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Screw Your Ultimatum!

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Tomalak: First, Captain, you will return the traitor Jarok. Then you will surrender as prisoners of war.
Picard: Do you seriously expect me to accept those terms?
Tomalak: No, Captain Picard, I expect you won't. You have thirty seconds to decide.
Picard: I do not require one, Tomalak.

The villain has the upper hand, and is being particularly smug and verbose. He may be outlining his plan, demanding the hero's surrender, his cooperation, or even offering a chance to join him. A typical villain gives the hero time (never much) to consider this proposal. But this is not always necessary.

There are cases where the hero replies to the villain's ultimatum without missing a beat.

This can work one of two ways:

A: Usually in the form of a Shut Up, Hannibal!, a Get It Over With, or simply a giant "Fuck you," the hero tells the villain exactly where he can stick his ultimatum. Bonus points for offering a counter-ultimatum.

B: The villain offers what he believes to be some sort of Sadistic Choice, which the hero makes without any thought whatsoever. (A third option may or may not be involved. If it isn't, it's usually a case of the villain being so out of touch with the hero's priorities that he gives the hero exactly what he wants.)

Reasons for this may vary. The hero may have come to their conclusion before the villain was even finished speaking, or even before even getting in his current predicament, and was simply being polite in letting him finish. Or he may find the villain completely batshit and was just waiting to see if what he was hearing would get any worse. He may not be the type to think before speaking, or his situation may not be so hopeless as it seems. One way or another, the villain isn't going to get the satisfaction of watching the hero squirm.

A Sister Trope to Defiant to the End and Shut Up, Hannibal! May overlap with Defiant Stone Throw, when it's an Innocent Bystander doing it. May overlap with Threat Backfire. Contrast I'm Thinking It Over!. If the villain has given someone the job of delivering this ultimatum for them, the messenger might want to beware, as this scenario can easily turn into an instance of Shoot the Messenger.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece: Luffy does this by accident. Boa Hancock offers him a Sadistic Choice: either save three Amazon women he's befriended but lose his only chance of escape, or get a ship to leave but leave the women to their fate. Hancock, being a woman who believes all men to be cruel without exception, assumes he'll choose the latter after some time, but Luffy immediately chooses to save the three women, and even bows to Hancock in thanks (in fact, Luffy doesn't even choose at all, he just immediately thanks Hancock for agreeing to spare the women). Hancock's shock is what ends up starting her Heel–Face Turn.
  • In Naruto, Madara is explaining his "Moon's Eye Plan", threatening the Five Kage with war if they do not cooperate and surrender the remaining two jinchuuriki. The Raikage's response is exactly what one would expect, especially considering one of the jinchuuriki is his brother.
    Madara: That is my goal, my "Moon's Eye Plan!"
    Raikage: *about a millisecond later* DON'T FUCK AROUND!
  • Crimson Spell: Vald manages to screw the ultimatum of The Dragon Gile before the offer is even out of Gile's mouth. Vald knows that since Gile is the most loyal servant of Big Bad evil sorcerer Astador, it can't possibly work out in his favor, so Vald just rejects it out of hand without even knowing what the ultimatium was. And considering Astador frames his plan to use the power of his curse to summon enough demons to remake the world as their playground as a way of eliminating illness and death, Vald has every reason to refuse.
    Gile: I asked you to come to me because—
    Vald: I refuse.
    Gile: I haven't told you what I want yet.
    Vald: You cannot possibly be up to any good. I have no intentions of helping you with your plans.
  • In the "Into the Blue" arc of Full Metal Panic!, Kurz Weber answers Guen Bien Bo's 'join us in our mutiny or die' ultimatum by explaining that he has a much better plan: "I'll kill you, ask Tessa for a picture of herself in a swimsuit as a reward, then make copies of the picture and sell them to the other guys on the ship for twenty bucks apiece!" Then he brains Bo with a fire extinguisher.
  • In the finale of Inuyasha, Naraku tries to dissuade the group from attacking him when it's clear he's lost by pointing out that Kaede's village is right beneath them: if he is killed here, his body will turn into miasma and kill everything below. This does cause them to hesitate, but unfortunately for Naraku, Sesshoumaru is among his foes: "Who cares?" *swings Bakusaiga*
  • At the very start of Space Battleship Yamato and its remake a Gamilan fleet demands the surrender of Earth's last fleet. Okita tells the radio operator to reply "Fools!"
  • A more morally grey version occurs in Neon Genesis Evangelion. During the series, the relation between NERV and their Mysterious Backer, SEELE, gradually turn more and more sour, and by the time of The End of Evangelion it has turned into open hostility. Eventually SEELE's leader, Keel, puts forward their ultimatum to Gendo and Fuyutsuki, hand over Unit-01, the component they need to initiate their Assimilation Plot or they will destroy NERV to the last man. Gendo, both ideologically opposed to SEELE and needing Unit-01 for his own plan, rebukes them, telling them that "Death creates nothing." Keel responds with "Then you deserve death!"
  • DARLING in the FRANXX: The Klaxosaur Princess in episode 17. A party of adults led by two of Papa's group tries to threaten her into surrendering. Her nonverbal refusal is a Brown Note to the negotiator. The other one attacks her, and she impales him with Combat Tentacles and slaughters the rest of them.
  • Girls und Panzer: In episode 9, Pravda has the squadron cornered and requests a surrender. The response? "NUTS!"note 

