John Meiners, Jr.
The man Jesse chased, fought with by the river's edge, and rolled down the embankment, was found dead. He was not well known in Community. Of course, Monroe Cane had heard his name. Keeping tabs on new arrivals to Community is not too difficult when Officer Jones keeps you informed. The man's name was Walter Branson. The syringe found under the bed in Samantha and Jesse's room had Mr. Branson's finger prints on it which validated Jesse's story. Though the cause of death was unknown, it is believed he was knocked unconscious then drowned. More urgent is who sent Mr. Branson to make Jesse and Samantha disappear? Why did someone need Jesse to disappear? Had to be something about his blood. Evidently someone knew he was in to see Doctor Rush but didn't know the blood test had been done. They all agreed, Mr. Branson was sent to kill Jesse silently then Samantha would be next. Their room on the second floor with windows opening to the woods in back could easily facilitate the removal of their bodies. An accomplice would wait just outside to help dispose of their bodies after the deed was done. Chills ran down his back at the thought, but the chills were quickly replaced with anger and a fair share of vindictiveness. Now, it's personal. Jesse wonders if further attempts on his life and Samantha's are coming. If the blood test showed nothing incriminating, why would Jesse and Samantha need to disappear. The only answer is the first blood test was tampered with, and if another blood test was done, it would show a foreign agent, one which needs to remain hidden at all costs. Is Doctor Rush or the lab responsible for omissions and falsifying the report?
Jesse asks Monroe, "How long have you known Doctor Rush?"
Monroe thinks for a moment... "About six years." The idea, 'Was Doctor Rush withholding information?' has already crossed Monroe's mind, and he decides to share. "Doctor Rush is a difficult man to get to know. He is not a social animal and keeps his life to himself. His patients know him as their doctor, but I doubt they know the man. I'd say I know him better than most. I believe he is a man of integrity."
"If they want to hinder our investigation, I'm flattered, but I can think of no better way to incur additional investigations than to kill those investigating. There must be something about the blood. Also the special agent or ingredient in the blood must be easily identified by those in the know for them to go to such lengths. They must feel vulnerable, and we'll show them just how right they were," Samantha states in earnest.
Monroe agrees and tells Jesse, "I want to get a second opinion if you'd be willing to have another blood test?"
Jesse nods, "When?"
"Now. I'll have the results in a day."
"Sounds good. We'll find out what was in that tranquillizer gun, and why it was there. Then we can put an end to the sons of bitches who put it there. Samantha, you'd look good in red hair."
Samantha looks at him like he's lost it then understands. "A disguise, Jesse Gunn?"
"Right, 'Natasha,' And I don't know a Jesse Gunn."
"Oh okay, Boris"...
Monroe laughs and says, "Wonderful idea. What can I do to help?"
Jesse tells him. "Move us to a different room again. We'll take care of the rest."
"We'll go back home and get the other car. I'll dye my hair and be back in two days."
Jesse is in agreement, and Monroe nods. Monroe has the feeling they've done this before. Jesse has a beard and long hair, and Monroe has the impression Jesse is very proud of his long locks while Samantha's a brunette. Monroe wonders what their disguises will be but then thinks, 'It'll be a surprise.' More urgent matters require his attention, and he picks up his phone. "Candy, can you come to 221 to draw a sample of Jesse's blood?" He addresses Samantha and Jesse. "She'll be right here."
After drawing blood, Samantha and Jesse make their way to their car. Officer Jones has been in the parking lot in an unmarked car, watching. They drive away, and Officer Jones follows them as far as Lake Pontchartrain.
Monroe takes Jesse's blood to Pamela Lawton along with the syringe containing the ingredients that Branson wanted to inject in Jesse's veins. She is a trusted doctor who will be able to identify any foreign substances along with their effects. Pamela Lawton was 24 in 1952 when the migration to Community occurred. She was one of the oldest of the aliens who escaped from area 51 and became what was in her world, a doctor. After college, she became a doctor in this world as well.
