#123 – It’s Called the XCubeStation

Rufus: “My beauty transcends gender.”

Originally Published: 8/6/03 . 27 pages

Synopsis
Rufus decides to cash in on the video game market! He may be from a video game, but does he know the first thing about them?

Ramble Milestones
-Sephiroth gets his kitty, Blackie.

I love so much about this ramble. From Rufus’ demented games, to Sephiroth’s subplot to catch Flamey, it’s pretty funny from beginning to end. Plus it has one of the most classic Rufus lines ever. His beauty transcends gender, you know. I also love Rude yelling at Rufus about being portrayed as a leprechaun, Kuja sabatoging Seymour, and Sephiroth tying up Auron with sausage links. I also enjoy Rufus’ freak out at the end, where he hurls the XCubeStation through the TV.


(we start in the ramble room, of course. in said room are the following crazy characters: rufus, algus, zidane, seph, vincent, auron, reeve, tseng, reno, irvine, lark, brady, edgar, setzer and rude. algus and zidane are playing checkers. seph is reading a magazine. vincent and auron are reading over his shoulder. reeve, tseng, edgar and setzer are playing a game of cards. irvine and reno are drinking beer. rude is flipping through a wal-mart flyer, lark and brady are cuddling on the couch and making out more than they’re watching TV. rufus is busy drawing something in the corner, a crazed look in his eyes. algus turns around for a second to talk to rufus, and as he does so, zidane switches some of the pieces on the checkerboard around, laughing silently to himself.)

Algus: “Rufus, what on Earth are you doing? You’ve been quiet for over an hour.”

Reno: “Yeah! That’s so unlike you!”

Rufus: “Shush!! My mind is working.”

Sephiroth: *snorts*

Rufus: “Shut up, Sephiroth!”

Algus: *turning back around* “Okay, so–” *noticing the board* “Zidane… Is something wrong here?”

Zidane: “Yeah. I’m stuck here with you.”

Algus: “I meant with the game board. You switched the pieces you naughty, naughty slave.”

Zidane: “Guess I need to be punished then.” *smile*

Algus: “No pudding for a week.”

Zidane: *frowns* “Not exactly what I was thinking of…”

(suddenly rufus jumps up excitedly, clutching a piece of paper. he smiles widely, looking triumphant.)

Rufus: “Yes! It is done!”

Tseng: “If you wrote another movie I’m calling the authorities to take you away.”

Rufus: “No! I’ve created something better. Something that will make me more money than anything else I own! I’ll be even richer!”

Algus: “But you already own that solid platinum, diamond, ruby and emerald encrusted, self-navigating Lamborghini you wanted.”

Zidane: “He has a *what* now?”

Rufus: “Yes! But I don’t have the matching rocket ship.”

Reeve: “So, Rufus, I know I’ll soon live to regret this, but what has your naturally evil and sadistic mind conjured up now?”

Rufus: “Behold! My new and revolutionary gaming system!” *holds up paper* “The XCubeStation!”

Sephiroth: *cough* “Rip-off.” *cough*

Rufus: “It has a 4500 speed mega watt lithium battery chip processing processor, a state of the art 900 thousand gigunda hertz backpacking lit hard rock drive and a revolutionary internet surfing net ether import DSL hole! Isn’t that amazing!?”

Reeve: “I really hope you know that everything you just said makes no more sense than an episode of ‘Twin Peaks’. Please, Rufus, tell me how much your jumble of misapplied computer jargon will cost the unfortunate public.”

Rufus: “Well, 600 Gil for the system, 150 Gil per game, 65 Gil for extra controllers, 45 for a memory card, and 89.99 a month to play ‘Rufus Live’, which is for online gaming.”

Reeve: *sarcastically* “So that’s what the revolutionary internet surfing net ether import DSL hole is for?”

Rufus: *enthusiastically* “Yeah!”

Algus: “So exactly what kind of games did you have in mind?”

Irvine: “BMX XXX: 2? Have sex with strippers and make your own videos?”

Reno: “Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball 2: Lesbian Naked Adventure?”

Rufus: “No… But I do have a game for everyone! For RPG fans, there’s ‘Rufus Shinra: A Rich, Wonderful Life’, where you play me, Rufus Shinra, leading my rich and wonderful life day by day. For fighting game fans, there’s ‘Rufus v. Turks: Totally Fair Advantage’, where I beat the Turks to a bloody pulp every time without them having a chance in hell to even so much as scratch me. For hentai gamers, there’s ‘Rufus’ Totally Straight Dating Simulator’, starring me. In sports, there’s ‘Rufus Shinra’s Extreme Croquet Challenge’. In action/adventure gaming there’s ‘Super Rufus World’, where you’re lucky enough to control me on an exciting adventure to defeat Sephiroth–“

Sephiroth: “Hey! In your dreams!”

