Fear and Loathing in INFOSEC: “The Black Mass”
"Raoul Duke: [hallucinating being attacked by lizards] Jesus God almighty, look at that bunch over there man! They’ve spotted us!"
I walked into the casino half melted from the beating sun of the Vegas desert having performed the daily French Foreign Legion forced march between hotels to get into the conference.
As the cold air hit me and began to precipitate the usual storm front of hot and cold air headache that technically should create a thunder storm around me, I began to see the freaks mixed with the damned all around.
Freak power, this was its bastion for the week long vice and criminality fest known as DEFCON, and I was in its midst for the 4th time, ready to feel the fear and the loathing once again while watching the lounge lizards mix with the digital freaks and loathing the both of them rather equally.
The fear I felt palpably at the time was centered on the idea that these kids were the future, and the loathing that they too soon would be co-opted into buying the “American Dream” that the other lounge lizards were perpetuating as they sat lazily swilling cocktails while pulling on the one arm bandits like they were masturbating bulls for prize semen.
The freaks, one and all, were a monochromatic bunch for the most part, all seeking to garner attention for themselves, but, unlike a peacock or another fowl with brightly colored plumes, they lacked the colors to differentiate themselves between and betwixt the other.
Of course, this was to assume that, like peacocks, they were trying to attract a mate, in this case, there were not so many females of the digital freak species in the room, so it was doubly meaningless for the ersatz preening species known as a “hacker”
Gesticulating and making odd sounds, the hackers milled and jerked around like some strange species of black raptors. Babbling incoherently about arcane knowledge in the hopes of one upping the other hapless technoweens in the room.
All of this spectacle was witnessed by myself and other non freaks, mouths agape, as we fixated on the strangeness of it all while fearing that soon we would be noticed and beset upon as interlopers in this strange and fearful parade of young gen-y and millennial’s.
I soon escaped, fearing that I would be spotted as what they called a “Fed” because I did not wear the uniform of black on black… and I had grey hair. It was a close call, but little did I know that all of this was to pale in comparison to the night time bacchanalia of counter culture couture and angst that would ensue.
The nocturnal nature of the beasts that I hadn’t been apparent from the daytime activities that they pursued. Between clatches of gesticulating and strutting hallway lizard sessions on they would plod in great number attempting to go from room to room, sitting patiently for some great bearded UNIX gnome.
A great sea of black and pale skin with odd tufts of technical wizardry on them, antenna’s grafted to their bodies, they sit and listen en-wrapped to the speeches of technical rock stars, gurus of the angel headed hipsters, showing them the arcane secrets of their cult.
I sat watching the bobbing heads of the black masses, their blinking lights winking in the audience and felt the fear creep up my spine that comes from seeing a black mass and realizing that the gods eventually would have to be appeased by blood sacrifice.
Later that night, I wandered in and out of the bar and the hotel, seeing groups of these nocturnal basement dwellers roaming the halls, completely blasted out of their minds on every conceivable kind of chemical that they could get their hands on.
It was an orgy of black t-shirts and Doc Martins loudly proclaiming their status and their total twistedness, it gave one chills to see it. I pressed on though, seeking the great secret knowledge that this all represented, the beastily truth that these kids are our future and we all were once again in high school.
From room to room, you could hear the taunts and grunts, protestations that each lizard in the room was the biggest, the sharpest of tongue and claw, and that they, and they alone were worthy of being lauded as king lizard…
And if you dared to say otherwise, then you were to be smashed into a bloody mental pulp by their arcane black arts.
Hissing and taunting could be heard on every floor between strutting cackles as more of these creatures sat in front of terminals, their faces aglow, pale in the reflected digital light. Clicking of talons on keyboards could be heard and the sound was reverberating throughout as more and more of the hotel’s infrastructure was taken over.
With each success, they would make throaty calls, like Jurassic beasts calling others to come to rip the prey apart, truly, I was a stranger in a strange land and began to wonder if I should just back away slowly, perhaps their visual acuity was based on movement and if I moved infinitely slowly, I could make my escape.
Between these horrific scenes and those of the American dreamers slowly pulling the one armed bandits, I came to realize that I had entered Hell, and that Las Vegas was it’s inner circle, the seventh layer, and these all were the damned. The bloated American dreamers, dull eyed, gorged on the all you can eat all you can drink of the hotel while the black clad hackers, preened and fed upon the fallacy that they were the center of the universe, the center of a super massive black hole of “cool”.
Neither seeing the other as being at all entangled with each other, nor seeing the natural selection going on right before their very eyes. I became suddenly acutely aware that both of these subspecies of homo sapiens ironically thought that they were at the top of the food chain and here I was outside of them all seeing them clearly as freaks of a feather and that one day, the cool kid lizards in their zeal to be numero uno would someday find themselves so counter culture that they would in fact become the cultural norm.
Someday, they too would be there once again, fat, and sweaty, pulling on the one arm bandits incessantly, watching the new crop of super cool black draped lizards, cawing and shrieking about how cool they are because they have the sharpest digital talons.
Irony it seems, has a sense of humor.
I had found the fear and the loathing, cyclically circling one another in a grim death match between the counter culture of the hackers and the gold dripping, slovenly wanton pulling at those slots.
Thick in the air and fetid as the breath of the nearest hobo on the streets of this horrid town, it fell like an ill wind upon me and I wanted to leave this cursed place…
Viva Las Vegas Baby.. Viva Las Vegas…
Cross-posted from Krypt3ia