WARNING: MORE SPOILERS!!!
Right. Final version of the synopsis for tonight. I’m going to bite the bullet tomorrow morning and send it I think after one last glance through.
Bringing home the stars – short synopsis
Dezza is a salvager aboard a deep space tug along with Tubs and Zoë. They find an ancient and derelict Starliner – the Cerberus – after the ship’s drive malfunctions. Onboard the Starliner, something kills Tubs. At the same time some of the Starliner’s secrets are revealed, indicating that an unknown creature has colonised the ship. Dezza and Zoë escape, and the Starliner disappears as its engines reactivate. Back on Earth, mistakes Dezza made aboard the Cerberus and the loss of Tubs haunt him. His reputation is ruined. Whilst he becomes a drunk, Zoë signs up with another crew and heads back out into space trying to put the experience behind her.
Five years later a man called West from the military offers Dezza the option to return to the Cerberus, which has reappeared in deep space, as an advisor for a military crew as a chance of regaining his standing. Ignoring his fears and the fact that another salvage crew has disappeared searching the Starliner, Dezza signs on after learning that Zoë was on that crew.
Aboard the Starliner, events occur just as they did when Dezza was here five years ago, revealing an entity that can change between matter and energy and roams through the electrical systems of the derelict Cerberus. It picks off the military crew, infiltrating their own ship resulting in its destruction so that Dezza and the survivors must try to reactivate the previous salvage crew’s dead ship in order that they might escape.
The creature grows stronger, manifesting as those it has killed before. They realise as the creature reveals itself that the only way to defeat it is to destroy the Cerberus. If they don’t, the creature will continue to consume the crews of salvage ships that would risk everything for the ultimate prize of recovering the ancient vessel and towing it back for the salvage value.
Long range scans from the salvage craft’s systems indicate that the Cerberus risks grazing a meteor swarm. There is only a chance that it will be destroyed, but they will almost certainly die if they remain because the creature is relentless. One of the surviving military crew – Tracker – provides a distraction, luring the creature after himself, allowing Dezza to recover essential components that the abandoned salvage ship needs to be reactivated. The diversion is a success and Dezza flees with the last of the military crew – Toze.
Tracker stays to ensure the creature’s destruction and prevent it from regaining control of the Cerberus. The creature attempts to fight Tracker, manifesting first as his dead comrades, then as elements of the original Starliner’s crew. Only by facing up to the creature’s attack is Tracker able to keep the Cerberus on course long enough that the creature cannot undo the collision course with the meteor swarm. Dezza and Toze make it back to Earth having witnessed the end of the Cerberus and the creature.
‘Bringing Home The Stars’ is sci-fi and horror where the sci-fi takes a back seat to keep the story accessible to all readers, including those who do not normally consider sci-fi their thing. It has elements of ‘Aliens’ and ‘Ghost ship’, taking care to build the suspense by focussing on the psychological interaction of the main character Dezza and how his experiences on the Cerberus have become a turning point for his life. As the story progresses he is forced to face up to his past and fight and in the process reinvents himself as the man he used to be, facing up to the errors of his past.