Rufus: “…I’m too rich for dreams. Anyway, in the first person shooter department there’s ‘Rufus Kills His Employees’, where, as me, the player roams the Shinra Headquarters, killing anyone who’s not working hard enough. For survival horror fanatics, there’s ‘Rufus In: Hojo’s House of Horrors’, where I must fight my way past his hordes of terrifying creatures and Vincent–“

Vincent: *hangs head* “Oh…”

Rufus: “And finally, in the party game department, there is ‘Rufus and Friends Do Lunch’, staring Algus, Edgar, Setzer, and, of course, my glorious self.” *grins* “So….what do you guys think?”

Sephiroth: “I think you better rethink your action/adventure game unless you’re thinking you’d like me to kill you in a gruesome and bloody manner.”

Rufus: “Don’t worry, my friend. There will be different modes you can play the game on. Not everyone will be able to kick your sorry, pink tutued ass. There’s extremely hard, hard, normal, easy and so easy your girlfriend could beat it.”

Lark: “*EXCUSE ME*?!?!?!?”

Sephiroth: “PINK TUTU?!?!?!” *draws masamune* “You die NOW, Shinra!”

Lark: “I’ll help!” *glares*

Tseng: “Me too. I don’t like that fighting game too much.”

Reeve: “I’m not too thrilled with the first person shooter.”

Vincent: “I am not too pleased myself with a certain title.”

Rude: *frowns unhappily*

Reno: “Does that ‘Totally Straight Dating Sim’ have a lot of sex in it?”

Rufus: “Yes.”

Reno: “Whoo hoo! Where can I buy it?”

Tseng, Reeve and Rude: “Reno!”

Reno: *blink blink* “…What?”

(rufus backs up slowly, holding up his hands defensively as the group of unhappy people advance towards him.)

Rufus: “Now, now! Come on, guys! All you heard was the concept! Before you kill me, at least TRY the games! I *do* need testers!”

Zell: “Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!”

Irvine: “Me too!”

Reno: “Don’t forget me!”

Brady: “I’ll test them!”

Lark: “Brady!”

Brady: “…What? A video game’s a video game.”

Rufus: “Wonderful! I’ll be making millions before I know it!”

Edgar: “You mean more millions.”

Rufus: “Yes! MORE millions!”

Sephiroth: “I still want you dead.”

Rufus: “I’ll buy everyone pizza.”

Sephiroth: “…I’ll give it a chance.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

(meanwhile, in loser land… scarlet and nida are fighting over the tv remote. kuja and seymour are each wearing some kind of facial mask. heidegger and stinky are trying to build a house of cards. kefka is eating his own toenail clippings. hojo is nowhere to be found.)

Nida: “I was here first, and *I* wanna watch ‘Trading Spaces’!”

Scarlet: “Well, *I* have the remote, and *I* wanna watch ‘Showgirls’!”

(stinky carefully places a card on the nearly finished house)

Nida: “Too bad, Scarlet! You’re not reliving your past today!”

Scarlet: “Why you little–” *cough* “For your information, I was never a showgirl.”

Heidegger: “She slept with everyone, and *still* didn’t make the cut! Gya haa haa!”

(the force of his laugh knocks down the house of cards.)

Stinky: *annoyed snort*

(he starts rebuilding)

Scarlet: “Shut up, Heidegger!”

Seymour: “It was quite nice of you to prepare this seaweed mask for me, Kuja, even after I used up all your Chanel #5.”

Kuja: *wicked grin* “Anytime.”

Seymour: “One question though. Why is my face burning?”

Kuja: “Oh, that’s just my secret ingredient.”

Heidegger: “Super glue! Gya haa haa!”

(the house falls. stinky looks really annoyed, but he starts over again.)

Seymour: “What?!” *sits up*

Kuja: *frantically* “No, no, darling. Don’t listen to him. He’s an idiot.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! And bleach!”

Seymour: *fleeing the room* “No! My beautiful face!”

Kuja: *sighs* “Oh well. The damage has already been done.”

Kefka: *eating toe nails* “Hehehehehe… Tastes like chicken…”

Everyone else: *blink blink*

(suddenly hojo enters, carrying an armload of video tapes.)

Hojo: “Afternoon, all.”

Nida: “Hojo, tell Scarlet *I* get the TV!”

Scarlet: “No way! Tell pee wee it’s ladies first!”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Then he should get it!”

Nida and Scarlet: “Shut up, Heidegger!!!”

(the house of cards has again fallen. stinky, glaring, starts it back up.)

Hojo: “The TV is *mine*.” *walks over and puts a tape in the vcr* “And I have some very interesting footage.”

Kuja: *sits up* “Where did those tapes come from?”

Hojo: “The ramble room. I installed cameras before those simple minded fools moved into their new palace.”

