Haruka's Diary
Chasing After Rainbows: 2010

20 December 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 64)

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Kotomi's unexpected immediate departure after attending the funeral of Nanami's family on the same day as her arrival left Itsuki and I speechless, but at the same time relief our fears of the possibility of bringing her to our parent's house as there's the mess and questionable things left lying around in there. Our parents already knows about Itsuki's change of appearance when wearing his work attire (mother is always at home when Itsuki comes back), but they were not told to not say anything about it to Kotomi. Her graduation day is just a few months away, so I'm guessing that she is busy preparing for her final exams or project. I don't know when exactly her graduation day is, but I know the school year there starts in September instead of April here.

Our parents already see Itsuki and Kotomi like a married couple since they first met the latter. They say having a girl who is pretty, with grades far better than him, and her loving him like she can't live without him without caring about his appearance is quite hard, especially without itsuki doing much with a lot of competition. If you didn't know about Kotomi's family, you might easily mistake her to be a single child of a well-off family for having an uncle in a top position of a well-known company who sees her like a daughter that might succeed him and being the top in her middle and high school.

Mom: "You two are back already? where's that Miyazawa-san? You said she's flying in from America today. Is she with her family?"

Itsuki: "Well, she wanted to go back to her university as soon as the funeral ended. I'm not sure why myself. Oh, we were caught in the rain, so we should..."

Mom: Oh, yes right.

Itsuki and I share the same room, and mom was the one who said so. She saw me as the daughter she had wanted, and being the same person as the son she gave birth to instead.

Being in that room with him feels strange: he's the opposite gender as me and gets attracted to, but he's me too. He has used that seemingly normal looking computer on the study desk to control what I know and how I would behave. So far, he made me know more things than Kotomi and work related things. We had also gave up trying to hide secrets as we would know what the other learnt or knew, including passwords and number codes, so he can't surprise me unless he's doing it without thinking or when I'm sleeping. At the corner of the room, a white coat and... why are there female clothing besides the Mizuho uniform?

Itsuki: "Ah! Well, some of these are what I found myself wearing underneath the uniform while removing, and the rest are... either bought while at Mizuho, or borrowed from you."

Sometimes I wonder if he is crazy or is forced to do it.

Me: ""Borrowed" from me? You just took them from my house near here without telling me. Well, I guess it's okay with me... but wash them when it gets dirty."

Itsuki has access to my penthouse that was completed some years ago. I wanted the whole family to move there, but my parents doesn't want to. Itsuki is staying at the old house only because he doesn't want to be lonely, but does drop by my house as there are many things there.

My car that was given to me by the Hatsuya Institute is parked at the basement, but Itsuki uses it to go piratically anywhere where there is parking space, without my permission. I couldn't stop him from using it as the car's security could not tell the difference between me and him. There's a feature where only I could do is to tell where the car is or summon it to anywhere, and driving without controlling or being in the driver's seat. I don't think it's even possible to try this, but you can't crash the car into anything: the car would analyze the surrounding area so that you would have full control of the car unless it detects unsafe driving or about to be crashed into by an external thing, where the car might seem to not respond and doing its thing until the danger is over. Some fine-tuning needs to be done to prevent over-reacting, but it's hard to tell when the car is actually adverting danger while trying to look as though you aren't in any. I don't know how it can be upgraded to not look dated after a few years.


Author's note: Sorry if it's shorter than usual. I have many end-of-the-year things to do and can't really think about what to write. What you see above is actually completed the previous week and never got to be published until now.

06 December 2010

Disorientated Feelings (Part 34)

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Being the head of this branch for some time not only means that I know more of my staff, especially the senior ones, but also my set of personality differences for family and work gets blurred. The office is filled with copies of certificates I received, and family photos. I've been here for almost a decade to have me decorating the place, but most of the things do not belong to me. They either belong to the company or the supervisors of this branch before me. Golf and traveling brochures hidden in the drawers serves as a reminder of how much they do not care about the staff. My picture at the end of a row of portraits of supervisors who had been here, and their years in office below the picture in the frame, tells me that I'm the first female supervisor here and had been in office for longer than each of the previous supervisors. Although that's a fact, I don't actually care about that, but my colleagues (including from headquarters) kept praising me for it. The years those men served are actually short compared to other branches, and the staff who had been here earlier than me said that they did not care about the staff's welfare.

When I try to look or think about my children, I somehow couldn't get my mind to register anything about them besides the order they are born in and the faint feeling of me and my husband's presence combined. Itsuki doesn't seem to have this problem I'm facing as he doesn't understand my disability. I can't hear the voices of the children too, and don't know what curse or illness I'm having as I don't have that problem with other people's children. Why is it preventing me from knowing my own children? It's so bad that Saeko was tasked to help me. That, and the recent revelation of what happened to Itsuki at work since college days, and the possible strangeness inherited from me, it's hard to tell what my children would be like when they grow up. Hopefully not like my youngest brother, Kousei: he developed a severely mismatching behavior and is physically weaker than his peers.

When my staff visit my office, the thing that catches their eye when looking at my certificates is that I have a first-class degree of a well known university in California, with photos attached as proof that I really did attend there. Sometimes, I am shocked of my own achievements. The exams I took felt unnaturally easy: I didn't understand the questions well, but I get high grades for the answers I wrote or have the best answer to automatically come out of my mouth (complete with hand gestures to go with it). It has been like this since I was born, so I can't say if this is not normal, or if my brain and body is has its own behavior separate from my mind.

03 December 2010

How to NOT be well known

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From what I have discovered as I wonder around, here are some things that publishers/broadcasters do to indirectly say that they do not want to be well known or make more money. That is, assuming that the subject in question has nothing wrong with it.

  1. Use "copyright infringement" as an excuse to remove free promotion by others.
    1. With these videos removed, fewer people would know about it, and popularity dropped
    2. People who have heard about the takedown might have lost interest about the subject that has been removed and would boycott any future releases of the subject concerned, or even the party that has requested the removal
    3. If (1) doesn't happen, they might just block it, place ads, or mute the audio.
  2. Limit viewing to only certain countries and a few others. People from countries outside the allowed places can't view them, even if the person viewing it is form the allowed country, but on a holiday or working/studying overseas.
    1. Munchy Crumbs
    2. iCylinder
    3. Koro (葫蘆)
    4. Smiling Moving Pictures
    5. ...many more
  3. Making multiple point of views of the same timeline of events to fill in the gaps.
    1. Nakunaru no Toki wa
    2. Depression of Cool Temple
    3. Relying Sky
    4. Play-biting
  4. Annoying/Unnecessary/Redundant dubs/subs. And maybe make a lot of alteration from the original, including changing the opening and ending themes.
  5. Targeting only certain markets, and ignoring those from elsewhere despite popularity
If you're wondering why I'm writing this, one of my accounts of (2.2) has been suspended for (1) after (1.3) happened. I still have the videos that were taken down, but I don't plan to upload them back up. (1) is designed to protect from being plagiarized (copying and claiming as theirs), but what they have done says otherwise.

21 November 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 63)

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I explained to Kotomi of how I was the same person as she met 5-6 years ago, but in a different body. She seems to be believing every word I said even though I have been expecting otherwise. She seemed more friendly towards me than Itsuki.

Then, as though I'm hearing Itsuki's voice from inside my head, he tells me that he has done changing and hidden the Mizuho uniform somewhere in the car. Come to think of it, I haven't changed mine too: I was intending to change into what Kotomi is used to seeing me in, but time constraints didn't allow for that, and I can't wear anything over the uniform, except a lab coat. Since transferring into my current body, I've always found myself always wearing a skirt of a length halfway between my hips and knees, with the longest I could wear barely reaching my knees, and unable to wear longer ones or anything else, including jeans and traditional outfits, for reasons unknown to me. The timing of the new Mizuho uniforms seems as if it's because of me that they made a major redesign after decades.

As scary as it was, my complete change of natural behavior six years ago still scares me. If I didn't have Itsuki around, I might have forgotten what I was like. My mood keeps changing, but I am unable to express anger, which is why I can't scold Itsuki even when he annoys me a lot. Since he's with my original body, was tasked to watch over me, and with some tracking device inside me that I can't turn off or remove myself, it's hard to avoid him. I'm now living on what I had wished strongly for six years ago, but never expected for it to actually happen.

Me: "Oh, sorry to drag you into my sad story. Itsuki is waiting for us outside. I'll handle your luggage and prepare the clothes for the funeral of your relatives."

Come to think of it, I have never verbally said his name for a long time. The feeling of saying my former name from a third-person perspective gives me the creeps.

Itsuki: "Oh, Kotomi. I see you have met up with my master, this little girl with you. Hehe."

"Master"? "Little girl"? What are you talking about? You treat me like trash just because I'm a female clone of you and think that you can do whatever to me without... oh whatever.

Me: "Just drive, seeing that you are showing off to her."

