He sat staring at the monitor. His breath grew shallow and his fingers lost their strength as fear crept up on him.
He has been living alone for a while now.
“How long has it been?”, he wondered, “12 months? A year… Yes. That’s…that’s what they said. It has been a year! Oh wow…”
He wondered if he was losing his mind. He made it off the island, where he braved 10 days and nights in the wilderness, living off the land. He survived all the tortures they put him through. They called it training.
“Hah! They should’ve known. I am a fighter pilot, I live for such thrills!”, his ego brought him back to his senses. He typed into the console, “I will lose my hearing in a few days. What songs should I listen to before I go deaf?”
The perfect astronaut cannot have a ear. Motion sickness is not something you’d want in space.
Music is what he’ll miss the most. He has a habit of listening to his favorite songs on repeat till he grew sick of them.
“Will I be able to hear my thoughts? Could I sing to myself?…Ground control to Major Tom. Ground control to Major Tom. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on…”, he sang with David Bowie as he walked into surgery.
They put nanobots in his intestines. Stuck needles into his muscles and injected advanced anabolic steroids into them. And then they removed his ear.
He was the ideal astronaut now.
He climbed into his pod.
“…put your helmet on…”, he thought and smiled. The pod shivered as it shot through the clear blue sky. He remained calm. He was making history.
As he sped to infinity, he looked out of the hatch. “Home…the pale blue dot!”
The hatch turned bright blue after 15 minutes. Then red. And then yellow. The pod was on fire.
“Re-entry?! This can’t be right! Oh God…oh God!oh God!I’m going to crash.
Can they even hear me?!
Mayday! Barbarika has shot off planned trajectory. Crash imminent!
Was all this for nothing?!”
He opened his eyes to a room full of people. A nurse was dressing his wounds.
“The only thing better than surviving a crash is waking up to see a pretty lady!“, he thought.
“Yes indeed. And you are very lucky.”, he heard the nurse’s voice in his head. She did not have ears either! None of them did. All of them were earless!
“How…where am I?“, he couldn’t believe he was talking to her with his mind.
She smiled and said, “It is a long story, and all of it started with someone like you…”