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TV Tropes Monday: Private Military Contractors


Tweet of the Day: Gaming while black: Casual racism to casual optimism


Private Military Contractors, or PMCs for short, are modern day mercenaries who participate in all manner of conflicts around the world. As a result they become very popular in modern fiction. I’ve already wrote about why mercenaries exist and the reasons rulers employ them, but why do writers use them in media?

The short answer is that they are like similar to a military force but not exactly one. They can be the heavily army of faceless mooks in dark masks who commit war crimes at a whim and due to their power are beyond reproach. Or the military mavericks that skew military convention and fight the good fight in spite the political red tape. Any role that calls for military-light or military-like characterization without actually having to research or follow actual military protocols fits the PMCs like a glove. They can be whatever the writer needs with guns or swords. It is also this flexibility that leads many an author to abuse this trope. After all, there has to be a real need for the mercenaries in the story: shortage of manpower (in numbers or competence), excess of conflict, lack of strong central authority, among others. Without these it is difficult to believe that anyone would chose a sword/gun for hire instead of someone who is loyal to something more than the next paycheck.



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