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   before the modem's arrival, Electron's report card showed six As and

   one B. The following semester he earned six Bs and only one A.

  

   Electron had moved onto bigger and better things than school. He

   quickly became a regular user of underground BBSes and began hacking.

   He was enthralled by an article he discovered describing how several

   hackers claimed to have moved a satellite around in space simply by

   hacking computers. From that moment on, Electron decided he wanted to

   hack--to find out if the article was true.

  

   Before he graduated from school in 1987, Electron had hacked NASA, an

   achievement which saw him dancing around the dining room table in the

   middle of the night chanting, `I got into NASA! I got into NASA!' He

   hadn't moved any satellites, but getting into the space agency was as

   thrilling as flying to the moon.

  

   By 1989, he had been hacking regularly for years, much to the chagrin

   of his sister, who claimed her social life suffered because the

   family's sole phone line was always tied up by the modem.

  

   For Phoenix, Electron was a partner in hacking, and to a lesser degree

   a mentor. Electron had a lot to offer, by that time even more than The

   Realm.

  

   `Cactus, Cad, Cadaver, Caddis, Cadence, Cadet, Caesura. What the fuck

   is a Caesura?' Phoenix kept ploughing through the Cs.

  

   `Dunno. Kill that,' Electron answered, distracted.

  

   `Caesura. Well, fuck. I know I'd wanna use that as a password.'

   Phoenix laughed. `What the hell kind of word is Caduceus?'

  

   `A dead one. Kill all those. Who makes up these dictionaries?'

   Electron said.

  

   `Yeah.'

  

   `Caisson, Calabash. Kill those. Kill, kill, kill,' Electron said

   gleefully.

  

   `Hang on. How come I don't have Calabash in my list?' Phoenix feigned

   indignation.

  

   Electron laughed.

  

   `Hey,' Phoenix said, `we should put in words like "Qwerty" and

   "ABCDEF" and "ASDFGH".'

  

   `Did that already.' Electron had already put together a list of other

   common passwords, such as the `words' made when a user typed the six

   letters in the first alphabet row on a keyboard.

  

   Phoenix started on the list again. `OK the COs. Commend, Comment,

   Commerce, Commercial, Commercialism, Commercially. Kill those last

   three.'

  

   `Huh? Why kill Commercial?'

  

   `Let's just kill all the words with more than eight characters,'

   Phoenix said.