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   `Because once you've gotten in, it's a challenge over and you don't

   really care much about it,' Electron continued, struggling. `It's a

   hot challenge thing, trying to do things that other people are also

   trying to do but can't.

  

   `So, I mean, I guess it is a sort of ego thing. It's knowing that you

   can do stuff that other people cannot, and well, it is the

   challenge and the ego boost you get from doing something well ...

   where other people try and fail.'

  

   A few more questions and the day-long interview finally

   finished. The police then took Electron to the Fitzroy police

   station. He guessed it was the nearest location with a JP they could

   find willing to process a bail application at that hour.

  

   In front of the ugly brick building, Electron noticed a small group of

   people gathered on the footpath in the dusky light. As the police car

   pulled up, the group swung into a frenzy of activity, fidgeting in

   over-the-shoulder briefcases, pulling out notebooks and pens, scooping

   up big microphones with fuzzy shag covers, turning on TV camera

   lights.

  

   Oh NO! Electron wasn't prepared for this at all.

  

   Flanked by police, Electron stepped out of the police car and blinked

   in the glare of photographers' camera flashes and TV camera

   searchlights. The hacker tried to ignore them, walking as briskly as

   his captors would allow. Sound recordists and reporters tagged beside

   him, keeping pace, while the TV cameramen and photographers weaved in

   front of him. Finally he escaped into the safety of the watchhouse.

  

   First there was paperwork, followed by the visit to the JP. While

   shuffling through his papers, the JP gave Electron a big speech about

   how defendants often claimed to have been beaten by the police.

   Sitting in the dingy meeting room, Electron felt somewhat confused by

   the purpose of this tangential commentary. However, the JP's next

   question cleared things up: `Have you had any problems with your

   treatment by the police which you would like to record at this time?'

  

   Electron thought about the brutal kick he had suffered while lying on

   his bedroom floor, then he looked up and found Detective Constable

   Proebstl staring him in the eye. A slight smile passed across the

   detective's face.

  

   `No,' Electron answered.

  

   The JP proceeded to launch into another speech which Electron found

   even stranger. There was another defendant in the lock-up at the

   moment, a dangerous criminal who had a disease the JP knew about, and

   the JP could decide to lock Electron up with that criminal instead of

   granting him bail.

  

   Was this meant to be helpful warning, or just the gratification of

   some kind of sadistic tendency? Electron was baffled but he didn't

   have to consider the situation for long. The JP granted bail.

   Electron's father came to the watchhouse, collected his son and signed

   the papers for a $1000 surety--to be paid if Electron skipped town.

   That night Electron watched as his name appeared on the late night

   news.