Despair in a Different Field
A Sonic the Hedgehog and Danganronpa Crossover
Notes: Sonic the Hedgehog-wise, this one-shot diverges shortly after the opening to Sonic Forces. Eggman is solidifying his control over Mobius, and is experimenting with the Phantom Ruby to bring other dimensions into the fray. The present-day events of Episode Shadow and the Looming Shadow comic are disregarded here.
Danganronpa-wise, this one-shot is set in an alternate timeline to Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy – Side: Despair. Junko has only just begun to enact her plans for despair; the franchise's entire cast is still alive at this time.
No major spoilers are (technically) featured for either franchise. Sonic Forces doesn't have much in the way of that, and everyone should know Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc's plot twists by now.
"I know you have been afraid before
But you don't have to be anymore!
No more emptiness to feel inside
When we run together, no one
can break up our stride!"
– Fist Bump, Douglas Robb & Tomoya Ohtani
I thought it'd be my sister and I, against the world.
I thought that was the way things would always be.
It's not like I was deserving of any other fate. Like Junko said, I was a worthless excuse for an older sibling. I've already failed her enough as it is; if she wants despair out of me, then I don't have much of a choice.
I can't lose more of her love. I can't.
So I'll do whatever she says, even if that means helping end the world.
Admittedly… I've never really cared about the world as a whole. There's not a whole lot that attaches me to it, beyond Junko and Makoto. (Oh, and… my other classmates, too. Just a little bit.) I didn't have any real reason to step away from my sister's plans—
…though, sometimes my chest does ache whenever I think about Makoto—sweet, adorable, hopeful Makoto Naegi—having to live in the world that Junko wants to make.
I won't lie and say that it doesn't bother me. Not completely.
But what can I do? She'd just find a way to make things worse, even if I tried to resist.
So—I'll just live with what I've got.
Nobody can understand me as well as Junko, anyway. There's no recourse for me, not in this lifetime.
If these fleeting, idyllic days are all I'm going to get—then… that's fine with me.
(Even if my heart says otherwise.)
"Attention, students and faculty of Hope's Peak Academy! Lend me your ears, and listen to me very carefully!"
It was just an ordinary day at Hope's Peak Academy. We were all gathered together in our homeroom, me and the other Ultimates in my year. It was just supposed to be a rest day, a break from causing despair.
Junko, ironically enough, cherished these days—because they'd 'make my future despair feel that much better.' I'm not too sure about that myself… but it makes her happy, and it makes me happy too, because I get to see Makoto's smile. So I don't mind.
(It makes me forget how worthless I really am.)
I could've listened to Makoto speak forever. Anything he says, I'd gladly have heard out, just to feel my heart flutter again for however long until I couldn't anymore.
Unfortunately, that time… arrived far sooner than expected.
"My name is Dr. Eggman, the greatest scientist in all of Mobius. I am in the process of taking over my home planet as we speak—but I am not satisfied with merely ruling one world. No, my reign must extend over ALL dimensions!"
The television monitors were hijacked. A boisterous voice echoed from the speakers, accompanied by the image of a rotund man with a bushy mustache and a red jacket. His grin was wicked, almost as much as my sister's could be.
I didn't like him. Not one bit.
Everyone else shot up to stare at the nearby screen. Some of us were confused, some surprised; Junko in particular was fascinated at his presence, as if he was a (bad) birthday gift she hadn't foreseen.
Makoto, meanwhile, was the most startled of the group, bearing a wide-eyed and almost frightened expression. (I wished he didn't have to feel that way.) Next to him, Kyoko had narrowed her eyes, crossing her arms with this unreadable look.
"That is why I have transported your cities to my world—so that you can be the first to experience my firm leadership! Now, surrender yourselves to me… or face the end of your beloved hope!"
The man—Dr. Eggman—struck me as a dangerous individual, the type of target Fenrir would prioritize to eliminate at all costs. With every word he spoke, I found myself steadily growing more and more on-guard.
I didn't entirely understand what he was talking about… but what I could figure out was that he had dropped us into a very treacherous situation.
And speaking of which, booms suddenly began to reverberate throughout the classroom – large ones, though not quite on the level of explosions. I whipped my gaze to face the windows… and witnessed a salvo of giant mechs crash down onto the city, red sensors glaring with mechanical prejudice.
"You should all feel honored. You'll get to see firsthand the beginning of a new era… the era of the EGGMAN EMPIRE! OH HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO!"
