Alternate Dimension (Part 50)

With the time spent preparing my club for the festival and helping out my classmates, there are only a few weeks left before the end of the holidays. With Itsuki now having fallen ill, I don’t know how much time I have left. That is, if I were to take care of him.

Mother: “Saeko-chan. I appreciate you taking care of him, but aren’t you supposed to have your break too? He might have been too ill to tell you this, but he wants you to collect documents all the way from somewhere in Hong Kong in his place.”

Aren’t you contradicting what you just said? Having me go to a far-away place just to collect something. But what about customs? For me, things like my thumbprint are exactly the same as Itsuki’s and might cause confusions. As for the passport, well, there isn’t an issue as the thumbprint looks the same and my current name there is reflected there instead of the one from the other dimension, but I don’t know what the person at the counter is doing behind the counter does when verifying my passport or during security checks. I have to call someone from the Hatsuya Institute.

Supervisor of Inami branch: “Oh Saeko! We were waiting for you to call us especially since Itsuki has fallen ill. Anyways, we did some things and you should have no problems passing through the airport.”

Me: “Thank you. Is that all?”

I’ve never been to Hong Kong before, so I’m not sure what to expect upon arriving, or know my way around even if I were given directions. It is, however, not my first time being overseas or in a high-density city.

Supervisor: “One more thing: just last week, the director hinted at a meeting that you are likely to enter another high school right after you graduated from your current school and are in the early stages of studying what could happen and are making the necessary paperwork. I don’t know anything more than that.”

What did you say? Me having to go to high school again? It’s already my fifth year attending high school, and you want me to attend it for nine or more years? That’s far longer than both primary and middle school combined! I reluctantly replied.

Me: “Did you overhear this, or did he tell you personally or at a meeting.”

Imagine, a large conference room meeting discussing about me like I’m some billion (American) dollar “android” so secret that even the “android” itself doesn’t even know anything about the meeting itself. I hate to think myself as an invincible human robot, but sadly, I am. This was during the months I was paralyzed after being cloned and found myself at a massive underground lab inside a liquid-filled capsule that I was floating around and wasn’t drowning in. I don’t know what they did to me exactly.

Supervisor: “I don’t recall where he said it, but he mentioned something about ‘knowing more of yourself’ and ‘reduce distractions by the opposite gender’.”

Guess I won’t know what it is exactly until it draws nearer.

This body I accidentally got stuck into now is permanent and technically the property of the Hatsuya Institute and is able to make me do things against my will, like what Itsuki did to me on my actual birthday last year. I mean, my body is deliberately designed to be helpless when attacked. As a female: I am smaller than Itsuki and could actually give birth to babies and produce drinkable milk if only they were not blocked. Changing clothes takes a long time. I think less of that and more of wanting to love another guy. My hair has to be longer than that of guys, but not too long. With breasts, longer hair, and this irremovable swimsuit I’m forced to wear, I feel very hot in the summer on top of my tighter clothing and my hair being in the way. I don’t know how I’m still healthy and alive despite not eating or drinking for many weeks, or even survived after being cut into pieces. I know it happened because I saw it with my own eyes and felt the extreme pain far beyond what I have ever felt. When I am with Itsuki and meeting someone only he knows (there’s a big time gap since I was separated), they would be shocked that I am his younger sister they have never heard before. Sometimes, he would hold me up like a baby as I’m smaller and lighter than him. Sometimes, he does say the truth about a cloning experiment that went wrong and I was the part of his mind that was transferred to the cloned body. The fact that I’m an attractive girl that originated from a boring guy made them look at the both of us, as though trying to find how we are alike, and yet lead different lives. He never mentioned about me being the founder of the Powell institute though to protect my identity or wasn’t thinking about it at all.

I wonder what was that machine that made me have this body? A cloning machine, or a set of failed teleportation machines? Since I was already a worker of the Hatsuya Institute of some respectable level, I think they became lenient on me over some random intruder (which they were actually expecting). I mean, the way they said it is that I have to do as I was told, but the only thing they did to me was to have me to attend high school numerous times as a student (I don’t age) until they are happy with it, an approximately ten thousand percent increase in my pay on top of my salary from Powell Institute as the founder. The only people from there who are in direct contact with me are Itsuki and Kotomi, both whom I know very well and quite close with. Kotomi would be able to intervene what Itsuki doing to me as mental torture, but she won’t be back from California until the summer of my first year of that school the supervisor just mentioned for her university studies. It’s sad that I can’t change the order by the supervisor.

Anyways, my task briefing seems to imply that I would head to the office in a place called Kowloon (九龍; I had confused the name with the Kuryuu islands when I saw the kanji at first), which is like a central area of Hong Kong, and then head straight back here in Japan with no stops in between. As the time-frame wasn’t specified, I guess I could take my time and come back before the second school semester begins in September.

Security on both sides are quite thight ever since that incident in New York almost six years ago. Not sure if it’s just me, but unlike everyone else, all the airport immigration and security personell totally ignored me. It’s as though I don’t exist. Why am I the odd one out?

So, as we landed into the (name of current airport) on Lantau Island that is about a decade old instead of an older one that is dangerously surrounded by tall apartment complexes. It was already evening when I arrived, so I wouldn’t expect anyone to be around when I arrive. Plus, I don’t know the way there.

My first impressions of Hong Kong was that it had the same atmosphere of a country I went to two years earlier. In terms of things like infrastructure, however, it’s more developed. Sadly, I don’t know much of the place or have any idea where to go now. Try out the food here? Go shopping? Hm? Someone is calling me?

Itsuki: “Sorry to spoil your shopping mood, but there’s someone pointing a sniper riffle at you and his men hidden in the croud around you. If he were to shoot at anywhere besides your main body, you might get seriously injured and some perment mental damage if the bullet enters your head. There’s a parked red and white taxi with the numbers 6374 that is about to be overtaken by a brown double decker bus. Take it and the driver will bring you to somewhere safe.”

Sure enough, there is a bus overtaking a taxi with the said number in front of me. It as though Itsuki is hiding somewhere near me, but he’s still back in Japan. Than that means…

I saw a suspious man in a building behind me across the road holding a long gun with a scope attached. Upon realizing that I was looking at him, he quickly prepared his gun and shot at my head and my legs. The face of an unknown man who shot me was the last thing I saw before my vision blurred. My hearing became muffled and had great difficulty uttering a single word.

I wasn’t able to run for the taxi as my legs are disabled, and my crawling rate is very slow. I could still see the fuzzy colours of the taxi. I knew that the men Itsuki mentioned might take advantage of me being injured. Previous incidents of me being attacked only involved my main body and not the rest.

Suddenly, someone picked me up and lay me on the back seat of a vehicle. I can’t tell if it was the taxi driver, the suspicious men, or one of the people around me. By this time, I blanked out.

•••••

Female voice: “Hisakawa-San? Wake up! It’s me, Takagi.”

I opened my eyes and my head feels different. I’m in a one-bed hospital ward surrounded by people, but Takagi and some unknown people from either Hatsuya or Powell institutes are the only ones I could see.

Takagi: “Saeko! I was really worried when I heard you being assassinated. It was on the local news all over. I didn’t know it was you as they called you Gau Chuen Sagongji for some reason until I saw the kanji and your face..”

