[[quoteright:257:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_s1_7918.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:257:Special delivery--can't be late!]]

->''A courier came to the battle once bloody and loud''
->''And found only skin and bones where he once left a crowd''
-->-- '''Remember the Alamo'''

You, an unimportant background character, need something delivered to or across a barren wasteland, deadly jungle, or simply a [[WretchedHive dangerous urban environment]]. The internet, phone, or regular mail service isn't going to cut it. You're going to need something special. And what is that something special?

Why, it's the local Courier! A Courier is essentially a mercantile mailman/woman, delivering messages through cities and towns on foot or other single-person conveyance. In fiction this often comes with some level of danger involved, either from the environment the Courier crosses, the package they're delivering, [[MacGuffin people who may be after the package they're delivering]], or simply through the {{Courier}}'s own recklessness. Even if there's not an element of danger, there will usually be a tight deadline the parcel must be delivered by, forcing the Courier to bust their hump getting it there on time. LeParkour or other fancy tricks may be employed to get safely from Point A to Point B (the words ''parkour'' and ''courier'' both derive from the French for "to run").

Since it's a romantic spy type of job that still allows [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism cynicism]] with money, combined with the fact that it's an easy way to bring characters to new places or into contact with interesting people, it's ripe for protagonist-hood, but this is not always the case. Can often turn up even in futuristic settings where you'd imagine advanced technology would make human Couriers obsolete, generally as a form of commentary on the presence of BigBrother in the setting.

