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Heroism is a high-risk job. When The Chosen One is the only one who can defeat the Big Bad, the Big Bad and their Evil Minions are going to be coming after The Hero everywhere they go. You may be the only one who can protect the city, or the kingdom, or the Magical Land, or the universe, but while you're working on that, who's going to protect you?

You need the Hero Secret Service: Heroes-R-Us for The Hero! Twenty-four hour protection from any and all accidental or intentional premature causes of death that may hinder you on The Hero's Journey. They'll keep your Secret Identity secret, guard you while moving between headquarters, provide distractions, take out the Mooks so you can save your strength, and if necessary, make Heroic Sacrifices for you, thereby providing substantial Heroic Resolve to get you through the culminating grand battle.

Working for the Hero Secret Service is also hazardous. Contractual Immortality is significantly decreased, and it's not personal as far as the Big Bad is concerned, so the Evil Minions for once have full permission to kill. On the other hand, while the Big Bad is Surrounded by Idiots, the Hero Secret Service does not hire any crazy guards... unless they're a volunteer Amazon Brigade assigned to protect The One Guy.

Taking advantage of the Hero Secret Service is not optional, so save your breath about not wanting to put anyone else in danger for your sake, or how they can't hope to ever help.

This job position is also cynically referred to as being a "Meat Shield." Just ask the Red Shirts of Star Trek.

Sometimes run by La Résistance. If the hero is royalty, this may be Praetorian Guard. Always More Expendable Than The Hero.

Examples of Hero Secret Service include:


Anime & Manga

  • The SOS Brigade members (minus Haruhi herself) towards Kyon in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. All of them mention Kyon being a very important person towards Haruhi, and have either aided him, or in some cases protected him against threats, such as Nagato breaking into Asakura's closed space to save him.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Misato rallies NERV to protect the EVA pilots in End of Evangelion.
    • Also, in the series, NERV has plainclothes security guys to guard the pilots from afar when they're outside NERV HQ.
  • Sailor Moon: If Sailor Moon is the only one who can break spells, destroy monsters, defeat the enemy, and prevent The End of the World as We Know It, what are the Inner Senshi there for? To protect Sailor Moon!
  • The Record of Lodoss War finale has the heroes descending on a rescue mission down into the Big Bad's fortress. One by one, Parn's companions break off to fight monsters that are suspiciously tailored for their talents, leaving Parn to face the Big Bad and the Dragon alone. This was all part of his destiny, since the his sword and the Dragon's sword were the only items that could restore the Balance Between Good and Evil.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Rika THOUGHT she had this going for her
  • Prétear explicitly states that the Leafe Knights can't defeat evil without the eponymous Magical Girl -- once they find her, they need to protect her, so that she can protect the world. They also provide her with Elemental Powers, but this takes only one Knight per battle, and the rest of them is here to distract monsters so she can safely kill them. Additionally, in the anime version they literally transform into the Pretear's energy shield upon merging with her, receiving injuries instead of her -- and then claim it's OK, because it's their job. (This, however, also means that at least one of them should survive, otherwise the Pretear will be rendered useless. Or so they thought.)
  • On a smaller level, Shannon and Raquel protecting Pacifica in Scrapped Princess.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the Suzaku warriors serve this function for Miaka. But the trope is subverted in that Tamahome, the Love Interest and main hero, actually dies while secondary characters Tasuki and Chichiri are the only ones who survive to the end of the series.
  • This concept is referenced in Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou. The Hachiyou are "those who protect the Miko". On one occasion said Miko, Akane, is put into a coma by the sound of a cursed kin, with the apparent way of waking her up is to have one of her protectors exorcise said instrument, killing himself in the process. Yasuaki, who calls himself "Miko's tool", sums it up by saying that, if there's no Miko, there's no point in the Hachiyou's existence[1]. Thankfully, Everybody Lives, since the second story arc subverts the concept by making it clear that the Hachiyou are not expendable, being the key to recovering The Four Gods.
  • While Light Yagami is not much of a hero, he has several supporters willing to kill or die for him, and they regularly do both. By the second season, many Kira supporters openly proclaim their affiliation (as Matt discovered to his sorrow when he learned that Takeda's guards didn't take prisoners).
  • Roy Mustang's men are like this for him in Fullmetal Alchemist. His hand-selected five closest subordinates are aware of his ambitions and will do what it takes to protect him and anyone else he tells them to protect (most notably each other) while he works to fulfill his goals.
  • This trope actually cause a large amount of conflict between Oz (the protector) and ARAGO (the hero protectee). Arago thinks Oz should be protecting other people who can't take care of themselves, while Oz's number one priority is protecting Arago and no one else.


