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Hero Secret Service

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Heroism is a high-risk job. When The Hero is the only one who can defeat the Big Bad, the Big Bad and their Evil Minions are going to be coming after this Chosen One everywhere they go. You may be the only one who can protect the city, or the kingdom, or the Magical Land, or the universe, but while you're working on that, who's going to protect you?

You need the Hero Secret Service: Heroes "R" Us for The Hero! Twenty-four-hour protection from any and all accidental or intentional premature causes of death that may hinder you on The Hero's Journey. They'll keep your Secret Identity secret, guard you while moving between headquarters, provide distractions, take out the Mooks so you can save your strength, and if necessary, make Heroic Sacrifices for you, thereby providing substantial Heroic Resolve to get you through the culminating grand battle.

Working for the Hero Secret Service is also hazardous. Contractual Immortality is significantly decreased, and it's not personal as far as the Big Bad is concerned, so the Evil Minions for once have full permission to kill. On the other hand, while the Big Bad is Surrounded by Idiots, the Hero Secret Service does not hire any crazy guards... unless they're a volunteer Amazon Brigade assigned to protect The One Guy. In that case, Love Makes You Crazy is in effect.

Taking advantage of the Hero Secret Service is not optional, so save your breath about not wanting to put anyone else in danger for your sake, or how they can't hope to ever help.

This job position is also cynically referred to as being a "Meat Shield" because it can mean no more than bodily standing between the hero and harm.

It is sometimes run by La Résistance. If the hero is royalty, this may be Praetorian Guard. They are always More Expendable Than The Hero. See also Psycho Supporter, who sees himself as protecting the hero but has a worse code of ethics than the hero when it comes to harming the hero's enemies.

Contrast One-Man Army, who fights on his own without anyone protecting him.

Named after the Secret Service of the United States whose primary duty in modern times is to protect The President of the United Statesnote  and the country's financial system.note  Unrelated to Her Majesty's Secret Service, who are spies rather than bodyguards.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • While Light Yagami is not much of a hero, he has several supporters willing to kill or die for him, and they regularly do both. By the second season, many Kira supporters openly proclaim their affiliation (as Matt discovered to his sorrow when he learned that Takeda's guards didn't take prisoners).
  • This trope actually causes a large amount of conflict between Oz (the protector) and AR∀GO: City of London Police's Special Crimes Investigator (the hero protectee). Arago thinks Oz should be protecting other people who can't take care of themselves, while Oz's number one priority is protecting Arago and no one else.
  • Bleach anime episodes 292-293, 296-297, 300-301. Only Ichigo has never seen Aizen's Shikai and is therefore immune to its Mind Control effect. Realizing this, several Shinigami captains and Visoreds appoint themselves Ichigo's bodyguards. Their duty is to attack Aizen and keep him busy so he can't show Ichigo his Shikai and render him easy to defeat, thus giving Ichigo a chance to defeat him. Later on, Kisuke Urahara, Yoruichi, and Ichigo's father Isshin join in.
  • Roy Mustang's men are like this for him in Fullmetal Alchemist. His hand-selected five closest subordinates are aware of his ambitions and will do what it takes to protect him and anyone else he tells them to protect (most notably each other) while he works to fulfill his goals.
  • Mithril serves as Kaname's Hero Secret Service in Full Metal Panic!, with her primary security force being Sousuke and Wraith.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the Suzaku warriors serve this function for Miaka. But the trope is subverted in that Tamahome, the Love Interest and main hero, actually dies while secondary characters Tasuki and Chichiri are the only ones who survive to the end of the series.
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: The SOS Brigade members (minus Haruhi herself) towards Kyon. All of them mention Kyon being a very important person towards Haruhi and have either aided him or in some cases protected him against threats, such as Nagato breaking into Asakura's closed space to save him.
  • This concept is referenced in Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou. The Hachiyou are "those who protect the Miko". On one occasion said Miko, Akane, is put into a coma by the sound of a cursed kin, with the apparent way of waking her up is to have one of her protectors exorcise said instrument, killing himself in the process. Yasuaki, who calls himself "Miko's tool", sums it up by saying that, if there's no Miko, there's no point in the Hachiyou's existencenote . Thankfully, Everybody Lives, since the second story arc subverts the concept by making it clear that the Hachiyou are not expendable, being the key to recovering The Four Gods.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Rika THOUGHT she had this going for her
  • In Magi: Labyrinth of Magic, the King Candidates are all The Heroes of their own stories, with each one trying to become a King or some equivalent position of power and influence. Most King Candidates collect Households along their journeys, which are effectively their Hero Secret Service, whose most important role is to protect their King Candidates.
  • The Fourth Shinobi World War of Naruto features this as a major point. The main objective of the protagonists is to ensure Tobi does not capture Naruto or Killer B. They also effectively place Naruto and B under house arrest and assign what amounts to a small army to keep them hidden, though the changing situation forces them to reconsider and either change the strategy to let them fight, but make sure they have backup ASAP wherever possible or risk the war being lost.
    • Neji does this quite spectacularly, throwing himself in front of a fatal attack heading for Hinata and Naruto, not only to protect his friends but also to make sure Naruto, the key to the Alliance's then-current strategy, survives.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Misato rallies NERV to protect the EVA pilots in End of Evangelion.
    • Also, in the series, NERV employs Section 2, plainclothes security guards who keep the pilots under watch when away from HQ.
  • Prétear explicitly states that the Leafe Knights can't defeat evil without the eponymous Magical Girl — once they find her, they need to protect her, so that she can protect the world. They also provide her with Elemental Powers, but this takes only one Knight per battle, and the rest of them are here to distract monsters so she can safely kill them. Additionally, in the anime version they literally transform into the Pretear's energy shield upon merging with her, receiving injuries instead of her — and then claim it's OK, because it's their job. (This, however, also means that at least one of them should survive, otherwise the Pretear will be rendered useless. Or so they thought.)
  • The Record of Lodoss War finale has the heroes descending on a rescue mission down into the Big Bad's fortress. One by one, Parn's companions break off to fight monsters that are suspiciously tailored for their talents, leaving Parn to face the Big Bad and the Dragon alone. This was all part of his destiny since his sword and the Dragon's sword were the only items that could restore the Balance Between Good and Evil.
  • Sailor Moon: If Sailor Moon is the only one who can break spells, destroy monsters, defeat the enemy, and prevent The End of the World as We Know It, what are the Inner Senshi there for? To protect Sailor Moon!
  • On a smaller level, Shannon and Raquel protect Pacifica in Scrapped Princess. In fact, there are quite a lot of people willing to protect Pacifica who were made this way through super-genetics by the ancient Big Good.

