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   Mendax dreamed of police raids all the time. He dreamed of footsteps

   crunching on the driveway gravel, of shadows in the pre-dawn darkness,

   of a gun-toting police squad bursting through his backdoor at 5 a.m.

   He dreamed of waking from a deep sleep to find several police officers

   standing over his bed. The dreams were very disturbing. They

   accentuated his growing paranoia that the police were watching him,

   following him.

  

   The dreams had become so real that Mendax often became agitated in the

   dead hour before dawn. At the close of an all-night hacking session,

   he would begin to feel very tense, very strung out. It was not until

   the computer disks, filled with stolen computer files from his hacking

   adventures, were stored safely in their hiding place that he would

   begin to calm down.

  

   `Go away, Ratface, I'm not in the mood,' Mendax said, returning to his

   book.

  

   The voice became louder, more insistent, `Police. Open the door. NOW'.

   Other figures were moving around behind the glass, shoving police

   badges and guns against the window pane. Hell. It really was the

   police!

  

   Mendax's heart started racing. He asked the police to show him their

   search warrant. They obliged immediately, pressing it against the

   glass as well. Mendax opened the door to find nearly a dozen

   plain-clothes police waiting for him.

  

   `I don't believe this,' he said in a bewildered voice `My wife just

   left me. Can't you come back later?'

  

   At the front of the police entourage was Detective Sergeant Ken Day,

   head of the AFP's Computer Crimes Unit in the southern region. The two

   knew all about each other, but had never met in person. Day spoke

   first.

  

   `I'm Ken Day. I believe you've been expecting me.'

  

   Mendax and his fellow IS hackers had been expecting the AFP. For weeks

   they had been intercepting electronic mail suggesting that the police

   were closing the net. So when Day turned up saying, `I believe you've

   been expecting me,' he was completing the information circle. The

   circle of the police watching the hackers watching the police watch

   them.

  

   It's just that Mendax didn't expect the police at that particular

   moment. His mind was a tangle and he looked in disbelief at the band

   of officers on his front step. Dazed, he looked at Day and then spoke

   out loud, as if talking to himself, `But you're too short to be a

   cop.'

  

   Day looked surprised. `Is that meant to be an insult?' he said.

  

   It wasn't. Mendax was in denial and it wasn't until the police had

   slipped past him into the house that the reality of the situation

   slowly began to sink in. Mendax's mind started to work again.

  

   The disks. The damn disks. The beehive.