Shinra Inc. And Hippies
by: Jason Tandro
Rufus, Reeve and Teresa sat on the floor around a small table. Teresa had just moments ago brought brought some tea for the group and was sipping on her cup. Rufus was serving rice to the three of them from a pot that Teresa had also prepared. This was certainly not his usual lunchtime meal, but if Rufus felt out of place it was nothing to how Reeve felt.
"Um. Ms. McBrand?" He asked nervously.
"Call me Teresa, honey," she smiled.
"Uh… Teresa then. What exactly are we waiting for?" Reeve asked.
"I've got some visitors coming who share our common goal of finding an alternative energy source," Teresa explained.
"Who are they?" Reeve asked.
Before Teresa could answer there was a knock at the door. "Oh, that must be them now."
Reeve chanced a glance over at Rufus who was having enormous trouble eating rice with chopsticks. For some reason he seemed to think they worked like kabob skewers and was trying to pierce large chunks and keep them balanced on his sticks.
"Rufus, you look ridiculous. Watch me," Reeve said, demonstrating proper chopstick usage.
"Like this?" Rufus asked, now holding both chopsticks apart and trying to scoop up the rice using the gap in between them.
"No, no, no, like this!" Reeve tried demonstrating again, but Rufus was already too flustered.
"To hell with this crap, can't we just use forks?" Rufus shouted.
Teresa walked back into the dining room, and standing next to her was Bosker and two young female companions of his.
"Hey man!" Bosker waved genially at Reeve and Rufus. "How's it going bros!"
"Hi Bosker," Rufus sighed.
"Bosker," Reeve nodded. It was a mystery how mere weeks ago they had been political opponents and yet Bosker was greeting them as if they were old friends.
[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Communism]
"I'd like you to meet my wife and life partner Lillian," Bosker said, pointing to the taller woman with long brown hair. "And this is Geneva ."
But Reeve recognized Geneva. She was still wearing the navy blue suit jacket she always wore, and a long tie-dye skirt underneath which clashed horribly.
"Geneva! You used to work for Shinra. You were head of our legal department!" Reeve said.
"Reeve, so good to see you again!" She said, skipping Reeve's offered handshake and pulling him close in a hug.
Reeve blushed a little bit. He'd always found Geneva weird, but she was still very pretty, even going into her late thirties. "Uh, likewise."
Rufus scoffed. "You got a girlfriend. That's rich."
"Are you going to eat your rice or just push it around on the plate?" Reeve snapped.
"Get me a damn fork or something!" Rufus shouted.
Palmer's money was for the first time being put to good use. Rather than pay for the space program himself, he invested it into DevCom and they offered to pick up the project. More than just meaning that they now had an engineering team and shuttle crew, he was also reunited with Hojo and Scarlet.
In the hands of a more mature businessman, it would have been a joyous sortie.
"So, now you guys work for me for the duration of this project," Palmer grinned.
"Technically we answer directly to DevCom, so don't get any funny ideas," Scarlet hissed.
"Oh, but DevCom feels that you two newbies would best have your talents put towards this project don't they. I'm going to pay you back for all the times you made fun of me in the days of Shinra Inc.," Palmer chuckled.
"Hey fat ass," Cid barked. "I'm the project lead on this, you're just the money man. Leave these folks alone and go tell Shera to make me some damn tea."
Palmer scowled at Cid for ruining his moment of revenge, but headed towards Cid house all the same.
"Forgive him, he's just a little edgy on account of nobody ever taking him seriously," Cid said.
"Hadn't noticed," Hojo replied sarcastically.
"So, uh, this is a little awkward," Scarlet said, trying her best to break to ice.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's not have a moment here. Shinra snatched away my hopes and dreams and you two used to hate my guts and now through a twist of fate we're all working together again. Look as long as you put your best efforts into getting me into space, that'll be that and let's hear nothing more about it," Cid said.
Though crudely delivered, this was more tolerance than Scarlet was expecting and she smiled. "Very well then. You really think the Shinra 26 will fly?"
"Not in her current condition. That's why the engineering team is here. We're making some repairs and adjustments and maybe an improvement or two. It'll still be a few weeks before she's operational again," Cid explained.
"Well if we can do anything just let us know," Scarlet nodded.
"Thanks Scarlet. How about you Hojo?" Cid asked.
"Frankly I find the project a tad beneath me, but I don't have much choice in the matter. I'll just have to get as much fun out of this as I can," Hojo replied loftily.
"Great. Don't hide any monsters on-board my ship or we'll blast you into space," Cid warned.
"So what's this alternative energy source you were talking about?" Rufus asked.
"Well in my compound we've used hydroelectricity and wind power for years," Teresa explained.
"And yours truly lives on a small farm near calm where we rely solely upon human power and solar energy. We live off the land, like our Ancient ancestors, eating only fruits, vegetables and the grains of the field," Bosker explained.
"Freakin' hippie," Rufus whispered to Reeve. "Just get to the idea already."
