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Don't Ask, Just Run

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The occupational hazard of working for a polar bear who dabbles in Mad Science. Yeah, you better run.

Maxim 2: A Sergeant in motion outranks a Lieutenant who doesn't know what's going on.
Maxim 3: An ordnance technician at a dead run outranks everybody.

Don't Try This at Home exists for a reason: some things are best just left to the professionals. Firemen, policemen, bomb techs, seasoned military veterans, even action heroes and superheroes, put their bodies and lives on the line in the course of their job dealing with lots of dangerous stuff.

So when you see the seasoned professionals making a full speed run for it, you don't want to stop to argue. You don't make them explain what's going on. You don't yell at them because you're their superior officer and they are so getting court-martialed if they don't get their ass back on the front line. You run the hell away with them. To do otherwise is likely to be harmful or fatal; when the tough guys run like that, it's often a sign of impending Incendiary Exponent or Stuff Blowing Up. Or worse. (Or both. Or all three.)

You can think of this as O.O.C. Is Serious Business when the one running away is a professional who normally would be heading towards the danger.

Sometimes the seasoned professional isn't running; maybe they need to stay behind and make a Heroic Sacrifice, or they're just finally letting loose. In these situations, they usually turn to the weaker members of the team and invoke the trope name or something similar.

Subtrope "Oh, Crap!" sums these moments up quite nicely. Anyone ignoring this advice will likely prove Too Dumb to Live. A very appropriate reaction to a Hero Killer. Related to Run or Die and Crisis Catch And Carry, which may be implemented on the people who don't start running. Also compare Foreboding Fleeing Flock, which is basically the same thing but with animals.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Island of Miracles ~Animal Adventure~ have the gang's first encounter with Dakke; while in the futuristic Isle of Miracles, Suneo and Gian accidentally pissed off a Wooly Rhinoceros who starts pursuing them. While fleeing, they stumble across a surprised Dakke, and the first thing they told him is "run from the rhino!"
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The oft-referred as "Joestar Family Secret Technique", started by Joseph Joestar: When things got ridiculously out of hand, just run for your lives. This being Joseph, however, he usually has a plan afterwards. It just requires him to run away from the current location to make it work. He even stated that he'll never abandon a fight, just using running to tactically re-position himself.
  • My Hero Academia: When it dawns on Class 1-A that their Summer Training Camp is about to begin right now, miles from the camp, with a Race Against the Clock:
    Kirishima: No way. Guys?
    Ashido: Holy crap!
    Kirishima: SAVE YOURSELVES!!!
  • Ranma ˝: The Saotome Secret Technique is to turn the other way and beat feet until you're a safe distance away or find a decent hiding spot. Rather than trying to actually escape, since that's usually not an option, it's to either tactically reposition Ranma and/or his opponent or to give him just enough time to work out a plan. This gets comparisons to the above mentioned JBA example, though since the Battle Tendency arc and Ranma got released around the same time it's not likely that this was intentional.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light does this when Yugi encounters Joey and Tristan while fleeing from a group of mummies.
    Yugi: TALK LATER! RUN NOW!!!
    Joey: What's with him?
    [he and Tristan turn around, see the mummies, and run after Yugi]
  • In the final act of the movie Paprika, as the dreamscape begins to merge with reality, Dr. Chiba finds herself facing her dream avatar self, Paprika. Before Chiba can say anything, Paprika announces, "No time for questions. Hurry up!"

  • Seth Meyers' bit at the 2012 White House Correspondents' Dinner played with a variant of this. He noted that the less Anderson Cooper is wearing, the more dangerous things are (and the more heroic he's being), ranging from wearing a bulletproof vest in Iraq's green zone to wearing the too-tight black T-shirt while dodging bullets and pulling babies out of rubble.
    "What I'm saying is, if you ever see Anderson Cooper with his shirt off, turn off your television and run."
  • Dave Attell did a joke about how a bullfighter's pants were torn off and he ran without bothering to cover himself.
    "If when you leave here tonight, you see a pantsless man running with his thing flapping everywhere, run with that man! Because there is some scary shit coming the other way."
  • Cedric the Entertainer had a bit about how black people will run if they see other people running, while white people try to see what's going on. This isn't actually true, obviously.

