Shinra Inc. And Halloween
By: Jason Tandro
The Story So Far:
This is the Season 1 Finale of "Shinra Inc. And". To understand the events of this story, you will need a fair understanding of the stories that came before it, and while I recommend you read them, this summation will give you the gist of what you need to know (warning, spoilers):
The whole thing began almost two years ago, with Shinra Goes Green, a story about how the Shinra Company was adapting their corporate policy to make the company more "eco-friendly". These policies are still in place, including some of the more ridiculous ones, but have not been enforced in later episodes. Tseng threw his pants out the window in response to one of the new rules.
As part of my story Twelve Nights, there was a Shinra segment entitled Shinra Claus. It was a simple story about the company policy for celebrating Christmas. The only notable things we learn is that Tseng has a "hidden weapon obsession" and that Timmy the Janitor attempted to steal his wallet from the pants that Tseng lost, but Rufus intercepted it.
In the story Shinra Inc. And Global Warming (the first Shinra Inc. And story to actually have that title format) the company enacts new rules to combat global warming… such as raiding the nearby slums for WMDs, banning abortion and gay marriage.
Shinra Inc. And Security is next and we learn that Rufus is agoraphobic. His room is mistaken by Timmy the Janitor for a broom closet. Rufus escapes to safety using an escape hatch, and Tseng kills Timmy, even though he knows that the president is in no danger. This is his response for attempting to steal his wallet. A budding romance between Tseng and Scarlet is crushed when Tseng admits that without her dress on (they were in a sauna) he mistook her for Elena.
Shinra Inc. And The Conference Call brought a new level of technology to Shinra Inc. and shows us a new side of all the employees. Palmer and Heidegger's alcoholism is brought to light, as is the fact that Hojo has a rather nasty (and dangerous) hobby. It results in the mangling of his hot young assistant Katy. Scarlet apparently has her own condo in Costa Del Sol, with a staff of teenage boys at her disposal. Tseng survives a torrential downpour in Junon.
Shinra Inc. And Birthday's was a simple policy story revealing that Rufus doesn't get how potluck events work and that ever since Tseng lost his pants in the original he'd been using sweat pants.
Shinra Inc. And The Ghost is pretty much a must-read if you are to understand the events of this story. It details a haunting poltergeist terrorizing the Shinra Tower and Rufus's encounters and attempted exorcism of the ghost by Palmer, who is a member of the church of Bob.
Shinra Inc. And The Graveyard Shift was another fairly self-contained story, and all we learn that is of relevance to the greater Shinra Inc. And story is that everybody (except Reeve) has at some point stolen money from the company.
Shinra Inc. And Sex takes the relationship that had been germinating in the background between Tseng and Elena and took it to the forefront… with disastrous and embarrassing results. The relationship ended on a somewhat positive note, but Reno (who had been punished for his own promiscuity) swore revenge on Tseng.
Shinra Inc. And Energy Drinks told the tale of a work-exhausted Rufus trying to find any way to cope with his lack of energy. He took energy drinks and overdosed on Energy Shots before he finally agreed to stop. He did mention that on his Energy Shot trip he had been visited by a friend named Invisible Bob, who told him to start fires… amongst other things.
Shinra Inc. And The Alien is the direct predecessor to this story and another must-read. A UFO crashes and Shinra investigates. A team of SOLDIERS are sent in, but are attacked and suffer delirium. The "alien" turns out to be only a Gold Saucer technician… or so it would seem. Because shortly after she left, the four SOLDIERs died, and there began to be reports of strange new people popping up in the Shinra Tower.
I hope you're ready loyal readers, because Season 1 is coming to a close and this is the story that all the others have been building up to. Happy Halloween!
It was late at night. Rufus had finally finished his signing all the clearance documents for the UFO crash. Everything had, in the light of the explanation given by the technician, been declassified… except for the fact that the four SOLDIERS who had entered the saucer had mysteriously died shortly after entering.
He began to walk down the stairs when he heard something. It was a sound that he had heard before… but no. It couldn't be. That situation had been dealt with. Rufus continued down the stairs, trying to ignore the fact that he had most definitely heard a low, shuffling sound.
The secretary was gone and the lights had been turned off. Rufus did not like this one bit.
Rufus jumped a foot away from the sound, only to turn towards the main hallway and see Reeve waiting for him.
"Goddamn it, Reeve," Rufus cursed loudly. "You scared the hell out of me."