    Comic Books 
  • Secret Wars (2015):
    • Doom enters the brawl between the Cabal and the last survivors of Earth-616 and tells them that he will spare their lives if they bow to him. Cyclops just attacks him, which doesn't accomplish much beyond getting him killed, but does allow Doctor Strange to teleport everyone else away.
    • In the final issue, Doom finds T'Challa and Namor and says once again that if they surrender he'll use his omnipotent power to recreate their kingdoms. T'Challa flatly refuses to serve Victor's ego and uses the Infinity Gauntlet to turn him to ice, which Namor then smashes. Doom being in God Mode, this just serves to make him very angry, which was what T'Challa and Reed were hoping for.
  • Superman:
    • In The Superman Adventures, Brainiac captures Lois and demands the globe containing Krypton's memories. Superman responds with his own demand — let Lois go or he smashes the ball. Superman won.
    • Let My People Grow! Brainiac warns he will level Metropolis if Superman does not turn the signal off. Superman replies he will just stop him.
      Brainiac: I'll give you one last chance to reconsider, Superman! Turn off that cursed signal— and your city will be spared!
      Superman: You're wasting your breath, Brainiac! I've got you where I want you this time— and I'm not going to let you go!
  • Black Panther - Near the climax of the "Who is the Black Panther?" arc, Klaw has T'Challa's mother hostage and one of his underlings is poised to collapse the Great Mound of vibranium. He tells T'Challa to kill himself in exchange for his country's safety. T'Challa retorts that he has no reason whatsoever to believe Klaw will honor his end of the deal.
    Klaw: I told you -
    T'Challa: That you will kill my mother? You will anyway. That you will destroy my kingdom? You would do that, too. It doesn't really matter what you do - I'm still going to kill you. So what's your leverage?
    Ramonda: That's my son.
    Klaw: You mean the one who just sentenced you to death?
    Ramonda: No. The one who just sentenced you to death.
  • In the Legion of Super-Heroes story The Great Darkness Saga:
    • In the final issue, a servant of Darkseid intercepts the Legionnaires transporting Child Izaya and claims he will spare them if they surrender the child. Sun Boy blasts his face.
      Servant of Dakness: Listen, fools— and save your worthless lives. I care not about you, only the child whose existence has called to me. Surrender him, and my Master's slaves shall not harm your ship— Deny me, and DieEEEEE!
      Sun Boy: (while blasting him) You should know by now that we wouldn't buy that line. No deal.
    • Shortly after Darkseid has crushed the Legion except for Shadow Lass, who is standing between him and Child Izaya. Darkseid states he will spare her team, since the Legion mean nothing to him, if she stands aside. Shadow Lass retorts she has nothing to lose because he can only kill her once.