Scarlet: “Can I ask *why*?”

Hojo: *listing off on his fingers as he goes* “Vincent, Zidane, Tseng, Tidus–“

Scarlet: “Okay, okay, I get the point.”

Nida: “Ew! I don’t wanna watch any of your porn, you sick freak! I’d sooner watch Heidegger take a bath!”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Bubbly!”

(the house again falls. stinky angrily starts to slam the cards together as he rebuilds)

Hojo: “I assure you, I will not show you porn.”

(he turns on the tape and we see vincent undressing)

Nida: “Ack! My virgin eyes!”

Hojo: “Oops! Wrong tape!” *he pops in the next one. it’s reeve and tseng kissing*

Nida: “Ack! My virgin heterosexual eyes, you perv!”

Hojo: “Oops. Wrong tape.”

(he pops in another one. it’s squall taking a shower.)

Nida: “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! My eyes!” *covers them* “My virgin, virgin eyes!!!” *he peeks a little before covering his eyes fully again*

Hojo: *laughs* “Oops! Wrong one again! Sorry about that. Here’s the right one.”

(he takes that one out and finally puts in the right one. we see everything we just saw with rufus and his video game system.)

Kuja: “And I’m supposed to care about this *why*…?”

Hojo: “Don’t you see? I’m a genius! I could easily program a game for this new console! I’ll be rich!”

Kuja: *laying back down* “Good. I’ve always wanted a Victoria’s Secret.”

Scarlet: “Great. Can I have the TV back now?”

Hojo: “Certainly. I have a game to plan!” *wanders off*

Scarlet: *to nida* “What? No protests from the peanut gallery?”

Nida: *looks very pale and says meekly* “I think I have to lie down for awhile…” *wanders off*

Scarlet: *thoughtfully* “Hmmm… Maybe I should invest in that Squall tape…”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Nida’s screwed!”

(the card house gets knocked down again and stinky flings himself at heidegger’s face.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, it’s the next day in the ramble room. zell, irvine, reno, seifer, lark, vincent, sephiroth, auron, algus, zidane, reeve, tseng, rude, edgar and setzer have all gathered to test out his new video games.)

Rufus: *taps foot impatiently* “Where’s Brady?”

Lark: “Oh, he’s always late. He has to gather like, half the stuff in his room every time he goes somewhere.”

Brady: *enters dragging a huge backpack* “Hi, everyone. Sorry I’m late. I couldn’t find my PS2 remote because it was buried under all the video games I never played.”

Lark: *softly in a sing-song voice* “I told you…”

Brady: “Oh, by the way, here’s something weird, and probably requires a call to animal control, but I swear I saw this dragon outside, hanging around in the bushes.”

Sephiroth: *springs to attention* “What?!?! Dragon?!?! Was it black?!”

Brady: “Yeah…”

Sephiroth: *frantically* “Did it have a red stripe down it’s back?”

Brady: “Yeah…”

Sephiroth: “And wings?!?! Black wings?!”

Brady: “Yeah.”

Sephiroth: “Was it about this big?” *holds arms out wide*

Brady: “Yeah, times four!”

Sephiroth: “I’m missing my baby grow up! Flamey!!!” *runs out*

Vincent: *following* “Angel, wait!”

Auron: “Lost pets should always have some kind of collar so that they may be identified in case they are lost.” *he leaves too*

Everyone: “……”

Lark: *giggles* “The Sephiroth Express has just left the station.”

Rufus: *sigh of relief* “Boy, am I glad he left. He definitely wouldn’t have liked the new sequence of him tending to his award winning garden wearing a pink frilly apron and sun bonnet I added to the action/adventure title.”

Irvine: *sitting down controller in hand* “Whoo hoo! Let’s go!”

Rufus: “Great. Everyone grab a controller.”

(zidane goes to grab a controller, but before he can get to it, algus snatches it up)

Zidane: “Hey! I wanna play!”

Algus: “Nonsense. These controls are too complicated for a peasant.” *looks down at the controller in confusion* “Goodness. How can one be expected to use all these buttons?”

Zidane: “There’s only four of them.”

Algus: “And they’re not even numbered.”

Zidane: “They have symbols on them instead.”

Algus: “Slave, your weekly Twizzlers payment is dwindling each time you move your lips…” *looks at the tv screen* “Ah, okay. Something appeared on the screen. What must I do now?”

Zidane: “Press start.”

Algus: “Are you certain?”

Zidane: “It says so on the screen!”

Reno: “Rufus!”

Rufus: *rushing to his side* “Yes, valued consumer?”

Reno: *playing the dating sim* “There’s not enough sex in this game.”

Rufus: “You’ve only been playing it for two minutes.”

Reno: *blink blink* “Your point being?”

Reeve: “Rufus!”

