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   `Are there any firearms in the house?' one of the men asked.

  

   Electron couldn't answer because he couldn't breathe. The kick had

   winded him. He felt someone pull him up from the floor and prop him in

   a chair. Lights went on everywhere and he could see six or seven

   people moving around in the hallway. They must have come into the

   house another way. The ones in the hallway were all wearing bibs with

   three large letters emblazoned across the front: AFP.

  

   As Electron slowly gathered his wits, he realised why the cops had

   asked about firearms. He had once joked to Phoenix on the phone about

   how he was practising with his dad's .22 for when the feds came

   around. Obviously the feds had been tapping his phone.

  

   While his father talked with one of the officers in the other room and

   read the warrant, Electron saw the police pack up his computer

   gear--worth some $3000--and carry it out of the house. The only thing

   they didn't discover was the modem. His father had become so expert at

   hiding it that not even the Australian Federal Police could find it.

  

   Several other officers began searching Electron's bedroom, which was

   no small feat, given the state it was in. The floor was covered in a

   thick layer of junk. Half crumpled music band posters, lots of

   scribbled notes with passwords and NUAs, pens, T-shirts both clean and

   dirty, jeans, sneakers, accounting books, cassettes, magazines, the

   occasional dirty cup. By the time the police had sifted through it all

   the room was tidier than when they started.

  

   As they moved into another room at the end of the raid, Electron bent

   down to pick up one of his posters which had fallen onto the floor. It

   was a Police Drug Identification Chart--a gift from a friend's

   father--and there, smack dab in the middle, was a genuine AFP

   footprint. Now it was a collector's item. Electron smiled to himself

   and carefully tucked the poster away.

  

   When he went out to the living room, he saw a policemen holding a

   couple of shovels and he wanted to laugh again. Electron had also once

   told Phoenix that all his sensitive hacking disks were buried in the

   backyard. Now the police were going to dig it up in search of

   something which had been destroyed a few days before. It was too

   funny.

  

   The police found little evidence of Electron's hacking at his house,

   but that didn't really matter. They already had almost everything they

   needed.

  

   Later that morning, the police put the 20-year-old Electron into an

   unmarked car and drove him to the AFP's imposing-looking headquarters

   at 383 Latrobe Street for questioning.

  

   In the afternoon, when Electron had a break from the endless

   questions, he walked out to the hallway. The boyish-faced Phoenix,

   aged eighteen, and fellow Realm member Nom, 21, were walking with

   police at the other end of the hall. They were too far apart to talk,

   but Electron smiled. Nom looked worried. Phoenix looked annoyed.

  

   Electron was too intimidated to insist on having a lawyer. What was

   the point in asking for one anyway? It was clear the police had

   information they could only have obtained from