Fan Fiction


Literature

  • Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix spends half its time (and loses half its members) protecting Harry.
    • In Deathly Hallows the bulk of the schools professors and students, along with a fair portion of the town of Hogsmeade, fulfill this role.
  • The Fellowship of the Ring essentially served this purpose in The Lord of the Rings, until it split up after the Ringbearer, Frodo, realised that the only thing they couldn't protect him from was themselves. They instead recruit a large invasion force to distract the enemy from Frodo's presence.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden has a troop of faeries, led by Toot-Toot, who occasionally drop him some information. In Summer Knight, they evolve into tiny little badasses, fighting on the side of "the Pizza Lord" in the war between the Winter and Summer Courts. In Small Favor, Harry learns his faeries have been watching his back in ways of which he was unaware.
  • Armsmen in the Honor Harrington universe seem to function like this. Especially with the main character.
    • Indeed, when the chips are down, Honor's junior officers are known to willingly function as such, especially during their escape from the PNS Tepes.
  • The entire D'Haran Army consider themselves this for the current Lord Rahl, although the Mord-sith (and especially Cara) might be a better example.
  • The League of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
  • Wil Ohmsford is this to Amberle Elessedil in The Elfstones Of Shannara; Crispin and his Elven Hunters are this to both of them. In The Wishsong of Shannara, Jair's party does the same for him, guarding him on his trek to Heaven's Well.
  • This is one of David Eddings' recurring tropes. Garion, for example, on his quests to single-handedly save the world, is obligated by ancient prophecy to be perpetually surrounded by a Five-Man Band (at least five, anyway), which is made up primarily of highly capable warriors. Similarly, Sparhawk is surrounded by a loyal band of his brother knights, who accept that he has a massive job to do and are determined to protect him along the way.
  • In Discworld, the Nac Mac Feegle take it upon themselves to be this for Tiffany Aching, occasionally without her knowledge and/or permission.


Live Action TV

  • Even Power Rangers Time Force has an example in the Silver Guardians, where the two leaders are the Red Time Force Ranger and the Quantum Ranger and the Guardians take care of the dirty work, before they get in and morph.
  • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger has this dynamic within its team. Takeru/ShinkenRed is so greatly important that the other four are basically his bodyguards. They don't even refer to themselves as Shinkengers, instead saying they're "the same" as their leader. Not all of the team is thrilled with this development, but all of them have to do it. The Shinkengers are also assisted by kuroko, an army of "stagehands" who help announce the Shinkengers' arrival on the battlefield, do crowd control, and other tasks.
    • Taken even further in the later episodes, when it's revealed that Takeru has been a kagemusha (a variant of Body Double) all along. The real ShinkenRed, a young girl, has been training in secret to develop the special technique needed to defeat the Big Bad. Eventually, in recognition of Takeru's valor and skill, she "adopts" Takeru and he becomes the rightful holder of the ShinkenRed position in all respects.
    • Its counterpart Power Rangers Samurai doesn't go as far, eliminating the formal authority that the Red Ranger has over the team and the kuroko; but the Samurai Rangers do have a small support network of allies that are entrusted to protect ancient artifacts and the like.
  • This trope describes Chuck Bartowski's "handlers"/partners to a T. Of course, it's a partial subversion in that they are also the ones who keep him in danger.
  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined. President Roslin has her own civilian security team that takes part in a gunpoint face-off when Commander Adama attempts to terminate Roslin's presidency by force in "Kobol's Last Gleaming" -- we never see them again. In later episodes Roslin and the Quorum of Twelve are guarded by Colonial Marines, perhaps signifying the increased trust between Roslin and the military -- however this backfires on all concerned during The Mutiny.


