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Behind Closed Doors
(2014-03-31 - 2014-03-31)
The top executives of Shinra meet to discuss the future of Rhiannon Zellen.
Zero-One The primary meeting room of the Shinra Electric Corporation is a fairly palatial affair. Fine wood panelling, a large table, statuary, and most importantly, a huge window looking out over Goug.

Sitting at the table are the heads of the various departments of Shinra: Reeve, Heidegger, Palmer, Scarlet... And most importantly, Rufus Shinra, and his father, the President. Hojo is also present, as well as Tseng (and perhaps other, less obvious Turk presence).

Rhiannon has been 'invited' to attend this meeting. The Turks are there to ensure the answer is yes. The President, dressed immaculately in his red suit, sits in his chair looking at Rhiannon. "Doctor Zellen. It's come to my attention that your department's budget has been getting used most creatively."

Heidegger slaps the table. "I'll say! She's done more damage than anything Scarlet's designed in the last year! GYA HA HA HA!" Scarlet just scowls, folding her arms while Palmer expertly shuffles papers.

Shinra looks over Rhiannon again. "I was wondering if you'd like to give us an explanation of your recent actions. Believe me. We are all ears."
Rhiannon Zellen Oh yes, she'd most definitely gotten the invitation upon her return to Goug, by way of Warden's ship. Normally, she would have ignored it, but those Turks were serious this time. Alas. The remainder of the previous day was taken to rest and assess the situation, and the following day, the good doctor made her way up to the designated meeting room, finding all the heads of department present. "Well, this is certainly a quaint little party we have here."

Probably not the best time for wisecracks. Nonetheless, she was escorted to her seat and she listened as the President began. Upon his initial remark, she just smiled a tad, finding the statement mildly amusing.

Heigegger's comment is met with the same smile and she shrugged. My, these people were certainly tense. Suppose she should answer. "An explanation? Hrm. How shall I do this?" She mused aloud, a finger resting against her cheek thoughtfully. "I suppose the beginning would be best." And so she launched into one.

"I was curious about the nature of the darkness, the relation of the heart to the environment, and the keyblade." That didn't explain much. But she went on. "I had heard tell that the keyblade was a weapon of absolute light, meant to slay the darkness and was only granted to the chosen few...but that begged the question; if there are keyblades of light, then surely there must be keyblades of darkness, yes?"

There was a pause to let it sink in, and then she continued. "So I devised an experiment. I gathered data from people of strong dark affluence, and then set about the creation of a prototype. ...The people call it The Black Beast. I'm sure you must have seen the recordings." A chuckle escaped from her at that. "That beast is a heartless whose ultimate form is that of a keyblade. ...Or it should be." A nonchalant shrug. "The prototype was unstable, but I hear that one of my benefactors has improved the process."

Of course, she makes no apology for the damages caused, or the unexpected appearance of the white sword.
Alise Despite the injuries she sustained in the struggle to free the good doctor from her captors, Alise has requested to be present at this meeting as well. Though her motivations may appear circumspect on the outside - after all, there are likely plenty who wish to see Rhiannon held accountable for her many acts of flagrant disregard for common sense, if not outright insanity - the truth of the matter is she wants to see this assignment through to its inevitable conclusion as a matter of professionalism.

The young Turk stands off to the side of the room near Tseng and any other of her fellows that may be present. She's dressed as sharply as ever, a freshly tailored replacement for her ruined suit draping neatly over her body but it's clear from the weary look in her eyes that she's not completely recovered. One arm hangs from a sling against her side but despite the pain Alise stands at full attention keeping close watch on the proceedings.

Her expression remains a neutral mask as the doctor lays out her reasoning for the chaos of the last few months. Most of the information is old news, since the Turks have been there to clean up after the damages each time. The callous way she glosses over the cost of her research, however, causes Alise's jaw to clench slightly.
Professor Hojo The doors of the room open. In walks the man, the backbone of the SOLDIER project, and one of the biggest @#$!$*he ever to walk any given world ever, Professor Hojo., walk is the wrong word. Hojo *struts*. Hojo struts, because Hojo is the kind of man who can get away with strutting. Hojo is the kind of man who can strut into the room full of directors with a huge grin on his face and a cup of coffee in his hand, sit his skinny white backside down on a chair, kick his feet up on the desk, and get away with it.