Two days later Samantha and Jesse returned to Deer Run Lodge. No longer a brunette with long hair, Samantha is now a blond sporting a new 'short do' while Jesse lost his beard and alas his long locks. He did keep his mustache which is now trimmed and darker. He fancies his Tom Selleck look. Candy, the desk clerk who has a history of sorts with Samantha and Jesse, doesn't even recognize them, but she does recognize their voices and knows who they are when Jesse, now Thomas Charles, introduces himself and his wife, Sarah. Candy plays along, welcomes the new guests, hands them an envelope, and does her welcoming speech about the Deer Run Lodge. She even introduces the owner of the lodge and Mayor of Community, Monroe Cane. Candy and Monroe are the only people who know who they really are. Other guests are in earshot, and Candy is proud of her acting. She believes herself to be worthy of an academy award.
In their room, Samantha and Jesse settle in. Samantha opens the envelope Candy gave them... "Listen to this."... She reads, 'Please go to 2921 Blossom Lane at 10 in the morning. It is 15 miles out on Cypress Road. The trip will prove beneficial."
Jesse looks at her. "That's it?"
"That's it, Jesse Gunn. Have a look."
Jesse takes the letter. "Who?" He sniffs the letter.
"Sorry. That's it, Thomas Charles."
Jesse hands the letter back to her. "Smell this. I guess it's Candy's perfume or lotion. Did you wear it before?"
Samantha smells the letter. "No, I don't even smell anything."
"It smells familiar."
"Well, you have a good nose."
They watch a little TV then turn in.
The next morning they leave Deer Run Lodge, and find Cypress Road and Blossom Lane. Even in Community, GPS is a wonderful thing, and Samantha is a great navigator. They drive down Blossom, a long winding shell road expecting to find a country style house or cabin. Instead they drive up to a plantation home. The type you might find in Natchez, MS. Whoever this mysterious woman is, she's successful. They see Monroe's car and park. Once inside they are greeted by Monroe, and he introduces them to the lady of the house. "Pamela Lawton, this is Samantha and Jesse Gunn. Samantha, Jesse... this lovely lady is Pamela Lawton." Both Samantha and Jesse look quickly at one another. The lovely lady is an unusual shade of lavender.
Pamela notices their surprise. "Monroe didn't tell you, did he?"
Jesse asks, "What?"
Samantha looks at Jesse in disbelief. She answers, "No."
Monroe tells Pamela. "There wasn't time."
Pamela nods. "Well, I'm sorry... When I'm at home I don't prepare."
Samantha says, "Oh, that's quite all right. Make up doesn't touch my face if I don't leave the house."
"I think we're going to get along rather well. Please come in." They go into the parlor and sit. "I've been looking at the results of Jesse's blood test. There is a sedative, quite a strong one which one would expect. There is also Doesonear, a rather large dose. As you may know, Doesonear is used with adolescents to facilitate their change. In this dose, it would have a stabilizing effect. The possibility exists that the man who previously shot at Elise and missed, wanted her to be unable to change back. These findings were in your blood report; however, there was another substance that was not included. That omission could have been on purpose or just not noted because it was not recognized. I tested the syringe, and it was almost identical to the substances found in your blood except this other substance was in a higher concentration. Monroe told me of your dreams, or perhaps what you first thought, were dreams. Also he told me of an incident in the diner where you had a reaction to the deer mounts. Is there anything else you might want to share?"
Jesse hesitates. He hadn't told Samantha any of this but thinks if Mrs. Lawton knows, it might be of some help. Jesse tells her that just a few days ago, he and Samantha went into an antique shop. The owner was a hunter, and he had a few stuffed animals hung on the walls. "I read a note on one small antelope that said the hunter had shot this tiny two foot high animal with a Remington from 50 yards. I thought about the man writing this as if it were something to be proud of and how I could drop a man at 300 yards with an M16. I wouldn't like that ever, but I don't know, this was different." His anger is apparent.
Mrs. Lawton says, "I see. One thing I can say for certain is you have the mind of an alien. Hearing you, I feel I would hear no different feelings from one of us. You have no relations who were aliens?"
"Not that I know of."
"What about your olfactory sense?"
"My sense of smell? Fine."
"Nothing different that you've noticed? No added sensitivity?"
Samantha chimes in, "He's always had a good nose. He smelled Candy's perfume, and I couldn't smell anything."
"Yesterday when we drove in."