Rufus: *rushes to his side* “Yes, valued consumer?”

Reeve: *is playing the croquet challenge* “Why do all the characters look like you?”

Rufus: “I gave the character designers my picture to work with.”

Reeve: “Even the girls look like you!”

Rufus: “My beauty transcends gender.”

Tseng: “Rufus!”

Rufus: *rushes to his side* “Yes, valued consumer?”

Tseng: *is playing the fighting game* “Why are there 76 characters to unlock in this game? The manual says the only ones in it are you and the Turks.”

Rufus: “Oh, the manual’s right. The other characters are all me wearing different hats.” *big grin* “The last one is me wearing a crown.”

Tseng: *mutters* “That’s what I was afraid of.”

Brady: “Rufus!”

Rufus: *rushing over* “Yes, valued consumer?”

Brady: *playing the survival horror game* “Why did my character suddenly just die? I was in perfect health and all I was doing was walking down the hallway.”

Rufus: “Oh, you must have stepped on one of the poisoned floor cracks. They kill you instantly.”

Brady: “…What?!”

Rufus: “The poisoned floor cracks. They kill–“

Brady: “Yeah, I got that much. …How am I supposed to know which cracks are poisoned??”

Rufus: *shrugs* “I don’t know. Try jumping a lot.”

Brady: “There’s no jump button!”

Zell: “Rufus!”

Rufus: *rushes over* “Yes, valued consumer?”

Zell: *playing the 1st person shooter* “I just finished this level, and the game is making me play it all over again! What gives?!”

Rufus: “Did you leave anyone alive in the level?”

Zell: “Um, yeah. The people who seemed to be working hard enough.”

Rufus: *laughs* “Oh, Zell. You have much to learn! No one’s ever working hard enough! You must kill them all!”

Zell: *slinks away* “…You’re scaring me…”

Lark: “Rufus!”

Rufus: *rushing over* “Yes, valued consumer?”

Lark: “Rufus, this game is way too easy. I beat the first whole world in ten minutes. There were 10 levels in it.”

Rufus: “Play it on a harder mode.”

Lark: “I was playing it on the hardest one! And there were still power-ups for you every two steps. And there were only five enemies total! In all ten levels! That makes me wonder if the easiest level is a game at all!”

Rufus: “I think it’s mostly just an FMV of me washing my hair.”

Irvine: “Rufus!”

Rufus: *rushes over* “Yes, valued consumer?”

Irvine: *playing the hentai game* “Um, why does the girl in this game look kinda like you?”

Rufus: “I thought I covered this already.”

Irvine: “But dude…it’s like you’re screwing yourself.”

Rufus: “I could do worse.”

Seifer: “Rufus!”

Rufus: *rushing over* “Yes, valued consumer?”

Seifer: *playing the rpg* “I’ve spent the last twenty minutes watching a tutorial on how to dress Mr. Jingles.”

Rufus: “And I see you only got an 85% on your test dress. I suggest you watch the tutorial again. And remember, it’s important to memorize the 54 different varieties of hats and 112 varieties of shoes. You’ll need that for later.”

Rude: “Rufus.”

Rufus: *rushing over* “Yes, valued consumer?”

Rude: *also playing the fighting game* “I don’t think these character models are very accurate.”

Rufus: “What makes you say that? The character models were designed according to my specifications!”

Rude: “I suppose that explains why you’re built like Mr. T on steroids and I look like a leprechaun.”

Rufus: “Don’t be ridiculous! Leprechauns wear green!”

Rude: “And it looks like Reno has breasts.”

Rufus: “That’s what happens when you drink too much.”

Algus, Edgar and Setzer: “Rufus!”

Rufus: *rushes over* “Yes, friends?”

Setzer: *they are all playing the party game* “This game is excellent, Rufus!”

Edgar: “I concur! I adore the part where you trade stocks.”

Algus: “And I love the part where you can trip peasants with your walking stick!”

Rufus: “Excellent! I knew the most intelligent minds would love my games!”

Zidane: “Rufus, this game is four players. Can’t I play, even though it looks like a boring piece of crap?”

Rufus: “No, but you can have this.” *hands zidane a tiny version of a real controller that’s made for the hands of a 3 year old*

Zidane: “What the hell is this?”

Rufus: “That’s the kiddie controller. It gives kids the impression that they’re playing, even though they’re not. That way they won’t whine when their parents are playing. Isn’t that ingenious?”

Zidane: “I hate you.”

Rufus: “Okay, everyone, I have to go look over some commercials that we filmed yesterday for the system. Have fun! And don’t forget to fill in your response cards! I want to know just how much you loved playing my games!” *he leaves*

(zidane grabs a response card and starts writing)

Algus: *chuckles* “Oh, look! My slave thinks he can write!”