    Fan Works 
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act VI: Arial Kuyumaya does this twice. First, in chapter 13, Rason warns her that if she goes anywhere near Mizore again, she will have to answer directly to the Almighty for her actions; she promptly goes straight to Mizore's bedroom and steals her wedding ring right off Mizore's finger while issuing death threats at her to stay away from Dark. In chapter 15, when the others find out, Moka threatens to tell Dark the Awful Truth that Arial is anything but his guardian angel unless she gives Mizore the ring back, which Arial dismisses right off the bat.
  • Bait and Switch (STO):
    • Two in a row in "Frostbite". Breen captain Dalsh Ruul has taken Tess and most of her away team prisoner and tries to bargain with them as hostages after Eleya blows up the Breens' ship in orbit and demands their surrender. Ruul tries to issue a counter-ultimatum to stall for time so his men can set up transporter scramblers, but Eleya refuses to negotiate.
      Eleya: Breen commander, this is Captain Kanril Eleya of the Federation Starship Bajor. Release your prisoners immediately and surrender.
      Ruul: Kanril Eleya. I have heard that name before, in intelligence briefings. Since you have apparently destroyed my ship, you will provide my men and I with a shuttle—
      Eleya: Wrong answer.
      Ruul: (to Tess, sounding surprised) She hung up on me.
      Breen soldier: Dalsh Ruul! Transporter signatures! (cue Big Damn Heroes from Eleya and Bajor's assault team)
    • "Didn't Expect That": The Albino, outmatching USS Bajor with a Scimitar-class dreadnought, hails them to tell Eleya to give up and let herself die quickly. Eleya cusses him out in Romulannote  and hangs up.
  • In A Force of Four, Mala assures the Infinitors that he'll kill them quickly and painlessly if they step aside while he kills Power Girl. Fury and Nuklon's retorts are predictable.
    Mala: Should Kara Zor-L live, she will inevitably prove to be a hindrance to us. It is regrettable that she must die. But die she must. There is no need for battle. Our audience has left the stands. This show of combat pleased him, but it was most inefficient. Please. Let me do what is required, and I promise to make her death as quick as I possibly can. Your own will be even quicker, and as painless as possible. The decision is up to you.
    Fury: You know what our answer is, big man. Come and get it.
    Nuklon: Nope. Our answer is—go to hell!
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening fic Golden Threads Tie Us, Grima finally storms the Ylisse's Castle and claims all Lucina's allies are dead, and he'll kill them too unless Lucina hands over the Fire Emblem and the fifth Gemstone to him. He demands the relics twice and Lucina refuses every time.
    Grima seemed to be pondering their words. "Then you refuse to return what you have taken?"
    "We refuse," Lucina said.
    "Very well. I was hoping not to have to flex any...muscle..." Grima said, then fell silent.
    Severa could feel the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. Then, a shockwave surged through her and Severa gasped. It felt like her body was being ripped apart at its seams, but her mind was being squeezed, dangerously close to bursting. The only thing she could hear was Lucina's scream, and then her panicked gasps.
    " everyone all right?" Lucina asked. Severa opened her mouth, but all that came out was a pained moan.
    "With the next blow, I will kill you." Grima chuckled. "The Gemstone and the Emblem. Now."
    "Never!" Lucina gritted out.
    "Still you resist me? Very well. Die, if you wish."
  • Here There Be Monsters: On their rampage through North America, Shazam!'s villains Red Crusher and Mister Atom are intercepted by Canadian and American troops whose "Stop or we'll stop you" warnings are laughed off.
    Gen. Wade raised a bullhorn to his lips. "Attention. You are approaching the border between Canada and the United States. Turn back and surrender, or face retaliation."
    The Red Crusher laughed, swung his ball-mace in a circle, and said something in his native language. Both Battle and Wade understood him, and knew it was anything but an agreement to their terms. They had not expected it to be.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, Superman's Phantom Zoners are ordered to return a stolen biological weapon and turn themselves in, or deadly force will be used. Zod retorts they can shove it.
    Tog: General Dru-Zod, Professor Va-Kox, and Jax-Ur, you are hereby notified of arrest by the New Kandor Justice Department. We are authorized to use deadly force if met with resistance. What say you?
    Zod: (disdainfully) I say, frab you. You have guns, I have the Virus. And my arm may get tired.
  • These Foolish Things: A rare non-villain example. Upon learning Laurel still loves Oliver and seeing that Thea now holds her in contempt, Felicity issues Oliver an ultimatum over their relationship, stating that he can either have them in his life, or he could have her. Oliver, at this point understandably fed up with her behaviornote  and noting it's not much of a choice considering both Laurel and Thea are practically (and in Thea's case, literally) family, chooses them, much to Felicity's disbelief and fury.
    Felicity: You are throwing away our relationship after everything we fought through to be together, after we’ve lived together for months, after I invested in your campaign, after you became texting buddies with my mother, for- for—
    Oliver: For my family? For two people who have always been there for me and respected mine and others’ privacy? (glances at a smiling Thea and a shocked Laurel) There’s nothing easier.

