The next day they were in the basement playing video games when Mr. Simmons called down the stairs, "Tom, you need to come up here. There's someone here to see you." They paused their game and scampered up the stairs. They found a uniformed policeman waiting for them.
Even though they both had guilt written all over their faces, Tom tried to play it cool, "Good afternoon, sir, I mean Officer- uh- Sergeant."
"Good afternoon to you too. I presume you are Thomas Simmons?"
"Uh, yes Sergeant, but everybody has always just called me Tom."
"All right, Tom, do you know what this is?" he produced a paper from his shirt pocket. From where he was standing, Luke could read it clearly. It was the email they had sent the day before."
"Well, sir, it looks like an email to me." He said with an aura of nonchalance that Luke envied. He was glad Tom was doing all the talking.
"Did you send it?" the sergeant, whose name tag read Henson, was obviously not one to be toyed with.
Tom gulped, "Uh, yes sir, we sent it."
"Who do you mean by "we"?"
"Uh, well," he sent Luke and apologetic glance, "Luke and I did, sir."
"You boys sent an email like that to the police?" Mr. Simmons was incredulous, "What were you thinking? You should know better than to joke around like that. Especially with the law"
"Oh, we weren't joking, sir." Tom said reassuringly to his Father.
"No, Mr. Simmons," The cop interjected, "They weren't joking. We arrested Elliot Whitlow this afternoon. Followed him from work to the pick up point where he intercepted a large quantity of heroin. You're son helped us take down a good sized drug ring. What I want to know is how he found out about it."
"Well, uh- you see sir," Tom faltered on this part of the story, so Luke stepped in.
"Sir, if I may interrupt," he wasn't forbidden, so Luke continued, "We were snooping around kind of, and well, we sort of- no, not sort of-" Oh good grief, what had they been thinking? "We hacked into Mr. Whitlow's computer. The elder Mr. Whitlow. We didn't mean any harm, we only planned to rearrange his desktop icons, maybe change the background picture, but then we saw a folder marked 'Top Secret Files' and we opened it. It was a bunch of messages, all drop off or pick up instructions. We kept going back to it, and reading the new ones, and since we knew the computer belonged to Mr. Whitlow, we went and talked to him. He's the one who told us about Elliot. Yesterday I was looking at our notes, and well, I figured out that it was drug-related, that's why we sent the email."
Sergeant Henson studied the boys for a few minutes before speaking. "Can you show me the file folder?"
"Oh, yes," Tom came back to life, "That is unless it's been deleted. You'll have to come downstairs with us, though." The four of them walked downstairs together. Tom quickly loaded his computer, connected to Mr. Whitlow's server, and logged into Lilith June. The folder was on the desktop exactly where they left it. The original dozen pictures that had been there when the boys started looking had grown to one hundred fifty-six in the past month. Sergeant Henson looked at about ten of them, and then closed the file.
"Thank you. Now." He was wearing a serious expression again, "Hacking is an invasion of someone else's privacy, and is against the law. I could probably have both of you in juvie for this, but under the circumstances I think I'll let your parents handle the punishment. And if you gentlemen will excuse me, I believe I'll drop in on Mr. Whitlow and impound his computer."