I feel small with Kotomi and Itsuki both having already aged. I was supposed to be of the same age as them now, but my body is stuck as a teenager: neither a child nor an adult. Strange that Kotomi has yet to ask what I have been doing or called me by name. It was raining heavily with dark clouds when we left the airport.


Kotomi: "So, anything we didn't discuss on the phone or online?"

There was a pause, probably too quick for Kotomi to notice. Itsuki can't say that he works inside Mizuho or being forced to turn into a woman because of the work uniform. He came to my apartment yesterday to hide things like those clothes if Kotomi were to visit his house. It's already troublesome enough to ask our parents to not talk about it with Kotomi around until the right time approaches.

Itsuki: "Oh, nothing much, just some work and all. I'm working there full time now. This girl with us here is currently in the third cycle as a high school student in first year, changing schools at the end of each cycle. I'm actually gaining knowledge on what is the latest trend and behavior among teenagers of a particular era, and maybe solve some mysteries and cases."

Don't remind me. Anyway, I explained to Kotomi about how I knew Nanami while at Kamisugi High (previous school I attended) and her resemblance to Kotomi. I explained on how Nanami is like while her family was still alive.

Kotomi: "You have certainly know a lot about her. I didn't even know I had such a relative: my family tree on dad's side is too big and confusing. I can't control who my relatives above me are since I'm their decedents, but I can say if I want children, when they are born, or how many."

Nanami's grandparents and Kotomi's great-grandparents both refer to the same people. Isn't that confusing? The confusion was caused by Kotomi's father and grandfather of being the eldest son and having children while still teenagers or in their early twenties. Kotomi has been complaining to me of how she was born when her parents had just graduated from high school and before being married. She also does not want to be the eldest child of so many siblings. By tradition of being the eldest child, she is supposed to stay with her parents even when they retire and grow very old, but they are thinking of leaving that to Kousei or Kuniko, Kotomi's two youngest siblings, instead. Their parents had told Itsuki that Kuniko has been invading Kotomi's bedroom while she's away. The parents really do look too young to be Kotomi's parents, but wouldn't look odd for the younger children.

Kotomi: "By the way, have you seen my luggage? I'm sure we entered this car empty handed."

I stored them inside me while you weren't looking. Apparently, she doesn't understand my hand signal for that. Giving up trying to understand, she asked mostly on what I was doing since she last saw me. I'll give you what you want from your bag when you need it.

One of the things I talked about is about Itsuki and my parents still living at the old house despite offering financial assistance (I have too much money and they don't earn much) and to live in a place I own nearby that is larger with better fixtures. Nobody is living there now, though Itsuki does drop by the house even when I'm not around.

We have reached the place of the funeral. Outside, the weather remains unchanged. It seems as though the rain itself represents Nanami's sadness. I heard some of my staff from Powell discussing about me paying a lot for an unnecessary grand funeral place as the deceased is neither important enough nor rich. To be fare, the general public and the media also contributed to the funds, and I never touched the company's funds for this funeral.

During the entire time, I quietly stayed away from Kotomi and her family until it was time to give things to Nanami. Kotomi's dad was crying the most. The children had a look of being clueless of what they are even doing there.

I gave Nanami some of my money. It's only small change to me, but it is a lot to most. She was thinking that I'm a relative's friend's sister, but she seem to have the odd feeling of familiarity when it was my turn. Nanami had never seen me before that moment for a long time, and I look different from when she last saw me. She might be shocked on how much cash I'm giving as it's probably worth more than the total that everyone else gave. Kotomi noticed me giving me the cash.

Kotomi: "Itsuki, I will be heading back to the airport. There's still the final exam to come."

You are going back already?! Not even to go back home with your family?

Itsuki said exactly what I was thinking, but with delay.

Kotomi: "Don't worry. I'll be back after graduation. People from our high school already have expectations since not much students who graduate from there could even make to places like Todai, let alone a top university overseas."

I wasn't around when Kotomi graduated from there or found out about her being able to go there, so I can't really say what happened.

Related: Disoriented Feelings (Part 21, 22), An Unexpected Wish (Part 1)

14 November 2010

What to do with an annoying ad

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So, you were happily clicking around when something pops out at your face or hear some sound that did not came from what you were interacting with, or some redirect page just for the ad. There are no additional software/plug-in or coding hacks involved. There are three of the most annoying kinds (besides pop ups/under) I'm talking about here, though I don't think these points would be useful.

I'm complaining mainly because less than 1% of the ads I come across are even reverent to my interest, and none of that 1% could attract my interest to click on the link.

Banners that enlarge and/or play some animation, static ad that pauses the video underneath it
This is kind of annoying if you are hovering over one and the link you wanted to click on is obstructed by the banner. Here's how to deal with it:
  1. Tolerating
  2. Using an ad-blocker
  3. Complain to the owner of the site
  4. Subscribe to some "premium" account to have it not appear

Redirects you to some page that displays ads of any kind for x-amount of seconds
This is kind of tricky and more annoying than the above. In addition to the above here are some more points:
  1. Click on an "X" or a link that (claims to) bring you to the page you are supposed to see
  2. Wait for x amount of time (usually 30s) before redirecting
  3. Load the page again and hope the redirect does not happen
Video ads that plays before the video you wanted and can't be skipped
Usually applies to online video streaming through a desktop browsers. I don't mind it appearing at the beginning of a cinema theater film, but this kind should not even exist on DVDs too. This are the most irritating type of ad besides pop-ups. Here's what you do with it:
  1. Watch it
  2. Look elsewhere while waiting
  3. Refresh the page
  4. Pay money for an account that does not have that to appear
  5. Look for an alternative version/method that does not have this to appear
  6. Forget about the video you wanted to watch, and move along

10 November 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 62)

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Besides the crazy things that Yuko told me on my first day about the academy, Mizuho is actually a normal school and does not have strange lessons like what I feared might happen. With this strange rule of Mizuho students not being able to physically change out of the uniforms until graduation, I would wonder how things are done or what to do should I find myself drenched or be splattered with paint or mud.

I have to do some paperwork to let myself in the restricted areas of the Powell institute since the staff are going to see me as I am now a lot. The staff processing my forms thinks that the one approving it and the person being allowed in are two different people while it's actually letting myself in while in disguise. They might expect me in my disguised form to be "employed" in the near future. I mean, why would I want to be employed by the very same company I founded? Simple: to experience what my new staff go through, and to see if my staff would do things that they wouldn't do if they know my true identity.

As summer approaches, I received a call from Nanami in the middle of the night. It was one of those random nights where I would hang out with Itsuki at our parents' house. I could hear police sirens in the background. Itsuki once told me that she's Kotomi's cousin, but have never met each other before. Nanami was weeping throughout the call. The last I met her, she doesn't seem to know anyone outside her immediate family, besides me, well.

Nanami: "T-They're dead... I thought the house was oddly dark and called the neighbour, but then I saw... waa"

She started crying and hung up before completing her sentence. What's going on? It sounded serious.

I heard a name of a reporter that I know of from the news of a particular channel being mentioned in the background that is usually on at this time, so I turned it on. What I saw shocked me that I had to call Itsuki.

Itsuki: "What is it? I was having fun with... WHAT?! I should let the Miyazawa family know about it!"

"Girl Finds Family Murdered" was the headline, showing what is clearly the house Nanami lives in with police surrounding it. The reporter said that the house have been broken into, but is not visible if one were to have a quick glance from the outside. People close to Nanami's father and brother noted that they did not turn up at their usual place and thought that they had only fallen ill. It seems obvious that the incident happened right after Nanami, the only one who last saw them alive, had left for school. Police investigations are still going on.

Itsuki: "I've notified the family and Kotomi. Kotomi will be rushing back from America just for the funeral when the autopsy on the bodies are done. Due to time constraints, I do not have the time to head home from work to pick her up from the airport and go pick her up directly. I need you to buy me some time to change, so I will pick you up on my way out. I can't let her see me wearing the Mizuho uniform. At least, not yet. Oh, and also, I'm planning to propose marrying her."

Those last few words Itsuki said... I don't know if I should be happy or sad about it. Happy because of the marriage bit, or sad because I used to be a part of him, and I, as him back then, experienced meeting Kotomi for the first time and following me around. All from my point of view.

Itsuki: "Er..."

*****

The location of the funeral wake is big enough to hold a lot of people from the media to even friends of Nanami. Multiple parties are paying for the cost of the funeral, including strangers, and even more would offer something to her but this is usually a one-off thing and are never heard of again. I had donated some of it, under the name of the Powell Institute.