"I'm glad I got here when I did. Sir, there seems to be a problem," Reeve explained.
"Oh what now?" Rufus asked. "Can't one week go by where we just do our damned jobs?!"
Reeve scratched his head and glanced at the floor above. Rufus caught this and listened closely to the sound that he too heard. The shuffling, shambling sound that he remembered too well.
"I've just been in the security center and there have been several strange sightings throughout the building," Reeve said once the sound ceased.
"It's Halloween. Most of that is probably just employees screwing around," Rufus nodded.
"Doubtful. Remember, we celebrated Halloween yesterday because it was Friday and more employees were here," Reeve explained.
Rufus didn't remember, actually, as he had spent the day working on the report.
"What kind of sightings?" Rufus asked.
"I'd better escort you to the security center. 67th Floor, sir," Reeve explained, pulling out his sidearm.
"Whoa, whoa, is that necessary?" Rufus asked.
Reeve looked back at Rufus and gave a solemn nod.
"Hang on a second then," Rufus ordered.
Rufus turned on the spot and ran back up the stairs. He could hear the shuffling sound louder than ever, but he didn't care. He went over to his desk and opened a wide drawer on the bottom left. It came out very far and from it, he drew a large shotgun. He grabbed the shells that he had set in the same drawer, and dropped two down the barrels.
He returned to Reeve.
"Let's go," he instructed.
Reeve looked at the shotgun with a slightly envious flicker in his eyes, but he turned down the hallway, leading Rufus to the elevator.
Standing next to the elevator were two uniformed Turks.
"Oh not this shit again!" Rufus shouted, raising his shotgun.
"Easy, sir!" Reeve placed his hand on the barrel. "It's Rude and Tseng."
Rude was carrying a pistol as well, but Tseng stood next to the elevator without a weapon.
"Reno and Elena are waiting at the helipad, sir. That'd be the best evacuation route," Tseng seemed to be talking more to Reeve than Rufus, which annoyed Rufus slightly.
"I still don't know what the hell is going on," Rufus hissed. "And what about everyone else? Scarlet, Heidegger, Hojo, Palmer?"
"Scarlet and Heidegger are out in Midgar, preparing our soldiers," Tseng explained.
"This thing has spread?" Rufus asked.
"Hojo is in his laboratory, refusing to come out and Palmer is nowhere to be found," Reeve finished, ignoring Rufus. "Please sir, we have to hurry."
Reeve entered the elevator. Hesitantly, Rufus entered as well. Tseng and Rude followed behind him. The doors of the elevator shut, and Tseng lifted a weapon out from his shoulder harness.
The elevator slid slowly down the shaft, and the shuffling sound from above began to die away. Rufus didn't bother to mention he had heard the sound, because he knew based on Reeve's reaction earlier that he had heard it as well. And both of the men knew that it signified the poltergeist that had once haunted Rufus.
The elevator stopped at floor 67. Tseng and Rude exited the elevator first and peered around the deserter hallways.
"Clear," Rude called.
"Clear," Tseng confirmed.
"Come on, Sir," Reeve said, gesturing Rufus out of the elevator.
Rufus left and followed Tseng who began making his way slowly to the security center. Reeve and Rude flanked his rear.
Tseng knocked on the large metal door in the security room.
"Mark. Open up," Tseng ordered.
There was no response.
"Marcus! Answer me!" Tseng shouted.
"Marcus? The security supervisor?" Rufus asked.
"We told him to wait here… I think that was a bad idea. Rude!" Tseng barked.
Rude nodded and fired a round at the doors lock. It exploded off the frame and Rude kicked the door in. Mark was nowhere to be found.
"He's not here. Did he go looking for us?" Rude asked.
"I seriously doubt it. Let's do this briefing and then get on with it," Tseng ordered.
Rufus sat in the chair where the security supervisor should have been seated and looked at a large computer screen.
"These are the videos that caused us concern," Reeve explained.
A video began playing of the Presidents office. Again the flickering shadow of the poltergeist moved around in the office, making the same sickening shuffling noise. Rufus had somehow not heard it.
Then it flickered to a video of the hallway they had just come from. Two employees went down the stairs, and then the dark shadow of a girl began to move towards the place where the camera was…
Before she arrived at the camera, the screen flickered again and this time it showed an external view camera. Four people that Rufus had never seen before were conversing. It took him a moment to realize that one of these men didn't have a face. They continued to converse before shambling off and disappearing.
