"Naegi Makoto of the Future Foundation 14th Division. In the name of the Future Foundation we hereby place you under arrest for treason."
The innocent olive eyes of the Ultimate Hope darted passed all the directions of the room. A chill drove straight up his spine when he found himself in the company of many unhappy faces. Although the room was quiet, it was clear that their silence broke volumes.
There was the overly muscular man who practically made it impossible to make out what he was thinking—he could see the scruffy guy with the fedora wasn't batting an eye with a visible smile on his face after drinking from his flask—the young women in the beanie glared at him with sinister blue eyes that could pierce through someone's soul—the blonde man with the red coat rested on the aforementioned girls lap, enjoying macaroons without a care in the world.
It hadn't been any better across the table. The giant peculiar-looking man remained idle with no real indication of his stance—and the exact opposite could be said for the muscular man with green hair and matching coat, he looked like he was ready to snap at any given moment, in fact, he probably looked the angriest—next to him, was the woman with a long ponytail that looked fairly unphased without a care in the world—and lastly, the small girl in a wheelchair who sat in silence, not even budging an inch.
The only recognizable figure to him was the Chairman, Tengan Kazuo. Though with all the propaganda made by the Future Foundation it would be kinda hard not to know who he is. In what seemed to be an ironic twist of fate: the elderly man who once welcomed him into the Future Foundation with open arms now stood against him.
His heartbeat was fluctuating, fingers trembled, and was sweating bullets. This was it...he would either leave this building pardoned and found not guilty and free to properly testify his actions, or be convicted as the traitor and forced to face whatever punishment the Future Foundation would inflict on him. Makoto's stomach already started to churn vigorously simply at the thought.
Munakata Kyosuke was the first to move. He walked along the table and brought forth a clipboard. "Harboring and concealing the fifteen Remnants of Despair, disobedience to your commanding officers, unpermitted and unsupervised use of the Neo World Program, and almost starting a potential resurrection of the Ultimate Despair, Enoshima Junko. Hmm, quite ironic. You hold the title of Ultimate Hope, yet your criminal records have become inconceivable in such a short amount of time.
Tengan pushed up his glasses to the bridge of his nose, "Munakata-kun," he said, "I entrust that you know how to properly handle this situation. We shouldn't immediately insist on inflicting a capital punishment for the boys crimes."
"Yes, Chairman. Sakakura subdue Naegi Makoto." Munakata ordered. "I want him to stand trial for the crimes that he's committed."
"Tch, don't gotta tell me twice." Sakakura Juzo spat. He didn't waste a single moment of time, placing the handcuffs onto Makoto instantly.
"Wait! You can't just do that, you haven't even heard him out!" Asahina called out intensely. The Ultimate Swimming Pro tried to step forward until her firm shoulders came to a halt when the gloved hand of Kirigiri stopped her. The lavender haired detective looked to her sternly, giving her a shake to the head.
"Asahina-san, don't interfere." she warned him, "We aren't at liberty to rebel against the Future Foundation."
There was definitely something intimidating about this man. His lethal eyes stared down on the brunette boy for what seemed to be an infinite amount of time. Makoto's memories kept flashing back to his arrival in the building when this man looked to be the angriest. "Sorry for having to do this," Sakakura sighed, "It pains me to have to arrest a hero, especially one that defeated Enoshima Junko."
Makoto's muscles eased up. "No...there's no need to apologize—"
And like a bat out of hell, the wind was completely knocked out of him with a single blow to the stomach, ultimately causing him to fall to his knees. This wasn't an ordinary punch to the stomach, no...this was definitely the talent of the Ultimate Boxer.
"You're assaulting a defenseless person that cannot fight back?" Kirigiri's cold eyes narrowed. "And you call yourself a member of the Future Foundation?"
"Shut the hell up!" Sakakura shot back. He ignored the lavender haired detective and only continued to deliver another brutal blow to Makoto's face. "Tch, like hell I'd be up in arms after all the shit you pulled. Do you even realize what you put the Future Foundation through? How do you guys possibly consider yourself heroes? As far as I'm concerned, you don't even deserve the title of Ultimate Hope!"
"Munakata-kun," Tengan cleared his throat. "I thought you had everything under control."
"You've made your point Sakakura, that's enough." Munakata ordered.
