Shinra Inc. And Netiquette
By: Jason Tandro
[Author's Note: This is a throw-back to the series humble beginnings, which was all about board rooms and corporate policy changes. Somewhere around the middle of season 1, I lost sight of that and basically flooded the series with gimmicks. So this episode will be an honorable tribute to the roots of the Shinra Inc. And series!]
Elena sat in her cubicle just across from Rude, who was busy with an internet mission debriefing. He had, of course, saved these for the very last minute so that he could be unattainable for the remainder of the day. Which left Elena to do the most boring work a Turk could be stuck doing, security reports.
Once a month they had to review the security reports for their shifts. The idea was to "identify trends where security upkeep can be improved." In actuality, all this served was an excuse for SIA Agents to enjoy a day off.
Elena finally finished the stack, and mysteriously, Rude's debriefing ended at the exact same time.
"Man, that was a doozy," Rude chuckled.
"Must have been, if your debriefing took three hours," Elena quipped sarcastically.
"Hey, you're just angry because you haven't had a field assignment in months. On that note, I'll be out of here. Reno wants to see me in his office," Rude nodded.
"End of the day shots again?" Elena asked.
"Elena, what we do in there is very serious business," Rude replied coolly, although Elena noticed his hand slowly release a small cylindrical object from inside his coat pocket.
Elena groaned and looked at the time. 5:30 PM. She had been stuck late again. She looked at her calendar and saw something that brightened up her day instantly. She and Tseng were going to have their first official date tomorrow evening.
Hmm,Elena thought, a smile spreading across her lips. Maybe I should warm him up for it.
And with that, she opened her e-mail client and began to type.
"Don't show me that, I don't wanna see it!" Rufus moaned as he walked into his office.
Reeve had approached him carrying a manila folder, and the usual "time to get to work" look on his face.
"Sorry to bother you with your job, Mr. President," Reeve cajoled. "But I think it's time we reviewed our internet usage policy with our employees."
"Yeah, it's been a while since we updated our corporate policy," Rufus nodded. "But why?"
Reeve groaned and set the manila folder down on Rufus's desk. Rufus took his seat and read it.
"Okay," Rufus paged his secretary. "Get everybody in the conference room."
The conference room looked exactly as it had a few weeks ago, except perhaps for the thin layer of dust on it.
"It's been a while," Heidegger commented, taking out a handkerchief and wiping his seat down.
"What are we paying the cleaning crew for?" Rufus asked bitterly after sneezing loudly from the intake of dust into his lungs.
"To, under no circumstance, come into the conference room when the doors are closed," Reeve replied matter-of-factly. "Which they've been for at least two weeks."
"Ah, yes, well. Take your seats," Rufus gestured.
Heidegger, Palmer, Scarlet and Hojo sat on one side, Tseng, Elena, Reno and Rude sat on the other. Reeve sat opposite to Rufus at the head of the table.
"Okay I just wanted to review and amend company policy regarding internet use. Now the blanket rule as you all know is that, excepting emergencies, the internet is to be used for company work only," Rufus nodded in the direction of Palmer. "Not for getting your online degree from Phoenix Down university."
Palmer scoffed. "Well at least I don't spend countless hours on MyFace playing ChocoVille like Scarlet!"
Scarlet hissed. "Hey, it's just rude to ignore an invite and once you start playing… it's hard to stop. Have you guys played it… it's great."
Her voice seemed to crack a little.
"Are you alright Scarlet?" Reeve asked.
"I'm great. You guys should play ChocoVille. Really, it's awesome. I'll send you free Greens until you start playing," she began to laugh nervously.
Choco Billy sat in the van, listening to Scarlet speak via her PHS. They had planted the bug on her earlier, and the operation was going smoothly.
"D'ya think the others are catching on to her?" Asked Joe.
"No worries Joe," Choco Billy stated flatly. "Soon they'll be playing too…"
"One step closer to our dream of world domination!" Joe laughed maniacally, as the van sped off into the night.
"And what about Heidegger, huh?" Scarlet demanded. "He uses the company computers to watch hours after hours of porn!"
"That's impossible. The SafeFilters block out porn," Reeve retorted, a hint of confusion in his voice.
"Well… from all the good porn sites," Heidegger groaned. "But hey Hojo buys all of his chemicals second-hand from suppliers on eBuy."
"I save money that way," Hojo said calmly. "That's within company use."
"But the last batch you got was mis-labeled and while you blew 620 gils for a phial of harmless sodium… what was in it?" Tseng asked.
"Anthrax," Hojo mumbled.
Nobody in the room was looking directly at anybody else. Rufus saw the tension he had started and decided to jump to the point.
"Uh… this has nothing to do with any of that…"Rufus said cautiously. "It's about Elena sending a sexy email to everybody in the office."
Elena turned crimson. "W-what are you-?"
"Oh yeah, I got that email. I thought you were talking to me," Reno grinned, giving Rude a casual high-five.
"Wait, why didn't I see this email?" Heidegger asked, wiping drool from his mouth.
"Because I sent a chaser out to delete the unread emails… looks like Reno was still in his office when it came through so he was able to check his before the chaser got there," Reeve added.
"So what was in this email, eh?" Scarlet asked with a smile on her face. "Anything good Reno?"
"Wouldn't you like to know?" Reno grinned back. "Something about letting me use those handcuffs like I always want-"
"You hush!" Elena shouted, turning even brighter red.
Tseng turned away in embarrassment.
"Um, yes. We all enjoyed that little bit," Rufus added, unable to contain himself. "However this poses a serious question. How are we going to stop stuff like this from happening again."
"I think publicly humiliating Tseng and Elena like this oughta do it," Rude shot.
"Yeah, I doubt this will be an issue anymore. And if it does happen again we can always spank Elena until sh-"
"That will do!" Elena barked.
"Okay then. Well then I guess the problem sort of worked itself out," Rufus nodded.
"Have you noticed that trend? Whenever we discuss something in this conference room it always works itself out by itself?" Palmer asked.
"One might ask why we even bother having a conference room," Heidegger added.
"Yeah well… get outta here," Rufus ordered.
Palmer, Hojo, Heidegger, Scarlet, Reno, Reeve and Rude left. Tseng and Elena met at the door.
"So… do you still want to go out tonight?" Tseng asked.
"Sure," Elena beamed.
"Don't forget the whips and chains," Rufus added as he walked out and down the hallway.
"On second thought… let's dine in tonight," Elena sighed.