"Well, that's the best part. We'd be using the same thing you've been using. Mako Energy," Bosker explained.
"Oh you have got to be kidding me," Rufus groaned, hitting his head on the table. "Do you know how much a ticket aboard an airship costs me now that I'm unemployed?"
"We came on a boat," Reeve corrected. "And I paid for everything even though you have more money in your savings than I'll earn in my lifetime."
"The key difference," Teresa went on. "Is how it's obtained. It's not compressed, so it's more potent and there's no waste or by product. The downside is materia won't form from this, but the upswing is it's capacity for energy is improved by almost 200%."
"Is it possible to obtain the energy of the Lifestream without compressing it though?" Reeve asked. "I'm not much of a scientist but I always thought that if you didn't dilute it, it could be hazardous to humans."
"That's where Bosker and Geneva come in. The people on their farm have used this source of energy for a few months now. They have all the know-how," Teresa explained.
"So all that solar energy and man power malarkey was bullshit?" Rufus asked.
"No!" Bosker replied, for the first time sounding slightly irritated. "We still use that stuff. We just also use Mako energy."
"You realize that's just side-stepping the issue right?" Rufus said.
"Look, let's just go to their farm and see how this stuff works," Teresa suggested. "If it's something we can condense into a factory then you might be able to revive your company as a more energy efficient and profitable one."
Rude and Reno sat down in their usual spot at the employee café in the Shinra Building. Since the President had been gone for almost three days now, there wasn't much for the Turks to do.
"Hey Rude," Reno asked.
"Yeah?" Rude replied.
"Remember when we used to do stuff?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know, like, go try and capture that Ancient girl, chase after Cloud and those AVALANCHE guys, run hit missions, stuff like that?"
"Oh, you mean work."
"Yeah, that's it, work. What happened?"
"Well, our company fell apart."
"Oh, right. But I mean even before that it seemed like we didn't do a whole lot."
"I suppose your right. Things have been kinda slow here. "
"You know, I think I'm gonna ask Cissnei out."
"I thought Cissnei died during that whole Zack incident."
"No, she just kinda disappeared. Kept her head down until Shinra died. She's been collecting worker's comp the entire time too. Cheeky girl. But she's still cute as hell."
"Oh," Rude nodded. He took a bite out of his sandwich.
The two sat staring at each other for a moment.
"Wanna go shoot something?" Reno asked.
===Near Kalm Town===
Bosker's farm was truly beautiful. Simple houses arranged along a quiet street and vast fields of various fruits and grains. The people all seemed to get along and work together and even if there was an occasional animal helping out, it was treated with love and respect and practically as an equal.
"I think I'm gonna be sick," Rufus whined.
"Too much peace and goodwill in the atmosphere?" Reeve asked.
"And the air… it's so…"
"Yeah! Where's the sickly sweet smell of Mako, masked by smoke and rubber fumes?"
"We don't use any of that stuff here," Bosker said. "Except the Mako recently. Before I show you how we use it, why don't you go take a look around the village."
"No, we're gonna pass on that. Definitely gonna pass. This is not a video game," Rufus cursed.
"I'd like to take a look around," Reeve said.
"This isn't up for debate," Rufus snapped.
"I need to swing by the apothecary and grab some stuff for later," Lillian said, kissing Bosker and heading off.
"Oh, so you're just gonna be that way, huh?" Rufus asked.
"I'd like to stop by the weapon shop and upgrade," Geneva said.
"Okay, now you're just fucking with me."
Reeve wandered around the village and found that people were not very private at all. Only a few houses even had doors and none of them were locked. People were eager to show him what they were doing and even though he was clearly an outsider they took to him very well.
It was a nice change of pace. Normally the stink of Shinra followed Reeve wherever he went. After a few hours he started to make his way towards Bosker's house. As he passed a small bakery he heard a panicked voice.
"Reeve!" came the half-whispered voice of Rufus.
Reeve turned and saw Rufus hiding in the fetal position behind a pile of logs.
"Rufus!" Reeve shouted, rushing up to him. "What happened to you?"
Reeve reached for the firearm that had been issued to him for his protection, but Rufus clutched him by the lapels of his suit.
"These people are crazy!"
"What's going on?" Reeve asked. "Tell me everything."
"I went inside here to get something to eat. I asked for a burger. They said they don't serve meat there, with a loving smile on their face… and then I asked where the nearest place I could get one was… and they said they don't eat meat at all on this farm. So I started to feel faint and I asked if I could get a milkshake to help calm my nerves… and they don't drink dairy products here either! And they're… happy about it…."
"They're just vegan, it's not crazy," Reeve sighed, releasing his grip on his weapon.
"Let's go see what Bosker wants to show us and get the hell out of here," Rufus whimpered, standing up with Reeve's help.
Reeve lifted Rufus up and helped him move towards Bosker's house.
"Hey Reeve?" Rufus asked.
"I really hate hippies," Rufus whined.