The boxer dropped a fist, "Fine."
"Naegi Makoto isn't in any condition to start testifying," Kirigiri acknowledged, "He'll need time to recover before his trial begins."
"Bullcrap, I barely even touched him." Sakakura rolled his eyes, getting shot with a look of anger from Asahina in the process.
"I'll allow it." Munakata answered. "Naegi should be allowed to properly attest for his crimes and he'd be nothing more a liability in his current state. And I'm interesting in hearing an argument from him on why he would go to such drastic measures to aid the Remnants of Despair. For now this meeting is suspended, everyone's to regroup in a few hours, the trial will be postponed for a later time."
"All division leaders are free to leave the premises and will be notified once the trial begins," he continues. "Naegi Makoto will remain here and kept under a close eye." he looked to the brunette woman with the long ponytail who still remained at her seat with Sakakura. "Yukizome, I'm entrusting you with the responsibility of monitoring Naegi until his trial begins, okay?"
"Sure thing, Kyosuke!" the peppy woman smiled from ear to ear. She sprung out her chair like a child and zipped over to Makoto, it even sounded like she was humming a song in the process. Asahina was ready to come to the aid of Makoto, until Sakakura came and completely blocked her view of the Ultimate Hope and shooting her with a sinister stare.
"Nice try, but there's no way you're going with him." Sakakura scoffed.
"Sakakura is right." Munakata proclaimed. "The three of them were former members of Class 78, survivors of the Killing School Life, and to my knowledge they contributed a role in assisting the Remnants of Despair. It wouldn't be impossible to believe they're colluding with each other. Until the trial commences, Kirigiri Kyoko of Branch 14 and Asahina Aoi of Branch 13 are prohibited from interacting with Naegi."
Asahina really wanted to give them a piece of her mind, but she was reminded of what Kirigiri had told her earlier. So she simply asked—"Naegi, are you gonna be okay?"
He smiled reassuringly, "There's no need to worry, Asahina-san. I'll be alright."
"I guess that means you're with me for now, Naegi-kun!" the brunette woman smiled pleasantly, probably a lot more pleasant that someone living through an apocalypse normally would. "Sakakura-kun went too far. We should take you to the infirmary and take care of that wound."
The Ultimate Hope nodded his head.
"Sorry, I completely forgot to introduce myself!" she lightly gripped the tips of her jacket and gave him a small curtsy. "My name's Yukizome Chisa, I'm the leader of the 5th Division of the Future Foundation, and the former Ultimate Housekeeper. My responsibility is to gather intelligence on the phenomenon of despair, it's nice to meet you Naegi-kun."
Makoto smiled, the first genuine feeling of the sort that he felt since arriving in the building. "It's nice to meet you too, Yukizome-san. You're the Ultimate Housekeeper?"
Yukizome smiled with her hands proudly rested on her hips, "That's right, it's pretty much my forte. And not just that, but I'm also the one in charge of everyday housework here in the Future Foundation Headquarters, after all, our current situation is no excuse to ignore basic house duties. But anyway, we should get you to the infirmary."
The Ultimate Housekeeper guided Makoto to the nearest infirmary in the building, which thankfully only was on the farther side of the top floor. As she began to bring out the first aid kit, he felt a little relieved. He was lucky that someone like Yukizome was around, seemingly the only person so far that didn't look ready to have him sentenced to death. As a matter of fact, the woman was oddly more upbeat and vibrant than anyone in the building—or anyone in The Tragedy for that matter. Makoto can't recall meeting a person this optimistic since the apocalypse—well, besides himself.
And not only was she pretty enthusiastic, the other side of her felt very warm and nurturing about her. The presence of Yukizome almost reminded Makoto of his own mother.
"This will sting a little."
Makoto squinted when he felt the alcohol touch his cheek, "No...I'm fine," he grinned, attempting to put on a face.
"You're such a boy."
And not only did she seem pretty nurturing, but also rather skilled with treating wounds. One thing that Makoto noticed was the jacket she wore resembled a lab coat, in an attempt to break the silence he asked—"Yukizome-san, are you a doctor?"
"I'm the Ultimate Housekeeper, remember?" she reminded him. "After I graduated Hope's Peak Academy I became a teacher. My students were a colorful bunch, so I've had experiences with things like this from the past. In fact, I was the teacher of the 77th Class—the ones you tried to protect."
