Table 13 - Sci-Fi / Supernatural
It's Pam who notices first, at the reception desk where everyone passes at least twice a day she can see these things. Stanley starts acting weird first, which isn't surprising. Not that it's easy to tell that something's off with him, but Phyllis starts to get unnerved at the way he stares at her for minutes on end without blinking. Kevin goes next (another non-surprise) and the way they notice that one is when Angela stops complaining about him.
Pam finds Jim in the break room. "Something's up." She says.
"Like what Beesley? Zombies?" Jim says with a smirk.
"No, it's more like...robots or something. Haven't you noticed? They have, like, no expressions. No emotions." Pam shivers, "It's like they don't have souls."
Jim finds Oscar staring at the stars after work the next day. When he asks what he's up to, Oscar turns to him with a blank expression and says nothing. Jim practically sprints to his car, unnerved to his very core.
Soon, the office hums with the uncomfortable silence as half the people there stare at their computers with dead eyes. It's more than just the symptoms of being a standard American office worker.
"Jim." Ryan hisses at him and Jim almost jumps as he comes up beside him in the kitchen. Jim's already on edge, Creed's been staring at him all morning.
"Tell me you think something's wrong with Kelly. She's been staring at me and just now, she tried to..." Ryan looks shell shocked and he flinches and rubs at his neck. "I dunno, but it felt like she tried to kiss my neck."
Jim takes a look and Ryan's right, something's on his neck. It doesn't look like lipstick, but the skin's still bright red and there's some kind of clear slime on him.
Ryan's furiously wiping his neck with a paper towel when Pam comes in, wide eyed and spooked looking. "Guys, something's really wrong around here."
That's when Dwight suddenly bursts through the door, crossbow (cleverly hidden in the ceiling tiles) in hand. "Listen up people!" He says and Jim, Pam and Ryan stare at him dumbstruck, "We've obviously got a serious case of body possession. Now, they've already got most of the office, no big loss in my opinion."
Dwight keeps talking, but Jim's a little distracted by the blank stare Michael's giving them through the window.
Pam's earlier assessment about robots turns out to be wrong. It's less Terminator, and more Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The pods in the conference room prove it.
There on out it's Jim, Pam, Ryan and Dwight against the office. From what they can tell, they're the only ones not inhabited by some slimy creep from a pod. In fact, they're some of the only people left in the entire town that haven't been taken over.
Jim will admit that it's because of Dwight that they're all still normal. The same survival skills that Jim has made fun of for years are what he's depending on now. He does have to convince Dwight not to kill anyone though. They have no idea what happened to the real people beneath the eerie facades but they all want to believe there's a chance they're still in there somewhere.
They hide out at Dwight's farm for a few days, living off eggs and beets. At first Jim was certain Mose was one of Them, but Dwight assured them that's how he always is.
Jim brings in firewood - the electricity in the whole town having gone down a few days ago - and shares a look with Pam, who's sitting on the couch, trying to read. Ryan comes in cursing about bad reception, slamming his cell phone on the coffee table.
"Who were you trying to call?" Pam asks him gently.
Ryan stares into the fireplace and says quietly, "My mom."
Jim has been avoiding thinking of his own family, hoping that they're safe. He drops the firewood next to the mantle, and tries to give a sympathetic look to Ryan.
"Pam, I need your fingers." Dwight bustles in and announces. Pam gives Jim a look and inside his head Jim thinks "that's what she said" and a laugh bubbles up in his chest. "Mine are too big to reach the gears in the tractor." Dwight continues and Pam lets out a sigh. She follows him out and they disappear off into the barn, Dwight with a shotgun in hand.
"Where's she live?" Jim asks Ryan in the sudden silence.
"About half an hour away." Ryan says and his voice is a little strained. Jim reaches out a hand and puts it on his shoulder and Ryan manages to give him a small smile.
The door slams shut as Dwight bursts in again, but this time he's moving to barricade the door and calling for Mose. "We've been compromised!"
Jim scrambles to the window and sees people, a dozen or so, outside, all staring at the house, moving steadily towards them.
"Where's Pam?!" Jim shouts.
"McDonald's employee got her." Dwight says offhandedly, slinging a quiver of arrows over his shoulder.
"Wait! Wait, we have to get her!" Jim says but Ryan's tugging on his arm and Mose is herding them out the back.
"Go! I've got this." Dwight says and Jim's being pushed out the back door with one last salute from Mose before the door shuts in his face.
"Halpert! Come on!" Ryan's shouting at him, his eyes darting around, his feet anxiously moving toward the thicket of woods behind the house.
Jim starts to follow when he sees red hair out of the corner of an eye. Pam stares at him, with the same dead eyes he's been seeing for over a week. His heart sinks.
"Pam?" He asks tentatively. She doesn't answer.
He starts to walk toward her. "Pam? Are you alright?"
He feels something grab his sleeve. It's Ryan, who's got it in a death grip. "Jim, stop. It's not her."
"But-" Jim starts to say.
"Jim. It's me." says a voice and Jim gives a full body shiver when he realizes it came from Pam. But not really Pam, some strange echo-y hollow sounding version of Pam. He looks into her lifeless eyes and pushes Ryan towards the woods. They run off into them together.
They come out the other side on a highway, and they follow it until they find an abandoned sedan in the middle of the road.
Jim hates the way it sits there. Undamaged, undisturbed, no sign of a struggle. However, Ryan has no qualms with yanking open the driver's side door and shouting back "Keys are still here!"
