I honestly can’t forget that first morning. I’d been up all night watching the elections and making sure the Russians kept to themselves. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, which should have been an indication in and of itself of something. At some point between the fourth and fifth tumbler of scotch, I l had leaned back in my chair and let my eyes close. I blame myself, really. I could have stopped it. It wouldn’t have been hard. The problem is, it would have made me a hypocrite. I’m many things, but never that. Well, almost never.
I woke up and my screens were screaming that he won. That Cheeto faced bastard had pulled it off. I logged into the chat with anonymous credentials and it was filled with the virtual wailing and gnashing of teeth:
Anon69 - MOTHER FUCKER
Switchblade - We did it to ourselves.
Archon1972 - I bet the Ruskies managed to get through.
Anon69 - NO FUCKING WAY
KittenPuppySuicide - Check your caps lock douchcanoe.
Douchcanoe - Sorry.
TJ2000 (ME) - What are you guys on about?
Anon69 - Stop changing my handle. We’re on about that fuckstick stealing the election.
TJ2000 (ME) - I checked everything I pwned. As far as I can tell it’s legit.
KittenPuppySuicide - Doesn’t matter. In a few days, people will see what a cock up this is and that she won the popular vote.
Archon1972 - BWAHAHAHAHA!11!1 Do you want me to Google the phrase Electoral College for you?
Narwhal!11! - Or the fact that people are sheep and in two weeks everyone will be okay with this, mysteriously.
KittenPuppySuicide - I’ve already got a march organized for tonight. We’ll protest. Enough people will get behind it and we’ll change hearts and… Oh fuck, I almost typed that with a straight face. What the fuck do we do?
TJ2000 (ME) - Your march ain’t gonna do shit. But you may be onto something. We do need to wake people up. We need to start something so this shit bag gets overthrown. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
There was nothing in the chat for a few seconds after that. Even though none of us really knew one another, we had become friends over the years. We’d helped with hacks and projects. We gave each other no end of shit, but we were all on each other’s inviolable “do not pwn” list. There was trust, but could that survive the idea of fomenting revolution? I didn’t know it at the time, but for most of us, it would. The leak surprised me, but if I’m going to spell out what we did next, I’ll do it in by god order.
I’d been working on the idea as an intellectual exercise for a while. Ever since I gave my first talk at DEFCON in 2000. That one was on the future of RFID in passports and how to crack them. Even then, I knew the time was coming. Our country was growing more and more complacent. There would come a time when I’d need to be able to rally the troops and start a coup or a revolution or some such happy nonsense. Now it had to become more than just an exercise.
Archon1972 - What do we do? Point me in the right direction and I’m your dude.
PuppyKittenSuicide - I’m not sure if I can commit to this.
Anon69 - Too real for you?
PuppyKittenSuicide - Fuck off, smeghead.
Narwhal!11! - We’re already committed. This needs to happen and if we don’t do something about it then we’re just as guilty.
TJ2000 (ME) - I’ve uploaded some docs to the usual places. You all have the keys. Have a look at them and we’ll come back together tomorrow. We have to move quickly.
I logged off the chat and threw up in the wastebasket beside my chair. The mix of scotch and semi-digested meat snacks smelled as gross as you can imagine. As ready as I was for this mentally, I don’t know that any of us was ready for what came next.