    Fan Works 
  • Alicorn: It turns out that Celestia has had covert agents keeping an eye on the Elements of Harmony ever since Luna's return, without their knowledge. Celestia wanted proper bodyguards, but Luna suggested it'd be better to not interrupt their daily lives. Rainbow Dash starts theorizing on who it is as soon as she learns.
    Rainbow Dash: I’ll bet it’s Stormwalker, isn’t it?! I KNEW it was too good to be true when Cloudsdale conveniently found somepony to fill that opening last summer! No, wait— It’s Flitter! That two-timing Flitter— I always felt like there was something funny about her! It better not be Thunderlane! If my bodyguard is putting in that many sick days, he’s BENCHED!
  • In The Bridge, we get one Hero Secret Service vs. another Hero Secret Service that risks escalating a conflict. The Defender Kaiju note  are trying to protect Sunset Shimmer and the Rainbooms from the Dark Hunters note  after Monster X and Gigan kidnapped Twilight Sparkle. What the Defenders don't know is the Hunters are acting as the protectors for the post-Heel–Face Turn sirens and only went after Twilight because Sci-Twi stole Sonata's necklace.
  • The yaoren of Embers (Vathara) are intended to be this for the Avatar, but most of them are dead, except Zuko and a couple guys.
  • The SOS Brigade, the Organization, and Tsuruya's Yakuza work as one for Kyon in Kyon: Big Damn Hero.
  • In Marionettes, it's eventually revealed that Stallions in Black were originally created by Celestia to serve this role, especially in the event she fell to evil like her sister, for Equestria's heroes. Unfortunately, they eventually became a corrupt Knight Templar organization to the point they're the ones the heroes are fighting now.
  • The Triptych Continuum has the Royal Guard, who explicitly exist to protect the Princesses...and only the Princesses, no matter how many lives have to be sacrificed to keep the Princesses safe. This is because, in this setting, only Celestia, Princess Luna, and the imprisoned Discord can interface with Moon and Sun. If both Princesses die, the world dies with them.

    Live-Action Film 
  • The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires: Hsi and his siblings follow Van Helsing and his son to protect them from vampires and thugs even before they officially ally to fight Dracula.

