The commercial ended and she came back on the screen.

What is that thing called again? Devek wondered, contemplating the black box on the wall. Ah yes. A television. Forefather of the integrated-vid data stream… The information tickled his brain for a moment. Strange how the ads of this time and mine seem so similar. Did we really lose everything, or is it still there, somehow?

He was sitting at the bar, a glass of scotch, on the rocks and nearly empty, between his fingers. His CO would put him on report for drinking while on duty—and not only that, but drinking real alcohol—but Devek didn’t care. Hell, that bastard had ordered him into this mess. Devek figured he deserved to get drunk. He rubbed a hand through his close-cropped brown hair.

She was singing now. He drained the last of the cool liquid, feeling it bite as it went down. The sensation was disappointingly not comforting. Devek coughed, unused to the drink, and signaled the bartender for another. His eyes never wavered from the screen. Yes, she was singing again, but it was becoming evening and the lounge was filling up. Her sweet voice was almost lost among the clink of glass and the yammering of the other patrons.

Couldn’t they shut up and listen? He wanted to climb onto the bar and yell at them to quit with their pointless small talk. Just listen, he felt like shouting. Too soon music will be dead!