Shinra Inc. And Video Games

by: Jason Tandro

Suggested by: Case Man

Author's Note: For those of you who don't know by now, I have a website dedicated to the Shinra Inc. And Series ( .com) There is a link on that page where you suggest a fic, and I often take suggestions because, frankly, I'm not always that good at coming up with ideas after four and a half seasons.

Case Man suggested the Shinra Inc. And Walmart episode and has come back with another great idea. I'd been toying with the idea of a video game episode but I wasn't sure how to approach it, and after the MMORPG episode, I felt it would be redundant. But he came up with a pretty interesting idea which I'll admit I hadn't even considered. So courtesy of my over-eagerness to please people and Case Man's contribution, I present Shinra Inc. And Video Games

The auditorium on the ground floor of the Shinra Building was ringing with the sound of gunfire. Even with the closed doors, it was clear that one hell of a fight was going on within. Tseng and a team of SOLDIER 3rd Class operatives lined up outside the entrance.

"I need backup!" Came Reno's voice.

"Lay down some damn suppressing fire!" Cissnei shouted.

Tseng tried to open the door but it was locked shut. He gave a meaningful nod to a soldier who moved towards the door and planted a small explosive on the lock.

"What's going on?" Rufus demanded, covering his ears as he got out of the elevator.

"Sir! This is a dangerous situation. You need to get back upstairs!" Tseng shouted.

"I know. I heard the gunfire from the cafe. You all should really do something about that," Rufus said.

"You approached the sound of gunfire without a weapon or escort? How have you not been assassinated yet?!" Tseng cursed.

"I'm hit!" Rude shouted from behind the door.

"Blow it!" Tseng shouted, lifting his pistol again.

The door locked shot out of its resting position like a cannonball and two of the soldiers kicked open the door, firing into the auditorium wildly.

"Whoa, whoa, hold your fire!" Reno shouted as he, Rude and Cissnei ducked behind the front row of seats.

Tseng rushed in behind the soldiers, his pistol still raised.

"Reno!" Tseng shouted. "Are you okay?"

It was only now that Tseng noticed the bullet-riddled remains of a ZBOX720 and the pepper-sprayed auditorium projection screen. This coupled with the fact that he no longer heard any sounds of battle made him briefly question why he'd chosen this career in the first place.

Reno, Rude and Cissnei slowly rose, their hands in the air.

"Sorry boss. Was that a little too loud?" Reno asked.

Rufus walked in behind Tseng and put his hand on Tseng's shoulder.

"That, Tseng, is why I wonder why I haven't been assassinated yet," he quipped.

Tseng brushed off this comment along with Rufus's hand. "We heard this from three floors up and thought a gun battle was going on. We broke the lock to get in!"

"Oh yeah, we didn't want any distractions," Cissnei said. "Kind of silly in retrospect."

"But really we should be mad at you. That game console cost a half-month's salary and you shot it up," Reno retorted.

"What was that game?" Rufus asked. "It sounded fun. You know before the console got exploded."

"Call of Honor. It's a super realistic war-game," Cissnei said. "We were kicking some Wutai soldier ass until you guys showed up."

"You used company property without authorization, caused a panic, and your actions resulted in the destruction of company property. You are all suspended without pay for a week!" Tseng shouted.

"Suspension?" Reno asked. "Not to tell you how to do your job, boss, but you realize to Rude and me all you said was 'take a week vacation, just don't expect me to pay you for it'."

"How much was that game again?" Rufus asked.

Tseng looked over to Rufus. "Sir, if you wouldn't mind-"

"The console was 700 gil, and the game was another 100 gil. But it was the collector's edition with the awesome customer controller," Reno said. "It just came out this week."

Rufus punched his palm in excitement. "Tseng!"

"Conference room?" Tseng sighed.

"Conference room!"

