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Running The Blockade
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, to contact allies. 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.
    • Averted in Star Wars A New Hope. While the Corellian corvette used by Princess Leia to transport the stolen Death Star plans in the film's opening moments is known to fans and in some supplementary material as a "Rebel blockade runner," this is an Informed Attribute. There is nothing in the film to suggest that it was ever used to run blockades, and the model's capabilities as established in various Expanded Universe materials make it poorly-suited for such a role, with a relatively slow Class 2 hyperdrive, light armament, and no stealth capabilities to speak of.
  • In Thirteen Days after President Kennedy institutes a "quarantine"note  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.
  • Henrik Ibsen wrote a poem, Terje Vigen, about a Norwegian sailor trying to run the British blockade of Norway during the Napoleonic Wars. He did not succeed, and was captured. Tragedy ensued.
  • In the backstory to A Song of Ice and Fire, lowborn smuggler Davos Seaworth manages to sneak past a Targaryen naval blockade of the besieged castle Storm's End under the cover of night and deliver a load of turnips and onions to the castle's starving defenders, earning him a knighthood from the grateful Lord Stannis Baratheon. The highborn lords and nights disparagingly call him "the Onion Knight" to mock his humble origins; Ser Davos takes the onion as his sigil so that he and his descendants will never forget them.

Live-Action TV
  • Babylon 5:
    • The second season episode And Now For A Word has a downplayed example: A single shuttle is sent to run a single-warship blockade of the system jumpgate, because Captain Sheridan doesn't think the Centauri are willing to risk an actual shooting war with Earth over the issue (he's right, but it all ends in bloodshed anyways due to a third party intervening without need)
    • 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.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In the episode "Nightingale," Harry Kim helps one alien race do this against another during a war.

Video Games
  • At the end of the first part of 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 Auroran 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.
  • In Assassins Creed IV, the British navy sets up a blockade around the pirate stronghold of Nassau. Edward Kenway, Charles Vane and Jack Rackham manage to escape by loading Rackham's ship with explosives and blasting a gap in the blockade.
  • EVE Online: The strategically inclined players of EVE Online are known to block off systems in order to seize control over territory. There exists a particular class of Industrial ships (used to haul goods) called Blockade Runners to bypass or otherwise break through perilous security, and all four factions have two such models of their respective lines. One has next to no tank but exceptional agility and can equip the exclusive Covert Ops cloak, while the other is a much tankier and slower brick.

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 Commander Zhao 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.
  • In the Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors episode "Blockade Runners", the titular heroes come to the rescue when the evil Monster Minds place a blockade around planet Baz as part of an invasion scheme.

Real Life
  • During The American Civil War, blockade runners became essential to the South's survival after the Union blockaded them. Some became quite noted for it, such as the SS Syren, which successfully penetrated the blockade 33 times.
  • During World War II, Leningrad was blockaded for almost 900 days by the Axis forces. During much of this time, the only way to deliver supplies to the starving city was the so-called "Road of Life"—a precarious path across the Ladoga Lake.
  • Also in World War II, Italian and British ships had to run through the enemy blockade, with British convoys from Britain bound to Malta and Egypt facing the Italian blockade and Italian convoys and isolated ships bound to Libya dealing with the Mediterranean Fleet.

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