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Reassigned to Antarctica

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They must've screwed up big time to deserve this.
(UK claims Rockall, 1955)

"Three years ago you assaulted a superior officer for ordering his soldiers to fire upon civilians. He and his body cast were shipped to Pearl Harbor, while you were transferred to Mars, home of the Union Aerospace Corporation."
— The Doom instruction manual

When a character is transferred to a remote base and/or unpleasant outpost as punishment for annoying the higher-ups for some reason (poor job performance, personality conflicts, or perhaps good job performance that a superior finds threatening).

Moral crusaders and other characters that are likely to put Honor Before Reason may be frequently threatened with this sort of reassignment, or will have it really done to them. At best, whoever orders it simply hopes to have a "troublemaker" out of his or her hair. At worst, they're disposing of someone who "knows too much" by handing them a dangerous posting in the hopes it will lead directly to their death.

The others there are often a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits at best, since their Back Story will always include things they did in the past to have been sent there too. This is often the explanation of why a response to a new danger which first appeared at such a remote outpost is so feeble, allowing the threat to swell to the proportions it will later assume: the characters there are a mostly useless and rotten lot. Of course, sending The Hero there almost always guarantees a Reassignment Backfire.

(In rarer cases, this is used as a Karmic punishment for antagonists whose actions don't quite merit death or prison, particularly Obstructive Bureaucrats that were Just Following Orders. Expect these to be delivered via offhand mention in a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. It's also a possible punishment for failure if you're in a bad guy organization and occupy a Volatile Second Tier Position.)

For what it's worth, the real-life US military facility in Antarctica (McMurdo Sound) is staffed by volunteers... you can't get Reassigned To Antarctica. (You can, however, get reassigned to places that make you wish you were in Antarctica, such as Fort Polk.) The Japanese actually have a succinct word for this act: matsurikomu (祭り込む), which is translated to "place an obnoxious person in an out-of-the-way post to be rid of him."note 

Compare with:

  • Desk Jockey - Someone who works a desk job associated with a more action-oriented profession. Not intended as punishment, but frequently feels like Antarctica when the character was formerly on the frontlines and would still rather be carrying out orders than giving them
  • The Exile: Someone who is forced to leave their home and never return for offenses either real or imagined.
  • From New York to Nowhere: Being busted down from the big city to some podunk town in the sticks.
  • Kicked Upstairs: The new job appears not to be a punishment to those on the outside, but the hero knows exactly what's been done to them.
  • Locked Away in a Monastery: Not only banished to an out-of-the-way place, but also required to take a vow or oath that limits their behavior.
  • Persona Non Grata: Rather than being sent to a specific place, the punishment involves being kicked out and forbidden to return.
  • Place Worse Than Death: A place that has a reputation for being absolutely horrible to live or work in.
  • Post-Injury Desk Job: A character is assigned to a support position after an injury, often to their frustration.
  • Promoted to Scapegoat: A character is put into a high position as part of a scheme.
  • Punishment Detail: The punishment is the assigned task rather than the location.
  • Put on a Bus: A character is sent elsewhere to remove them from the ongoing narrative, but in a way that they have a (slim) chance to come back.
  • Remittance Man: When your own family sends you away with the promise of financial support provided you stay away.
  • Sentenced to Down Under: Specific to 1800s England; a person's punishment is being sent to Australia.
  • Snipe Hunt: A rather less permanent case of Punishment Detail.

(Incidentally, the picture shows actual Royal Marines occupying Rockall, which really is a lump of rock sticking up in the middle of the Atlantic. The UK government claims it because it gives it territorial rights to the sea around it. The Marines don't have to stay there long, thankfully.)

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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  • The first major ad campaign for the Mercury Villager minivan in the early 90s was centered around a fictional car company whose CEO watched the success of the Villager unfolding with an envious eye. In one commercial, two of the company executives are discussing the situation, and executive #1 mentions how the CEO now wants his company to design a minivan with the same special features as the Villager. Executive #2 jokes that in that case, the CEO should just buy a Villager. Unfortunately, the CEO happens to walk up behind him just as he says it. In the closing scene, the now former executive #2 is answering telephones in the mail room.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Aggretsuko: After Ton refuses to lay off members of his staff to cut costs, new CEO Himuro "promotes" him to a new department that is essentially Ton sitting in a dingy room at the warehouse with nothing to do. The isolation eventually gets to Ton and he quits, though Himuro's ousting at the end of Season 4 does lead to him getting his old job in Accounting back.
  • From Eroica with Love:
    • Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach in likes to threaten his men with a transfer to Alaska should they fail in their job. He follows through on this threat at least once.
    • Misha gets sent to Siberia around the same time.
  • Chor Tempest in Simoun gets assigned to Messis, a mediocre border patrol Airborne Aircraft Carrier, after failing to properly protect their previous base of operations, Arcus Prima.
  • The title teacher in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is relocated far north in one episode. For some reason his students are already waiting at the new school.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, Giovanni repeatedly threatens to reassign the Team Rocket trio to Antarctica. At the beginning of Battle Frontier he does. The only reason they're still following Ash is because Giovanni has long since stopped caring about them. Until the final episode of Sinnoh League Victors, when he decides that he has a use for them and reassigns them to Unova. They proceed to actually act competent for much of the beginning of Black & White before reverting to their old selves.
  • Trigger-happy Small Girl, Big Gun Kome Sawaguchi from Blue Seed points to this trope when the team commander asks here to exercise a little self-control. "If I could control myself, I never would have been assigned to this unit!"
  • In Codename: Sailor V Inspector Wakagi ends up being (temporarily) transferred to Siberia (somehow it's within the jurisdiction of the Tokyo Police. He too wonders how or why) by his Superintendent-General for being beaten by Sailor V at solving a case too many times.
  • 20th Century Boys features a chapter about Chouno aptly titled "Officer at the End of the Earth."
  • The crew of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor's ship gets shipped off to the "galactic boonies" in the second quarter of the series. The series averts Reassignment Backfire though, as almost nothing relevant to the war with the Raalgon occurs until they're on their way back.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • In the manga, it occurs twice: Mustang's team is scattered to different parts of Amestris, and Olivier Armstrong is transferred to Central after it becomes clear they know a bit too much about the military's inner workings. Both result in major Reassignment Backfire.
    • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), Roy gets sent to the North between the end of the series and the movie after killing Pride..
  • Gundam:
    • The manga Gundam Legacy (which focuses on Greatest Stories Never Told about Gaiden Game characters) has an almost literal example. In the final story arc, Ford Romfellownote  and Agarnote  defy their Titans superiors to help stop a plot by Zeon die-hards that would have resulted in the destruction of the Zeon home colony, Zuum. In punishment, they're demoted to Ensigns and shipped off to the ass-end of the world; Ford has an "another fine mess you've gotten me into" attitude, but Agar is surprisingly upbeat — either because he knows they did the right thing, or because their company includes the cute Bridge Bunnies Noel Andersonnote  and Miyu Takizawa.note 
    • This trope is also why Bright Noa (and later on, along with his Londo Bell group, despite his reputation and service to the Earth Federation, is called "the Eternal Captain." The top brass of the EFSF aren't particularly keen on giving greater publicity or promotions to someone associated with (in)famous Newtype Gundam pilots.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Carta Issue gets a high-ranked position due to her family name and commands the Outer Earth Orbit Regulatory Joint Fleet. The position is actually an antiquated relic and she was given it to keep her out of the way. (It does not stop her from acting as though she is the lynchpin in Earth's defenses and throwing what authority she does have around in the hammiest way possible.)
  • In Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, Lag is reassigned to the Cold Letter division, being forced to deliver letters that have sat a long time without being delivered, because the new director doesn't like his trying to become Head Bee, the position that he also wants.
  • The main characters in Sound of the Sky appear to have been assigned to an area with very little going on around them, although no real reason is given as to why they were assigned there.
  • Happens to Anabuki Tomoko in Strike Witches. For some reason, The Ace and the star of the propaganda movie is transferred to the middle of nowhere in Suomus and then having to raise a squadron out of some misfits. Naturally, she's pissed off.
  • In order to protect Naruto from Tobi, the Allied Ninja Army has him sent to an obscure island with the 'mission' of documenting the island's giant animals, as well as taming the 9-tailed fox. It flops when Naruto senses the war going on outside and shows why they had to resort to trickery.
  • One Piece: Marine Grand Line Fifth Branch, more commonly known as G-5, is one of several Marine Bases located around the One Piece world. As indicated in the name, G-5 is located in the Grand Line, specifically in the second half, the New World, and is infamous for being a dumping ground for Marines who have proven themselves to be inept, insubordinate, or otherwise incapable of acting how a Marine should. Overall, the Marines of G-5 are quite notorious for behaving more like pirates and gangsters than actual Marines, to the point that many of them gleefully enjoy torturing prisoners using numerous extremely cruel methods. Naturally, such an infamous location is just the place someone like Smoker would want to go to, not only to improve himself and get stronger, but also to lie in wait for the Straw Hat Pirates to return from the Time Skip.
  • Patlabor: This befalls Captains Gotoh and Shinobu, prior to the start of the OVA continuity. Both were assigned duty at SVU's headquarters, which sits on reclaimed land that's practically out in the middle of nowhere.
  • Phantom Quest Corp.: U Division is understaffed with a grand total of only three employees. One of whom is an elderly man who seems to be passing time until retirement (or death), the other's a spinster with a Hair-Trigger Temper, and Detective Karino, whose desk is shown to be buried under a mountain of paperwork. So it's no wonder that he often outsources his extra assignments to Phantom Quest.
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh!, Geiganhuber's punishment for his Fantastic Racism and actions that led to the death of Lady Julia was to be sent in search of a magical artifact which had long been lost in human lands, effectively a more dignified way of exiling him.
  • The Devil is a Part-Timer! has Satan under the threat of being sent to Greenland as punishment for not living up to sales figures.
  • In the anime of The Heroic Legend of Arslan, after freeing himself from Lusitanian captivity and rumors of Arslan being adopted are spreading, Andragoras ordered Arslan to go to the coastal regions to gather 50,000 men for the war effort and not to return unless he has the men. Everyone effectively realized the king is basically exiling and banishing his son in all but name.
  • In Izetta: The Last Witch, the Emperor of Germania relocated the Commanding Officers who were in charge of a battle that resulted in them on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle. Their destination were the prison camps, plus all of their lands and possessions being taken away as an alternative to execution. Justified as the officers and surviving soldiers had info about the Outside-Context Problem that took away their victory and executing them would be a waste.
  • This is how Shuchiin Academy in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War deals with troublemakers — any student whose conduct embarrasses the school and their family will be shipped off to some remote corner of the world. It's implied this is what happened to Ogino when Kaguya told the VIPs the truth about the incident that happened between him and Ishigami.
  • Lycoris Recoil starts with Takina being demoted and transferred to the cafe LycoReco as punishment for disobeying orders during a mission. Episode 3 also suggests this happened to Chisato, as neither she nor her boss Kusunoki are on friendly terms, though it's unclear what happened to cause it.