    Comic Books 
  • During a segment of the Scrooge's Quest arc from the DuckTales comics, the others have tracked Scrooge to an abandoned island after he fell overboard. They've just gotten there when Scrooge tears past them, stopping just long enough to grab Webby. Launchpad wonders what caused this reaction — and quickly realizes it was a stupid thing to ask when the gorilla that Scrooge was running from shows up.
  • For those who lack the savvy to identify these situations, the Marvel Universe has technical support, as seen in Young Avengers.
    Prodigy: Technical support. You're speaking to David Alleyne. What's your probl... Elektra, you say? Can you run? You should run. Seriously, you want to run.
  • Moon Knight has this bit of friendly advice from issue 5 of his 2014 run to a mook he just crashed his plane into:
  • Scooby-Doo! Team-Up: In "Quest For Mystery!", after they've found Dr. Quest and captured Dr. Zin, Race announces that he's just set up the Quest group's signature move, and Jonny tells everyone to run. The gang does, but Daphne asks why while she's doing so. It turns out that the Quest group's "signature move" is Stuff Blowing Up.
  • Transformers:
    • In The Transformers: Dark Cybertron, several Autobots are inside Metroplex and find flakes of metal in the water surrounding him. So they call Swerve (who's an expert metallurgist) about it. He tells them that they need to stop what they're doing and get out of there immediately, no time for questions. When, of course, they ask questions, he tells them that it's because Metroplex has contracted a Death Plague and they need to get away before they catch it too. Then he pauses and tells them that there's a new plan: they need to stop what they're doing and get out of there immediately, no time for questions. When, of course, they question why this is a "new" plan since it's identical to the old question, he says that the old reason to run was the Death Plague, but this reason to run is because now there's about 2000 angry minicons converging on their position.
    • In The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, Brainstorm has an early early warning system (he originally had an early warning system, but it gave warnings too late). One of its danger levels is "Run for your life!"

    Fan Works 
  • While he doesn't run, when Harry Potter in The Havoc Side of the Force notes that five different groups of bounty hunters have attacked him and HK-47 corrects him, saying six groups have, Harry immediately dives behind cover rather than ask what HK is talking about. A few seconds later, the sixth group start shooting.
  • A variant, in The Infinite Loops, Loopers tend to operate on the assumption that if they Awaken in a Loop mid-run they should keep on running, at least long enough to process their Loop memories and assess the situation.
  • A somewhat comedic variation occurs in Frostblood when a mail courier comes across Kel'thuzad and remembers the sole line of advice her handbook offers on liches: "Whatever they're paying you, it's not enough."
  • In Cultural Artifacts, the Big Guy casually mentions that a running sapper outranks a field marshal. Later, Dinky manages to outrace a Noodle Incident which left the CMC covered in tree sap. When she wonders why, the Big Guy explains that she didn't stop to ask why he was running, she just followed him.
  • Sakura in Whirling Sparks notes that one of the many things she's learned in life is that if you see a shinobi with a higher rank than you fleeing something, you didn't ask questions until you were far enough away from whatever they were fleeing.
  • In The Institute Saga, Superman's wife writes a "So You're Dating a Superhero" booklet. Rule 7 is "If he tells you to run, RUN!"
  • In Pokémon Master, as exploring an area swarming with demonic Pokemon, Ash and Erika run into Misty, who insists on getting out of there RIGHT NOW. Ash asks why before seeing what Misty was running away from and realizing it was a dumb question.
    Misty lifted her head away from on top of him as they continued to slide away backward on Ash's back. "Sorry! At the count of three, let's jump up and get out of here!" she said in a high voice.
    "Why?" Ash called out when his mouth was free of Misty-hair. He looked behind them, or in front of them as they were sliding away backward. Then he saw. Uncountable four-legged forms of what looked like growlithes made of black ice were snapping and hissing as they poured out from the alleyway they had just passed and the one Misty had come from. He couldn't quite see clearly with Misty and Pikachu on top of him, but they looked all sharp teeth, claws, red eyes and dark frozen spines. "Ask a stupid question," he answered himself sardonically. "Okay, one, two, three - JUMP!"

