Shinra Inc. And Auditions
By: Jason Tandro

"So how long are you going to be mad at Reeve?" Scarlet asked.

"He's still alive isn't he?" Rufus retorts coolly.

Rufus was sitting at his desk looking through all of his directorial staffs personnel files. It was late at night, much later than Rufus would normally be here; especially as his adamant philosophy was 5:00 PM was when he should be arriving at his room rather than when he should be clocking out of work.

"You're going to hire a new second in command just because he barked at you?" Scarlet asked.

"Reeve just isn't much of a team player," Rufus insists. "He'll learn his lesson. If he can do the job he's been tasked with, he'll work his way back up."

"About that," Scarlet said, nodding down towards the stairs. "Reeve is actually too efficient."

"What do you mean?" Rufus asked.

"Well you know how you hired that blonde sweater to do her job in such a way that any work that needs to get to you will undoubtedly be lost in a file or accidentally shredded?" Scarlet asked.

"Yeah," Rufus asked.

"Well Reeve, despite being insulted, takes his job very seriously. He's already gotten several files worth of work organized and prepared to have on your desk by tomorrow morning," Scarlet explained. "And give him an hour and he'll have gone through every departmental budget in the building and be out of work. Can you really live in a world where Reeve sits on his ass while you do all the work?"

Rufus nodded. "You make a compelling argument, but whoever I hire as my number two will get the privilege of acting as a buffer between me and that work. "

"What an honor," Scarlet sighs.

"And I don't get you. You were totally on my side last week," Rufus asked.

"I understood why you were mad, but I didn't think you were going to make this punishment a lasting thing. And really who else in your staff can handle the responsibilities of Reeve?" Scarlet suddenly felt self-concious and added, "Present company excluded of course."

"That's what the audition is going to find out. Now come on, down to the conference room," Rufus insisted.

Scarlet rolled her eyes and followed Rufus down the stairs. Rufus gave an unpleasant smirk in the direction of Reeve as they passed; which Reeve didn't notice as he was engrossed in a very large file.

Down in the conference room all the usual applicants were lined up along the table. A small makeshift stage had been placed at the end of the room.

"Hey, I have a question," Scarlet suddenly realized. "What did you do about your previous secretary?"

"I didn't have the heart to fire her," Rufus shrugged.

"Well that's nice. What's she doing now? Did she get a promotion?" Scarlet asked.

"Of course not. I just gave her three weeks paid vacation and I'm kinda hoping that when she gets back I can convince her that she worked in the café," Rufus explained.

Scarlet rubbed her forehead and took her seat.

"Okay, ladies and gentlemen, you all know why you're here. Reeve's reign of terror is over. It's time to see who's reign of terror is next," Rufus explained. "First applicant is… uh… Dr. Hojo."

Hojo stood up and made his way proudly to the stage.

"As I'm sure you're aware most people in this office don't respect me. Most people in this city don't respect me. And given that most people in this office didn't respect Reeve either I'd say that more than makes me qualified to do whatever he did," Hojo said. He took a bow and stepped down.

"He makes a compelling case," Rufus nodded. "Next up, General Heidegger."

Heidegger stood in front of the stage rather than standing on it.

"Shinra's most valuable resource is its military might. Pick me for your 2nd in command and I will make sure that all budgets are cleared to make way for greater military advancements," Heidegger announced.

"You already have a blank check during war time," Rufus explained. "How much more money aside from infinite do you need? "

"Yeah, you can't actually have infinity plus one, Heidegger," Palmer retorts.

"Fine. Well, um," Heidegger rubbed his beard. "I'll develop a fleet of armed robot sentries that can do your job for you!"

"I kinda like my job," Rufus replied. "I mean I know I whine about it, but there's something exhilarating of knowing that you hold the world in the palm of your hand. Robots wouldn't get the same satisfaction as I would. Sorry, pass."

Heidegger sat down disgruntled.

"Who's next? " Rufus scrolled his eyes down the page. "Palmer?"

Palmer stood up and trotted towards the stage like an excited boar heading towards a trough.

"As number 2 I would bring back the space program so that we could explore beyond the stars!" Palmer cried.

"No you wouldn't, and no you won't. Sit down," Rufus groaned.

Palmer sat down fuming.

"Okay, we're running low on applicants for some reason," Rufus shrugged.

"Maybe because nobody want's that work load, or is trained to do that job," Tseng explained.

"We've got one more applicant. Rude?" Rufus scratched his head as the young Turk stood up and took his position on the stage.

"I put my name in consideration for this job because lately nobody seems to pay attention to me. I'm usually only at these meetings to drop a quick funny line or do something stupid with Reno. Make me your number 2 so that I can finally have a purpose in life," Rude explained.

"A purpose in life?" Rufus asked. "You define your self-worth by your job?"

"You define your self-worth by your MyFace friends! How is that any less stupid?" Rude shouted. "And you told me that last week you were considering suicide."

"Yeah, but then I realized that suicidal people are the rage-quitters of life," Rufus replied. "You all shouldn't be forced to live without me just because I'm having a bad day."

"Oh for crying out loud," Scarlet moaned. "Enough of this. Just give Reeve his job back and let's be done with this!"

"Yeah, you're right," Rufus sighed.

"Curse your eyes, woman! I was in the lead!" Hojo shouted.

"Hojo don't worry, you'll always be number 2 in my book," Rufus smiled, patting Hojo on the shoulder as he left the room.

Hojo grinned for a moment, but then scowled. "Oh come on, bad joke."

On the 69th floor Rufus saw Reeve putting his coat on. There was not a spare scrap of paper on the entire desk.

"So you, uh, did it all huh?" Rufus asked.

"I never like to leave stuff for tomorrow, if I can avoid it," Reeve nodded. "Have you found you're new assistant?"

Rufus shrugged. "Nobody's qualified for it except you."

Reeve smiled weakly.

"So, uh, would you be interested in taking the job back?" Rufus asked.

"This company would fall apart without me," Reeve smirked.

"You have no idea, Heidegger wanted to build an army of robots to do our job. Because things always go so well when we build giant robots," Rufus chuckled.

Reeve smiled. "Well you'll be glad to know I took care of all that myself then. Not just organizing it to hand off to your number 2."

"That's the best news I've heard all night. So are you ready for your first task as my number 2 again?" Rufus asked.

"Sure thing boss," Reeve nodded.

"Call the secretary you replaced and tell her that her vacations been cancelled," Rufus smiled, patting Reeve on the shoulder and heading downstairs to his room.