A chorus of screams filled the air, from both inside and outside Hope's Peak. The rumbling got worse and worse, and I could see the city starting to take damage from the influx of robotic forces.
It was then that I realized that he specifically selected Hope's Peak Academy as his primary goal.
My—My class is still in here. Makoto's still in here.
And no matter how well-constructed or fortified the school itself may be… right now, it was nothing more than a humongous beacon, ripe for Dr. Eggman to lay siege to.
"We need to go," I breathed.
It didn't take long for the city to become coated in chaos.
Humongous lasers shot forth from across the city, leaving behind ash wherever they struck. Robots were wreaking havoc wherever they could, firing at anyone in sight and ransacking any building in range. I grit my teeth and fired my gun at whatever came too close for comfort; whatever it took, I'd get everyone out of here alive.
I couldn't afford to take things lightly. Not when so much was at risk.
(Thank god for all the military equipment I had back home…)
Luckily, I wasn't alone in taking care of the opposition. A number of my escorts were just as capable of fighting these robots as I was: Sakura and Mondo broke their frail frames apart with ease; Leon, Hina, and Junko could maneuver quite deftly around their clunky movements; Toko—correction, Genocide Jill was acting as a savage force of destruction… but that still left the rest of our group vulnerable, given how they were more or less defenseless.
"Where did all of these guys come from!?" Makoto yelped, features on the verge of panicking. "There's—There's like a whole army of them!"
"They must've been lying in wait, specifically to bombard us when we least expected it," Kyoko theorized. "That, of course, implies that Dr. Eggman knew the exact coordinates our city would be appearing in…" She clenched her fists and frowned intently. "I hate to say it, but… we may just be outmatched here."
Sayaka appeared terrified—she was even less prepared to deal with this than her other two friends. "No… No, no, no…! Kyoko, you—you have to be lying! If he's going that far for us, then th-that means…!" A primal fear exerted itself in her eyes, her arms wrapping around herself. "I can't—we can't—wh-wh-what's he gonna do to us—!?"
I noticed a larger robot sneaking up behind us – a black, armored golem, armed with a spiky mallet, trying to take advantage of her panic.
My eyes hardened further. Not on my watch.
I unhooked a rocket launcher, loaded it up, and fired. The explosion sent it reeling back, away from Makoto and everyone else – and just to be safe, I followed things up with another shot, blasting it to pieces. The Luckster and the Pop Sensation flinched in unison, the explosions likely having rattled their nerves intensely. (Kyoko, by comparison, seemed mostly unruffled.)
I shouldn't have let that happen in the first place. No wonder Junko calls me revolting…
"Don't let your guard down," I reprimanded the idol. "We need to secure ourselves a route out of here first – worry about all of this later!"
Sayaka looked like she wanted to protest, but eventually she gulped and backed down, eyes occasionally darting to the weapon still in my hand. "F-F-Fine… J-Just don't blow us up by accident!"
"…I'm the Ultimate Soldier," I stated, a little confused. "Why would I even make such a mistake in the first place?"
"Th-That's not what I—ugh, never mind."
We got back to moving with the rest of the class, having received a temporary reprieve from everything being thrown at us. I kept pace with Makoto, keeping a sharp lookout for whatever might decide to target him. It's the least I can do, even if I'm not good enough for him.
"Hey, Mukuro… sorry Sayaka was so snippy with you," he apologized. "Like, she knows you're trying her best, but—it's, well, been a long day."
"I get it." I… don't, actually, but I'm not about to say that now. "Not everyone is suited for war." As talented as the group has been in dealing with this, it's nothing compared to the nightmare that is an actual battlefield.
"…I wish I was as brave as you."
I blinked. "H-Huh? M-Makoto?"
He's just saying that to be nice… isn't he?
"I'm serious. Even Sakura doesn't have your expertise. You can take all these robots down without batting an eye, and I'm stuck sitting on the sidelines, waiting for everyone else to do the work. I… I want to help out, but I know I'd just be a liability."
"That's not true!" I denied, a blush creeping onto my face. "You're one of the bravest people I know! If—If anything—" I bit my lip. If anything, it's me who's a liability. To you, to my sister…
As if he had sensed my inner turmoil, Makoto replied, "Hey, don't be like that! You're doing so much for us, you know!" He smiled in that oh-so-heart-meltingly way. "We really appreciate it, so—try and appreciate yourself a little more!"
I—I don't deserve his kindness. Not one bit.
He'd be better off supporting someone else, honestly…
…but I can't dwell on that here.