I don’t know in what way has the bullet affected me. My memories seem to have something missing: The place I recall being shot in the head has oddly fewer people and I was shot by a floating gun by itself. Odd, what is missing from my memories?

Me: “Takagi, what am I doing at a hospital with my head and leg wrapped in bandages? And which hospital am I at?”

Takagi: “At a private hospital in Hong Kong. A company called Fatt Guk Institute brought you in and said that they would help to send you back to Japan. Anyway, two of your club mates have came all the way from their holiday trip to visit you after they heard from the news. They’re outside.”

I only saw Sakurai Kazumi (桜井和美), a classmate I had studying sessions a few weeks earlier, walking in. Next to her are a boutique of… FLOATING FLOWERS???!!!

Kazumi: “Saeko-chan? What’s wrong? It’s just *****-chan.”

Her voice was muffled at the mention of the name. There’s definitely something wrong with me: nobody would muffle suddenly, and I know that flower can’t be floating, but I’m seeing nothing holding it. A ghost?

Me: “The… the flowers are floating in mid-air! And I couldn’t hear the name you just said, seriously. I don’t know why I can’t see it that I’m starting to think that it’s a ghost.”

As though something caught their attention they turned to look at a wall on my right that only has chairs. What is so interesting about that wall?

Takagi: “The only living things she could only see and hear are female humans?!”

Wait, there was someone else standing in the direction of the wall they were staring at? And I can’t see males? What are the exceptions or cure said by whoever they are talking to? Why am I suddenly holding a camera?

Kazumi: “He told you to see if you can see and hear them through an electronic device.”

Unsure, I took a look and… what? This is like telling a myopic person without glasses to look through the screen of a digital camera and be amazed at “the quality” of what they could see through the device instead of with their unaided eyes. I see no difference.

Me: “Sorry. If it worked, I should be able to see males and animals. I mean, I could only see an empty neck collar of what they say is a dog, or for live sports events on  TV, the place looks unusually quiet. It’s as though, from my point of view, they had vanished. The state of my damaged brain is as though I have forgotten what non-human females are like and can’t see them. Their actions with a non-living thing from my point of view looks as though there are invisible ghosts interacting with them.”

I myself am shocked that I can’t see or hear what I was able to before I was shot in the head. My damaged brain doesn’t know what I can’t see, but knows that something seems odd based on what I can see.

Part 49 Part 51 →

Alternate Dimension (Part 49)

We spent the whole day trying out various hairstyles and clothes my mother was willing to give me. She seems to have some old clothes that have yet to be opened from their shopping bags. A fraction of those seemed expensive and another seemed to have been bought before I was born.

Me: “Er, mom? Why do you have so many shoes and clothes I’ve never seen you wear before?”

Mother: “Me and your dad bought them at flee market and discount sales at department stores. Others were what I have only worn once for various interviews. I don’t have much space left to store these, but I would rather give them away to a family member than to throwing or selling them away.”

I already have a lot of clothes and shoes, but I shouldn’t reject her offer either and… and… oh great. I’m starting to feel sleepy and can’t think as I would want to and my thoughts are now filled with nothing but wanting to sleep.

Mother: “You seemed tired. Why don’t you take a rest in your room.”

Without much thought, I did not change out of what I last wore and instantly fell asleep upon lying on the bed. I miss this bed. Also, I had the pillow and blanket over me to block out the outside noise and sunlight. It’s so effective, that I see nothing but pitch black when I opened my eyes.

Except, there was weight a lot heavier than myself on top of me when I woke up. What is this? I can’t move!

Me: “Mphf! Hmf fp mf!”

I tried to shout and struggle, but I can’t open my lips as my face is against the mattress and heard an illegible sound instead of what I wanted to say from my vocal chords. The struggling, however, was enough to attract attention. The weight that restricted my movement seem to have lifted and jumped out of bed to see what was going on.

That was when I saw a very familiar face.

Itsuki: “Oh, forgive me! I didn’t know you were sleeping on my bed, Mom told me that there was a guest visiting, but didn’t seem to know where you were as your shoes were still at the entrance. Forgive me for asking, but who are you?”

He doesn’t seem to recognize who I am. Also, the mattress I was sleeping on was so soft that I sank a lot into it and it’s possible that he didn’t notice me because of that and the blanket on top of me.

Me: “Is that all you have to say after what you did? You could have ruined my life from braking my bones with your weight you know: my body’s quite fragile, and I’m an important person to many people and organizations!”

Itsuki: “I’m really sorry. It won’t happen again!”

He seemed really apologetic, but tried hard not to look at me.

Me: “Well, it’s partly my fault for hiding in bed. Anyways, I am the founder of the Powell Research Institute, Hisakawa Sae…”

I was expecting him to look at me and shout at me for pulling at prank or something, but he collapsed onto the floor instead.

Itsuki: “I was easily deceived by my other self that has a body of its own and is living a life a lot better than what I have. Despite having seen her long enough to remember her appearance, how did I fail to recognize her this time until she mentioned her name? I tried to treat her as my other self, but her appearance as the opposite gender is too distracting for me to think properly. But, why can’t I be her if she is me?”

Itsuki was mumbling something about me when, without warning, shot up and hugged me. He seems to have started crying too. H-hey!

Itsuki: “Sorry, I’ve just had not been hugged lately, and I’ve always wanted to physically hug myself for a long time,”

Him hugging me really feels like I’m being hugged by myself as both his and my aura are the same. Wait… that can’t be right: siblings and even twins have their own unique ones.

Itsuki: “Saeko, will you help me…”

He lost a grip of me and collapsed onto the floor. He seems to be breathing heavily and in pain. Is he ill? I haven’t fallen sick for years that I forgot what it is like, but to see a part of me collapse is quite worrying. I mean, I don’t know if I’m affected if something bad were to happen to him.

Me: “Itsuki? Itsuki! Are you all right? You don’t look so well.”

Itsuki: “Yeah, just a high fever I caught from a random passer-by somewhere. I came home early to rest but couldn’t do so with you preventing my rest and making me more worked up that makes my problem worse. Look at me! Do I look healthy? Of course not! I’m very ill! Don’t forget that I can make you do what I want if only this illness is not making me weak to the point that I can’t get out of bed without using a lot of my energy.”

What is he babbling about? I didn’t do anything to him and he wants to attack me, his other self that he is somehow jealous about.

Me: “Do you really have a fever? Or are you acting to lower the chances of me expecting your sudden actions? Let me see…”

Itsuki didn’t seem to resist when I sat down on the floor to touch his forehead to check just how ill he is.

Me: “Hm… You really do have a high fever that you might need to be sent to hospital if it goes any higher. You really should take a break for about two weeks. Would you like me to do anything for you?”

Itsuki: “Just my mobile phone and those tablets in the kitchen. Before that, could you help to drag me to bed? Sorry, but I can’t help myself: I could barely move my arms.”

His eyes were closed as he said that, as though he had forgotten the anger he had towards me.

Part 48 Part 50

Alternate Dimension (Part 48)

I have found myself awake shortly before the alarm rang. I don’t know how I’m able to do that.

