It was the year 2032. Earth. The place where jazz began. Bing Davis, the galaxy-famous basstronaut, had just returned from his first gig. But things were not the same for Bing when he came home.
Bing was Earth’s first bassist astronaut. He was the newest member of the Cosmos Combo, which played in jazz bars from Andromeda to Zubenhakrabi. The combo members hailed from across the galaxy: the saxophonist was from Orion, the percussionist from the asteroid belt of the Solar System, and the pianist called Ursa Minor her home. It was a big deal for Earth to say they had provided a member of this renowned music group; not every planet could make such a claim.
When the Cosmos Combo’s next gig was announced, Bing reported to the short transit shuttle that would bring him to the space station positioned just outside Earth’s gravitational pull. From there, Bing was transferred, along with his precious bass cargo, to the U.S. Ming, which would be his interplanetary transport. He was heading to Mars. Home of the classiest jazz bar this side of Pluto. Aliens from across the galaxy came to this jazz spot, called simply The Martian, to hear the finest musicians’ honed craft. Bebop. Blues. Funk. All modes could be heard under the pressurized dome of The Martian.
The U.S. Ming traveled at cut time to get Bing to Mars that night for the gig. Bing of course had never played with his fellow combo members, but that doesn’t hinder professionals, especially when the four musicians are the best jazz players in the Milky Way.
Bing had the performance of his lifetime. His upright bass sang beautifully in the thin Martian atmosphere. The instruments’ harmonies blended flawlessly. The improvisation was always on point. The audience loved it.
After the gig, the four Cosmos Combo players shared a drink to celebrate their success and to welcome Bing to the group. But soon, the musicians had to part ways and head home to their respective corners of the galaxy. Until the next gig arose, they would have to remain apart.
Back aboard the U.S. Ming, Bing reflected on his career. From playing on street corners, to getting his first paid gig as a fill-in for a big band, to finally getting his big break, Bing could honestly say he was now content. Several hours later, the basstronaut was back on Earth.
Bing was the same, but everyone else had changed. While he had traveled countless miles over the course of a day by utilizing semi-light speed cut time technology, his family, friends, and colleagues on Earth had aged twenty years. Bing was shocked; he had not fully thought through the implications of becoming an interstellar jazz musician. That it would mean separating himself from his loved ones. From his home planet. From everything he had known for his entire life. Yes, he had a wonderful new existence ahead of him, but it would be different.
Bing spent the next week seeing as many friends as he could. Paying his respects to those that had passed away during his trip to Mars. Being more social than he had been in years. Then he received the news that the Cosmos Combo had their next gig lined up: in two Earth days’ time they would be playing on Polaris. Bing set out immediately, his bass in hand, to travel to the next house of jazz. He could not conceive what Earth would be like when he got back, but he could not let that slow him down. His new occupation had a hefty price, but Bing had a job to do: making music for the denizens of the galaxy.
Such is the life of a basstronaut.