Investigations are still incomplete, but they had gather enough data for the autopsy and sent to the funeral. It seems that food prepared for breakfast was still on the dining table with a lot of unconsumed food and drinks, with only one eaten set at the kitchen sink when they checked the kitchen. That eaten set has traces belonging to Nanami. The murder scene, which was previously not mentioned, was at the corridor at the base of the ground floor. The brother's body was at the foot of the stairs, the mother at the doorway of the kitchen opposite, and the father in-between. The latter two were facing downwards, and all were in the pool of their own blood with no sign of being dragged away from their original positions. It was not clear what they were all doing there, but it is clear that a sharp blade of some sort was used as a murder weapon. Nobody knows what was stolen as the rest of the house was relatively tidy.

On the day of the funeral, there are huge dark clouds that did not fall until afternoon. There's even strong lightning and thunder too. Since I'm not a relative, I wasn't excused from school until Yuko (Itsuki in his female form when wearing the Mizuho uniform for work) called for me. The teacher did not question Yuko as the latter was in the uniform that only someone of the same level as the school principal or higher would wear. Although the way it's done does attract attention.

Yuko: "...sorry to disturb you all. Anyway, Kanade-chan, it seems that Kotomi might have just arrived by the time we reach there, so you are going to wait near the car while I go and search for a quiet spot with nobody or no security cameras around: it's one of the conditions for me to be able to turn back. I have already told her the description of our car, but not of your existence."

The car in question is actually mine, but security measures can't differenceate between me and my other self.

Me: "So where is the car? There's a thunderstorm outside."

Yuko: "We are protected from being wet or falling ill, but I'm not sure about being struck by lightning... You can make the car drive itself to the nearest pick up point without us exposing to the outdoors, right? Hurry up, I can't run with what I'm wearing now."

Let's see... the car is currently parked at the Hatsuya branch here, but there's no shelter there. The next nearest place the car can go that is sheltered is...

Me: "The subway station in the office area with an underground car park. The car will be waiting for us in there near the elevator from the station."

Yuko: "Oh, great. Let's hurry there."

There was a tone of disappointment in her voice, but not on her face. Yuko is seen walking at a normal pace despite saying being in a hurry, but it's clear that she's annoyed with her restricted leg movement that forces her to walk gracefuly regardless of how much of a hurry she is in.

The entrance to the subway station from where we were is the esceleator inside the cafeteria. Since the subway is free, there are no ticket machines or gates. The trains arrive at every minute during the day and less frequent at night. The station we are headed to is just a few stops away.

The approaching the destination station, the train seems to enter through a skyscraper. This office district seriously looks like the middle of a big city! (Though somewhat depressing-looking with the dark clouds above.) Everywhere I look, there is a sea of young women in various colour schemes of the office uniform everywhere and there is an odd complete absence of males.

Yuko: "The colours represents the company they are working for, but the person with the highest position of their office wears the same attire as me. Anyway, we don't have time to explore. Where is the elevator, and what floor?"

I don't know where myself, but my body is moving by itself to the nearest elevator and pressing the deepest level of the underground car park. Our car is waiting just outside the lift lobby. Wait, what?

Yuko: "Wait. Is this car ours? I'm sure I had parked this car elsewhere. Looking at your face, it seems that you are shocked yourself too. Come on, let's go!"

Yuko jumped right into the driver's seat. Closer to the surface, there are visibly more parked cars. The rain is getting noticeably heavier as time passed that it looked like night with streets lights not turned on. I've never seen this kind of weather for a long time or lasted for a long time.

When we arrived at the airport, the arrival information indicates that Kotomi's flight has landed. Looks like there's not much time left.

Yuko: "Uh oh. I should hurry now. Say hi to Kotomi for me."

Me: "Hey! What am I supposed to... she's too far away already."

About five minutes later, Kotomi appeared and looked at my direction. She seem shocked to to see me. Well, it has been several years. Wonder if she still think of me as Mamiko, the name I was using the last she saw me.

Kotomi: "I know I haven't seen you for a long time, but what are you doing here? Where is Itsuki?"

I miss her so much. I have been waiting for more than three years just to meet her again. So much that I cried into her without caring about the people around.

07 November 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 61)

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The downtown district of the academy resembles very much like the downtown areas I know of. The upper floors of these buildings has offices, or dormitories. To get here from the main entrance, you would have to take the subway as it's quite a long walk in and the only roads in the campus are only between the vehicle entrance and the sector where most of the offices in the campus are. It's almost like walking and the subway are the only way to get around. Running and cycling is actually allowed, but nobody except students were seen doing so because they physically can't. The subway has entrances at various places around the campus.

As there are only young ladies here wearing the assigned mandatory Mizuho uniform, there are no clothes or shoe shops at all. I see products that are only sold in the campus, like milk with higher-than-usual nutrition and is quite popular, but the quantity stocked seems relative to the number of people in the campus the day before. Handbags with the school's logo sold here could hold an infinite amount of things and the only weight you feel is the bag itself. The only things you can't put in are people, and those that could contaminate other things inside easily.

Everything in here looks futuristic, but the things they are made out of is actually available currently. People outside are not using it because of costs, old ways still being practiced, the lack of creativity of it's application, amongst many other reasons. The reduced differences between people and self-distraction (quite literally) seems to be the main reason that other schools lack that Mizuho produces so many top-grade students and, for companies, and higher chances of demands being met on time for things within their control. I haven't been to the area where most of the officers are, but I do see skyscrapers in the general direction of those. I can't tell if those buildings are outside the campus.

Speaking of offices, I'm dropping by the Hatsuya branch office here to see if there's anything for me since they are the ones who sent me here. The land the office it's at is about the size of a stadium field, so it's neither big nor small. The corridors and staircases are as narrow as a normal house. For a company that is well known with many branches and contributes the most to the academy, the building of their branch seems rather small and low-profile. It's barely larger than the first branch I work at. There's a carpark at the front, and I see my car that Itsuki drove being parked there. It's rather small. There's a warning sign saying that only Hatsuya staff could enter. With the Mizuho uniform designs, this usually means that unauthorised people are those in student or teaching uniforms. Staff of other branches being allowed in are unknown. I don't know what I'm under as it just lets me in instantaneously with no problems. Well, I don't know why...

Voice from behind: "How did a student like you get in here? Wasn't the reader at the building's entrances supposed to only let the staff who work here... oh wait, it's you. Didn't recognize you with your new look. What should I call you, "Kanade Haneda" as in your school records, or the usual "Saeko" you are more familiar with?"

A woman wearing the mysterious Mizuho uniform approached me with a sigh on her face. Only people who are in the highest position of the school or company they are a part of wear them. The staff pass she's wearing has a slightly different name of Yuko Hisakawa (久川由子) printed on it, which raises my doubt on this is the same Itsuki I know of as there's absolutely no hints on her being him with that very feminine appearance and behavior. She even knows  the name I use here and my actual name.

[Author's note: From here on, Itsuki in his female form is referred as Yuko. "Other self" still refers to the protagonist, or Itsuki/Yuko if it's from the protagonist point of view.]

Yuko: "You don't seem to recognize me, but that's excusable because of your condition when you last came here and the changes with the new uniform. Don't worry, I won't disturb you when I'm like this, but forgive my actions when I turn back. I can remember what I did in either form, so you don't need to remind me. I don't know why my uniform is the odd one out from my colleagues or what it means. It wasn't one of the designs I had either tested or informed of. I mean, what am I wearing now? It's the most embarrassing thing I have been forced to wear on top of being near-impossible to remove, though I oddly don't out of place and feel comfortable."

She doesn't seen to be aware that she is their leader. When I saw them working the last I was here, they all worked under orders from headquarters or the administrative department of the academy.

Me: "What's with the name change? Didn't you say something about having a gender-neutral name not being changed?"

Yuko: "I'm well known enough to not be allowed to keep my original given name when I'm like this without others thinking that I'm crazy to my already confused self-identity. On the official records, I'm seen as two different and unrelated staff, but certainly some people like the director would know about this. Before you ask, the uniform also can't be removed in the dormitory or for sports activities and I'm not behind this craziness as it dates back far before I was even posted here. Be lucky that I suggested the new designs that are more diversified with many versions and up with the times that is considered a major makeover over the previous conservative design that actually seemed old-fashioned when compared to most other schools at that time, but they went to the opposite end of that scale and now look better than the current counterparts. I would like to tell you more, but even I am kept in the dark on how things work here. There's something about the uniform around the areas covering the most sensitive parts of the female body that is making everyone campus-wide, including myself, feeling strongly aroused at random times once everyday, but nobody is talking about it and carry on as though it never happened once it ended. It can happen during meetings and important exams too. Only way to avoid it is to be outside the campus when it happens."

That thing I experienced earlier is considered a daily thing? I don't get how that helps with scoring top grades.

Me: "You never told me this before, but what exactly have you been doing since working here?"

Yuko: "It's the same as before, but more specifically for the systems in here. This academy is one of the few places that my company could test out their inventions in actual use. Sometimes, I wasn't even told what I was programming or report straight to headquarters without giving me enough time to change back and turn up as I was on being contacted."