The summer vacation is still ongoing and I should be having time to myself, but people who rely on me too much are still contacting me. Didn’t I tell them not to contact me except in real emergencies? Sadly, they didn’t take me seriously, they hardly do except a few.

As though he could read my mind from very far away, Itsuki invited me to stay at my parent’s house at Inami City. I have not been there lately due to the traveling times to and from Kamisugi City, which is where I am currently staying. Itsuki could afford to do so as taking care of me is part of his job. I wonder if he’s staying elsewhere?

My house in Kamisugi City is within the Powell Institute Headquarters. I have to follow the dress code to avoid them stopping me unnecessarily as I head to the parking area. Fortunately, I don’t need to carry my luggage, so they won’t stop me for carrying peculiar things despite the right dress code because I’m not carrying anything!

There isn’t a place to park my car at my parents’ place as there isn’t a garage there, and the road right outside it is narrow to only allow a vehicle to pass through. So I have no choice but to park at my other house and use my bicycle that is parked there. Need to pump the tires first though, as all the air pressure is gone from the long period of non-usage.

Upon arrival, it seems that only my mother is there to greet me. In the other dimension, this actually belonged to someone else, but there were hints that my family lived there before the new house was complete. (I was attending Mihara Academy at that time.) The other me (Ituski) had introduced me to her last year, explaining my situation and showing medical documents that I am their child, or at least how identical I am to Itsuki. I don’t mind staying in my old room there, but with my other self… I’m not sure.

They didn’t say if they had preferred a daughter over a son, but it does seem obvious with the way I’m treated. This is evident with the family album with me in it that I saw at the other dimension. I mean, piano completion during my childhood days? Frequent overseas holidays? Parents regularly attending my annual school sports festival? People gathering around me like I’m some celebrity? Well, these are what my counterpart has went through, so I roughly know what’s going on, but can’t really recall when I want to as I myself never went through them.

Mother: “Oh? Saeko-chan! It’s been a while. I thought you were Itsuki with that lab coat until I noticed something different.”


Although she knows that I was formerly part of Itsuki, she’s not used to having the idea of having a young girl as their child. I could tell that she’s trying to treat me the same way as him but there’s the temptation to treat me differently from my other half. I mean, what’s worse? Treating your own siblings badly or your own child? Obviously it’s the latter.

Me: “You mean he would be coming back soon?”

Her mood changed, as though telling me that I shouldn’t have said that. Huh? I was just asking what time he would return home from work. Did she misinterpret it or misheard me?

Mother: “No. I meant that you resemble both me and your father in ways just as what we wanted our child to look like. I’ve always wanted a daughter, but after so many miscarriages, I was finally able to give birth to Itsuki. However, I found out that I can’t give birth to anymore children. After the long time we spent meeting doctors around the world, they said that I can’t…”

She can’t seem to bring herself to say it, but it does explain why they were always overseas most of the time. Mom’s job qualifications meant that she could have worked in a job better than dad’s. The amount of money she could have made in that time if she had worked and the amount of money that could have been saved from meeting the doctors meant that what my counterpart went through isn’t too far-fetched. They wanted a child would carry on their bloodline more than one who would just carry on the family name or culture. Quite rare for most families.

Mother: “We could have lived a better life than…”

Me: “Er, why don’t I cook for you lunch while you take a rest?”

I feel sad for being the only child my parents could give birth to and though of the siblings that I could have had. She never gave any hint of this problem to me prior to today. She might not want to think too much of it, or wanted to wait until I was old enough.

Mother: “Oh? That’s quite a nice favorite meal of mine you have cooked for me. Even the way you are serving it is lovely. You really are my daughter.”

I felt happy, yet uncomfortable, on her saying this.

I know what she liked to eat as I (as Itsuki) noticed her cooking a particular food, but only having it to herself. It’s the only meal she cooks at home that doesn’t taste good, judging from her reaction. I could tell it’s her favorite food as she keeps cooking it for herself, but does not like the taste. She mixes the ingredients of it with the food for dinner on the kitchen table.

Mother: “Wow, it even tastes the best among all the versions I had, but to think it was done by my own child, you really are something. How did you learn it? Itsuki only knows how to boil instant noodles.”

Even I myself don’t know how to cook, let alone taste excellent and look appetizing. I would just need to analyze the kitchen equipment, time and food ingredients available, the occasion, and the intention of wanting to cook for someone before my hands does all the preparations and cooking.

Me: “Well, I figured that people would expect me to be able to cook seeing that I am quite good at everything else.”

Mother: “Good for you. Now I know who to look for should I want something delicious. No, I’m kidding. Sorry to have you unexpectedly do this upon reaching after I made myself cry unnecessary. It was a hard subject not to cry at. At least Itsuki has found a girlfriend who would most likely be his wife by the name of Miyazawa Kotomi. He introduced me to her two years ago. “

No wonder I rarely see you sad.

Mother: “By the way, do you have anything to wear besides your work attire or school uniform? Something that you would only wear at home or walking around the neighborhood? And where’s your luggage? You couldn’t have cycled all the way from Kamisugi City empty-handed and still not sweat at all in this hot weather in all that clothing.”

Me: “Well, I went to my other house nearby on the way here and had my luggage brought here.”

Mother: “You did? Nobody came here between the time your dad left and you coming here. Don’t tell me you have something like a four-dimensional pocket on you…”

How did she guess, or is she thinking about a popular 1970s anime that is still well known today? I didn’t dare to ask or reply. She’s not the type who could be fooled easily by anyone outside her family, but shows love towards people. I don’t know much about what my parents do prior to me being born.

Part 47 Part 49

Alternate Dimension (Part 47)

The summer vacation has arrived before I knew it. I am in the mood to treat all my club members to have an overseas trip to Europe or something, but they have their own plans as what I heard. This ranges from supplementary classes, taking part time jobs, to even playing their home console or computer games for the whole vacation. (I myself have played ones that would take hundreds of hours of gameplay and know the excitement of wanting to play them.) I was slightly disappointed, but I don’t want to show off my wealth around. The last time I brought people for a vacation was about three years ago for a classmate who has somewhat like an an amnesia and needs to meet up with a friend of her father from university. Besides me and Haruna, the people who came along include Haruna’s boyfriend, my director’s daughter, and three of Kotomi’s siblings.

Did I say that there were the two of me? I was the one who couldn’t move and was in a wheelchair. The other me is my counterpart of that dimension: same set of parents, born on the same day and place, but as a girl instead. Since my current body is a clone of her, I inherited her behavior, knowledge and everything she owns. However, I remained in this same body with my counterpart’s things brought along as mine instead upon returning back to my original dimension. This caused a lot of confusion as my other half who stayed behind didn’t know I exist and was shocked to suddenly have a “cute younger sister”. Even I have to introduce myself to my own parents with documents saying that I really am biologically related to them. Me and my original body’s DNA are exactly the same, except for the lack of a ‘Y’ chromosome. However, my other half is treating me is worse than my counterpart as the latter was clueless as to what to do to me, but the former physically abusing me. I’m afraid I have to now call my other half by my former name, which I’m uncomfortable with. How did this all happened? I don’t know as I was asleep when it happened. The two of us are actually the same person, but in separate bodies of different genders. At least I like my new body better as I feel more comfortable and can think better.

