So, this species of Aliens, called the Erubians, started a thermonuclear war between two superpowers on earth as part of a large experiment. They caused the war for an experiment, though no one knows why they did it. So anyways, every 10 years or so, the aliens kidnap a human or small group of humans to be used for experimentation. The experimentation is usually excruciatingly painful or humiliating.

The problem is, how could these aliens capture humans? The aliens in this story don’t have tractor beams or teleporters to beam up humans to their ship, so how could they capture humans for their experiments?

  • They must remain unknown to the rest of humanity, so the kidnapping must be inconspicuous
  • The ship is in earths orbit, about twice as high up as the International Space Station is
  • The ship is for research only and cannot land on planets, but they do have scout ships that can land.
  • Experiments must be done on the ship
  • The experiments are done after the war.
  • The technological level varies from subsistence farmer (best case scenario) or hunter gatherer (worst case scenario)

closed as too broad by StephenG, RonJohn, Renan, Green, elemtilas Apr 22 '18 at 3:38

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Where is the alien ship? Is it in Earth orbit? Can it land? Do the experiments have to be conducted on the ship? Also, is the kidnapping occurring during the period before or after the thermonuclear war? If after, what's the state of worldwide technology? $\endgroup$ – KerrAvon2055 Apr 21 '18 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ @KerrAvon2055: I’ll answer in the edit $\endgroup$ – Talos 2 Apr 21 '18 at 23:57
  • $\begingroup$ Does the human needs to survive the experiments? Are they worried about the human stress levels? $\endgroup$ – Sasha Apr 22 '18 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Sasha: No they don’t. No, they aren’t except in experiments where it is important for the humans to have low stress levels, in which case they are given drugs $\endgroup$ – Talos 2 Apr 22 '18 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ Looks like you answered your own question: they fly down in a scout ship and kidnap some humans. People get kidnapped all the time and no one notices for a while. Just pick socially a/o spatially isolated victims. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Apr 22 '18 at 3:37

A Real World Hypothetical

So lets say that for whatever reason we wanted to begin abducting and experimenting upon stone age Amazonian tribes without disturbing their overall tribal hierarchy or knowledge of the outside world. Literally just slipping in with a helicopter to a small village at night and using trained military special forces equipped with tasers and handcuffs to grab up everybody would work wonderfully.

They are so far behind us culturally and technologically that there would pretty much be absolutely nothing they could ever do about it. They have no weapons that could hurt a modern fully armored navy seal, they have zero ability to counter a taser, and they have nowhere near the level of organization to counter a highly trained team working in well-oiled military unison.

Better yet, they don't have any way of making sense of what they are seeing or accurately explaining it to others either. Even the cliche "sole survivor escapes to warn others" story wouldn't be plausible, our abduction crew would be watching the village for weeks with high-altitude drones equipped with high-zoom digitally enhanced and stabilized thermal cameras. Our kidnapper team would already know exactly how many people lived there. The eye in the sky would alert the abduction team to any runners and their exact location. They can't fight, they can't run, they can't hide, and they can't even understand what is happening to them.

Ditto with your alien grabber teams. Any race so advanced it can cross the monumental abyss between stars in time spans that enable regular travel would be so far advanced from us as we are currently that we wouldn't even know what to be looking for when they arrived. Toss in the fact we've bombed ourselves back to a pre-industrial state and nobody is even bothering to look at the sky, let alone be watching out for aliens, they're too hungry and tired and concerned with day to day survival to bother.

Your alien away teams could be hyper-advanced robots that would even rip a highly trained and well equipped SEAL team a new orifice to defecate from. They target the most remote and sparsely populated settlements and simply snatch up everybody, the dirt farmers and deer-chasers have utterly no chance at all to struggle against the advanced technology being used against them. By the time they wipe the sleep from their eyes and figure out something isn't right they are already incapacitated by the advanced tech, inventoried, and loaded onto the lander to be taken to their new sadistic captors testing chambers.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Reminds me of when the Enclave captured the villagers of Arroyo in fallout 2. There Verti-birds and power armor totally defeated them. Personally I like your answer as it gives a 100% logical reason $\endgroup$ – Talos 2 Apr 22 '18 at 0:49

Lost at Sea or Subcontracting

Breakdown of the required elements:

  1. Land without being detected

  2. Kidnap people without leaving witnesses who can identify the kidnappers as aliens

  3. Get them into Earth orbit without launch being detected

1 is really easy. Even if anyone is watching the sky, there are going to be satellites and meteors falling out of orbit reasonably often (especially in the early post-war years) - without an active tracking network and database no one is going to identify an entering scout as an alien ship. If the aliens pick a re-entry path not visible from any inhabited area then there is zero risk. 3 is either the hardest or easiest part, depending on the technology available. If the scout ships are capable of landing and taking off without refuelling or supporting infrastructure then the only requirement is to pick flight paths over uninhabited sections of ocean to avoid observation. Orbital surveillance can tell the aliens where there is remaining habitation to avoid. If the scout ships have lower performance and require significant infrastructure then the aliens need to establish a base to support this. Details on that would be a separate question - "How do aliens secretly establish an Earth-to-orbit space program in a post-holocaust world?" However, let me observe that while you have specified that the experiments must occur on the ship in orbit, 99% of experiments would be more efficiently conducted using a remote-operated laboratory on Earth. Maybe the experiments require physical proximity with aliens who can't survive being on Earth and/or zero-gravity.

2 is very easy given the technology level described. The aliens have orbital surveillance and (presumably) the ability to build their own high technology boats / submarines or restore damaged human pre-war craft. As long as there is any maritime activity occurring the easiest solution is to use a submarine to capture the crew of an isolated boat while it is out of sight of land and other vessels. Ideally do this just as some bad weather is coming in and the families will mourn the sailor/s lost to the sea. (Note that the aliens will know when bad weather is coming in due to orbital imaging, the humans will be back to very primitive weather forecasting.)

If there are no convenient fishing or trading boats then subcontract with some slavers, assuming the aliens can pretend to be human in a minimal contact situation. Slavery has been going on in one form or another throughout human history. Let the human slavers take the risks making the capture - this also lets the aliens specify the characteristics of their experimental subjects. Arrange a handoff point on the coast, with surveillance technology to make sure that the slavers aren't being followed. The aliens take delivery, pay off the slavers with whatever will be valuable to them in the post-holocaust society, wait until the slavers have gone and transport the slaves back to their launch site by boat or submarine.

A more amusing variant, if the aliens can pretend to be human, would be to hire some adventurers to recover some pre-war technology from an isolated base. The aliens could identify the logical campsite for the adventurers to use before going into the base and capture them there. With no worldwide communications, this stunt could easily be pulled every 10 years in a different location each time without anyone wising up.

As far as actual capture mechanisms go - the aliens can either use their own "ray guns" on a stun setting or restore/copy current human options - tasers, tranquiliser dart guns, nets, immobilisation foam etc. Or send out robots with tentacles or gripping arms if a horror factor is desired.

  • $\begingroup$ You've done a good job in thinking through the issues. I agree the idea of ground-based laboratories makes more sense than shipping subjects to orbit. Robots with tentacles is a great visual. Plus one. $\endgroup$ – a4android Apr 22 '18 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android: The aliens experiments have to be conducted in orbit to work properly. $\endgroup$ – Talos 2 Apr 22 '18 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Talos2 Well, it's your world. $\endgroup$ – a4android Apr 23 '18 at 3:01

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