Shinra Inc. And Amusements
By: Jason Tandro
Concept By: Hatman
Shinra Inc. owned the world. This much had been well established already. What had not yet been fully understood was how after the death of a tyrannical albeit fiscally brilliant CEO, the inept and spoiled son had automatically been put into the position of leadership. This question was drawn into a fresh light as the fiscal year ended with the company profits at an all-time low.
"These numbers are unreal," Reeve sighed. He had been having coffee with the Head of Accounting, Hart.
Hart was a fresh-faced young man who had served under Domino, the official Mayor of Midgar. Domino was now living in retirement in Mideel after feeling that while being essentially a librarian underneath Shinra the Elder was bad; being a political scapegoat for Shinra the Younger would drive him into an early grave. That would have been quite the feat since Domino was well into his seventies.
Hart had been the temporary Mayor of Midgar until the next election when the citizens of Midgar had elected a man named Bosker. Of course everytime somebody mentioned Bosker and the election process, Rufus giggled like a schoolgirl.
And so Hart had been giving the accounting position within the company mainly out of a need to fill the gaps in the corporate structure. This was, incidentally, the same way that the college-educated, multiple degree carrying Timmy had been made a janitor.
[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Security]
"I know nobody here has the gonads to say it, but it's all Rufus's fault. His reckless spending and constantly being undermined by terrorist groups is costing this company billions of gil each year," Hart sighed.
Reeve nodded. "You're right. And with the attack on the website last week I don't think our image is getting any better with the public."
[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Hackers; clock it. That may have been the shortest distance between two in-references yet.]
"We're kept alive by the fact that people are afraid of the military and the fact that we are completely internal, without reliance on vendors. That being said it will, ironically, result in a loss of cash," Hart sighed.
"How's that?" Reeve asked.
"Economics 101. Any good business needs a cash flow going in and out. Otherwise the company stagnates and crumbles from within. This company's financial structure will literally implode under the burdens that we create from within. Sure we're not reliant on vendors, but still everything costs something. Personnel expenses for the military alone are enough to halt company growth," Hart put his head down on the table and let out his biggest sigh yet.
"What are you saying?" Reeve asked.
"I've run the numbers for next year too. Just preliminaries, mind, but honestly this figure can only go up," Hart said.
"What is it?" Reeve asked, growing increasingly concerned.
"This company will be bankrupt in two months," Hart said. "This is the end of Shinra Inc."
"There has to be something we can do!" Reeve shouted.
"If you can build four new reactors, while simultaneously laying off half of our headcount and convincing everybody at Director level and higher to take a 35% pay cut then we might buy ourselves another year, but it's just forestalling the inevitable," Hart stood up. "I'll start by making it a bit easier on you guys. I'm resigning. No point in going down with the ship."
Rufus was listening to his favorite jazz CD in his office dancing around madly with Scarlet.
"I had no idea you were so good a dancer!" Scarlet smiled. "Where'd you learn this?"
"Palmer taught me," Rufus shouted over the music. "You know, I give the guy hell but it turns out he's a wellspring of talent. Guess that's what happens when you have nothing better to do with your time."
"Sir!" Reeve said, running up the stairs.
"Damn it Reeve, it's my day off!" Rufus shouted.
"It's Tuesday," Reeve replied slowing down now that he was at the top, but still marching towards him.
"Your point being?" Rufus asked.
"Sir!" Reeve shouted. "This is serious!"
"What's this?" Scarlet asked, turning off the CD player.
"Hart just ran our numbers from last year. Our profits were less than 1% of our expenses," Reeve said. "Black Friday didn't help us recoup anything."
"But what about the yearly Christmas rate hike?" Rufus asked.
"That would have saved us if you hadn't spend all the earnings from the rate hike on dance lessons!" Reeve shouted.
"You gave Palmer 22 million gil to teach you how to dance?" Scarlet asked.
"He's a very good teacher!" Rufus whined.
"What did Palmer do with all that money?" Scarlet asked.
"He now has every fast food place in the city on retainer. They have to hold one of everything specifically for him every day," Reeve replied.
"That's stupid," Rufus cursed.
"Almost as stupid as spending 22 million gil on dance lessons!" Reeve screamed.
Rufus leaned back against his desk. "So what do you want to do?"
"What can we do?" Reeve asked. "We can't undo the mess we're in. It would take an extraordinary amount of budget cuts to simply break even for this year."
Rufus turned to Reeve. "Well. If the company is going down you better believe I'm using the last of my vacation days."
Reeve smacked his forehead. "Are you serious Rufus? The company is going under and instead of staying and trying to solve the problem you're going to run off to Wutai or Costa Del Sol?"