Makoto gasped, "You were the teacher of the 77th Class?" the woman confirmed his question with a solemnly nod. "Then you must know why I wanted to protect the Remnants of Despair? They used to be normal high school students, just like everyone else. They laughed together...hung out together...and they would've graduated happily if they never had met Enoshima."
"Now I'm starting to understand why everyone calls you the Ultimate Hope," Yukizome snorted. Makoto's cheeks flushed red at that response.
"No, that's just a nickname that my friends gave me. It's just...being optimistic is the only thing I'm really good at."
"Naegi-kun," the housekeeper addressed him softly, "I can understand why you're doing this. Just like you, I want to believe in the remnants—my students just as much as you do. But we're living in a cruel world and we've already lost so much. We can't defeat despair by being nice."
"The Future Foundation is the world's last hope at ending The Tragedy. Our division leaders have been pulling out all the stops to make sure it finally does it. Maybe, if you were understand things from their point of view you'd understand. Hey Naegi-kun, have you met any other division leaders yet?"
Makoto shook his head. "No, besides Munakata-san and Sakakaura-san, you're the only one that I've met so far."
And just like that the smiling woman ascended out her chair, "Then it's settled! Your trial has been postponed so that gives you plenty of time to meet some of the higher-ups, they should be in the building somewhere."
Their first destination had been the lounge room. Makoto had recognized two familiar people from before—the serious man with blonde hair and the big red coat being fed candy from the sinister girl with short pink hair and the beanie. Makoto had remembered the girl specifically was giving him an angry look when he first arrived in the building. The blonde man stood up from his seat and didn't waste a moment to pull a kunai from his coat.
"What business do you have with us?" he warned.
"And you better answer correctly," the beanie girl warned. "I'd be a shame for Yoi-chan to accidentally impale you in between the eyes."
"Well—uhh..I..." Makoto's face went blue.
Thank goodness than Yukizome had been fearlessly standing next to him the entire time. "Calm down Ando-san and Izayoi-kun," she assured the two, paying no attention to the sharp kunai that was aimed at her. "Naegi-kun is just here to introduce himself."
"Introductions, is that all? Alright, but you'd better leave once we're done." the beanie girl said. "I'm Ando Ruruka, the former Ultimate Confectioner and the leader of the 8th Division."
"Ando-san's a master chef, but her specialty persists in the delicious confections that she makes herself," Yukizome started to explain. "Some of her customers even say that her sweets are addictive. Despite that she's quite the culinary expert in all fields and helps in the Future Foundation and provides stable food sources."
"Her confections are that delicious?!" Makoto gasped. "But, I've never saw something like that in any stores."
Ando couldn't help but scoff. "Did you really think I'd subject my confections to stores? The sweets I make are amazing and don't compare to any of this name brand snack foods."
The man in the red coat looked to Ando, who returned the favor with a reassuring nod. "And my name's Izayoi Sonosuke, the former Ultimate Blacksmith and the leader of the 9th Division. Now then, if you don't have any further business with us then I'd advise you leave us alone immediately."
Makoto scratched his chin. "Izayoi, I feel like I've read about that name before."
Without a chance to recall, Yukizome was able to catch on to his confusion. "You must be thinking about the Izayoi Clan. They're infamously known as one of the greatest blacksmith families in the world."
"We are the best blacksmith clan in the world." Izayoi corrected her, a bit of pride seaped out from his monotone voice. "The Izayoi Family specializes in top-notch weapon forgery and no other blacksmith compare to our skills. We've been at this for generations and our families history dates back to the Tokugawa Period where we made weapons feudal military."
"And it's because of the clan that Izayoi-kun learned everything he knew about blacksmithing. And one thing lead to another, and he was recognized by Hope's Peak Academy," Yukizome said. "It sure makes him a chip off the old block, but he's a little old fashioned."
The blacksmith had tightly closed his arms, "Call it whatever you want. But, I've sworn on the name of the Izayoi Clan to never wield such an inferior weapon."
"Inferior weapons?" Makoto blinked.
"Firearms, grenades, and especially nuclear weapons." Izayoi said in clarification. "There's no honor in a blacksmith that uses something so neoteric. All members of the Izayoi Clan have sworn an oath to never use a weapon that they haven't constructed themselves. Otherwise, they'll face the wrath of the Namahage."
