The gentle lilt seemed to call to him, drifting like dust motes on a sunbeam; summoning him from the bosom of sleep to the tangible world beyond. He blinked blearily and took in his surroundings. It was an expansive, airy room with large bay windows separated from his bed by open space which was bordered by an oak railing that his father had carved when he was a child. Leaning from the edge of the bed, he could see down into the spartanly-furnished room below. The room encompassed two floors, and he still hadn't grown accustomed to its dimensions. As he sat up, his eyes came more into focus and his ears confirmed what they told him: it was a beautiful day. The sun sparkled dazzlingly off the azure-blue sea and lapis lazuli skies were interrupted only by the slightest wisps of cotton-white cloud. Through the open windows he could hear the gently-rolling surf and feel the cool breeze caressing his skin. The music, however, had stopped; vanished with the opening of his eyes. Where did it come from? Where did it go?
Conal heaved himself out of bed, delighting in the mediterranean temperatures and ocean view. If only it was real.
He slipped a dressing gown on and trudged down the pine staircase. the table responded to his presence by winking on a holo readout of the morning's affairs. More Riots in New Kerala; the party had extended martial law. He yawned and dismissed the report; he preferred lighter media during breakfast. The time was 06:40. Head Office took the view that 5 hours' sleep was more than sufficient, even though a day was 39 minutes longer, here. He noted that he'd slept for 6 and wondered if they logged such infractions. He had 50 minutes to present himself at work; just enough time to shower and ingest what passed for breakfast. Reluctantly he booted up his neural loop, resigning himself to the end of his personal time. Several messages flared angrily before his eyes, demanding attention. He selected the first one, bracing himself for another castigation.