Alternate Dimension (Part 75)

The day of the annual Powell Research meeting that I'm supposed to show up has arrived. I personally don't want to show up, but being the founder, my absence could lead to a negative reputation to many people. Some of the major reasons that I don't want to show up is that my Mizuho student uniform can't be removed until I graduate from there. I entered there only April this year, and Hatsuya Research had made me attend it.

Most of my employees almost never seen me in person as their founder, where photos of me were in in my formal corporate attire appear in the company's publications, and press releases from our clients, which I normally wear in official meetings. They have, however, seen me as the high school girl that runs around the company's premises daily, but they never see me as the founder or the schoolgirl as being the same person. The fact that I couldn't take the Mizuho uniform off to wear the formal one, on top of me having to attend the company meeting, is forcing me to reveal my double identities. If they were to look at me, they would notice 羽田奏 (Haneda Kanade) on the name tag of my Mizuho student uniform, and a supervisor-level pass with my photo and 久川沙江子 (Hisakawa Saeko) written on it. It's going to cause unavoidable confusion, but it can't be helped. Takagi knows about this, but I'm not sure telling her supervisor was a good thing either. It's been some weeks since I've told her, but there hasn't been any change of my employee's behavior when they see me.

The said meeting involves all of the supervisors, and a few plain-clothes people that I assume are shareholders. We are seated in such a way that the staff/visitor passes could not be seen clearly while seated. In past years, I am usually one of the last to enter the meeting room, so being in there early and everyone not knowing who I am does give me an idea of what people may be trying to hide. So far, nothing in particular to note, but some people were glancing at me.

The meeting started. They talked about peculiar things that happened since the last meeting, maintaining standards, and the company's finances.

Staff 1: "Even though our company has been founded only a few years ago, we have grown quite rapidly and our customers have recognize as a leading brand in our field. But let's not forget on how customers sees us from their point of view. All companies has respect the achievements we had done, except for one: Hatsuya Research. No matter how hard or how much better we perform, they seem as if our very own existance is nothing but a joke and don't take us seriously. They already have developed the latest technology, but sometimes, it seems as if one of our staff has been leaking what we have been developing on our own to them, or someone has been hacking our security systems. That's why we are against anyone who has a history with them on being employed here as they could be spies for them. I don't even know if there's even any in this very meeting."

What's with the jealousy towards Hatsuya? Why the hate towards them? It's not like Hatsuya's other rival company that has been dissolved in recent years that resorts to violence. I am the founder of this company, and also a staff of Hatsuya at the same time too, but I don't know how the hate towards them among my staff had developed.

Staff 2: "We had discovered that there were staff working with us that does not seem to have any degree or higher education, and did not seem to have even been educated in a relevant college field. How did these people be officially employed, but got past the strict standards of the interview process? How are these people still working with us?! There's quite a number for this past company year alone."

Staff 1: "Those people were employed by the founder herself directly. People employed by her are protected from be dismissed by anyone except by the founder herself. Her standards of employing people may seem quite low compared to the interviewing department, but those people have actual abilities in their job. See seems to be able to see through any lies we tell her."

Staff 3: "Our founder seems to be a strange woman. I heard she was in middle school when she founded this company less than ten years ago. She seems to know anything we are trying to hide from her, and only appears in person in times of crisis or important meetings. I don't know what she's up to, or the meaning behind the strange rules she implemented herself. What she's going to do can be unpredictable. I would like to say she's like a misbehaving employee, but she's also the big boss and founded this very company. Speaking of which, even though people said she would come, she was nowhere to be seen on the premises. Her car is not here either."

Itsuki had borrowed mine. He's treating my car as if it's his, and I don't get to drive my own car as much.

Staff 2: "You mean like letting a particular schoolgirl to roam around freely? Does the founder know that this girl has been looking at things we're not supposed to let the public know? Her presence is making it hard for me to concentrate, but the founder doesn't allow us to chase her out. Speaking of which, the girl in question is sitting right there in this room!"

He was pointing at me, and everyone looked at me. I guess I don't really have a choice.

Staff 2: "So, you seem to be abusing your privileges by risking our company secrets to be leaked out. How did you steal the founder's staff pass? Your name doesn't even match to begin with."

Me: "I didn't steal it! It's mine, and I'm supposed to be here."