    Films — Animated 
  • In Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ralph is the first to notice (after Sugar Rush's steering wheel breaks) that Litwak is heading for the power strip. When the 36-year-veteran of the arcade calls out what that means (that's he about to unplug Sugar Rush), the game characters respect the Oh, Crap! of his declaration, listen to him, and begin evacuating. It's due to Ralph's early warning that Vanellope and practically all the characters were able to escape to Game Central Station before the game actually got unplugged.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Avatar, Grace has this reaction when Jake first encounters a Thanator, the apex land predator on Pandora.
  • The 2004 Hellboy film has Liz gaining full control of her powers near the end. As she immolates herself, she tells her companion "You should be running."
  • The movie version of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring has Gandalf essentially say this when the Fellowship encounters the Balrog in Moria, sparked by ominous roaring and a creeping orange glow that makes the horde of goblins surrounding them run like hell. Gandalf's only explanation is "This foe is beyond any of you. RUN!" And, of course, just before he falls into the chasm: "Fly, you fools!"
  • In The Mummy, Rick doesn't even question it when he sees the Americans running from the swarm of flesh-eating scarab beetles.
    Rick: Go.
  • In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock after the heroes set the Enterprise's Self-Destruct Mechanism the Klingons beam over and seize the ship. When they find the bridge empty the lead Klingon calls Commander Kruge and tells him the ship is apparently deserted and that there is only the voice of the computer speaking. When Kruge hears that the computer is counting down he immediately realizes what must be happening and begins screaming at his men to get out of there.
    Computer: 9...8...7...6...5...
    Computer: ...2...1...
  • In the movie version of The Sum of All Fears, one of the technicians at a Russian nuclear weapon disassembly plant is seen by Jack Ryan. The guide with him translates the Cyrillic shirt wording: "I am a bomb technician. If you see me running, try to keep up."
  • Inverted in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, where it's the person who doesn't know what's going on refutes the need for an explanation. When Sam's parents are dropped into the battlefield as part of a trap, and are subsequently rescued, the elder Witwicky tells Sam, "I don't know what's going on but we've gotta move!"
  • From Tremors 2: Aftershocks: The heroes trap the monsters in a warehouse, and Earl rigs every explosive Burt brought with him to explode, all 2.5 tons of them. Everyone runs for it, then hides behind a wooden shed a short distance away from the warehouse, except for Burt, who keeps running. When the bomb does explode, the shockwave shreds the shed they'd been hiding behind.
    Burt: No, no, no! Keep going! It's gonna be big!
    Kate: Is he serious?
    Earl: Burt knows his bombs.
  • In Force 10 from Navarone, after detonating Sergeant Miller's Bomb inside the dam, both Lt. Colonel Barnsby and Major Mallory are ranting that the bomb didn't work until they hear the telltale sounds of the dam's own internal stresses beginning to tear it apart. They immediately turn and run blowing right past a squad of Wehrmacht soldiers who had been following them. The officer is initially shocked by the strange actions of what he suspects to be enemy saboteurs until he starts hearing the noise as well and he immediately yells at his men to evacuate the dam.
  • During the riverboat fight in Operation: Dumbo Drop, H.A. calls for an artillery strike on the N.V.A. patrol boat attacking them. When the marking round almost hits their own boat, the Americans chew out H.A. for almost causing a friendly-fire incident while the North Vietnamese laugh. H.A. calmly explains that they're moving and as he sees the N.V.A. patrol boat move into the marked spot he yells "Fire for effect!" The N.V.A. captain then sees H.A. smiling and waving bye bye at them and immediately realizes what's happening.
    Patrol Boat Captain: GET OFF THE BOAT! (Crew abandons ship quickly)
  • Ghostbusters (1984): When Walter Peck orders the Ghostbusters' containment grid shut off, despite Peter, Egon, and even the electrical engineer Peck brought along, all trying to convince him what a terrible idea that is, Egon and Peter are seen edging around the police and toward the staircase, getting ready to run like hell.

