Six Months Ago
Fitz suggests to Jemma that they go out somewhere nice to eat. She agrees and he goes to check out options, and the monolith grabs her and pulls her through. Jemma emerges on an alien planet in at night, and watches as the portal seals itself over. She tries to call on her cell phone but gets no service. Jemma runs up a slope and sees an alien sky. She figures that she can wait for extraction and starts a log on her cell phone, confirming that the air is breathable and gravity is slightly stronger. As she takes photos, Jemma analyzes what she's seeing and notices that there's no vegetation or water.
Fifteen hours later, Jemma is still waiting. She looks at a photo of Fitz and decides to sleep on her problem. Putting down her coat, Jemma makes herself comfortable. A few hours later, a noise startles her awake and she realizes that it's still night. Forty-nine hours later, there's no sign of a sun. Jemma screams, yelling for the sun to come out, and breaks into tears.
Jemma tears her clothing to make protective garments and lies out rocks in an arrow so that the team can find her. She starts walking, looking for water, and marks her trail while imagining her date with Fitz. Low on energy, Jemma crawls to the top of a hill, hoping that there's water. Instead she sees a vast storm approaching. It buries her and she eventually emerges from the sand. There is a pool of water in the distance, and Jemma stumbles over to drink from it. She gets in and swims, relaxing, and a plant tentacle grabs her and tries to pull her under. Jemma manages to grab a rock and cut it off, and she reluctantly eats it raw.
Three weeks since her arrival, Jemma fashions a crude spear and goes into the pond to hunt. The plant pulls her under and a few seconds later, she resurfaces holding a severed tentacle. Jemma starts a fire and eats the tentacle, sand hopes that Fitz can read her mind and realize that she's alive, alone, and afraid. She looks at his photo and, sure that he won't give up, promises not to give up either.
A month later, Jemma discovers that she's lost her way to the entry point. She hears something tapping among a nearby grove of bamboo-like growths, and goes to investigate. The stalks are rattling against each other, and a hole opens beneath Jemma and then seals over.
When Jemma wakes up, she finds herself in a cage made out of the stalks. There are lit torches, and some crude food dishes in the cage. A figure emerges briefly from the shadows and then leaves. Later, the figures come back and speaks in English, surprised that Jemma is still there. She demands that he release her but the man walks away without another word. Jemma exercises as best she can and the man comes back. She introduces herself and the man steps forward, revealing that he's human. Jemma offers to help him, but he pokes at her with a spear and then puts a bowl in the cage. she wonders if he's going to eat her, the man says that it isn't a bad idea and leaves.
Later, Jemma lies moaning in her cage. When the man enters her cage to investigate, Jemma runs out and makes her way to the surface. He yells at her to come back, but Jemma runs off across the planet. The man chases her and Jemma finally traps, injuring her leg. He stares at her and Jemma tells him to kill her but she isn't going to be is prisoner. The man says that "it" smells blood and hears something in the distance. He tells Jemma that they have to go and drags her back to the hatch.
They get below just as a storm sweeps over the hatch. Below, Jemma asks what is out there, and the man says, "Death." He insists that the planet is evil, and warns that it has moods rather than set patterns. The man takes out a first aid kit and says that he's going to have to sew up her wound. Jemma insists on doing it herself, and the man says that he held her captive because he didn't know if she was real. He introduces himself as Will Daniels, and Jemma cleans her wound as best she can. She says that she came there alone, and Will says that Jemma is the first person he's seen in a long time. He asks what year it is, and walks off once Jemma answers him. Jemma follows him and discovers that he has a NASA spacesuit stored in another cavern. The equipment is antiquated, and Will says that he arrived there in 2001.
Will examines Jemma's cell phone, and she finds a map of the areas that he's explored. He warns that there are certain areas that they can't go, and Will explains that NASA sent them there with solar power generators. There's a luminescent substrata below them providing light and heat, keeping the planet warm without sunlight. Will says that his team was supposed to be back within a year, but they knew that there was a chance it was a one-way trip. Jemma explains that the monolith is now with SHIELD, and Will tells her that he was a test pilot with the Air Force. He was the first to volunteer and the first through the portal. Three scientists came through with him, and they collected samples and mapped the terrain while Will stood guard. Will explains that the planet made people crazy, and the first two scientists killed themselves. The third one tried to kill Will and he was forced to kill the man in self-defense. Jemma suggests that the scientists went insane from isolation, and Will says that maybe he went crazy and killed everyone. Angry, Will says that Jemma has no idea what's going on and walks away.
