The ColSec Trilogy (Exiles of ColSec, The Caves of Klydor, and ColSec Rebellion) is a young-adult s-f series by Douglas Hill (of Last Legionary fame), first published in the 1980s.After the End, an authoritarian regime has seized control of what's left of civilization. Criminals and dissenters are shipped offworld by the Colonization Section of the world government. If they can build a colony, the world is ripe for exploitation; if they don't live that long, they're no great loss.One particular group of deportees crash-lands. The survivors decide that they're going to do things their own way, the world government be damned.
After the End: Set a century and change after human die-back over much of Europe, Asia, and eastern North America. References to the "Virus Decades" imply that this was caused by some sort of plague.
At Arm's Length: At one point in Exiles, Jeko and Heleth get into a heated argument that threatens to turn into an actual fight. Cord breaks it up by straight-arming Jeko. (Although Cord isn't stated to be taller than Jeko—both boys are kind of shorties—he's stockier and a lot stronger.)
Author Tract: Not obnoxiously so, but you can kind of tell that Hill's views were fairly anti-authoritarian. There's also a faint undercurrent of anti-corporatism and/or environmentalism—Cord's simple life in the idyll of the Highlands before his exile, the unspoiled new worlds of the Colonies being exploited by the grasping Organization.
Better to Die than Be Killed: Bren tries to pull this several times. He survives to the end of the series nonetheless. There's also Samella's ploy in the asteroid mine.
Big Damn Heroes: Heleth and Rontal play this role towards the end of Exiles by intervening in the fight with the giant worm. And in Rebellion, Jeko, Rontal, and Stele play this role when they break Cord, Bren, and the girls out of the prison transport.
Blinded by the Light: Heleth gets a face full of high-beams in Rebellion and actually faints from pain.
Brave Scot: Cord is the descendant of back-to-the-land types who retreated to the Scottish Highlands so as to not be bothered by The Organization. He pretty much plays the trope straight.
Crapsack World: The Organization's Earth (aside from a few tiny pockets of territory that they don't deem worthwhile) makes the colony worlds—no matter how rough and dangerous—look positively idyllic by contrast.
Egopolis: Inverted at the end of Rebellion. It's the rest of the kids—at Cord's suggestion—who want to name the newly-discovered world after Samella.
Elite Mooks: The Organization's equivalent of a police force, the Civil Defenders, have an elite branch who're better armed and (supposedly) better trained. They're called Crushers, and are frequent antagonists in the second and third novels. Elite paramilitary police, outfought by street gang members. Money well invested.
The Empath: Samella, again, although this only factors into the plot at all in Exiles.
Everybody Laughs Ending: In the next-to-last chapter ofRebellion, everyone just loses it at some tension-breaking silliness after the asteroid battle.
Five-Man Band: More or less, although most of the central cast overlap archetypes. (Samella, for example, is mostlyThe Smart Guy, but occasionally also plays the role of The Lancer—level-headed and extroverted where Cord is introverted and occasionally quick-tempered—and The Heart.)
Four-Temperament Ensemble: Cord is Leukine with Choleric tendencies, Samella is Phlegmatic, Heleth is straight-up Choleric, Jeko is Sanguine, and Rontal is Melancholic.
Hot-Blooded: Cord (who verges on Berserker status), Heleth (who occasionally hauls off and belts people who needle her), Jeko (whom Rontal calls an "action junkie" at one point).
Humans Are White: Averted. Cord, a redheaded, freckle-faced Scot, is the only central character who seems to be explicitly white. Samella is a gray-eyed blonde with an Irish surname, but apparently still looks tanned after three years indentured to an electronics firm; Heleth, although pale from living underground for the first seventeen years of her life, is ambiguous. Jeko and Rontal are explicitly not white; Rontal is black, Jeko is Japanese-American.
Innate Night Vision: Heleth has this, with the drawback of light sensitivity. Exactly how she got that way is left ambiguous; however, Samella speculates in Caves that Heleth and the rest of the inhabitants of the tunnels under London may be some sort of mutants.
Inevitable Waterfall: Caves begins with the five central characters rafting down a river. The first line of dialogue in the book?
Kill Him Already: Heleth pretty much outright yells this in Exiles when Samella has Lamprey at gunpoint.
Meaningful Name: Lamprey boasts that he earned his Nom de Guerre for his tenacity. He could just have easily have earned it by virtue of being as mean as an eel, or by virtue of being an emotional parasite on the central cast.
My Nayme Is: Cord's surname is an obvious phoneticization of "McKay."
One-Handed Zweihänder: Cord's improvisedbludgeon in Exiles is stated to be heavy enough that "many people" would need both hands to wield it effectively. And Cord uses it one-handed, apparently just because he can.
Only One Name: Tends to be true of people living, shall we say, outside the law (Jeko, Heleth, and Rontal included).
Sand Worm: A recurring threat in Exiles. Justified in that they have tough exoskeletons and don't dig themselves in that deeply.
Self-Destruct Mechanism: Samella rigs the entire asteroid to detonate at her next keystroke in the final battle in Rebellion. Samella's and Bren's acts of Vehicular Sabotage, in Exiles and Caves respectively, may also count, although the former was only such by virtue of the freighter's lack of re-entry shielding.
Stout Strength: Cord plays with the trope. He's very strong (bordering on Charles Atlas Superpower territory) and looks pudgy when fully clothed (partly on account of being built like a fireplug, partly on account of being baby-faced). However, when he loses his shirt during a fight in the first book, he's revealed to actually be quite trim.
Tsundere: Heleth is a type A. She's always bickering with Jeko (and, to a lesser degree, almost everyone else), but there's the occasional implication that she doesn't outright hate him.
Unskilled, but Strong: Cord is not a trained martial artist, but anything he can actually land a punch on is usually out for the count.
Unusual Euphemism: Heleth uses "yeck" as both the obvious expression of disgust, and as an apparent euphemism for "shit" (calling people who annoy her "yecks" and "yeck-heads" and things that she dislikes "yecky").
Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Cord sets out to rescue Bren from the clutches of the Crusher team in Caves. His plan involves feigning a broken leg until he can sucker-punch Warreck. Things don't go entirely according to plan...but luckily, Bren wasn't actually unconscious, just playing possum.
Wrench Wench: Samella, although computer hardware is more her forte.
You Are Fat: Cord is on the receiving end of quite a bit of this in Exiles (and it's lampshaded at the beginning of Caves). This is mostly due to Lamprey trying to stir the shit. And in Rebellion, Jeko inverts this at Heleth, stating that she "doesn't look as fat as she used to." (Neither character is fat, although both are solidly built.)