Shinra Inc And New Years
by: Micah Rodney
Author's Note: My yearly holiday story is once again under the Shinra Inc. umbrella, and is dedicated to anybody who had a rough time this holiday season.
The shrill blaring claxon of Reno's cell phone alarm send ripples of pain through his entire skull, starting at his ear drum and wrapping around to the back of his head – precisely the spot Reno found the most effective target when trying to knock somebody out with one blow. He called this the "night night spot". Bullets also worked, but were messier.
He looked at the time – 9 AM. Fan-fucking-tastic, he thought bitterly as he surveyed his surroundings. He had not fallen asleep in his own apartment. Well, to be fair he hadn't fallen asleep at all; he'd passed out drunk. A quick crack of his neck and a reluctant opening of his eyes led him to conclude that he'd been sleeping on the floor of the dive bar where the night previously he'd been celebrating the annual changing of the calendar.
His phone made another unpleasant sound, this time just a phone call, but the tone was more distressing than his standard ring. It was Tseng calling.
"Morning," he said with a yawn as he answered the phone.
"Morning to you too," Tseng said as polite as he could manage. "You missed our morning meeting."
"My sincere apologies," Reno said, with not even the faintest hint of sincerity. "Overslept."
"Even when you're honest, you're not entirely honest," Tseng sighed. "But I'll let it slide. When will you be in?"
"As soon as I find a headache cure," Reno said. He then looked down at himself and added with a note of mirth. "And my pants."
"You continue to live up to my low expectations of you," Tseng groaned.
"Well, I wouldn't want to rock the boat," Reno replied. He found somebody's black slacks, they seemed to fit him and he figured this was good enough. The absence of pockets and the snug fit around his groin made him suspect that these were not men's pants, but they were good enough for now.
"Whenever you feel like showing up come to my office. Please do me a favor and try to be here before noon," Tseng said with just enough firmness to establish that this was not a joke, but retaining his mildly disgusted sarcasm.
"Will do boss man," Reno said in the phone, slipping on his black boots. "Toodles."
He hung up the phone and looked at himself in the mirror. His shirt and jacket were horribly wrinkled, the former had some sort of unidentifiable liquid stain around the collar, his shades were broken, the tie he never wore was missing, and he was definitely wearing the wrong pair of pants.
"Perfect!" He said, as he made his way out of the pub, stepping over the hopefully just unconscious body of the barkeep.
"Well Reeve, it's a new year, and you know what that means," Rufus said, entering the 70th Floor office with a huge stack of folders.
"'New Year, New CEO' isn't a thing, Rufus. Stop trying to get your old job back," Reeve hissed.
"No chance in hell I'd take it back today. It's inventory day!" Rufus exclaimed with all the malice glee of a rodent who'd seen a cat step on a mousetrap.
"We did inventory at the beginning of October. The fiscal year ends in October, not December, have you always been doing it two months behind?" Reeve asked.
"No, don't be stupid Reeve," Rufus said reassuringly. "I haven't been doing it at all."
Reeve pulled a few more hairs out of his head, and laid what remained on the desk in front of him before finally putting his fury to words. "Every time I think I've gotten to the bottom of why we went bankrupt I find a new trap door."
"Oh so you found out about Deepground, huh?"
"Wait, I thought we defunded that years ago."
"We stopped using any of the money you know about," Rufus replied quickly. He then coughed and changed the subject. "So, uh, inventory then."
"There's no point in doing it now, all the numbers are wrong. We'll have to use our previous end of month estimates and go from there. And besides only essential personnel are working today. It's a holiday," Reeve explained.
"Oh yeah, that reminds me. I had an all-hands meeting with the Turks this morning."
"For what purpose?" Reeve asked, his brow furrowing masterfully.
"I have a special assignment for them. I'm going to have them create a bodyguard rental service to bring in a little extra income. This will encourage people to hire Shinra brand goons for all their minor personal problems. Why rely on the seedy underground thugs when you can put your faith in the devil you know?"
"A private security firm isn't a bad idea actually. We still haven't done much about the crime problems in the slums," Reeve said. "Perhaps this could be an interim service while we work out a better police force."
"My thoughts exactly. So anyway, the staff meeting at noon?" Rufus asked.
"Yes, yes, same place as always."
== SI& ==
The conference room, as it always was, saw a collection of the usual staff. People who were paid so much to be here that taking a holiday was a serious moral dilemma – or would be if they had morals to speak of.
Scarlet, Heidegger, Palmer, Tseng, Elena, Rude, Cissnei, Hojo, Reeve and Rufus were all present and accounted for. Reno was still absent.
"I guess we'll get started then," Reeve said.
"Sorry, sir. I called him but I don't think he'll be-"
Tseng was interrupted by the double doors bursting open triumphantly as the beer-soaked pile of human shaped rags that fashioned itself "Reno" stepped in to take his seat.
"I made it!" Reno said.
"Looking like hell and five minutes late. For the meeting I mean, you're four hours late for work," Tseng replied. "How many times have I had to dock your pay this month?"
"Enough that I clearly could not afford to do my laundry, but not so much that I couldn't afford beer," Reno smirked.
"We have an onsite laundry and shower room. It costs you nothing to be clean," Tseng groaned.
"What do you say, Cissnei? Care to join me in the showers?" Reno asked.