Namahage...does Izayoi-kun still believe in that kind of stuff? Makoto thought to himself.
The Ultimate Confectioner and The Ultimate Blacksmith, it didn't need very much explanation to show that these two were a romantic couple and it definitely showed. While Izayoi's gruff and stiff appearance didn't look like I'd mesh very well with the cutsey and liveliness of Ando, but Makoto could tell that they shared a common trait in themselves—the pride they shared within their talents. On a normal circumstance that'd probably be deemed egotistical or pretentious, but in this situation it's just a relief to see people that feel more than just despair.
"Now then, if we're finished with introductions," Ando scowled, with Izayoi retrieving the same kunai from his coat, "I'd start leaving if I were you. Me and Yoi-chan don't associate ourselves with traitors."
The next area in the building was the cafeteria. Most of the people in the room didn't really stand out much—just a bunch of men and women dressed in suits. The most distinguishable person was looked to be the muscular man that wore the cow mask. Makoto guessed that he was really defensive about removing the mask when he saw the man downing a juice box through a straw in one of the holes in his mask. It was difficult to determine what kind of expression he was making, but Makoto flinched when he saw the man making eye contact.
"Hello Chisa," the muscular man greeted, "How has your progress been going, is Naegi Makoto cooperating?"
"Sure is!" Yukizomed smiled. "I've been introducing Naegi-kun to all of the division leaders here in the Future Foundation."
"I see, well in that case..." he says, now standing up for his tiny chair and intimidating Makoto with their huge difference in height. "Listen up asshole, cuz I'm only gonna say this once! They call me the King of Kings! The undisputed Champion of World Wide Professional Wrestlig and the reigning strongest member of the Future Foundation. GREAT GOZU!"
Makoto chuckled nervously. "Okay, I'll try to remember that."
"Don't be shy Naegi-kun, he won't bite," Yukizome giggled. "When Great Gozu-san attended Hope's Peak Academy, he held the title of Ultimate Wrestler, and it definitely showed after his graduation. He's won over thirty championships, trained many professional wrestlers, and become a veteran in the industry."
"I never expected someone like you to know all this stuff, Yukizome-san." Makoto gasped in shock.
"Teachers do their homework too!" the Ultimate Housekeeper teased.
"Yeah, but that all that stuff's in the past. It happened back in my heyday," Great Gozu replied with humility. "I returned my wrestling career a few years ago and did some more traveling overseas. When The Tragedy began Chairman Tengan called me back to the academy. I've been the chairman's bodyguard ever since and have mostly focused on my contracting duties."
"Contracting dutes, what do you mean?" Makoto asked.
"You see, Gozu-san wasn't just the Ultimate Wrestler, he was also the leader of the 12th Division and his role is to oversee and assist in construction." Yukizome-san started to explain. "He takes part in building infrastructures like roadways and communications."
The wrestler nodded to confirmed her explanation, "That's true. My division has helped me restore civilization to many different places in the world. We still have a long ways to go, but I believe that we'll be able to return things back to normal."
"Ah, so we're doing introductions?" Makoto turned around to see the man he remembered from before that wore the fedora. He tipped the brim of his fedora and gave the boy a smirk, "Alright then, allow me to toss my hat into the ring. The name's Kizakura Koichi of the 3rd Division, and while I may not look the part, I'm the human resources over here in the Future Foundation."
"It's nice to meet you," Makoto grinned, "All the division leaders are alumni of Hope's Peak Academy, right? Does that mean you have an Ultimate talent too?"
"Well, yes—and no." Kizakura stated frankly, but smiled nonetheless. "Sure, I'm from Hope's Peak, same's the rest of you. Buuutt, I don't have an Ultimate talent or anything like that. No backstory, no interesting family members, and no secrets, just a regular guy."
Makoto looked to Yukizome, already aware she was about to give an explanation. "Kizakura-san may not have a talent, but he definitely knows an Ultimate whenever he sees one," she told him. "He even scouted the members of the Future Foundation."
"Yep, I was a talent scout for ten years. In fact, I wrote all the acceptance letters for the students." Kizakura answered. "I even scouted the Remnants of Despair. Man, that'll never stop being a weird sentence."
"You knew them too?"