    Comic Strips 
  • Beetle Bailey:
    • Lt. Sonny Fuzz has been reassigned to places along the lines of Antarctica (perhaps literally there, too) a couple of times, though we've never seen him actually end up there.
    • It is sometimes implied that General Halftrack was put in charge of Camp Swampy because he's too incompetent to manage anything more important.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: Invoked in chapter 2 when Ching makes such a terrible quip that Daniel jokes that kind of puns will get her exiled to Antarctica.
    Ching: [while serving drinks] Of course, Your Majesty. It’s an honor to serve.
    Daniel: And puns like that will get you promoted and possibly exiled to Antarctica.
  • The listening posts on the fringes of the Sol system in Red Fire, Red Planet play a theoretically extremely important role in protecting the heart of the Federation, but in practice they're viewed as a dead-end assignment because they see very little action. Although that's exactly why Operations Specialist, Second Class Kybok likes working there.
  • This is basically what happens to the rainbowface in The Land Before Time fanfiction The Seven Hunters when they are stationed on Earth. This is a slight inversion of the trope, however, because the rainbowfaces actually want to be stationed on Earth.
  • Played with at the start of The Wrong Reflection. After Eleya apparently set off a political shitstorm back home during Tuvok's conference, her ship gets posted to Deep Space 9 to get her away from Earth. The tricky part's that it worked in her favor since it meant she could attend her sister's wedding.
  • Navy of the Isles in What About Witch Queen? treats being send to Westerguard as this, despite the island being important in Isles' economy. The are some reasons for it. The locals, Weste, aren't all that fond of the Islanders, the place is seen as the virtual end of the world by people on the other islands, and the weather is always stormy, cloudy or rainy. Not to mention that the Navy actually dumps people it doesn't like to see there, which might not be the wisest thing to do in a long run.
  • In The Power of the Press "Evan Black"'s real identity (Harry Potter) is being kept so secret that Minister of Magic Amelia Bones has the Unspeakable who did the research on "Evan" sent to Station Zebra in Antarctica to investigate Yeti rumors until further notice.
  • In Chapter 7 of the Doctor Who fanfic Devotee of Augustus, "The Galactic Council", Callidus Dominus and Funos decide to get rid of four members of the Malphan Ministers Council who support an alliance with the Daleks by having a re-shuffle of Planetery Governors and making them the Ministers of Rylosh, Qol, Grit, and Hushyt, four planets "that required a lot of management and had notoriously poor secrets security", hoping they'll be too attend the council, make schemes, and even if they do they'll be found out. Unfortunately it turns out their information hasn't been extensive enough and Malpha ends up joining the Galactic Council with the Daleks.
  • A.A. Pessimal's Discworld fic Bungle in the Jungle deals with the political fallout at the end of the canonical novel Snuff. Lucinda Rust, sister of Gravid, cannot be inhumed by order of the Patrician. But the Guild of Assassins chooses to reassign a embarrassing liability as resident Guild representative to a distant tropical plague-pit.
  • The canonical ruler Prince Heinrich of Zlobenia is made insecure by one of his Army generals being not only a popular leader who tends to win his battles, but also a younger son of the Romanoff family. Heinrich is also aware that Zlobenia is one of those countries which came into existence when the former Rus Empire broke up. Zlobenianote  is a potentially unstable country with a dozen different ethnicities which only holds together because everybody hates the Borogravians more than they hate each other. The biggest single ethnicity is Rus. And the Romanoffs used to be the Tsars. Heinrich dispoes of a rival by sending Grand Duke General Casimir Romanoff to distant Rimwards Howondaland as Ambassador.
  • In the My Little Pony Fan Fic "We Rent The Night", Trixie Lulamoon is given the choice of joining The Night Guard or facing prison, after the Alicorn Amulet incident. Cut to six months later, at which point she is has been shipped off to a remote guard outpost with only half a dozen guards, on the isolated island community of Wash Margin. As it turns out, all of the guards stationed there were Reassigned to Antarctica for various reasons (knocking over The Princess's cake and blaming it on her bird, hitting on a princess, etc) .
  • In Webwork, Agent Jones is placed in charge of the new Section 0... which currently consists of three agents (him included), and operates out of one of Section 13's repurposed closets. Viper asks what he did to deserve this; he notably refuses to give details, but apparently his last mission didn't go so well.
  • In The Passing of the Shades of Black, a cadet for the Men in Black is shown to have been sabotaging her fellow cadets in order to improve her chances of making field agent. Rather than have her neuralyzed and sent back to the Air Force, the higher ups take Xander's suggestion of giving her an assignment she'll hate. She ends up as the liaison to the alien race in charge of the porn industry with the offer that if she lasts five years without incident, she'll be made second in command of the Intelligence Division (which is three or four steps away from her dream job of becoming a Branch Director).
  • This Bites!: The PR disaster that was Enies Lobby causes Sengoku to reassign every Marine that follows "Absolute Justice" to the New World to wage war against the Four Emperors and keep them out of the public eye before they make things worse than they already have. Among these Marines include Admiral Akainu and Vice-Admiral Onigumo. For all his faults, Sengoku despises the doctrine of "Absolute Justice" and wanted to dishonorably discharge/imprison those in question (specifically Akainu), especially since that would be the easiest and fastest way to fix this mess, but the Corps needs their abilities too much in face of the rising crime rate.
  • In the Mega Man Zero fanfic 'Mistress Ciel by Archaon, Ciel goes back in time via Mental Time Travel to make things better. One of the first things she does? Send Elpizo to a post in Antarctica. Better than killing him, though, right?
  • In Ice And Fire, Suzaku ends up being transferred to the Middle East after he caused a scandal by dancing with Princess Euphemia at a ball. It's there that he ends up meeting Lelouch, and becoming one of his greatest assets and best friends.
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, this is the basis for Kirito and Asuna's "vacation" in Episode 10. Their guild leader Heathcliff is about to undertake a vital diplomatic mission to gain access to Floor 75, and so sends Kirito to Floor 22 because he's afraid the little Jerkass will do something to "piss someone off and kill thousands." Asuna is assigned to be his guard, as there’s only a slightly smaller risk of her doing the same thing. Heathcliff does at least try to spin the whole thing as a honeymoon of sorts.
  • Earth's Alien History: After engineering a border war between the Terran Treaty Organization and the Invincible Ctarl-Ctarl Empire which TeTO wins, Aisha Clanclan is removed as ambassador to TeTO, and later she's assigned to The Ark sent to Andromeda just to get her out of their hair.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse:
    • Trixie initially thinks being assigned to Ponyville is a case of this, not helped by finding letters from the previous occupant telling her as such (and the occupant before him, and the occupant before them, and so on), causing her to try and spite Princess Luna by making the next twenty-four hours miserable for everyone around her. Then Luna tells her this isn't the case — she was asking for more authority, so Luna gave her more authority. Trixie just didn't think things through, like the fact that of course her first posting would be a small town.
      • Gets slightly less funnier when Corona makes an appearance a few minutes later, and thinks Trixie really has been assigned to Antarctica, due to a mix-up.
      • At the end of the story, Luna admits that she was lying about that and the posting was meant to punish Trixie — Ponyville being so unimportant and out-of-the-way that it would've been a total dead-end for Trixie's political career.
    • The actual Antarctican posting of the Lunaverse is the Griffon Embassy, since the Griffons are a fractured bunch of nation-states, and the one the embassy is posted on really has a grudge against Equestria. The embassy is the dumping ground of the politically inept, the stupid, and a vanishing few victims of politics. During "Voice of the Sun", this backfires, since so many of the staff are well-aware they've been reassigned they're willing to turn traitor for power, leaving the genuinely good and helpful out-manned.
  • The Tick vs... MY HERO ACADEMIA!: Officially, The Tick is in Japan on his own initiative; but when Endeavor requested his return, the American response was a paper with "NO GIVE BACKSIES" printed on it.
  • In the W.I.T.C.H. fanfic Ripples, the Guard commander responsible for destroying Sonder Hill against orders is reassigned as warden of the Underwater Mines. And on top of that, Van considers having an "accident" arranged for him at some point later on.
  • The oneshot Winter Has Come revolves around Kristoff being banished to be a part of the Night's Watch off in Castle Black. The official record is that he was a rapist, but the real reason is that he learned of Queen Elsa and Princess Anna's less-than-sisterly relationship.
  • In All Guardsmen Party the players encounter a group of Commissars who have been permanently assigned to a Penal Legion training camp. Not to the legion, but the camp. Apparently they were previously attached to an army which managed to desert in its entirety without them noticing.
  • The Weaver Option:
    • Andes Primus, a Feral World with nothing of value, is a dumping ground for the Imperium's various organizations. Scapegoats, lunatics, the annoying, and personnel just unlucky enough to be associated with a scandal get sent here to keep them out of the way. The Ulm 2nd was exiled to garrison duty here after their Lord Commander failed so badly he was executed while Tech-Priest Dragon was in the same region as a Heretek factorum.
      • When Andes Primus is later slated for terraforming and colonization, the Death World Polar is selected as its replacement.
    • Pius Hoth viewed his assignment as Cardinal to a sparsely populated sector as this. Everything about the assignment offended him, most especially the lack of donations for him to skim off of, leading to him turning to Chaos.
    • Nostradomus Vandire is a Terran noble who failed to find independent success or ingratiate himself to his well-connected and short-tempered father, eventually getting shuffled off to the distant Nyx sector.
  • Chasing Dragons:
    • Gerold Arryn serves as Master of Whispers for the first few years of Stannis' reign, but after failing to see the Red Viper Rebellion coming he's dismissed and sent back to the Vale to head up law enforcement in Gulltown. And when he screws that up with heavy-handed policies that nearly lead to revolt, he's sent off in quasi-exile to fight the mountain clans.
    • For sleeping with an Old Faith member while undercover, and therefore making himself of questionable loyalty in the eyes of some, Ser Harry Flash is assigned to temporarily join the Order of the Sea in the Iron Islands.
  • More Than Meets the Ear: Blackbolt was at one point a model Decepticon who was seen as an example for all others to follow. One day, Megatron himself assigned her to a mission to assassinate Optimus Prime, but she failed, and was reassigned to guarding a Decepticon research facility, which eventually lead to her defecting from the Decepticons after Maestro and Subwoofer infiltrated the facility to break Sweetie Bot out from it.
  • In A Pinch of Salt, A Dash of Magic Umbridge makes such a nuisance of herself that Minister Fudge sends her to a diplomatic station in the Amazon.
  • Rise of the Minisukas: When Kaji arrives to his regular bar in T-3 to get loaded and discovers that 1) the Noir Minisuka likes to drink (seltzer) here and 2) there are patrons that try to hit on her (regardless of the fact she is eight inches tall), Kaji tells the bartender who told him this latter tidbit that the Minisukas are thirteen years old, he considers Asuka a daughter, and the bartender better tell him the names of everybody who tried to hit on her so he will make sure they get sent to the worst bases NERV has. The bartender does so.
  • A Supe of a Man features a rare sympathetic example of this trope: Aunt Mary sends Clark to work on the West Coast, an area without any Supes because she's terrified if he works in New York, Homelander might kill him in a fit of envy.
  • In Who Is Harry Potter? Bill is sent to Iceland by Gringotts as punishment for being compulsion-charmed to try to talk Harry into being Sorted into Gryffindor.
  • In The Legacy of Merlin when Dumbledore prevents Minister Fudge from firing the hit-wizards who attacked his wife before he became Minister, he sends them to a Muggle town in Russia, which they can leave only if somebody else screws up badly enough.
  • Shadows over Meridian:
    • Downplayed in Chapter 7, where Elyon essentially banishes Caleb and the other rebels from the castle, assigning them to patrolling the city and surrounding area instead, both to express her anger at his recent actions and to try and deescalate tensions between the rebels and guards.
    • Sult, one of the commanders of Elyon's northern army, is a former Phobos loyalist who switched sides shortly before the end of the war. As such, it's speculated that part of the reason he was shipped up north was a decision made by suspicious rebels to get him out of the capital.