  • Lockout. Alex (the big bad) tells Emilie to order her father (the president of the USA) to call off his attack on the space-jail that they are inside of, otherwise he'll sic his psychotic rapist brother onto her. Without missing a beat Emilie tells her father to blow the space-jail — including herself — out of the sky.
  • Men in Black. The Bug has taken Laurel hostage and is threatening her.
    Bug: Put your weapons down!
    Agent K: [Without missing a beat] Never gonna happen, insect.
  • Iron Man:
    • Tony Stark has been captured by terrorists who are demanding that he reproduce his newest weapon for them. Tony responds with a blunt "I refuse". Smash Cut to Tony getting waterboarded... during which he subconsciously begins to form an escape plan.
    • A compressed version happens later, during his One-Man Army rampage in Gulmira. Several of the terrorists try to take villagers as hostages in order to hinder his ability to repulsor-blast them. Except his suit AI is fast and accurate enough to shoot them all dead in a matter of seconds.
  • In The Princess Bride, when Westley and Buttercup come out from the Fire Swamp and are caught by Humperdinck and his men, Humperdinck yells "Surrender!" Westley's response: "You mean wish to surrender to me? Very well, I accept!"
  • In Live Free or Die Hard, the Big Bad decides to capture McClane's daughter. McClane immediately calls his bluff saying that the Big Bad only did that because he was afraid of McClane and therefore too afraid to hurt her.
  • In The Matrix, when Agent Smith has Neo arrested and interrogated before he is unplugged from the Matrix, he makes an offer to have Neo's criminal record expunged in exchange for helping him apprehend Morpheus. Neo replies to the offer by Flipping the Bird and asking for his lawyer.
  • In A Bridge Too Far the German commander, hoping to prevent any further pointless bloodshed, sends an offer to discuss a surrender with the surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered British Paras.
    Major Carlyle: Shall I answer him, sir?
    Colonel Frost: Tell him to go to Hell.
    Major Carlyle: (to the German messenger) We haven't the proper facilities to take you all prisoner. Sorry.
    German Messenger: What?
  • In Back to the Future Part III, Marty gets challenged to a duel by Buford Tannen, Biff's great-grandfather. He accepts, but eventually realizes from the photograph of Doc's tombstone that he will die from the duel. Trapped in the local saloon by Buford and his gang, he gets a count to ten to come outside and duel. The patrons also try to tell Marty to fight, but Marty eventually refuses.
    Buford: Ten! You hear me, runt?! I said ten, you gutless yellow pie-slinger!
    Marty: He's an asshole! I don't care what Tannen says, and I don't care what anybody else says, either!
  • Jupiter does this to Balem in Jupiter Ascending. He can kill her and her family, but the alternative is just as bad and this way she's screwing him over in the process.
  • At the beginning of Gladiator, the Romans send an emissary to the Germanic tribesmen they're fighting to demand they surrender. The tribesmen send the emissary back minus his head.
  • Battle of the Bulge: At one point the German army approaches some surrounded American troops, and asks for their surrender. The American commander sends back a formally introduced but succinct answer: "Nuts." The German officers have no idea what that even means. (These events broadly happened in real life, as mentioned down below.)
  • In Turning Red, Tyler threatens to withhold the money he had promised Mei if she doesn't comply but by that point obtaining that money had become moot so Mei responds "Forget your money, and forget you!".