"Just a moment." Pamela walks into the other room. You can hear her speaking, but it is not audible. Pamela enters, sits down and says, "Paul will be ready soon. Come in anytime." Jesse and Samantha wonder what's happening then suddenly Paul walks in, but it isn't a 'Paul' they expected. They are surprised. Paul is a mountain lion. Paul walks in front of them almost touching Jesse and walks out of the room. He is gone then a deer walks in the other door, walks close to them and leaves. Pamela focuses on Jesse and says nothing. Samantha wonders if they are having an alien runway show.
Jesse thinks Pamela Lawton is testing his sense of smell because he's so sure he smelled Candy's perfume on the envelope she was handling. He tells her, "The deer was Candy wasn't it?"
Pamela answers, "No, her name was Annie. The scent was of an alien deer, not perfume."
"What do you remember of that night... when Mr. Branson died?"
"Well, I thought it was a dream until I learned Mr. Branson was dead. I didn't know he was real."
"How did you feel, when you saw him? Would you say your anger or rage was intense?"
Jesse considers her question and believes it is 'a given.' Any man would be angry and says, "I would say so. I had a strange man in our room trying to give me a shot, and I didn't think it was for my health."
Mrs. Lawton deep in thought asks, "So you gave chase?"
"Yes, I did."
"And you caught him... He was found nude, and you also were nude?"
"Naked as a jay bird."
Samantha asks, "You're implying Jesse changed?"
"Well, Mr. Branson was caught, and it would be no easy task if Jesse hadn't gone through a change himself." Mrs. Lawton answers.
"And Candy's scent was familiar because Mr. Branson was a deer, and I smelled more or less the same thing."
Mrs. Lawton nods in agreement.
Samantha asks, "Are Jesse's feelings of rage, and his olfactory senses significant?"
"I believe both are significant. Let me explain."
Jesse tells her, "Please."
Mrs. Lawton continues, "When we escaped from Area 51, we had already studied deer, cougars or mountain lions in depth. They were the most similar to the animals of our planet. We planned to escape and wanted to fit in and go undetected. With a little variation, the Doesonear was adapted to aid in the change into deer, but the cougar was a different matter. After two of us were killed by wolves, we found an abandoned house deep in the woods in East Texas."
"The big thicket."
"Yes. We hadn't been able to facilitate the change into cougars and worked for a month in the abandoned house. Finally we were successful, but in our success, perhaps in our desire to protect the others or anger for the deaths of two of us, we made the variation of Doesonear for the cougar very aggressive."
"And the sense of smell very acute." Samantha says.
"Yes, as cougars, who were the protectors, they had to be able to identify the location of the deer."
"Are you saying I changed into a cougar?" Jesse asks.
"The change as opposed to the feelings and senses is different. In your mind, you changed, definitely, but I'm not prepared to say with certainty you had a full transition."
Samantha alarmed, asks, "What are we going to do?"
"It's not a problem. The dose I believe he received is our formula, but it was the more aggressive formula we first developed. It is not toxic."
Unlike Samantha, Jesse, while concerned with Pamela Lawton's findings, is excited by the thought he's a protector, as most men would be, but still questions what portion is natural for a man, and what portion is the cougar. He tells Samantha, "I'm fine. I'm a bad ass cougar."
Monroe laughs. Samantha looks at Jesse, cracks a small smile and says, "Shut up. Not funny." Samantha is worried about Jesse. He seems to be fine physically, but she can't get in his mind, and she gets the impression he wonders who he is or who he is becoming.
The realization that Mr. Branson or was he a cougar, who met his death that night at the hands of Jesse, was not trying to kill Jesse is obvious. There was no poison in the syringe, but while the attempt was not made on his life, the fact remains, Jesse got in the way and was hit with the tranquilizer meant for the intended victim, Elise. Someone decided why not finish the experiment they started. Their intentions with Samantha aren't clear. Just who is behind these experiments? Per Mrs. Lawton, it appears someone involved has a working knowledge of the initial ingredient used to change an alien into a cougar.
Mrs. Lawton tells them. "This is not common knowledge. Anyone with first hand expertise with this aggressive formula is long gone which means the formula must have been passed down to a relative. Did they know the formula was original and very aggressive, or was it all they knew?"
Monroe says, "We have to find out."
Samantha replies, "We will." She turns to Jesse, "Looks like Community is our new home."