    Films — Animation 
  • The plot to Alpha and Omega. Well-meaning environmentalists take a breeding pair to a far-off National park, not understanding the female is needed to keep peace between the local wolf packs.
  • April and the Extraordinary World: After losing the Franklins, Pizoni is demoted from inspector to agent, and told that from now on he is not allowed anywhere near scientists. He is restricted to arresting tramps and vegetable thieves
  • Inverted in Monsters vs. Aliens, where the staff members at the Antarctic outpost deliberately took the position to avoid having to actually do anything.
  • Osmosis Jones:
    • As the film begins, the titular white cell has been assigned to patrol Frank's mouth after a bad incident. ("I should be out in the veins fighting disease, not up in the mouth on tartar control!") Later, the mayor threatens to demote him further by sending him to the next nosebleed.
    • At the end, the mayor has been ousted and is now working on the rectum.
  • In Planes: Fire & Rescue, the obnoxious Park Superintendent gets reassigned to Death Valley after diverting water supplies from the firefighters to the hotel sprinkler system nearly gets everybody killed (including the Secretary of the Interior).

  • In the Lone Wolf book The Deathlord of Ixia, Captain Lanza commands a fort near the frozen wasteland of Ixia (populated by The Undead) because he killed the son of a noble in a drunken brawl. Most of the garrison, in fact, probably ended here for similar reasons.
    His posting here had been his punishment for a drunken brawl in a Vadera tavern in which he had killed, albeit in self-defence, the brutish elder son of Haglar, the mayor of the city. At his court-martial he had been allowed to choose his fate — command of the notorious Azgad Island garrison, or death by hanging. Lanza readily admits that there have been times when he has felt that he made the wrong choice.

  • A US Air Force general was flying home from Europe on Christmas Eve, anxious to spend the holidays with his family. Unfortunately, his pilot informed him that the lavatory system needed to be cleared due to weight restrictions. Also, the only airfield available was in Greenland, at an obscure field near the Arctic Circle. As the general impatiently waited, an lowly Airman trudged out in an ancient pumper truck and began to pump out the system, hampered by a snowstorm and sub-zero weather. As the man did his unfavorable work, the general shouted out the window to hurry the job so he could get back to the States. Not seeing his tormentor, the Airman shouted back, "I'll be finished when I finish!" The general shouted, "Front and center, airman!" and starting to berate him about his poor job and attitude. The airman raised his hand and said, "Look, general! I'm an Airman, pumping human waste out of a plane, on Christmas Eve, in Greenland during a snowstorm! What else can you do to me?"

  • In The Men from the Ministry, Sir Gregory frequently threatens to reassign One and Two to the Outer Hebrides.
  • In The Navy Lark, this is pretty much how the crew of HMS Troutbridge was assembled. The Admiralty's apparent thought process was to keep all the screw-ups and schemers in one place — namely one broken-down frigate. Given the mental capacities of some of the admirals, though, this policy has the expected result.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st edition campaign The Enemy Within, the adventurers at one point save the life of an Imperial Elector Count... and learn a lot of embarrassing secrets about his court. So as a "reward" they get sent to Kislev, which is the fantasy equivalent of Russia...
  • Planescape:
    • When the devils want to do this, the place they have is a Blood War battlefield called the Stinging Sands of Minethys. This place in Carceri used to have strategic value millennia ago, but since then, both sides of the war have long forgotten why they were fighting over it, and the fighting has degenerated into tedious, grueling trench warfare. The fighting here is pointless, because no progress has been made by either side in over a thousand years, and the devils only persist because pride prevents them from letting the demons have it. Devils send subordinates here as a punishment.
    • Bel is an odd example of this. He was a big power player in infernal politics, but after a major shakeup, he was assigned the role of being the Archduke of the First Layer. On paper, this was a big promotion, but the Archduke of the First Layer happens to have the job of commanding the Blood War. Bel's actually very competent at this, and it's an important job, but it occupies him so much that he doesn't have any time to try to advance his own career or plot against his superiors. It doesn't help that most of the other Archdukes see him as an upstart, and therefore are content to have him as far away as possible.
  • Happens all the time in BattleTech. Two notable examples include Aidan Pryde, a Clan Jade Falcon commander who was transferred to the destroyed Falcon Guard (which due to a humiliating defeat was considered nothing but a dumping ground for failures) and Caradoc "Doc" Trevena, a Lyran officer who got sent to the Coventry militia by a commander who took his lack of promotions as a sign of incompetence (in fact, Trevena had been refusing promotions because he was very good at doing the job he had at his current rank: training squads to combat effectiveness). Notably, both of these managed to be enormous Reassignment Backfires when these disparaged and otherwise ignored Mechwarriors end up being linchpins in saving the Jade Falcon retreat at Tukayyid and saving the vital factory planet of Coventry from Jade Falcon invasion, respectively, and showing their detractors what-for, usually by watching said detractors get killed by not listening to good advice.


