It was late evening when Reeve decided to stop reading and closed the file in front of him. It was the end of another long day in the middle of a very long week and he was exhausted. He put the file away as he reached into his bottom desk drawer and pulled out a bottle of Saki. He was not the type to drink, especially at work, but a week like this called for something strong. He proceeded to pull out a glass, filled it halfway and drank it in one gulp. He stood up from his desk, walked over to the the balcony door and stepped out. His office overlooked the ocean and the cool breeze was welcoming on such as warm day. As he stood outside watching the crimson sky grow dark over the sea he couldn’t help but think about everything that had happened over the last few months.
It had been eight months since they destroyed the Mt. Nibel reactor and Tifa went missing. During the first three weeks they all helped search for her but it was like they disappeared into thin air. They checked every city and town even the abandoned town of Modehiem. They looked in every building and location that ever had a link to Shinra or Deepground with no success. They even checked uninhabited areas like the Midgar ruins and the Northern Crater.
Overtime many of their friends had to abandon searching to get back to their responsibilities. Barret had Marlene and Corel while Reeve had his organization to run. Reeve felt bad that he was one of the first to give up searching but he told Cloud to call him if he ever needed anything.
After Reeve and Barret left, Cid and Vincent stayed with Cloud for another two weeks. Yuffie joined them as soon as Shelke was discharged from the hospital. Shelke went to stay with her sister in Healen to recover while Barret took Marlene and Denzel to Corel with him after he abandoned the search.
On the fourth week they started to run out of places to look. Cid stopped by Junon to gather supplies when Reeve decided to board the airship to check in on his friends. He would never forget how tired and drained they looked, especially Cloud. It was obvious he was taking this the hardest and rightfully so. Reeve could tell everyone was losing hope and had their lives to get back to but nobody wanted to say anything to Cloud. As if sensing their thoughts he thanked them all for their help and decided to take Fenrir to go look on his own. Everyone offered to continue searching with him but he didn’t want to burden them anymore. Reeve hadn’t seen Cloud since that day over six months ago.
He would have liked to do more to help his friend but he had been so overwhelmed with his own problems over the last few months. After the attacks on Edge, Junon and Corel the WRO was under pressure to find the people responsible and had been receiving a lot of bad publicity for failing to catch them. They did manage to capture the three SOLDIERs who attacked his friends outside the Mt. Nibel reactor but after weeks of questioning the suspects insisted that they knew nothing of the attacks on the three cities. Although there was no evidence they were involved they were still charged for the crimes. It was believed that holding them responsible would settle the masses who had been growing discontent. Unfortunately, the press got news of the defendants’ story and the lack of evidence against them which angered many people who felt they were innocent and made the WRO look incompetent. To try to make things right Reeve tried to ensure they received a fair trial. The trial had commenced last week in Junon and had been flooding the news daily.
To Reeve it felt like the criminals had more citizens supporting them than the WRO right now. Although there were always people who had opposed his organization it seemed that recently the public opinion has been shifting against them. What was once viewed as an army that protected the people was now considered an army that can’t protect the people from terrorists and can’t even locate the real criminals responsible. After the attacks on his buildings there were many casualties and many of the administrative staff resigned no longer feeling safe in their work environment. Now with the recent protests against them in Junon more WRO personnel were walking out daily. This left the WRO seriously short staffed and he was in the process of a massive hiring with very few people showing interest.
He even had to shut down his smallest office in Corel in order to fill staff in other locations. Since the Corel oil refinery project was finished they no longer needed WRO personnel in that area anyway. With the way things were going Reeve didn’t think the World Regenesis Organization could take any more bad publicity.
To make matters worse Barret had been dragging him into his problems with Corel. Since the oil refinery had been producing product Corel had been increasing its transportation of petroleum to cities far away like Edge and Kalm. However, to do this they had to transport the product by sea. The original plan was to use the Junon harbor like every other import but once the environmental activists heard that there was going to be an increase in petroleum products passing through their city they put a stop to it.
Since Junon is an environmentally friendly city that only uses solar, wind and ocean energy many of the citizens oppose all nonrenewable energy sources; especially anything that takes from the planet like coal and oil. Not only had the activists manage to petition the Junon government to boycott Corel from using their harbor they have been actively trying to convince Kalm to boycott the petroleum as well. With the Junon harbor out of the question the new plan was to build a harbor near Kalm but so far the activist had been successful in trying to convince the people of Kalm to reconsider.