Coincidentally, he does *exactly* that. "Sorry I'm late," Hojo offers, waving his hand off to the side dismissively, "I was shooting science beams at things."


Hojo watches a Scottish Highlander cleave the head off another man. It gives him ideas.


Hojo picks up the standard-issue reports after casing the room like a weasel in a labcoat. He flicks through it, eyes running across it, then sits back and sips his coffee.

"Did someone bring donuts? Because, I mean, I would kill for a donut right now. You, Turk, get me a donut." Hojo waves some gil at Alise. "Anybody else want donuts? I mean, it hardly seems like a proper review if we don't have something to gnaw on menacingly while we make the lady thoroughly uncomfortable with our probing gazes and judgemental stares."


"Glazed," he adds at Alise.
Zero-One Considering who just walked into the room, expecting President Shinra to drop condemnation on Rhiannon for her research might be folly.

"Your targeting in Goug cost us a great deal of money. Do you just lack control, or are you intentionally trying to ruin us?" Scarlet asks.

President Shinra shrugs. "We can restore the damage. The repairs to the Corporation building itself are underway." The President presses a button and the video Rhiannon made and played during her conferance starts. He looks speculative.

"It's just like those things in Wutai!" Heidegger comments. "What are they even good for?"

"What indeed." The President comments. "You said this was a prototype, Doctor Zellen?" He says, and then looks over to her, focused. "Do you believe you can improve your control?"

"Or if you have to, at /least/ go send it rampaging someplace disposable. Like Cornelia or something." Scarlet snarks.

The President looks over at Hojo. "What do you think about this?" He asks.
Professor Hojo "/I/ think," Hojo replies slowly, stirring his coffee, "I think that this coffee is awful, and that you should give me whoever made it. Did she make it?" He glances at Alise.


"Because I can think of uses for her. I'm thinking.../French Maid/."

Then he turns back to the dossier, stands up, and spreads the papers. "I looked over these earlier, when she made the proposal. Personally, I think Doctor Zellen is too valuable for you to lose, in large part because she's going to wind up killing herself on the way to figuring out whatever crazy wizard science she's trying to do. You might as well ride the bomb down and enjoy it while you've got it. I mean, it's no SOLDIER project, but what possibly can be?"

Hojo points his coffee at Rhiannon again. "That said, while we're talking about your job, your research, your usefulness to this company, and most importantly your *budget*...could you apply the same techniques you've been using to something made of light?"
Alise Alise's eyes slowly shift sideways to regard the handful of money thrust in her direction. If her eyes could emit laser beams right now, there would be a smoking crater where the head scientist currently sits. But she'd probably have to be one of Hojo's experiments for that to happen in the first place. There's no winning in this exchange.

Blocking the torrential outpour of curses rolling around on her tongue with years of discipline the Turk walks over and takes the money from Hojo with her good hand, turning without pause to silently stalk towards the large doors that lead into the hallway.
Professor Hojo Hojo jerks a thumb after Alise. "I like her. She's a go-getter. She's a keeper, Mr. President."
Rhiannon Zellen Scarleet's question caused Rhiannon to giggled to herself momentarily. "I wonder about that." Not much of an answer. Settling her hands into her lap, she momentarily glanced aside, watching as Hojo ordered the most injured person in the room to get donuts. Alise is given an amused smile. Nope, no help at all.

President Shinra's question turns the doctor's gaze back to him and in response, the woman brought a hand to her chin, rubbing thoughtfully. "Indeed. It was just a prototype. Adjustments can be made on a MK. II to stablize control with the data I've gathered." A calm nod, but the smile remaining on her face suggested that this was just a game to her.

It probably was.

Hojo is given a look then, and then a careless shrug. "Oh yes, of course. The techniques can be applied to the other side of the spectrum." There was a moment of silence, and then she added. "But that is quite boring, I would say." Also safer. "Nonetheless, I have taken preliminary steps to design something on the opposite end. I have yet to execute it, nor did I plan to." Another shrug.

"But if the company so desires to see it, then I could put those plans forward."
Rufus Shinra An interesting bit of information had come across his desk about this little incident with the some research gone wile. With Hojo on staff this is nothing too new to the young Vice President of the Shinra after all. Rufus however had seen to join his father for this meeting. It was something worth his time, he had to agree.

Rufus looks at Heidegger for a moment as if he's about to say something but thinks better of it.