    Video Games 
  • Marathon 2: Lh'owon, the abandoned homeworld of S'pht, has since become a Pfhor dumping ground for poor officers and brilliant but belligerent ones. This makes the initial invasion of it extremely easy for the player, until he causes so much damage that the Pfhor Empire sends their best fleet, Battle Group Seven, to deal with him.
  • A Silph Co. Scientist mentions that he got transferred to the Tiksi Branch in Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, and the remakes, and implies that this is the reason why he was defecting to Team Rocket during their takeover.
  • The backstory for Doom says that the main character was reassigned to Mars for assaulting his superior after the man ordered him to open fire on civilians. The manual makes it clear that Phobos is considered by space marines to be the dullest assignment imaginable, "With no action for fifty million miles, your day consisted of suckin' dust and watchin' restricted flicks in the rec room." Obviously, things didn't go so well.
  • In Half-Life 2, Combine soldiers are threatened with "permanent offworld assignment" if they fail to stop Gordon Freeman. It is worth noting that at this point, they trap you in a cell block, and suicidally rush you only to get gunned down. It can be assumed that death was a preferable alternative.
  • During the Villain Protagonist campaign of Star Wars Battlefront II, this happens to the narrator when the prisoners on the death star escape and wreak havoc. This seriously pissed off Vader, who consequently then dragged the 501st across the galaxy (to a variety of pretty dire planets) to hunt for the missing Death Star plans. This, however, eventually turns out to be their "salvation", when the death star is destroyed shortly after they leave.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind:
      • Trebonius Artorius, the incompetent Archmage of the Mages Guild in Vvardenfell, is said to have gotten that title as a combination of this trope and Kicked Upstairs. He is indeed a powerful Battlemage, which helped him to rise in the ranks initially, but his mainland superiors got tired of his incompetence in managing Guild affairs, so they made him the Archmage in the most backwater district in the Empire to get him out of their hair. He now spends his time letting in badly disguised spies, giving his underlings (who view him as a Pointy-Haired Boss) Impossible Tasks, and just generally being petty and immature to those who offend him. If you want his title, you'll need to beat him in a duel to the death... maybe. There is a peaceful path to becoming Arch-Mage of Vvardenfell, but it is a bit ambiguous if it leaves you joint Guild Masters or just lets him keep the title of Arch-Mage as an honorary one. Need we remind you that he is indeed a powerful Battlemage, his flaws aside?
      • In the Bloodmoon expansion, most or all of the soldiers stationed at Fort Frostmoth are there because of punishment. It's a freezing island filled with werewolves, naked barbarians, tree-women, and undead warriors. One of the first quests in the Bloodmoon main quest revealsthe Imperial Cult priest Antonius Nuncius has this attitude to his assignment, and has cooked up a scheme to inflame tensions in the fort in a bid to get reassigned. If you inform on this, Fort Frostmoth's commander remarks that if the schemer had simply asked he'd have been happy to recommend a reassignment, but now he's going to recommend that Antonius Nuncius' assignment to Frostmoth is extended indefinitely...
    • Oblivion:
      • Several of the Mages' Guild Hall leaders are implied to have been assigned as such so that they aren't around the Arcane University. Of particular note is Jeanne Frasoric, the young leader of the Bruma Mages' Guild who is outright called incompetent by her colleagues, and is even noted by Traven himself to be very annoying. Made even funnier by the fact that Bruma is actually situated in the coldest region of Cyrodiil. Then it becomes kind of sobering when you realize that her incompetence contributed to her entire guild hall getting slaughtered.
      • In the Thieves Guild storyline, the Player Character Invokes this to get a zealous guard captain reassigned from the capital to the distant city of Anvil, where he can't interfere with the Guild. Downplayed despite said captain's fury at the assignment, since it puts him in charge of the local Countess' personal guard, a position selected by the Countess' estranged husband, who knew that the captain could be trusted to keep her safe.
  • In Activision's BattleZone, if you fail a particular mission, you are to be reassigned to Mars' polar region.
  • In Radiant Historia Viola was reassigned to the Sand Fortress for being to popular. Unusually for the trope, the Sand Fortress is of genuine strategic importance and sending a decorated general there makes perfect sense. Sure her popularity didn't help, but she was also close to uncovering Hugo's El Cid Ploy. Her popularity meant he couldn't just make her disappear, so he used his command authority to kick her back to the front lines. Whether by enemy forces or stalling out her Incurable Cough of Death, the problem would take care of itself.
  • In Wing Commander, Christopher Blair gets demoted and Reassigned to Antarctica between the first and second games when nobody believes his claim that Kilrathi stealth fighters destroyed the Tiger's Claw. He's proven right by the end of the second game.
    • In a bad ending after failing at a specific mission, Blair can find himself reassigned there *again* and can only sit in despair as news comes in that the Concordia has been destroyed. The Concordia is destroyed anyway at the beginning of Wing Commander III, meaning that it's doomed either way, if that makes you feel better...
  • In the adventure game KGB (also known as Conspiracy), this can be your ending if you annoy your higher-ups in the KGB.
  • Luminous Arc: It takes a bit of figuring out, but this is apparently what Kingston did to Heath when the latter started to get too suspicious, creating a program to raise war-orphans as child soldiers to get him out of the way for almost a decade. Naturally, he shot himself in the foot by doing this.
  • In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, a side mission that involved recruiting Raikov revealed that, because of his abusing his power as a Soviet GRU Major by beating personnel up, they sent him to the San Hieronymo Peninsula after the Soviets abandoned their men for the SALT talks, and things got worse when Gene took over the chain of command at the base on San Hieronymo.
  • It is implied in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker that Coldman, the CIA Director prior to the aftermath of Operation Snake Eater, being made the CIA Station Chief of Central America was a result of this trope, Exile, and Kicked Upstairs due to his involvement in creating the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Skull Face was one of Cipher/The Patriots' best cleaners and assassins until he grew resentful of Big Boss hogging all the credit. He led an unsanctioned mission to strike at Big Boss, and Zero reassigned him to an ethnic cleansing bioweapons laboratory in Africa as punishment, which caused the ethnicity-conscious hitman to snap, starting the plot.
  • A possible ending for Norman Jayden in Heavy Rain.
  • Happens to Cole Phelps in L.A. Noire after his affair with a German singer is brought to the attention of the public. Of course, being the protagonist, it turns into a Reassignment Backfire of epic proportions.
  • Suikoden III: It's made clear to Thomas that the Zexen Confederacy has sent him to oversee the struggling Budehuc Castle just to get him out of the way. In his case, the only thing he's really done to warrant this treatment is exist, given that he's the illegitimate son of a Zexen council member.
  • Although no one is threatened with reassignment there, Camp Golf is meant to be treated this way in Fallout: New Vegas, as Boone mentions that it's "The only resort in New Vegas that no one wants to get sent to."
  • Lyude, from Baten Kaitos was reassigned to Nashira, because he unfortunately was too much of a decent human being.
  • In BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Hazama has Makoto assigned to Ikaruga to keep her from interfering with his plan to mindrape Noel and Tsubaki. The fallout of this plot is still in the air, but unlike all his other gambits, pulling off his work with those two is all the good he's getting out of this one. The negative fallout starts from one simple fact — she's alive and reunited with Noel! More 
    • BlazBlue: Chronophantasma shows the results. Makoto was a mole for Sector Seven and this reassignment allowed her to pass tons of information to her employers that they wouldn't have otherwise had access to. This, and her shenanigans in Wheel of Fortune (keeping in mind Hazama remembers alternate timelines) means she's on a very short and prestigious list of people that Terumi will not risk toying with — if he can't had her over to Relius immediately, he'll just try to off her.
  • In Mass Effect 2:
    • In the opening cutscene, the Normandy is scouting a remote space sector for signs of geth activity — a task that, as Joker comments, was only given to them to keep Shepard's crew and their knowledge of the impending Reaper invasion away from the still-ignorant majority. The geth were never the source of the first game's conflict and Shepard's superiors know that — but they want to keep it under wraps.
    • A bit later, due to Shepard's newfound ties to Cerberus and because of their repeated claims about the Reapers, the Citadel Council agree to reinstate Shepard's Spectre status, under the provision that they limit their movements and jurisdiction only to the Terminus Systems. Luckily for Shepard, this is exactly where they need to be to stop the Collectors from attacking human colonies.
  • In Mass Effect 3 Listening Post X-19 can be found near what was once the Rachni homeworld and is described as this due to the fact there has been no sentient life in the star cluster for over a thousand years.
  • Detective Adachi of Persona 4 was reassigned to Yasoinaba after an unspecified incident. By his account it was a minor slip-up, though considering his actions in-game one can assume that the actual reason was much more serious. His social link in the Updated Re-release reveals more: it was something minor, or rather, a lot of minor things. Apparently he's always had the motivation issues he demonstrates in Inaba, including slacking on his paperwork and not treating his superiors with due respect. It turns out acting like The Millstone to a busy metropolitan police force is a fantastic way to get reassigned to the boonies without anyone going to the trouble of firing you.
  • In Jade Empire, Minister Sheng gets "promoted" to govern Tien's Landing, a small, middle of nowhere, and unimportant town. Sheng claims this is because his superior wanted him out of the way so Sheng couldn't take their job, but it's just as likely to be because he's a whiny Wangst douche. If you like, you get him out of his slump to the Imperial City and a possible promotion or drop him in it with a powerful judge to advance your own plans.