Me: "At least I don't need to show my face to my staff at Powell. By the way, do you know how long I will be here? Nobody mentioned about it."

There was silence. It seems that she never thought about it.

Yuko: "You are now in the first year of high school, but given that you have already went through two full cycles of high school, your knowledge level being quite high, having "founded" your own company that is now well known, and the possibility of Kotomi not wanting to be a housewife or take care of her future children. It seems that you might be able to skip to third year of college at the end of the year if you can pass it. Any student can take it, but only those at the end of college second year and above would even know what to write upon seeing the questions, but you still have the chance to take the test for your immediate proceeding year should you not pass that. Please at least stay in high school section for at least this academic year. Mizuho exams are known to be quite difficult for the grade level, but with "unique" things that only happen here, not a student has repeated a year in the school's history since it moved to the current campus."

It seems that me being posted here indirectly means that my endless cycle of only learning high-school level education is ending and finally move on to college level. Yuko also implies that I would have to take over the role of a mother should Kotomi want children, but not take care of them. Unless Itsuki is the father of the future children in question, how am I going to have them think that I'm their parent too? I don't want to think about it now:  it might be a nightmare for me when it happens that could last for a very long time. So long that they might quietly have it as long as her youngest child needs my care. They might send me back to school when the oldest child is in middle school. Wait... Her children will grow older than me and I would still be a 16-year old girl? Oh why?


Part 60 | Part 62

29 October 2010

Picture of a Train

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Well, I figured that this blog is starting to look dull with most of my posts lacking images or videos, so here's a picture of a train at the platform.

Writing stories for this blog started just like any other post that came before it back in... I forgot when that was. August 2008? I don't remember. I wanted to put in illustrations or pictures, but it turned out that it affected the quality of the content or spent too much time finding the suitable image that it died quietly.

The schedule of me releasing my blog stories is originally when I felt like it. It's quite short compared to the more recent ones. Now, it's supposed to be once a week after the previous part that might be for an another story, but, instead, I do it every other Sunday. Then again, I have never actually gave out an actual schedule.

I do mention on my twitter profile once in a while with a #takhsiru hashtag in it, but I usually give a blog story number instead of the title of the story itself. This number is according to when I started writing for it. The "Part(s)" are actually what I could think of since I started writing that part and never corresponds to an actual Chapter. If you were to look at an example on the Wordpress version (not the ones imported from Blogger on the main page), I've combined an split sentences of "Part(s)" to form a Chapter. Again, it's too time-consuming for me to do this as it hampers me writing more stories. I do not have anyone helping me.

Let's end this post here before it becomes too lengthy. Oh, I'm working on Story 2, Part 61 since earlier this week, and I had been... deleting a lot of text I feel uneasy about. Some of it might have been slipped through since my mind can't differentiate if the text in my mind has been removed or not.

24 October 2010

Disorientated Feelings (Part 33)

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We had found documents that strongly suggests that the company might have been able to do bad things if Hatsuya institute has given them the technology they lack, which has been strongly rejected. Some of these evidence support events as far back as decades ago where Hatsuya staff were attacked or killed for failing to give in to their demands.

Documents dating from the late 1990s are probably stored on the computers we couldn't access yet as we couldn't find any physical documents of those. The rival company was not brought down back then as the evidence discovered then did not point towards them and police concluded that the attackers were only groups of individuals that were acting on their own. Hatsuya suspects that their rival had cleverly hidden any links to the attackers, or had some spies in the police force. The rival company is quite good with the security of information against them, but not with those from before that was available. None of the documents we found had any mention of Powell or any other research companies.

Working on this case is not easy as Saeko has been attacked by them several times. She's would be reminded of the horrors of being attacked by them and her endless life of forced immortality. For some odd reason, I am unable to tell the gender of my own children or even their names. I only know how many I have (2 currently). When I try to look at them, read their names, or whatever, it seems that the information has been turned into the Nth child I gave birth to before it reaches my mind. It's like my brain is refusing to let me know about my own children!

10 October 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 60)

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I wasn't late for class, but the uncertainty of its location and little time left did make me feel anxious. I did notice that there are things in the school that an average school doesn't have, but I wasn't paying attention to them. The gardener and the granddaughter I spoke to earlier creeps me out even more than Itsuki's change while in here in terms of how dramatic the change was: a baby who looks and behaves like a teenager, and an old man with age-related problems appearing to be a healthy young woman. Although the academy itself being well known for academic results, it seems that absolutely nobody is even aware of this thing happening.

Hidden in what seems to be a female-only population, there are male students and staff in the academy. The Mizuho uniform temporarily transforms them into females in every aspect until it's removed outside the campus (which itself is a complicated process) when nobody is watching. Adapting is not a problem, but it does if they were asked for photos of themselves in Mizuho and, for students, where they had studied in as the school's full name (私立瑞穂女子専用学園) could cause problems for entering a non-Mizuho affiliated college or company as their student photos are femetized and, if their original names were male-only, a different name would be used in the school records. They were warned about this as early as during the interview. They can choose to not to have anything changed, but the only way out is to use the name of Mihara Academy (an affliated academy that I was in 6 years ago) or other special arrangements.

I wasn't paying attention to what I was running past as I was only concentrating on the way to get to my class. The design of the classroom is different than that of an average classroom, and, despite no visible heater or cooler, the temp There were still girls who came rushing into the classroom after me that seemed to have been wondering around for a long time.

My classmates were as quiet as it was back at the auditorium. Nobody spoke a word until the homeroom teacher came in about ten minutes after me. As the self-introduction session was going on, I came to realize that everyone had a pleasantly attractive voice and appearance without even trying to.

At some point in time, I felt a strong sensation from inside me that is too hard to ignore, but the uniform is tightly blocking access to my body from anything, including myself, since entering the campus that I can't do anything but to endure. At the same time, I could feel that my mind was being accessed, but nothing was changed. Everyone else, including the teacher, felt the same thing at the same time with obvious signs that they are aroused with difficulty speaking or doing anything. This lasted for an unusually long period of fifteen minutes, when my mental endurance reaches its peak.

When it ended, they behaved as though nothing happened or normal enough to not talk about it. What was that? Why am I the only one who noticed it?

Now that I had gotten over the panic of getting on time for class, I have noticed that, at least for the high school section, is unlike other schools. They have somehow managed to let natural light in from above despite the level being sandwiched with other levels. The room could be darken when necessary with ordinary switches that controls the levers and the lights. The lights are hidden and would only be turned on if there's not enough natural light entering the room. The writing board at the front is of something that does not have the problems that both chalk or marker boards have and you could use anything to write on it apparently. It's like a large colour electronic paper with very quick response rate and does not reflect external light.

Accommodation is optional and anyone could pick any unused room of at anytime and, depending on the room design, could be shared with up to a maximum of 4 people. Rooms in use would have a picture and name at the holder outside the room. Since the domotries are located within the campus, I don't know about the not being able to remove the uniform thing, or if people like Itsuki could sleep there with other girls. Surely there are social and health/hygiene issues with that. The things that involve me lately seems to defy physics and logic that I don't know how things work anymore. Sigh... What exactly am I doing here anyway again?

Chapter 15
Part 59 | Part 61

26 September 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 59)

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It's now the transitional period between winter and spring as I could see the snow slowly melting away and the cherry blossom petals growing. The weather's getting warmer, but still cold enough to wear warm clothing. Over there is the karaoke box Kotomi once told me she went to with her middle school friends, and how she saw her dad when she came out from the uniform store across the street.

Strange. Seeing juniors I didn't know from the schools I had attended makes me feel superior over them, but sad that I'm no longer a student. If I could be a teacher there, it wouldn't be the same either. People I know from Mihara and the schools before that would not even know me. I have just graduated from high school, but would be entering another. Getting to know people in school and the high portability of not meeting them again after graduating makes me feel sad too. Not counting graduation day, the days after the last lessons before the college entrance tests until after the first day of the school year seem to feel as though I'm skipping lessons even though there aren't any. The Hatsuya Institute has informed the school staff in advance about my admittance to Mizuho so that the teachers won't be asking me about the form on the colleges to enter, but my classmates didn't know about this (I can't tell them that I'm repeating high school from year 1 again after finishing the 3rd). The influence in the school is like strongly persuading anyone who is not planning to enter college to do so.

Backtracking to about 5-6 years ago, believe it or not, I was in the music club. Kind of surprising considering that I first entered Hatsuya Institute to program things. I have always wanted to play musical instruments, but I (as Itsuki) have never really have the chance to touch them until around middle school. That photo of me (as Saeko) with musical instruments shows what would had happened if my parents had sent me to piano and violin lessons. The programming stuff was just a side hobby that I would only do at home, but I didn't expect to be so good that even those who studied the same thing from college would be not as good as me. Not being a leader and having many seniors in a club of interest actually is more enjoyable because of fewer stress of taking care of people on top of what is supposed to be done. If Kotomi were to marry Itsuki, I would guess that I would have to take care of their children at some point... Wait... Looking at the number of years ahead and the school I was posted to, there's a possibility that I would be in a college-level class, because it would be a very long time if they don't. We'll see where I would be when the time comes, as it's hard to predict the future. I know that Hatsuya has invented some that could, but I don't know if they actually make it happen, or if it really is from the future.