  • In Assassin's Creed: Unity, which is Another Side, Another Story of the game told from Deuteragonist Élise's POV, she's being chased by Jacobins and runs into the game's protagonist Arno, whom she knew growing up and who asks what's going on. She gives this as her answer.
  • Lampshaded in Callahan's Secret, where a rookie to the New York City bomb squad specifically thinks "If he's running, I need to get the hell out of here!" when he sees his superior, Sergeant Noah Gonzalez, take off running in the middle of a defusing operation.
  • Also in Terry Pratchett's Johnny and the Bomb, where, during the Battle of Britain, an explosives expert is working on an unexploded bomb. Some falling bricks tumble down and hit the bomb, which starts ticking. A policeman asks, "Once they start ticking, how long until..." then realizes he's talking to an empty space where the bomb tech was a moment ago.
  • Discworld:
    • Alchemists must be smart and athletic. Smart enough to know when their experiment is about to explode, and athletic enough to get behind cover before it does. The smart part also includes running when somebody else starts running.
    • Wizards, particularly more senior ones who still operate active magic, are also quite fast, despite their generally large girth. Slow ones generally don't live long enough to become senior wizards.
    • In The Last Hero, Rincewind, when asked why he was fleeing for his life through the Hublands, admits that he doesn't find out why people chase him, as asking would get in the way of running.
      Rincewind: Oh, I never stop to find out why people are chasing me, sir. I never look behind, either. That'd be rather silly, sir.
  • In Heralds of Valdemar - Brightly Burning by Mercedes Lackey, foreseers see Lavan's final firestorm just in time and all the Heralds start frantically calling the retreat to get their army out of the way before all hell breaks loose. Most get out of there as soon as they realize it, only those who care for Lavan hesitating but still get hustled along.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, when the Fellowship hears the Balrog in Moria, Legolas starts freaking out. It's not that he is old enough to remember them, but his people are, and they told him about them. At the time there are still several people alive (such as Glorfindel, who actually killed one and Galadriel, who didn't) who remember the war with Morgoth, and therefore remember the Balrogs.
  • Mentioned in World War Z, when a survivor is recounting being in a South African slum during one of the first mass zombie attacks. He remembered seeing people running and screaming "They're coming! They're coming!" People with not so sharp survival instincts stood there confused and asked "Who is coming?", while those with better survival instincts knew that if people are frantically running away and screaming "They're coming!" then you don't need to know who they are, if they are coming, then you run. He also mentions that many of the people who started running immediately were older people who were all survivors of Apartheid, and could remember the days when "they" were the government and soldiers coming to round people up.
  • Captain Vorpatril's Alliance:
    • Lampshaded when Ivan Vorpatril consciously kept his pace to one that said "I am late and in a hurry" (because he was) instead of making the full-on sprint that would indicate "The building behind me is about to explode."
    • Later on, as the ImpSec building disappears down a sinkhole, the onlooking head of ImpSec wails about his people deserting their posts as a stream of men pour out of the building. The former head of ImpSec who is standing beside him figures those are the fellows who grew up in earthquake country. He then adds, "The ones still inside, you'll want to commend. The ones outside, those are the ones I'd promote..."
  • In the fifth A Song of Ice and Fire book A Dance with Dragons, a minor character, Gerris Drinkwater, goes a long way to proving how clever he is by saying: "When Barristan the Bold says to run, a wise man laces up his boots."
  • James Thurber wrote a short story, The Day The Dam Broke, that is a subversion of this trope. In fact the dam had not broken and even if it had the water would have risen only two feet - on the east end of town that was already underwater from spring flooding. Nevertheless for some never explained reason the entire city of Columbus Ohio took off for higher ground.
  • The Grimnoir Chronicles: Spellbound features a failing bit of mad-science tech. Our hero makes it past a heavy metal blast door and pauses to ask "Will that hold?" Then he realizes that was a dumb question, since all of the technical types who know better are still running.
  • In Dragonlance novels, it was often said that the two scariest things in all of Krynn were a kender saying "oops" (they're insatiably curious) and a kender saying "I'm bored" (they're also Thrill Seekers). People traveling with a kender who hear either one of those things will have this reaction in response, at least if they're smart.
  • The Rise of Kyoshi: Kyoshi hears screams from the middle of the daofei town they are in. Her friends immediately begin running in the opposite direction and make no attempt to sate their curiosity.
    Wong: Never wait to find out what the trouble is. By then, you're already too close.
  • Ciaphas Cain gets to do this in The Traitor's Hand. He does this to a Lord General, which is pretty much as high in rank as you can get, literally pushing him out the door. There's a bomb in the room, set to go off...well, the timer is broken, but it was set to one minute. 59 seconds ago...
  • At one point in The Last Graduate Galadriel is having a normal-ish conversation with Orion when she notices his attention shift over her shoulder as if he noticed something. El instantly starts casting the strongest defensive spell she knows because nobody survives three years in the Scholomance without learning to presume anything that gets behind them without being noticed is a lethal threat until verified otherwise.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A fifth season CSI episode, "Down the Drain", has the team working with the bomb squad to clear a suspect's house that's stocked with homemade explosives. The bomb tech passes on to Grissom the timely (and some say traditional) advice: "Only one thing you need to worry about: If you see me running, make sure you keep up." (And if you don't think this gets invoked in the same episode, you don't watch enough TV.)
  • During the opening of one episode (The Teacher In The Books) of Bones, Hodgins suddenly says "Whoa, back up!" and Brennan, Booth, and Cam all immediately take a step back from the body. Aubrey, who's new to the team, almost steps forward in curiosity, only for Booth to assure him that Hodgins always has a reason. In this case, he's spotted a web for a brown recluse spider.
  • Danger: UXB. Lt. Ash is working with a naval officer to defuse a parachute-dropped German mine. He's told that if he hears the fuze running, he's to run like hell. Being an Officer and a Gentleman, Ash refuses to leave the other man behind, causing him to snap, "Don't be a bloody fool! When I say run, you run!" The reason is the naval officer will be running as well, and Ash hesitating means that he'll get in his way and get them both killed.
  • The amount of running involved in Doctor Who is something of a Running Gag (sorry).
    • Several classic Doctors use the line, "When I say run, run... Run!"
    • To the point where "RUN!" is the Ninth Doctor's first line in the new series.
      Donna: He saves worlds, rescues civilizations, defeats terrible creatures and runs a lot. Seriously, there's an outrageous amount of running involved.
    • Also inverted — on several occasions, the Doctor has made the villains of the episode retreat just by introducing themself. Best exemplified in "The Eleventh Hour": "Hello. I'm the Doctor. Basically... run."
    • It's to the point when a dying character who once had an adventure with the Doctor that Eleven doesn't remember (it's not said whether it hasn't happened to him yet, or whether you just don't remember everyone and everything when you've been adventuring as long as he has.) is upset that he doesn't know her, all he can say to ease her passing is, "Hey, of course I remember. I remember everyone. Hey, we ran, you and me."
    • "Arachnids in the UK": When Corrupt Corporate Executive Jack Robertson tries to ask who everyone is while the others are running away from a Giant Spider bashing through a door, Graham tells him to "Run now; ask questions later."
  • Game of Thrones: This is the appropriate response to hearing the Nights Watch sound three horn blasts. One means allies, possibly returning Rangers. Two means rebellious Wildlings, nothing really out of the ordinary for defenders of the Wall. Three had not been used for thousands of years and is meant to indicate White Walkers, ice zombies, which no one believes. No one questions this when three horn blasts are used.
  • Carlos Mencia on Mind of Mencia referenced this trope regarding the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. A child at a resort apparently saw animals that were natural enemies running away from the water and remembered a nature documentary that said animals can often sense danger before humans. He told his family this and they ran for the high ground just before the wave hit. Mencia said something to the effect of "If you see a dog sprinting somewhere, with a cat on its back and a mouse hanging onto its tail, FOLLOW THAT ANIMAL!" He then took this one step further: "If you see a cop, a black guy and a Mexican holding hands and running, RUN!"
  • Of course this would come up on MythBusters, working with bomb techs as much as they do. The quote below is from the YouTube Special, when they were trying to ignite a million matchheads at night.
    Adam: Can you imagine if this went off while we were here?
    JD Nelson: Uh... if it does go off, it's time to de-ass the area with a quickness.
  • From Prehistoric Park, a stampede crashes through a wall, releasing the monsters. Nigel watches from the control room:
    Nigel: Bob, do you read, over? Matilda's behind you. Don't look, just run!
  • In the Made-for-TV film Special Bulletin, the news anchor, seeing one of the NEST technicians running for his life behind an on the scene reporter, tells said reporter to leave immediately. The reporter doesn't even get to finish his reply of "No, I think things are..." before the bomb they were trying to defuse goes off.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "All Hell Breaks Loose", when Bobby says, "Take cover now!", everyone dives behind a tombstone without question.
    • In the trailer for season 12 episode "Stuck in the Middle (with You)", Castiel is dying...
      Castiel: Please... please... Don't make my last moments watching you die... Just run!
  • Thunderbirds: Played with in "The Uninvited". Scott walks note  out of a pyramid just as Virgil is coming in to land. Scott urgently tells him by radio to get away, because the pyramid might explode, but because Virgil was so relieved to hear from Scott after a long silence, he does not recognise the urgency.
    Scott: Calling Thunderbird 2.
    Gordon: Hold it Virgil, it's Scott!
    Virgil: Go ahead, Scott, coming in to land right now.
    Scott: (urgently) No, Virgil! Keep away! Regain height, and keep away from the pyramid, it's going to go up at any moment.
    Virgil: But Scott, are you all right?
    Scott: Don't ask questions! Just do as I say, and beat it!