"I didn't just know them, they were my students once upon a time. I was meant to be their teacher before Yukizome-chan showed up," Kizakura-san replied, adjusting his hat. "Wonder what could've happened to them. Hey quick question: if you've been helping those guys out for a while now, right? I don't exactly call the shots here, but I'd be cautious of the higher-ups."
Makoto felt himself breaking out in cold sweat, in his situation the last thing he would want to here is receiving a punishment. Kizakura seemed to catch up on this and said, "Just joking. Seriously, you should take the things I say like a grain of salt."
Evidently true to its word, the library was the most quiet area in the building, and definitely a nice change of pace after the heated confrontations of before, and definitely less painful. Makoto saw there was a small girl with short blue hair and a red scarf sitting quietly in a wheelchair, he remembered her being rather aloof in the meeting room. She looked over at Makoto, but shyly continued to start typing away on her computer.
"Excuse me," Makoto spoke. "Do you mind if I introduce myself?"
The blue haired girl pressed a button on her keyboard. The big screen in front of her wheelchair turned on with a cartoonish looking white-rabbit wearing a tutu and magic wand appeared on the screen. "No, I don't mind," the rabbit answered for her.
Makoto's jaw nearly dropped when he saw the character on her screen. No doubt the rabbit on the screen was Usami—the same rabbit that was used to help the Remnants of Despair—but he wasn't sure how this even made any sense. To his knowledge Usami currently inactive, all he could assume is that this was likely a different version of her. "I think I've heard about you before. Aren't you once of the programmers chosen for the Neo World Program?"
She nodded and typed away on her keyboard again, allowing Usami to happily wave. "Yes, my name is Gekkogahara Miaya from the 7th Division, and the rabbit is my good friend Usami. I assist in overseeing the cyber security and finding ways to research and combat the Ultimate Despair. Oh, and when I attended Hope's Peak Academy, my talent was the Ultimate Therapist. Pleasure to meet you, Naegi-kun."
The Ultimate Hope smiled. "It's nice to meet you too, Gekkogahara-san."
"So you've heard of her, huh? Well I'd be kinda hard not too, after all she's our head of security here in the Future Foundation," Yukizome told him. "You wouldn't normally expect someone with a gruff name like 'Gekkogahara' to have such a cute face, but her skills are unbelievable and it's because of her that we're all safe from intruders."
The girl grabbed her red scarf and started to hide her face a little more, it seemed like her cheeks flushed red over the compliment. With her free hand she continued typing, "Anyway, Naegi-kun's right. My knowledge was requested by Hope's Peak Academy since I was the Ultimate Therapist. They requested me to help with the Neo World Program by systematically altering the functions of the human brain," she explained through Usami. The rabbit started growing mushrooms on her head, "I was told that the program would bring the world into the future and help people, but I never expected my research to be used to kill people."
"Oh...I'm sorry," Makoto apologized.
Gekkogahara shook her head. "It's okay, there's no need to apologize. But I think I should hear your testimony first."
In the further corner of the library Makoto found the tall figure he recalled before. This giant man hovered over him as if Makoto were an insect, in fact, he was the tallest human-being that Makoto had ever seen in his life.
The giant man developed a big smile on his face when he saw the company, "Hello Yukizome-chama!" he squeaked in a voice that didn't sound like it belonged to him.
"Hello to you too, Bandai-san," the brunette housekeeper smiled, being the same height as Makoto she was second to none in height difference, but that didn't stop her from cheerfully walking over to him. "I've been introducing Naegi-kun to all the division leaders, would you mind introducing yourself to him?"
"Well, the rabbit mostly sits upside down when it rains," he said with a big toothy brin. "So, I guess an introduction wouldn't hurt. I'm Bandai Daisaku, formerly the Ultimate Farmer. Even if you're a traitor I hope we can get along like dogs and palm trees, Naegi-chama."
Makoto couldn't help but feel kinda confused—Bandai- looked to be a very cheerful and gentle person, and even reminded him a bit of Great Gozu or his late classmate, Oogami. But his phrases don't really make a lot of sense, and even his use of Japanese honorifics were skewed. Chama? That was one that you heard regularly, let alone from a grown man.
