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In Finite Supplies
another shuttle? Those things are irreplaceable, you know...HAAAAHAHAHAHAHA! Go give it a Viking funeral and then replicate me another one— with leather seats and a cigarette holder this time."
on Star Trek: Voyager
, "Barge of the Dead"
The complete opposite of Perpetual Poverty
This is when the main characters not only never run out of basic items like food and clothing, but they never seem to have a problem getting hold of all their assorted signature weapons
, cool cars
and other gear. No matter how difficult it would be for your average person to obtain because of rarity, cost, or illegality, our heroes seem to be able to procure it with about as much effort as it takes the average person to buy a cheeseburger.
Where do they get this stuff,
(especially the toys
Note that just having one or two episodes where supplies are mentioned is not
an aversion if they completely ignore the supply situation in later episodes.
Some ostensible Scavenger Worlds
can inspire Fridge Logic
this way if major drama is made out of the difficulty of finding food, medicine and the like, but the characters are driving around in petrol-powered cars the whole time, fighting off the bad guys with guns, and nobody ever deigns to explain where the fuel and ammunition are coming from.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Ritsuko from Those Who Hunt Elves is played up as sort of a Cosplay Otaku Girl /k/ommando taken Up to Eleven, but even so her ammo dump never seems to run dry of bullets, grenades, landmines, miscellaneous tacticool equipment or even ARTILLERY SHELLS for the Russian surplus T-72 tank it's all carried on while Trapped in Another World for two seasons. Speaking of this tank (owned by an otherwise perfectly Ordinary High-School Student), it also presents one of the few aversions in the show, as at first it runs on something resembling gasoline squeezed from pear-like nuts until they have the misfortune to run dry and nearly abandon it before it no longer requires fuel, due to being possessed by the ghost of a kitten.
- Poor Kelly. Due to the fighting in Transformers: Robots in Disguise, she's gone through probably one fairly expensive car per episode, and yet still seems to be able to get her hands on another one without any kind of insurance gouging, because she always has something fancy.
- Space Battleship Yamato: Especially during The Quest For Iscandar. They always seemed to have spare parts and building materials to repair Yamato so that it was good as new for the next episode. They even completely replaced that third bridge at least once. Mining asteroids for metals in the solar system is easy enough to repair basic hull damage. Our solar system's asteroid belt is rich in minerals. But what about after you leave for interstellar space. But what about plastics, ceramics, electronic components, and all of the other parts that require materials that may or may not be in your average asteroid. Yamato did have a factory aboard (Sandor's so called dynamic do-all in Star Blazers) but there's just no way to have every type of material on hand to fix or replace every item aboard.
- The Star Blazers comic book adaptation by Tim Eldred establishes that after every battle, they scavenge the wrecked enemy ships for parts and materials.
- Most superheroes, in both cartoons and live action, are guilty of this. Sometimes it's explained, but often it isn't. Batman has Wayne Enterprises as a front to bankroll his ventures, but how does Superman afford to pay the grounds crew responsible for maintaining the Fortress of Solitude while he's living in Metropolis? It's possible to explain this away — Superman, for example, had a horde of robots he had built using his superpowers to maintain the Fortress — but most don't bother.
- Legolas in The Lord of the Rings movies seems to have infinite arrows. Painfully averted in the novels, where the action will occasionally grind to a halt to give us exact tallies of ammunition and other supplies, and he runs out mid-battle a few times. Curiously, he has no problem with collecting orc arrows for reuse, even though it's both established that the orcs use much shorter horn-bows than Legolas's longbow, and that elves usually react with disgust to anything made or touched by orcs or other servants of Sauron.
- The Culture of Iain M. Banks's novels has created a utopian, post-scarcity society through harnessing the forces of the universes' underlying "grid", apparently effortless energy-matter conversion and the inception of benevolent AIs far beyond human capabilities. The virtually limit- and effortless availability of goods and services to the individual as well as to the society itself has led to a culture which largely lives for its own hedonism.
- In Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, where does the gunslinger Roland get all of his bullets. He's presumably been travelling with the same supply that he started with when he started his now very long quest in Book 1. Making gun ammo isn't something that's feasibly easy to do in the field and Roland's world isn't a world where he can just go to a weapons shop and buy more ammo.
- In Book 2, Roland actually does visit a gun shop in New York and stocks up. Books 5-7 feature fights with gun-wielding mooks, visits to civilized towns, and a return to New York - plenty of opportunities to re-supply.
- It was in fact a very harped on plot point in Book 2 that he was low on ammo (much of it got wet on the beach). When he resupplies in NY, he internally comments he's got more ammo than he'll ever need.
- The characters in The Leonard Regime always have needed equipment, often illegal to possess. Justified due to the ease of purchasing on the black market and the government's inability to stop it.