I did my best to steel my heart toward focusing on the mission, no matter what my fragmented emotions are screaming. "…okay. Th-Thanks. Let's—Let's keep going."
"Alright, Mukuro! We'll follow your lead!"
(I tried to ignore my sister's sinister grin off in the corner of my eye.)
We did our best to fight through the crowd of enemies, stopping to replenish our energy and resources every now and again. The force of the armies descending over the city slowly got worse and worse, but I believed—no, I hoped that we'd make it out before the situation reached its peak.
…I had hoped wrongly.
Junko must be so proud of that…
As if the gods themselves had sensed our decent fortune and distasted it, a squadron of elite enforcers dropped down from the sky and surrounded us on all sides. They resembled the black robots from earlier, but these ones were even bigger, tinted purple, and wore thick-looking helmets.
"Oh no," Makoto said. "This isn't good…" His nervous gaze moved between me and the robots. "M-Mukuro, tell me you've still got enough for them…!"
I checked my ammunition reserves and grimaced. "Too low," I replied. "I won't be able to take them on, not like this."
They stepped forward sluggishly, herding us further toward the center of the circle. I stared warily at their hefty hammers—one hit from that and it'd be over.
"The sixteen of you were more elusive than I expected. It seems you aren't called Ultimates for nothing."
Above, we finally caught our first real glance at our new adversary: sitting inside an egg-shaped cockpit, his visage was every bit as ominous as I had expected. His blue-light glasses shone in the sunlight, and the leer on his face could be seen clear as day.
If only I could safely snipe his head clean off…
"Unfortunately for you," he said, "this is where your story ends. That infernal blue hedgehog can't save you now—and neither can his insipid friends. Join me now… or fall."
"…why!? Why are you doing this!?" Makoto shouted. "It's not enough that you're trying to conquer one world—you have to go for ours, too!?"
"Of course! Didn't you hear my announcement earlier? Conquering only a single world won't satiate me! Your world was doomed to fall anyway—I'm merely accelerating the process."
A breath hitched in my throat. No… He can't—he can't know about us… can he?
His place as a threat in my mind was firmly cemented. Despite my current ammo capacity, I loaded up one of my games and aimed at his head. "You're insane," I said. "Just trying to get us to lower our guards!" (If I say it out loud, maybe I can believe it's the truth.)
"Maybe. But you can't deny it's working." He leaned back in his chair, staring directly at me and Junko. "Now then—what will you do, 'Ultimate Soldier'? Fight me and my troops, and risk your friends' lives? Or will you simply accept defeat here and now?"
…my hands started to shake.
What—What was I supposed to do?
There wasn't a way out. We were trapped, utterly trapped. On one hand, there's no telling what he could do to us if we gave him the opportunity. But on the other hand…
My eyes glanced over at Junko, presently experiencing a strange mixture of frustration and curiosity. If I knew her right, she was considering his offer—and she doesn't make those type of considerations lightly. I've always followed her lead, and this might be the only choice to make—and yet… I…
I don't know if that's something I want to do.
Amidst everyone else making their own discussions, Makoto shuffled up to me. "Mukuro—you're not thinking of going for it… are you?"
I very carefully didn't look at him. "I—I don't—I don't know," I admitted. "He's got us backed into a corner. It's hopeless. Wh-What more can we do…?"
"We can't give up hope yet!" he insisted. "Giving in here… it'll only make him stronger! There's gotta be something we can try against him!"
I—I wish there was, too.
As it stands now, though… we—we can only—!
Suddenly, everything froze.
A trio of demons—a black hedgehog, a white bat, and a bulky red mech—unexpectedly landed on the floor in front of us, standing upright on top of each other. The red robot aimed his cannons—
—and the world turned pink with destruction.
"Whoa! What the hell—!?"
"Holy shit! Aliens are real! REAL!"
"Wah—! Big Damn Heroes approaching—!?"
The elite enforcers exploded all at once. The three irregularities hopped down to face the scientist, confidence clear in their posture.
Surprise made its way onto my features, completely undisguised. What? What? What?
Dr. Eggman banged his hands against his control panel. "No! It can't be…!" he hissed. "Shadow! Rouge! Omega! How dare you interfere with my plans, at this critical stage!"
"Hmph," the black hedgehog—presumably Shadow—scoffed. "You're getting overconfident, Doctor. G.U.N.'s been keeping an eye on what they can, after your explosive resurfacing." He dramatically pointed his finger at him. "You may have laid most of Mobius to waste with your latest stunt, but I refuse to let you do the same to these children."
