Judy Kelly gives a presentation about her father, famous astronaut Grant Kelly. She explains that he died before she was born. Her mother sits in the back of the class and watches, and Judy talks about how Grant went to the Moon and Mars. John and Maureen are in the class watching as well, and John secretly gestures to Judy to hold up her sign higher. After giving her basic presentation, Judy continues by talking about her other hero John. She says that she's lucky she has two heroes to look up to, then goes to her desk.
Fahran checks in with John, who is trapped in the drill shaft. The engineer says that they'll reach John in four hours. The shaft shakes as the spores continue eating away the titanium, and John slips and falls to the bottom of the shaft. A metal rod penetrates his stomach.
At the base camp 20 miles away, Judy tells the medics that her patient has possible spine fracture and head trauma along with possible internal injuries. Dr. Luna takes the patient to surgery.
Don and Ava examine the metal and confirm that it's disintegrating due to chemical infection. Don's probe disintegrates and they realize the infection spreads through contact. Ava orders everyone to ground the Chariots until further notice.
John wraps his injury and radios Judy, and tells her to hurry back. He describes his injury and she has him read his vitals. Judy figures the rod is keeping him from bleeding out, and packs supplies and heads back to the drill site. She calls Farhan, who says that it will take just under four hours to get to John. Judy warns that John can't wait that long and has Farhan send down a piece of long tubing so she can send the medical supplies through it to John. Victor tells Judy that she can't take a Chariot because it might break down, but lets her go when she explains what's happening.
Will tells Penny that he saw the Robot seeing the hoodoo rocks from Elise's photo, and prepares to go get it. Penny admits that she misses the Robot, and Maureen arrives and says that she identified the particular hoodoo rock from the date stamp on the survey maps and learned that he's about 200 klicks east of the base camp. Once John emerges from the well, they'll take a day to drive there. Maureen tells Penny to go to school and stay out of trouble.
As Will and Maureen leave in a transport, they see Ben who thanks them for letting him tagging along. Maureen says that they're used to doing things on their own and knows what she and Will can do, and admits that she doesn't understand Will's connection to the Robot. Ben notes that it's not easy for people like them to take things on faith... and keeps the case with the robot arm hidden.
Penny sees the medics taking the paralyzed Radic to the med bay, and one of them says that Smith said she didn't know what was wrong with him.
A security crewman takes Smith to her new office. She makes herself at home, and Penny comes in. Smith says that her arrest was a misunderstanding and she just wants to help people heal. She excuses Penny, saying she has a lot of work to do, and closes the door in the girl's face.
Judy drives the Chariot to the drill site, and it breaks down 24.5 klicks away. A wheel breaks off and the Chariot grounds to a halt, and Judy gets out to survey the damage.
A young Judy says that it's too hard to ride a bicycle and she'll just run. John agrees that she's good at running, but she can't give up when something doesn't come easy. Judy gets back on the bike and tries again, and succeeds. John proudly says that he's watching her.
Judy radios John and asks how his condition is. She explains that her Chariot broke down and she has fifteen miles to cover on foot. Judy figures that she can get there in two hours of running, and John tells her to be careful.
Penny secretly follows Smith as the latter leaves her office. Smith dumps a blue bag into a trash compactor, and after she leaves Penny goes over but discovers that she's too late to recover the bag. The comm beeps with a reminder that Penny's class begins in two minutes, and Penny goes to the classroom. As she checks the location of the trash compactor, Vijay greets her and explains why she's there while Maureen makes sure everything is restocked. The teacher, Mr. Jackson, comes in and Vijay says that he'll see Penny later. Jackson says that they'll be working in groups of two studying the alien vegetation, and Penny immediately volunteers to partner with Vijay.
Once they're together, Penny tells Vijay what happened to Radic and insists that they need proof before they tell the adults. She then asks Jackson to let them clean up in the bathroom.
John lies in the drill shaft and remembers the past.
John and Judy go out running, and John manages to outrace her. She suggests that they race to the car, and an exhausted John watches her go.
Judy runs across the planet and sees lizard creatures in the distance. She radios John to check on his condition, and realizes that he's bleeding into his abdominal compartment. Judy takes a shortcut through the perimeter fence along the road and tells John that she found a faster route.