- Willy Wonka seems to have no problem procuring the means not only to keep his chocolate factory running at full steam and house an entire workforce, but to apparently constantly expand it — it's actually become an Elaborate Underground Base — and outfit it with an amazing array of inventions that use technology the outside world might fight over...even though he rarely ventures outside of it (to the point that no one, in the novel, has seen him in 10 years when the story begins) and apparently makes no contact with anyone beyond it, nothing so much as a phone call!
Live Action TV
- Gilligan's Island generally played this straight, though a number of episodes involved the foraging of supplies found on the island or washed ashore.
- MoonBase Alpha on Space: 1999 had an apparently infinite supply of Eagle Transporters. They blew up one every episode, it seemed, and never ran out.
- Partially justified, as a good reason to have a Moonbase is to have a manufacturing plant outside Earth's gravity well. The Pilot episode deals with Alpha launching - and by implication perhaps building the Meta Probe. At least one episode mentions that they are mining the Moon.
- The Eagle hanger is actually shown in a couple episodes, and it stores probably 20 or so of the things. The modular design lets them also disassemble and reassemble Eagles when needed. It's also said in an early episode that they have enough Eagles to completely evacuate the base (in one trip), which would imply dozens are available.
- Red Dwarf did the same trick with Starbugs, until the reconstructed Red Dwarf in season 8 showed there were at least a dozen of them available.
- Star Trek: Voyager was a particularly egregious offender. Voyager was stranded on the other side of the galaxy, far away from Federation space, but they rarely had any supply problems. Quite an engineering marvel for a small scouting vessel.
: Like every other episode of the first season, Phage seems more like a pleasure cruise than a desperate journey. Sure, there are references to scarcity and rationing. “We’re on our way to a rogue planetoid which Mister Neelix tells us is an extremely rich source of raw dilithium,” the opening log
tells us. “If he’s right, this could go a long way toward easing our power shortage.” Of course, there’s never been any indication that the ship has a power shortage, whether before or afterwards. All the lights are on at full blast. All the repairs from the mess made in Caretaker have been completed leaving the ship itself in mint condition.
- Voyager has both played this straight and disregarded it. In the early seasons, "replicator rations" and the use of a greenhouse to grow crops on the ship were prominent subplots, along with Neelix having to scout out supplies and contacts for the crew (as he was intended to be an intermediary between the ship and other alien races for supplies). On the other hand, the ship was damaged so often and lost so many key components - including a grand total of 16 shuttles - that it's hard to fathom how the ship made it back to Earth in one piece, let alone looking just as spotless as when it first set out at the beginning of the series. Later episodes like "Fury", where a time-travelling Kes causes a Vidiian warship to blow out three of Voyager's decks (in an episode set during the early seasons, when rationing and supplies were vitally important), make the ship's ability to effortlessly repair damage even more ridiculous. Hand Waved if you consider they have replicator technology, which allows them to produce almost anything from pure energy.
- In some episodes the ship's progress was forced to a halt in order for Voyager to scout out more supplies on various nearby planets or miraculous substances in nearby space phenomena (leading to Janeway's infamous quote, "there's coffee in that nebula!", or to trade for supplies on inhabited ones - in some cases Voyager was fortunate to find extremely generous humanoids who gave them supplies for free. The subversion of this trope is most noticeable in the disaster episodes such as Year of Hell, where the ship demonstrated special energy conservation modes, Voyager being seen in extremely poor condition with life support restricted to only a small part of the ship and very strict rationing - all unnecessary items were fed back into the replicators in order to be converted to useful supplies. Additionally, in one episode Voyager is pulled into some sort of void from which there is no way to escape. There are certainly not infinite supplies. All ships stuck there are forced to attack and plunder other ships recently pulled into the void as their only way of survival - that is, until Voyager forms an alliance, pooling resources and supplies, and eventually escaping the void.
- Firefly and Farscape were very conscious of realistic supply problems for the crews. So is the new Battlestar Galactica Even the old Battlestar Galactica crew fought to stave off rag-tag-fleet-wide famine shortly after the destruction of the colonies. And many a dogfight in space was fought over Cylon fuel depots or tankers.
- While there were constant shortages of food, water, and fuel on Galactica, they had a seemingly endless supply of booze and smokes.
- The old BG revealed in later episodes that food remained a problem. The crew of the Galactica herself had at least adequate food (justified in that they have to be fighting-capable to keep the fleet alive), but there were a lot of hungry people on the other ships, though maybe no longer starving. When Lucifer attempted to lead the Fleet astray, we got to see some of them.