(zidane, looking very angry, hands algus his finished response card)

Algus: *reads it pale faced* “Mr. Shinra, I find your new video games to be completely devoid of intelligence or fun, much like yourself. Please re-consider your project. In fact, consider getting a lobotomy for yourself instead in order for you to protect us from ever coming up with another one of your pathetic schemes.” *he pauses before clearing his throat and ripping it up*

Zidane: “Hey!!”

Algus: “Such incompetent drivel should not be distributed.”

Reeve: “This game is stupid.”

Tseng: “Yup, so is this one.”

Lark: “Mine too.”

Seifer: “Yeah, super stupid.” *pushes buttons frantically* “Stupid shoelaces get me every time!”

Zell: “Super duper stupid!”

Rude: “Yup.”

Irvine: “I could have been downloading porn instead of wasting my time with this!”

Reno: “I didn’t think it was possible, but this game actually makes sex *boring*.”

Brady: “Vagrant Story is better than this trash.”

Lark: “Ouch.”

Reeve: “I could make a better game than this.”

Tseng: “Yeah, give Rufus a taste of his own medicine.”

Rude: “Hm. Make him look like a leprechaun.”

Reeve: *light bulb* “Hey, that’s it! I could reprogram these games and show Rufus what it feels like to be put in pain like this.”

Reno: “Yeah! Dude, I got a great idea for the ‘dating simulator’!”

Tseng: “That’s a great idea, Reeve. It’s about time we scarred Rufus.”

Rude: “It’s about time we put that greedy asshole in his place.”

Everyone: *blinks in confusion and looks at rude*

Rude: “…What? I was due.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, outside, sephiroth has constructed a elaborate trap involving some poor helpless chinchilla’s in a cage and a big net hung in the trees overhead. sephiroth admires his work proudly, while vincent and auron watch.)

Sephiroth: “There! It’s done! And it only took…” *checks sun* “5 hours.”

Vincent: “It’s quite an accomplishment, angel. Do you think it will attract Flamey?”

Sephiroth: “I left him free food! Flamey will be attracted to these critters faster than Zell to a hot dog stand!”

Auron: “Those creatures are quite small for a large dragon.”

Sephiroth: “No one asked your opinion, Auroran.” *big grin* “Now we just go into the ramble room and wait for the lovely sound of the net falling on my beloved pet.”

Vincent: “Can we play monopoly?”

Sephiroth: “…Sure, why not?”

………………………………………………………………………………………….

(meanwhile, later that day, rufus returns from his screening. he goes into his room and finds all the response cards slipped underneath the door. smiling, he picks them up and goes over to his desk to read them.)

Rufus: “Oh, look, Mr. Jingles! The response cards for my games! Let’s see what wonderful things everyone had to say!” *1st card* “Excellent, Rufus, as always. Your friend, Algus.” *puts it down* “Algus always has something nice to say about everyone, doesn’t he, Mr. Jingles? He’s just about the best friend a guy could have. Well, besides you of course.” *2nd card* “Oh! This one is from Edgar and Setzer!” *pause* “…Why do they seem to do everything together…?” *shrug* “Oh well. Anyway, they say: Well done, Rufus. Keep up the good work.” *grins* “I plan to, my friends, I plan to.” *puts it down* “This is great, Mr. Jingles! Let’s see what we have next!” *3rd card* “This one’s from Lark! She always likes the stuff I do!” *reads* “Rufus, I like you, but to put it bluntly, this game sucks. It’s way too easy. And even I don’t want to watch you wash your hair.” *pauses and frowns* “…But you liked that part, didn’t you, Mr. Jingles?” *looks at mr. jingles, who, of course, does nothing* “That’s what I thought too!” *puts card down* “Well, a little constructive criticism never hurt anyone…I guess.” *4th card* “This is Reno: This game needs more sex. And it should come with a beer.” *snorts* “Typical barfly drunkenness. Let’s move on, shall we?” *5th card* “Zell says: You should put some aliens or dinosaurs in it or something. Oh, and Superman should be the hero, not you. Batman would be okay, or maybe Spiderman. Or maybe you could be all three of them. That would be a cool game. And there should be ghosts and stuff. And different weapons. Your game is boring. I don’t like how the people scream when they die. ‘Spare me’ and ‘I have children at home’ are not good things for people to say before you kill them. Oh, and Batman should have an attack dog. Named Chomps.” *snorts* “Some people, I swear…” *6th card* “Irvine wrote: This game is a waste of time. I gave the chick flowers, candy and a puppy and she still didn’t sleep with me! You should put in a strip club, or a Hooters or something. A pet store is not sexy. You owe me a porn movie.” *frowns* “Well, these people are far too stupid for my games, don’t you think?” *7th card* “Seifer said: “Mr. Jingles *sucks*! Don’t put your stupid bear in the game! Your game is boring! And it sucks! And I hate shoelaces now thanks to you!” *gasps* “How DARE someone say such horrible things about you, Mr. Jingles! You see what I mean when I say people are stupid?” *8th card* “Brady wrote: Hey Rufus, a good attempt – but listen, having instant kill traps in a game is just seriously lame ass. Poison cracks? C’mon. I know people in comas with more imagination. Sorry buddy, you had a dream and it should remain that way.” *gasp* “What?! That liar! He knows no one in a coma!” *frowns* “I’m scared of what’s next, Mr. Jingles.” *9th card* “Oh, this is from Rude. He’s harmless.” *reads* “You’re a leprechaun, you’re a leprechaun, you!” *blinks* “…And some people just need therapy. Next!” *10th card* “Uh-oh, this is from Tseng. Brace yourself, Mr. Jingles.” *takes a deep breath and reads* “Rufus, congratulations on a new low.” *frowns* “Oh yeah?? Well…well…at least I don’t…I don’t…uh…sleep with men! Yeah! I don’t sleep with men! So there!” *slams card down* “Why doesn’t anyone seem to like my games, Mr. Jingles? Where could my perfection possibly have gone wrong?” *picks up next card* “Why is this one taped together?” *scans it* “Ack! Zidane!” *drops card* “I’ll have to have a talk with your master about that!” *sigh* “Well, I’m on the last card, Mr. Jingles.” *looks at it* “And it’s from Reeve.” *sigh* “He says: Rufus, your games have inspired me. I’m going to make a little present for you.” *grins* “Did you hear that, Mr. Jingles? Reeve loves my games so much that he’s going to give me a present! See! I told you only *intelligent* people would like my games! And you don’t get much smarter than Reeve!” *big grin* “I’m going to have these XCubeStations out in stores as soon as possible!”

