Missing Mission Control
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 lead to instances of Harsher in Hindsight, 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. See also But What About the Astronauts?, where the Mission Control is missing because everyone in the world is dead. 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:Anime & Manga
- In episode 7 of Valvrave the Liberator, the last thing L-Elf Karlstein does before his coup d'état is take out Hollywood Hacker Akira. When another student notices that the alarms have failed to sound during Karlstein's attack, the camera cuts to Akira Bound and Gagged in the control room.
- 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.
- In Vantage Point the baddies take out Mission Control which greatly helped to carry out the attack.
- The jammed communication between Dredd and Mission Control is a key plot point in the movie.
- In the episode "Penelope" 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.
- On Leverage, a few times the team have to do without Hardison's hacker skills due to him being in danger or missing his equipment, and things get seriously hinky. Also inverted in "The Long Way Down Job" where Nate, Eliot and Parker are out of range.
- In the Season 1 finale of Person of Interest, this happens when Finch is kidnapped by Root, aka Caroline Turing.
- In Supernatural, Garth goes missing at the end of season 8 and is no longer able to help out the hunter community.
- 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 Harsher in Hindsight example, since Iji initially expresses annoyance that she's the only one risking her life.
- The mysterious benefactor in Depict1 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 Halo: Combat Evolved, this happens when John leaves Cortana in the Control Room while he goes to find the Index.
- In The Nameless Mod your handlers cannot reach you while deep underground or during the horror-based mission on each route. You can get a substitute in the first instance (though you may not want to) but in the latter cases you are alone (save for the mad AI in one of them) to increase the sense of isolation.
- In the Splinter Cell Double Agent, Lambert serves as mission control most of the time on behalf of Third Echelon, while Dufraisne occasionally does the same for the JBA. During the penultimate mission, Lambert turns out to have been kidnapped by the JBA for posing as an arms dealer and his role is filled by Third Echelon Director Tom Reed for the rest of the game.
- In Mass Effect 1, the Citadel's control tower crew are killed by Saren and his Geth forces during the climactic mission.
- In Mass Effect 3, the Normandy arrives at the Citadel to find themselves unable to reach any of the traffic controllers, this time due to A Cerberus sneak-attack. In this case, the character who normally gives the Normandy clearance is back at her post later in the game.
- Massmouth 2: Trooper, your mission control, is discovered by the Big Bad and—despite trying to move to a "safer broadcasting spot"—you soon see him captured and killed before your very eyes.
- In Marvel: Avengers Alliance, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and Tony Stark are directing the player character remotely. Two of them are kidnapped at one point in the story and the third runs things alone for a while until the others are recovered.
- Leon loses contact to mission control (and by extension, the entire outside world) in the second chapter of Resident Evil 4, as his enemies hijack his line. Leon is unimpressed and takes the opportunity to mock them whenever they call, pushing The Dragon into a near-Villainous Breakdown with the ungodly force of his snark.
- Several episodes of Code Lyoko have XANA take over someone to get Jeremie away from the computer.
- On Kim Possible, rival heroes Team Impossible spiked Wade's computers to rob Kim and Ron of their mission control, thus gaining the upper hand—until Wade emerges from his room for the first time ever, his Berserk Button fully engaged:
Wade: You spiked my system! NOBODY! SPIKES! MY SYSTEM!Ron: [To Team Impossible] Dude, now you're so over I don't even wanna be around you!