Shinra Inc. And The Campaign

by: Jason Tandro

There was a month long period of controlled chaos – Reeve agreeing not to resign until they could all agree on a new CEO to take his place, and Rufus pouting, bitching and making threats in his usual fashion. It seemed unfathomable that he wouldn't automatically get the job that he'd lost twice before after nearly destroying the company twice before. That said, Reeve wasn't exactly thrilled with the showing of the other members of the Directorial Staff these days, their attitudes ranging from mercenary to outright evil. Then again, that was something of the status quo. He'd just never seen it so focused before.

"You know," Rufus said to Reeve on one of the few days he was attempting to catch flies with honey. "Everybody is going to vote for themselves. If you were to just vote for me then this would all be done.

"I'm not voting for anybody," Reeve explained, again.

It had been an attack of ethics. Reeve tried not to dwell on the fact that he seemed to be applying his morals selectively these days, but it just seemed wrong for the current CEO to determine the new one if he was stepping down. On a more personal note, he didn't exactly feel like anybody else could do the job right and he sure as hell wasn't going to be the deciding vote.

"Oh come on, nothing in the company guidelines say you can't vote," Rufus explained. "In fact I wrote in a bunch of great ones for situations exactly like this. You have the power of a god at your fingertips and you are kicking around in the mud like us lowly mortals!"

"Well, no that won't happen. Although we're going to have to figure this out soon. You know it's Valentine's Day today right? And nobody seems any closer to swaying anybody else," Reeve sighed.

"Yeah," Rufus nodded. "It's almost like everybody here has been vying for the top spot for ages. I think you're the first person in the history of Shinra Inc. to step down willingly."

"Willingly?!" Reeve asked incredulously. "You practically forced me out with your constant attacks!"

"Alright, alright, I'm sorry, but I think we can both agree you'd be happier if the transition back to me had been smoother," Rufus explained.

"Making the best of a bad situation, yes."

"So what harm is there in just formalizing that sentiment?"

"Because the only thing keeping me going right now is the thought that somebody else might win and it'll make you miserable. In fact, maybe I should cast my vote for somebody else," Reeve suggested.

Rufus was not falling for this one. "Oh right. Please let me know who you end up voting for: the alcoholic, the sociopath, the egomaniac, or the other alcoholic."

"You'd rather I cast my lot in with the douchebag?"

"Think of me as 'The Devil You Know'," Rufus smirked.

The sound of heels on tile approached steadily as Scarlet made her way up the stairwell carrying a basket with a bright red heart on it. She smiled a perfect politician's shit-eating grin as she announced herself.

"Hello boys! Just spreading a little Valentine's cheer!" Scarlet proclaimed.

She handed them each a bright red index card with a poem and an attached heart shaped candy. Reeve sat the sweet aside cautiously – the last unwarranted candy had come from Hojo and he didn't feel any more secure about this one. The campaign was bringing out the worst in everybody.

"Roses are red, violets are blue, I'd vote for you, would you vote for me too?" Reeve recited. "That's sweet. I feel the love."

Rufus scowled. "I'm not so sure the feeling is mutual."

"What does yours say?" Reeve asked.

"Violets are blue, roses are red, Do us a favor and quickly drop dead," Rufus read.

"It came from the heart," Scarlet smirked.

"And whom did you steal this one from?" Rufus retorted.

==SI&==

"Okay look," Reeve said as he gathered the prospective candidates together in the conference room. "We've got to do something."

"I agree," Hojo hissed. "Scarlet's note was very hurtful."

"What did yours say?" Rufus asked.

"Roses are red, your vote is bidden, remember I know where the bodies are hidden," Hojo replied.

There was a collective, unimpressed silence before Reeve couldn't hold it any longer.

"Which bodies?" He asked.

"I'm surprised you bothered to hide any," Heidegger shrugged. "We all know what he gets up to in there."

"Listen, you all need to come to a conclusion today. You need to put aside your pride and petty squabbles and choose who you think would genuinely be the best choice to lead the company," Reeve explained.

"I feel like there's an ultimatum here," Scarlet said. "You have to actually tell us what it is."

Reeve cracked his knuckles, closed his eyes and sighed. "If you don't choose somebody at the end of this meeting then I will vote for Palmer."

The reaction was immediate and predictable.

"You'll vote for Palmer?! What are there not any drunken interns around to vote for?" Hojo demanded.

"God damn it Reeve you're going to ruin this company worse than Rufus did," Scarlet shouted.

"Oh go to hell, Scarlet," Rufus shot back.

"Been working here for twenty years," she added.

To his credit, Heidegger didn't outright say anything negative about his friend, but his expression spoke volumes.

"Enough!" Reeve shouted them down. "You all know the stakes. Now I expect you to resolve the situation like adults."

To be continued...