…………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile…in the ramble room, seph, vin and auron are sitting around playing monopoly.)

Vincent: *rolls dice* “Six.” *moves doggie piece 6 places* “St. James Place.” *pause* “Who owns St. James Place?”

(silence a moment. seph looks distracted. he’s not paying attention.)

Auron: “I believe Sephiroth owns it.”

Sephiroth: *snaps out of it* “Huh? Oh, yeah.” *scowls* “It’s pretty much the only damn thing I *do* own.”

Vincent: “You have a monopoly on Baltic and Mediterranean.”

Sephiroth: “Yeah, that’s worth crap. How come Auroran owns half the freakin’ bored? I think it’s ’cause he’s bewitched the dice with his voodoo powers. How comes he keeps rolling so many freakin’ doubles and landing on free parking so much?

Vincent: “Now, now, angel. Auron does not have voodoo powers.”

Sephiroth: “That’s what he wants you to think.”

(suddenly there’s a huge crash from outside.)

Sephiroth: *gasp of happiness* “Flamey!”

(he runs out. auron and vincent follow)

Sephiroth: “Finally! My baby’s come back to me!”

(he and the others round the corner and there, caught in the net, is none other than…lark?!)

Sephiroth: *stops dead* “What the hell?! Lark! You’re not Flamey!”

Lark: “Damn right I’m not! Sephiroth, what the hell is going on here?!”

Sephiroth: “I might ask you the same question! Why did you ruin my trap?!”

Lark: “I didn’t see any trap! I just came over to pet these cute little chinchilla’s, and this huge net fell on my head!”

Sephiroth: “Damn your attraction to mindless rodents, woman! That’s five hours of my life I’ll never get back!”

Lark: “Sephiroth, I don’t want you baiting that dragon with cute animals. These poor chinchilla’s! They’re defenseless!”

Sephiroth: “Well, what do you suggest I use then, mother nature?”

Lark: “…I don’t know… Something ugly…and dispensable.” *she leaves*

Sephiroth: *thoughtfully* “Ugly and dispensable, eh?” *evil grin* “I believe I have just the thing…”

………………………………………………………………………………………….

(meanwhile, in loser land…only scarlet, heidegger, stinky, and kuja are in the room. heidegger’s face is all scratched up.)

Scarlet: “Where is everyone? You guys are the only ones I’ve seen since yesterday!”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Kefka’s having tea with an octopus!”

Scarlet: “Again? That’s the third time this week.”

Kuja: “Hojo’s still working on his game. And Seymour refuses to step into the daylight.” *snickers* “It’s about time.”

Scarlet: “What about Nida?”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa!! Still scarred for life!”

Scarlet: “He always claims he’s scarred for life, but I guess this time he really meant it.” *shrugs* “Oh well.”

(hojo then enters, grinning broadly.)

Hojo: “Afternoon all. How is everyone on this lovely afternoon, with the sun and the birds and the singing and so on and so forth!”

