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PHOENIX

  

   As his court case played in the media, Phoenix was speeding on his

   motorcycle through an inner-city Melbourne street one rainy night when

   he hit a car. The car's driver leapt from the front seat and found a

   disturbing scene. Phoenix was sprawled across the road. His helmet had

   a huge crack on the side, where his head had hit the car's petrol

   tank, and petrol had spilled over the motorcycle and its rider.

  

   Miraculously, Phoenix was unhurt, though very dazed. Some bystanders

   helped him and the distraught driver to a nearby halfway house. They

   called an ambulance, and then made the two traumatised young men some

   tea in the kitchen. Phoenix's mother arrived, called by a bystander at

   Phoenix's request. The ambulance workers confirmed that Phoenix had

   not broken any bones but they recommended he go to hospital to check

   for possible concussion.

  

   Still both badly shaken, Phoenix and the driver exchanged names and

   phone numbers. Phoenix told the driver he did technical work for a

   0055 telephone service, then said, `You might recognise me. I'm

   Phoenix. There's this big computer hacking case going on in

   court--that's my case'.

  

   The driver looked at him blankly.

  

   Phoenix said, `You might have seen me on the TV news.'

  

   No, the driver said, somewhat amazed at the strange things which go

   through the dazed mind of a young man who has so narrowly escaped

   death.

  

   Some time after Phoenix's close brush with death, the former hacker

   left his info-line technician's job and began working in the

   information technology division of a large Melbourne-based

   corporation. Well paid in his new job, Phoenix is seen, once again, as

   the golden-haired boy. He helped to write a software program which

   reduces waste in one of the production lines and reportedly saved the

   company thousands of dollars. Now he travels abroad regularly, to

   Japan and elsewhere.

  

   He had a steady girlfriend for a time, but eventually she broke the

   relationship off to see other people. Heartbroken, he avoided dating

   for months. Instead, he filled his time with his ever-increasing

   corporate responsibilities.

  

   His new interest is music. He plays electric guitar in an amateur

   band.