  • A priceless example, combining both Shut Up, Hannibal! and Take a Third Option from Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire II: Black Blood. Also an awesome moment for Sita, considering that the Ax-Crazy bad guy is a lot more powerful than she is.
    Eddie: Let's cut to the chase. I want you to meet me at Santa Monica Pier in thirty minutes. If you are not there by then, I will begin to kill your friend. I will do so slowly in case a flat tire has delayed your arrival. It's possible that you still might be able to recognize him if you're less than twenty minutes late. My mother, of course, is to be left in her home unharmed. Do you understand these instructions?
    Sita: Oh, gimme a break. I don't jump when you say jump. You have nothing with which to threaten me. Such a thing does not exist on this planet. You want to talk to me, you get here within thirty minutes. If not, I will hang your mother's head on the front door in place of a Christmas wreath. The red colour will be in keeping with the holiday spirit. Do you understand my instructions, you foul-mouthed pervert?
  • In the Left Behind book Armageddon, Carpathia issues the following to the defenders of Jerusalem: by the count of three, if there is silence for fifteen seconds, then that means that the defenders will surrender to the GC. The defenders' response: shooting their guns into the air, Tsion and Buck included.
  • The protagonist in the Stephen King short story "Battleground" does this when battling a troop of enchanted plastic army men; it's pretty clearly a Shout-Out to General Anthony McAuliffe, as mentioned below in the Real Life section.
  • Matador Series: The Man Who Never Missed: Emile Khadaji names his (fakenote ) resistance movement against the Confederation the "Shamba Freedom Forces" after Lord Thomas Reserve Shamba, a leader of a past anti-Confed uprising who responded to a surrender demand as follows:
    To the Commander, Confederation Jumptroopers.
    Sir: Fuck you.
    We stand until the last man falls.
  • Mass Effect Nexus Uprising: At the end of the book, Acting Initiative Director Tann offers the rebels and rioters the offer of exile, believing they'll find the option of almost certain death in the unknowns of the Heleus Cluster so unappealing that they'll go for the option he wants, which is to go back into cryogenic stasis. Sloane Kelly tells him they'll go for exile rather than put up with any more of his bullshit. And punches him in the face for good measure.
  • Fire & Blood:
    • Criston Cole, facing an enemy army with superior numbers, demands a trial by combat with the enemy commanders. He's instead told he can shove it and is promptly and fatally riddled with arrows.
    • After killing his half-sister and rival for the throne, Aegon II imperiously demands Rhaenyra's supporters in the North, Vale, and Riverlands stand down and face punishment for supporting a usurper. Having already heard about the reprisals Aegon meted out on Rhaenyra's loyalists in the crownlands and realising their armies vastly outnumber the forces Aegon has left, they tell Aegon to shove his demands and march on King's Landing with the intention of deposing him and putting Rhaenyra's son on the Iron Throne.
    • In his latest attempt to get his way over the Small Council of Aegon III, slimy bastard Unwin Peake says they can either do as he says or he'll resign on the spot. The unanimous response is "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."
  • Battle Ground (2020): Harry Dresden to the White Council after they vote to expel him and give him a new suspended death sentence in absentia for using magic to kill human Fomorians during the battle. This essentially puts him back into the legal situation he was in all the way back in Storm Front. Harry, however, is in a historically bad mood after the events of the past two books, and tells Ramirez flat-out that he has officially had it with the Council's Lawful Stupidity, that he's going to continue doing whatever he has to do to protect Chicago and his loved ones, and that if the Council has a problem with it, he's still the Winter Knight so they can tell it to Queen Mab—if "the guy who soloed a Titan" doesn't come for them first.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "A Voice in the Wilderness, Part II" an alien ship appears and demands that Babylon 5 and the EarthForce cruiser EAS Hyperion grant them access to the Great Machine on the planet Epsilon III within ten hours or be destroyed. The captain of the Hyperion shoots back that they have no authority here, and tells them to GTFO within nine hours or they will be destroyed.
  • In an episode of Castle, Detectives Ryan and Esposito are captured by the Villain of the Week and are given an Ultimatum: Tell the bad guys what they want to know and die a quick painless death or "Jerk us around, and by tomorrow, you will wish you were." They take one look at each other and respond.
    Esposito: Yeah, we're going to go with option B.
    Ryan: Yeah, we're totally gonna jerk you around.
  • Cheers: During their fight at the end of series 2, Diane demands Sam not tell her to go, because otherwise she'll never return. Sam just silently glowers at her.
  • Doctor Who: In "Bad Wolf", Rose has been captured by the Daleks:
    Dalek: We have your associate. You will obey or she will be exterminated!
    The Doctor: No.
    Dalek: [pause; the Daleks look at each other in confusion] Explain yourself!
    The Doctor: I said "no".
    Dalek: What is the meaning of this negative!?
    The Doctor: Means "no".
    Dalek: But she will be exterminated!
    The Doctor: NO! Cause here's what I'm gonna do: I'm gonna rescue her. I'm gonna save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek Fleet, and then I'm gonna save the Earth, and then just to finish off, I'm gonna wipe every last stinking Dalek outta the sky!
    Dalek: But you have no weapons! No defences! No plan!
    The Doctor: Yeah! And doesn't that just scare you to death?
  • Firefly:
    • "Serenity": Dobson is on the receiving end of this twice.
      • First, he gets Mal and Simon at gunpoint and orders them both to surrender (Simon is his target and he assumes Mal to be an accomplice), telling them they've got five minutes (referring to the Alliance cruiser he tried to hail before making his move).
