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   able to decipher what they thought they were trying to ask, and he

   answered accordingly.

  

   Then it was back to his cell while they processed his charge sheets.

   Alone again, Pad wondered once more if they had raided Gandalf. Like

   an answer from above, Pad heard telephone tones through the walls. The

   police seemed to be playing them over and over. That was when he knew

   they had Gandalf too.

  

   Gandalf had rigged up a tone dialler in his computer. It sounded as if

   the police were playing with it, trying to figure it out.

  

   So, Pad would finally meet Gandalf in person after two years. What

   would he look like? Would they have the same chemistry in person as

   on-line? Pad felt like he knew Gandalf, knew his essence, but meeting

   in person could be a bit tricky.

  

   Explaining that the paperwork, including the charge sheets, had

   finally been organised, a police officer unlocked Pad's cell door and

   led him to a foyer, telling him he would be meeting both Gandalf and

   Wandii. A large collection of police had formed a semi-circle around

   two other young men. In addition to Scotland Yard's Computer Crimes

   Unit and BT, at least seven other police forces were involved in the

   three raids, including those from Greater Manchester, Merseyside and

   West Yorkshire. The officers were curious about the hackers.

  

   For most of the two years of their investigation, the police didn't

   even know the hackers' real identities. After such a long, hard chase,

   the police had been forced to wait a little longer, since they wanted

   to nab each hacker while he was on-line. That meant hiding outside

   each hacker's home until he logged in somewhere. Any system would do

   and they didn't have to be talking to each other on-line--as long as

   the login was illegal. The police had sat patiently, and finally

   raided the hackers within hours of each other, so they didn't have

   time to warn one another.

  

   So, at the end of the long chase and a well-timed operation, the

   police wanted to have a look at the hackers up close.

  

   After the officer walked Pad up to the group, he introduced Gandalf.

   Tall, lean with brown hair and pale skin, he looked a little bit like

   Pad. The two hackers smiled shyly at each other, before one of the

   police pointed out Wandii, the seventeen-year-old schoolboy. Pad

   didn't get a good look at Wandii, because the police quickly lined the

   hackers up in a row, with Gandalf in the middle, to explain details to

   them. They were being charged under the Computer Misuse Act of 1990.

   Court dates would be set and they would be notified.

  

   When they were finally allowed to leave, Wandii seemed to disappear.

   Pad and Gandalf walked outside, found a couple of benches and lay

   down, basking in the sun and chatting while they waited for their

   rides home.

  

   Gandalf proved to be as easy to talk to in person as he was on-line.

   They exchanged phone numbers and shared notes on the police raids.

   Gandalf had insisted on meeting a lawyer before his interviews, but

   when the lawyer arrived he didn't have the slightest understanding of

   computer crime. He advised Gandalf to tell the police whatever they

   wanted to know, so the hacker did.