"Sure thing!" Cissnei replied. "You know the employee showers are individual stalls and if I catch peeking into mine I'll break your manhood off, but sure thing. Let's go get clean."
"It's kind of sentimental," Rude chuckled. "Reno's first blatant sexual harassment of the new year."
"To an employee at least. It's been four hours. Who knows what he might have done before getting here," Scarlet shivvered.
"Getting past Reno's inadequacies-" Reeve said, trying to reign in control of his meeting.
"-unlike every one of his dates-" Cissnei chimed in.
"-this meting is supposed to be about Rufus's new incentive program. As you know we were all tasked with coming up with a New Year's Resolution and we'll be tracking each other's progress. I have to say, Rufus has had some great ideas lately and I want to show gratitude for it," Reeve said.
Rufus stood up and gave an almost sincere smile, though something seemed a bit off in his eyes. Everybody who was not Reeve could sense some cruel twist coming, but they weren't sure exactly what it was, and nobody wanted to be the first.
"So have you all got your Resolutions in?" Reeve asked. "Let's go around the table. Elena, would you start us off?"
"Well, I have been gaining a bit of weight over the holidays, and my plan is to hit the gym and work it off! I only have to lose ten pounds to be back on track!" Elena announced.
"That's an excellent goal, Elena!" Reeve smiled.
"I hate her. I hate everything about her," Scarlet whispered conspiratorially to Hojo, while keeping that same dazzling smile on her face.
Tseng was next. "I have resolved to be more patient with my employees and to try not an seem like such an ogre," he glanced over to Reno who was busy sucking the last few drops of beer out of a can that had somehow survived the trip to the office in his jacket pocket. "That is being severely tested already."
Rude stood up. "I have resolved to find a woman!"
"Those might be a bit harder to keep track of-" Reeve said, sensing the inevitable unraveling of the idea.
Cissnei followed. "I have resolved to get a bitching tattoo of a behemoth. I won't say where."
Then Hojo. "I am going to try and breed a monster that doesn't die horribly at an inconvenient time. Also one that doesn't try to kill me."
"Or anybody else here?" Reeve asked.
"I was told resolutions should be realistic," Hojo sighed.
Scarlet stood up and cleared her throat. "I have resolved to complete this new weapon design I began three years ago. It's a mako cannon like the Sister Ray, but it... well it's better."
"In what way?" Reeve asked.
"Don't make me say it Reeve," Scarlet hissed.
"No, tell us, in what way?" Rufus insisted.
Scarlet cursed under her breath. "It...uh... it turns."
There was a few moments of silence before Heidegger decided to gracefully end her suffering. "I have resolved to reduce military spending by half."
"That's amazing!" Reeve said. "Do you think you can do it?"
"Sure! We just gotta cut down on pay, health insurance, life insurance, bullet-proof armor... heck most wars can be fought with robots now anyways," Heidegger explained. "I say we just shitcan half of the fleshy soldiers and use robots for everything."
"Palmer, dare I ask what you have planned?" Reeve groaned.
Palmer twiddled his thumbs for a few moments. "Sp-"
"Space, of course. You want to go back to space."
"I have a great resolution," Reno offered.
Reeve sighed and rubbed his head. "Sure, why not, I've allowed all this other insanity to go on. What's your resolution?"
"I resolve to help Rufus steal the company back from you," Reno giggled, still clearly piss drunk.
Reeve cast a suspicious eye towards Rufus, who had the decency to feign ignorance for about two-thirds of a second before coming clean.
"Oh, all right, fine. Yes, my whole plan for the private security firm was to establish a hostile takeover and win my company back from your meaty accountant hands," Rufus spat.
"You really didn't think you'd get away with that did you?" Reeve asked.
"Well, I already did. I hired the finest muscle in the industry to come and help me take you down," Rufus gestured dramatically to the door. Two scrawny looking guys dressed in loose-fitting Shinra uniforms entered. "Oh, I guess the other guys are off for the holiday."
"I can't keep doing this, Rufus. I can't keep track of you constantly. You know what, you're right. I don't like this job. I don't enjoy having to do the work of the boss while constantly waiting to see what stupid thing you are going to do to try and undo everything I have done. You want your job back, then fine. I resign. You can be the CEO again and I'll go back to Urban Development. There, are you happy now?"
Rufus sat dumbfounded for a moment. He seemed to be unable to process what he'd just heard.
"C-could you say that again?" Rufus asked.
"You're the CEO again. I resign," Reeve explained.
Rufus let out a massive cheer and leapt atop the table with the agility of a far younger man. "Yeah baby! My hostile takeover worked like a charm! Once again this company is under the control of my iron fists!"
"Actually I contest that," Scarlet said.
"You what?" Rufus asked, lowering his arms.
"Pardon me?" Reeve added.
"Reeve resigned. He doesn't have the power to assign a new CEO. The responsibility falls to the Directorial Staff. We all have to decide who we want to be new CEO," Scarlet explained.
Rufus rubbed his chin. "Okay... so who else wants to be CEO?"
Everybody's hand shot up, except Reeve's and Reno's.
"And who wants me to be the CEO?" Rufus asked.
His hand remained the only one in the air, though to be fair, Reno had passed out again between the votes.
Somewhere in the vents a cricket chirped. The heater blew a warm, but uneasy wind through their hairs.
"Well... shit," Rufus sighed.
To Be Continued...