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
  • In the The Lost World: Jurassic Park arcade game, the second level requires the players to shoot their way through Site B's Visitor Center to locate Ian and Sarah. They find them, and one of the player characters asks what's going on (Ian and Sarah are running towards them). All they get is a "RUN!"
  • Witches in Left 4 Dead deliberately encourage this attitude in players. Averted in the game's intro, where Louis asks whether they should run or shoot. Despite the large, rather impenetrable-looking horde of infected charging at them, Bill replies, "Both."
  • At one point in Mass Effect 2, there's a hilarious Renegade option to tell a guy working in a storage place to "Run! It's gonna blow!" to get him out of your way. He's at first confused but then begins seriously freaking out and sprints off, with Shepard snickering afterwards, "I can't believe that worked." The fact that Shepard's armors slightly resemble an explosive ordinance officer outfit probably helped.
  • You are advised by the Pigmasks in the Chimera Laboratory in Mother 3 to GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE if you see the Ultimate Chimera (described as being the red one with the teeth). This is for good reason; should you attempt to approach it, you don't even get a Hopeless Boss Fight; you lose, right then and there. Unfortunately, Lucas may also quasi-randomly contract a temporary status ailment that prevents the party from running.
  • Canabalt in a nutshell. What's going on? Don't ask, just run.
  • When you spend too long on a Tartarus floor in Persona 3, your Mission Control will tell you (paraphrasing), "Death's here! Run for it!" They aren't being symbolic, either - it's the Reaper, and you're all dead if you don't get to the stairs now.
  • The Immortal: "It might be a good idea to move!" You get this warning almost immediately after you start the game, and if you don't want to get eaten by a giant worm, you'd best heed it!
  • Pikmin 2: In the Submerged Castle, if you spend too long on any floor in this cave, the Waterwraith comes down and attempts to steamroll you. It isn't fun.
  • In the Black Lake Lodge mission of Condemned 2: Bloodshot, Ethan's complex mission objectives change to "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!" when confronted by an angry, rabid black bear.
  • A version of this happens just before the final sequence of Until Dawn. Sam and Mike, the two most actiony characters, get back to the lodge and its perceived safety, then go to check on any other characters still alive... and find everyone else, even the one character who injured his ankle earlier in the game and has undergone some serious Break the Cutie over the course of the night, frantically running and screaming "Go, go!" Turns out that a whole pack of Wendigo are right behind them.
  • In Zombies, Run!, This tends to be the order Runner 5 gets whenever being chased by zoms.
  • Doom Eternal reveals that the Phobos station has a specific announcement recorded ordering all personnel to leave the moon if the Doom Slayer gets hold of the BFG 9000.
    "Danger. All personnel evacuate to Phobos surface. The Slayer has control of the BFG. Repeat: The Slayer has the BFG."
  • Warframe: The Business is normally an erudite, well spoken, and thoroughly detailed man. He has no problem with explaining what's going on so that the Tenno can keep up with the proceedings. However, during the Profit-Taker raid, when he analyzes the shield satellite and realizes it isn't recharging the Profit-Taker orb, but overcharging it, he dispenses with the explanations and cuts right to the chase. Any Tenno too stupid to not leg it when told will get blown up when the Orb's reactor goes critical.
    The Business: Outworlders... RUUUUUUUUNNNNN!