[Author's note about the Mizuho uniforms: Design-wise, the student uniform might be similar to the Ousai Academy uniform. Oh, and the Kotomi that is mentioned frequently here refers to the protagonist of the third story, where Kotomi meeting Saeko upon arriving back (from Kotomi's point of view) is already described there.]

The first day of the new school year has arrived. I had bought a new mobile phone partly because to stay with the trend and not be (negatively) known as the girl with an old phone or without any. Mobile phones get obsolete in as quickly as a year, though, except for the really old ones, you can't really tell from a glance.

This new hairstyle of mine and the name Haneda Kanade (羽田奏) attached to me being my new identity that is, supposedly, a separate identity from the people from Kamisugi High and Powell institute. The change was so dramatic that I don't even recognize myself. I mean, it's as though I'm looking at someone else in the mirror, but I have direct control of her movements.

What I found strange about the academy, unlike most places, or even it's (normal) counterpart of Mihara Academy, there are absolutely no visible fencing, security measure, or a warning sign, that surrounds the Mizuho campus. The only visible division is the difference of how the road and walkways are designed and the abruptness of the change of design at the campus border with the outside, like crossing an international border. As for the vegetation areas, it's maintained by the gardeners (whom I have yet to see) right up to the border and not a bit outside, so you could tell if the outside is not maintained, or at least, differently. I heard that one of the components involved to make this work is to make people think to not even think of do anything bad inside, which I question on it's effectiveness or the possibility of affecting people's way of thinking.

Itsuki mentioned earlier that he would not come with me as he would be traveling back and forth between Mizuho Academy and Hatsuya Headquarters for work, but did not elaborate on what it was about. Well, I have been told before that Mizuho and Hatsuya work together to how things are run there, so I'm not surprised if it's related to that. Except for that first time Itsuki brought me here, I have never been here since, or enter through anything other than the vehicular entrance. Even on the inside, I had only seen the back areas that few would even go to.

As I got closer, there are more and more girls in various versions of the new Mizuho uniforms. All variations of it, except for students, have skirts of the same standard length of above the knee level that makes the girl wearing it not being able to cycle or spread their legs wide apart. Along way, there are signs with timings of the graduation ceremonies, which seems to take place latter than the ones I have attended before to make up for new students for being lost and the handicap of the uniform of not allowing anyone to be able to run. Other than the uniform becoming a bit tighter, I didn't feel any difference or see anyone transforming when I stepped in. In the campus, there are only women between the ages of 15 to 25, with anyone else outside that group being completely absent in this large campus. I spotted a few people wearing very formal business attires that were not announced. I have no idea who wears them.

The board stating what class each student would be in for the year is put up at the courtyard before the main entrance of a building, but spaced out enough to not have too much people cramped while looking at the list next to what they are standing in front of. From what I heard others saying, it's possible that some students might might skip a few academic years, and in the entire school's history, there has never been a student who has repeated a year. The number of classes per year is insane as there are more than the ones at Mihara despite being smaller, but Mihara has a large range of levels, and large scenic places.

We were ushered to head straight to the auditorium for the entrance ceremony that could easily fit about a thousand people, seated according to class. All of the other schools I have attended before usually have everyone to go to the classes first, and some self-introduction, before heading to where the ceremony is held. With what I said earlier about the number of classes and the teachers in Mizuho, that's about half of the place filled up. The school principal seems to be the only one wearing the unannounced new uniform I saw earlier. (Vice president wasn't around) I'm starting to think that people leading schools or companies in here wear them.

During the opening speech, the principal mentioned that by being conservitive or sticking to the old ways for too long would hamper productivity, and hence, a fresh new start. She also mentioned that the girls should not make it too hard for the males to like them, and neither should they let their natural feeling of being sedused disrupting their ability to think intelligently, resulting in unwanted consequences just because they couldn't think as it's happening and would be too late by the time they realised it. Out of the blue, she talks about the declining birth rate and begs them not to see it as a burden, but as a part of themselves who would be able to help and live on when unable to. The idea of the new uniforms was by the whole academy's head president, with feedback from staff and former students to have everyone to look beautiful and feel good without effort for the people wearing them.

The entire ceremony ended in the afternoon and was given time for lunch. I still do not recall who were the classmates I was sitting with as there is yet to have any self-introduction. So far, I have yet to hear anyone complaining about the uniforms not being removable in the campus, though that does not even seem to be on their minds now.

Not feeling hungry, I decided to explore the high school section. The rest of the academy would happen later. Mizuho is smaller in size when compared to Mihara, but the density is higher. The people in here, besides what I said earlier, could be told apart by a person's unique traits like their height, habits, and so on but there aren't any obese, disabled, or myopic people too. Then, I came across a lady in a non-teaching uniform (which looks almost like what one would wear to the office) doing something to the plants that form the greenery in the academy with some gardening. The gardening itself is nothing out of the ordinary, but what she's wearing and the lack of gloves does. My usual impression of school gardeners are that they are retirees who usually wear something simple, and certainly not in an office uniform. This is an obvious overkill for a gardener uniform, but in Mizuho, they are classified under the same group of people who are neither students, teachers, supervisors, or guests, that are usually the staff who work in offices of external companies. I have got to ask this person.

Me: "Um, excuse me. What are you..."

She seem wary about me at first, but she calmed down after a while.

Lady: "I sensed that you are a Hatsuya staff from headquarters with the same aura of the supervisor of their branch here, so I can tell you about things that I can't talk about to anyone else besides the top-level Mizuho staff. You were wondering what I am doing here, right?"

I nodded. I'm surprised she could read my mind.

Lady: "As you have guessed before approaching me, I am a gardener. Outside Mizuho, I am an old man in his late 70s who can't move as fast as you young people and having some age-related problems that seems to become worse if not taken care of. But here, I feel young and energetic again, and could actually understand and follow what the young people are up to. Sadly, I dread having to change back after leaving the campus when I step out. Oh, and that girl walking towards us now is my granddaughter. She's actually only 2-years old."

Girl: "Nice to meet you, I'm Komatsu Toshiko. My grandfather brought me here since my parents are with my older brother as it's first day in primary school and he has difficulty being without our parents. Grandpa, what do you mean I'm only 2-years-old? I know how to write my name in kanji, how to take care of myself, understanding the laws of physics, manga-like character designs and... Oh wait, I could remember being only able to say and do only the very basic things before grandpa brought me here today. How am I behaving and appearing to be 7.5 times older of my actual age? I'm not supposed to be able to say the 'advanced' words I just said yet, but I just did."

Wait what? An old man who looks and sound very much like a young woman, and what seems to be a well-mannered teenage girl is actually just only a baby who is not even capable of saying what she just said to me. For someone who is only 2-years-old, she is surprisingly mature and is indistinguishable from a teenager. Her mention of an older brother just entering primary school just looks out of place for a younger sibling who looks of a high school age. Wearing any variation of the Mizuho uniform, which you would be forced to wear upon stepping into their campus if not wearing the allowed attire, turns anyone into a young woman of 15 or 25 years of age, depending on how young or old they are, or any age in between if their actual age is in-between the two ages.

Toshiko's grandparent: "Well, I hope she grows up to be like this. It's hard to tell if she will remember this before she actually reaches 15 years of age as I'm not sure if I can live long enough to see her this mature, but it does seem possible if I imprison myself in here and not ever stepping out of Mizuho. I don't seem to sweat or get tired at all even after long hours of hard work under the sun in the summer. Anyways, shouldn't you be going now? Your class is starting soon, according to the clock tower behind you. If you're not sure where it is, just follow the signs in your school department. There's a directory at the ground level of each staircases."

Opps, I got too caught up with them that I forgot what I was doing here or how little time I had for break. There are hardly any students in sight at this time. I don't even know where my classroom is. Not good.

Me: "Opps! Er, see you soon then."

I made a dash to a classroom that I'm not sure the location of.

Chapter 15
Part 58 | Part 60

25 September 2010

How little things seems to have changed

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When I look at footage from around 1999 and  2000 and compare to that of today, things don't seem to have change much for the past decade. Except for mobile phones and maybe the online world, advances in technology don't seem quite obvious at all. Like there aren't any as compared to the decade before and the most part of the 2000s decade seem stagnant.