"I was actually thinking Gold Saucer," Rufus nodded. "Invite the entire staff. We need to get in a bit of a better mood, cheer ourselves up."
"Cheer ourselves up? People will be much happier if they still have a job!" Reeve shouted.
"Exactly. And we're going to have a strategy meeting in Gold Saucer. We're going to go somewhere where we won't panic our stockholders, not to mention our employees, take a day or two to blow off some steam and then meet in the Ghost Hotel conference room to discuss plans to save the company," Rufus explained.
Reeve crossed his arms and frowned. Scarlet raised an eyebrow.
"That's actually not a bad idea," Reeve said.
"Great. Round up the usual suspects and meet at the helipad," Rufus nodded, heading in the direction of the helipad himself.
Gold Saucer was the same palace of childish amusement that it had been since its inception. Located in the middle of the Corel Desert for some unknown reason, the massive gold-plated structure consisted of seven round platforms at varying levels connected by tram, elevator and even slides.
"Well I've got my Gold Pass," Rude nodded.
"Ditto," Reno replied. "Except for unlike you I had to pay for mine and didn't get it as a perk."
[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Benefits]
"We're all ready," Scarlet said walking off of the tram and setting down two large suitcases. "Can one of you boys-"
Before she was finished speaking two attendants came over and fought over who would get to carry her luggage, eventually settling on one bag each.
"So when should we have the meeting?" Reeve asked.
"Let's enjoy our first day here. We won't get any work done thinking about all the fun we could be having. Tomorrow we'll get cracking," Rufus replied.
"I notice you didn't bring any change of clothes," Reeve said, pointing at the small messenger bag that Rufus was carrying. "What's in there?"
"Just a few bottles of alcohol and some shot glasses," Rufus explained.
"Naturally," Reeve sighed. "Just don't let Palmer see you."
"Don't worry about Palmer," Heidegger cursed, walking up behind them. "He's brought a full mini-bar in his suitcase. Vodka, Rum, Tequila, and more bottles of wine than should be affordable for a man with his salary."
"Oh Palmer's got a nice little nest egg, which he stole from me," Rufus said, scowling.
[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Walmart]
Palmer trundled out of the tram, dragging two large rolling suitcases, but unlike Scarlet's, his rattled and cracked with each step, the unmistakable sound of clinking glass echoing from each.
"How much money would it save the company if I fired him?" Rufus asked.
"Not that much actually. He doesn't have a budget or expense account. In fact, I'm not 100% convinced we pay him," Reeve said.
"I'm going to go shower and then head off to the arcade boys," Scarlet said, patting Reeve on the shoulder.
"Tseng and I are heading straight to the roller coaster!" Elena smiled, dragging Tseng along.
Hojo was the last one off the tram. "I'll be heading to the Chocobo races."
"Did you enter your mutant chocobo in a race?" Rufus scowled.
"Stabby De Psychobo?" Hojo asked. "No… not yet anyways."
[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Cell Phones]
"Not yet?" Reeve asked.
"Well I haven't actually had a chance to register him yet. Come on Stabby," Hojo said, leading a dark black chocobo out by a leash that looked entirely unable to contain him.
"Oh dear God, hide me," Rufus said stepping behind Reeve.
"Kweh bitches," Stabby hissed.
"He speaks?" Reeve asked.
"Just vulgar insults and threats of death," Hojo nodded importantly. "Keep it simple I always say."
"That's simple?" Rufus asked.
"Go wark yourself," Stabby said, straining at the leash slightly.
"Okay heading to the arcade," Rufus replied running away.
"I think I'll go to the arena with Palmer," Heidegger replied bouncing away.
Reeve looked behind him. Rude and Reno were already long gone.
"Care to join us?" Hojo asked.
"Sure. Against my better judgment," Reeve chuckled nervously.
The Battle Square was home to the arena, where people wasted money fighting in matches to earn cheap prizes. The only people good enough to get the really good prizes generally didn't need them anyways.
"So Palmer, are you entering a match?" Heidegger asked.
"No, I like to watch. Reminds me of my younger days when I was a boxer," Palmer replied.
"You used to box?" Heidegger asked.
"Oh come now it's not that hard to believe is it?" Palmer scoffed.
"You're such a mystery to me, my friend," Heidegger sighed.
The first round began and was over almost as fast as it started. A teenager picked up a sword and rushed to stab it into the shell of an Adamantoise. The sword broke into a dozen pieces, one piece stabbing him in the eye and he ran right back out of the arena wailing in pain.
"I'm not so certain this was the wisest attraction for a public theme park," Palmer rubbed his chin.
"It's a grand tradition of men and combat," came the voice of an overly rambunctious man behind them.