Tabletop Games

  • DocWagon: Once a call from a contract holder is confirmed, most Doc Wagon franchises guarantee the arrival of an armed trauma team within ten minutes, or else the immediate medical care is free. They do charge customers for injury or death compensation for their employees, though.
  • Exalted: Cult of the Illuminated believes that the Solars are returned righteous god-kings and will do anything to protect fledgling Solars. Various Yozi cults will also do the same for Infernals. Abyssals have the death cults.


Toys

  • Bionicle: The Order of Mata Nui was stated by Word of God as being the CIA of the Matoran Universe. They are exactly the secret service, and they do not hesitate to kill or do other dirty jobs, while Toa don't kill. On the other hand, since Toa are the MU equivalent of cops by this analogy, then this is actually pretty stupid. But, LEGO being LEGO...


Video Games

  • In Shining Force III Scenario 3, the Force's goal is to protect Gracia, so he can asend into an innovator and defeat Bulzome.
  • Final Fantasy X: The Guardians who travel with and protect the summoner Yuna on her journey to defeat Sin.
    • Guardianship is actually a job with a significant number of openings. Three members of the party have served as Guardians for previous summoners (Auron, for Yuna's father Braska, Lulu and Wakka for a summoner who gave up at the Calmlands and became a priest instead and Lulu alone for a summoner who failed and died), and as you encounter other summoners you meet their Guardians (including one who was inspired by Auron).
    • Played with, as summoner will be completely useless unless he has at least one guardian.
  • Tales of Symphonia: The group who travels with and protects the Chosen of Mana, Colette, on her journey to the Tower of Salvation.
  • Fire Emblem, pretty much every game. Matthew in Rekka no Ken is a literal example: Hector is preparing to sneak out the back of Castle Ostia, but Matthew senses something's amiss and sniffs out a small army of assassins before they can harm Hector.
  • Half-Life 2, the human resistance. No matter how many squadmates you get horribly killed, some will always show up. They 'followed you' or one empty room turns out to have some prisoners. The agonizing screams of the dead heard just minutes ago don't matter.
    • Then again, there's no reason to think they're not dying like flies in your absence, too. They might expect following Gordon to improve their [miserable] life expectancies. Which actually can work out for the Episode 1 evacuees.
  • Inverted in The Suffering, an XBOX game. The ending literally depends on being the Secret Service for other characters. Don't let that Jerkass prison guard die!
  • Link finally gets a little help of this sort in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, when the members of the Resistance Group come to his aid while he's fighting his way into Hyrule Castle. He's still pretty much on his own the rest of the time, though.
  • The Hero in Fable gets a little help near the end of the game, in the form of old minor characters, guards, and guild members, all teleporting into battle. Could also coincide with a Crowning Moment of Awesome on the part of the previously-useless soldiers.
  • The Mysterious Stranger in the Fallout series.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, Donald and Goofy are dispatched to escort the Keyblade Wielder.
  • In Scarface the World Is Yours, a variety of mooks can be used to help you on your way. All are replaceable no matter how many die.
  • Ziro from Super Cosplay War Ultra is always accompanied by a squad of henchman, and outside of one or two normal attacks, absolutely every one of Ziro's attacks is done by one of them (he even uses one as a meat shield when he blocks.)


Western Animation

  • Code Lyoko: The Lyoko Warriors' only job is to protect Aelita so she can deactivate the towers XANA uses to attack.
    • Well, they are not expandable.
  • Much of Avatar: The Last Airbender's secondary cast, most notably the failed invasion force and The Order of the White Lotus.
    • In The Legend of Korra, the White Lotus has taken on the job of watching over the new Avatar in an official capacity. Though they don't seem to be very good at keeping her out of trouble.


Web Comics

  • The Jagers in Girl Genius.
  • The Continentals: Continental Operative Jeffrey Tiffen Smythe and his gender bending partner the adventress Lady Fiona Fiziwigg work for a division of British Milittary Intelligence known as The A.T.S.T.K.

Notes

  1. although, to be fair, he has some issues
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