Well, I don't really have much to say right now: time seem to have passed by quickly. This is not really confirmed, but the latest blog story should be out around the weekend. Watch out for my tweets with the #takhsiru hashtag for updates relating to my blog stories.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

15 September 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 58)

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As though it was because of Takuya's happiness he didn't show to me, the cherry blossom trees started blooming the following day. Though my view of how the company runs is no different than that of a newbie, I don't want staff to know that. Neither do I want to be deceived by the possible cover-up by the supervisors either. If I were to announce my arrival to check on things, everyone would hide stuff from me (as someone important) and be unnaturally formal. How much things they could hide from me depends on how far in advance the notice was given, and how frequent I do it, which might give them the ability to predict if there was a pattern. Seriously, the more important a person is, the more others would hide things from them, unless they don't know that. The chief executive officer is the one who oversees the company on a daily basis, while I can just hide somewhere to the point that I'm forgotten, but, if I want to, override his command without warning as I have the highest authority over the company. Some of the reasons I've checked on why people would work for the Powell over Hatsuya institute (while in disguise as a random visitor) include more employee benefits, office environments that would make them feel comfortable (like the step-into-the-past design look for the elderly staff when I was talking about lift lobby designs some time ago), colleagues they could get along well, and some other things against how Hatsuya is run. This somewhat explains why the Human Resources department doesn't want to employ those who had worked there as they could be "infected", or spies, though they don't know that I myself work for them too. What exactly am I now? The big boss of the Powell institute? A Hatsuya institute employee? An upcoming 1st year Mizuho student? A perfected android that you can't tell apart from a real human? One thing's for sure is that I know that I am me, and the situation I'm in now from my point of view was completely different from 5 years ago. Me being a founder of a company and an employee of their rival company at the same time is disturbing.

Speaking about being employed, I feel bad about the interview yesterday between me and Takuya. Not only did I let him skip through the difficult interview process the company is infamous for by the HR department, I did not inform him of the job positions available prior to the interview, and the shocking revelation of me being the same person as his club president of the high school he just graduated from. Just to be sure, I waited for him outside on his first day to check with him if he wants to change his mind. According to records from the hospital department, Takuya has been here several times before for a minor illness. Looking at his address, it seems that he also has to walk past the main entrance in order to reach the train station.

Takuya: "Ah, Hisakawa-senpai. Good morning! I thought that I had the weirdest dream of having already graduated from high school and you hiring me to work here at the Powell institute that I actually came dressed in work attire."

Me: "Me too. I don't know what I'm doing here, or why do I have passes for the both of us. Mine seem oddly different from the people who work here."

Takuya stared intensely at the pass that had my photo.

Me: "Sorry, I was playing with you. I really am the big boss here, though, not by the current me. I personally don't feel comfortable being formal with people whom I've first met outside work. It's more of me waking up one day to find myself the founder of a previously non-existent company. Seriously, please do not boast around about how informal you can be with me to anyone else. If you have any questions about anything, including myself, let me know, though I would only be in my office after office hours most of the time since I would be busy with Hatsuya-related things most of the time."

Takuya: "You are spying on them? Everyone is saying that Powell has a strong rivalry with them."

I made sure that there wasn't anyone in the hearing range of us before continuing.

Me: "Well, don't tell anyone else about it, but I'm actually working for them. It's a long story about how it happened. Anyway, do you have a change of mind since the interview? You could tell me about it anytime. In the meantime, a staff inside will bring you around the place. If the next time we meet has people around, don't expect me to give you this level of informality."

That's about it really. I don't get to see much of him since then as he didn't contact me and my focus is now more towards my time in Mizuho, on top of the unpredictability of Kotomi's return from her college studies in America as she said she would be on the way back just before boarding the plane back home there. I have been assigned a dormitory room in Mizuho, but I'm not sure if I will be staying there. Maybe just to see how the strict uniform attire requirements has an effect of staying over there without gong out for a few days.

About that hospital department I mentioned earlier, it would be at the most obvious building visible from the main entrance, where I was talking to Takuya at, for patients arriving in emergency ambulances. Standard is quite high compared to other hospitals in almost every aspect, including how quick a patient is attended to and ensure that the staff are not too stressed out and avoid mistakes that other hospitals do, like getting greed in the way. The plus factor about the rooms are, despite the design and service being better than most other hospitals, the rates are actually quite affordable, even to the less well off families. This is possible because it's offset from profits from other departments and donations by many people, particularly schools, companies, and people living nearby. Well known people would be given low profile treatment and only allow close relatives and friends to meet them. If they are known by a particular name, like an alias, the real name would be used. If that's not possible, the name of the previous patient that used the room, or the doctor/nurse that takes care of the patient. None of the rooms have their pictures outside. It creeps me out that I am involved with it's high credibility.

When I felt like it, I would just wonder around places that are, at most, an hour away of where I would be staying that day, which varies a lot depending on the mode of travel. Places that I would feel cozy would be Itsuki's place and the hidden area behind my office at Powell, though the penthouse apartment not far from Itsuki's place seem to be the primary place for me as it has photos of my parents and has the most things that looked as though they are mine: there are notebooks and forms in my handwriting or, while holding things, it feels as though I have touched it several times earlier. It's scary to see things I didn't write in my handwriting. I wished that my parents would stay here with me, but they seem attached to their current house and still treat me like a guest instead of their child.

Chapter 14
Part 57 | Part 59

03 September 2010

Disorientated Feelings (Part 32)

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Like at dinner, I did not dare to ask the question on my mind about the video footage my husband just showed me.

Daisuke: "Kuniko-chan... I didn't know your family was this big..."

Kuniko: "Me too. With my oldest sister born before my parents are married and that brother I talked about earlier, my own family seems strange and mysterious. Except for mom and I, everyone seems to have inherited the foreign look that originated from my great-grandfather on dad's side..."

The mysterious past of me and my parents when I was born: why did my parent had me before they were married? They were barely graduated from high school at that time. What did uncle did to me shortly after I was born that is enough for dad to treat me like a mutated child that he doesn't want to look at? Kuniko seems the only one who didn't inherit the foreign-like appearance from dad and, behavior-wise, almost as normal as Izumi and most girls. She was supposedly one of the three children (the other two being me and Kousei) whom uncle has done something to at birth. Her beauty and intelligence is scarily comparable to Saeko.

Speaking of Saeko, she has a life besides taking care of my children, and multiple houses and businesses to take care of that I can't see how she could manage so many things and still have time for me.

28 August 2010

Old Family Photos

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I've come some old photos of my family from before I entered primary school (小学校) . The people in it seem different from what I had always known them as. The majority of these photos that were taken before the 1990s were starting to become brown/red-ish.

Roughly, there are about 2000 images of them. Restoring the above-said images is time consuming due to the vast quantity, and amount of defects on the photo at the time it was scanned, it could take forever. It's very hard to restore them, and certainly very difficult to make it look like their digital counterparts. Not counting phones with camera below 3 megapixels, nobody in the family had a camera until late-2003. Imagine how excited I was, despite memory card space volumes back then being tiny for today's standards. I have even seen some rare photos of my mom and dad from their high school days (separately of course), and a set of grandparents that had died before I was born. Shame I don't know anything about them from my parents.

However, most of these photos are of people with their blank faces at the camera and almost none without. You can imagine how boring to see that for thousands of times. This has changed in more recent years though.

Since I have things that are worth more of my time, and the lack of assistance, my priority of doing this is quite low. I have low motivation to edit the boring photos, and prioritize more towards doing other things. I have a lot of things accumulated that I have yet to even start doing. This has also affected the frequency and content you see from my Twitter account.

Story 2 Part 58, and Story 3 Part 32, are currently being written, but I'm having trouble thinking that I tend to repeat what has been said earlier. Those are likely not to be published this weekend.

On unrelated news, Apple will be having an event early next month, which is traditionally the launch of new iPods.

21 August 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 57)

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My position as the Kamisugi High's Computer Club President has been handed over to the person whom everyone has elected months earlier, just before every third year became very serious for their college entrance tests. Initially, I wanted Takagi to take over my position, but he revealed to me that he was in the same year as me. That left me an uncertainty on how the newly elected club president would lead.

As I cleared out my things, I came across that strange doll again. It's the doll that, according to rumors, people who had came across this doll had their lives completely changed, like my Mihara classmate and her childhood friend some years ago... Wait. Could I also be one of its many victims too? The day it happened is about the same... No, it can't be, right? But, I've seen that thing several times, and my life now is completely different from before I first saw it... I think I should leave this thing behind and... what is he doing here?

Me: "Takuya-kun, what are you doing here?"

Takuya: "Well, I just want to visit the club room for the last time..."

I sensed that he didn't make it through his choices of universities and would have to wait for another whole year for an another chance.

Me: "Anyways, the founder of the Powell Institute asked me personally if I had friends who are interested in joining them. She said that being employed through her is easier than through the Human Resources department since she cares more about developing abilities and doesn't even care if you didn't even have a degree the HR department is looking out for. You are also protected from being dismissed or retrenched by all the supervisors except the founder herself. Keep in mind that she's so busy that she only appears in the company's messaging system, and you are considered lucky to even see her in person, so this is considered a rare opportunity."

