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Emergency Stash

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Try not to disturb the locals when accessing

Bob's been retired from the CIA/Special Forces for ten years now. Once a top agent/soldier, he lives in his cabin and spends his time fishing.

However, The Call Knows Where You Live and his niece is kidnapped. Or maybe an old friend shows up, just in time to be murdered and Bob is framed for it. Maybe The Syndicate threatens his kind, elderly neighbor and Bob takes out a few mooks and the Big Bad wants payback.

In any case, Bob is on the run. Bob heads for a large city and goes to a bank there. He tells them the code number and they show him to the vault and hand him a safe deposit box. He opens it (in private, of course) and inside is three passports, several drivers licenses and credit cards, all in different names, and a large wad of cash. Possibly a handgun and a spare magazine. There may be some mysterious Plot Coupons or a MacGuffin there too, which we're sure to see pop up again.

Bob has just accessed his Emergency Stash. A variant may be that the stash is hidden behind a Bookcase Passage or in a Secret Underground Passage. Some characters go beyond a few passports; they have a large cache of supplies. See the related tropes: Crazy-Prepared, Hidden Supplies.


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    Comic Books 
  • The Sandman (1989): In the volume Brief Lives, an immortal who had been around for upwards of 10,000 years dies in an accident; afterward, the immortal's son finds his dad's stash. When the main characters encounter the son, he is very drunk, shows them the stash, and wonders exactly why his dad (who he thought was just a kind of mousy attorney with a ponytail) had that stash and who he really was. Towards the end of the volume, we see the son again, and while he decides to give away or destroy most of the stash, he does keep several of the fake IDs for himself. As the narration points out, it's handy to be able to disappear and become someone else when you really need to.

    Fan Works 
  • Turns up in The X-Files fandom a lot. Mulder's allegedly got quite the stash, much of it willed to him by his father. The only people with the keys are him and Scully. Occasionally the Gunmen will have a clue as to where it is, but not access.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Neil Shaw accesses an emergency stash of I.D. and money in The Art of War. It's hidden behind a mirror in the apartment of the one comrade who didn't betray him.
  • In The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne wakes up with no memories, and the only information he's carrying is an address and a long number. Following them leads him to a bank account and an emergency stash that he doesn't remember having. He's rather relieved when he finds a passport that has his name on it, then he finds the other passports and becomes even more confused.note 
  • In Commando, Matrix just happens to have a gun safe with automatic weapons at his house.
  • In The Long Kiss Goodnight, Charly has one of these.
  • In G.I. Joe: Retaliation, General Colton keeps a enormous arsenal of weapons in his house, despite being officially retired. He is able to equip the entire Joe team when they show up on the run.
  • In Men in Black II, J and K access an emergency stash of weapons after the MiB HQ is in Lock Down. The people who live where the weapons are stored have no idea they are there.
  • Pale Rider: After the miners vote to resist LaHood, the Preacher causes confusion by leaving town and leaving them to their fate. He's actually going to another town where he has his pistols stashed from when he used to be a Hired Gun before his Heel–Faith Turn.
  • Frank Moses in Red (2010) has one of these. He has to use a sledgehammer to break open the foundation of the house to get to it, but it's there.
  • Early in Ten Dead Men, Ryan retrieves a holdall he had hidden away. Before he storms the tower where the Projects Manager has holed up with Franklin's gang, he goes a through a Lock-and-Load Montage where it is revealed that the bag is filled with military grade hardware from when he worked as Hart's Professional Killer.
  • In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Sarah Connor stashes a buttload of weapons in what is marked as her coffin. It comes in handy when her son is attacked by killer robots again, though she's also preparing for The End of the World as We Know It when Skynet takes over. Later Terminator movies continue with this idea — even Terminators are shown to be stockpiling weapons and supplies for this purpose.
  • In Total Recall (1990), a mysterious stranger delivers a suitcase with an emergency stash to Douglas Quaid. The twist is that Quaid set up the stash himself, but he has no memory of it.
  • In Total Recall (2012), Quaid's emergency stash is a more typical safety box inside of a bank. Quaid still needs to be led to it by a man he doesn't knows because he himself doesn't has memory of it. The mysterious man himself turns out to be another Resistance mole within the Cohaagen regime that pulls off a Heroic Sacrifice Big Damn Heroes moment near the end.

  • In Artemis Fowl it is mentioned the Butler keeps a large suitcase full of fake IDs, clothes, and assorted guns in every major airport in the world, as this saves a lot of hassle with the security (and given the many (many) weapons he keeps on his person, who can blame him?).
  • In Cryptonomicon, Alan Turing sets one of these up when he fears that the Nazis will invade Britain. He returns to collect it when the threat has passed, but can't find it even with his improvised metal detector. Later sections of the plot hinge around a vast cache of gold hidden by the Japanese, and the various schemes and counter-schemes to either recover it or prevent other interested parties from doing so.
  • In the Discworld book Going Postal Moist Von Lipwig has amassed and hidden a large amount money over the course of his career as a con man. He later digs it up and uses the money to rebuild the Post Office.
    • He also keeps supplies - disguises, forgery supplies, fake diamond rings, etc. - in several stashes spread across the city.
  • In a The Incredible Hulk novella, this is how Bruce Banner is able to restock himself with clothes — he keeps accounts in several banks in larger cities, and he has his ATM cards stuck in a secure location in his clothes so that when he Hulks Out, he can get at the money.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Burn Notice, Michael states how it becomes second nature to spies to make one of these anywhere they can because they never know what they will be up against.
  • In Gang Related Ryan Lopez keeps a box hidden in a fireplace that contains money, false IDs, a gun and various mementos he cannot display publicly because it would reveal his role as The Mole. It is later revealed that he keeps a second, bigger stash in the wall of his closet. The fireplace stash is for emergencies when he has to make a quick getaway. The closet stash is much more secure and better hidden but requires more time to access and empty out.
  • Narcos when Pablo Escobar is on the run with his family, at one safe house, to provide heat he opens a stash of money and burns it in the fireplace.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: In one episode, Callen and Sam are on the run with a Damsel in Distress whom they're protecting. A shootout leaves them almost out of ammunition, and then they have to ditch their cellphones and other electronics to keep the bad guys from tracking them. Fortunately, Callen is ex-CIA, and knows the location of a nearby secret CIA stash of guns, ammo, and other supplies.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Safehouses supplement for Shadowrun has one runner describe how to make one and what to store in one. For one a Revolver with a dry lubricant. Mainly because a revolver doesn't need a much maintenance and a dry lube won't dry out and need to be replaced.

    Video Games 
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the Remnants are a group of Retired Badasses who used to be the Elite Mooks of the Enclave...30 years ago. Since then, they've all comfortably settled into lives as farmers, scavengers, and anonymous retirees, but they still keep an underground bunker in the mountains northwest of Vegas containing six suits of Powered Armor, a Vertibird, and a variety of military-grade heavy weapons. If you complete Arcade's companion quest, they can be recruited for the Second Battle of Hoover Dam.


    Web Videos 
  • In Freeman's Mind, after Gordon realises the army knows his identity he starts planning how to get to a park where he previously buried $10,000 worth of gold for just such an occasion.


Video Example(s):


Joel's secret stuff

Joel takes off some wooden floorboards to get his secret stuff hidden.

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Main / LooseFloorboardHidingSpot

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