A character, usually a scientist with expertise in a particular subject, has in some way gained knowledge pertaining to a threat within the story, and out of fear at what they know or from the others that know, has gone into hiding. This presents a problem for the protagonists, since they obviously need to find out so they can stop it. They often turn out to be Properly Paranoid
and either need protection or die shortly before/after they are found.
This is a staple in Conspiracy Thrillers
Anime and Manga
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Tim Marcoh is one of the state alchemists who participated in creating philosopher's stones out of living people. He was so horrified with the experiments the military forced them to conduct on the Ishvalan prisoners of war that he fled to a small country town and took the identity of Doctor Mauro. Later his extensive knowledge about the philosopher's stones ended up being an important factor in the battle against the Father and his homunculi.
- In WarGames, Doctor Falken became a recluse when the military seized his project, and made it into a warfare analyzer. Young computer whiz David must find Doctor Falken, and convince him to help stop his number cruncher before it autonomously launches global thermonuclear warfare.
- In the sequel, Falken fakes his suicide as a protest against the usage of the RIPLEY supercomputer (it's more complicated than that when Falken finally explains it, of course, but that is what the protagonists hear at first) and goes off the grid, reappearing during the mid-point of the movie to assist the Meddling Kids.
- 'Virtuosity' has one scientist becoming this for a short while... then evolving into a Smug Snake Complete Monster when he contemplates the 'majesty' of Sid 6.0's homicidal rampage.
Live Action TV
- Anton, of the Enderverse's Shadow series, discovered the genetic modification that gave Bean superhuman intelligence and life-threatening giantism. His research was illegal at the time, so when the government found him out they conditioned him to get a panic attack whenever he tried to think or talk about his discoveries. This made it difficult for Volescu, whose experiment produced Bean, and later Sister Carlotta, who was trying to help Bean, to find out what Anton knew.
- Babylon 5 has three examples:
- In the episode "Mind War", Jason Ironheart flees Psi Corps (and is hunted by Bester's Psi Cop team) after he figures out the implications of their experiments on him, which sought to develop telekinetic abilities that could work on microscopic levels--such as to block a coronary artery in a target of assassination. As the only one he knew of that had developed that far as a telekinetic (most high-level telekinetics were insane), his fleeing was mainly to keep them from gaining from the experimentation--but he also warned Talia of their goals.
- The episone "Hunter, Prey" had Dr. Jacobs, who was the personal physician to Clark when he was Vice-President, fleeing Earth with evidence that the illness Clark claimed to have as reason to debark Earthforce One before it exploded at Io, was faked--a piece of evidence suggesting he might have been in on the conspiracy to assassinate President Santiago. Earth Alliance agents were hunting Jacobs down when he sought refuge on Babylon 5.
- In the episode "Messages From Earth", Dr. Kirkish, a former archaeologist from the Megacorp Interplanetary Expeditions now on the run, had information on a Shadow ship buried 1000 years ago on Ganymede, which Earthforce Intelligence was seeking to reactivate. She sought the Rangers' (and Sheridan's) help to stop this from happening.
- Happens often in The X-Files, whenever Mulder and Scully hear about a murder and a scientist who disappeared, it's usually because the latter discovered something that killed the former and is now on the run. One example would be Daniel Trepkos from the episode "Firewalker", who hides from his colleagues who have been infected by the Monster of the Week.
- Another X Files guest-starred Tony Shalhoub as a scientist in hiding because a Freak Lab Accident has turned his shadow evil and it eats people. He spends much of his time in a bus station where the indirect lighting gives him a very light (and therefore very weak) shadow.
- One shows up in an episode of Nikita, which is promptly justified as he is gunned downed minutes after the protagonists find him.