers could only dream about. He also had good

   contacts inside Telecom--the kind who might answer a few tactfully

   worded questions about telephone taps and line traces, or might know a

   bit about police investigations requiring Telecom's help.

  

   Force had met Gavin while buying some second-hand equipment through

   the Trading Post. They hit it off, became friends and soon began

   hacking together. Under the cover of darkness, they would creep into

   Gavin's office after everyone else had gone home and hack all night.

   At dawn, they tidied up and quietly left the building. Gavin went

   home, showered and returned to work as if nothing had happened.

  

   Gavin introduced Force to trashing. When they weren't spending the

   night in front of his terminal, Gavin crawled through Telecom's

   dumpsters looking for pearls of information on crumpled bits of office

   paper. Account names, passwords, dial-up modems, NUAs--people wrote

   all sorts of things down on scrap paper and then threw it out the next

   day when they didn't need it any more.

  

   According to Force, Gavin moved offices frequently, which made it

   easier to muddy the trail. Even better, he worked from offices which

   had dozens of employees making hundreds of calls each day. Gavin and

   Force's illicit activities were buried under a mound of daily

   legitimate transactions.

  

   The two hackers trusted each other; in fact Gavin was the only person

   to whom Force revealed the exact address of the CitiSaudi machine. Not

   even Phoenix, rising star of The Realm and Force's favoured protégé,

   was privy to all the secrets of Citibank uncovered during Force's

   network explorations.

  

   Force had shared some of this glittering prize with Phoenix, but not

   all of it. Just a few of the Citibank cards--token trophies--and

   general information about the Citibank network. Believing the