See PonyExpressRider for the mounted variety and UnstoppableMailman for the government-employee version. May involve DeadlyDelivery, ShootTheMessenger or YouGotMurder.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The crew of the ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' call themselves couriers. Smugglers, pirates, and mercenaries would also fit.
* This is basically Celty's job on ''{{Durarara}}''.
* ''GetBackers'' mixes in super powers and takes it to the logical extreme.
* The entire point of LetterBee
* The ''GunsmithCats'' manga has Bean Bandit (from spiritual predecessor ''RidingBean''). His line of work in general is getting things to their destination: guaranteed, ''almost'' no questions asked. His reputation comes from [[CombatPragmatist Combat Pragmatism]] as well as being a BadassDriver.
* A filler episode of ''{{Naruto}}'' introduced courier ninjas, shinobi trained to deliver their packages and defend them against any ninja who might attempt to steal it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comics]]
* The subject of the story "The Courier" in ''Flight'' volume five, by KazuKibuishi.
* Ramona Flowers' job in ''ComicBook/ScottPilgrim''. The fact that she has the ability to open subspace tunnels to use as shortcuts [[MundaneUtility comes in handy for this job.]]
* The profession of the central characters in Brian Wood's series ''ComicBook/TheCouriers''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Cloud]] becomes one in ''AdventChildren''.
* The protagonist of the ''TheTransporter'' series of films.
* ''Film/PremiumRush'' with JosephGordonLevitt is all about bike couriers, and the rush of navigating a busy city like New York.
* ''Film/JohnnyMnemonic'' is about a digital information courier who is pursued by the {{Yakuza}}
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Creator/WilliamGibson's short story "Literature/JohnnyMnemonic" is about an underworld courier who transports digital information in a brain implant.
* ''Literature/SnowCrash'''s Y.T., although she often delivers through [[strike:suburbs]] burbclaves.
* Chevette Washington, the protagonist in Creator/WilliamGibson's ''Virtual Light''
* The main character in ''TheCityOfEmber'' is excited about being a messenger in the city.
* The cover story for Miles [[Literature/VorkosiganSaga Vorkosigan]] as opposed to his real job as head of the Dendarii. A mistake during the rescue of a ''real'' courier is what eventually ends his military career.
* In Creator/UmbertoEco's ''Loana'', the protagonist remembers reading a fascist children's book about a hero trying to smuggle an important message to Italy's then-colony Abyssinia (Ethiopia). This being a serial novel, in RealLife Abyssinia is liberated from the Italian fascists long before the story ends. And at the end, the oh so secret message delivered essentially boils down to: "Hold out!"
* Matty from ''Messenger'' by Lois Lowry pretty much embodies this trope, minus the money-making aspect (though he does crave the admiration and prestige that comes with doing a dangerous job).
* In TheCompanyNovels book ''Black Projects, White Knights,'' Kalugin has a run-in with a brain-damaged immortal ''literally'' named Courier, who goes berserk if he spends the night in one place for more than one night in a row.
* Fiona from Creator/WilliamGibson's ''Zero History'' has this as her regular job. Gibson really loves this trope.
* In Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's book ''Literature/GoodOmens'', a courier is tasked with informing the Horsemen of the Apocalypse that Armageddon is imminent. He tracks down all of them including Death, despite having no apparent powers of his own.
* In the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' series, apprentices play this role during the battle against the Dark Forest cats - traveling through a battle-filled forest where any enemy will kill them on sight so that the Clans can send messages to each other on the status of their warriors.
* In the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' universe, there are no {{Subspace Ansible}}s, so messages are instead run between starsystems via specially designed Courier Boats, which are basically some cramped living spaces and a very powerful hyperdrive crammed into a hull with not much else. Occasionally, characters will hitch rides on these as the most expeditious way to get to a location quickly.
* "The Ultimate Rush" by Joe Quirk: [[TheProtagonist Chet Griffin]] is the only rollerblading messenger at a San Francisco courier service.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The job of 1/2 the cast of ''DarkAngel''. It's a bike messaging service called Jam Pony that pays minimum wage and has high turnover. Max and Alec particularly like the free sector passes and opportunity to case joints.
* While it's just a throwaway gag, Vince in ''TheMightyBoosh''' [[TheMagazineRule subscribes to hyper-cutting-edge fashion magazine]] ''Cheekbone'', which has to be delivered by {{ninja}}s to avoid being obsolete by the time it's read.
* Because of the way FasterThanLightTravel works in ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'', messages have to be relayed by couriers, so courier ships are a common sight.
* On ''Series/BabylonFive'', this is one of the roles taken on by the Anla'Shok, also known as the Rangers. Due to the density of conspiracies that happen to pass through [[CityOfSpies Babylon 5]], a wide variety of one-off (and often [[RedShirt killed-off]]) minor characters will also fill this role for various parties.
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[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''NewHorizon'': While all the major cities have communication links to each other as well as railroads and ports, smaller towns need couriers to deliver goods and messages, and sometimes, it's better to send someone to ensure the package arrives. Also, this is a background that can be selected, allowing the player to smuggle and depending on the type of courier, better movement in areas or the ability to operate certain vehicles with ease.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'': Runners sometimes get hired to do a courier job. One memorable one was to deliver a dragon's egg.
* I.C.E.'s Cyberspace: The Skateboys is a gang that carries messages and packages while riding motorized skateboards.
* ''TabletopGame/DyingEarth'' RPG supplement ''Scaum Valley Gazetteer''. The River Skaters use ice skates to carry messages along the frozen Scaum River during winter.
* ''{{Traveller}}'': Justified in that FTL communications are not possible so messages have to be carried through jump space on a starship before being transmitted.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MirrorsEdge'': Runners, including the player character, have a valuable job for LaResistance TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture, because [[JustifiedTrope it's virtually impossible]] [[ShownTheirWork to send secure messages over the net]]. Thus, they give physical packages to fearless ''[[LeParkour parkour]]'' runners.
* ''VideoGame/InFAMOUS'': Cole is couriering the Ray Sphere when it activates.
** There are also side missions in which Cole must spy on enemy couriers.
* ''MegaManZX'': Vent and Aille are couriering the Biometals when they activate.
* The protagonist of ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' ''is'' The Courier, with the default name being simply "Courier". Some refer to him as Courier Six. The plot revolves around [[MacGuffin the package he's carrying]], over which he was shot in the head at the start.
** Ulysses, the BigBad of ''Lonesome Road'' and a major player in the other three [[DownloadableContent DLCs]] ([[spoiler: and several major events in the game]]) is another courier. It's later revealed that the reason he became one is [[spoiler: after witnessing the Courier [[ButForMeItWasTuesday unwittingly]] delivered a package that ended up destroying Ulysses' adopted homeland, showing him the effect that one individual can have on the world]].
** It seems that being incredibly badass is one of the job requirements for being a courier, since their job requires them to travel across the post-apocalyptic wastelands, often by [[OneManArmy themselves]]. Seemingly reinforced by Cass' comment;
--> '''Cass''': Rule of the Caravan Wastes: Do not ''fuck'' with the man who delivers your mail.
* ''UnlimitedSaga'' has the Carriers' Guild, which [[{{Keet}} Ventus]] joins at the start of his scenario. Parts of his quest involve him making deliveries; in addition, he can take several optional {{Side Quest}}s of this nature. While other characters can recruit him during their stories, [[GuideDangIt they still can't access these special quests themselves]].
* The game ''Courier Crisis'' has you playing as a bicycle courier, delivering packages through multiple levels, dealing with angry dogs, traffic, and the occasional gunshot [[WrongSideOfTheTracks on the bad side of town]]...all while [[MeanBoss being berated and insulted by your boss]].
* An item in ''DefenseOfTheAncients'' gives you an animal courier that can deliver items to and from your team and your base. Unsurprisingly, it is a prime target of the other team.
* In ''RedDeadRedemption'' the series of hidden missions at the end of the game has John Marston [[spoiler: Junior]] pretending to be one.
* In ''TransformersWarForCybertron'' Bumblebee is acting as a courier because the communications in Iacon City aren't safe from the Decepticons. Ironically, the one he's trying to get a message to (Optimus Prime) is the one that saves him from a Deception ambush. The message he's delivering (that [[spoiler: Zeta Prime is assumed dead]]) is disturbing enough that Optimus decides to step up and take "temporary" command of the Autobots.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''GetEd'' is about a whole team of these.
* On one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Bart and his friends get stranded halfway across the country, so he gets a job as a courier in an attempt to get back home.
* DonaldDuck plays a courier in the cartoon "Donald's Lucky Day", in which he unwittingly carries a TimeBomb - [[ThirteenIsUnlucky on Friday 13th]], no less.
* [[{{Futurama}} "Yay, I'm a delivery boy!"]]
* PhineasAndFerb have an episode starring Paul the Delivery Guy, the guy who always delivers Phineas and Ferb's supplies.
** [[InsistentTerminology Paul the Mobile Logistics Technician.]]
[[/folder]]

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