"Yes Doctor, we are quite curious to know what you were up to."

Yes the budget for repairs and losses with the experiment were noticeable.

There's also something else in the room lurking near by is a black creature with glowing yellow eyes. No it's not a heartless but Rufus's pet Dark Nation. Rufus caught how Rhiannon was thinking or seemed to. She seemed to think it was a game. While it had uses it also made her possibly a problem in time, things remain to be seen as he listens.
Zero-One "So you're saying you can make a better weapon." Scarlet comments. "Well, if you can, be my guest. But a weapon is only good if it kills what you're aiming at." Scarlet replies.

"Agreed." The President nods. "We can recover from these losses. But what they do prove is that you're capable of achieving your goals instead of wasting time and my money." Palmer kind of cumples in on himself. The Space Program has not been kind lately. "And that is something this company approves of. Doctor Zellen, we are willing to fund your research in a more... directed fashion. All we ask is that you can provide us with a methodology of either controlling these Heartless that can be provided to our soldiers... Or destroy them. I wouldn't mind dealing with the Wutai Problem once and for all."
Alise In a rather surprisingly short amount of time, the doors swing open once more to reveal the Turk-turned-errand girl with a small platter of donuts clutched awkwardly in one hand. She carries them carefully over to the small table set aside for such things where the already poorly-received pitcher of coffee sits neglected on a small heating pad.

An assortment of ring-shaped pastries are neatly arranged on the sterling silver plate, offering enough variety to satisfy the standard sweep of preferences including sprinkles, creme and jelly filled, and ofcourse, glazed.

Upon delivery and completion of her requested task, Alise turns, perhaps somewhat naively, to head back to her previous spot by the wall.
Professor Hojo Many people mistake Hojo for a harmless, lanky science nerd. They look at him and assume that he is a man whose arrogance greatly exceeds his competence and intelligence, a typical Internet Tough Guy lacking only an internet (and he's working on that). They assume that, because he makes pop culture references nobody else gets and acts like a complete a-hole, that he is an incompetent goon whose station exceeds his ability.

This is a fatal, fatal mistake.

Hojo is, first and foremost, a predator. Hojo sees opportunity wherever opportunity can be found, and like a swarm of sharks, descends upon that opportunity as swiftly as possible and makes it his own. And he is *extremely* good at that brutal, efficient opportunism.

"Well, then. I don't know about *you* folks, but *I* want to see more. I'm start fiddling with light, and then we start trying to *crossbreed* them. Find some good candidates, some of our useless third-class SOLDIER goons, and see what happens." Hojo rolls his hands in front of him before swinging them out to point at the wall. "Throw some bunsen burners and some science in there and see what happens. That's how progress gets done. Throwing science at things."

"I mean, let's be honest, Mister President. We can always replace some goons and some equipment. You let her do her thing, and we might wind up with a whole new division of SOLDIER. All new weapons for Scarlett to rub all over herself. New tools for the Turks to pretend to be useful with."

Hojo holds up his hands like a movie director. "I'm, interesting ways to kill people! New energy sources! A whole new ShinRa Electric Company! No....dare I say it? ShinRa MultiDimensional! ShinRa Interversal!"

"ShinRa Multiversal, for all your needs! That'll show that Murasame kid." Hojo spreads his arms wide, then flops back down in his chair and begins playing with a pen. "I mean, look, she's going to blow herself up eventually. She's got that look in her eye. That.../science/ look. Which I know. Because I'm a scientist."

Alise turns around in Hojo's presence. This is a mistake. His hand strays from his pen...elsewhere. Alise will probably not appreciate it.

"I want this one," Hojo adds, jerking a thumb at Alise, "I need her help with a project I'm working on, related to that whole...dead SOLDIERs back to life thing. Kind of weighing on me. Failures of the past. Need some more hands. So I had an idea."
Alise As soon as she feels the hand, Alise goes bolt upright as if a steel rod has been shoved into the hollows in her spine. Her fingers tremble in outright rage for a split second before her conscious control takes over and she balls them up into a small fist before relaxing them outwards again.

Turning carefully to face the assembled heads of the company, Alise dons perhaps the best poker face in the history of mankind and says, "I would be glad to help the doctor in any way that this board deems necessary."
Rhiannon Zellen "Well of course." Rhia responded to Scarlet, smirking in the process. She'd rested her elbows onto the surface of the table, her fingers steepled together. "I still have samples left over from two of my previous donors. I believe that can be divided up to create a minor stash of dark weaponry."

