- "Bio-readouts are all in the green, looks like she's alive. Well, there goes our salvage, guys."
- —Salvage team leader[src]
Jernigan was the leader of the deep-space team that recovered the shuttle Narcissus in 2179 after it had been drifting through space for 57 years following the incident aboard the USCSS Nostromo. In doing so, they rescued Ellen Ripley and undoubtedly saved her life.
On May 16, 2179 Jernigan and his team detected the Narcissus as it drifted unmanned through deep space. They immediately made to board the craft, hoping to salvage and sell the vessel and its on-board equipment. They cut through the shuttle's hatch and scanned the interior with remotely-operated equipment. After the bio-readouts confirmed there were lifesigns, Jernigan and his accomplices, Landers and Fleet, equipped themselves with hazmat suits and cautiously went aboard to investigate. They quickly found Ripley and Jonesy alive and well inside one of the two cryotubes within, lamenting that the presence of live personnel on board meant they would not be salvaging anything. They later arranged for both Ripley and Jonesy to be transported to Gateway Station for medical treatment.
- Jernigan is never named in the film; his name was not revealed until the novel Alien: River of Pain.