  • In the Justified Tutorial of X: Beyond the Frontier, the flight controller will warn you off if you shoot at the Terran mothership. He'll eventually threaten to send you to a radar station in Alaska. Do it again and you get a Non Standard Game Over.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, Alfonso gets removed from his patrol detail of the bustling Mid-Ocean trade routes and reassigned to a station in the economically-important but extremely isolated Ixa'taka. While Ixa'taka is home to a vibrant society with its own rich history and culture, the Valuan Empire sees it as little more than uncivilized savages living in trees, so it's definitely this trope.
  • This is heavily implied to be the reason for the titular Space Station 13's existence.
  • After failing three missions in a row in Wings, the player gets demoted to a lowly trooper in the trenches. Even considering the high casualty rate among fighter pilots, this sounds like a death sentence and definitely is one of few bad endings.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, it's very heavily implied that Prince LaCroix was sent to 're-take' Los Angeles for the Camarilla as a way of punishing him. Los Angeles has not been Camarilla territory, even nominally, for nearly a century, and is the centre of a low-intensity war between the Anarchs of the California Anarch Free State and the Sabbat who are pushing up through Mexico. LaCroix was also rather pointedly not given the troops or the financial backing to make any headway. As it is, he's stuck with a hollow title, subordinates who openly disrespect him, and a sphere of influence that all but stops on the doorstep of his office building.
  • In Rising Angels, Natalie starts the game having just returned from a long solitary posting to a listening post in a swamp. She didn't like it at all, and is very glad to be back doing "real" work on a refreshingly solid, metallic ship. She considers it an injustice that she got sent there when "inferior" classmates got better assignments (and often failed at them). It's not stated, but it's not impossible that she got sent there for just such an attitude.
  • Resident Evil 6: Helena was kicked out of the CIA and assigned to the Secret Service because she shot her sister's abusive boyfriend in the leg. If you think it's stupid that Helena was given the most elite and prestigious security detail in US law enforcement as punishment... you're onto something. Simmons assigned Helena as a weak link in the President's security detail so that he could kidnap her sister and blackmail her into helping assassinate the President.
  • Rebel Assault II has a cutscene in which an Imperial officer threatens an inattentive stormtrooper with transfer to "a refuse barge, where you'll stay for the next 20 years," for any further lapses in concentration. Amusingly, neither notices until far too late that Rebel agents are stealing one of the top secret Imperial fighters they're guarding.
  • Total War series:
    • In almost all the historical entries, as the ruling family of your faction expands, it is inevitable that a few members will come along with several detrimental traits and no redeeming qualities. Rather than allow them to sit around polluting your family line with their negative traits, decreasing the morale of your soldiers as Generals, and/or embezzling and causing unrest in your cities as governors, you have two options to deal with them: this trope or pull a Uriah Gambit. Since even the worst Generals still get a bodyguard unit of tough heavy cavalry, it can be more beneficial to leave them alive. Simply send them to far reaches of your territory and have them build a fort. They can simply sit and act as a unit of heavy cavalry guarding the frontier.
    • Total War: Warhammer II has several Legendary Lords start their campaigns far from their nominal holdings. While the Doylist reason is to give them all growing room, Creative Assembly often uses this trope to justify it:
      • Morathi starts the game to the south of the Druchii holdings, far from her jealously controlled fortress of Ghrond. Her opening narration states that she let Malekith banish her there after a spat since she wanted to establish a foothold anyway.
      • Malus Darkblade starts both campaigns in Lustria, pretty much exactly at the opposite corner of the map from the one territory he holds, which is in Dark Elf territory where it belongs. He actually gets the choice of staying in Lustria to fight a nomad campaign from his Black Arc funded by selling off his native holdings, or disbanding the expedition for a traditional Dark Elf campaign.
      • Nakai the Wanderer starts Mortal Empires far to the north, in Norscan territory, generally a place Lizardmen have no business being. The explanation is the Slann teleported him where he was needed mostMore realistically .
      • Repanse de Lyonesse starts her campaigns in the middle of an errantry war in the Khemrian desert, half a map away from Brettonia proper, with the province of Lyonesse under the control of a vassal. Of course this is the point of an errantry war, but the breathtakingly elitist Brettonian nobility have been known to uses excuses like this to get rid of peasants who "rise above their station" — such as Repanse. Repanse herself has dialogue indicating she'd rather be literally anywhere else.
  • Tales of Berseria: It's not like Titania offered much opportunity for career advancement to begin with, but after failing to stop Velvet escaping at the start of the game, Oscar Dragonia isn't heard from for over half the game — talking to certain Non Player Characters reveals he'd been disciplined by being assigned milk runs in the boonies. When you do see him again, he's being handed a dead-quiet governor position on Yseult, a far-flung island chain (allegedly) better known as a honeymoon destination than for strategic importance. When the player party screw that up for him, he gets reassigned to a barely-inhabited marshy shithole in the middle of nowhere, armed with a prototype device that he's more or less told will kill him when activated.
    • Incidentally, his post at Yseult was originally held by his half-sister Teresa Linares, who was also sent there as a punishment following her fight with Velvet's crew at her original post, Hellawes.
  • In Hitman, the target in the mission "The Chameleon" is a Master of Disguise currently impersonating a general to gain access to an air force base. At one point he can be heard threatening a guard that if he doesn't become more co-operative he'll find himself shoveling penguin guano at McMurdo.
  • In The Darkside Detective, the Darkside Division is the least respected and most poorly funded branch of Twin Lakes Police Department, with only two officers. The junior officer, Dooley, is mentioned to have been assigned to the DSD after his ditziness caused one disaster too many. (According to supporting materials, the senior officer volunteered to serve in the DSD, but only because he misunderstood what "DSD" stood for.)
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Between the captain of the local guard not knowing what color an emerald is (though otherwise he's at least competent at daily duties and takes his job of hunting down criminals seriously), and the corrupt consul hardly being the brightest bulb, it's pretty clear that Mor Ardain has been using Gormott as a dumping ground for people they don't want at home. Though over the course of the game this changes, due to Mor Ardain itself slowly becoming uninhabitable, which is why they took over Gormott in the first place. At least one NPC got himself reassigned on purpose, reasoning that doing so was probably safer and easier than being posted in an actual war zone.
  • Sunless Skies: If you join up with the Ministries and make too many cockups, you'll get reassigned to the head of the Department of Well Exploration. Sounds bad enough, but in this universe Wells are Unrealistic Black Holes that imprison nightmarish things even the stars could not get rid of and that, to be quite honest, only you are bold and insane enough to even approach, let alone dive in, in the first place. They get you very, very far out of the way on that one.
  • Mega Man X: This was Chill Penguin's reason for joining up with Sigma's original revolt; he was sick and tired of his dead-end assignment "piddling around on the South Pole with nothing to do" and wanted something more exciting, making this a literal example. Of course, it's unclear if his assignment was due to poor behavior beforehand or just stereotyping (he is, after all, a penguin Reploid with ice powers, which all but screams "Antarctica assignment" since he was practically made for the post).
  • Clancy from Deep Fear got demoted to the Big Table for "one little mistake": firing a missile from a submarine and sinking a passenger ship in disputed waters before a war. Naturally, he thinks he shouldn’t have been assigned there, and it (among other factors) leads directly to his Villainous Breakdown near the end of the game.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel: Aurelia Le Guin and Randy Orlando received "offers" to join Thors Military Academy's branch campus as staff, so that the government could continue to make use of their skills while also keeping an eye on them and separating them from their closest comrades. Le Guin describes the branch campus as a whole as a "trash bin" where the government can place people with "problematic" backgrounds, as even most of the students there were prevented from attending the main campus, where the crown prince would be attending.
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous gives us Daeran, an amoral hedonist and a Count related to the Queen who accompanies you as you try to save your city from a demonic invasion for sport. He has life-saving healing powers, but only accompanies you on a lark. His own staff and guests are killed by demons in front of him, and he's not moved by anger or sadness or compassion for them; he just decides fighting demons would be fun for a bit. After that, he has no plans other than feast, have sex with Anything That Moves, and run off to the next revel as soon as he's bored with the adventure. He's present when mysterious forces imbue you with extreme powers and gets similar gifts, but sets off to squander them with three elven prostitutes while the rest of the country fights an existential war against a literal demonic invasion. Rather than let his new, awesome, life-saving powers go to waste, Lady of War and Four-Star Badass Queen Galfrey drops this on him, and the laws and mores of his kingdom do not let him say no:
    Queen Galfrey: "No matter. I trust you will forgive your sovereign for the rather brusque summons. Especially when you learn what prompted it." The queen makes a stately gesture in your direction. "As you are aware, (Player Character) has recently been appointed my Knight-Commander of the Fifth Crusade. I spent a long while pondering who to appoint to the highly sensitive post of Commander's Field Attaché and Advisor Plenipotentiary Without Portfolio. Congratulations, Count."
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon: The first party member Ichiban gains is Koichi Adachi, a former detective who's currently a pencil pusher at the DMV. He explains later that he was attempting to draw light to a wrongful conviction on his last case, but his former boss Horinouchi covered up the evidence and busted Adachi down to the DMV because exposing the information would have threatened Horinouchi's promotion to Tokyo PD Commissioner.
  • The Hex: As punishment for helping Chandrelle and Dark Lord Vallamir destroy the Secrets of Legendaria game, Lazarus Bleeze is reassigned by Irving to become a Space Marine in the Vicious Galaxy series, which Lazarus has heard bad things about.