I really wanted to be angry back at this person, but being unable to do so, it turned into tears instead. This has happened before while Itsuki was making fun of me. I was really angry about it, but since my body is unable to express anger, it made me cry instead. Since Itsuki saw me crying, he made me even more angrier, but that made me cry harder on the outside instead. It's been that way since he tried to brainwash me on my birthday a while back. It's as if my angry feelings has been remapped to that meant for other emotions, with sadness being the most frequent, though there were no changes in expressing actual sad feelings.

Earlier, I had earlier told Inami, Takagi's supervisor, earlier not to help me out. Despite being outside, I could still hear what is being said in the meeting room through the doors. Only if it's loud enough, though.

Staff 2: "ISN'T THAT GIRL OBVIOUSLY A SPY?! She could be spying behind our founder's back."

Staff 1: "Calm down. We should confirm it with Hisakawa-san herself. Put her on speaker-phone so we could hear her."

I heard numbers being dialled, which, from the tones, sounded like my phone number. This number appears on my contact information and business cards. As my phone was in vibration mode, there was no ring tone to be heard to alert the people in the meeting room as I'm just outside. The number that appeared on my phone is indeed the phone from inside the meeting room. I answered the phone, but didn't say anything.

Staff 1: "Hello, Hisakawa-san. I'm a Powell supervisor, calling from the meeting room. I had your number from the company records. The meeting has already started, and I was wondering where you were since the meeting has started. Oh, and was there a girl by the name of Haneda-san of Mizuho Academy supposed to be at the meeting? She has your staff pass with her."

Me (in a sad voice): "Yes, I'm just outside. I didn't know the meeting has already started and didn't your fellow colleague chased me out of the meeting room just a while ago? He seemed angry."

I could sense an atmosphere of them being guilty of having treating a superior badly.

Staff 1: "Are you sure? Could you come back in and talk to us while still connected to this call?"

I headed back in while still on the phone. I could hear my voice from the speaker phone.

Me: "Really? I thought we could be having more fun."

Everyone was in awe. The atmosphere was different from earlier.

Me: "Just so you know, I have been going around the company in disguise for at least four years now, which largely explains my absence despite me being actively replying messages directed to me. I just wanted to see what my employees are doing, but my high position means that there's the possibility of people trying to cover up things just to impress me, or sabotage your fellow colleagues behind my back. I'm not falling for fake stories you tell me no matter how convincing it is. I had stopped people from being wrongfully dismissed resulting from things like this. I had to admit that the longer I try to be in disguise, there's the higher tendency to accidental reveal myself: people are starting to become familiar with how I looked."

I didn't tell them that I have other ways of finding out information in the company besides going around in disguises. Everyone look as if they had questions for me, but did not dare to ask. I'm guessing that my very youthful appearance would question on me really being the founder.

Me: "If you're thinking that I look too young to be your big boss, don't forget that I founded this company while I was still in middle school, and there's something odd about my body's growth or I would have looked like my actual age by now. I'm not sure why myself. You can treat me like equals, but don't take advantage of me. Any questions?"

Being unable to express anger, I had said that in a timid manner. How can I make them take me seriously if I can't express my frustration? That's one of the reasons why I always communicate via messages, because you can't tell my body behaviour or tone of voice. The disguise, though I did actually did it, was an excuse for my absence in my official attire, which they only recognize me in.

Staff 4: "If you're really our founder, could you tell us what was located on the land here before you established the company?"

This was asked by an employee who has worked with the company since shortly after it was established. Not much could be seen from the outside, and the earliest photographs that was published to the public first was when the company already had new structures and overgrowth had already been cleaned up. This means that, except for the hospital area, people who lived in the city that has been built around it would not know much.

Me: "It used to be just a manor with vast areas of vegetation that had been built long before the city it now surrounds by, and has been abandoned for years. During the short period between buying the place and developing to what it is now, all of the offices were located in that manor. The number of staff back then is only a very tiny fraction of the number today. After they had moved to the new buildings, the manor was rebuilt, where my office currently is. The original main entrance to the grounds is not where the hospital department is, but on the other side."

Her reaction seemed as if I had said the answer she was expecting, along with new information.

Besides going in disguises, I only appear on the messaging system because I wanted my employees to take me seriously. Who would take someone, who looks like a schoolgirl that speaks timidly, seriously? Much less as someone more superior than then. Unfortunately, that is what I am. Or rather, forced to become one out of my will. Any hint of anger in my mood has my body wrongfully expressing it as something completely different like cheeky or sadness. Sometimes, I don't even understand my own actions. Those actions would have people see me as a very smart girl, but it's actually my body doing things on its own with me having minimal control over it that it's almost unreal.


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