  • Sword of Truth: The entire D'Haran Army consider themselves this for the current Lord Rahl, although the Mord-sith (and especially Cara) might be a better example.
  • The League of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Interesting example, as the hazards encountered is part of the appeal of sport or adventure to its members, and the main act of heroic sacrifice is to unquestioningly adhere to the chief's orders, in order to avoid any possibility of red shirts.
  • This is one of David Eddings' recurring tropes.
    • The Belgariad: Garion, on his quests to single-handedly save the world, is obligated by ancient prophecy to be perpetually surrounded by a Five-Man Band (at least five, anyway), which is made up primarily of highly capable warriors.
    • The Elenium: Sparhawk is surrounded by a loyal band of his brother knights, who accept that he has a massive job to do and are determined to protect him along the way.
  • Catching Fire: During the Quarter Quell the previous victors who are a part of the resistance are this for Katniss and Peeta, though the latter two have no idea what's going on.
  • The Antarian Rangers from the Star Wars Expanded Universe served as a paramilitary organization designed around assisting the Jedi Order, consisting primarily of failed Jedi trainees and supporters of the Jedi. Following the initiation of Order 66 the Antarian Rangers worked to protect the few remaining Jedi survivors and were themselves hunted down by the Galactic Empire.
  • In the original pulp novels, The Shadow has a network of agents who provide him with information, expertise, and muscle, including Harry Vincent, Shrevvy the Taxi Driver, Burbank the radio man, and later Margo Lane.
  • Deliberately invoked in The Healing Wars when Nya hires Vyand and her troop of mercenaries as protection during the battle in Geveg. They allow her to get far enough into enemy lines to do as much damage as possible, and Nya doesn't feel obliged to protect them due to past abduction-related events. Once she is removed from the warzone Nya asks Vyand to protect Jeatar instead.
  • Campione!: The assorted magical associations often play this role for the titular God Slayers in making certain that when the time comes, the Campione they are allied with only has to worry about dealing with the heretic god. Godou's harem (or at least Erica, Lilliana, and Ena) play it the straightest, accompanying him in battle and dealing with any summoned monsters or Divine Beasts that might be around so that Godou can concentrate on the main threat, while the wider organizations work to evacuate civilians and clean up the inevitable mess.
  • In Discworld, the Nac Mac Feegle take it upon themselves to be this for Tiffany Aching, occasionally without her knowledge and/or permission.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden has a troop of faeries, led by Toot-Toot, who occasionally drop him some information. In Summer Knight, they evolve into tiny little badasses, fighting on the side of "the Pizza Lord" in the war between the Winter and Summer Courts. In Small Favor, Harry learns his faeries have been watching his back in ways of which he was unaware. Invoked by Harry when discussing Michael's troop of actual guardian angels defending his home.
  • Wil Ohmsford is this to Amberle Elessedil in Elfstones of Shannara; Crispin and his Elven Hunters are this to both of them. In The Wishsong of Shannara, Jair's party does the same for him, guarding him on his trek to Heaven's Well.
  • Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix and Snape fulfill this role, on top of opposing Voldemort themselves. As the years pass, Harry is not pleased.
  • Armsmen in the Honor Harrington universe seem to function like this. Especially with the main character. When the chips are down, Honor's junior officers are known to willingly function as such, especially during their escape from the PNS Tepes.
  • Journey to Chaos: Trickster gods in general play this role to Tasio's "bestest friend", Eric Watley. In Looming Shadow, Tasio reveals that he and his siblings kept the worst dangers from even reaching him in the previous book. This is after one of said siblings, Poi, randomly appeared on a ship that Eric was traveling on, engaged in a cryptic conversation with Eric's mentor about how important the boy was to their plans, and then saved him from enforcer possessed monsters.
  • The Fellowship of the Ring essentially served this purpose in The Lord of the Rings, until it split up after the Ringbearer, Frodo, realized that the only thing they couldn't protect him from was themselves. They instead recruit a large invasion force to distract the enemy from Frodo's presence.
  • A Song Of Ice And Fire: The Kingsguard protects the King on the Iron Throne, though arguably a better example is Robb Stark's own pseudo-kingsguard, around 30 young warriors, each the child of northern and riverland lords, who fight alongside him in battle.