His facial expression changed.

Takuya: "Really?! Please let her know that I'm interested."

The "founder" in question was me. It is common knowledge that most of the jobs at Powell requires, at minimum, a degree. It's also known that it's hard to succeed through the interviews done by the HR department due to strict standards, and their particular dislike towards people who were previously employed at Hatsuya Institute for reasons unknown to me, partly because I'm a Hatsuya employee too. I'm unrecognizable when in school uniform, or in random disguises to gather information from employees without revealing my identity, but for other occasions, my attire is formal enough to let everyone know that I have the highest authority there that, unless they didn't know it was me due to my disguise, they would greet me on sight and be careful not to make a mistake. To people like Itsuki... he disregards my level of authority and even managed to seduce me like the other day despite my seriousness. The HR department is not the only place to get employed into Powell, but they are the ones who put up the job offerings and therefore, to outsiders, seemed like the only way. Another way of getting in is through events like the annual programming competitions that is hosted in collaboration with other companies. The last way of getting in is through me, which I had talked about earlier.

The impact that I had left behind at Kamisugi High seemed great as I was mentioned in many of the farewell speeches. It was too emotional for me to handle. It was even sadder to leave the place I have been to for years for the last time. As for the Nanami that Itsuki had asked me to observe, I have not found anything special about her other than confirming that she is a relative to Kotomi. I seriously don't see the point of observing her.

So, I have this break between leaving Kamisugi High and entering Mizuho Girls' Academy, though the days between the first day of college entrance exams and graduation seemed to have toned down from the peak of the studying period. It is also this period was when Takuya had agreed to do the interview to join the Powell institute. In my wardrobe of my main house near Itsuki's place, it seems that I have already received the new sets of uniforms not long after that announcement of the new Mizuho uniform designs I saw even though that was even before the official results of its entrance tests were announced. Seems that my application was indeed sent to them a long time ago. When I tried it on, nothing seem to have happened to me. The "transforming properties" of the Mizuho uniforms Itsuki mentioned either doesn't work here and now, or would be adjusted to something similar to mine. Yes, the Mizuho uniform is not just a piece of cloth, it has technology built into it, but yet still weigh the same. What they are exactly is relatively unknown, but it has shown that the wearer does not develop not even a minor health issue from prolonged wearing of it, and the wearer and the uniform does not even get dirty or wet even if they dived into muddy water like they had never been. (Well, breathing underwater is an another thing though.) Since Itsuki is still wearing the older version while to work, I'm guessing that it would be on the day of the entrance ceremony the new one (*hnff*) would take effect.

I have prepared myself and my office for the interview, and, of course, checked what the available positions are. It's the same attire as when I have to show myself for business meetings, and, more recently, my conversation with Itsuki at my office about Kotomi coming back later in the year. It gives the atmosphere of not doing foolish things with me so effectively that I'm even scared to look at myself. The door that separates my house here and my office that sits right outside of it is easily concealable and can't be discovered by mistake due to the biometric entry system. Itsuki managed to get in since he shares the same traits as mine, and until recently, even my own thoughts could be monitored by Hatsuya Institute as part of their "discover trends among students for each period of time" nonsense, which is also why I am endlessly attending high schools for what seemed for almost a decade so far. Talk about a lack of privacy and freedom of my otherwise immortal life. To make matters worse, my name was registered under "Kanade Haneda" (羽田奏) with my hairstyle in the photo completely different from what I normally had my hair in. Apparently, they said that this was to avoid people from Kamisugi from recognize me. Those from Mihara in this dimension don't even know me, and my original high school with Kotomi is associated with that other me I always tag along with.

Closer to the interview time, a staff notified me of Takuya entering, as expected. Then, I saw the door of my office door being opened. It was partially opened just enough to not see me, but enough to see my desk and my arm.

Takuya: "Excuse me, is this the room of the founder of the Powell institute? I'm Ishida Takuya, and I'm sorry for not knowing your name."

Takagi was dressed quite appropriately for the interview, and holding some documents. He still doesn't seen to know that it's me yet. I adjusted my voice a bit to give the temporary impression that it's not me. I have to use that voice too while associated with that new identity.

Me: "So you are the friend of the recently-graduated computer club president of your school who told me about you. Am I right?"

Takuya: "Er, yes. She was the one who told me about this interview."

Me: "You are even lucky that you would just need to hear me talking rubbish for the interview. The HR department usually does that instead, but their standards and expectations are quite high. Besides, I already know your performance at your club and you didn't made it through the college entrance tests as the subjects tested are not of your interest. Quite a shame that the Art club you joined at first was disbanded by the beginning of your second year."

He seemed shocked that I knew this much without asking him questions.

Me: "Don't worry, I didn't do a research about you prior to this interview. In fact, I was with you as it happened."

Takuya: "I'm sorry, did I hear you say that you were with me?"

Me: "Yes. don't you recognize me? No? What about with this look and the name on this shiny useless thing on this desk."

I adjusted my hair and voice back to the usual one. The "shiny useless thing" I was refering to was the plate with gold-like texture that is long with 3 sides. My name was facing away from him before I said that. Takagi became more shocked the more "me" he knows was formed.

Takagi: "Hisakawa-san?! What are you doing here?"

Me: "I'm the so-called founder of the Powell Institute, and also the same person who was the computer club president of Kamisugi High right until a few weeks ago. I must emphasize on the "so-called" as I personally didn't founded it, but all evidence point to me. It's one of the many things I suddenly had as a result of my life being completely different from what I was used to. It's like a wish, that I have never asked for, coming true. I'm supposed to be 21 this year, attending 4th year of college, and working as an employee of the Hatsuya Institute. But instead, they made worse on a minor disaster I had relating to their projects, and I'm now forever stuck with a girl's 16-year-old immortal body that doesn't ages, and belongs to them. Don't you know about all the nonsense I have to go through now? Even now, I am still scared to even look at myself. I mean, what's with all this things I'm wearing now? At one moment, I was a nobody who was struggling, and the next moment, I'm suddenly popular and smart girl who looks prettier than most of the girls I've seen before. It's like waking up to find yourself in a body of someone else and can't return back."

To an outsider, it would seemed that an otherwise serious person holding an important position of a well known company suddenly showing her true colours that has been hidden for so long, or having gone insane.

Takuya: "Does... anyone else know about this?"

Me: "A close friend of mine and her uncle, who's also the director of the Hatusya institute, and the third years of our club when we were only first years. One of them currently works here at Powell."

Takuya: "...and what about my job here? You seem carried away talking about yourself."

Me: "Ah, that. You are actually already hired since I mentioned about knowing your performance at school. What is left now is to choose any available positions that interests you. I should have been more serious that the HR people throughout the interview because of my position, but I don't feel comfortable with going through the formalities with people I know outside this company. Welcome aboard anyway."

Now that the interview is over, I should start preparing before the first day at Mizuho. It's location is somewhere north of Kamisugi city. Pedestrian and vehicular entrances are separate, with the former designed in such a way that you couldn't tell who among those not wearing the Mizuho uniform are entering the campus or not. The Mizuho uniforms seems to change your natural behavior and how your body functions in many ways, including not developing health issues from wearing something for too long. Maybe it's because it's based on me that I don't notice any difference. Itsuki told me that, including the older version, everyone is issued with the same sizes and, if detected if someone is wearing the wrong type of uniform or are missing something, it would be corrected upon entering as part of the "transformation". "Transformation" times varies from person to person, but as a general rule, a girl who has the same age and body measurements as me would be the quickest.

According to the route that Itsuki brought me around the last I was there, it show little of the facilities they had as the route didn't go anywhere near the more central areas but more of the outer areas. Not counting stores in the central area, most of the companies that had been set up in here share are usually business services, media production, and scientific research businesses. Although the place is slightly smaller compared to Mihara, it's still big enough to require transport to get around. Since there are very few roads, walking and the free inter-school train system are the popular choice to get around. I should have done this earlier, but I should have checked how crowded the trains are between Mizuho and my house inside Powell institute.

Chapter 14

15 August 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 56)

No comments:
The new year has started, and I'm approaching my graduation from Kamisugi High. Knowing that my endless life would go on like a never-ending loop, I stopped caring about what year it is now, other than this feeling that Kotomi would be back from her college studies in America and hopefully side with me to deal with my annoying other self. I haven't seen her for at least three years. With the duration of not seeing a person exceeds the time between meeting that person for the first time and the last you see them, there's an increased chance that the other person might not recall you.

The school that I will be headed to after Kamisugi High is Mizuho Girls' Academy. They have officially dropped "High School" from the name due to the confusion with the other departments it has there and office areas within its grounds. They have also introduced an optional 4th year where they could graduate with a master's degree, making Mizuho look like a shortcut for Middle School graduates to enter post-graduate education institute. They have also announced internally about the new uniform designs that is to be introduced from the weekend after the graduation day of the previous academic year.