Ever since Takagi’s graduation day, I’ve noticed the same odd-looking doll from three years ago appearing at my desk at the clubroom. What does it want with me? People who claimed to have seen it are rumored to have their lives changed completely, but my life has already changed, and I don’t want to change back. I don’t need this thing, so I’ll put it aside and hope it would disappear. Until then, I shouldn’t wish for anything near this doll.

This summer holidays means that people with weak grades (quite a lot) would have to attend supplementary lessons and the annual school festival, but let’s not talk about that: I’ve been through too much and famous students in the school like me (somehow) get picked by more people. As for the stall my club would be involved in during the festival, I’ve place a current third year member to be in charge and requested all the club members not to rely on me as they have always been for the entire period of the preparation and the festival period as I need a break. What I didn’t say was that I would help out only if requires me as the club president or things are needed to be done in an impossible timeframe.

I was walking to the student council room to check the status of the availability of the auditorium (my members had classes) when my classmates caught me unaware.

Female classmate: “Hisakawa-san! Thank goodness we saw you. I know you were not involved with the supplementary lessons, but we couldn’t understand what was being taught and we need your help.”

By “we”, you don’t mean the three guys behind you who are in an unofficial school fan club of the girls here that I’m pretending to be completely unaware of it? They are responsible for the croud outside my club last year and the photos they have “secretly” taken of me (I could tell) and selling them to other guys for profit. I hear pictures of me are the most popular of all, with me looking at the camera directly (I was looking at one? I don’t recall.) and smiling being the most expensive.

Male classmate A: “We need a change of studying environment. Something that would inspire us to do better.”


Male classmate B: “Something like a mix of the public library and a high class hotel, but have it all to ourselves.”

Me: “Something like a high class library that is conducive for study?”

The only place I know that has all of that is one of my houses at Inami city (井波市) where I lived and is also where the first branch of the Hatsuya Institute I had worked is at prior to coming to this city. It’s too far for me to bring them there. The next best thing I know is a little known visitor’s waiting room and the way to it looks as though visitors shouldn’t be there. It’s not part of my house, but it does belong to the company I founded.

Male classmate C: “Say, what about if we are to head to your house to study? That seems like a good place, considering how well you scored.”

Me: “Well, it really depends on your motivation to study. You can’t achieve in something if you don’t put your effort into it. Since the hot summer weather is not suitable to study in, I’ll show a place where you can study.”

I sensed a happy, yet disappointed feeling from the guys: happy because I am talking to them personally (Um, what? Are guys, including my other half, attracted to me that much?) but disappointed as they don’t get to see my living environment.

We walked along the route I usually take to reach home, except that we would use the front gate instead of the back I normally use. The place is quite huge.

Male classmate B: “By “near your house”, you don’t mean one of the houses around the headquarters of the Powell Institute that look like tiny houses in contrast to the building’s massive size.

That is the annex building where the main entrance is built in such a way that it doesn’t destroy the landscape prior to it being built. My house is in one of the rooms of the maisonette-like building closer to the back entrance.

Me: “Yes, I live around here. Weren’t you paying attention to the people who greeted me along the way?”

Female classmate: “She’s right. I did notice people waving at us or calling Hisakawa-san from far, especially closer to this place.”

Male classmate A: “Um, guys. The security guard is watching us…”

Oh yes, I forgot about him. Unlike the security guards at the front entrance, the ones at the back would immediately recognize me without me showing my pass. The ones at the front don’t.

Me: “Let me take care of him.”

As I walked there, I took out my staff pass.

Security guard: “Hold it right there young lady. That pass doesn’t seem valid. Please register…”

Ignoring him, I scanned my pass. My real identity is displayed to the security guard.

Me: “I don’t like to show my face because they would think that I’m a kid and won’t take me seriously from an experiment that went wrong. I intentionally have “visitor” to appear as my job title on the pass, but the overall design makes them think that it’s a fake until I scanned it. Inform the guards who manages the back entrance that I’m entering the front instead of the back. They would know who I am more than you.”

He seemed shock to be a young lady to be one of the most important people of the company he is protecting. I may look 15, but I’m actually 19. Wait, that’s not much of a difference…

Security guard: “Hisakawa-sama? You’re the founder of the company? Of course, you can go through. Oh, and here are the passes for your friends you brought along. I can’t guarantee that you would be stopped by your own employees later on with how you are dressed up now, but I’ll explain to them should they contact me.”

He gave me regular visitors’ passes. I walked back to the rest.

Me: “Here you go. I’m already wearing mine.”

Male Classmate C: “That was quick. What did you do? His face changed when you did something while he was talking to you.”

Male Classmate A: “Your pass even has your name and photo with a better design too. How did you get it?”

Me: “Well, I come here so frequently that the founder noticed me and gave me this special pass.”

I don’t know what I just said.

Female Classmate: “Sounds like you like to study there a lot.”

Male Classmate (All): “What is she like? Tell us!”

How should I explain to them? I can’t say that it’s me.

Me: “Well, she looks a lot younger than the majority of the staff, quite respectable, but very rarely shows her face around. Most of the staff don’t even know what she looks like, but knows that she exists as she replies to messages and requests. She usually doesn’t involve herself on how the company is run, but she can override orders by anyone of high position in the company.”

These aren’t lies, but I convincingly made it sound as though the person in question is not me.

Male Classmate A: “She sounds like she’s the shy, but smart type to be able to have founded one of the largest and youngest company at such a young age. By the way Hisakawa-san, are you sure you know where we are heading to? The staff are looking at us, and there seem to be only offices and research rooms here.”

Me: “Well, this room is in an obscure location that is far away from where most visitors would most likely to go to. Don’t worry, the corridors that lead up to it are not off-limits, though the rooms like you mentioned along it are.”

We reached a lift lobby along the corridor that is quite some distance from the entrance. I’m having trouble remembering what level it’s on as the number does not have a 0 or a 5 and neither is it near the very top of the building, on top of me never been there before, but know about its existence. Though there are a lot of levels in between, the elevator moves so quick that it seems almost instantaneous, but not without our ears feeling funny.

Each level is designed differently, so you could tell what floor you are on. This ranges from the position and design of paintings and (fake) plants you can see outside the elevator, which is the standard, different interior design, or even the type of elevator doors. Most have the same as the elevator interior, but odd ones have analog, bulb, or OLED display that says the level (ones inside the elevator and on most floors are dot-matrix red LED displays above the door) , call buttons from old-fashioned buttons on the wall that requires some strength to press, to mid-air holograph buttons that feels that you aren’t touching anything but the air. Even the doors open differently from the elevator door itself, depending on the “theme” of the floor it’s on. (1950’s, futuristic, high-class office, disused subway, middle-class apartment, etc.) Some doors open upwards and downwards, or even manually. They are part of some project during the time the elevator shaft was built with the reason ranging “nostalgic for the senior staff” or “develop future technologies in our daily lives” and developing advanced hardware in what appears to be old-fashioned equipment so that it wouldn’t look out of place if someone wants to time-travel into the past. I have to agree that the design does match the era the theme is based on, until you see the elevator inside being very out of place. I don’t know who’s idea is it to come up with such inconsistent floor design themes. At least my elderly staff like the old-fashioned themed floors that they even move their office there for the “nostalgically” and work better.