"SHADOW-IS-CORRRECT," the robot intoned. "WE-SHALL-DESTROY-YOUR-PLANS, AND-THEN, I-SHALL-FINALLY-DESTROY-YOU!"
"Defective creation…!" the would-be conqueror growled. "Well, it doesn't matter! I have plenty more Badniks where those came from! Ultimate Lifeform or not… you can't keep them away from me forever!"
Another flood of robots—some large, some small, and some in-between—began to close in on our location, led by one of the huge mechs. A wave of fear washed over us again, but none of the three recent arrivals seemed affected in the slightest. In fact… they were only bolstered by them.
The fluttering bat smirked. "Sorry, but I do believe we can. Shadow? Do us a favor, honey, and show him what we mean."
"You don't need to tell me twice." Shadow raised his hand—wh-what's with the green gem?—and closed his eyes. "One more time… Chaos… CONTROL!"
And just like that, time and space—
—became nothing more than origami.
"What!? NO! SHADOWWWWWWWWWW—!"
…it's been about half an hour since we escaped from Hope's Peak Academy.
I don't think I've ever been as surprised as I've been today.
Humanoid animals, space-time manipulation, technology even more advanced than our world's—
It's… a lot to keep track of.
If it wasn't for the fact that Makoto and Junko were here with me, I—I don't know what I'd do.
Speaking of weirdness…
"Ugh…" A pink hedgehog pacing back and forth across the command room, a round red-and-yellow hammer clenched in her hand. "That Eggman, trying to drag innocent kids into his schemes… It's a good thing you got them outta there in time, Shadow."
"I only acted according to my own ideals," her dark ally handwaved. "It was merely a coincidence that they happened to align with your own goals today."
"Whatever you say, Shadow." She turned to me and Makoto on the couch, her bright expression noticeably marred by the fresh grief in her emerald gaze. "So! How have you two been doing? Sorry you guys have had such a rough time—it's not normally this hectic around here."
"We've been… okay, thanks!" Makoto replied, a soft smile touching his cheeks. "I'm just glad that we're all safe and sound! Oh, yeah—I'm Makoto Naegi, Ultimate Luckster of Class 78. It's nice to meet you!"
Nothing can ever stop him from making friends, I see…
…I guess I should introduce myself as well.
"I'm Mukuro Ikusaba, the Ultimate Soldier." I awkwardly ended things off there, not sure what else to say.
"Makoto and Mukuro, huh…? I like you guys already!" She spun her mallet in a circle and posed with flair. "I'm Amy Rose, the cutest and cheeriest girl you'll ever know! I'm not a 'Ultimate' anything, but I'm still capable of protecting Mobius with my friends!" She began to slouch. "Too bad we're not doing so hot at the moment, though…"
Hm? Oh, wait… "Dr. Eggman said that he was in the process of taking over this world," I recalled. "And he had a whole army of robots prepared to storm our city with. If he's done the same with every other major location…"
"How the heck did he get the time to make so many…!?" Makoto wondered, finger on his forehead. "Chihiro and Kazuichi would need years to make even a fraction of that size…"
"There can be only two explanations," Shadow mused. "Either the doctor has found an associate with a large amount of resources… or he has come into contact with a relic that serves essentially the same purpose. Either way, that doesn't change the fact that—for the first time—he is triumphing over every government on Mobius. Several dozen countries have submitted to his will… and it's only increasing as time goes on."
"Normally, it'd be Sonic taking care of the big stuff," Amy sighed. "He can run circles around Eggman and then some. Unfortunately, he was captured in Sunset Heights only a week ago—and the situation's getting too much for us to handle. I hate to say it, but we need help. A lot of it."
Silence filled the air, accompanied by a palpable sense of despair. Amy sat down with her hands in her lap, discouraged, while Shadow simply crossed his arms and looked away.
Whatever they were used to, this wasn't it. Put succinctly, they were dealing with a war against a powerful terrorist, one whose success they can't counter easily. And if nothing was done, they'd most likely be…
"…then let us help."
Amy was startled. "Wha—!? Mukuro!?"
"I've fought in war before," I said, "back on our home world. I've been trained in military tactics and combat, and I haven't yet been injured while doing so. This is something I'm ready for."
I don't know why I was volunteering for this. Now that Makoto and my classmates are safe, there wasn't any real need for me to stay involved.