For the past week Barret had been trying to pressure Reeve to stop the Junon activists but as long as they were not breaking any laws there is nothing he could do. Junon was a democracy and if the people of Junon decided they did not want to use oil products then there was nothing more he could do. Reeve could understand where the activists were coming from. He was actually surprised that Barret could not sympathize with them since he was once in their shoes when he fought against mako production.
It didn’t help the image of his company that he promoted and even invested in the oil refinery project making the Junon citizens look less favorably on the WRO. If things got any worse he was even considering moving the main headquarters to their Edge location since the WRO was starting to feel like it was no longer welcomed in coastal city.
Suddenly Reeve’s wondering thoughts were snapped back to real time with a knock at the door. He turned to see Yuffie peek her head into his office and entered as soon as she saw that Reeve was alone. Reeve exited the balcony and walked back over to his desk.
The young ninja was wearing a white blouse and navy blue skirt with knee high boots. She had been working in an administrative position for almost a year now and it still surprised Reeve how professional she could look and act when she tried.
“Another late night?” Yuffie asked sitting down on the chair in front of his desk.
“I don’t plan on staying too much longer,” Reeve told her sitting back down.
“I was just about to leave and wanted to see if you needed anything else before I go.”
“Thanks Yuffie but I am fine. I can’t thank you enough for coming to Junon. I know you still have work to finish back in Edge, I really appreciate all your help.”
“Think nothing of it Reeve,” Yuffie responded shrugging off his compliment. “I know things are getting a little crazy around here. Sorry to report that the latest bunch of applicants are not looking very promising.”
Yuffie didn’t like working in the Junon location as much as Edge but it was worth it helping out a friend. The Edge office was more modern and new feeling. Since the Junon office was a renovated former Shinra base it felt institutionalized and more Shinra-feeling which Yuffie hated.
Since she arrived in Junon, Yuffie had been tasked with the assignment of interviewing anyone who applied for a position with the WRO. They only had ten applicants apply within the last month since the positions were posted with most of them being young men from surrounding communities looking for work as peacekeepers. Unfortunately the last three they hired turned down the job the very next day when they learned of the protests against the organization. Reeve couldn’t help but wonder if the protesters pressured them to turn down the position.
“Well if you’re recommending anyone you can send me the file in the morning,” Reeve advised his young friend. He was really not in the mood to do any more work tonight.
The WRO only had half of the staff it had last year thanks to the attacks eight months ago and the massive walkout. The Junon location suffered the most from the walkout and had to temporarily relocate staff from Edge to Junon so it could at least function with a skeleton crew.
“One of the applicants today use to work for Shinra on the 27th floor. I think she was an assistant or something, it’s on her resume.” Yuffie informed Reeve trying to give him some positive news.
“That’s promising,” Reeve commented. They seemed to have the most success hiring ex-Shinra employees since they had the experience and required very little training.
“It’s funny how the majority of the people who stuck with us are ex-Shinra. I guess they are used to the bad publicity.” Yuffie said in passing not really thinking about what she was implying. As soon as the words came out of her mouth she regretted it. She was just trying to lighten the mood but she felt bad comparing the WRO to a company like Shinra.
“I’m sorry Reeve, I didn’t mean it like that,” Yuffie tried to apologize.
“That’s okay,” Reeve reassured his friend. What she said had some truth to it. Reeve was learning the hard way that even when you try to do the right thing and help people you can’t please everyone.
“Well it’s getting late. I should head back to the Inn,” Yuffie informed Reeve. “Don’t work too hard, okay?” She gave him a concerned look before getting up from the chair.
“I won’t be staying much longer,” he assured her. “Have a good night Yuffie.” He said before she exited the office.
The Junon detention center was a cold and sterile institution. Build only three years ago it was nowhere near as bad as some of the prisons Alex had come across in his lifetime. The worse being the Corel Prison, if you wanted to call it a prison, it was more like a concentration camp.
The young man with the short dark hair got up from his bed and walked over to the thick metal cell door. He peeked through the small opening between the door and the wall.
“Hey James, you up?” the young man yelled through the opening waiting for a response.
“Yeah,” he heard the voice of his friend call back from two cells down.
“Remember the time you got yourself stuck in that Corel dump and Henry and I had to come rescue you?” Alex reminisced.
