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Stealth Escort Mission

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Alice has decided to go somewhere dangerous on her own. Bob knows she won't last one minute by herself, and accompanies or secretly follows/precedes her to ensure she comes to no harm, taking great pains to avoid her realizing that she's still being protected and destroying her self-confidence. This often leads to Alice thinking she really is as tough as she thinks she is and boasting of it, forcing Bob to contend with ever-greater dangers while keeping Alice in the dark.

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Likely to result in Scared of What's Behind You (where Alice thinks she scared off the enemies, rather than Bob standing menacingly behind her).

Can be considered a cross between an Escort Mission and a Stalking Mission.

Can overlap with Badly Battered Babysitter if Bob has a lot of fighting to do. See also Mysterious Protector and Overprotective Dad. Contrast Magic Feather, for when a character wrongly believes his achievements to stem from some non-existent benefactor.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cells at Work!: Red Blood Cell decides that she's going to stop being such a burden to others due to her No Sense of Direction (a liability when blood cells are anthropomorphized as oxygen deliverymen). In order to encourage her, White Blood Cell discreetly follows along to pick up after her (throwing her directions notebook and hat back when she loses them in a crowd), make sure she stays on track (realigning a road sign so she sees it) or protect her from harm (sneaking up on and eliminating a pair of bacteria lying in ambush). He is easily spotted by other red blood cells, which gets him dirty looks as they think he's a stalker.
  • Nagasarete Airantou: Tonkatsu is eager to go on a delivery errand to the South Lord. A worried Suzu follows him after a warning from Ikuto that she must not help or be seen. After several troubles, Tonkatsu succeeds and he and Suzu returns home to find Ikuto sleeping after preparing a giant Tofu. Ikuto also followed and managed to help Tonkatsu without being noticed by either of them. Suzu learns from Shima-tora, Karaage and Ikuto to trust the kids to learn from experience and only help by being unnoticed.
  • The backstory of Kage Kara Mamoru! is that of a family of ninja, the Kagemori, have secretly protected another family, the Konnyaku, for centuries at the behest of their original lord. The consequence of this is that, being protected from everything for 400 years, the Konnyaku have zero ability to fend for themselves. The story follows the current generation, Mamoru Kagemori and Yuuna Konnyaku, and Yuuna is The Ditz at best and sometimes Too Dumb to Live, meaning that every day is a Stealth Escort Mission for Mamoru.
  • In Kino's Journey (the first anime adaptation at least) Kino encounters a man and woman traveling the other direction. The woman is an Actual Pacifist, and explains to Kino that they're traveling unarmed in order to spread a message of peace and love. Then when she's out of earshot, the man reveals to Kino that he's packing heat. For the entire trip, he's been sneaking ahead and dealing with any bandits or outlaws before they can threaten the woman, so she never realizes he's been killing on her behalf.
  • In Trigun Meryl and Milly meet an old couple who won't move from their family home, despite a crooked developer trying to take their land. Since Vash isn't around, Meryl decides to help them herself and seems to successfully hold off members of the Nebraska family by herself! Then Vash reveals himself to the audience (but not the other characters) and shows that he'd been there the whole time using his Improbable Aiming Skills to assist Meryl.

    Asian Animation 
  • In one episode of Tooba Tooba Noonbory, Noonbory and Lukybory do this to PinkAru, because they aren't sure she can run an errand alone. Justified, however, because a) PinkAru is probably no older than 5, and b) Noonbory is her older brother just trying to keep her safe.

    Comic Books 
  • In the French comic Zarla, the protagonist is a little girl guarded by her red dog Hydromel. Whenever Zarla runs into trouble, Hydromel spins her helmet around so she can't see and scares/takes out the threat himself, being of a magical sentient species who can walk upright and use weapons, but his charge must remain ignorant of this fact (Zarla deduces that she goes in a berserk rage that blinds her or that she really is that intimidating).
  • In the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 7 Story, "Sorceress in Distress," Sally orders Sonic and Antoine not to follow her while she goes out to look for a stick to serve as a magic staff for her Halloween costume. Sonic follows her anyway, and it turns out to be a good thing, as Robotnik, who had seen Sally's "magical powers," ("making a rock rise" thanks to a geyser beneath said rock) confuses her for a real sorceress and whisks her away for an evil wedding. Sonic has to save her, but doesn't want Sally to know about it, so he uses a warp speed spin to make himself invisible, then gets a few hits in on Robotnik before carrying Sally away. Sally realizes it was Sonic who saved her, and gives him a Smooch of Victory... before smashing the "staff" over his head for disobeying her orders.
  • Nightwing: Several stories implied that although Dick Grayson ended his partnership with Batman on not-so-pleasant terms and desired to become is own man, Batman can't stop worrying about his adoptive son and continually keeps tabs on him, even helping from the shadows even though he knows Dick wouldn't approve. During one such instance, Dick is framed for murder but is released after his apartment is found to be clean. When he gets home, Batman lectures him about keeping his superhero gear in a more secure location.
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    Fan Works 
  • In "Chen's Errand" (a Touhou fanvid), Yukari sends Chen out to get medecine, but follows her in disguise to make sure no harm befalls her.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: When Kiara goes off on her first hunt alone, Simba has Timon and Pumbaa follow her and keep hidden so she won't find out he broke his promise. She is not happy when she finds them.