Dio, the administrator of the park, took a seat next to them in Shinra's private viewing box. For some reason he insisted on walking around the park regardless of the season in bright gold boxing trunks and nothing else.
"Oh, Dio," Heidegger grunted. "How nice to see you."
"You seem so enthused," Dio chuckled. "Just because I won't let you enter the arena anymore."
"You were banned from arena fights?" Palmer asked.
"Don't ask," Heidegger groaned.
"He got drunk and picked up a spectator and used him as a shield, all while yelling for his mommy to save him," Dio laughed.
A look of uncontrollable glee stretched across Palmers fat face. "Oh really?"
"I said shut up Palmer!" Heidegger shouted, the little bit of his face not covered by beard now turning bright red.
The second match began. A young girl cast a fire spell at a Deenglow. The Deenglow lifted her up by her hair and flew high into the top of the arena before letting her go.
"Huh… she won't be seeing age ten," Dio chuckled.
Heidegger and Palmer exchanged a nervous look.
In actuality, Tseng hated roller coasters. He only put up with the Speed Square attraction out of his love for Elena. But in his mind, flying through the air at breakneck speed while attempting to shoot virtual flying enemies was not his idea of fun. It was, however, his idea of a great way to lose your lunch, which he did after the second round.
He washed his face in the bathroom and groaned in annoyance. Man he'd gotten old. It seemed like only days ago he was a young reckless teenager out to conquer the world and destroy anything that got in his way. More than ever, the differences between him and Elena seemed clear. She was still in her prime, and he was well past his.
Was he crazy?
Tseng walked out of the bathroom, and Elena sat on the bench. She shot him a shy smirk. "Um, sorry. I probably should have given you a moment to relax."
"I'm fine," Tseng shook his head. "You want to go again?"
Elena raised her eyebrow. "Do you?"
Tseng chuckled. "No, honestly, I don't think so."
Elena nodded. "Don't just automatically do whatever I want."
Tseng folded his arms. "Well I didn't want to be rude."
Elena shrugged her shoulders. "There's nothing to be done for it. We're both adults here. I'm not here just to have a good time. I'm here to have a good time with you."
Rufus sat in the submarine game chair, but he wasn't actually playing. Not ten minutes ago he'd lost a round in the hardest difficulty setting when he'd almost destroyed the last leader sub. Not five minutes ago he'd been told by an attendant to please stop screaming. Now he was just fuming silently while a little boy stood a few feet away, too scared to tell the grown-up that he wanted to play now.
Scarlet walked in, her hair still slightly damp from the shower. "Hey Rufus."
Rufus snapped out of his furious demeanor and waved his arm in a feeble attempt at a casual greeting. "Oh, hey Scarlet."
"Playing the sub game?" Scarlet asked, resting her arm on the back of the chair. "That's really fun."
Rufus changed the subject quickly. "Let's go do the snowboarding one, I'm kinda sick of this."
As they walked over to the snowboard game, the little boy took a few tentative steps forward before running headlong into the chair and vaulting himself up into the seat.
"So do you really think there's something we can do?" Scarlet asked. "Or are we just delaying the inevitable?"
Scarlet, who was fairly athletic and agile was incredibly adept at the snowboarding game. The junk food binging and out-of-shape Rufus couldn't stop running into the walls.
"I don't know," Rufus shrugged, the movement in his shoulders causing him to slam into a snowman. "Damn it!"
A few feet away, the little boy squealed in terror.
"Well you must have some idea, if you want us to all have a meeting," Scarlet nodded, deftly catching a ramp and soaring high above the track.
"Theoretically," Rufus nodded. "But do you ever get the feeling that our meetings never really accomplish anything?"
Scarlet kept her mouth shut.
The little boy squealed again, but this time in triumph. Apparently he was doing quite well at the game.
"You know, Hart resigned," Scarlet sighed. She was now leaning against the railing of the game, having already reached the finish.
"Yeah, I know," Rufus nodded. He was trudging along the side of the track, trying to avoid as many obstacles as he could. "But that doesn't mean we're totally shot yet."
"So you do have a plan?" Scarlet asked.
Rufus stumbled over the finish line, but at least the race was over. He leaned back against the railing. "Possibly."
The little boy stood up on his chair a shouted triumphantly. "I won! I won!"
"Show off," Rufus grumbled, walking over to the 3D Fighter.
The next days meeting was a bleak affair. The Ghost Hotel conference room was not too different from the one in the Shinra Tower, with one exception. Every five minutes the jack-o-lantern on the wall behind the head of the table would emit a loud scream. It proved effective at keeping the hungover Palmer and Heidegger on their toes.