"Bandai-san is the leader of the 11th Division and is in charge of helping aid with food supplies," Yukizome stated. "His talents as the Ultimate Farmer were renowned by everyone at Hope's Peak Academy, because of The Tragedy he's not able to traditionally grow foods, but thankfully the Future Foundation have greenhouses that help him compensate for that."
"Yep, my foods are my pride and joy!" he smiled, but his head started to lower in sadness. "But it's too bad organic delicacies are much harder to come by than an ostritch that eats underwater. Since there's been a shortage in food, most people are more interested in foods that are genetically modified to feed the masses."
In what seemed to be a strange place for one of the division leades to be, Yukizome creaked open of a supply room where Makoto recognized the girl with grey hair and a surgical mask from before. She had carefully balanced herself on the step ladder and seemed to be stocking the shelves with drugs. The mask she wore made Makoto assume that she presumably didn't want to be bothered with, but Yukizome's voice confirmed this wasn't the case—
"Hey Kimura-san, do you have a minute!" she called out.
The girl hopped off the stepladder and bowed for the housekeeper. "Good evening, Yukizome-san. Is there something I can help with you with?" she asked meekly. She looked to Makoto and shot him a look of anger, "What're you doing with the traitor?"
Makoto winced a bit, she admittingly didn't seem like a very assertive personality. "Don't worry, Naegi-kun is only here to make acquaintance with you. Would you mind introducing yourself to him?"
"I see, then I can do that." the girl nodded her head timidly, "My name is Kimura Seiko of the 4th Division. And when I was still a student at Hope's Peak Academy the talent I had was the Ultimate Pharmacist."
"Kimura-san is the head of all drug developed here, she aids in new medicine and different medical treatments," said Yukizome who looked at all the drugs on the shelf and smiled. "Her medications are really amazing and they'ved helped us out more times, than once."
It had almost felt like the pharmacist became a different person upon hearing that comment. She started to giggle a bit, her eyes light up, and her posture temporarily improved. "Y-You really think so? Thank you—Thank you, Yukizome-san."
"I don't really know too much about medicine," Makoto retorted, "What kind of medicines do you make, Kimura-san?"
The pharmacist looked rather skeptical on answering the question since it seemed she still didn't trust him very much. "Well, I can make antibiotics, and stabilizers, and anesthesia, and other types of medicines. But more than anything...I'd like to make a drug that could combat despair and save people."
The Ultimate Pharmacist didn't really strike Makoto as a very bad person. Kimura seemed very helpful and genuine person, but she also looked to have some kind of trusting issue since she acted very polite and respectful to Yukizome, but not exactly to Makoto.
From what he was told by Yukizome, there was still another division leader that they hadn't been introduced to yet, though this person did a pretty good job at keeping them self out of sight and they was the only one he didn't see in the conference room. Makoto looked around the corner to find an ill-looking person with dirty blonde who was continuously paced across the halls back and forth. There was no doubt that he must have been the other division leader she was talking about.
"Excuse me," Makoto called out. "Are you okay?"
"Um," the dirty blonde stammered, almost like he was trying to muster up any courage to start talking. "I'm here for the meeting with the division leaders, but I wasn't sure if I could enter yet," he said, his hazel eyes looked passed Makoto and stopped towards Yukizome. He quickly proceeded to respectfully bow to the housekeeper—"Good Evening, Yukizome-sensei, it's good to see you."
Makoto's eyebrows raise. "Yukizome-sensei, does that mean—?"
"Yep, that's right!" Yukizome confirmed. "This gentlemen was a former student of mine from Hope's Peak Academy, and a member of the Future Foundation."
"I'm Mitarai Ryota of the 10th Division," he introduced, smiling awkwardly. "My duties in the Future Foundation are to oversee and implement education and culture to the areas in need. And at Hope's Peak Academy, my talent was the Ultimate Animator."
"It's nice to meet you, Mitarai-kun." Makoto smiled. "Ultimate Animator is a pretty amazing talent. Does that mean you've made a lot of animations?"
"Yeah, but I don't think they're are all that great," Mitarai muttered nervously.
"Don't be modest Mitarai-kun." Yukizome assured him, her attention faced back to Makoto. "Back at Hope's Peak Academy his works were some of the most remarkable pieces of animation that anyone had ever seen, and it's said that those who watch them could be moved to tears."
