The aether flows around me in a stream of murmuring chaos. Slip and slide and counterdance, the data flowing past; I can see above me the brightlit world of Lightside.

I am below all that. Down amidst the sentries and their waving fronds, with jets of data interchanged in IFF and auth and kerberos and blowfish. For the nonce, I slide between, not touching; not intruding, not reflecting, stealth. I can see. They cannot see me. I cannot touch, but nor can they.

Were I accessing on the level, the up-and-up, the topside beam, there would be a shell around my presence here. A bright-lit, colored shell with tags and IML/EML attributes and security authentications, the brightly-colored tattoos of system entry passes and the somber black romans of identity. I cannot stand the scrivened graffiti on my one true Self; I cannot stand the tags and labels.

I ride the Darkwave.

They try to ban it, stop it, hide it, seal it, lock it down; they cannot (or at least have not yet) and thus I am not blocked from this my second home. I can slide between, sylph of data and of sense. Consciousness can exist down here, in the colder climes of infrastructure and the 'backstage odor' that cannot be yet lingers in the nonexistent nostrils whenever I slide through the downbelow of the networked world.

Somewhere they know I'm here. They know I swim, can tell I feel, and hate that I can be. I know, because they leave messages for me in the softly waving strands of data that live and work down here. I can read them as I pass.

to the one that lives below, one reads. come find me if you dare and show me who you are. I laugh, a trill of zero packets fluttering through the note, erasing it. Come find him. I know who he is. I can taste him in the tags; a bored and angry SysCop sitting at his terminal. He doesn't flow. He doesn't see, he can only deduce, from the data given him by his machines - and the machines are my friends, not his slaves.

The darkwave pulls me on, out from under the shadow of his gloomy world and into the rushing burble of a backbone routing pool. The pulls and pushes and the turbulence; I simply let myself be tossed for several moments to enjoy the feeling, then I tire of it and strike off down a long, steady pipe. I wonder where this goes. Likely somewhere distant; I cannot see the end.

When I get there, I will decide if this is the moment that I step from off the dark into the light, if that is a place where my shell can be without the markings of the place.

Perhaps.

The darkwave snickers as it pulls me through the lighttime traffic, and I smile in response.

- freelance nodeshell rescue -

Darkwave, in addition to being a really neat little image-story by The Custodian, is also a subgenre of electronic music. It finds its roots in goth music and the darker synthpop of the 1980s, with some industrial thrown into the mix. The sound is best described as "dark techno" -- lots of electronic sounds and samples, usually woven around either a solid beat or an ethereal melodic line. Examples of darkwave might include Apoptygma Berzerk, Xymox and Tiamat.

Darkwave is frequently played in clubs that are not devoted exclusively to goth music, as it is much easier to dance to than ordinary goth fare, bearing a closer resemblance to "normal" dance music than ("too vicious! too loud!") industrial or ("too slow! too depressing!") goth music.

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