    Web Comics 
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Maxim 3 of the Seventy Maxims for Maximally Effective Mercenaries reads "An ordnance technician at a dead run outranks everybody." In the strip giving us the maxim the ship's demolitions tech has set up perimeter mines designed to trigger in the presence of large heavily armed vehicles (the fail-safe was left as a project for the junior officer). Cue the large, armed robot who happens to be the team's assignment to protect... (And, as a bonus, the robot's body was a repurposed damaged tank.)
    • In an earlier storyline, Breya's starship was being repaired in a stolen-and-resold Ob'enn fabbery. A pair of Ob'enn Thunderhead Superfortress-class ships were bearing down on them, causing Breya and Kevyn — onboard the ship — to hit the throttles and tear out of there in the hopes of at least DISTRACTING the attackers. Aboard the fabbery, Warrant Officer Thurl sees the ship leave, and immediately heads for the lifeboat at a dead run, encouraging the rest of the engineering squad to keep up. He comments, "If the Athens left like there's no tomorrow, then there probably won't be."
      Crewman: So when that little voice in your head says "run," you just run?
      Thurl: Do you see these gray hairs, kid?
    • Maxim 2 is "A Sergeant in motion outranks a Lieutenant who doesn't know what's going on." Lt. Pibald may be certifiably crazy, yet he knows what it means if Sgt. Schlock suddenly bounces by, a plasma cannon in grasp and not stopping for explanation:
      Pi: Wait, are we having a Maxim 2 moment?
      [running after Schlock]
      Pi: Stupid, Pi, stupid! If you have to ask, then yes, you're having a Maxim 2 moment!
    • Schlock has occasionally tried to exploit this to avoid answering questions when it doesn't really apply.
      Murtaugh: Sergeant, where are you going with that hover-pallet?
      Schlock: "Maxim 2: A Sergeant in motion—"
      Murtaugh: "—outranks a Lieutenant who doesn't know what's going on." I am a Captain.
    • The second to last book in the series ends with Sergeant Schlock picking up his weapons and ordering his commanding officers to follow him, because it's time to save the galaxy again. The last book is titled "Sergeant in Motion."
  • Freefall:
    • In this strip, Florence is running because of a "Eureka!" Moment rather than an "Oh, Crap!" moment. The others in the room don't realize this, though, so away they go.
    • Meanwhile, although he's technically incorrect in his assessment of the situation, this shopkeeper nonetheless shows good survival instincts.
  • Bob and George: Bob reminds George of his superpowers and reacts appropriately. So do Proto Man and Doctor Wily. The commentary explains.
    Dave Anez: As for the people that didn't get it, I would respond by pointing out that if you were Dr. Wily or Proto Man and you saw Bob running past you like that, would you wait around to ask questions?
  • Everyday Heroes:
  • Exterminatus Now has one:
    Lothar: Runs pretty fast for a fat nerdy dude.
    Eastwood: I'm gonna say that when the interdimensional quantum physicist bolts for the exit, we should probably follow his lead.
  • Pixie and Brutus: During one strip, a rabbit gets his friend's attention to show off his pinecone-kicking skills before he launches one at Pixie. The other rabbit begs him not to do it, which he dismisses as kidding. When he does it anyway, his friend races away without saying a word. The prankster bunny finds out why when he looks up to see Brutus, Lola, Mr. Wrinkles, Hugo, Randal, and Dexter surrounding him menacingly.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Riff and Dr. Schlock had their own word for this in case one of their Mad Scientist inventions went wrong in a way that required it: "Code Boom". Torg and friends would later adopt it for their exploits in the Research and Development Wars for similarly dire situations.
  • The Whiteboard: Doc, the central character and polar bear who runs the paintball shop, dabbles in Mad Science on the side. His friends and colleagues quickly learn that when something goes wrong at the workbench, you don't want to be anywhere in the blast zone, a fact being demonstrated here to new hire Sandy.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Jägers live for centuries around their Mad Scientist overlords and know how to act:
      Agatha: CLEAR THE BRIDGE!
      Maxim: [picks up Lars and runs] Gorl like dot—
      Dimo: [picks up Augie and runs] — ven she say move —
      Oggie: [picks up their freaked-out horse and runs] — hyu move!
    • Another example latter. When the tech operating some Mad Science tells you to run, it doesn't matter if you're a Spark or a prince: you run.
  • Discussed in xkcd, "Bridge", in response to the standard "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal.
  • Zebra Girl: When the vampire who tried to kill Crystal sees a monstrous werewolf under her, her first reaction is to order her fellow vampires to run away immediately. When one of them corrects her by saying that they are technically floating in the sky, she ignores him and urges them once again to get the hell out of there. They don't listen, believing to be perfectly safe while they are in the air. They couldn't be more wrong...

    Web Original 
  • Worm has the following conversation regarding Contessa:
    Weaver: What's her classification?
    Prefab: Thinker. Don't worry about the number. Just run.