"Morning all. How was your night?" Rufus asked, calling the meeting to order.
Reeve rubbed the back of his head and Hojo was sobbing profusely.
"What in the world happened to you two?" Rufus asked.
"Stabby's dead!" Hojo wailed. Elena discretely passed him a handkerchief. Rude discreetly passed Reno a twenty gil note.
"What?" Tseng asked.
"Well, last night at the Chocobo Arena there was a little bit of a disaster," Reeve began.
"Make it stop!" Palmer whimpered, clutching his head.
Rufus grunted, sitting down. "Explain the whole Chocobo thing to me please."
Hojo blew hard into the handkerchief and wiped his eyes before proceeding. "Well… well I was… I was entering the arena with Stabby and…" Hojo whimpered pathetically and shook his head before resting it down on the table in his arms.
Reeve sighed. "Well we went in there and apparently Stabby De Psychobo took offence to the sport. "
"He said that it was cruel to treat Chocobos as creatures of amusement?" Elena asked.
"In a manner of speaking. I believe his exact words were: 'Do a chocobo like that! I kill you! I f-ing kill you!'" Reeve made a stabbing gesture with his hand. "And then he tackles the bookie , who accidentally hit the emergency release. Before we know it the entire arena is bombarded by a herd of stampeding chocobos. I'm desperately trying to claw my way on top of the exchange counter to avoid getting trampled. "
"By this time, Hojo is tugging on Stabby's back shouting: 'It's not worth it! It's not worth it! I haven't even made any money yet!' Meanwhile the security guards were firing their tazers all over the place which hit bird and man alike. Everyone was screaming and running for the exits, including the emergency exit which at the first opening let out a loud claxon that echoed through the place driving the birds into an even greater frenzy."
"To make matters worse it turned on the sprinklers, which blasted out jets of cold water all over the place. Electricity and water: always a winning combination. It was over as quick as it began. Within minutes the arena was empty save Hojo, myself, two security guards and the electrocuted corpse of Stabby de Psychobo."
Reeve leaned back in his chair at the conclusion of his story. Hojo was still sobbing.
"Well. That's, uh, tragic," Rufus shrugged.
"Why do all my monsters end up dead?" Hojo moaned.
"Maybe you should stop making monsters," Tseng shrugged.
"Come on guys let's focus," Rufus said, standing back up. "The company is bankrupt. What are we going to do?"
Reeve sat up straight. "I've done some research-"
"Damn that pumpkin!" Heidegger shouted, throwing a beer bottle against the wall, missing it completely.
Reeve cleared his throat in annoyance. "I've done some research and from what I can find the only possible solution is for everybody in the company to take drastic pay cuts of up to 40% in the case of salaried employees. We here in the upper rung would have to cut our salary by at least 65%. Even if we cut everybody's pay though our problem is our production isn't meeting our needs. We need additional income, and that would mean piecing out aspects of the company to venture capitalists and maybe even selling the company wholesale to another investor. That would mean that you, Rufus, would have to step down as CEO."
"Sell the company?" Rufus asked. "We're trying to save it, not sell it!"
"The only way to retain the services we provide and the people we serve, is to allow other companies come in and add their revenue to ours. We need external support. It's like Hart said, a cash flow in and out of the company."
"But who has the resources to by the company? We've monopolized everybody else out of business," Scarlet sighed.
"There are always venture capitalists; people with too much money to know what to do with. There are always investors. If we can't sell the company wholesale we just piece it out bit by bit. That will also reduce our individual costs," Reeve explained.
"I don't like the idea of stepping down as CEO," Rufus retorted.
"Rufus, with all due respect, your reckless spending is what put us into this mess," Reeve said, although he was not angry or terse as he normally was when scolding the president. His voice was actually sad.
Rufus sat down and folded his arms. "So what? That's it. Either I get fired or the company bombs?"
"You'd still be part of the company, of course. Whoever would buy the company would have shared control over the assests though. You'd still be CEO over what remains in our hands, but the conglomeration would belong to a Board, which you would no doubt have a seat on," Reeve explained.
Rufus grunted noncommittally.
A strange silence filled the room. If different aspects of the company were bought out by different companies then this may be the last time they all sat in the same room.
"This is the end of Shinra Inc.," Rufus repeated Hart's words, even though he'd not heard them himself. He turned around.
"Damn it!" Rufus shouted, putting his fist through the Jack-O-Lantern. Palmer and Heidegger applauded vigorously. He turned back and the applause stopped. The silence returned to the room. "I'm resigning. Reeve, you're the new CEO. Fix my mistakes, like you always do."
He slowly walked out of the conference room.
Season 3 Finale Next!