Kuja: “Finished your game already?”

Hojo: “It is complete! And what a work of art it is!”

Scarlet: “How the hell did you manage to program a whole video game so fast?”

Hojo: “Most of my work had already been done for me.”

Kuja: “I don’t wanna know.”

Hojo: “Where is everyone else on this fine afternoon?”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Kefka’s having tea with an octopus!”

Hojo: “Again? That’s the third time this week.”

Kuja: *smiles* “Seymour’s hiding his hideousness from the world.”

Scarlet: “Nida’s scarred for life.”

Hojo: “I tend to do that to people for some reason…”

Scarlet: “So, what’s this game of yours about?”

Hojo: “Oh ho, I will not give information away so easily. Oh no. You must wait and see it for yourself!”

Scarlet: *shrugs* “I don’t really care. I’m just bored.”

Hojo: “I will tell you this: Rufus will absolutely LOVE it!”

Kuja: *crumples up his nose* “I would love it if you just took a shower.”

Hojo: “Excellent idea, my pet!” *starts dragging kuja off*

Kuja: *struggling* “This is not what I had in mind!!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

(meanwhile, later on, lark and brady are going for a walk in the pleasant late afternoon air…)

Brady: “Ya know Lark, I never thought a world like this could exist…it’s so surreal.”

Lark: “Leave it to Ashley and her bootleg electronics.”

Brady: “I’ve only got one real complaint. Everybody here seems to, well, to be blunt, have some serious issues. I mean first we have Rufus, can you say eccentric? Then we got Barret and Cid mistreating that…um…that creature. And then there’s ALgus, who is such a snotty, little… Hell, they make me have faith in humanity again.”

Lark: “Why do you think I come here so often?”

(they turn the corner and what do they see? sephiroth’s newest contraption: auron tied to a tree with a lot of rope and covered in some kind of reddish brown sauce.)

Lark: “WHAT THE HELL!?!?!?!?!”

Brady: “And then we’ve got Sephiroth… The way he looks at you sometimes, I get this whole feeling that he’s trying to kill me and take you back. I never know what the hell goes on in that guy’s head. …As we can see here.” *wipes some of the sauce off auron and tastes it* “Mmm… A1 steak sauce.”

Lark: “Oh, that’s it.” *yells* “SEPHIROTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Sephiroth: *running toward them with vincent* “Flamey!”

Lark: *glares at him with hands on her hips* “Not quite.”

Sephiroth: *stops dead* “Uh… Auron! What are you doing tying yourself to that tree and drenching yourself in tasty steak sauce?! We stopped playing cannibal half an hour ago!” *sweat drop*

Lark: “Sephiroth, you’ve gone from bad to worse! How could you tie a person up as bait for your dragon!?”

Sephiroth: “Well you don’t get more ugly and dispensable than that!” *points at auron*

Auron: “He tied me up with sausage links.”

Vincent: “I tried to stop him. I tried, really I did. But I can only do so much with one hand.” *holds up claw and hangs head*

Lark: “What on Earth possessed you to do this?!”

Sephiroth: *shrugs* “I was trying to kill two birds with one stone.”

Lark: “Sephiroth, untie Auron this instant and apologize!” *pause* “And Brady stop eating the steak sauce off him!”

Brady: *finger in his mouth* “What? I’m hungry!”

Sephiroth: “I’ll untie him, but I’m not apologizing!”

Lark: “And the next thing you use around here better already be dead. –And it better not be Zell!”

Sephiroth: *garden snap* “Dammit.”

Lark: “Come on, Brady.”

Brady: *taking one more finger full of steak sauce* “Coming, love.”

(they leave. sephiroth paces thoughtfully as vincent unties auron.)

Sephiroth: “I’m running out of time. If I don’t get some bait out here fast, Flamey might fly away again, and then I’ll never find him!”

Auron: “Perhaps in the many hours since he was spotted, Flamey has already flown away.”

Sephiroth: “No he hasn’t. Shut up, Auroran.”

Auron: “What proof have you of that?”

Sephiroth: “When I say SHUT UP, AURORAN, it means SHUT UP!”

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

(the next day… rufus is walking down the hallway towards the ramble room, a crowd of people following him.)

Rufus: “Yes, my friends, the time has finally come! The debut of the XCubeStation!” *he opens the door to the ramble room* “Behold!”

(the ramble room is stocked floor to ceiling with xcubestation boxes)

Zidane: *with no enthusiasm* “Whoo hoo.”

Rufus: “I took the liberty of getting one for each of you! By the way, you all owe me 600 Gil.”

Everyone: “WHAT?!”

Rufus: *chuckles* “Don’t worry. You can thank me later.”

Seifer: *growls* “Yeah, I’ll thank him with a punch in the face!”

