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ELECTRON

  

   A few weeks after his sentencing, Electron had another psychotic

   episode, triggered by a dose of speed. He was admitted to hospital

   again, this time at Larundel. After a short stay, he was released and

   underwent further psychiatric care.

  

   Some months later, he did speed again, and suffered another bout of

   psychosis. He kept reading medical papers on the Internet about his

   condition and his psychiatrists worried that his detailed research

   might interfere with their ability to treat him.

  

   He moved into special accommodation for people recovering from mental

   instabilities. Slowly, he struggled to overcome his illness. When

   people came up to him and said things like, `What a nice day it is!'

   Electron willed himself to take their words at face value, to accept

   that they really were just commenting on the weather, nothing more.

   During this time, he quit drugs, alcohol and his much-hated accounting

   course. Eventually he was able to come off his psychiatric medicines

   completely. He hasn't taken drugs or had alcohol since December 1994.

   His only chemical vice in 1996 was cigarettes. By the beginning of

   1997 he had also given up tobacco.

  

   Electron hasn't talked to either Phoenix or Nom since 1992.

  

   In early 1996, Electron moved into his own flat with his steady

   girlfriend, who studies dance and who also successfully overcame

   mental illness after a long, hard struggle. Electron began another

   university course in a philosophy-related field. This time university

   life agreed with him, and his first semester transcript showed honours

   grades in every class. He is considering moving to Sydney for further

   studies.

  

   Electron worked off his 300 hours of community service by painting walls

   and doing minor handyman work at a local primary school. Among the small

   projects the school asked him to complete was the construction of a

   retaining wall. He designed and dug, measured and fortified. As he

   finished off the last of his court-ordered community service hours on

   the wall, he discovered that he was rather proud of his creation. Even

   now, once in a while, he drives past the school and looks at the wall.

  

   It is still standing.

 

                            [ ]

  

   There are still hacking cases in Australia. About the same time as

   Mendax's case was being heard in Victoria, The Crawler pleaded guilty

   to 23 indictable offences and thirteen summary offences--all hacking

   related charges--in Brisbane District Court. On 20 December 1996, the

   21-year-old Queenslander was given a three-year suspended prison

   sentence, ordered to pay $5000 in reparations to various

   organisations, and made to forfeit his modem and two computers. The

   first few waves of hackers may have come and gone, but hacking is far

   from dead. It is merely less visible.

  

   Law enforcement agencies and the judiciaries of several countries have

   tried to send a message to the next generation of would-be hackers.

   The message is this: Don't hack.

  

   But the next generation of elite hackers and phreakers have heard a