Later, Jemma approaches Will and apologizes for implying he was insane. He tells her that there's no way home and survival is all that matters, and Jemma refuses to accept it.
Time passes and Will and Jemma eat and remember meals on Earth. Jemma plays footage of her birthday party and points out Fitz, Will figures that Fitz is more than just a friend, and Jemma says that they were inseparable. The pilot admits that he has no one, and Jemma goes to lie down for the night. She says goodnight to the photo of Fitz... and goodnight to Fitz.
Jemma continues trying to work out a way to reopen the portal. She says that she wants to go to the "no-fly zone," but Will insists that there's nothing there but death. Jemma says that she's not his prisoner and goes out to gather some plants to make dinner. She sees a sword embedded in the ground and digs. A satchel and a bottle of wine is buried beneath it, and an astrolabe. Jemma realizes that the stars are the answer, just as a storm moves in. She runs over a slope but is knocked down, and finds herself lying among skeletons. A robed figure emerges from the sand, and Jemma runs and hides. She smears herself with dirt and then runs back to the shelter. Will is watching and Jemma yells that it's coming. They get below just in time and Jemma admits that she's right. Will admits that he knew about the bones but didn't say anything because he knew Jemma would want to see it. He tells her to stay put, but Jemma holds up the astrolabe and says that she knows how to get them home.
Using Will's map, Jemma determines that the portal is fixed but the planet is moving. Using a computer from will's mission, they can track the stars, determine the rate of the planet's rotation, and plot when the portal will appear. Will points out that if they use up the battery and it doesn't work, she will lose her friends. Jemma goes outside and watches the video once more time, and then says goodbye to Fitz. She removes the battery and hooks it up to the computer. She and Will build a crude navigational system to track the stars. The battery finally dies and Jemma determines where the portal will appear in 187 days. Will warns that it's a 40-hour hike into the no-fly zone, and there's a cavern that's too wide to cross. Jemma tells him that he's got two weeks to figure it out.
As they work outside, Jemma explains that she had scoliosis as a child. Her father wheeled her bed out and talked about the stars. Jemma figures that the portal is a valve and is opened by the moons above the planet. She has prepared a message in the bottle with everything Fitz needs to know to reopen the portal. Will builds a crude grappling rocket and explains that they'll use it to slide across the canyon. He assures Jemma it will work and asks if she still wants to do it, and Jemma says that they don't have a choice.
The next day, Will and Jemma set out and they talk about what they will do when they get back. He figures that the creature--Death--consumed the world. Will takes out his gun but warns that he only has one bullet. They reach the canyon and discover that it's twice as wide as Will thought. He warns that it doesn't want them to leave. The portal opens on the other side, and Will puts the message bottle on the grappling rocket and shoots it into the portal. The portal closes just before the rocket arrives.
Back at the shelter, Jemma realizes that they're never going home. Will says that it may be their home, but Jemma says that it's hell and collapses, sobbing. Will holds her and Jemma admits that he was right about there being no hope on the planet. He says that he used to think that until Jemma showed up, and they kiss.
Later, Jemma gets dressed and kisses Will. She says that they won't miss it and they head out for the portal. Will gets out a bottle of wine from the graveyard and they share a toast while they wait for the portal to open. They wine has spoiled, and Jemma spits it out and suggests that they use it for cooking. Will admires her hope, and Jemma says that her father would have liked her. A flare goes off in the distance and Jemma figures that it's Fitz. They run toward the flare but the storm moves in on them. Will tells her to go and draws his gun, and the storm swallows him. A suited figure appears and Jemma assumes that it's a NASA rescue team there for Will. He calls to her, saying it's not what she thinks it is, and she realizes that the robed figure is wearing the suit.
Will emerges from the storm, tells Jemma to run, and goes to the creature. Jemma calls to him, and Fitz calls to her. She walks toward Fitz's voice and finds him.
Jemma tells Fitz that she wouldn't have survived without Will, and she doesn't know what happened to him. Fitz walks off without a word and Jemma follows him into the lab. He says that he understands everything and turns on the computer. It has all of the star maps and data Fitz has been accumulating, and he tells Jemma that they're going to get Will back.
On the planet, Will looks up at the sun as it rises. Sobbing, he tosses the gun away and walks of as the sun goes down again.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 28, 2015