2158 AD, and a space prospector tells his computer shrink his rags to riches story, how a game of ‘Russian roulette’ in space took him to confront his greatest fear.
2158 AD. Earth is overpopulated. Millions are on the brink of starvation. The discovery of abandoned alien spacecraft on the Gateway asteroid may yet save mankind. Fortunes can be made, by anyone brave enough to ship out across the universe, but many never return alive. Bob Broadhead returned from two Gateway missions. He should have good reason to be happy. He’s young, handsome and a billionaire - yet he’s in therapy with Sigfrid, his computer generated shrink. In a series of flashbacks, Bob relates his childhood as a dirt-poor miner’s son on Mars. As a boy he fails to save his father’s life in a terrifying mining accident. Years later he loses his best friend the same way, only narrowly surviving himself, before fate takes him to Gateway. Bob joins a bunch of other recruits we grow to care about as they train for their first mission. Bob falls in love with Klara, the instructor, a veteran who’s lost her nerve. On the eve of his first mission, Bob witnesses a gruesome horror … a mangled ship returning from a failed mission. It’s crew dead, or worse. Bob refuses to ship out. Bob reveals a series of events involving the other characters that eventually leads Bob and Klara to take a mission. They join an experienced crew. Cramped inside a ship resembling a World War II German U-boat, they endure a nerve-shattering game of Russian roulette, only to return months later ... empty handed ... half starved, and with a crazed skipper trussed in the hold. Sigfrid starts to close in on the source of Bob’s pain. Bob confesses to having killed Klara. In a climactic sequence Bob, Klara, and most of the main characters embark on a dangerous mission never tried before, using two spacecraft. Bob can’t go on with his story. Sigfrid takes over, with a holographic reconstruction, which shows the ships emerging next to a black hole. Their only hope for survival is to transfer to one ship and jettison the other, but Bob becomes trapped alone – he pulls the release mechanism and everyone else, including Klara, perishes whilst Bob is jettisoned to safety. Sigfrid shows a distraught Bob that he intended to sacrifice himself, forcing him to confront the trauma … but Sigfrid isn’t finished. Sigfrid reveals that Bob’s pain and guilt have nothing to do with his father’s death, or his friend’s, or even his beloved Klara - but with his fear of his own death. Bob is finally able to accept this deepest of human frailties, and start living again … and his computer shrink envies him for it.