        Mal: You might have less than that.
        Dobson: Yeah. Threaten me.
      • Then, at the climax, he gets a gun to River's head, tries to use her as a Human Shield, and gets out about half a sentence of demands before Mal storms into the cargo bay and shoots him in the face without even bothering to figure out what's going on.
    • "War Stories": Zoe goes to buy back her captain and her husband, who are both held hostage.
    Niska: But, this is only enough for one! Ah, now you have to—
    Zoe: (points to Wash) Him. (Beat) Oh, I'm sorry, you were gonna ask me to choose, right? Did you want to finish?
  • Frasier: An odd example where no one's a villain, exactly. During one episode, Frasier's favorite coffee shop gets a terrible musician to whom Frasier (and only Frasier) objects. As he's making a scene, the manager comes out, and Frasier tries declaring that either the musician goes or he does. Frasier doesn't even get halfway through his demand before the manager sides with the musician.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: In "The Gang Gets a New Member", Charlie is so annoyed by the titular new member that he gives the ultimatum of "either he goes, or I go". The gang unanimously votes for Charlie to leave.
  • In Series 3 of The Last Kingdom, the Dane warlord Haesten surrounds Uhtred and his men with his entire army and offers the soldiers a chance to live if they hand over Uhtred. Uhtred's right hand man, Finan answers for all of them:
    Haesten: Give up Uhtred and the rest of you will live. All I want is the Dane Slayer!
    Finan: What you will get, Haesten, is my sword up your hairy arse!
  • Lost:
    • Season 3 "I Do" offers a non-heroic version. Ben is on the operating table, with Jack warning the Others not to pursue Kate and Sawyer or else he'll let Ben bleed out. Juliet immediately calls his bluff and orders the hunt.
    • In another episode, a mercenary is holding Ben's adopted daughter hostage. He offers the simple "do as I say or she dies" ultimatum. Ben, never one to back down, decides to call the merc's bluff. Turns out he wasn't bluffing.
  • Variation in the third episode of Sherlock. Moriarty would give an ultimatum, but doesn't even bother, because he knows Sherlock wouldn't accept it.
    Moriarty: I would try to convince you, but everything I have to say has already crossed your mind.
    Sherlock: Then possibly my answer has crossed yours. (points gun at the bomb jacket)
  • On Sports Night, there's a rare inversion of it being done to the hero: in the Season 2 episode "Cliff Gardner", the network forces the staff to meet with them so they can give notes on how they think the show can be improved. Dana wants the network people to give her the notes, but they think she's just trying to keep those notes from the rest of the staff, and after a couple of go-rounds of this, Dana has had enough:
    Dana: J.J., I was hoping this meeting would go differently. I was prepared to eat whatever I had to for Isaac's sake and I asked the senior staff to do the same which, by the way, is the only reason why Dan, Casey, Jeremy, Elliott, Chris, Will and Dave haven't beaten the crap out of you guys by now. I've changed my mind. At this point, you have two choices: fire me or shut the hell up!
    J.J.: Dana, sad to say that your attitude over these past three years combined with these totally unacceptable ratings make that a very easy choice.
    • Ultimately averted, however, in that, thanks to Sam Donovan, Dana gets to keep her job.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "Call to Arms" is an interesting example. Ben Sisko knows he's going to lose Deep Space 9; his plan is merely to Hold the Line until Jadzia and O'Brien can finish mining the Bajoran wormhole while inflicting as many casualties on the Dominion and Cardassians as he possibly can.
    Gul Dukat: (on viewscreen) Captain Sisko. I don't suppose you would like to surrender and avoid unnecessary bloodshed.
    Sisko: Absolutely not.
    Dukat: I was hoping you'd say that. (hangs up)
    Sisko: Battle stations!
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In the episode "The Defector", Picard's Enterprise is staring down two Romulan Warbirds after investigating a supposedly secret Romulan base in the Neutral Zone. When the Romulans demand the Enterprise surrender her crew and the titular defector, Picard tells them he's not considering it for a moment. Picard has good reason to be this confident; he has three cloaked Klingon Birds of Prey surrounding the Romulans.
    • In the episode "Reunion", as Worf fights Duras to avenge the murder of K'Ehleyr, Duras tells him that if he gets killed, Worf will never get his family honor back after having lost it in "Sins of the Father", since Duras is the only other Klingon who knows the truth about the cover-up. Worf responds "Then that is the way it shall be!", before driving his Bat'leth into Duras' chest. And he gets his family honour back anyway, in part because killing Duras left his major political rival Gowron owing Worf a very large favour.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • In the prologue of the pilot episode, Gul Evek hails Chakotay's ship Val Jean and gets as far as introducing himself before Chakotay hangs up on him in the middle of his surrender demand.
    • We see a double example in the episode "Extreme Risk", the captain of a Malon freighter holds Voyager responsible for the destruction of another of their ships and announces that they're taking Voyager's new probe as compensation and demands that they immediately leave orbit of the gas giant in which it's currently trapped (presumably under threat of violence). Janeway, never one to take anyone's crap, reminds him that the other ship tried to steal their probe and was destroyed going into the gas giant after it, against Voyager's warnings. When he continues to press the matter, insisting that their people are salvage experts and Voyager has little chance of getting to the probe first in any event, Janeway just smirks and busts out this little gem:
      "We have a little expertise of our own; we're a very determined crew, so my suggestion is that you leave orbit, and in the future, if you come across anything that bears the insignia of the USS Voyager, head in the other direction."