The screen flickered back to the hallway and the girls face was staring straight at them, covering the screen.
"Damn it!" Rufus cursed as he fell back in his chair.
The screen flickered once again.
"Huh? There was something else?" Rude asked.
"No, the video should have stopped." Reeve replied, staring back at the screen.
The screen showed the hallway just outside the security center. A man walked out of the door.
"That's Marcus!" Tseng shouted.
Marcus walked around the corner. The camera flickered again to show the adjacent hallway. He walked a few feet and then he stopped. Rufus screamed in horror as his head fell off.
"What the hell is going on?!" Rufus cried.
Reeve tried to compose himself after the horrific sight he had just seen. "There is a massive disturbance. A large number of undead, and spirits have been awoken and drawn to this spot. We believe the UFO may have had something to do with it."
"Well what are we going to do?" Rufus asked.
"First, we're getting out of this tower and regrouping. We'll decide what to do from there," Reeve instructed.
At that moment, there was a loud crash, and the power went out.
"Oh what now?!" Rufus cried.
"It sounds like something collapsed upstairs," Rude shouted.
"No. Something hit the building," Tseng corrected. "Must have knocked out the power lines."
The red emergency lighting came on. Rufus looked over at his comrades. Reeve leaned back against the terminal. Rude and Tseng were glancing back at him with their weapons raised. In the small gap between them, Rufus could swear he saw a shadow move for a split second before fading away.
"Let's get the hell out of here," Rufus ordered.
"Sir… with the power lines cut the security lockdown is in effect. The doors won't open and we can't go below the 59th Floor. Also the elevators won't work," Reeve sighed. "We're stuck here for the duration."
"There's no way! I do not want to be stuck in here," Rufus shouted.
Rufus opened the door and jumped back as something stood barring his way.
"Relax!" Reno shouted, ducking to just narrowly avoid being shot by Reeve.
"Damn it Reno!" Tseng shouted. "That's a good way to get your head blown off."
"Tell that to Marcus. I saw him in the other hallway. He's dead," Reno cursed.
"We know," Rude sighed. "Is Elena with you?"
"I'm over here," Elena called from outside the door. "We're clear."
"That's great. But where are we gonna go?" Reno asked. "You no doubt heard that crash right? One of those UFOs plowed right into the helipad. We jumped down to the 68th floor balcony and made our way here. No way any of our choppers survived that."
"Can we repel down the side of the building?" Rufus asked.
"Sure… if you happen to have a spare 700 foot long rope on you," Reeve griped.
"Well I don't know, there has to be something!" Rufus shouted.
"Hojo's Office is on this floor. Let's go grab him and see if he can help us out," Elena suggested.
"That's not a terribly great idea, but it's the best available. Let's go," Rufus ordered.
The lights of the Shinra Tower all went dead. This was the first and most severe indication of something gone horribly wrong. Scarlet smacked Heidegger on the shoulder.
"Look!" She cried.
"The power lines. That collision we heard?" Heidegger asked.
"Must have hit the tower!" Scarlet realized. "We need to get the power running again!"
"Right!" Heidegger shouted to a SOLDIER who was standing near him. "Radio for air cavalry on the double!"
"Sir, we're not in a good position right now," SOLDIER instructed. "These creatures are all around us. There's no good LZ."
The "creatures" were in fact a strange horde zombies and ghosts that had been terrorizing all of Midgar. Heidegger, Scarlet and a team of SOLDIERs had just eradicated most of them in Sector 8, but there were enough lingering on the outskirts that any helicopter landing would be risky and interesting enough to draw them closer.
"Right, soldier. Where is the best LZ you can predict?" Heidegger asked.
"Right now? I would say if we can make it to Sector 7, where the Plate fell. We could have the helicopter land on the outskirts and we'd only have to worry about them on one side," The SOLDIER explained.
"Good idea. Lead the way," Heidegger ordered.
Tseng banged on the door to Hojo's laboratory.
"Open up Hojo!" Tseng ordered.
Hojo opened the door, grinning at the look of panic on everyone's faces.
"You forgot to say 'trick or treat'," Hojo mocked.
"Step aside you freak," Reno cursed as he moved towards a computer.
"That'll do no good. My computers won't operate on emergency power," Hojo explained.
"We figured if anybody would know anything about how to deal with all this creepy crap it'd be you," Reeve explained.