Mitarai continued to shake his head contradictory. "That's a bit of a stretch. I wouldn't exactly call myself the Ultimate Animator. I mean, I regularly skipped classes when I attended Hope's Peak Academy."
Yukizome was definitely right about his modesty. The Ultimate Animator seemed to be a relatively kind and decent person, but at the same time rather pessimistic and reserved, especially when considering some of the other over the top members of the Future Foundation that Makoto had met so far. In a way, Mitarai was an exact 180 of Yukizome's personality.
"What's this?!" Mitarai exclaimed.
Makoto's ears didn't prepare them self for such a loud noise, with them ringing repeatedly even between every individual beeping of the sound. "Where's that noise coming from?!"
For the first time Yukizome stared at the two boys with a serious expression. "It must be the security alarm. Mitarai-kun, take Naegi-kun back to the conference room quickly. I'm gonna go see what's going on!"
Without a minute to respond to her, Yukizome moved faster than lightning across the hall and out of complete sight. Mitarai looked back to Makoto, "Um, we should probably listen to her and go to the conference room."
The security alarm was loud and persistent, and could be heard throughout the entire building. When Makoto entered the conference room he found that all the division leaders had already regrouped back in the room. Most of them looked at his with faces of confusion or anger, and they were clearly under the impression that he had something to do with this excursion.
"What's going on?" Mitarai asked, "Did something happen?"
"It seems the building is under attack," Munakata answered seriously, he seemed to be reading information off a small tablet. "We've been receiving reports saying that our security have just been intruded and four of our armed forces were just confirmed killed."
He looked to Gekkogahara, "I need intel on what's going on. Have you learned anything about our perpetrator?"
The therapist typed on her computer at a breakneck pace. It was made clear something was wrong when Usami started to sweat nervously, "I couldn't find a perpetrator! But whoever this person is took down all of our escape routes," she pressed a button on her computer and displayed the security footage to everyone on the main screen. "The main entrance is covered in rubble, the power was cut on the elevators on every floor, and they even managed to take out the fire escapes."
"Dammit," Sakakura growled. "How convenient that we're under attack on the same day as Naegi's trial."
"But, I had nothing to do with this!" Makoto defended.
"Whether you had anything to do with this or not remains to be seen, however, we must remain cautious. Sakakura restrain him." Munakata ordered. The boxer agreed, immediately started grabbing Makoto and pinning him to the ground.
The doors slammed right open with Asahina rushing inside with Kirigiri following her from behind. "The security guards," the swimmer alarmed, "I found them inside the bathroom. They're all dead!"
"What...?" Munakata gasped.
Kirigiri walked pass Asahina and knelt down to Makoto, "What's the situation?"
"The building's been infiltrated and all the exits are blocked."
Just like before Yukizome entered the doors and passed everyone rushing right to Munakata's side. "Kyosuke, I came back as fast as I could!" she cried out, "I tried to contact one of the offshore branches, but I couldn't get a signal!"
"This isn't looking so good," Tengan admitted. "With the all escape entrances gone and our security taken down there aren't too many ways to combat the perpetrator."
"What should we do?" Mitarai asked concerningly.
"We all need to remain calm, we've prepared for this instance since the Future Foundation's inception," Munakata stated. "There are many division leaders present and accounted for. We need to stay alert and be prepared for whatever we're fighting."
Makoto could hear a gasp, with Chairman Tengan noticing a small cylinder falling between them. "What's that?" he gasped, suddenly a barrage of smoke gushed out the device, the first ones to go down were Bandai and Gekkogahara who didn't have a moment to react.
"A sleeping gas!?" Kimura gasped.
"Everyone, hold your breathe!" Munakata yelled. Unfortunately it seemed far too late as half the room started to fall unconscious little by little. He felt even more anxious when he saw Yukizome was slowly falling unconscious, he attempted to aid her but he passed out as well.
"Kyosuke..." the housekeeper weakly called out.
Makoto looked to be one of the few that were still fighting the smoke. He looked around the entire room to find anyone that was still awake, the only other person who continued to fight was the Ultimate Detective. The Ultimate Hope let out a loud—"Kirigiri-san!"—before he too passed out.