  • The third verse (and opening splash of the music video) of Sabaton's "Screaming Eagles" recounts how the commander of the 101st Airborne defending Bastogne at the Battle of the Bulge responded to a German surrender demand as follows: "NUTS!"

    Video Games 
  • System Shock 2: At the end, when told by SHODAN We Can Rule Together, the until then silent unnamed player character replies with a deadpan "nah" and just shoots her.
  • Star Trek Online: In the backstory, Klingon Chancellor J'mpok delivered an ultimatum to the Federation to remove all Federation citizens from the disputed Hromi Cluster within three months. Federation President Aennik Okeg basically told him to go jump in a lake.
    Okeg: We will continue our explorations of the cluster. We will not uproot Federation settlements that have been in these sectors for decades. You claim you have ancient claims to this region of space. I say that current possession counts for something. We do not want war. But we will defend ourselves.
  • Nintendo Wars: One mission in Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising has Sami and her troops surrounded by the Black Hole army, who demand she surrender. We don't hear her response, but judging by Eagle's men's... hesitance to say it out loud, and Eagle laughing his ass off when it's written down for him to read, it's implied it was extremely hilariously vulgar.
  • Halo 3: ODST: In Sadie's Story, Captain Dare is trying to get a NMPD officer to turn the city's Superintendent back on, which the woman explains would be violating an order from the police commissioner. Dare then threatens her, and the woman explains that even if Dare is from ONI, she is also the absolute least threatening problem she has right now.
    "Listen, Captain, there's a Covenant carrier hovering right outside my window! There's a sniper in my lobby, and you're threatening to have me fired?" [slams phone]

    Visual Novels 
  • Daughter for Dessert: After delivering his contract to buy up the diner for liquidation, Saul returns to follow up. He says that the protagonist needs to agree to the sale right now, or else his offer will be cut in half. The protagonist refuses outright. Justified, as the ultimatum came on the back of the wildly successful reopening of the diner.
  • Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~: Methuselah tells Reinhard and the L.D.O. that should they chase him or in any way get in his way then he will unceremoniously kill them all as they will not stand a chance. Reinhard's response? Shift Gladsheim into combat mode and rallying his troops for battle.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, Daffy Duck (as the title character) sends Marvin the Martian an ultimatum via some sort of bullet-like device which reads "surrender or be blown to 17,670,002 micro-cells". Marvin's reply (via a similar device) is a Trick Bullet that opens and fires a second bullet.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Amon offers to let Lin keep her bending if she reveals Korra's location. She responds by all but spitting in his face.
    • This happens again in Book 3, in an episode fittingly titled "The Ultimatum":
    Tenzin: I will never let you get to Korra.
    Zaheer: Unfortunately, you don't have a choice.
    Tenzin: Yes, I do.
  • In The Simpsons, Bart and Todd Flanders void Homer's bet on a minigolf final by declaring a draw.
  • In South Park, the boys have hit on an idea of making money by stealing tooth fairy money from kids who have just lost teeth. They end up running into an organization that does the same, and after a brief period of cooperation, their partnership sours. The gang kidnaps Kenny and calls Cartman, telling him that they'll kill Kenny if he doesn't get out of the racket. Cartman being who he is, all he has to say is "I ain't givin' you crap! Kenny's not afraid of you!" before hanging up the phone.
  • In Futurama, the earth is taken over by a race of Scammers. When Leela leads a fleet to retake the planet, they're intercepted by the Scammer fleet.
    Nudar: So what'll it be, unconditional surrender...
    Leela: Never!
    Nudar: ...or total destruction?
    Leela: Also never!
    Nudar: You have thirty seconds, make up your minds.
    Leela: NEVER!

