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Mission Control is a helpful character who provides the main character with valuable information during a mission. The main character can usually count on them for help when they feel like they're stuck in a corner. But what happens if the Mission Control is killed, kidnapped, or otherwise incapacitated? Suddenly, the main character's on their own, and is likely to be completely in the dark without their guidance. This is highly likely to happen in more cynical stories. Naturally, there is a lot of drama to mine in this situation.

If the main character also resents the Mission Control for sitting in a comfortable office while they risk their necks, this can cause an Unfunny Aneurysm Moment, and can also lead to the main character developing a strong sense of guilt. If they are kidnapped, there will probably be a Story Arc later on revolving around rescuing the Mission Control character.

If Mission Control Is Off Its Meds, however, the main character may consider this a blessing.

Obviously, a Sub-Trope of Mission Control.

WARNING: This trope is usually spoileriffic by its very nature, so do not read the examples if you are not a Spoiler Hound.


Examples:


Film

  • Tansy, the poor air traffic control operator in Kangaroo Jack. After she locates the main characters (who are stranded in the desert after a plane crash), she gets taped up and gagged by the villains, who then destroy her equipment so she cannot send help for the heroes. The heroes simply believe that Tansy was disconnected due to some equipment failure.
  • Pretty much the central factor behind the plot of Crimson Tide: the USS Alabama suffers a radio equipment malfunction while in the middle of receiving a high-priority message: The crew does not know whether their orders are to launch their nuclear missiles or to abort, and The Captain and the Commander Contrarian end up unable to agree on their next course of action.

Live Action TV

  • In one episode of Criminal Minds, the team's Mission Control Garcia is shot and hospitalized. The rest of her FBI team has to try to catch the attempted murderer without her. However, they do have a stand-in who is not nearly as skilled or quick as Garcia.
  • In one episode of Quantum Leap, Sam accidentally changes the past so that Al never joined the Quantum Leap Project, so he has to do without Al's help while he tries to put things right.

Video Games

  • Dan in Iji becomes unavailable twice: once in Sector 5 and 6 (communications failure), and again in Sector 8 (kidnapped). The second time also ends with his death if you aren't Crazy Prepared. Also an Unfunny Aneurysm Moment example, since Iji initially expresses annoyance that she's the only one risking her life.
  • The mysterious benefactor in Depict 1 loses the ability to communicate with you after the first few levels. They come back for the endgame, though.
  • Zig Zagged in the final mission of Mirror's Edge: Faith's original Mission Control Merc dies of a gunshot wound in the opening cutscene, so she sets off to storm the Shard on her own. Mid-mission, however, she meets Lieutenant Miller, who guides her through the more tricky parts of the building before being cut off (captured or worse) by the PK, so Faith has to go on on her own again.
  • In Borderlands, the "Angel" loses contact with you when the Echo network is shut down (or rather can no longer see you and is having to send its messages blind). You have to get the network back online ( which conveniently brings you to where she was guiding you to).
  • Used as a plot point in Batman: Arkham City, where Oracle, your unseen guide from the first game, has mysteriously gone missing. This leads to Batman's butler Alfred having to take over for her.
    • Not really a "plot point", more like "she was doing some stuff, brb. Alfred, it's you and me.". In the comics, that happens often. Barbara is a Voice with an Internet Connection to many other characters, not just Bats.
  • In Perfect Dark Zero, Joanna arrives at the Trinity Labs and is unable to contact Chandra. She's been a mole for a long time and sent Joanna to a death trap.
  • In the original Halo, this happens when John leaves Cortana in the Control Room while he goes to find the Index.

Western Animation

  • Several episodes of Code Lyoko have XANA take over someone to get Jeremie away from the computer.
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