    Web Animation 
  • Manga Angel Neko Oka: Akira is a manager who gets transferred to a small, failing branch of his company because he was demoted from a larger branch by his superior for complaining about an unreasonable order. He refuses to return to his old branch because he feels comfortable with his new place.
  • Manga Character Sprinklers: Yuto is transferred into a branch in the countryside by his boss Hayakawa just because he doesn't like Yuto for being attractive to his favorite hostess. It turns out that Hayakawa was manipulating Yuto's evaluation so he could get rid of him, this causes him to get himself demoted and transferred overseas.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • In "The Reconstruction" we learn that at some point after "The Blood Gulch Chronicles", Church was reassigned to watch over an empty base. He loved it, as there was no one to bother him. It later transpires that his assignment to Blood Gulch was one of these as well; As the Alpha AI, Project Freelancer needed a place to safely hide him from the Meta.
    • In "The Revelation" that everyone in the Red and Blue armies are this; the two sides consist of the UNSC's worst soldiers, who are used as training dummies for battle simulations, all while thinking they are fighting a real war.
    • In Season 14, Agents Idaho, Iowa, and Ohio, the worst of Project Freelancer, were basically abandoned on a frozen planet. There, they meet a trio of Charon Industries troops who are in the same boat.
  • RWBY has Special Operative Caroline Cordovin, who claims to have been placed in charge of the Argus military base for her "wit and tenacity". Her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Maria Calavera immediately counters that it was probably because her commanding officers wanted her irritating, fanatical self as far from Atlas as possible.