The level we got off resembles somewhat like one of the most expensive hotels I know in the capital with warm lighting along the sides, carpeted flooring, and ambiance music. We finally found the the study room.

Female Classmate: “You’re right. There is a visitor’s waiting room here and it looks quite nice that the only thing out of place are those vending machines there. How big is this room?”

Those vending machines (自販機) are the same as the ones you can find out on the streets, but are priced lower. It’s ironic that there is a water cooler (冷水機) next to them.

Me: “The founder was the one who had told me about this place when she saw me studying and referred me to this larger, and better looking, waiting room. I’m sure she doesn’t mind me bringing you guys here.”

Male Classmate C: “For her to own a company this big with these kind of facilities… She must be a rich, yet kind-hearted person.”

Female Classmate: “Shall we get started with studying before we get distracted?”

I thought them what I know and they are actually absorbing. I don’t know what I know as ones I didn’t learn myself are not visible in my mind, like the answer of a complicated math equation: I don’t know how to answer it, but as long as I see the question and have the intention to solve it, my hands move by themselves and writes the correct answer, including how I would arrive at that answer. Even my mouth talks by itself in my voice if asked a question I can’t answer. Some of them though, are what I do know, but aren’t at the top of my head when asked, or is obviously not what the human mind is capable of like the full value of π (pi).

During break, I decided to head to head to the restroom to wash my face (can’t use it for anything else besides looking at myself) as I’m starting to feel sleepy. That is where I heard a familiar voice.

Takagi: “Hisakawa-san? What are you doing here? I never thought I would meet you again in a location like the toilet of a random floor of the Powell headquarters.”

Takagi had told me 4 months ago that she had found a job at my company through the same programming competition I entered to be employed by the Hatsuya Institute. I knew I would meet her again in a Powell-owned property, but not this soon in a location like this. Her behavior tells me that she still doesn’t know that I am the founder of the company she just joined as she’s not giving me the level of respect of what one would do to their superior, despite my name appearing in the official messages and the company’s history at the museum at the ground floor.

Me: “I came here to study with my classmates at the nearby visitor’s waiting room. They were the ones who dragged me here.”

She looked almost angry. Wonder why…

Takagi: “Must have been tough on you, considering your past. Say, why does your “visitor’s pass” has the design that only my higher ups would wear with your name and photo in a Mihara uniform?”

Mihara uniform? You’re right, no wonder the clothes I wore in it looked familiar. My company is founded around just before I started my high school, but that photo is of my counterpart of the other dimension and not me. No wonder I was renamed to Saeko from Mamiko upon returning.

Takagi: “I know that you and your “brother” are working for the Hatsuya Institute, a major rival of the Powell Institute. Well, they are more concerned about another major rival of theirs from stealing their secrets and receiving threats, but we’re not that cunning. In fact, we don’t do anything unless attacked. Your disguise is so poor that you can’t even fool my colleagues. It’s a wonder how the security guards had let you in or not notice you with that pass.”

Why do I feel the threat of me being thrown out by my own employees like an intruder just because I’m not wearing what they expect the founder to wear and look to the point that they think I’m someone else?

Me: “Okay, I admit. I am the founder of the Powell Institute. Well, I inherited it from my counterpart while I was in the other dimension and still an employee of Hatsuya Institute… and… and.. I don’t even know myself…”

I was lucky there was no one else around when I said that. I would rather remain as the anonymous founder than to people to find out that I’m young and, over time, why I don’t age.

Takagi: “I know that the name of the founder is Saeko Hisakawa, but I didn’t think that it would be you… Are… you sure?”

She’s speechless.

Me: “You still don’t believe me? I can send a message through the company’s messaging system or that office in the main building that none of the staff could open.”

The main building is actually a lot smaller than the newer annex building, but that building is (supposedly) used to be one my houses. As proof to Takagi, I typed:

Hi Takagi-san. I’m standing right in front of you in a female toilet. Hope that you would excuse my appearance as something went wrong during one of my first few experiments out of curiosity. I forgive you for the things you said to me a while ago as you didn’t know who I was, and my pass printed “Visitor” instead of my actual job title. You forced me to reveal my real identity after you threaten to throw me out of my own company. I’m also the same girl you saw as a club member at Kamisugi High’s computer club in the previous academic year. However I’m studying there only because my current body is the property of the Hatsuya Institute who forced me to repeat High School for the rest of my life as my body’s age is stuck at 15 instead if 19 as I should be now, which is why I appear in the eyes of my employees very rarely. Even I don’t like to see myself as a robot with some random serial number on the Hatusya website as you saw when researching my background to be the club president.

The message is private and have it to expire in an hour in case someone else were to see the message. The media attention I would get if I’m too careless is high. Takagi seem to have received it immediately.

Takagi: “This message… It has the same unique sender ID number as what my superiors told me the founder would use. It even answered the questions I have about you for quite a while. Okay, I believe you. I’ll keep your real identity a secret.”

Me: “Good. Excuse me while I have guests to attend to.”

I feel bad to surprise her with my real identity, but sometimes, I really have no choice. The words I said to her made me sound as though I might dismiss her if I found out that she had leaked the information about me out, which I have no intentions to do so.

Female Classmate: “Hisakawa-san? Where did you go? You have gone away for quite a while.”

Me: “Sorry, a staff stopped me while I was on the way back from the cafeteria. I wasn’t wearing my pass at that time and they had to check if I really was allowed in.”

Part 46 Part 48 →

Alternate Dimension (Part 46)

Itsuki: “He has already been eliminated by your current time? How? When?”

Kotomi: “Well, all that I could say is that there would be a lot of confusion, even more confusion than anything Saeko has already went through: Nobody could tell who’s who, as everyone’s appearance has changed overnight. I was surprised to suddenly see a lot of foreigners with hardly any locals, but, apart from the confusion, all were behaving like one. I’ve seen a grown-up crying like a baby, and a child driving a car. I didn’t think I was affected too until I looked at myself and my family. Everyone was forced to corporate with each other to solve the problem, by that, I mean thousands, or even millions, of people.”

So how do we know that the Kotomi here is the one we know and not someone else if you’re telling us that everyone’s appearance had changed? I’m guessing that it’s already been fixed, or you’re someone who has known her close enough to not raise our suspicious when we first saw you, or the problem was undone when traveling back in time, but if the last part is true, she would look the same as the Kotomi of this time. It’s also possible that Kotomi herself sent someone or an avatar who looks a lot like her here on her behalf to pass the message. Nobody knows how exactly the future will be, and predictions have proven to be different, like in the 1960s or 1970s of how 2001 would be like with all that space travel, but the computers that are nothing more than bulky things with flashing bulbs and query results are printed out like a large receipt or screens that looked like a large box with a curved glass that appears gray when not in use. Technology for video calls that they predicted is already here, but since people don’t want to seen or know their location, it never became big and is now limited to online chat and business meetings. Kotomi didn’t seem to bring along technological things except the ones of our time or earlier. Odd that what was released 3 months ago she had looked quite old, like she actually had it for a long time and not buying it just for this trip.