Penny has Vijay break into the trash compactor area by bypassing the security code, They hide as a worker goes through, then split up to look for the blue bag. Vijay shuts down the automatic hourly startup on the compactor and they go into the chamber and start searching through the garbage. When Vijay hesitates halfway down the ladder, Penny pulls him down and they start searching.
As Judy runs, the lizards follow her. She finds a chasm too small for them to enter and ducks inside.
As Judy prepares to go on a camping trip, John instructs her on basic wilderness survival. Judy and her friends quickly leave, and John tells her to always assess her options when something unexpected happens.
Judy remembers John's advice and assesses her options. She runs out of the chasm and jumps across hoodoo rocks, and leaps across a gap the next ledge. The lizards try to follow her but the hoodoo rocks collapse, dropping one into the canyon below. Judy manages to pull herself up as another lizard slams into the rock where she just was and then falls.
Penny worries that Jackson will soon come looking for them, and finds a package of Oreos that someone else brought. Vijay figures she's looking into the package to see if there are any left, and notes that they always end up together in garbage. He asks if they're friends, and Penny vaguely agrees. Vijay asks what she meant when she said he was a bad kisser on the other planet, and notes that he has hasn't had any complaints before. He continues obsessing about it, and Penny admits that she's not the best judge when it comes to kissing. Vijay realizes that he was her first kiss, but Penny would rather focus on stopping Smith. Penny finds the blue bag and a piece of paper with the word "killed" on it.
The worker comes back, notices that the compactor is turned off, and turns it back on before leaving.
The compactor starts up, and Vijay and Penny head for the exit. Penny's foot gets stuck, and Vijay goes back to help her. After a moment he leaves... and turns off the compactor. When Vijay comes back, he wonders if Penny thought he left her. Penny says that no one else would have helped her, and Vijay admits that it was his first kiss as well. She tries to casually walk away... and trips.
As the transport heads down to the planet, Maureen watches Will sleeps. Ben talks about his twin sons and says they went to Alpha Centauri with his wife, in the fifth colonist group. He explains that his job requires that he travels back and forth with the Resolute, and figures that now he can see them thanks to Will. Ben notes that Will passed his pre-qualification training: the test that Maureen faked so Will would pass.
John tells Judy that they tore down the park they used to run in. He says that Maureen told him that Judy stepped up while he was away, and assures her that she doesn't have to work so hard now that he's back. Judy says that being with family isn't work, and John assures her that he's back for good. She tells him that things won't go back to how they were before he left Maureen, and they can be a family. Judy tells him not to come to Alpha Centauri on her behalf because she's doing fine without him, and goes inside.
John radios Judy and tells her that he knows she'll get there soon. he says that he always knew she'd be a force of nature, and he promised Judy's mother when he married her that he would do everything he could to help Judy become the person she was meant to be. John says that she doesn't need him anymore because he's taught her what she needs to know. Stopping for breath, Judy describes how if John dies, Maureen will throw herself into her work, Penny will act out, and Will will retreat into himself and lose his inner hope. She'll try to keep the family together and will hate John for giving up and taking another father away from him. Judy refuses to hate John and let him go.
Judy remembers all of the times she left John behind, and all of the times he watched her go. She reaches the drill camp and shoves the supplies down the piping Farhan set up. John wakes up and says that he got the shots, and injects himself. Once they dig him out Judy gives him an IV. John takes Judy's hand, and she says that she's there.
Smith goes to Jackson's classroom to see Penny, and Penny and Vijay have returned. Once the class ends, Smith says that she knows Penny went into the trash compactor to get her note, and tells the girl to accept that she's a respected member of the colonist group and trying to protect Penny. Smith says that she's Dr. Smith permanently. Penny walks away and they find the spores from the planet cracking open the floor. She tosses her bag onto the floor and it disintegrates from the weight.
As Will wakes up, Ben tells Maureen that there's a metal ring like the one on the ocean planet they were stranded on... on the desert planet as well. The electrical storm hits it every 23 days as well, and Will figures the Robot can answer their questions about it when they find it. Ben hopes that they like the answer. The transport approaches the planet... and the vast metal ring encircling it.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 29, 2019