- When the food synthesiser gets contaminated in the new BSG, getting access to an alternate supply ("the algae planet") not only provides plot fodder for a couple of episodes, but the crew of Galactica can be seen to be eating rations of slimy green goop a whole series later, in place of the ramen-esque noodles seen in earlier episodes.
- The legendary Farscape episode, "Crackers Don't Matter", revolves around the crew going slowly insane defending their stacks of tasteless crackers, the only food available on the ship.
- Then in Farscape Season 3 they held up a bank and stole enough money that they never seem to be in short supply of anything from that point on. Interestingly enough, on the occasions that they are in need of supplies (in "Thanks For Sharing" for example), it's not because they're short on money, but because their reputation has scared potential traders off.
- Firefly extended its aversion of this trope to the supplies that would be in demand when colonizing new planets with scarce resources. It subverted viewer expectations in the (original) pilot episode, when the valuable loot that the crew is smuggling turns out not to be precious metal or money as expected, but "protein bars" to feed new settlers—where a single bar of perhaps a pound was enough to feed a family of four for a month, and give them basic immunizations to boot. This happened again in "Shindig", when it's revealed at the end of the episode that the valuable cargo that the crew is hired to smuggle is a herd of cattle. Shepherd Book buys his way onto the ship with a valuable box of strawberries.
- The strawberriers were just a portion of the pay. Fresh berries and fruit aren't that expensive in established worlds, but in space protein rations are the way to go.
- The original Battlestar Galactica also had farm ships that provided the fleet with food, although having a large clear dome on a craft that's rarely near a star seems a bit pointless.
- The same applies to the Botanical Ship(s) from the new series. Strangely there is a large domed luxury liner, and under the dome there is an elabourate simulation of the sky and sunlight (though "the horizon could need work") which could have been applied to the farm ships, meaning the Colonials have a way round it, but don't use it
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: "Just repeat to yourself: 'It's just a show...'"
- Oddly enough, MST3K did explain this one with the Umbilicus that Dr. Forrester used to send stuff to Joel and the Bots. Later on, after Dr. F's funding is cut and he detaches the Umbilicus, Observer, aka Brain Guy, uses his ultra-powerful consciousness to magically pop anything Mike and the Bots need into existence.
- There's also the episode which reveals the Satellite of Love has a feedlot which the bots use to raise record-setting hogs. Where does a huge feedlot fit on a tiny satellite? "Just repeat to yourself: 'it's just a show...'"
- Despite being stuck on an island the characters on LOST never seemed to run out of supplies. Every time they came close, they'd find another source. At one point, food fell from the sky.
- In The Bible, being blessed by God and being faithful to Him means you'll never have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, whereas being rebellious and unfaithful to Him will make your life difficult to the point where you even despair for your very life. In fact, some of God's miracles, like the widow's oil producing many potfuls from just one, seem to run on this trope.
- Team Fortress 2. The biggest culprit of this trope is The Medic. His Healing Machine never runs out. Ever. The others commit this trope in a slightly less blatant fashion by scrounging together supplies from enemy weapons, conspicuously-floating boxes, and broken building scraps, which pepper the landscape like icing sugar. Yes, somehow a broken baseball bat can be used as flamethrower fuel.
- The Engineer's Dispenser is an upgradeable implementation of this trope. Heaven help you if a Pyro or a Heavy stays near one. THEY NEVER HAVE TO STOP SHOOTING. The closet full of health and ammo in the spawn points is even more egregious.
- Speaking of the wooden bat ("The Sandman"): It seems to have a infinite supply of baseballs as long as you let it "recharge". Knock your ball away and you can pick it up, but if you don't it will respawn in your hand after a while. Similarly, you can take as many sips of that BONK! energy drink can you want as long as you wait a few seconds between each use.
- A similar case with the Jarate is lampshaded in the comic that introduced the item, stating the jar of piss refills itself every 20 second because the Sniper takes medicine to enlarge his bladder and dull the pain of his organs shutting down.
- Spies have an infinite supply of sappers, which is specially troublesome to engineers if they start sapping the other end of a teleport.
- Left 4 Dead plays this straight — the survivors will frequently run across piles of ammo which will refill their reserves to the top every time. This is especially prevalent when they take the form of coffee cans half-filled with loose bullets.
- The sequel's ammo stockpiles are just that, large piles of varying types of ammunition. They're also infinite, but significantly larger, and you're never in one place for long.
- One can get this in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's multi-player mode with the One Man Army perk. It allows you to switch your class at any time. You can switch back to the class you're using. It refills all of your ammo. It becomes a Game Breaker when you effectively have infinite rifle grenades.
- A recently-discovered "Care Package Bug" allows another version of infinite supplies: with careful timing, swapping the care package marker and one's regular weapon while mantling over a chest-high structure gives you another marker after you receive and use your care package. Infinity Ward allegedly patched the bug, but made it easier to exploit, instead.
