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The Book

  • The Mobile Infantry by itself. It's so efficient and devastating that the Skinnies consider destroying one of their own skyscrapers to kill one soldier a good trade-off... And the MI agrees.
    • Best shown in the opening battle. About fifty of them attack a Skinny city with a spaceport, raze it to the ground, nuke the one starship that was there and the local water processing plant (making the entire area unlivable until it's rebuilt), and scare the Skinnies into ditching their alliance with the Bugs and join the Federation (the whole point of the attack), and suffer exactly one dead (plus a few wounded).
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    • See the page quote for Powered Armor: the opening pages of the book made it a trope forever.
  • Rico's monologue about getting the shakes before every drop. He talks about how the psychologists worked him over, and declared that he wasn't scared, he was just eager to get into the action. He disagrees, stating that he's terrified every time. And yet, there is never any mention in the book of him hesitating to drop with his platoon. He steps into the Drop Pod and drops into hell with his men every time, despite his fear.
  • Everything Zim does. Some examples:
    • When he's introduced he goes on a long rant insulting the recruits... Without using a single vulgarity (that he reserves for "special occasions"), leaving Rico to admire his eloquence.
    • Right after the above, he dares the recruits to make him eat back his words. Awesomeness ensues:
      • The first one is Breckinridge, at least three inches taller than Zim, broader with the shoulders, and weighing two hundred and ten pounds of muscles, challenging Zim in a no rules match. Faster than Johnny can follow, Breckinridge is on the ground with a likely broken left wrist.
      • The next challenge is from two guys, Meyer and Heinrich, with the only rule being "no eye gouging". Meyer tries to body-check him... And Zim with a single move turns to face him, kicks Heinrich unconscious without looking at him, and throws Meyer next to his pal, knocking him out too.
      • After that, Shujumi challenges him to a Judo match. This guy, son of the colonel who had once been Zim's drill instructor, is the only one who makes Zim actually try, sending him flying on the first contact but without making him land on his back before the second confrontation ends with Shujumi immobilized.
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    • And immediately after beating Shujumi, he leads the morning exercises. Rico is left drenched and tired, but Zim is perfectly fresh-and he actually shouted the count the whole time.
    • When he finally appears in combat, the author is forced to omit the name of the mysterious "best sergeant in the fleet," because by that point the reader already knows that if Zim goes into a tunnel filled with Bugs he'll get out safe, sound and with a Brain Bug captured.
  • At one point during training, Rico and his training mates Pat Leivy and "Kitten" Smith visit Seattle on a leave, and are ambushed by two drunk local thugs and two equally drunk merchant sailors. It's over in about a second: Rico one-shots the one who had jumped him, turns to help his friends, and sees that Pat has wrapped one around a lamppost and "Kitten" Smith, who got his nickname due being far too nice, had already taken out the remaining two. Even more, it was on reflex: Rico, and likely the other two, had not expected the ambush and reacted before they had a chance of thinking.
    But it's a good thing we never go on pass armed... and have been trained to disable without killing.
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  • Heinlein's Shout-Out and salute to Rodger Young, one of World War II's better-known Medal of Honor recipients, who died to save his squad.
  • Captain Yvette Deladrier does the impossible and stops a space ship to wait for some incoming troops. "If the Almighty ever needs someone's help to keep the stars in their courses, I know where He can look."
  • When he heads out on his apprentice cruise, a sort of final test to see if he's got the stuff to be an officer in the Mobile Infantry, Johnny is offered a set of rank pips that the OCS Commandant calls "cursed". Four of the last five candidates to wear them had failed out. The Commandant asks Johnny to try to break the hoodoo on them, as they were the Commandant's own pips when he went on his apprentice cruise. Johnny is later stated to be commander of "Rico's Roughnecks". He broke the curse.