It's just that… I feel like I have to do this.
"That's right—and don't forget us!" the Luckster nodded. "If help is what you need, then we're more than willing to lend a hand! We're not all able to fight, but we can still help out behind the scenes!"
"Well, that does explain the mechanical carnage I saw on my way through the city," the black hedgehog said. He chuckled. "G.U.N. would be all over themselves trying to get you on their side. To be able to take out so many Badniks on your own, assisted by your friends or not… it's truly an accomplishment."
"It's—It's not that impressive…" I muttered, blushing. "I only did what I had to do." Everyone else deserves so much more credit than someone as lowly as me…
"Doesn't mean I can't appreciate your work." He grinned good-naturedly. "I look forward to seeing what else you can do on the field, Mukuro. The Doctor will never see you coming."
"Yeah! Cheer up, Mukuro!" Makoto held my hand. My blush reddened further. "I know you'll do a great job—so don't worry about it!"
Amy frowned. "Are you sure you two want to do this? It's gonna be a long road. Eggman's not gonna go down without a fight, and he won't hesitate to hurt you if he gets the chance."
She closed her eyes briefly, and—albeit reluctantly—accepted our decision. "That settles it then. Welcome to the Resistance."
"I see you're getting quite chummy with everyone, Sis."
I flinched. Standing in the doorway to my temporary quarters was my sister, leaning against the frame and leering at me with amused eyes.
I sat on the bed, completely silent.
"I hope you haven't forgotten what we came to Hope's Peak Academy to do. That fat scientist may have impeded our plans, but that simply means we've got another world to bring to its knees. It's only a matter of time until I figure this place out."
I shifted in place uncomfortably.
"Remember this, Mukuro—it doesn't matter what these colorful weirdos tell you. You're still an atrocious creature, best only to follow my every command. And if you know what's good for you, you'll stop treating these 'heroes' like they could ever be friendly toward you."
I didn't argue. She was right. She was always right.
(And yet… I want to get up and argue otherwise.)
She turned her back to me. "In the meantime, though, I have some business to take care of. You won't need to get involved yet—just sit here and wait for me. You can do that much, at least."
"What… What are you going to do?" I whispered.
"I'm gonna be doing a bit of research. Know thy enemy, and all that. They can despair too, as much as anyone else." She shot a wicked grin my way. "So don't get too close to them, now. You wouldn't want to test how much I'm willing to tear up the status quo."
With those haunting words, she closed the door and left the room. I stared at the floor, trying to gather my thoughts into a coherent whole.
Makoto's relying on me. Everyone's relying on me to help save the world from Dr. Eggman.
I can't let them down. But I can't let my sister down, either.
She wants despair. They want hope.
I shouldn't be feeling so conflicted. In any other situation, I'd be more than prepared to aid Junko.
So why…? Why is it that, when I imagine everyone's face, I'm not willing to go through with it…?
I'll—I'll think about it later.
I have a war to focus on. If I get distracted by this, my performance on the battlefield will suffer. And then I'll have proven myself useless to everyone here.
So—I'll bury my emotions deep into my chest and keep on going, like I've done my entire life.
(All the better to keep my mind off of the idea of having to betray Makoto.)
There'll be an answer to this when everything is said and done. Something that'll allow me to please both sides without getting things wrong. There has to be an answer I can use.
I can't do this alone, even though I am strong…
So. Here's how my mind pitched things:
Sonic Forces takes place in a world ravaged by war. Danganronpa's Hope's Peak Saga takes place in a world torn by despair.
Forces' plot deserved better. Mukuro Ikusaba deserved better.
And thus, here we are.
Part of the Phantom Ruby's schtick is being able to create and traverse through entire dimensions. I always thought that would make for some good crossover potential; it'd help elevate Forces to having the scope it should've had. I mean, the Ultimates and the Resistance combining their abilities to take back two worlds from Eggman? That'd be a sight to see.
Mukuro would be in her element here. Give her a swarm of weapons and a little time, and Eggman's forces won't stand a chance. Her biggest issue, I imagine, would be dealing with the Resistance's natural sense of empathy. They're not like the upper management Fenrir has trained her to expect, and I think they'd be a fantastic way for her character to grow – especially if you pair her with Shadow.
Junko, meanwhile… the good doctor may have disrupted her plans, but that doesn't mean she can't adapt. The combined Resistance may have their hands full, dealing with Ms. Ultimate Despair and Baldy McNosehair simultaneously…
Well, that's all for now – see you guys around!