Rufus: “So what do you all think? Great, right? Who wants to try it out?” *no one says anything* “Only one at a time!”

Reeve: “Oh, Rufus…”

Rufus: “Yes?”

Reeve: “I made you a little gift.” *holds out small wrapped box*

Rufus: “Oh yes! The promised present!” *he grabs it and rips it open* “…A video game? For the XCubeStation? Oh, Reeve, you shouldn’t have!”

Reeve: *fake smile* “Oh, I just felt like I *had* to.”

Rufus: “I’m going to play this right now!”

(he runs over and puts the game into the system. he watches excitedly as the game screen loads…all it says is, ‘press start’.)

Rufus: “What kind of game is this exactly?”

Reeve: “The very best kind.”

(suddenly a screen flashes up that reads ‘rufus’ erotic gay adventure’.)

Rufus: *jaw drops* “MY *WHAT*?!?!”

(then a little leprechaun rufus waddles on screen, being pelted off screen by rocks. then he speaks in a voice over obviously done by reno.)

Video game rufus: “Those darn Turks! All they do is beat me up!” *sigh* “I guess I’ll go do what I do best: screw my male co-workers who aren’t working hard enough!”

Rufus: *screams* “Make it stop! Make it stop!!” *searches the game system furiously* “Where’s the off thingy?!”

Video game rufus: “La de da de da! Whoa! I better watch out for these poison sticks lying carelessly around my office! They’ll kill me instantly! And boy do I want to get to that graphic sex scene!”

Rufus: *louder screams*

Video game rufus: “Before I do that, though, I better dress Mr. Jingles! His shoelaces are such a problem!”

(video game rufus enters a whole new room where mr. jingles’ shoelaces take up pretty much the whole room.)

Video game rufus: “Boy, I wish my puny mind was better at knots!” *tries feebly to undo one* “I’ll get someone else to do this for me!” *calls* “Random sexy male underling!”

Rufus: *still looking* “Make it go bye-bye!!”

(a sexy looking male character comes rushing in)

Video game rufus: “Undo these knots!”

Sexy underling: “Yes, President Rufus.” *gets to work*

Video game rufus: *licks his lips* “You don’t seem to be working hard enough, sexy underling.”

Sexy underling: “I’m sorry. I’ll work harder.”

Video game rufus: *grabbing him* “That won’t be necessary.”

(just at that moment, rufus picks up the xcubestation and hurls it through the tv. sparks and pieces of tv screen fly everywhere. everyone stands there, wide eyed, except for reeve, tseng, reno and rude, who are chuckling. rufus’ hair is all a mess, and hanging in his face. he breathes heavily.)

Rufus: “…What the hell?!”

Rude: “Now YOU know how it feels, LEPRECHAUN!”

Tseng: “We don’t like your games, Rufus.”

Reno: “And we suggest you take them off the shelves and make new ones, NOW.”

Reeve: “Or else my game will be out for sale TOMORROW.”

Rufus: “Fine! Fine! You win!” *shudders* “The shoelaces alone will give me nightmares for weeks!”

(he gets up to leave, but just as he gets to the door he bangs right into hojo, who’s holding his own game)

Rufus: “Ack!”

Hojo: “Ah, just the person I wanted to see! I heard about your system, and I made a game for it.”

Rufus: “No! No! No more games!”

Hojo: “But mine is a delightful romp! You play as the licky licky monster on a quest to save Kuja from the evil naked men of sexy island! It’s full of adventure and fun and nakedness and so on and so forth! Why you’re even in it!”

Rufus: “No! No more me in the games!”

(he pushes past hojo and runs from the room.)

Hojo: *frowns* “…It was the licky licky monster, wasn’t it. People seem to have a problem with him for some reason…”

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

(meanwhile, sephiroth is walking towards his usual outside spot, holding a large chunk of meat.)

Sephiroth: “What a beautiful day. I feel like today…is gonna be a good day.”

(he turns the corner, and there, in the usual spot, is vincent…petting flamey! sephiroth freezes in shock, dropping the meat. he struggles for words for a moment before leaping into action)

Sephiroth: *running for him arms outstretched* “FLAMEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

(flamey looks up, and, startled, extends his wings and quickly flies away while vincent and a shocked and saddened sephiroth watch.)

Sephiroth: *trying to run after him* “No!!!! Flamey!!! Where are you going?!?! Come back!!! Come back!” *falls to the ground crying*

Vincent: *goes over and pats him on the shoulder* “It’s okay, angel. Some things just aren’t meant to be.”

Sephiroth: *sniff* “I just…” *sniff* “I just really wanted a pet, Vincent.”

Vincent: “Hmmm…”

(some time later…)

Sephiroth: *holding up a black cat with a big smile* “I’ll call you Blackie and I’ll love you and hold you and feed you…”

Vincent: *smiles*

THE END

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