- Subverted in Robot Alchemic Drive. The organization that built your Humongous Mecha is on the verge of bankruptcy early in the game so they make a deal with the government to be paid for killing alien robots.
- Advance Wars series is an odd case, where the APC has limited fuel — just like every other unit - but has infinite supplies to give to any other unit. It just can't refuel itself. However, having two APCs plays this trope considerably straighter, since either one can refuel each other indefinitely.
- Fallout 3's merchants can somehow get their hands on more ammo, guns, Prewar boxed and canned food (that's still edible if slightly irradiated after 200 years) and in the case of Flack and Shrapnel more nuclear weapons. Some can even get their hands on Power armor.
- It is known that (with the exception of nuclear weapons — the previous games were much more cautious about nuclear matters — and pre-war food — pointless, since post-war food is relatively plentiful) all of those were being made again on the other side of the continent decades before Fallout 3, so the merchants might simply be importing the goods from outside the game's map.
- Many of the ammo and gun manufacturers (such as the gun runners) are under the rule of the NCR, who makes a pretty good job at recycling waste metal and other materials into bullets and rockets. One of the missions includes you either bring 2,000 pounds of scrap metal or talk the gun runner into redistributing their raw materials so that they could make more guns/bullets for the NCR.
- Bases never run out of supplies in the Space Empires games. Ever. Even if it's at the other end of the galaxy, it has infinite supplies. The same can't be said for ships, which can lose all their supplies one turn short of getting to a resupply depot in their home system. Eventually you can get a device that generates limitless supplies.
- In Saints Row, once a vehicle has been added to the Saints' garage, they (or more specifically specifically, the Boss) will have access to unlimited numbers of that vehicle, with the only restriction being a $500 payment to repair and redeploy a vehicle if it was added to the garage in a damaged state (first two games) or to have it hand-delivered to you by a homie (Saints Row: The Third). Since the Saints are practically a multinational corporation by the start of the Third, this sort of makes sense—until hijacked, prototype STAG vehicles like the VTOL and Specter start appearing, as well.
- Played straight in the X-Universe for sublight fuel and shipboard consumables (e.g. food and oxygen). Averted for munitions and energy cells for the jumpdrive.
- Borderlands and Borderlands 2 explain this with digistruction, which allows matter to be transferred from one place to another, and all the weapons and cars your character uses are constructed at vending machines and Catch-A-Ride stations. How the people who run those things manage to find all the raw materials is unexplained.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: It's only obliquely touched upon in-comic, but Word of Tom explicitly states that there are no tuition fees for students at the Court, and the needs of students and staff (food, housing, uniform clothes for any occasion, personal laboratories, lathes, etc.) are provided free of charge.
- Apparently, every Court student has unusual talents of some sort, so it may be less of a school and more of a research project. Time will tell.
- The unimaginably huge costs involved in the "Containment" part of the SCP Foundation are explained as being partly funded by governments and with the rest coming from selling the byproducts of the safer SCPs (one is theoretically capable of producing small amounts of gold every two hours, another provides infinite amounts of water).
- This becomes an issue for long-running stories in The Slender Man Mythos. In Marble Hornets, for instance, the main character has spent at least a solid 3 years drifting while trying to figure out the link between his missing friend and the nightmarish creature in a suit. How exactly he pays for anything is never explained.
- Stan Smith from American Dad! is, thanks to Rule of Funny, able to get any equipment or resources he needs from the CIA for his own personal use, including virtual reality machines, experimental drugs, body doubles, funds for a team of mercenaries, and loads and loads of weapons.
- Justified in The Zeta Project where Zeta, the titular robot, can generate as much credits as he needs. Other Infiltration Units also have this ability — in one episode in an airport a rogue agent who worked on Zeta notes that he was equipped with this so he could travel lightly and easily, after he attaches a device that disables it.
- 12 episodes into G.I. Joe: Renegades, the Joes, despite being fugitives on the run, seem to have no trouble staying well-armed despite being shown that their clips can run out (at a suitably dramatic moment). Possibly justified if they are using lasers, as the weapons may be rechargeable. No explanation yet, however, where they get money for food, parts, and gas.
- Phineas and Ferb have no problem getting all the equipment and material they need (and always on very short notice) to build the Fantastic Contraption Of The Day. It's come to a point where the delivery guys hardly even bother to ask "Aren't you a bit too young to...?" anymore. Where they get the money to pay for all of this is a different matter.
- Wile E Coyote apparently has same day shipping and endless shopping points for his ACME products...
- A cut-away gag on Family Guy hints at an explanation, he returns the defective/failed ACME products for store credit every time.