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   He didn't answer. He looked out the window and tried not to look



   At his house, the police asked him if he would agree to an interview.


   `I don't think so. I'm feeling a little ... under the weather at the

   moment,' he said. Doing a police interview would be difficult enough.

   Doing it drunk would be just plain dangerous.


   After the police carted away the last of his hacking gear, Prime

   Suspect signed the official seizure forms and watched them drive off

   in to the night.


   Returning to his bedroom, he sat down, distracted, and tried to gather

   his thoughts. Then he remembered the dope. He opened his desk drawer.

   It was still there. Funny people, these feds.


   Then again, maybe it made sense. Why would they bother with some tiny

   amount of dope that was hardly worth the paperwork? His nervousness

   over a couple of joints must have seemed laughable to the feds. They

   had just seized enough evidence of hacking to lock him up for years,

   depending on the judge, and here he was sweating about a thimbleful of

   marijuana which might land him a $100 fine.


   As the late spring night began to cool down, Prime Suspect wondered

   whether the AFP had raided Mendax and Trax.


   At the party, before the police had shown up, he had tried to ring

   Mendax. From his mother's description when she called him, it sounded

   as if the entire federal police force was in his house at that moment.

   Which could mean that only one other IS hacker had gone down at the

   same time. Unless he was the last to be raided, Mendax or Trax might

   still be unaware of what was happening.


   As he waited for the police to pick him up, a very drunk Prime Suspect

   tried to ring Mendax again. Busy. He tried again. And again. The

   maddening buzz of an engaged signal only made Prime Suspect more



   There was no way to get through, no way to warn him.


   Prime Suspect wondered whether the police had actually shown up at

   Mendax's and whether, if he had been able to get through, his phone

   call would have made any difference at all.


                            [ ]


   The house looked like it had been ransacked. It had been ransacked, by

   Mendax's wife, on her way out. Half the furniture was missing, and the

   other half was in disarray. Dresser drawers hung open with their

   contents removed, and clothing lay scattered around the room.


   When his wife left him, she didn't just take their toddler child. She

   took a number of things which had sentimental value to Mendax. When

   she insisted on taking the CD player she had given him for his

   twentieth birthday just a few months before, he asked her to leave a

   lock of her hair behind for him in its place. He still couldn't

   believe his wife of three years had packed up and left him.


   The last week of October had been a bad one for Mendax. Heartbroken,