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   `Encrypted copy ... hmm. Thinking.' Pad paused. He and Gandalf hacked

   dozens of computer systems regularly. Sometimes it was difficult to

   recall just where they had stored things.

  

   `Yeah, I know what you mean. I don't know. It was on a system on

   JANET,' Pad said. Britain's Joint Academic Network was the equivalent

   of Australia's AARNET, an early Internet based largely on a backbone

   of universities and research centres.

  

   `I can't remember which system it was on,' Pad continued.

  

   If the Brits couldn't recall the institution, let alone the machine

   where they had hidden Deszip, it was time to give up

   all hope. JANET comprised hundreds, maybe thousands, of machines. It

   was far too big a place to randomly hunt around for a file which

   Gandalf would no doubt have tried to disguise in the first place.

  

   `But the file was encrypted, and you didn't have the password,' Pad

   wrote. `How come you want it?'

  

   `Because we found the password. <smile>' That was the

   etiquette on Altos. If you wanted to suggest an action, you put it in

   < >.

  

   `Gr8!' Pad answered.

  

   That was Pad and Gandalf's on-line style. The number eight was the

   British hackers' hallmark, since their group was called 8lgm, and they

   used it instead of letters. Words like `great', `mate' and `later'

   became `gr8', `m8' and `l8r'.

  

   When people logged into Altos they could name a `place' of origin for

   others to see. Of course, if you were logging from a country which had

   laws against hacking, you wouldn't give your real country. You'd just

   pick a place at random. Some people logged in from places like

   Argentina, or Israel. Pad and Gandalf logged in from 8lgm.

  

   `I'll try to find Gandalf and ask him if he knows where we stashed the

   copy,' Pad wrote to Phoenix.

  

   `Good. Thanks.'

  

   While Phoenix and Electron waited on-line for Pad to return, Par

   showed up on-line and joined their conversation. Par didn't know who

   Guest 0 was, but Guest certainly knew who Par was. Time hadn't healed

   Electron's old wounds when it came to Par. Electron didn't really

   admit to himself the bad blood was still there over Theorem. He told

   himself that he couldn't be bothered with Par, that Par was just a

   phreaker, not a real hacker, that Par was lame.

  

   Phoenix typed, `Hey, Par. How's it going?'

  

   `Feenster!' Par replied. `What's happening?'

  

   `Lots and lots.'

  

   Par turned his attention to the mystery Guest 0. He didn't want to

   discuss private things with someone who might be a security guy

   hanging around the chat channel like a bad smell.