*~SI&~*~Shinra Inc. And~*~SI&~*

"So let me see if I understand this," Reeve asked, rubbing his head while sitting on the opposite end of the Conference table from Rufus. "The Turks blatantly disobeyed both company policy and common sense, and you want to reward them by making them arbiters over a video-game competition?"

"They were participating in a bit of office camaraderie. Granted it took the form of disobeying both company policy and common sense, but I think the spirit of the idea is worth investigating," Rufus said.

"You just want an excuse to blow company money on a game-station," Reeve grunted.

"It's like watching tennis," Hojo commented. "Any more of this and I'm going to need a neck-brace."

"Tennis isn't this interesting," Scarlet added.

"I take it you all have something to say?" Rufus asked.

"Yeah. You do realize we keep having these meetings, but it's been months since any of us contributed anything worthwhile?" Palmer grunted.

"Lately it's become the Reeve and Rufus show. He's smart, you're not-so-smart and that's been the entire joke lately," Heidegger said.

"I don't know whether to be impressed or insulted by your honesty. When did I lose my authoritative sway over you people?" Rufus asked.

(Author's Note: Around episode 4 or so...)

"Sir, if I may interject," Reno asked, his hand raised tentatively. Rufus gave him a slight nod. "I realize that my actions were impetuous. Hell, even down ride irresponsible. But given that I am already on a suspension and have nothing better to do with my time I would glady give some of my free time this week to arbitrate your proposed endeavor, for a small stipend of course."

"You see!" Rufus said. "The man has dedication, class, and tact."

"The man just convinced you to pay him during a suspension to play video games," Reeve groaned.

"It's settled then!" Rufus announced. "This weekend we will have the first annual Shinra Inc. And Video Game Tournament!"

"And once again, we contribute nothing," Hojo sighed.

*~SI&~*~Shinra Inc. And~*~SI&~*

Between providing custom ZBOXs, fixing the auditorium, providing refreshments (which Reno insisted from experience should be of the fried and carbonated variety) and promoting the event, it was a costly affair. Shinra Inc. ended up spending approximately 18,000 gil on the entire project.

However Rufus did at least have the brilliant idea to charge a 25 gil entrance fee, and so with over 200 applicants, they at least had enough money to cover the first, second and third place prizes. With a first prize award of 1,500 gil it was a highly tense atmosphere, at least among those seriously vying for first.

Even the Shinra Inc. staff ended up signing up. Rufus had refused to take Reeve's advice to avoid embarrassing himself by entering a competition with seasoned pros and was heart-broken when he dropped out of the running on the first round.

"Stupid freaking sniper," Rufus whined. "Why you gotta snipe on a king of the hill match... not even guarding your own spot."

"Get over it," Reeve said, rolling his eyes.

Palmer, ever the man of many skills, was surprisingly adequate. Even getting so far as the quarter-finals before being in the losing team of a death-match. Though, to his credit, he did have the highest K/D ratio between all the players. However, he took his loss with some dignity and grace, much to the disappointment of Heidegger, who was hoping for a show.

Given that the Reno, Rude and Cissnei were the judges of the competition, Elena didn't like first-person shooters and Tseng had refused to join out of protest, the most remarkable transformation was in Scarlet.

Scarlet had in her youth enjoyed some low-res first person shooters but had stopped playing shortly before college. However the skills had apparently transitioned nicely and the kind, but calculating woman had turned into tactical hellstorm of strategy, reigning death wherever she went.

In the semi-finals the teams were broken up into a series of one-on-one deathmatches. She never laid a hand on her competitor, but when the match was over he had to be dragged away by medics from fright.

And so in the long series of the tourney, it had come down to the finals. A two on two match. The winning team would take first and second place (based on K/D) and the highest performer on the losing team would take third. Two sweaty looking dudes with very burly character avatars took their place at the final station. Scarlet hadn't had an opportunity yet to look over and see who her partner was, but felt that, at least here, she should show signs of teamwork.

As she looked over, her blood ran cold.

