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Seal the Breach

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A type of plot where characters are at or travel to a place that has a breach, whether it is a hole in a dam, wall, or a gateway to Hell, and seal or otherwise make it not a problem anymore. The methods used to resolve this situation requires The Engineer on the team for the first and second or magical means for the last one. If neither are applicable, sometimes a good old explosion can get the job done.

In humorous settings, a character may use a finger to cover up a small hole, usually in situations with water leaking, but ends up getting stuck due to needing to keep water from continuing to flow in or the finger being stuck in the hole. Bonus points if more leaks start sprouting up and the character needs to use more and more of their body to prevent a bigger disaster. A Super-Trope to Plug the Volcano.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Attack on Titan:
    • After the Colossal Titan kicks a hole in Wall Rose, the Garrison scramble to repair the breach before Titans come through, but fail to do so in time. Later, after it was revealed Eren was a Titan Shifter, a plan is made to have Eren carry a large piece of debris to use to cover the hole in the wall while soldiers fend off other Titans while escorting him. Despite some initial problems, the plan succeeds.
    • The main goal of the Survey Corps after the Colossal Titan kicks a hole in Wall Maria is figuring a way to travel back to the breach while carrying materials to repair it. The logistics of this plan made it unfeasible, but the before-mentioned Eren as a Titan Shifter and the discovery of the walls being of the same material as a Titan hardening itself provided a simpler plan of escorting Eren to the hole to seal it.
    • The live action movie is more or less the same regarding the plot of traveling to the hole in the wall, but the method to seal the breach involves explosives. The explosives being transported are lost in en route, but the dud rocket from the first film is used as a replacement.
  • In episode #254 of the Bleach anime, Menos Grande hollows are entering the world through a breach to Hueco Mundo. With the assistance of other Soul Reapers, Captain Kuchiki seals the breach.

    Fan Fiction 

    Films — Animated 
  • Cool World: The Vamp Holli Would succeeds in attaining the Spike, and removes it from its place atop the Plaza Hotel. Immediately, the weird and wacky denizens of Cool World come flooding into reality, bringing their Toon Physics and mayhem with them. It's up to comic artist Jack Deebs to reclaim the Spike from Holli, and set it back in its rightful place.
  • Ice Age: The Meltdown: Scrat, climbing the side of an icy glacier at the beginning of the film, keeps having to plug water spouts in the glacier so that he can grab his acorn. This ends with him being filled up with water thanks to plugging a spout with his mouth, leading to him inflating and being sent flying off.
  • In The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure, a trick using a tree to catapult a rock becomes a Chekhov's Gun to close a hole in the Great Valley wall where Chomper’s parents came through.
  • Rock and Rule: The Villain Mok succeeds in opening a portal to another dimension, from which an Eldritch Abomination demon emerges. Songstress Angel and her bandmate Omar find a way to reverse the process, which sends the demon back from whence it came. Once Mok's device is switched off, the portal disappears.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: The first plumbing job the Mario Bros. have is fixing a leaky bathroom faucet. While they fix it initially, a tussle with the clients' dog damages the plumbing to cause more leaks throughout the bathroom that the brothers have to physically seal.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Avengers (2012), the villains open a wormhole above Manhattan to let an Alien Invasion force in. The Avengers must close it and prevent disaster.
  • Near the end of Dunkirk, the two viewpoint characters of the "The Mole" segment have hidden in a beached trawler with a few other soldiers, with the intention of simply sailing away when the tide comes in. Unfortunately, the Germans (unaware that anyone is hiding in it) start using it for target practice, putting holes in the hull and causing them to attempt this while avoiding being shot or giving their position away.
  • In the opening scene of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, Crow tries to tunnel back to Earth and winds up breaching the Satellite of Love's hull. When Tom Servo gets sucked towards the breach, he accidentally seals it with his hoverskirt. Then Mike pulls him off and uses Crow's helmet to plug the hole.
    Tom Servo: [while plugging the hole, with the vacuum of space sucking at his underside] I'm experiencing a sensation altogether new to me — and frankly, I love it!
  • Pacific Rim: The Breach is a wormhole deep in the Pacific Ocean where Kaiju enter Earth from. Humanity had been attempting to destroy it with nuclear weapons to no avail, and the main plot is a last-ditch effort to seal it. Later, it is discovered that the Breach has a way of determining what can go through it, which is the skin of a Kaiju. While the nuclear payload intended to destroy the Breach was used beforehand in an attempt to kill two kaiju, Gipsy Danger manages to get through the Breach while fighting Slattern, killing it and self-destructing on the other side of the Breach to destroy both the Kaiju's homeworld and the breach.