It's unsure of exactly how long Makoto had been unconscious, though with the heaviness in his body and disoriented head, it seemed to be at least a few hours. His green eyes crept open and he slowly stood onto his knees, taking in a quick examination of everything that was happening. It looked like everyone was starting to wake up like he was, the power had now been restored, and the ear-numbing security alarm had finally turned off. It was kind of strange, Makoto was nearly positive that whoever infiltrated this building would have kidnapped him—he would've thought that someone would have kidnapped them for information, or maybe the infiltration was a bizarre punishment for helping the Remnants of Despair—but he found himself in the exact same building.
It seemed that everyone else started waking up as well.
He looked down to his left and saw something strange—there looked to be some kind of bracelet attached to him with three additional buttons on the side—what was this doing here, did the perpetrator put this on him? Out of complete curiosity, he pressed the first button on the bracelet.
"Running in the Hallway"
Those four words endlessly rotated along the bangle in bright red letters. Running in the Hallway? echoed in Makoto's head. He couldn't exactly determine what this was supposed to mean or what the purpose for these bracelets were, but something told him it'd be better not to mess with this thing for now.
Those thoughts were cut short when Kirigiri and Asahina started waking up as well. "Naegi, Kyoko-chan, are you okay?" the latter asked. The Ultimate Hope nodded with confirmation, and took notice of the bracelets that were secured around the girls wrists as well, and the same seemed to apply for everyone else.
"I'm fine," Kirigiri answered. "It seems that whoever knocked us unconscious took the liberty of putting these bangles on us. It's too early to say what they're purpose is, so it's better to leave them alone for now."
"We're not dead?" Kimura blinked with confusion.
"Guess that means we're not in real danger!" Bandai grinned. "It must've been a false alarm or something. A close shave looks like pluto to the birds!"
Kimura only glared at Bandai in confusion. Kizakura rested a hand in his pocket, "False alarm, huh? Nah, not possible. That wouldn't explain where the sleep gas grenade came from, or why it magically disappeared when we wake up."
Yukizome looked very concerned about the predicament. "Yeah, and where did these bangles come from?"
"Our main priority should be to remain calm and think of what to do next," Munakata told everyone sternly. "We need to find the perpetrator, so everyone stay on guard and—"
"What was that?" Mitarai cried out.
Asahina froze. "That laugh. No...it couldn't be."
Makoto's heart almost stopped when he heard that laughter. His stomach immediately started to feel heavy all of a sudden, and his feet couldn't firmly stand on the ground. But worse than anything of that were the assortment of despair-inducing flashbacks that rushed into his head like a slideshow. The relentless projectiles of the baseball pitching machine to Kuwata—the creaking from the empty motorcycle to Oowada—the cackling of the wooden steak to Celeste—the brutality of the bulldozer to Alter Ego—and the nerve wracking anticipation of the guillotine to himself.
All those painful memories from the "Academy of Despair" surged back into his head and in some way, it felt like he was being dragged back into reality.
"Whoever's there, show yourself!" Munakata demanded.
"As long as despair exists in the hearts of people, Monokuma will live forever!" the silence was broken by a flamboyant voice. All fifteen people looked over to the table in unision and saw what seemed to be two-toned teddy bear—one half an adorable white teddy bear—and the other half a sinister black bear. "Hiya bastards, long time no see!"
The infamous teddy bear looked to everyone with happiness, it even looked like his slasher smile grew bigger when he saw the three survivors of the previous killing game, with Makoto returning the favor with a glare of anger. Since The Tragedy began there have been Monokuma's running all over the world, more than anyone could possible count, but there was something different about this one...something more familiar.
For what seemed to be an entire minute, they all remained silent. Tengan had been the first to finally break the silence, "Is that a Monokuma unit, what's it doing in the building?"
Makoto's eyes widened in total shock. His suspicions seemed correct, this was not just an ordinary Monokuma robot, those gestures were something he couldn't forget in a million years. It was the same Monokuma that hosted the Killing School Life, or at least one affiliated with those events.
"Did the Remnants of Despair really find headquarters?" Great Gozu asked.
"No, that's impossible!" Munakata refuted. "The Future Foundation H.Q is government protected. The building is located on a remote island far from civilization, and it was intentionally kept out of all maps."
"Alright, you have our attention. What do you want from us?" Tengan asked frankly.
"Ohh, looks like we got plenty of new faces here. Allow me to introduce myself! I am the god of this beautiful world, Monokuma! The adorable and charismatic Chairman of the Future Foundation!"