It was almost ten years ago when his friend wasted all his money betting on the chocobos and when he was broke he accused the owner Dio of rigging the races. He even tried to start a fight with the Gold Saucer owner. James had a bad temper and it took five security robots to take him down. Needless to say it earned him a one way ticket to the Corel Prison. Luckily Alex and their friend Henry found out and ‘borrowed’ a Shinra helicopter to rescue him. He didn’t even know if Dio found out about the escape but their boss did and they were suspended for a week.
“Yeah,” James replied remembering the event all too well.
“I bet you never thought you’d wish to be back in that dump,” Alex commented smiling.
Although the Junon Detention center was cleaner and a lot safer than the Corel Prison it was boring as hell being confined to a little cell 24 hours of the day; with the exception of one hour yard time and shower. At least with the Corel Prison you could walk around and keep up your fighting skills.
Alex could hear James laugh at his comment.
“Yeah, where’s a helicopter when you need one?” James joked.
“Shut the hell up!” Alex heard another prisoner yell at the two men from down the range.
“You shut the hell up!” A woman’s voice could be heard yelling from the cell across from Alex.
Being only a detention center for prisoners awaiting trial it was common for women and men to be held in the same area since they were all in single cells. The cell range they were on held twenty-five cells with less than half of them occupied.
“Thanks Kat,” Alex yelled at the woman.
“No problem sweetie,” Katerina replied.
“Bitch,” they could hear the other prisoner mumble under his breath.
Before Katerina could respond they were all startled by the sounds of yelling and gunfire coming from another room down the range. Hearing the commotion all the prisoners got up and tried to peek out through the little glass window in their cell doors. After almost a minute of gunfire and yelling there was silence. A few seconds later they could hear footsteps approaching along with the sound of keys rattling.
Being in one of the closest cells Alex was the first to see who it was.
“About time,” Alex said recognizing Weiss from the Mt. Nibel reactor. Weiss was with five other men Alex did not recognize and they were all holding guns.
“Who is it?” Alex could hear James yell from his cell not able to see down that far.
“That spikey haired guy from Mt. Nibel,” Alex yelled back to his friend as Weiss tried to find the key to his cell. Everything happened so fast at the reactor he never got to find out Weiss’ name.
Weiss frowned. He didn’t like being referred to as ‘that spikey haired guy.’
“Ask him why it took over six months for him to show up!” James yelled out.
“You can ask him yourself in a second,” Alex yelled back stepping out of his cell a free man. It was obvious Weiss could hear James but his friend was a little slow sometimes. “Number 3 and 6,” Alex said informing Weiss which cells contained his colleges.
Weiss handed the keys to the man next to him directing him to open the doors. The man opened them freeing Katerina and James.
“Hey what about us?” the prisoner in cell number 4 asked.
They all looked at Weiss who shrugged.
“Sure,” he said to the man with the keys. Weiss was always a fan of chaos and what better than releasing criminals back into society.
“Not that one,” Katerina stopped the man just when he was about to unlock cell number 5.
“Ahhh hey lady, I’m sorry I called you a bitch,” the man whined realizing he was not going to be freed.
As soon as the prisoners were freed they all took off towards the entrance Weiss and his men entered from.
“Are we going to follow them?” Alex asked Weiss. It was the only exit since there was a sold cement wall at the other end of the range.
Weiss held out his hand and one of his men handed him a big strange looking gun with a wide barrel. Weiss pointed it at the concrete wall at the end of the range and switched it on. It charged up then a red beam of light burst out of the gun and hit the wall. Everyone around them could feel the heat from the laser like beam. The concrete the beam hit appeared to heat up and melt leaving a perfectly shaped circle.
“I love this thing,” Weiss said handing the gun back to his henchman.
The group then proceeded to retreat through the newly created exit leaving the one prisoner alone in his cell.
“Bitch…” the prisoner said out loud after everyone was gone.
Less than half an hour after Yuffie left Reeve decided to call it a night. He got up from his desk and walked over to his coatrack putting his suit jacket on. He locked his office door and walked down the empty hallway towards the elevator. He was likely the last one left in the building apart from the night security guard.
Reeve pressed the button to the elevator waiting for it to travel from the ground floor. When it finally reached him he entered. As the elevator descended he looked up at the security camera and noticed that the red light on the camera was not blinking. This meant that the light was either broken or the camera was off. He made a mental note to talk to the night watchman about it on his way out.
When the elevator reached the ground floor it opened and Reeve came face to face with four men dressed as peacekeepers pointing their guns at him.
“What is the meaning –“ Reeve started to say but before he could finish his sentence one of the men shot a tranquilizer dart into his shoulder and he immediately fell unconscious.