    Real Life 
  • World War II:
    • General Anthony McAuliffe's one-word response ("Nuts!") to a surrender ultimatum. Of course, this was less a case of the Germans actually having the upper hand and more a case of McAuliffe calling them on their bluff.
      • Even more so, when the German emissary, being unfamiliar with American slang, was confused as to what the message actually meant. Colonel Joseph H. Harper, who had been asked by McAuliffe to deliver the message, replied: "In plain English? Go to hell."
    • In 1940, Benito Mussolini demanded that Greece open her borders to allow Axis force occupation or face war. Allegedly, the Prime Minister/dictator Ioannis Metaxas's reply was just one word: "No."note  Although Hitler's invasion of Poland, one year before Greece's denial, is generally accepted to be the official start of WWII, this got them involved.
      • He was operating in the grand tradition of Laconic Greek replies to surrender demands there; the Spartans reportedly responded to Phillip of Macedon's message "If I enter Laconia, I shall burn it to the ground." with "If." And this is where the term 'laconic' originated.
  • At the siege of the Alamo in 1836, when the Mexican army demanded its surrender, William Travis answered by firing the garrison's cannon.
  • During the 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russia, a Russian warship contacted the thirteen Ukrainian defenders of Snake Island, repeatedly demanding their surrender and warning of an impending bombardment. The Ukrainians simply answered with "Russian warship, go fuck yourself." The Ukrainian defenders survived the bombardment, ultimately surrendering when they ran out of ammunition. At least some of the defenders—including Roman Hrybov, the soldier who sent the message—were later returned to Ukraine in a prisoner exchange.
    • The Russian Warship in question was the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet. She would be sunk 2 months later by Ukrainian shore-launched Anti-Ship missiles.
    • This isn't even the first instance of obscene Ukrainian defiance: the Cossack Hetmanate infamously sent an overtly offensive reply to Mehmed IV, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, when he demanded their subservience after their independence from Poland-Lithuania. Even the most polite translation possible includes two Your Mom insults, four references to Satan, and at least one outright accusation that the Sultan molested goats.
  • In the Spanish American Wars of Independence the revolutionary general Martin Miguel de Güemes was seriously injured from a gunshot wound, days before his death, two Spanish officers sent by José María Valdés, the man who shotted him, offered to transfer him to Buenos Aires, where he would receive the best treatment, on the condition that he would order a ceasefire against their army. Without responding to the envoys and in his presence, Güemes reunited his officers and told them to swear that they would never accept any kind of treatment to benefit the enemy on home soil; a request that was answered with the enthusiastic oath of the officers and gauchos from Salta.
  • In 1260, Qutuz, Mamluke Sultan of Egypt, received emissaries from Hulagu Khan's Mongol Ilkhanate demanding his submission, with the implicit threat of war if he refused. Qutuz declared his intent to resist by slicing the Mongol emissaries at the waist. It's unclear if Qutuz let them die of blood loss or hastened their deaths as soon as the point was made; it's known he did have the emissaries decapitated after the waist chop so their heads could be displayed on pikes at the Cairo city gates. Remarkably, Qutuz's regime survived this, defeating the Mongols in battle at Ain Jalut in September 1260, making his regime the first since Genghis Khan's day two generations earlier to survive killing a Mongol ambassador.note 
  • In 1918, with the Ottoman Empire visibly on the ropes, the Britsh asked for the surrender of the city of Aleppo. The response they got was: "The Turkish garrison of Aleppo does not deem it necessary to reply to your note." Even at the end, the Turks were a Proud Warrior Race.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Instant Ultimatum Denial


Equestria Girls

After failing to prevent Twilight Sparkle from winning as princess of the Fall Formal, Sunset Shimmer threatens Twilight with destroying the portal back to Equestria if she doesn't surrender her crown containing the Element of Magic. Twilight quickly refuses and calls her bluff, stating that she will never let someone like Sunset Shimmer use her Element of Magic to endanger the human world.

How well does it match the trope?

3.43 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / ScrewYourUltimatum

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