Itsuki: “Sounds like something big, like a 8.0 magnitude earthquake or the world war or something.”

Kotomi: “Erm, Saeko, I know what you’re thinking, but you do know that I’m from the future and can’t confirm anything more than what has already happened or known presently. As to why I could say about a cousin’s funeral in the future but not being able to say that…”

There was a weird sound that is usually heard when a corrupted video on a disc is being played, what was even more weird was that it came out of her mouth.

Kotomi: “…is my husband is because of a mandatory rule in the…”

That sound again. Though the vocal cords are technically able to make that sound, or other people’s voices, nobody is able to come as close as that sound, no matter how hard they tried, if they wanted to.

Kotomi: “…unless necessary. I hate to hear those weird sounds coming out of my mouth if I am trying to say what I’m not allowed to like a while ago. Makes me sound like a computer speaker. Anyways, I should go now as I have work to do, and people from my time might be watching my actions, even if there aren’t cameras around.”

With that, she runs off to some deserted area to make sure nobody saw her how she traveled through time. The words that the future Kotomi had left behind cleared up our doubts, but also raises questions like how is the mastermind captured? She didn’t specify a time-frame of when that would happen, apart from it already over by her time. The way she said it tells me that it will not happen quite soon and she won’t be there as the future Kotomi had just heard of it. We walked around the town aimlessly before she head back to her time. What’s so nostalgic of this place? She had never worked or studied here, and neither is it her hometown. Could be something that only she herself had experienced.

Itsuki: “I have a strong feeling that her future husband is me. Look at her face: it’s as though she is still seeing the both of us very frequently, especially the way she treated me.”

Me: “More importantly, how is that big boss going to be caught? She wouldn’t have come all the way from the future for nothing you know. It must be important and it’s obvious that there are more things she didn’t say, but left a lot of hints. We already know that she doesn’t show her actual feelings to anyone else besides us, but what we saw is rather absurd. We saw her crying deeply twice, but the way she talked while crying was as though she’s not crying at all, apart from the sobbing voice.”

Itsuki: Yeah, what did she do? She mentioned “her employees”, so it could be something wrong that happened at work. She is one of the people behind what happened to you, though she herself was a test subject by her uncle at birth, with abnormalities not appearing until many years later, though Kotomi herself noticed that her body does things she doesn’t understand, but the uncle saying that it was normal like why she fell in love with me, and can’t stop thinking of me despite not interested in me at all at first. Sounds like her body doesn’t cooperate with her own mind.

Why are you talking about this? I already knew this, and it somewhat applies to me too.

Me: “And that escaped man, we don’t know what he’s capable of, or anyone he keeps in contact with, but the international police are on the alert. I don’t think he’s stupid enough to keep his original look and wore a disguise like how he escaped and documents that would even fool the authorities if they were to check. It was hard to tell what he was wearing as people were too focused on me back then and assumed that the boss was one of those who were already arrested or shot.”

•••••

My task at the Powell Institute most of the time is just to help others, especially difficult and overdue tasks, so it wouldn’t make a difference if I helped apart from slightly less work to do, though I do this remotely without showing my face. Being reminded of what Takagi-senpai had said to me, I checked the employee records. There are several with that family name in the records, but different given name. I’m not familiar with the latter, so I should look through their bio and photo too. She did tell me how she was employed here, though unaware that I am the founder. The highest level most of my employees have seen are their immediate superior or one of the directors, but I can overwrite their decisions and give instructions to my employees directly. Unless there is a strong reason to do so, I would normally not interfere with the human resources department on deciding who comes in or gets kicked out. Except the few who saw me during the last crisis, those who saw me would think that I’m just an another visitor until they noticed me in a staff-only or restricted areas, which I usually don’t do.

Now that the yearly attract-new-members-to-your-club, period of the new school year is over, the club that I’m now in charge of has seen a large amount of people entering, comparable to sports clubs. Not surprisingly since it’s popular, and there were spillovers from disbanded clubs. During that time though, a lot of people came just to see me for the same reason as last year’s, though not as chaotic.

One of the people from the disbanded clubs is a familiar face from the neighboring art club: Takuya Ishida (石田 卓哉), a second year student. It’s a shame to see that club close down, but there’s not enough support to keep it going. He seemed lost at first, but felt better when I introduced to things like 3D modeling, and video and image editing. He might not currently understand programming, but he’s certainly quite talented in designing and visualizing.

Club activities is the only thing I’m looking forward to these days, as everything else is the same routine I’m so used to. Besides that, the only other thing that’s not the same each time is Itsuki bringing me out to places. Are there any major events to look forward to? By major, I mean something that I would really look forward to, or something that are the most notable out from a lot of things that I went through and remember them well. Odd that I can still remember a particular trip to the supermarket 5 years ago clearly even though nothing significant happened and is considered a regular thing at that time.

There’s a new club that has been created in the previous school year by big fans of anime, Frontier, Crimson, The Tower of Something, R2 Rebellion, Kokoro wo Taberu and War with the Library, are among the ones that are on TV now, according to them. I checked the schedule, and it airs after midnight. No wonder they looked sleepy or hoped that their recorders had caught it due to the schedule changing by a few minutes from time to time, or, worse, postponed by an another week due to some sports event. I sometimes don’t understand what they are talking about among themselves, like the term “Nice Boat” that everyone was talking about about the time it was formed. At least they are the peaceful type as to not beat people up. I can’t believe the amount of money spent on merchandise that could be used for more meaningful things.

Part 45 Part 47


Last edited: 13 March 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 45)

Takagi: “As for the rest of the club members… I don’t know what they would be doing, but that recent incident in the papers involving Hatsuya’s long-time rival did seem to have an impact on their original plans. Anyways, I want to go now. See you then, if I get to see you again, Hisakawa-san.”

We certainly have been here for quite a while: the place is almost quiet now.

Me: “Yeah, see you then. Takagi-san.”

She turned around and walked towards the main building. From where we were, I couldn’t tell if she’s walking around the school for the last time or if she’s already heading out through the gates. I don’t know when I would see her again, if ever. Either way, I found myself alone again. There was nothing but the sound of the leaves rustle in the wind for quite a while. Before long, I felt being hugged from behind. The aura of the person hugging me feels awfully familiar: it’s like I’m being hugged by myself.

Itsuki: “So there you are. Why are you crying?”

Itsuki had sneak up to me. What is he doing here?

Me: “It’s nothing. It’s just that any graduating ceremony makes me sad, and I had not been to one since graduating from middle school.”

Itsuki: “Didn’t the both of us attended for high school graduation ceremony the year before?”

He showed me one from his school at Katsura and the other of me at Mihara. I don’t recall the latter event.

Me: “If that happened during when my time was frozen during the dimensional change, how am I there as per normal?”

Itsuki: “That’s either our counterpart in the dimension you were cloned in, or something that fills in the void while you were not around. Something like the Kotomi you saw being killed. It is a way to minimize the impact to others if someone were to suddenly disappear off to somewhere until they return.”

Itsuki re-winded the one of his graduation until Kotomi appeared to be walking up to the stage. She was in the school’s student council, but she never revealed what position she was in.

Me: “What’s so out of the ordinary about her speech that I don’t know about?”

Itsuki: “Look closely at the school principal.”