  • Rico taking out the first Tanker Bug they encounter using his old future-football moves to get onto the bug, then blasting a hole in the bug's back and throwing a grenade inside. It's topped later by Dizzy killing one by tossing a grenade into its open mouth.
  • The Arachnids themselves get several:
    • The Bugs turn the aforementioned Klendathu drop into a win for them, killing 100,000 troopers in the first hour of combat. By the end of the battle, the human body count has risen to over 300,000. In addition, if you listen, during the battle you can hear a com intercept stating that the Bugs are overrunning the retrieval ships.
    • During the film's second battle sequence, an unfortunate trooper finds out the hard way that Bugs too know how to Kill It with Fire when the Tanker Bug shows up.
    • The Bugs' bombardment of the ships in orbit around their planet. The Fleet was informed that the bombardment would be random and light. Instead, the Plasma Bugs demonstrate that they can easily shoot down, from the ground and with no computers to assist them, the majority of the armada with ease.
    • The Arachnids in general continuously demonstrate that, in spite of humanity's arrogant assumption of superiority, the bugs are better fighters, have superior numbers, and their leaders have far superior intelligence, compared to the humans in this movie. And this is a species that demonstrates no technological advancement whatsoever, to the point that no explanation is even given for how they managed to attain space travel in the first place.
    • Not to mention that before he is brought before the Brain Bug, he discretely hands a knife to Carmen so she might be able to buy herself a few seconds before Rico and his troopers arrive.
    • Also, earlier in the film when Zander and Carmen rescue the Roughnecks from the ambush at the outpost, Zander jumps out of the rescue boat almost as soon as it lands and starts laying down covering fire. Say what you will about his personality, but the guy is no coward.
  • Zander's defiant, prophetic Last Words followed by a Spiteful Spit at the Brain Bug: "One day, someone like me is gonna kill you and your whole fucking race!" He might have been a shallow tool for most of the movie but he died like a man.
  • Pvt. Sugar Watkins's Heroic Sacrifice: "Just trying to kill some Bugs, sir!" and how it plays out like a combination of Pvt. Hudson's last stand and Vasquez/Gorman's sacrifice from Aliens: first he keeps firing at the incoming Warrior Bugs taunting and swearing at them all the way down until the oxygen nuke he activated blows him and all the enemies into fiery oblivion.
  • The closing line.
  • From the second film, the platoon sergeant getting infected by the Puppeteer Parasite... then shooting herself up with enough adrenaline to give a bull moose a heart attack and going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, killing off about half the bad guys before offing herself to keep from being taken over., not to mention: "Hey General!"

OVA series

  • The OVA version of the street fight scene. On the MI side, there's only Rico and "Kitten" Smith. On the aggressors' there isn't four drunk guys but a dozen sober thugs, many of which are armed and one is a Kung Fu practitioner. Rico and Johnny still trounce them, with the Kung Fu guy getting one-shot by Smith with a single punch.
  • In the final episode, the scene everyone who watches the series was waiting for: the Mobile Infantry executing a drop, from the troopers putting on the suits to them landing on the target planet.
    • And said planet? Klendathu. It's nothing more than a reconnaisance raid in preparation for the main assault, but they're still hitting Klendathu.
    • For added awesome, a fan made an AMV of the scene with the appropriate soundtrack: Klendathu Drop.
  • The raid itself. So far, the aliens had seemed superior... But they were also seen fighting on Earth, where the MI would obviously hold back to avoid collateral damage, or attacking trainees armed with paintball weapons. This time the MI is fighting where there's no collateral damage to worry about and they're fully trained soldiers with actual weapons, and the aliens suffer.
    • The novel states that "neither spaceships nor atmosphere craft can fight against a man in a suit except by saturation bombing of the area he is in". During the fight the aliens start employing fliers-and we get a demonstration, with the flier trying to hit Rico and Pat while they just use their Jump Jet Packs to dodge and fire back until "Kitten" lobs a missile at it.
    • All in all, the battle shows exactly why the original novel is the Trope Codifier for Power Armor, amply demonstrating all the abilities of the Mobile Infantry and their powered suits, with the single exception of the 2 kiloton nukes.