"Wait a minute. What are you doing here?" Scarlet demanded.

The young brown-haired woman cracked her knuckles. "Rufus said he'd grant me a pardon on behalf of the tournament. Something about 'needing to liven up this sausage fest'."

"So," Scarlet said folding her arms. "Tifa Lockhart. You and me are partners now?"

Tifa shrugged. "I guess so. Normally I'd slap you for all the shit you put me and my friends through. But not today. This is about something more important: Men versus women."

Scarlet nodded, turned to the two men who were grinning smugly at them and then turned back to Tifa. "Tifa... fight like a girl."

The two fist-bumped and took their place.

"And now, the moment you've all been waiting for! The Final Round to determine who will win this game and take home the 1,500 gil cash prize!" Reno announced. "On the blue team, DeathSmasherX and TeabagUrSkull. And on the red, or should I say the pink team: MsScarlet and ILaughAtYourTears."

"I laugh at your tears?" Scarlet asked.

Tifa raised her eyebrow. "Miss Scarlet?"

"Let the Death Match BEGIN!" Reno announced.

Scarlet was fierce and calculating, but Tifa had incredible reaction time. Everytime one of the boys would be around a corner, Tifa would be on the other side, rushing in close for a melee kill or else just using her weapon of choice- the shotgun- to eviscerate the men. Scarlet was playing smart, and covering Tifa from a distance with a sniper rifle and occasionally moving in closer with an assault rifle in the few rare instances where Tifa was pinned down.

They were not undefeatable by any means though. The two men had gotten to the final round on skill though. Scarlet was often assassinated while sniping and Tifa, for her bravado, was as susceptible to bullets and rockets as any other player.

With a minute to go on the clock and the women and men tied up at 23 kills each (with 25 needed to win) the teams found themselves on opposite sides of an alley. The wreckage from their previous matches and DeathSmasherX's over-use of the rocket launcher had resulted in finding an alternate way around a near impossibility without risking getting caught in fire and dying from that.

As the two teams were sitting right next to one another Tifa and Scarlet couldn't verbally strategize but a single look from Tifa told Scarlet everything she needed to know. Stay the course.

Tifa rushed out from behind cover with her shotgun and Scarlet peeked over the nearby crates with her sniper rifle. Tifa's shotgun shell went wild and tagged but didn't finish TeabagUrSkull. Scarlet's sniper round did. DeathSmasherX then gave up the ghost as he reactively hit the trigger on his rocket launcher rather than switching to his secondary weapon. Both Tifa and he exploded in a glorious fiery wreck, leaving only Scarlet alive.

There was a round of applause, most loudly of all were those of the wives and girlfriends who'd been dragged to this event by their gamer boyfriends. Tifa and Scarlet actually hugged each other as Reno announced over all:

"And the winner of the First Annual Shinra Inc. Video Game Tournament is MsScarlet and IlaughAtYourTears!"

*~SI&~*~Shinra Inc. And~*~SI&~*

"So what are you going to do with the 1,500 gil?" Rufus asked.

"I don't know. Probably gonna buy my own ZBOX720 now. I forgot how much I liked this kind of stuff," Scarlet explained. "Did you really offer Tifa a pardon?"

"It was all in the name of good sportsmanship," Rufus explained. "I feel like we should try to extend the olive branch with our enemies every once in a while."

"Oh, so was it in the spirit of peace and friendship that after she signed up you said 'this should liven up the sausage fest'?" Reeve asked.

"I like to think of it as vying for equal rights," Rufus said.

"Equal rights to objectify women perhaps," Cissnei groaned. "I would think that this whole experience would have taught you to be a bit more understanding of the opposite sex."

"Yeah, we kick ass too. We just look good doing it," Scarlet explained.

Rufus's eyes suddenly came back into focus. "You know Tifa has a great rack."

"Pervert," Cissnei groaned, walking away.

"Oh whatever, you're on suspension anyways!" Rufus shouted.