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   Anthrax's girlfriend, a pretty, moon-faced Turkish girl, also came to

   court. She had never been into the hacking scene. A group of school

   children, mostly girls, chatted in the rows behind her.


   Anthrax read through the four-page summary of facts provided by the

   prosecution. When he reached the final page, his heart stopped. The

   final paragraph said:


   31. Penalty


   s85ZF (a)--12 months, $6000 or both


   s76E(a)--2 years, $12000 or both


   Pointing to the last paragraph, Anthrax asked his lawyer what that was

   all about. His lawyer told him that he would probably get prison but,

   well, it wouldn't be that bad and he would just have `to take it on

   the chin'. He would, after all, be out in a year or two.


   Rapists sometimes got off with less than that. Anthrax couldn't

   believe the prosecution was asking for prison. After he cooperated,

   suffering through that miserable interview. He had no prior

   convictions. But the snowball had been set in motion. The magistrate

   appeared and opened the court.


   Anthrax felt he couldn't back out now and he pleaded guilty to 21

   counts, including one charge of inserting data and twenty charges of

   defrauding or attempting to defraud a carrier.


   His lawyer put the case for a lenient sentence. He called Anthrax's

   father up on the stand and asked him questions about his son. His

   father probably did more harm than good. When asked if he thought his

   son would offend again, his father replied, `I don't know'.


   Anthrax was livid. It was further unconscionable behaviour. Not long

   before the trial, Anthrax had discovered that his father had planned

   to sneak out of the country two days before the court case. He was

   going overseas, he told his wife, but not until after the court case.

   It was only by chance that she discovered his surreptitious plans to

   leave early. Presumably he would find his son's trial humiliating.

   Anthrax's mother insisted he stayed and he begrudgingly delayed the



   His father sat down, a bit away from Anthrax and his lawyer. The

   lawyer provided a colourful alternative to the prosecutor. He perched

   one leg up on his bench, rested an elbow on the knee and stroked his

   long, red beard. It was an impressive beard, more than a foot long and

   thick with reddish brown curls. Somehow it fitted with his two-tone

   chocolate brown suit and his tie, a breathtakingly wide creation with

   wild patterns in gold. The suit was one size too small. He launched

   into the usual courtroom flourish--lots of words saying nothing. Then

   he got to the punch line.


   `Your worship, this young man has been in all sorts of places. NASA,

   military sites, you wouldn't believe some of the places he has been.'


   `I don't think I want to know where he has been,' the magistrate

   answered wryly.


   The strategy was Anthrax's. He thought he could turn a