    Web Comics 
  • In Far from Home, the lieutenant made a paper airplane out of a briefing. Hence, the scouting mission.
  • Used in this page of A Girl and Her Fed as a more credible class of threat from an Actual Pacifist with Technopath resources.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Tarvek had Violetta reassigned to Mechanicsburg because she "wasn't good enough"... supposedly. Actually Tarvek pulled strings to have her sent there in order to save her life, because someone had been assassinating the Smoke Knights assigned to protect him, and he didn't want her to die doing a job she hated.
    • Baron Wulfenbach employs Castle Heterodyne for this purpose, albeit with more direct lethality than most examples. Repairing and researching the Castle from the inside out is the job given to convicts considered too dangerous for a conventional prison... and guarding those prisoners is punishment duty for lousy Wulfenbach employees.
  • In Misfile, Rumisiel is assigned to the 5th Branch of The Celestial Filing Dept, the lowest rung of the heavenly ladder whose job is basically to take files out, read them, and put them back, in the hopes of keeping him from doing any damage. Unfortunately he is such a screw up it backfires.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Sapphire Guard has a tendency to send Miko on missions that require spending months in foreign lands, due to her... abrasive personality. Doing so has seriously harmed the Sapphire Guard's image, though.
    • Durkon was sent to the human lands and ordered to stay there until he was called back, in an attempt to prevent a prophecy that he would bring disaster when he returned. As such, the dwarves responsible had no intention of ever letting him return. Recent events show that this was a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, as forcing him out was the catalyst for buried resentment towards his clan, giving his vampiric side something to draw on and reason to side with Hel.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Riff was briefly reassigned to Alaska for pissing off his boss; because he'd never previously held down a nine-to-five job, he didn't know that it was possible to just quit without blowing up the factory. Besides, it beat being transformed into a gnome.
  • In S.S.D.D. Tessa was assigned to station E11, orbiting Uranus, for ordering Tin-Head to disassemble her commanding officer's car (while drunk). Earlier (chronologically), when she was considering volunteering for the Super Soldier implants field test she envisioned herself being assigned to: the arctic, a desert, and a really boring post if she refused the offer.
  • Colonel Vron in the scifi webcomic Star Trip is on a mission to hunt the shapeshifting Deuteragonist Khut, a nearly hopeless task that his species, the Taikese, have been unable to accomplish for the past millennium. He was assigned the job mainly to keep him out of the way, motivated by classist discrimination against him.
  • Widdershins has Voss sent to Nepal after he badly mishandles a situation in the Prussian military. His "mission" is to check the status of the magical anchor of Chomolungma, a.k.a. Mount Everest. It's right where they left it. Moreover, he releases a powerful, hostile spirit through the anchor, so he actually bungles his make-work project.

    Web Original 
  • In From Winter's Ashes, the story begins with this trope, the unlucky protagonist is sent to a seeming Punishment Post in the high arctic, to join a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that are surprisingly competent. Reassignment Backfire ensues.
  • In Decades of Darkness, an Alternate History timeline, being transferred to the West African colony of Whydah is considered this for members of the American military. The American State Department's equivalent assignment is Liberia.
  • In Reds!: A Revolutionary Timeline the United American Socialist Republics became Stalin's go to dumping ground for those too popular to kill.
  • The SCP Foundation files make occasional use of this. For displaying either egregious stupidity or horrific disregard for common decency (i.e. rearranging the furnishings of a young blind girl for a laugh), Foundation staff can be reassigned to Keter duty. Keter is the classification used for objects or beings that show an active, intense hostility towards human life, civilization, or existence itself. As they often require incredibly precise and challenging means of containment to prevent wholesale destruction, staff members on Keter duty have a VERY short life expectancy.
  • Whateley Universe: From Absinthe, when an employee is offending someone higher in the corporate ladder:
    "I will personally see to it that you are permanently assigned to bumfuck Alaska."