"The aliens have caused the dead to rise and walk. They'd be the ones you need to speak with. But do you really want to head back up there and ask them?" Hojo asked.
"Well there's gotta be something! Some way to reverse this?" Rufus shouted.
"Unusual radioactivity seems to be the cause. It seems to be coming from these UFOs, but it's not the source… There is a mothership that is floating above this tower. If we could find a way up there…" Hojo explained.
"We'd need a chopper. I could radio for one if we were to get outside. The 68th Floor balcony," Rude suggested.
"Okay then, we'll head there," Rufus nodded. "Hojo, you stay here and fill us in on any details by radio."
"No problem," Hojo chuckled nervously.
The chopper sailed low over the place where the Sector 7 plate had once been. Scarlet made a weak leap onto the ladder, and Heidegger followed.
"We'll stay here and continue mopping up these monsters, sir," The SOLDIER saluted.
"Fight hard," Heidegger nodded as he took his seat.
The chopper slowly rose.
"Where to?" The pilot asked.
"Shinra Tower's base. We need to turn the power back on," Heidegger replied. "Can we requisition a team of mechanics?"
"Negative," the co-pilot said. "They're tied up in the Mako Reactors."
"I can do it," Scarlet announced. "Just take me in to the base."
"Roger that, Ma'am," The pilot responded as he moved the chopper towards the base of the tower.
"This is Rude of the Turks. I have the President. We need air cavalry right now. Repeat, we need immediate air cavalry for evac of the President," Rude called.
Static was the only answer.
"The metal plates are blocking the signal," Reeve realized.
A chopper blew past the 30th floor and landed at the base of the tower.
"Who the hell is that?" Elena asked.
"Hey! Up here!" Rufus shouted.
"As though they'll hear you," Tseng cursed.
The shuffling noise returned. Rufus turned and saw the same poltergeist he had seen before. Standing next to him was Palmer.
"Hello, Mr. President," Palmer said, in a voice that was not his. "Come… I will take you to safety."
"He's possessed," Reeve noted.
"All that stupid Church of Bob crap. That's what you get for joining a cult!" Rufus hissed.
"Are you calling me stupid?" Came a voice from behind Rufus.
Rufus turned and saw somebody he had not seen in a few weeks.
"Invisible... Bob? You're real?" Rufus asked.
"I told you. But nobody believed me," Bob smiled cruelly. "And now this one is under my command."
Bob re-entered Palmer.
"Back up," Reno said, stepping out in front.
Tseng, Elena and Rude joined him.
"Whatever those guys are trying, I hope it helps," Rude said.
"I'm not trying to die here," Tseng cursed.
Scarlet saw the problem as soon as she reached the power control room at the base of the tower. The switches controlling Mako flow had all been physically removed.
"I'll just have to turn the dials manually," Scarlet said. "Get me a screwdriver."
Heidegger pulled a small flask of vodka out from his jacket pocket and mixed it with a carton of orange juice. He handed the flask to Scarlet, who rolled her eyes.
Suddenly all the lights in Shinra Tower lit up bright as noon. Bob and the Poltergeist disappeared under the glare and Rude's radio sparked back to life.
"Does anybody copy?" Rude called, reaching frantically for his radio.
"Yeah, I read you," came the chopper pilot. "We just picked up Scarlet and Heidegger. Where are you?"
"68th Floor balcony of the Shinra Tower. We need immediate evac!" Rude ordered.
"On my way," the pilot replied.
"There will only be enough room for the staff and two Turks. Tseng and I will remain here," Reno explained.
"Oh… where am I?" Palmer asked.
Palmer saw the ledge he was very close to, and shrieked in fear. He dropped to the ground.
"Is he drunk?" Hojo asked, exiting the tower.
"You found out the coast was clear, eh?" Rufus asked slyly.
Hojo shrugged noncommittally.
The chopper rose into view and Scarlet opened the door. Hojo, Rufus, Reeve, Palmer, Rude and Elena climbed on board.
"We'll send a chopper for you!" The pilot called. "Expect it in ten minutes!"
Reno and Tseng nodded. The chopper rose high above the tower, and Reno turned to Tseng.
"Now. We have a little unfinished business," Reno said, raising his gun.
"What?!" Tseng asked.
"You made me scrub toilets in women's restrooms for two months," Reno glared.
"So you're going to kill me?!" Tseng asked.
"No," Reno glared with renewed resolve. In a voice of thunder he proclaimed. "I want an apology!"
