Shinra Claus

(Original Story Concept: Shinra Goes Green)

Author's Note: Okay… I'm just not trying anymore, lol.

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Once again, the board room was packed. Once again, the good people at Shinra Inc. had a dilemma to discuss. Last time, the company had begun their process of converting their company to the energy-efficient, eco-friendly methodology affectionately referred to as being "green". Today, they were going to discuss how to be "red".

"Okay," said Rufus, shrugging his shoulders. "Well it's the holidays, and I want this company to have a fresh new look for the season. Do we have any ideas, people?"

Scarlet's hand shot up first. Rufus couldn't tell if it was just her sycophantic nature getting the better of her, or if she was just excited about Christmas.

"We could decorate the lobby with a Christmas Tree. We could have materia orbs be ornaments to show how much Shinra is helping the local economy," Scarlet said.

Rufus nodded. The materia market was thriving, and Shinra had a lot to do with it. Even though some people refused to purchase Shinra manufactured materia orbs—choosing instead to go with local vendors—Shinra had purchased every local vendor in Midgar so all the money was going back to them.

Hojo's hand went up after hers. "I could create some mutant elves that go around giving gifts."

There was general murmuring and Rufus shook his head. "Remember the last time you tried to create a mutant?"

"Vaguely-" Hojo trailed.

"Do you remember that mutant eating an entire troop of Cub Scouts?" Rufus asked.

"They provoked him!" Hojo wailed. "My precious pet would never attack unless angered!"

"What did you call him again?" Rufus asked.

Hojo went crimson. "Uh… Bitey McKillsalot."

"Moving on," Rufus said, feeling that he had made his point.

Reeve spoke next. "I feel that we should hold a charity drive of some kind. People are more likely to spend money if they feel that it's going to a good cause, and we could use the money to rebuild some ruined areas of the slums. It will also boost public approval."

Rufus nodded. "I like that… but can we say that the money is going to charity when it's really going to us?"

"It would be frowned upon," Reeve scowled. "Come on, it's Christmas!"

"Fine," Rufus pouted. "Any more suggestions?"

Palmer raised a stubby hand. "We could put on some sort of Christmas pageant. You know, have the employees sing Carols and put on a play of the First Christmas?"

"I like it. Traditional, and yet commercial enough that we can plug our products without fearing the wrath of God," Rufus announced.

Tseng walked over to the window and stared down at a lower landing.

"Hey, do you think those boys are ever going to retrieve my pants?" Tseng asked.

"I got news for you," said Hojo. "The maintenance staff went out there one night to steal your wallet, but left the pants out there."

Tseng cursed, and reached for his shoulder harness. Everyone ducked under the table except Rufus. Tseng's hand slid across his shirt, but found no gun.

"Sorry, but after last week's performance I sort of hid your gun," Rufus said.

"I need that to do my job!" Tseng shouted.

"And destroy a 750 gil window. Not gonna happen this time, buddy," Rufus scolded.

Slowly, the staff returned to their seats and Tseng took his seat as well, pantomiming himself shooting everyone at the table.

"Alright we're off to a great start, is there anything else?" Rufus asked.

"I really think you should reconsider my mutant elves. I mean think about how cute they could be!" Hojo smiled.

"Hojo, you think that spiders are cute. I'll tell you what, if you can describe three body parts of these elves that aren't lethal, I'll let you breed them," Rufus said.

"Uh… lovable green eyes… er… um… pointy ears- but not too pointy! And um… a tail that secretes a mild venom into any opponent?" Hojo explained.

"I'll pass," Rufus replied.

"I said a mild venom!" Hojo snapped. "I mean they wouldn't even die… just lapse into a coma from which there is no waking."

"It's like this every year. Remember last year when he wanted to breed mutant Snowmen?" Reeve asked.

"Oh yeah," Scarlet grinned. "Corncob pipe, button nose and two eyes made out weapons grade plutonium."

"Yeah, but that was a stealth security measure! I mean who expects a snowman to slide over and kick your ass?!" Hojo shouted.

"You suggested we sic those beasts on truant schoolchildren!" Palmer shouted.

"You have to admit, after little Timmy got mutilated in the playground, kids took the whole education thing a lot more seriously. Remember my slogan? School: Go there or die horribly," Hojo said the last line with unnecessary glee.

"You remember little Timmy's parents filing a lawsuit?" Tseng asked.

"You remember me creating that couch that fed on human skin and then sending it to the parents as a Christmas present? Solved that little problem, didn't I?" Hojo retorted.

"Oh yeah. At least you clean up after yourself. But still, no mutants this year," Rufus said.

"Oh, fine," Hojo cursed.

"Okay, that's it. That's our Christmas, people. Let's get to work," Rufus ordered.

Everyone left the staff room, preparing for the holidays, except Tseng who was now searching everywhere for his missing firearm.

"Tseng," Rufus moaned. "Your gun is in your regular holster."

Tseng reached for his hip and felt his weapon, snugly in the holster.

"You hid my gun there?" Tseng asked.

"You've got this hidden weapon obsession, you never use the hip holster, so I know that'd be the last place you'd look," Rufus replied, casually. "It worked didn't it. Oh by the way."

Rufus reached into his coat pocket and tossed Tseng his wallet.

"I found the boys who took it and… well I told them the mutant snowman story," Rufus said.

"Thanks, sir," Tseng said, putting his wallet back in his jacket pocket.

"Merry Christmas," Rufus patted Tseng on the shoulder as he headed out of the room.