    Web Videos 
  • Critical Role
    • In episode 45 of the second campaign, "The Stowaway," the Mighty Nein are exploring the labyrinthine pocket dimension of an ancient wizard. Caleb, the party's wizard, along with his goblin friend Nott, take their time examining some of the tomes and artifacts within while the rest of the party come across the trick that leads to the exit, and don't follow until a bit after everyone else. When they do go through, they find that the exit is guarded by a blue dragon that the rest of the party is in the middle of fighting or fleeing from. Cue the cleric Caduceus popping out of invisibility right next to them and saying...
    • In Episode 93, after Jester tricks the hag Isharnai into letting Jester alter her memories so she gives them what they came to get for no cost, she comes out and immediately starts pushing the rest of the Nein to leave, fast, while the others keep trying to ask what the hell happened. It’s a hilarious scene of Mood Whiplash from the very tense conversation with the hag just seconds earlier.
  • Marble Hornets
    • In Entry #26, Alex says this to his girlfriend Amy after she inadvertently summons the Operator to their new house by watching a distorted tape on Alex's old camera.
    • In Entry #42, Jay shouts this to Alex after having an encounter with the Operator. Its... funnier than it sounds.
    • In Entry #64, Alex reveals himself by calling Jay on his phone while they're in the middle of exploration, right before the Operator makes a catastrophic entrance.
      Phone: Leave. Now.
  • Honest Trailers notes that a lot of trouble in Jumanji could be avoided if they took the game's advice, as almost every clue amounts to "Bad thing coming, run."
  • The Russian Badger has a humdinger of one: while playing Totally Accurate Battlegrounds, Badger's pals Grouse and Badda dress up as Fred and Shaggy. Badda inadvertently triggers a countdown on a nuclear warhead, leading to the comical image of a Shaggy lookalike fleeing in googly-eyed terror without explaining himself until the nuke goes off. The crew barely manages to make it to minimum safe distance.
    Badda: (As Shaggy) Run, run, RUN.
    Badger: Why?
    Badda: RUN.
    Badger: Oh, okay, I get it.
    Grouse: (As Fred) WHAT DID YOU DO, SHAGGY?

    Western Animation 
  • Invoked by Guardian Bob of ReBoot in a crashing game:
    Bob: It's an infinite data if/else loop.
    Dot: What's that mean?
  • Dash gets this from his hero Danny Phantom when they're both shrunk. Because he's losing his powers from said incident, Danny can't fight any obstacles in his path, so he tells Dash to make a break for it. They pretty much do this for the majority of the episode.
  • Danger Mouse has a directive when confronted in a dire situation: "Do what you were trained to do. PANIC!!!"
  • Humorously referenced to by Snap in a ChalkZone episode when clowns first seen setting up a bundle of fireworks are next seen running screaming.
    Snap: Oh, boy. When clowns run scared, you know you're in trouble.
  • Played for Laughs in Family Guy. Peter brings back Jim Varney as an Artificial Zombie, but decides to shoot him when he realizes he's not John Belushi. One moment later...
    Peter: He got the shotgun, Brian! Don't ask me how he did it, but Jim Varney got the shotgun!! Run for your life!!!
    Brian: What?
    Peter: Run!
  • If you're a character in a Looney Tunes short, and you see all the animals in an area running away from something, you'd better run with them, because it means the Tasmanian Devil is coming (though perhaps not if you're Bugs Bunny).
  • As seen in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode "The Best Night Ever", when Fluttershy bursts into the room — disheveled, wild-eyed and chasing a horde of scared animals while demanding their love — and Princess Celestia herself tells you to run, you'd better do it.
  • In The PJs episode "Boyz' N the Woods" Calvin and Juicy find themselves lost in the sewers and start following rats thinking it will lead them straight back to the projects. When the rats start running off Juicy complains to Calvin that he said rats were smart. Calvin says they are smart as they are running from a giant ball of burning sewer gas. Closeup on Juicy as he asks why they aren't running and when the camera pulls back he sees that Calvin has already bolted. Cue Bruce Willis shout out.