Tseng rolled his eyes. "Oh jeez, I'm sorry okay?"
"Apology accepted!" Reno smiled, patting Tseng on the shoulder.
"Okay, see that large UFO. Take us in," Rufus instructed.
"You got it," The pilot replied.
The chopper sailed low underneath the hull of the massive silver disk. A large door appeared out of nowhere and seemed to beckon the chopper in.
"Anybody else wonder who the hell opened that door?" Rude asked.
The pilot rose the chopper in through the door. They appeared to be in a large metal hangar. Everyone except the pilots dismounted.
"We'll wait here for you," the pilot said.
A small door just ahead of the chopper opened, and again, the group felt compelled to move towards it.
The room was an immaculately ornate one. Large multi-colored spheres hung in the air around a large silver and gold throne. Silk hangings adorned the walls and golden pylons led the path to the throne. Sitting in the throne was a young woman, with a mutated arm covered in red blotches and spikes that rose from the joints.
"Katy?!" Hojo gasped.
"I've been keeping an eye on you all," Katy said in an unusually deep voice. "Waiting for a moment to take you down. My servants have all played their part admirably. First I thought I could destroy you through sheer stupidity, so I had your secretary provide you with that useless Wikipedia nonsense about Global Warming and Going Green."
"Hey, Wikipedia isn't stupid!" Rufus pouted.
"When that failed, I thought more direct approaches were necessary. I had Invisible Bob possess Timmy the Janitor and attempt to kill you, Rufus. When that was thwarted, I tried to drown the one who had seen right through me… though he claimed not to," Katy explained.
"Wait a minute?" Scarlet asked. "You mean Tseng knew what you were planning?"
"He played the fool, because if he had told you outright you would have thought him crazy and fired him. No, he was always one step ahead. Even though me flooding his room didn't kill him, it did let him know how strong I was," Katy explained.
"But that was when you first got infected!" Hojo announced. "How could you have been planning all this?"
"The infection didn't give me power. It just gave me this nasty scar," Katy looked at her arm with repugnance. "I am, in fact, an alien from a nearby planet. Since Shinra Inc controls the world we decided the best way to take you all down was by destroying Shinra."
"And then you set that poltergeist on Hojo and I?" Rufus asked. "And Invisible Bob when I was high on the Energy Drinks?"
"My attempts to loosen your sanity seem to have failed. You're already too crazy to begin with," Katy cursed. "But now, I'll just have to kill you all, right here, right now."
"I think not!" Hojo announced. "I have something I'd like to show you!"
From his pocket, he pulled out a tiny elfish creature. Rufus's eyes grew wide in understanding, but Katy just laughed.
"A tiny little elf? That's your ultimate weapon?!" Katy laughed derisively.
With a sudden jerk, Hojo threw the elf at Katy. Katy caught the elf and began to squeeze it fiercely with one hand.
"Pathetic creature!" Katy laughed.
Suddenly, from underneath its pants, the elf withdrew a tail. It pricked Katy's hand, and before she could react, she collapsed to the ground.
"What was that?" Scarlet asked.
"A mild venom," Hojo said proudly.
"One that puts them into a sleep from which there is no waking," Rufus quoted.
Suddenly, the saucer began to shake violently.
"Damn it, what now?" Reeve cursed.
"That must have been a load-bearing boss," Palmer cried.
"Let's get the hell outta here!" Scarlet yelled as she ran towards the chopper.
The group boarded the chopper and sunk as the massive metal disk, and all the surrounded disks rejoined into one massive cluster. In a massive explosion of speed, the disks retreated into the sky, soaring away from the planet.
"Radiation levels returning to normal!" Hojo announced. "The undead masses seem to be returning to their graves!"
"We did it!" Elena cried cheerfully.
The conference room was crowded. Rufus sat at the head of the table, and the staff of Shinra Inc. sat around the long oak table.
"Okay, then," Rufus began. "First order of business, the aliens are gone, which means we'll be able to get back to business as usual."
"Yeah, like we actually do any work around here," Rude chuckled.
"The man has a point," Heidegger added.
"Right, but I have some ideas that should help boost productivity in that field," Rufus said. He lifted the elf that Hojo had thrown at Katy. "If you don't meet quotas, you get this sucker left in your bed."
There was a mixed murmuring. The arguments began, as did the inane discussion and rantings that soon followed. It would be business as usual for Shinra Inc.