They decide that they need food, and water, and to find a safe place. The outside world is a mystery, it could be just as overrun, with only the slimmest chance that Scranton Pennsylvania is an isolated incident. Ryan makes the decision for him, and swings the car back into town. There are grocery stores and familiar places there, at least.
It's getting dark along the horizon as they pull into an abandoned gas station. They silently agree not to split up and Jim fills the gas tank. They walk into the store together, nervously tiptoeing through the aisles, grabbing food and drinks. Jim picks up a tube of Pringles, disregarding what flavor, and turns around to come face to face with a woman.
Jim's much too familiar with the look in Their eyes, from the last week and a half of running from them and the heartbreaking incident with Pam. This woman's got That Look. He backs up through the aisle, the woman mirroring his every step.
"Jim?" Ryan says from the end of the aisle and Jim takes that moment to turn and run. He doesn't even realize he's grabbed Ryan's shirt until they're out the door, Jim practically dragging him. They dash to the car and Jim slams down on the gas pedal.
It's midnight the next night that they find it. It's at the bottom of a crater behind Dunder Mifflin. The spaceship gleams in the moonlight, sleek and shiny, dotted with lights. There's a green fog that sits low over it, covering the ground. Jim's breath catches in his throat, he's hypnotized by it. Beside him Ryan swears under his breath.
Ten minutes later they're far away from it, gunning it down empty streets. Jim stops in a parking garage, breathing deep. He's trying to come to grips with it all when Ryan waves a bottle in front of his face. It's vodka.
"Got it at the gas station, figured we'd need it." He twists off the cap and takes a long swig. He grimaces and passes it to Jim. Jim tentatively takes a sip, then thinks about the dead look in Pam's eyes and shotguns a mouthful.
They agree to stop after just a few sips each, neither wants to get drunk, preferring to stay vigilant just in case. Ryan slides into the backseat and puts his feet up against the door. Jim stares out the front, the headlights on, worrying about the battery.
"Think this will ever be over?" He asks to no one in particular, it's just lucky that Ryan's there.
There's silence for a beat. "Maybe." He says and Jim knows he's thinking of his mother.
It's then that Jim reaches back and searches until he finds Ryan's leg, then holds on to it. It feels solid and warm under his hand. They both sit and breathe for a while until Jim's turning in the seat, scrambling into the back until he's lying on top of Ryan.
Ryan feels heavenly under him, firm and real. He kisses him in a daze, his brain somewhere between the back seat of a stranger's car and the crater behind Dunder Mifflin. Ryan kisses back and moans, snapping Jim back to the present.
Ryan's here. Ryan's normal. Ryan's panting and moving under him and kissing him and looking up at him with gleaming, begging eyes. Jim pulls at his legs until they wrap around his waist and he scrabbles at the zippers on their pants. Ryan groans into his mouth when he takes both their cocks in his hand and strokes. Jim worries, somewhere in the back of his mind, that he should be keeping an eye out but he's lost in the pleasure coursing through his veins and the fiery warmth between them. He comes, biting at Ryan's lip and continues stroking until Ryan comes too, throwing his head back against the seat with a 'whumph' noise.
They put themselves back together and Ryan clings to Jim as they sit in the backseat. Jim scans the area, and sees they're still safe.
08. Deja Vu
Jim throws open the door to his house, letting it slam against the wall, waiting for the sight of a possessed Mark or Stacy to pop out from the kitchen. They wait for a few moments but nothing happens, so Jim goes inside, tiptoeing around the living room and dining room, peeking into the kitchen. He comes back into the living room and Ryan's there, standing in front of the TV flipping through channels.
In the ringing silence, Jim is struck with strangest feeling of déjà vu, seeing Ryan standing in his living room, watching TV with the late afternoon sun streaming through the windows. Everything is untouched, the house is exactly as he left it. It's as all of it is happening in an alternate reality where their friends and family aren't mindless zombies.
"Nothing." Ryan says to the blue screen of the television.
Two days later, Dwight swings open the door to the basement where Jim and Ryan have been holed up. He jumps off the banister like Rambo, decked out in camouflage and war paint. Mose scurries down the stairs behind him.
"Knew you'd be here Halpert, you're not smart enough to search for safe zones." He says with that maniacal grin and Jim and Ryan stand shell shocked.
"Is it over?" Ryan asks.
"Yep. Figured out a way to destroy the slugs. Simple really, it's the same technology that destroys kidney stones. They just shrivel up and die. The army's got it now, they're zapping everyone back to normal. No thanks necessary." He whips around with the same swagger and goes back up the stairs. There's a faint "bzzt" sound coming from outside.
Jim thanks whatever god responsible that Dwight became a paper salesman and not an evil scientist.
10. Time Warp
A week later everything's relatively normal enough that they go back to work. Even invading alien mind-suckers can't keep Dunder Mifflin down.
Most of the office wants to tell their tale of possession, while everyone sits rapt while Dwight recounts how he survived and came up with the remedy that saved everyone. Michael has a new joke and spends most of his time pretending to still be possessed, but he keeps laughing and ruining it. Jim is fine with giving Pam yet another hug, and telling her he's happy she's back to normal.
At the end of the day, looking around, it almost feels like nothing happened, that yesterday was as normal as any day before it. There is still a giant crater behind Dunder Mifflin however.
Jim waits at the door and smiles and says goodbye to everyone as they walk to their cars. Ryan's the next to last one out, and they walk to Jim's car together, their fingers laced. Well, Jim thinks, he knows tomorrow at least will never quite be the same.