  • The Maidens of the Spear serve this purpose for Rand Al'Thor in The Wheel of Time
  • The Protectorate, the government-run superhero organization from Worm, and their non-powered counterpart the Parahuman Response Team serve as this for heroes who work for the government. They'll upgrade your costume with bulletproof materials, help you train both your powers and regular skills, give you competent SWAT team-equivalent backup whenever you need it, and throw in a paycheck on top of all that so you don't have to hold down a civilian job.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This trope describes Chuck Bartowski's "handlers"/partners to a T. Of course, it's a partial subversion in that they are also the ones who keep him in danger.
  • Babylon 5 has several of these, depending on which character the storyline is following and where the action takes place. On B5, Station Security can often be counted on to provide protection for the main characters, while the Anla'Shok (AKA The Rangers) eventually take on this mission towards Delenn and Sheridan, and Londo will on occasion make use of the Centauri Republic's soldiers, such as the time he had them gun down a pair of Shadows.
  • Battlestar Galactica. President Roslin has her own civilian security team that takes part in a gunpoint face-off when Commander Adama attempts to terminate Roslin's presidency by force in "Kobol's Last Gleaming" — we never see them again. In later episodes Roslin and the Quorum of Twelve are guarded by Colonial Marines, perhaps signifying the increased trust between Roslin and the military — however, this backfires on all concerned during The Mutiny.
  • In The Big Heat, after the hero's wife is killed, a number of his ex-army friends guard his daughter.
  • Snow White's "Royal Guard" in Once Upon a Time. Basically, it's the Seven Dwarves.
  • Power Rangers Samurai doesn't go as far, eliminating the formal authority that the Red Ranger has over the team and the kuroko; but the Samurai Rangers do have a small support network of allies that are entrusted to protect ancient artifacts and the like.
  • Even Power Rangers Time Force has an example in the Silver Guardians, where the two leaders are the Red Time Force Ranger and the Quantum Ranger and the Guardians take care of the dirty work before they get in and morph.
  • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger has this dynamic within its team.
    • Takeru/Shinken Red is so greatly important that the other four are basically his bodyguards. They don't even refer to themselves as Shinkengers, instead saying they're "the same" as their leader. Not all of the team is thrilled with this development, but all of them have to do it. The Shinkengers are also assisted by kuroko, an army of "stagehands" who help announce the Shinkengers' arrival on the battlefield, do crowd control, and other tasks.
    • Taken even further in the later episodes, when it's revealed that Takeru has been a kagemusha (a variant of Body Double) all along. The real Shinken Red, a young girl, has been training in secret to develop the special technique needed to defeat the Big Bad. Eventually, in recognition of Takeru's valor and skill, she "adopts" Takeru and he becomes the rightful holder of the Shinken Red position in all respects.
  • It's easier to list the entries in the Ultra Series that don't have this trope. More or less every Ultra has a military group backing them up and likely wouldn't get through many of their battles without them. Many series even have instances where the Ultra is nearly killed (or ACTUALLY killed) and it's up to their backup to revive them. One of the indicators that Commander Black is smart is that his first act upon arriving is to preemptively ambush Leo's and wipe them out before they even know he exists.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons plays this trope straight for some classes or at least for some roles within the group: the Barbarian and the Fighter get hit so the Wizard, the Rogue, and sometimes the Cleric or Bard don't have to. Then there is the Knight, a Wizard's best friend in that its class abilities focus on actively drawing aggro toward it.
  • In Exalted, the Cult of the Illuminated believes that the Solars are returned righteous god-kings and will do anything to protect them. Various Yozi cults will also do the same for Infernals. Abyssals have the death cults.
  • In Shadowrun, once a call from a contract holder is confirmed, most DocWagon franchises guarantee the arrival of an armed trauma team within ten minutes, or else the immediate medical care is free. They do charge customers for injury or death compensation for their employees, though. Higher levels of contracts even offer better services: the basic level only has the team revive you on the spot, while the platinum level includes extraction, extended care, and does not charge you for injuries or deaths sustained by the trauma team.

