Running The Blockade
Someone tries to get through a blockade.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-09-29 14:05:43 sponsor: Tallens (last reply: 2014-02-08 10:47:05)

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Princess Leia: This bucket of bolts is never going to get us past that blockade.
Han Solo: This baby's got a few surprises left in her, sweetheart.

A blockade or siege on a city or country dependent on trade is something that can put them in dire straits. No goods can come in or leave which stifles their economy, and also means they aren't able to get food either. As it drags on, the people will start to get desperate, and look for a means to get what they need.

Often, if they don't have the military might to break the blockade completely, they get some brash individuals willing run right through it, and hope they can either outrun or outmaneuver the blockading forces. This is known as running the blockade. Chase sequences and close action scenes will probably follow.

Vehicles used in this are usually light and fast, for outmaneuvering mobile units. Heavier ones might be used if there are physical barriers that need to be rammed through, but they are usually too slow to survive a barrage of multiple weapons likely to be found on a blockade.

Often occurs at sea with a Naval Blockade. Compare Leeroy Jenkins.

Examples

Film
  • Star Wars:
    • In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace the Jedi and the Queen escape Naboo through the Trade Federation blockade aboard the Queen's royal cruiser.
    • Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back: Following the Battle of Hoth, Han Solo and Princess Leia have to get through an Imperial blockade aboard the Millennium Falcon, which is complicated by the fact that their hyperdrive is out of order.
  • In Thirteen Days after President Kennedy institutes a "quarantine" around Cuba, the Soviets, not really knowing what to do, decide to send their freighters through anyway. At least one of them slips past the US Navy at some point before being spotted again.
  • 2010: The Year We Make Contact is set against a backdrop of rising US/Soviet tensions which take a dive when a Soviet ship tries to run a US blockade and is destroyed by missile fire.
  • Mad Max: Road Warrior has Max try to drive through the siege/blockade around the oil refinery but is intercepted and almost killed. At the end of the movie he tries again, driving the fuel tanker.

Literature
  • In the book and movie Gone with the Wind Rhett Butler spends most of the American Civil War running the US Navy's blockade, delivering supplies from Europe and elsewhere to the Confederates.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy.
    • In Foundation and Empire Toran pilots his ship through the blockades set up by the Mule's ships around the planets Terminus and Haven to begin the search for the Second Foundation.
    • In Second Foundation Preem Palver slips through the Kalganian blockade around the Foundation to arrange for the delivery of desperately needed food at premium prices.

Live-Action TV
  • Babylon 5:
    • The third season opener had a small ship racing past Centauri blockade mines to give Marcus a chance to escape and reach Babyon 5.
    • A fourth season episode has Ivanova trying to deal with a bunch of smugglers to arrange for supplies to be brought in through the Earth Force blockade. Most are reluctant since the penalty if they get caught is much higher than it used to be, but she manages to hammer out an agreement that will benefit all sides.

Video Games
  • At the end of the first part of Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic the main characters escape Taris through the Sith blockade of the planet aboard the Ebon Hawk, using the Sith's own ID codes to keep from being automatically targeted and shot down.
  • Escape Velocity nova: The Aurorian story line normally starts with the player being hired as a blockade runner and then doing multiple supply runs to the Dominance station.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • When the Jedi and Republic were unable to break the Mandalorian blockade of the Hydian Way, a group of smugglers, sensing the opportunity for profit, came together to start running supplies through it to the increasingly desperate Coruscant. This eventually led to the battle between the smugglers and the Mandalorians which enabled them, and the Republic, to finally break the blockade.
    • During the Battle of Corellia, the Empire forms a blockade around the planet, and General Garza has to contract some smugglers to move troops past it.
  • Star Trek Online: Episode "Cardassian Struggle", mission "Operation Gamma" has the Player Character having to break past Jem'Hadar lines at Deep Space 9 and go through the wormhole to contact the Dominion government and get the time-shifted Jem'Hadar to stand down. You're assisted by a diversionary attack.

Web Comic
  • In Crimson Dark the Cirin Alliance planet Farhaven has been besieged by the Republic of Daranir for quite a while. Vaegyr Ward got offworld on a blockade runner, and in chapter 12 the Farhavenites stage a mass breakout with Alliance military and mercenary support.

Western Animation
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: When Aang needs to get to get to a Fire Nation temple, he finds a blockade between him and his destination. To get past them, he pulls Appa into a steep dive to build speed and then rushes past, dodging fireballs the whole way. Zuko, following Aang wherever he goes, is about to perform a more traditional run, but Zhou decides to let him through and follow after.
  • In The Legend of Korra Korra uses the Avatar State to punch a hole in the Northern Tribe's blockade of the Southern Tribe's harbor, enabling Varrick's boat to race through before the astonished Northern sailors can collect themselves.

Real Life
  • Blockade runners became essential to the South's survival after the Union blockaded them during the American Civil War, and some became quite noted for it, such as the SS Syren, which successfully penetrated the blockade 33 times.
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