    Real Life 
  • T-shirts:
    • Military example: "Explosive Ordnance Technician: If you see me running, try and keep up." T-shirts are quite popular around bomb-techs. This is based off a joke among military personnel which says "an EOD tech running for his life outranks everybody."
    • Civilian pyrotechnics experts sometimes wear similar shirts.
    • As do firefighters.
    • Nucs (the people who run the nuclear reactors on Carriers and Subs) have come up with their own version, "Nuclear Reactor Technician: If you see me running, it's already too late."
  • Tornado chasers, though they also have such shirts, are often an inversion: if a lot of tornado chasers seem to be setting up where you are, it's probably a very good idea to consider taking tornado precautions.
  • If you are in a forest, and all animals suddenly start running in the same direction, run with them. They have a good reason for it. It can save your life. This is particularly true if you see animals from multiple species. Just deer running in one direction means something might have spooked one and the herd ran. Deer, woodchucks, raccoons, and songbirds all fleeing in the same direction means there's something really bad, like a forest fire. Ditto for seeing carnivores/omnivores like wolves and/or bears running with herbivores; predators ignoring food means it's close.
  • In the 2004 Tsunami, people were very, very worried about all the indigenous people living on the islands, etc. Well, it turned out they were very much alive and with them some missing tourists, who took the Don't Ask Just Run seriously — if the locals start running like hell for the high ground, you damn well follow them. The advice often given to people in coastal areas of earthquake-prone areas like Japan and the West Coast of the United States is to immediately move to higher ground if they feel shaking for this very reason.
  • The Weather Channel basically encourages this anytime a major storm is happening, most notably with Hurricane Katrina. Their meteorologists will start speaking emotionally, telling the viewers to take shelter immediately. With the 2013 "Weather All The Time" retool, even the graphics and music take a darker tone during severe weather coverage to underscore the seriousness (even the logo changes from blue to red, hence the nickname "Red Mode").
  • Generally, when you see people running away in terror, it's not a good idea to stay and watch what the fuss is all about. It's also a well-known maxim among travelers and soldiers: the locals know more about the area than you do. They live there, after all. Which doesn't help when the people running away are doing so behind you, while you stand on the beach wondering what the hell just happened to the water. Fortunately, even if you can't hold a conversation in the local language, it's not hard to recognize their phrase for "Oh, Crap!".
  • The story about the kid referred to in "Live-Action TV" is partially true. There was a kid who had just recently learned that if the water draws back, there will be a huge flood wave. The kid warned her parents and so a lot of people could run to safety, while on the other hand, OTHER people walked INTO the ocean to look where the water went. Here's a link.
  • It's a built-in social response humans and other social creatures have that if the crowd is running away, you go with it (it's known as Herd Behavior). It isn't a guarantee of safety, though. History is littered with the bodies of people trampled to death in spooked crowds in a frenzied run for safety when there was actually no danger. Children are especially in danger in these crowds. That said, said crowds are often a subversion of the trope: people who did stick around until it's too late, then realized it was time to run.
    • This is why the openers on emergency doors are called panic bars. They ensure that if an unorganized crowd jams against a door at the same time and no one is able to manipulate a doorknob due to the crush the door will still open. This is also why places open to the public usually have the doors open out and either swing freely or be opened by an action that doesn't require a hand to operate.
      • This became a matter of law after the 1942 Coconut Grove fire in Boston, still the second-deadliest fire in America. The blaze, theorized to have originated with flammable décor having been set on fire accidentally somehow, killed over 490 people, most of them near the only entry-exit point of the club, a single revolving door. After the blaze, laws across the country demanded that there be multiple emergency exits, and that any revolving door entry-exit points be flanked by doors with panic bars, or that they be retrofitted to collapse to allow crowds to exit. Furthermore, the laws mandated that doors had to open outward to allow panicked crowds to escape easily.
    • There doesn't even have to be a danger. Black Friday deaths have happened this way looking for the best deals. In the Cincinnati The Who Concert Disaster, 11 people were trampled to death in a mad rush just to get the best seats for a concert.
    • That said, actual incidents of violence in a crowd can easily result in panicked mobs. Frequently seen in riot situations and in sporting events where local animosity blows up or hooligans attack. In situations such as this, it may be prudent to rein in your own panic; escape, yes, but avoid getting caught up in the mob.
  • Before Mount Pinatubo went up in 1991, a team of scientists were monitoring it from an (almost deserted by that point) US Air Force base, with a small group of Air Force personnel on hand to act as their escort and security detail. The smarter ones ignored the mountain itself and the instruments (which most of them couldn't have read anyway), and watched the scientists. They knew that when the scientists started to pack up, it was time to get ready to leave. It didn't turn into a running situation, because the scientists knew what to expect and were gone before it went up. In an interview after the eruption, the general at the base said that what finally prompted him to order the evacuation was a scientist who ran by him and said "General, you had better put jam in your pockets, because we are all about to be toast!"
  • A wise rule of thumb: when someone you know is supposed to be able to deal with something starts hauling ass, you haul ass with them.
  • A variation of this was taught as advice to soldiers deploying to Iraq: If a street is suddenly deserted when you know it is normally crowded, safeties off; you're about to come under fire.
  • Much older than Iraq; savvy soldiers have long known that if the locals all suddenly disappear, there's a good reason why. A version of this was done in M*A*S*H in the episode "Welcome to Korea", when Hawkeye, Radar, and BJ suddenly realize that all the Korean civilians they were sharing the road with have disappeared. BJ is clueless (he first appeared in this episode and he was new to Korea), but the old hands Hawkeye and Radar know that they're about to be ambushed.
  • Modern British Coppers have a reputation for civility and calm (as a rule, the last thing they want to do is start a panic), so when one of them tells you to "Go! Move yourself!" (such as during the March 22nd 2017 Westminster attack), don't stick around to see what's going on, GO!
  • Some lethally radioactive sources are contained in metal shells with a simple-yet-terrifyingly effective phrase: DROP AND RUN. See here for an example.
    • The linked example is an inner containment tube for a set of cobalt-60 sources manufactured in 1963 - normally, it and the cobalt-60 it held would be stored inside a pile of lead bricks to absorb the gamma rays. Even after 60 years, those sources are still extremely radioactive. How radioactive? Without shielding, “if you sprint away immediately, you might not die".