It wasn’t obvious from the audience point of view, but the backstage angle revealed that he said something to her. Kotomi herself didn’t understand what he said, but the speech she had to give to the large audience in front of her forced her not to ask him questions about it at that time.

Itsuki: “Shame, that old man is now gone due to health problems. He was the first person who told her about the train incident a couple of years prior to the actual event, but she thought it was a joke as he told her that on her 16th birthday. Oh, on the date she claimed to have come back from the other dimension, her behavior was completely different from the day before, but still within her characteristics. She was literally crying in my arms and saying stuff that I wasn’t paying attention to, though I did hear indirectly talking about you.”

Me: “I would like to meet her again, but that won’t happen for an another two and a half years, unless a family or relative of hers is hospitalized or has passed away, which is highly unlikely to happen.”

Itsuki: “I’ve actually brought her along with me. She’s currently hiding somewhere nearby. We were searching for you after the graduation ceremony.”

Voice from behind: “Hi there! Saeko, you really had not changed at all through all these years.”

“All these years”? And that voice… it’s familiar. I turned around, but visually, I don’t recognize her. Kotomi’s older sister? But she’s the eldest in the family…

The three of us started to walk out of the gate and talk along the way. The school is deserted by then, with only the graduates that have deep attachment of the school and those cleaning up the place. I was bored of where I was, but where are we walking to?

Itsuki: “She claims to be from the future. Though she didn’t say how far, she did say that she is married with two children in primary school. It does explain why she looks a lot older and more mature than when I last saw the present Kotomi. She didn’t tell me whom she’s married to.”

Kotomi: “You two will find out when the time comes. I came here because of what I just found out and could only be done in your time. I can’t talk to my younger self because, as you know, I was studying in a well known Californian university and there is this annoying, but yet cause consequences if not followed, law of not allowing the past self to see the future self, but the reverse is allowed. Don’t worry, the me who’s there will come back here some months before graduation in mid-2009 for a funeral of a family relative. Anyways, Saeko, you might have experienced it recently, where they had cut you… Oh, sorry, I made myself cry.”

She started to cry as though it had an impact on her, but she’s trying her best to stop herself from crying. The Kotomi I know would cry into my… erm… Itsuki’s arms for quite a while and let her feelings take over her. I think I know what she was talking about. It became more obvious as time passed since the first time I met her that her inner behavior does not match with her external expression in front of people. Me, Itsuki, and her unknown husband are the only ones who saw her true colours she doesn’t show to others. Not sure about her children.

Kotomi (sad): “Anyways, forgive my current mood. You do know that the rival of the Hatsuya Research Institute has been brought down, right? Well, apparently, the “big boss” had escaped.

Itsuki: “Had escaped? But how?”

Kotomi: “Apparently, he was hiding in a place the police had overlooked and stayed there long enough to have the police at the ground floor leave. The police had checked all the rooms except storerooms and female toilets. This guy is heavily armed that he could easily take down heavily armored group of policemen. Saeko, you are the only one who can take on his attacks, but we need to change your reaction to it away from “pretend to be actually killed” mode. You have experienced that on several occasions, and found it annoying as it makes you helpless. That means that you being cut by a chainsaw would not even penetrate and not even leave a wound instead of your body parts all over the place with the blood, flesh, and… Argh, I’m crying again, and it’s stronger than the last.”

Though I sense annoyance on herself crying, the way she cried says that she’s honestly sad about it.

Kotomi (sobbing): “Since young, I’ve trained myself not to show my angry self to others, how stressed I am, or do anything that would caused people to see me with a negative impression. As time passed, this turned into me being unable to express my actual mood. People had pointed out that my tone of voice, the way I say things, my external expression, and what I wrote, sometimes do not match with each other, though the words I say or write are the most reliable way to tell my actual mood. They get confused when I gave people a promotion or pay rise when I told them that with my frustrated expression and angry tone of voice as though they would be dismissed from work, though I had told everyone that I suffer from uncontrollable mood swings.”

Sure enough, she suddenly became happy upon seeing how different things are between her time and my time. I wonder how things in the future look like?

Itsuki: “So before you were interrupted by your uncontrollable crying, you were saying he had escaped. How did he manage to hide from the police?”

Kotomi: “As you recall, there was the time where he made everyone disappear with their things on the ground. I don’t know if I was one of them as it happened when I was already sleeping.”

The time difference between California and Japan is about 17hours. That’s almost a whole day behind!

Kotomi: “He used the machine to his advantage to try to sneak away, but since he noticed you approaching, he hid in a toilet the police didn’t find him in, and probably wore a disguise to leave undetected. All that I can say is that he has already been eliminated in my time.”

Part 44 Part 46 →

Alternate Dimension (Part 44)

Classmate 1: “Yesterday was totally bizarre isn’t it? I was studying in the afternoon when the sky suddenly became night with my pen I was holding on the ground and me sitting on top of my clothes. I swear I was wearing them a moment earlier. Good thing I was in my room.”

Classmate 2: “The same happened to me too, but I was outside. Quite embarrassing. The same seem to happen to everyone else at the same time too. Some even found themselves in a mysterious crash, but are unharmed.”

Classmate 3 (laughing): “Sounds like there is a serial mass undresser on the loose. By the way, have you heard? That research company that was previously accused for murders years ago, but with no evidence found, has finally been brought down. Here, look!”

She showed a newspaper, that appears to be today’s edition, to the other two.

Classmate 1: I bet they were behind the massive…

She jumped in shock and became disturbed on what she saw.

Classmate 1: “That’s way cruel, cutting a woman into pieces, and there’s several articles inside confirming their past accusations, including ones I’ve never heard of before or seem related. But who’s this recent, most violently attacked, victim? They didn’t mention who she is or what caused the incident to happen.”

Classmate 2: “That victim in pieces looks a lot like… Hisakawa-san? Our own school-wide famous classmate?”

The three girls turned to look at me. I just waved at them with a smile when I saw them looking at me. They smiled back at me before they turn back to each other.

Classmate 1: “No, she’s right here and is still alive in one piece. If she wasn’t, she wouldn’t be here and we would have heard of it by now.”

Classmate 2: “But the victim here resembles her the most, and the images here are not fake.”

Please don’t ask me, I don’t want to answer to whose body that is even though I know that was me. I might accidentally reveal my secret if you make me and I don’t like to tell lies either.

Classmate 3: “Well, the article did say that the victim was working for their major competitor, the Hatsuya Institute. Hatsuya is known for developing a lot of advanced, yet top secret, things that other research companies would want to know. Who knows if that victim is one of their many clones they have. Securing a job at Hatsuya alone is very hard with high qualification levels and, although not mentioned, they might even do a deep background check for personality, abilities, and, if any, check on how their past criminal records happened.”

Classmate 2: “There’s no mention of what happened to everyone else yesterday even though it’s quite obvious and it happened on a massive scale. It’s as though us humans, except those involved in this article, had vanished into thin air somehow during that time for hours that, to us, seemed like a fraction of a second.”

Something like this seem to be the topic everyone is talking about lately, but none asked if I had somehow rose up from the dead. The situation could have been different if they had published my name and photo. There was no mention of the company I founded at all.

