Shinra Inc. And Accountability
By: Jason Tandro
Rufus hated choppers. It's true they were an effective mode of transportation and they were very useful if you needed a quick getaway. But whenever he was in one, it usually meant work.
Reno piloted the chopped through the mountain range towards the underwater reactor in Junon.
"We'll be there in about two hours, Mr. President," Reno called over the speaker.
The loud whirring of the blades made communication almost impossible, so everybody wore headsets with voice-sensitive microphones. Reeve, who was sitting next to Rufus tapped him on the shoulder and pointed his finger at the computer screen they shared.
"Let me brief you once more, Rufus," Reeve said.
"Why?" Rufus asked.
"Because you weren't paying attention the last two times," Reeve answered, clicking a button on the screen.
A blueprint of the Junon Reactor appeared on the screen.
"At about 0700 two days ago, the Junon Reactor had a pressure leak in one of the compression chambers. No big disaster, and it was easily fixed," Reeve explained. "However a few hours later the pressure rose to breaking point and the chamber exploded. Whoever fixed the leak didn't do it right."
"Okay," Rufus nodded. "So what?"
Reeve sighed. "So, the compression chamber is where the waste is filtered out of the mako energy on its way to being condensed into materia. When the chamber blew open, it released a massive vat of this waste into the ocean surrounding the reactor. And that's not the worst part."
"What's that?" Rufus asked.
"Well because this reactor is a direct line to a massive vein of Mako, there seems to be no way to stop the leak at the moment. We are working on methods of plugging the hole but for the time being waste is spilling everywhere and getting larger," Reeve nodded.
Rufus blinked. "Again… so what?"
Reeve seemed angry now. "Don't you understand that this waste is destroying the ecosystem? And that's just the beginning. It's affecting the entire bay, killing fish and plant life. The Junon fishermen are starving because their source of income has been ruined, people can't go swimming there, and it's the middle of summer."
"Oh boo hoo," Rufus groaned. "We'll toss a million gil at the fisherman to keep them placated and we'll come up with some other boogeyman to take their mind off of this disaster… say aren't the gays still trying to get married?"
Reeve slapped his forehead. "The reason we are heading here is so that you can make a public apology and announce our plans to correct our mistake."
"Wait a minute, isn't there an easier option?" Rufus asked.
"Like… I don't know. Maybe there's some way I can play the victim. I can say that the press has been harassing me over this mistake which isn't really my fault. I can say my family is suffering-"
"You don't have a family, Mr. President," Reeve chided.
"Okay from now on you're my cousin. And we'll say-"
Rufus continued to babble on, as Reeve slammed his head against the window of the chopper. Hopefully they would land soon.
The press conference took place at the Junon Airport. There was a massive rabble of people, only a handful of whom were actually press. The aforementioned fishermen were there in droves, some shaking their rods and nets angrily.
Rufus walked out, flanked by Reeve and Tseng. Scarlet walked behind him, an annoyed look on her face. Rufus had instructed her, shortly before they left, to flash the crowd if things got too heated.
"Ladies and gentlemen, members of the press," Reeve began. "First allow me to say that we could not feel worse about this horrible disaster. We at Shinra Inc. have prided ourselves on our safety and respect for the fragile ecosystem, and today we have disgraced ourselves.
"There is nothing we can possibly do to make it up to people whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by our mistake, but I assure you that at the very least there will be compensation. No family will go hungry because of our error."
The crowd still seemed annoyed, but relatively placated by the reasonable line that Reeve was taking.
"But I'm just a spokesman for the company, so I'm certainly not to be trusted," Reeve added, a sad attempt at a joke. "President Rufus Shinra has run the company for many years now and has proven himself to be…"
Reeve didn't quite know how to finish that sentence.
"Well, anyways. President Shinra."
There was a smattering of polite applause, overloaded by the angry jeers and hisses from the crowd.
Rufus looked down at the print-out of the disaster report that Reeve had handed him.
"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming out here today," Rufus began. "As you all know 48 hours ago there was a terrible disaster in the underwater reactor of Junon. Waste has spilled out and is now destroying the ecosystem around it. And as of yet we have no way of stopping it."
Reeve looked on impressed.
"But let me assure you that we will find a way to fix this mistake, and as Reeve mentioned we are going to be compensating the fishermen of Junon. We have allocated 2 million gil to provide for them."
There was an outbreak of crying at this.
"Two million? There are over a thousand of us! We can't live on only 2000 gil!" Shouted one fisherman.
"Some seasons I bring in almost 15,000 gil worth of fish per week!" Cried another.
"Hey it's not like we're made of money either!" Rufus retorted. "I've had to cut back too. I'm not gonna get that gold sports bar in my pool… at least for another month or two."
Another outcry. One man from the press spoke louder than the others.
"Mr. President, isn't it true that you were warned that something like this could happen?" He asked.
"Well yeah, but by a bunch of whiny hippy liberals. Nobody takes them seriously," Rufus laughed. The crowd did not respond in kind, shouting louder than ever.
Reeve smacked his forehead. "Why do we let him speak?"
"Hey hey!" Rufus shouted. "I'm a victim here too. You guys keep harassing me about this. It wasn't my decision to put the rig there. I didn't cause the accident. And you keep hassling me and my cousin," he pointed to Reeve, who shook his head and raised his hands in defense. "Give me my life back!"
The loudest cry yet and it seemed as though a riot was about to break out at any moment. Rufus turned his head to Scarlet. "Now, Scarlet, now!"
Scarlet half-hissed, half-snorted at this suggestion and made her way back to the helicopter. Tseng followed suit. The crowd began to rush the podium, and soldiers made a clear path for the president. The chopper took off and made its way back to Midgar.
"Jeez, you must have really pissed them off," Reno said.
"I don't get it. Some people are so unreasonable," Rufus sighed.