    Literature 
  • In the first Landover novel, the protagonist insists on going jogging every morning despite not knowing much about the magical land he's come to. He's later informed that his two Battle Butlers have been covertly following him each time, and that they had to deal with a number of dangerous wildlife that would otherwise have attacked him.
  • In the Doctor Who New Adventures/Sherlock Holmes crossover All-Consuming Fire, Dr Watson confidently tells Holmes that he'd know if he was being followed. Holmes reveals that he follows Watson all the time if he thinks he might be in danger.
  • In The Last Command, a group consisting of most of our heroes (i.e. Luke, Han, Chewbacca, Lando, Mara Jade, C-3PO and R2-D2) finds that someone is covertly helping them along as they go through a jungle on Wayland—killing predators, cutting away vines, and turning away the hostile natives. They eventually find the responsible party: a group of eight Noghri who had followed Luke to the planet in their own ship, and had formed a loose protective circle around the group they were guarding.
  • Very briefly occurs in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry believes the Dementors were driven off by the ghost of his father. After he gets sent back in time and knows that Never the Selves Shall Meet, he anxiously watches his past self falling to the Dementors before realizing he'd seen his future self. He quickly sends a Patronus to rescue his past self.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Person of Interest: In "Bury the Lede", Reese gets a new number who's an Intrepid Reporter. Besides investigating and reporting about the HR which got her into trouble, she's also researching about "The Man in the Suit" urban legend. So Reese has to help her without exposing himself.
    Reese: Okay, Finch; how am I supposed to protect a woman who wants to put me on the front page?

    Video Games 
  • In the very first mission in the original No One Lives Forever, you have to snipe numerous assassins targeting a VIP without the VIP noticing you or them. The latter requirement is made quite easy by the fact that he is a self-important Upper-Class Twit with zero awareness of anything that doesn't serve his immediate gratification.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, one Shrine quest has you following a Korok as he makes a pilgrimage to the shrine, but the catch is you can't let him see you. He gets attacked by beasts of the woods multiple times and you kill them, but it's subverted in the end, because he knew about you being there the whole time.
  • In Dragon Age II, this isn't a quest but it's invoked in party banter between Varric and Merrill:
    Varric: Daisy, would you please stop wandering dark alleyways at night?
    Merrill: But nothing ever happens to me.
    Varric: I know, and it's costing me a fortune!

    Western Animation 
  • This is part of the Inspector Gadget formula, with Penny sending her dog Brain after Gadget to protect him from numerous assassination attempts. More than once this has resulted in Amusing Injuries to the poor dog.
  • The Loud House: In "The Spies Who Loved Me", the Casagrande's fear for Ronnie Anne's safety when she goes downtown on her own, since she's not used to city life. So Carlota and Carl secretly follow her, while they keep the rest of the family informed through their cell phone. Their worries turn out to be for nothing, since Ronnie Anne can take care of herself (while Carl repeatedly suffers from the dangers from which he secretly tries to protect her), and isn't happy when she finds out.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot has the episode "Bradventure", in which Brad goes on an adventure. Any obstacle in his path, he braves with ease... because he is secretly assisted by Jenny. He does get by without her help (even carrying her) on the way back when she is damaged, though — this time he had help from Melody.
  • X-Men: Evolution: During the Girls' Night Out Episode where the young ladies of the X-Men, New Mutants, and Brotherhood form an all-girl vigilante group, Kurt and Scott begin following them mostly out of curiosity at what the girls are up to, but at one point Scott blasts away a burning barrel of oil before it explodes, without the girls knowing.
    Scott: (to Kurt) You totally didn't see me do that.
  • Popeye secretly follows Olive Oyl after she joins the police force in the Famous Studios short "Cops Is Tops".

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