Hojo is given a glance then. "And I suppose that if so inclined, we can go breeding about with light and darkness together. Regardless, the end result are stable weapons that can be wielded with great power. Not like those prototypes. Like the one Angantyr destroyed, or the one that Viera ran off with. But actual, stable weapons."

The mention of dealing with Wutai drew a chuckle out of her. "The end verdict is that it is possible to engineer bound heartless to create a new form of weapon, as well as soldier. Fascinating, yes?"

Leaning back in her seat, she went on. "Oh, the possibilities are endless, really. There are so many ways in which to tackle this issue...But I digress. Time and place, yes?" She straightened up then and nodded, cracking a smile at Alise's predicament. Ever the professional that one. "So then, I assume the plan is for me to set about producing more of these new-type weapons?" She didn't ask about time or funds, it hardly mattered to her.

"Oh, and while we are here...I should mention; I have been in contact with representatives from Vector. They have been proposing a new type of technology. One that combines Mako and Magitek." A pause, then she resumed. "MakoTek, if you will. Is this something you would be interested in pursuing?"
Zero-One "Of course the first thing on your mind is breeding." Scarlet says, oozing disdain.

"GYAH HA HA! A new weapon! A new soldier for the army! This could be great!" Heidegger comments with his classic laugh.

Palmer is busy stuffing his face with donuts, making enthusiastic noises of agreement.

The President is given a proposal. "MakoTek? I assume this is going to involve some form of proprietary technology sharing agreement. We're the only ones who can gather Mako, and they're the only ones with their... particular brand of Magitek. I'll have our lawyers look into it. Hojo. Find out how badly we can bilk their science team. As far as the matter of your employment, however..."

The President smiles."Agreed. We'll make the necessary arrangements. This meeting is adjourned. I'll send word to have budgets adjusted accordingly. Personnel transfers will go through immediately." He pauses. "I'm expecting great things from you, Doctor Zellen. Don't disappoint me."
Professor Hojo Hojo beams a broad grin at Scarlett as he gestures for Alise to sit down next to him. He takes a donut and bites into it, then offers the box to everybody else. He makes a little noise of delight.

"You're already showing promise, Assistant!" He crows, "This.../is a good donut/. You have done well. You have served me well. Take a load off, have a bite. You've *earned* it."

"Also, Doctor, if you could forward that research to the other departments, and figure out a way to make more samples for us to play with, that'd be /greaaaat/," Hojo observes, nailing the Office Space tone *flawlessly*. He takes another sip of his coffee.

"How bad I can bilk them? Mr. President, I will run that country into the *ground* for this company."
Alise "Thank you, sir," Alise says with a carefully neutral tone. "But if it's all the same to you, I'll stand."

Ever the professional. Also, who knows what Hojo might try with her legs hidden under the table, if he even cares what everyone else sees.

The Turk, if she even still can claim that title, does exactly that, taking an at-ease stance near the edge of the table as far out of reach as she can get without making it obvious.
Rhiannon Zellen She nodded. "Of course." Gathering up her own copies of the research papers, she spoke on. "I will have those samples forwarded to other departments. One is a certain kind of blood, the other is pure darkness. The latter may be harder to duplicate, but I'm sure our talented staff can manage it, hm?"

Because she had total faith in their capabilities....right.

"Well, if we are agreed here, then I will take my leave." She stood then, folder of papers in one arm.

"Do have fun with Vector. The people I spoke with seem to be thinking the same things you are. Might prove to be mildly entertaining."
Rufus Shinra Rufus Shinra is taking his time to sit listen and nods in agreement as he listens to his father for a moment. He looks over to Palmer for a moment and comments.

"Perhaps you'd get farther if you stopped trying to eat the gumi blocks you were researching?"

Rufus turns his attention away from Palmer as he looks back to Hojo. Rufus darn well has known what Hojo is and watches him get ready to pounce as he listens and notes

"Or we lure in some greedy adventurers or make use of some of the residents of the penal system. The lure of a reduced sentence is often too tempting a bait for them to ignore."

Rufus folds his hands and goes silent once more as the talks about expansion come up.

This scene contained 20 poses. The players who were present were: Rhiannon Zellen, Rufus Shinra, Professor Hojo, Zero-One, Alise