There are several different designs for students, teachers, non-teaching staff, and visitors, with the one I worked with Itsuki the other day being for students. I heard students of other high schools would be in their respective (female) school uniforms instead, and, except students, seem deliberately designed to make it hard to run in them with high-heeled shoes that oddly seemed to be part of your leg but strangely does not develop health problems that are associated with prolonged wearing. I also notice that all versions have only pencil skirts for the bottom with the hemline above the knee level. Although all are a lot nicer than others, the nicest design are the non-teaching staff's uniforms that looks like a smart casual office attire that uses only white and pink colours. It wouldn't look out of place in office environments, but the category "non-teaching staff" the uniform is for also include janitors and the cafeteria people, which makes them seem out of place.

To outsiders, you might think that Mizuho is a beautiful place filled with only young, elegant and smart beautiful girls, that is completely void of males, but if you step into the grounds, you would see why as you would become one yourself. There also seem to have some measures that this phenomenon is relatively unknown to the outside world. It seems quite effective since it moved to the current campus many years ago when it was implemented and nobody seems to know about it.

Itsuki never liked working there for personal reasons, but the Hatsuya Institute had transferred him from a branch near my parent's house to inside Mizuho after I was sniped for reasons unknown other than me being more likely being a target than him and he was supposed to go instead of me anyway. Officially, though, he was sent there "because of his ability" to work with the "equipment" there and be able to develop "invisible, yet very effective" security solutions. By the looks of it, he could be working there for a long time. I wonder what would Kotomi think of it? Her reaction seem rather negative when she first saw me in that other dimension.

Itsuki: "That was one of the other designs they made me wear during the test after you left. Since the first day, our mother was shocked to see me in a Mizuho uniform. Since I was transferred to Mizuho, my way of thinking is messed up since my body's gender keeps changing, which determines whether I would be able take things seriously, or have dirty thoughts in the way."

Me: "Yeah, I noticed that you didn't make fun of me and quite serious when you are in your female form, but you are planning to marry Kotomi, aren't you?"

Itsuki seemed troubled on being asked of this question. He does have feelings for her, and she loves him back, but the idea of marriage never occurred to him.

Itsuki: "Well, I don't really have anyone else in my life..."

He looked away from me as he said that with a sign of embarrassment from his voice before he turned back to me.
 
[Author's note: In reference to Part 23 of 3rd story]


Itsuki: "Either way, she wants me to pick her up from the airport around summer, but could only confirm the exact date and time when she's about to board the plane at the San Fransisco airport. If she arrives during office hours, I would need you to come along to help me to buy time to let me change out of the Mizuho uniform as she would only give me ten minutes from when she has cleared immigration to pick her up."

At that moment, I heard a beep. It's from the messaging system used within Powell staff. It only beeps when a message is addressed to everyone or me specifically. Yes, we are at my office there now.

Me: "It just a notice for some staff event... Anyway, Itsuki, that's my body you are marrying Kotomi with, but it was me who first met her and continued the relationship. If you had not occupied my body when I tried to return from the other dimension, I wouldn't have been stuck in this body, have all this unnecessary wealth that came with it, and a different way of doing things to what I was already used to. Also, fingerprint scanners or any unique body identification can't tell us apart unless it is vocally or visually."

Itsuki: "We have the same fingerprints? Don't even twins have different patterns?"

Seem that Itsuki was listening only to my last sentence.

Me: "You didn't know? If not, then how did you enter my room here and attempt brainwash me on my birthday the year before last? The one where you made me behave like your cute younger sister, calling you 'Onii-chan'. I never liked you, and even more when I'm forced to. I'm only hanging around only because I'm "some project of yours" and "a property of the Hatsuya Institute". Just to let you know, my mind is a real human mind and not an artificial intelligence."

Itsuki: "I thought you had allowed me to go through since the thumbprint and eye scanner let me in easily..."

Me: "Anyways, has there been news about the time where everyone seem to have vanished shortly after? You know, the one where I was cut into pieces by a chainsaw."

I was referring to a long time rival of the Hatsuya Institute came up with a machine that had everyone to vanish except them, me, and, curiously, a handful of Hatsuya and Powell staff. It is unknown what the range is, but the news reported that people as far as across the Pacific Ocean are affected too, according to the news, but it happened while they were sleeping. The rival company itself has been forced to dissolve due to strong evidence of crimes associated with them against Hatsuya staff, with the incident incident in question apparently being the last. To the few who weren't affected, you could see clothes and items on the ground. Machines that required attention during that period had something happened. Transportation vehicles that were moving at the time of the disappearance crashed into something as there was nobody steer or apply the brakes. To the majority that were affected, the whole event, from their point of view, passed by in a millisecond and found themselves in a mysterious crash and being on top of their belongings instead of wearing them.

Itsuki: "I can't believe that you, as the victim they had ever brutally attacked on, could pass it off as though it was nothing. Oh, that machine and those that the police didn't take away is now in in Hatsuya's possession to be studied on.

Me: "Is that all?"

Itsuki: "The rest is being taken care of by the police, but we don't know what exactly is going on their side. As for the general public, well, they don't know who to complain to for the damages and embarrassment since it happened to everyone around the world at the same time. As for the escaped leader of theirs, we only that he's laying low somewhere in Hong Kong, and alerted about him in the Interpol, but the land density there are making things harder to search for him."

Hong Kong?

Me: "Say... do you think that me being shot there the other day is related?"

Itsuki: "Now that you mentioned it...yeah. I've never thought of that before. I'll inform the higher ups about it. Anyways, you're going to enjoy your time in Mizuho... Saeko?"

Itsuki is making me sad again. Please, let me do whatever I want with myself. Even now, I am still scared to look at myself because I look completely different from my mental self.

Itsuki: "Hello? Why are you squatting down at a corner crying?"

Even my own body: it's not mine, but it seems that I'm permanently stuck in it. I had experienced at first hand of me being killed to the extent of even seeing parts of my body, lying all over, but my immortality means that I would be back to normal. I might even see Itsuki's children as grandparents while my body is still the same. I might be left behind when the people I know now has passed away as part of this cruel fate of being immortal, but I don't want immortality. I never even asked for it. And then there's hnnnnnnn?!

Itsuki kissed me at the lips and touched me. There was this sensation that I have that I had never experienced before and found myself blushing excessively beyond control. Curiously, my body quickly gave in and allowed anything he was doing to me.

Itsuki: "Sorry. It's been a while since I last kissed a girl, and you look more attractive than all the other girls I know, including Kotomi."

Me: "As the witness and my position as the founder of the Powell Institute on top of being the victim, I can charge you for... and call the... and send you to..."

I tried to use my authority to stop him, but the feelings I developed from his actions cause a mix of hating what he's doing, but at the same time, wanting more of it. I was born as the guy in front of me, but what I'm feeling now is something only females could experience, which is sending me mixed reactions to my mind about this and flashbacks of the time I enjoyed being with him I didn't know I had. I don't like him, but I don't really have anyone else who would understand me deeply. As for Kotomi, she doesn't know about me being here since I narrowly missed her 3 years ago.

According to descriptions by her family and Itsuki, she did came with me to the other dimension 5-6 years ago, but returned back by herself about a year later, avoiding the train incident that had happened there. It was that part that made me wonder why she could return as herself with no time lags while it doesn't work with me. Was it because of me having larger differences between myself of the two dimensions, complicated by being in the cloned body of myself in that dimension (who was born a female). That large time difference could be caused by me being in a body that never existed when returning back, probably processing how my existance would fit in, and the cause & effect of me owning properties and businesses. After all, my Powell employees could be working as something else, and have everything relating to it, looked as though it has been that way before I came back. I clearly remember it was completely different. Another possibility that I could think of is that Hatsuya would know what is happening with its counterparts of other dimensions, so they knew about the conditions that came with the (unknowingly and accidentally) cloning myself and prevented me from entering my original body, and had me continue being their test subject. Of course, they won't tell me that if it's true anyway.

Either way, my new existence created upon coming back means that I'm now seen as a different person from my original and can't return back even if I undo the conditions that made me what I am now. I don't know who to blame: myself for playing with unknown machines and trespassing, Kotomi for even making that machine, Hatsuya Institute for having that condition in place that doesn't omit their own employees, or Mihara Academy for having the place so accessible. Somehow, I am developing feelings towards my former male self, and less interested over Kotomi in recent times. I don't know why myself.

Chapter 13

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中野区, 東京都, Japan
帰国子女 英語能力は堪能。趣味はアニメや漫画やプログラムコードを編集。通常、あたしの小説を英語で書いてです。Grew up abroad &travelled to different countries. I write my own fictional novel on my blog.