  • In the Earthsea novel The Farthest Shore, a villainous wizard named Cob has opened a breach that is draining all magic and life from the world. The Archmage Ged follows Cob into the Dry Land of the dead and seals the breach, but loses all of his magic in the process.
  • In the Robert A. Heinlein story Gentlemen, Be Seated, an accident causes a small hole in a tunnel being dug on a Luna Base, and the protagonists have to sit on the hole to seal it. This isn't as funny as it sounds, as there's a danger of the person doing so passing out from internal hemorrhage or hypothermia. The workers normally have sticky balloons that float towards a breach and burst, sealing a crack and marking it so someone can come and weld it up, but the hole is too big in this case.
  • The story "The Hole in the Dyke", collected in The Children's Book of Virtues, centers around a young Dutch boy who discovers a tiny hole in the dyke that he must stop with his finger until help comes.
  • In Clive Cussler's NUMA Files book The Storm, there's a side plot in which the villain compromises the Aswan Dam in Egypt by using high-tech nanobots to bore holes through the structure. The holes were placed to take advantage of the dam's particular construction — what started out as two small holes would shortly cause a catastrophic failure in the structure that would collapse the dam and flood the valley below, killing the thousands of people who live there. Joe Zavala (one of the protagonists) must plug up the more dangerous of the two holes using only a scuba suit and a 500 gallons of quick setting concrete foam.
  • In the backstory of The Wheel of Time, the Dark One was sealed in a Prison Dimension, but an ancient civilization mistook him for an Extradimensional Power Source and drilled a hole in. As a result, the Dark One corrupted the world and unleashed a global war that only ended when a hundred channelers created an imperfect patch. By the time of the series, the patch is beginning to fail, and The Chosen One has to find a solution before the Dark One breaks free completely.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In season five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Big Bad seeks to obtain a mystical Key and use it to open a portal into a hell dimension. In the season finale, "The Gift", she succeeds in opening the portal, and the challenge for the heroes becomes how to seal it again.
  • In the Farscape episode "Vitas Mortis", when a hull breach causes Continuous Decompression, Rygel inadvertently seals it when his ass gets sucked into the crack in Moya's hull, so the others leave him there for most of the episode.
  • The season 2 finale of Stranger Things is about the cast teaming up to close the interdimensional portal to the Upside-Down, which Eleven had unwittingly opened prior to Season 1.

  • In Tamrielic Adventures, the adventurers' ship somehow acquires a large hole (later presumed to have been an Assassination Attempt). Niralie and Sinyail try to plug the hole through magic. Sinyail succeeds at first with a shield spell, and then casts another spell to get the inner wood to absorb the water that already leaked in. Unfortunately, his shield then fails, and the absorption spell is unable to tell the difference between the water already on the floor and the water pouring in, which results in the ship sinking.

    Tabletop Games 

  • BIONICLE: The Great Cataclysm caused a portion of the Southern Continent (which would later be known as Voya Nui) to be dislodged and left a hole which caused sea water to drop through and fall onto Karda Nui. After the Toa Mahri destroy The Cord connecting Voya Nui and Mahri Nui together, the former returned to the Southern Continent and sealed the hole.

    Video Games 
  • In Crusader Kings II, the player can encounter an event about a mysterious crevasse in the ground that local peasants believe to be a doorway to Hell. One of the options is to roll stones in it, giving the player character a nice little skill modifier titled "Filled Gates of Hell with Stones".
  • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade:
    • The objective of the Chaos stronghold is to destroy the Warp portal vomiting forth endless daemonic reinforcements.
    • Similarly, the stated goal of the Eldar stronghold is to seal off the three massive Webway portals that give the Eldar access to their craftworld, as taking on the actual base is a herculean endeavor thanks to their infinitely-respawning Fire Prisms. Most players go for the base anyway, as it's a much more satisfying form of Screw You, Elves!.
    • The Necron stronghold requires you hero to place a massive bomb at the deepest point in the catacombs and collapsing the entire cave network rather than just the entrance to the overworld. It won't kill them all off, Necrons being undying robots who regenerate or teleport between planets to reinforce/retreat, but it will slow them enough that they're considered defeated.
  • When Hell Invades Heaven in the final regular act of Diablo III, one of the Nephalem's tasks is finding and closing the Hell Rifts that Diablo is using to send his legions to Heaven.
  • Doom:
    • Doomguy's ultimate goal in Doom II is the closing of the portal that is allowing Hell to invade Earth. He can only do this from Hell's end, meaning that he needs to go in and kill the Icon of Sin.
    • In The Plutonia Experiment, UAC has developed a quantum accelerator to close off Hell portals, and in the backstory it works excellently. Hell's answer to this is to launch seven portals at once, and the accelerator only manages to close off six before the base is overrun, requiring you to find and close the last one.
    • Respectively, the Doom Slayer in Doom (2016) needs to seal the rift that Olivia Pierce opened that has brought the demons to Mars.
    • The Doom Slayer's goal in Doom Eternal is to kill the Hell Priests that are bringing the demons to Earth. When the Khan Maykr awakens the Icon of Sin to unleash it upon Earth, you then have to kill her and then get back to Earth in order to kill it and stop the invasion for good.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Inquisitor is tasked with sealing a tear into the Fade in the sky known as the Breach, which is allowing demons to enter the real world.
  • Dungeon Keeper 2 has this as a game mechanic: Hero Gates spawn enemy units at certain times, but you can destroy them by claiming all of the adjacent tiles. This is impossible for some Gates, but for others, you can close off avenues of attack against you.
  • Inverted in Riven, where the player's final objective is to unseal the Star Fissure, resulting in the Age collapsing into it, but allowing Atrus to come fetch Catherine and the player to escape.


    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Puss in Boots, a magic portal to the Netherworld is opened in the town, and with it revealed that such a portal can never be properly closed after being opened, the group settles on simply plugging the passage with a large object.
  • In DuckTales (2017), Scrooge, Donald, and Dewey are trapped inside a chamber filling up with water. Donald tries desperately to stop one of the holes where the water comes out of, but after several failed attempts he throws a tantrum and accidentally blocks the hole with his butt.
  • While Kion and company are following Asad's shortcut back to the Pride Lands in The Lion Guard, they find a big wall. Kion uses the Roar to break it but finds that it's holding back a lot of water. He has to keep roaring while the others take the precaution of clearing some animals away, then throw rocks into the Roar's path. Finally, Kion can stop roaring, and the thrown rocks seal the breach.
  • In the Steven Universe episode "House Guest", Steven must repair a crack in a large geode that's containing a storm.