User:Looney Toons/sandbox/Bug-Out

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This is a Trope Workshop page, still under consideration for creation.
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Trope Workshop Guidelines

Maybe it's because of an oncoming disaster or an invading army -- or maybe your annoying brother-in-law just called to let you know he's dropping in for the weekend. But whatever it is, you have to get away from wherever you are, fast. You pack a few bags, grab what non-perishable food you can, and bundle the kids into the car before heading off to safer territory. It's a Bug-Out -- a short-notice escape from some threat that you simply can't weather in place, because if you try, something bad will happen.

Hopefully you've had a plan for this contingency in place, because the better prepared you are for a Bug-Out, the more likely you're going to survive whatever it is that sends you running. Whatever the cause, though, it's almost certainly a major plot point for the story. You don't just pick up and leave on a moment's notice without a really good reason.

This trope covers any kind of emergency retreat, escape or evacuation made on short (or no) notice.

If someone should Bug-Out but doesn't, it's probably because they ignored an expert who told them to.

Contrast with Last Stand.

Examples of Looney Toons/sandbox/Bug-Out include:

Fan Works

  • Aiko Yamada's panic in chapter 8 of the Ranma ½/Sailor Moon Crossover Fic Relatively Absent, where because of her daughter Nodoka's actions upon learning of Ranma's apparent death, she is about to set in motion all manner of contingency plans, including the immediate dispatch of vulnerable underage household members to safehouses in overseas locations.


  • Aliens: "Marines, we are leaving!" after the first probe into the reactor plant building.

Live-Action TV

  • Amusingly averted for virtually the entire run of M*A*S*H; the "M" in "M*A*S*H" stands for "Mobile", but for obvious reasons of production logistics the camp was almost always in the same location. The only exceptions were the two-part episode "Bug Out" from 1976, and the 1979 episode "C*A*V*E". In the former, the camp's comfortable location had to be abandoned in the face of an enemy advance; in the latter, a seemingly endless barrage of friendly artillery fire forces the camp to relocate to a nearby cave.

Oral Tradition, Myths and Legends

Other Media

Real Life

  • Pick a disaster, any disaster. Someone had to evacuate, and almost always on short notice. Standard emergency preparedness advice recommends keeping "bug out" bag or kit in your car or somewhere else handy, containing clothes, nonperishable food, water, necessary medicines and cash.