  • BIONICLE: The Order of Mata Nui was stated by Word of God as being the CIA of the Matoran Universe. They are exactly the secret service, and they do not hesitate to kill or do other dirty jobs, while Toa don't kill. On the other hand, since Toa are the MU equivalent of cops by this analogy, then this is actually pretty stupid. But, LEGO being LEGO...

    Video Games 
  • Your party in Dragon Age: Inquisition is explained as this. Since only the Inquisitor can close breaches, your entourage basically acts as your bodyguards who escort you safely to your destination so you can work your magic and save the world...or find a lost cow. Whichever.
  • This is the entire plot of Dragon Quest IV. "The Hero" is the title given to the Half-Human Hybrid Chosen One (born from an angel and a human) prophesied to save the world against the king of demons. The first four chapters of the game introduce you to the hero's party members before you meet the Hero Him/Herself. Many of them are actively looking for the Hero in order to protect him/her.
  • The Hero in Fable gets a little help near the end of the game, in the form of old minor characters, guards, and guild members, all teleporting into battle. Could also coincide with a moment on the part of the previously-useless soldiers.
  • The Mysterious Stranger in the Fallout series.
  • Final Fantasy X: The Guardians who travel with and protect the summoner Yuna on her journey to defeat Sin. Guardianship is actually a job with a significant number of openings. Three members of the party have served as Guardians for previous summoners (Auron for Yuna's father Braska, Lulu and Wakka for a summoner who gave up at the Calmlands and became a priest instead, and Lulu alone for a summoner who failed and died), and as you encounter other summoners you meet their Guardians (including one who was inspired by Auron).
  • Fire Emblem, pretty much every game. Matthew in Rekka no Ken is a literal example: Hector is preparing to sneak out the back of Castle Ostia, but Matthew senses something's amiss and sniffs out a small army of assassins before they can harm Hector.
  • Half-Life 2, the human resistance. No matter how many squadmates you get horribly killed, some will always show up. They 'followed you' or one empty room turns out to have some prisoners. The agonizing screams of the dead heard just minutes ago don't matter. Then again, there's no reason to think they're not dying like flies in your absence, too. They might expect following Gordon to improve their miserable life expectancies. Which actually can work out for the Episode 1 evacuees.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, Donald and Goofy are dispatched to escort the Keyblade Wielder.
  • Link finally gets a little help of this sort in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, when the members of the Resistance Group come to his aid while he's fighting his way into Hyrule Castle. He's still pretty much on his own the rest of the time, though.
  • In Scarface: The World Is Yours, a variety of mooks can be used to help you on your way. All are replaceable no matter how many die.
  • In Shining Force III Scenario 3, the Force's goal is to protect Gracia, so he can ascend into an innovator and defeat Bulzome.
  • Inverted in The Suffering, an XBOX game. The ending literally depends on being the Secret Service for other characters. Don't let that Jerkass prison guard die!
  • Ziro from Super Cosplay War Ultra is always accompanied by a squad of henchmen, and outside of one or two normal attacks, absolutely every one of Ziro's attacks is done by one of them (he even uses one as a meat shield when he blocks).
  • Tales of Symphonia: The group who travels with and protects the Chosen of Mana, Colette, on her journey to the Tower of Salvation. During the attack on the roots of the Tower of Salvation the rest of the party do this towards Lloyd. At All Costs. Though they don't pay much.

    Web Comics 
  • The Jagers in Girl Genius.
  • The Continentals: Continental Operative Jeffrey Tiffen Smythe and his gender-bending partner the adventuress Lady Fiona Fiziwigg work for a division of British Military Intelligence known as The A.T.S.T.K.

    Western Animation 
  • Much of Avatar: The Last Airbender's secondary cast, most notably the invasion force and The Order of the White Lotus.
  • Code Lyoko: The Lyoko Warriors' only job is to protect Aelita so she can deactivate the towers XANA uses to attack. The biggest reason for this is that Death Is Not Permanent for them while on Lyoko, but it is for her, at least until Season 3 (when Aelita no longer has to worry about ceasing to exist if she dies on Lyoko, and can fight on her own, after developing her Energy Field powers; still, the others would never consider letting her go alone).
  • Jorgen von Strangle spends much of The Fairly OddParents! Wishology trilogy doing everything he can to protect Timmy, whom he (correctly, it's later revealed) believes is the Chosen One. He saves Timmy from the first Eliminators who find him, disguises himself as Timmy so the Eliminators can take him while the real Timmy escapes, breaks himself and the rest of Timmy's allies out of prison, and gets them everything they need to find and help Timmy, and rescues Timmy after he sacrifices himself to the Darkness to save everyone.
  • The 'Greenshirts' in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
  • In The Legend of Korra, the White Lotus has taken on the job of watching over the new Avatar in an official capacity, though they don't seem to be very good at keeping her out of trouble. This premise is pretty much abandoned entirely after a few episodes, instead switching the White Lotus to generic guards for Air Temple Island.
  • DePatie-Freleng's first made-for-TV venture, The Super 6, details "half a dozen super strong men" who work for a hero agency. Super Bwoing, a klutz on a flying guitar, is the regular weekly feature. The closing feature (the third of three shorts) rotates among the other heroes (Granite Man, Elevator Man, Super Scuba, Magnet Man, Captain Zammo).
  • Played for laughs in Tangled with Pascal, Rapunzel's pet chameleon, who often acts as her protector and defender ... which gets tricky seeing how he's a very small creature.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) there were the Guardians, an organization of high-tech Ninja who filled this role for the Utroms. Splinter's deceased master Hamato Yoshi was one of them and regarded as one of the best and one of the most loyal. He was trusted with their greatest secrets, which is why he was targeted by the Shredder. It turned out to be pointless for the villain, as Yoshi was willing to die before he talked, and was Defiant to the End, insulting the honorless villain with his last words.