Page 237


Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   of a tone-dial telephone on an ARE-11 telephone exchange. The tone was

   simply different from the ones generated by other exchange types, such

   as AXE and step-by-step exchanges.

  

   Finally Mendax was allowed to call a lawyer at Alphaline. The lawyer

   warned the hacker not to say anything. He said the police could offer

   a sworn statement to the court about anything the hacker said, and

   then added that the police might even be wired.

  

   Next, Day tried the chummy approach at getting information from the

   hacker. `Just between you and me, are you Mendax?' he asked.

  

   Silence.

  

   Day tried another tactic. Hackers have a well-developed sense of

   ego--a flaw Day no doubt believed he could tap into.

  

   `There have been a lot of people over the years running around

   impersonating you--using your handle,' he said.

  

   Mendax could see Day was trying to manipulate him but by this stage he

   didn't care. He figured that the police already had plenty of evidence

   that linked him to his handle, so he admitted to it.

  

   Day had some other surprising questions up his sleeve.

  

   `So, Mendax, what do you know about that white powder in the bedroom?'

  

   Mendax couldn't recall any white powder in the bedroom. He didn't do

   drugs, so why would there be any white powder anywhere? He watched two

   police officers bringing two large red toolboxes in the house--they

   looked like drug testing kits. Jesus, Mendax thought. I'm being set

   up.

  

   The cops led the hacker into the bedroom and pointed to two neat lines

   of white powder laid out on a bench.

  

   Mendax smiled, relieved. `It's not what you think,' he said. The white

   powder was glow-in-the-dark glue he had used to paint stars on the

   ceiling of his child's bedroom.

  

   Two of the cops started smiling at each other. Mendax could see

   exactly what was going through their minds: It's not every cocaine or

   speed user that can come up with a story like that.

  

   One grinned at the other and exclaimed gleefully, `TASTE TEST!'

  

   `That's not a good idea,' Mendax said, but his protests only made

   things worse. The cops shooed him into another room and returned to

   inspect the powder by themselves.

  

   What Mendax really wanted was to get word through to Prime Suspect.

   The cops had probably busted all three IS hackers at the same time,

   but maybe not. While the police investigated the glue on their own,

   Mendax managed to sneak a telephone call to his estranged wife and

   asked her to call Prime Suspect and warn him. He and his wife might

   have had their differences, but he figured she would make the call

   anyway.

  

   When Mendax's wife reached Prime Suspect later that night, he replied,