Classmate 4: “Hey girls, what are you… Uwa!”

This guy is usually one of the last to come back from lunch. He seem to like to do classroom duty with me, but is normally seen hanging around with those girls as at least one of them is his childhood friend.

Me: “I know, she looks a lot like me. Saw it on the morning news. I was really shocked myself when I saw the body. I don’t know who that is.”

Actually, I didn’t watch the news, though I had look at a bulletin board website and the images people (anonymously) posted there earlier on my phone.

Anyways, the third semester of the first year is ongoing currently. More of the third years had turn up less frequently or even stopped coming to the club to prepare for their college entrance tests. Among the third years that are still around are those not continuing to college, having the test earlier or later than everyone else, think that they will get in easily, or those dedicated to the computer club like the club president who would turn up in the club room just to study. Since I was already elected to be the club president for the following school year, I have unofficially taken over him as most of the members asked me instead of him while the current president watches me on how I would handle the situation. Wonder if my third year seniors know that I’m actually a year older than them? They addressed me as their senior after announcement of me being the president from this upcoming April.

Although it doesn’t concern me directly, closure of clubs due to lack of members at the end of the current school year does affect how many non first years entering the club next year, though there is a buffer time of a month to recruit new members. A most noticeable example of this is the art club located just next to us: after the third years had left, you don’t see much people around. Students graduating from middle school who are interested in the arts wouldn’t have picked this school anyway. I would like to help them, but I don’t know how. (They, or the school, could ask me odd questions if I try to help them financially.) Plus, I’m quite busy as the head of the computer club and doing whatever nonsense Itsuki would want me to do, although some of the orders are just relaying the orders of the Hatsuya institute.

Due to the time difference of about two months that occurred about a year ago when transferring dimensions (as my cloned body didn’t originally exist here while, ironically, my soul is), I missed out on a lot of things that happened during that time. I missed my own graduation ceremony since middle school, 4 years ago. Sure you can replay the video or attend somebody else’s, but it’s just not the same. Speaking of graduation, The graduation of my third year seniors is around the corner. Their last day of regular lessons was actually the end of the second term due to most college entrance tests being in January. How many times does Kotomi’s weird uncle wants me to go through this? More than that of the teachers apparently. No, it’s too depressing to talk about, and I don’t know what I said when I was giving out my speech, so I should skip forward to when they are stepping out of the school gates for the last time, though some chose to hang around for a bit longer. It’s quite easy to tell who the graduating third years are as they are wearing flowers pinned above the school badge and holding certificates the vice principal gave out earlier.

Me: “Takagi-senpai! I’ve something ask you!”

[Author’s note: Takagi is a family name]

I can’t ask a senior male club member as they would think that I am interested in them when calling out and might not be listening to me when they found out that I wanted to talk about something else instead. Also, this time-frame is rather short, not to mention the friends and family they might have brought along.

Takagi: “Oh? Hisakawa-san? Aren’t you our senior instead?”

Me: “That’s what I wanted to find out: I’ve been wondering for a long time why you and all the other people in the same year are calling me ‘senpai’.”

Takagi: “Well, while we were checking all the candidates, we have noticed that you have previously attended the famous Mihara academy and a typical one nearby between April 2004 and March 2007, along with working as a permanent staff of the Hatsuya institute many people are trying to het into. We also noticed there are three versions of you: the original male, the original female in the other dimension, and the clone of the female whose mind originated from the male. You fall into the third category, but inherited skills and possessions of what the second category had the first category didn’t have. From there alone, we noticed that you should be a year older than us instead of 2 years younger. Must be a shock for you to be able to do something completely different, but yet, able to do well. We were even more shocked to see that you had went through so many things that even a respected elderly would not have gone through.”

Wait, what did you say?

Me: “H…how did you know all of this?”

This must be a result of my cloned body being the “Property of Hatsuya Institute” and me transmitting information about myself, what I’m seeing/thinking what I did out in the open for everyone to see. Sad that I can’t stop it myself. I have no privacy, I can’t defend myself, I can’t return to my original self, I can’t remove what I’m wearing under my uniform, I can’t die, I can’t age, even if I seriously wanted it among other things. Worse part of it, I’m stuck with what I can’t do with this body for the rest of my (eternal) life. My body even does things by itself without even myself knowing what is going on and is sending me signals of feelings that is seperate of that of my mind which confuses me or made me unable to think. Odd that I can remember clearly during what happened during the time that I can’t think properly.

Takagi: “Apart from what you were thinking between what you last said and me saying this…”

Does she knows what I was thinking, or was that a wild guess?

Takagi: “…which was something about not being happy with yourself, one of the club members was randomly clicking links at the Hatsuya website under his father’s account when he saw a bio about you, dated the February of the previous year, like you are some kind of robot based on someone else. We noticed that you are better at computing than us. There are also ways to check what you are doing. One went to talk to you while the rest checks one of the ways mentioned. We were shocked that it actually follows exactly what you do! We didn’t tell you this because we assume that you already know about it. Talk about the lack of your own privacy. I’m sure you don’t think of yourself as a robot though.”

I started to cry into her chest and she pulled me closer to her body to comfort me. I have mixed reactions on her doing this to me: a part of my former male self is telling me to hold on to her for a while longer as I enjoy the feeling of… what am I thinking?

Me: “Takagi-san. Is there anything *sob* about the club that I *sob* should know about? Sorry, I can’t control myself.”

I said this in a sad voice as a result of my sobbing on top of my voice being muffled as my face is against her blazer. I was trying to say that in a serious voice.

Takagi: “Well, as you might already know, clubs are being closed down due to the lack of members, and our club might see the spillover effect. Even before you came, our club has enough members to not meet the axe. During the club exhibition period, well, making our club’s presence known and what we do should be enough. You can ask the other members for help, though when you just joined, a lot of guys wanted to join. We had to reject those who used you as a reason, but they still loiter outside the clubroom until the teachers had to pull them away. We noticed that you were annoyed by your own popularity, so we don’t blame you for the large crowd you brought to the club. You had even contributed to the club the most and completed given tasks in the quickest time that are somehow free from errors.”

People were looking at us, but there aren’t much people left as the graduation ceremony had ended quite a while back. Plus, the first and second years are already having their spring vacation now. If I were to be still a guy, those people around me would be gossiping even more and Takagi might mind what I’m doing to her right now even more to the extent of pushing me away, but I need someone to hug right now as I’m feeling lonely. Kotomi might not be back from her overseas studies for about two years. I don’t feel comfortable being with my other self (Itsuki) as he likes to stare at me and not listen to what I’m saying because my appearance distracts him (and other guys), despite the both of us being the same person.

Me: “So what do you plan to do now that you have graduated? Work? I heard you didn’t take any college entrance tests, but you look like you can enter college.”

Takagi: “Well, I myself entered the same competition you took, but a year ago, and was hired by a different company. I think it’s called Powell Research Institute or something like that. The company is a lot younger than Hatsuya, but seems to be rising quickly. Their headquarters is not far from here, and the place looks really nice.”

That’s the name of the company I founded. Even I don’t know how the Human Resources department hire people or even what criteria they are looking out for, but the employees I’ve came across are quite good and know what they are doing.

Part 43 Part 45