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Author Topic: Witness Protection Short of WITSEC?  (Read 200 times)

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Lane Maxfield

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Witness Protection Short of WITSEC?
« on: November 29, 2022, 03:15:47 PM »

My protagonist survives an attempted poisoning while leaving the cult she was raised in. The bulk of the story takes place between the attempted murder and the trial of the cult leader who gave her the poison. I don't think she would qualify for federal witness protection because the cult is small and this is the first solid evidence they have of any kind of criminal activity. However, her life is still in danger. Furthermore, she is technically homeless as she had little contact outside of the cult before leaving.

In short, they need to do something to make sure she doesn't die or disappear before the trial, but they have limited resources because this isn't exactly taking down the mob. What are some likely options they would consider?

Thanks!
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Dave Freas

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Re: Witness Protection Short of WITSEC?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2022, 04:30:49 PM »

Where this takes place could have an effect on how you do it.
A big city police department (NYC, LA, Chicago) might have the manpower and resources to house her in a hotel (Not the Ritz by any means but also not the Golden Fleabag) with round the clock protection. A small town or rural PD may not have the capability. A policeman on the force (who's maybe had a crush on her?) could volunteer to keep her safe.

Could she be rescued from the cult by a PI or a friend with military training who then stashes her at his home or cabin in the woods and guards her until time for the trial? If you so inclined, the forced togetherness could lead to romantic feelings developing between them, especially if you have some scenes where he saves her from being dragged off by the cult and/or she treats him after he's injured in an attack by cult members. You could also do this with the small town police officer.
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Lane Maxfield

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Re: Witness Protection Short of WITSEC?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2022, 01:57:01 AM »

The "small town cop with a crush on her" would actually be perfect. I definitely want a romantic subplot, I was just worried that introducing a love interest in that way would be too unrealistic. Thanks!
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Dave Freas

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Re: Witness Protection Short of WITSEC?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2022, 08:16:13 AM »

They could have grown up together, had shared classes, graduated the same year. Then she went off to the big city for college, but (being a bit naive) got roped into the cult, while he stayed home or went in the service and came home to be a cop.

The cult could have started out as a main stream church but hired a charismatic minister who led them further and further away from the normal tenets of that denomination until they became a cult. Two ways this could happen. One, the national church evicts them from the organization or, two, the pastor talks the congregation into rejecting the organization and withdrawing from them.

If you go with the cult being local, she could have escaped from them but, being poisoned, collapsed and he found her while on patrol.
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Lane Maxfield

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Re: Witness Protection Short of WITSEC?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2022, 11:28:22 AM »

I was thinking more like, he met her while interviewing her at the ER and immediately liked her, but tells himself he's just offering the guest room at his place because there are no other options. Then he has to deal with not wanting to make her feel uncomfortable when she's staying with him, but the dynamic gets more and more like they're a married couple and his feelings grow, so there's an inner conflict. Having them know each other previously wouldn't make sense because I already know she has been part of the cult since she was eight or nine (her Mom joined so she didn't have a choice except to go with her).
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Dave Freas

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Re: Witness Protection Short of WITSEC?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2022, 01:23:18 PM »

Your idea works well. Go for it.
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