    Western Animation 
  • In the two-part American Dad! episode "Stan of Arabia", Stan is reassigned to a post in Saudi Arabia after screwing up his supervisor's anniversary roast party, and naturally his family goes with him. It doesn't go well.
  • Arcane: Caitlyn treats being assigned to guard her family's tent at the Progress Day festival as this since she wants to be out there solving crimes, not herding drunks.
  • In the third season of Archer, Nikolai Jackov, head of the KGB is transferred to SIBERIA when cyborg Barry takes over. Jackov defects to ISIS instead.
  • At the start of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation is tasked with finding the Avatar to restore his honor after he spoke out of turn in a war council and subsequently refused to fight back in the ensuing ceremonial duel with his father. Ostensibly it's an important duty, but given the fact that the Avatar is widely believed to have died over a century ago, plus Ozai's Brutal Honesty about Zuko being a disappointment to him, it's pretty obvious that the whole thing is actually just a Snipe Hunt meant to keep Zuko out in the backwaters of the world and away from anything important. Leads to a particularly epic Reassignment Backfire when Zuko's experiences in his exile eventually cause a Heel–Face Turn that helps bring Ozai's reign crashing down.
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: In the episode "Have Plane, Will Travel," the General assigns the Vulture Squadron to a tiny island in the Pacific theater. After another typical unsuccessful round of trying to stop the pigeon, the General reassigns the the moon.
  • At the end of Season 2 of Detentionaire, Lee Ping gets expelled from school, and his furious mother states that he's going to be transferred to a school in either Alaska or Siberia — whichever one's colder and has more polar bears.
  • Devil May Care: "The Shipment" reveals the secret origins of Hell — God created Hell as a dumping ground for everything and everyone who annoyed Him, and then tricked the Devil into running the place because He got tired of the Devil's creative suggestions.
  • In an episode of the Dilbert cartoon, two teams within Dilbert's company (his team and that of the one-off villain Lena) are pitted against each other to finish a task, with the team that fails being reassigned to Albany, New York (cue an image of a desolate, snowy waste).
    Lena's newly-severed head: Well, better this than Albany.
  • Literally what happens to Military Maverick Yuri Stavrogan in Exo Squad: he gets sent to Antarctica right after he gets promoted to an squad commander. Unfortunately for him, the Neosapien breeding facility they are assigned to investigate is, in fact, the highest security Neo installation on the planet at the moment (because it researches Neo Lords), and his entire squad is wiped out.
  • Garfield and Friends, "Rooster Revenge": Roy has played a practical joke on Orson, who vows revenge but is secretly pulling off a Paranoia Gambit. Shortly thereafter, an inspector, who appears to be Orson in a Paper-Thin Disguise, arrives on the farm. Roy just mocks him and begs to be sent to the South Pole, even trying to throw mud on the "inspector". After the inspector falls into Orson's waller, the real Orson walks up. As Roy contemplates this turn of events with a horrified look on his face, the inspector declares that he really will banish Roy. As Roy runs away in panic, the inspector turns out to be Lanolin in disguise.
  • An episode of G.I. Joe: Renegades opens with two hapless Cobra guards standing in front of a remote bunker in the middle of a frozen wasteland. A brief conversation between the two reveals that they were both assigned there due to previously failing to prevent the Joes from getting into secure areas. Naturally, the Joes show up again. One wonders where they'll get sent next time...
  • Invader Zim:
  • The Jetsons: "Hi-Tech Wreck" had Mr. Spacely threaten to (and almost) reassign George to "Outer Moongolia"note  Fortunately, George's AI co-worker R.U.D.I. convinces Spacely to give George his job back... by threatening to destroy the Spacely Sprockets factory.
  • Happens twice in Johnny Bravo. Once when Johnny is given to a foster family in Antarctica, and again when he joins the army and ends up accidentally blowing up the training camp by cleaning the latrines with nitroglycerin.
  • King of the Hill implies that a lot of the antagonistic "experts" the Hills and their neighbors frequently encounter (ie. Anthony "Twig-Boy" Page from the pilot, with a repeat appearance in "Junkie Business") are in Arlen, Texas simply because they're too self-important to find work anywhere else.
  • Marvin from Martin Mystery was reassigned to a Center base in Antarctica, largely as an excuse to have a Whole-Plot Reference to The Thing (1982).
  • In Milo Murphy's Law, Cavendish and Dakota discover that their mission to protect pistachios in the present was basically this: the two are seen as so incompetent that they were given the least important assignment that the Time Agents had, which amounts to "preserve this thing that the boss liked eating as a kid." The second season has them lose even that job after trying to convince their boss about the events of the season premiere, and the duo ends up getting a job as janitors picking up alien trash in the present day with a different time police organization.
  • This trope is discussed in the Private Snafu cartoon, The Outpost, an attempt to debunk soldiers' gossip that assignment to remote locations was a punishment. It was no coincidence that the cartoon was made in World War II, the most geographically encompassing conflict in human history.
  • Done literally on The Real Ghostbusters in the Slimer! segment "Scareface". Goolem and Zugg invade the Sedgewick Hotel to order around the ghosts and Slimer tries to get rid of Goolem and Zugg by impersonating Goolem's boss and Zugg's uncle Scareface. They find out about Slimer's deception as soon as the real Scareface shows up, but Goolem gets himself and Zugg in trouble by attacking the real Scareface due to mistaking him for Slimer in disguise. Goolem and Zugg's punishment is that they get banished to the South Pole.
  • In one episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle, the narrator explains that the army tried to do this to Captain "Wrong-Way" Peachfuzz, but thanks to a typo in the paperwork, he ended up inadvertently assigned to the intelligence services.
  • In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life focusing on the parasites living on Spunky, Bloaty the tick invites his ill-tempered boss to dinner to stay on his good side. The second his boss enters the room he shouts "YOU'RE FIRED!" (which he quickly explains was just a Verbal Tic due to how often he fires people) then warns Bloaty that he can, on a whim, reassign Bloaty to the Colon Mines.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons Mr. Burns gives Homer and two other lunkhead employees the duty of watching the company bee while a nuclear inspection is going on, thus hiding them away in the basement where the inspectors won't witness their incompetence. Homer is the only one of the three not to question what's happening.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: A Running Gag among the crew of the Cerritos is that Starbase 80 is a terrible place to work. Even Mariner, the Military Maverick who is used to spending nights in the brig, is aghast when Ransom threatens to transfer her there if she steps out of line. He later admits that it was an empty threat, and that even he wouldn't subject someone to that kind of punishment. So it comes as quite a shock to him later that year when Captain Freeman actually does transfer Mariner there in a fit of misplaced rage. Exactly how Starbase 80 came to be such a hellhole is never made clear, but the one glimpse the audience sees of it paints it as a pretty gross place with poor morale and discipline. It's so bad that as soon as Mariner sets foot on the Starbase, she resigns.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Holly Blue Agate is abrasive and insulting to her inferiors, excessively butt-kissing towards her superiors (to the point where it even annoys them), and none too competent. She's also the supervisor of the remote Human Zoo, in charge of a bunch of unruly and sometimes defective Gems in what is essentially a memorial to someone most Gems haven't even heard of. These two facts are probably related. Naturally, she doesn't see it this way, often lecturing others on how important her position is.
    • The Quartzes under her command don't seem to be much better; several of them are defective and they have the attitudes of rowdy teenagers. Their caste role (frontline combat) is also incredibly unsuited to their position (caretaking a People Zoo). It's probably not coincidental that a related Gem caste (the Rose Quartzes) appears to have been completely decommissioned, nor that they seem to have been the few surviving servants of the person the aforementioned memorial was for.
  • TaleSpin: In "From Here to Machinery", Professor Martin Torque sells robot pilots to Shere Khan that end up putting regular pilots like Baloo out of commission. However, when Khan discovers that by refusing to deviate from their flight plans, the robots end up making their planes easy prey for air pirates. After Baloo manages to save Khan from the pirates by taking over as his pilot, regular pilots are back in business, and Torque gets relocated to Thembria, where he is left desperately attempting to market his robots as maids.
  • On Totally Spies!, after Clover finally found the perfect boyfriend, fellow WOOHP agent Blaine, he was reassigned to WOOHP's Australian division.
  • About half of the main cast in Transformers: Animated. Bumblebee and Bulkhead were assigned space bridge repair detail as punishment for an incident in boot camp (though Bulkhead didn't mind), while Optimus himself was installed as their captain because it was the highest position he qualified for after the Elita-1 incident.
  • Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015): After the Restoration of Cybertron, pretty much all of the then-deceased Optimus Prime's supporters were blacklisted by the High Council, with the justification being the damage they had caused to the planet during the war. For example, Bumblebee is delegated to being a lowly security guard, while Ratchet is forced to remain in exile on Earth. Even once he's resurrected, Optimus stays clear of Cybertron in order to find out what the High Council are up to. When Bumblebee and his team are assigned to hunt down the escaped prisoners of the Alchemor on Earth, it becomes even more of an example as it serves to keep him off Cybertron. This ends up becoming a massive case of Reassignment Backfire, as not only does Bumblebee's team accomplish all that they were tasked to do, they also manage to expose the fact that the entire High Council were in fact a Decepticon Cell and thus overthrow them.
  • Brock Samson's assignment as the Ventures' bodyguard in The Venture Bros. is one of these, for asking too many questions about the Guild of Calamitous Intent. Hunter Gathers was reassigned to Guam for the same reason. It's important to note that this all happens in a flashback. In the present, Brock is content in his job as bodyguard, Gathers went rogue, and the Guild is basically a club that lets eccentrics pretend to be supervillains. In Season 4, both Brock and Gathers work for SPHINX and take care of the actual threats to the public.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: As part of his Establishing Character Moment, Prince Lotor defeats and seemingly pardons Commander Throk, a rival Galra warlord who opposed his rise to power, in front of the entire Galra army. The next scene shows him in private ordering his Bodyguard Babes to transfer Throk out to the Ulippa System to "rot with the ice worms".
  • The explanation for why the famed Commodore Tolwyn is babysitting a bunch of space cadets in Wing Commander Academy.
  • Ranger Smith often threatened to send Yogi Bear to either Siberia or the St. Louis Zoo if he didn't behave.


Video Example(s):


Reassigned to Smeerensburg

The king condemns his entitled son Jesper to spend a year at Smeerensburg, a desolate town in the Grim Up North.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / ReassignedToAntarctica

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