Beneath the sands of Dalia, their exists a beastly, horrifying creature. The Tayan.

The Tayan is an antlion like insectoid creature, that buries itself underground, and waits for prey to fall in its mouth. The Tayan is a huge creature, with a mouth big enough to swallow an Earth grizzly bear whole. Once eaten, prey rolls down the Tayan’s throat, into its stomach.

Unfortunately for those eaten, the Tayan was genetically engineered by an ancient alien race to cause excruciating pain to anything that falls into the stomach. Prey can be digested for up to 5 years, while their entire body is slowly eaten away. Small tendrils act as a dialysis machine for the Tayan’s victim, keeping it alive so that it can feel suffering.

Native Dalians, who are very primitive, often used the Tayan for sacrificial purposes, throwing slaves, criminals and captured enemies to be eaten by the Tayan. In the 25th century, when the first FTL species discovered Dalia and the Tayan, and intergalactic crimelords started sending their enemies and rivals down the Tayan's throat.

Guardsmen have to push victims into the Tayan’s sand trap, so that they could fall in and be eaten. Here is my question: How could the guards safely get the victims into the Tayans sand trap, without them fighting back?

It would make the most logical sense for would be victims to fight back against the guardsmen, and maybe even try to get some of them to fall in, so what would be a good method to safely get victims in?


-Whatever method you guys give, there has to be a (small and unlikely) problem that will be taken advantage of by my main characters.

  • $\begingroup$ How flexible is the tayan's digestion? If it can handle rope, it seems like the obvious answer is to tie them up first. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Sep 17, 2018 at 1:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Cadence: Natural fibers yes, synthetics no. But it is still possible that a victim may head but guardsmen, or something else like that. $\endgroup$
    – DT Cooper
    Sep 17, 2018 at 1:35
  • $\begingroup$ Please remind us of some details. How wide is the Tayan? How wide is its mouth? How likely is it to react if people walk past it's outer perimeter toward the mouth? How far underground is it? How stable is the sand around the mouth (e.g., do I need to stay X feet away from the mouth or risk slipping in)? When the Tayan closes its mouth, does it disturb the sand around it? Finally, if I build a construction near it (oh, say a bridge over it), how unhappy would that make it? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 17, 2018 at 2:26
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH: It’s mouth has a perimeter of 14 square feet. The Tayan itself is buried underground by 70 feet, and is 36 feet wide. It can sense the vibrations of people walking around on the sand, but it usually doesn’t care. The sand funnel that leads to the Tayans mouth is 20 feet deep. The first 5 feet is rocky enough for you to stand on, but after that it’s all slippery sand. If you build a bridge, it won’t care. $\endgroup$
    – DT Cooper
    Sep 17, 2018 at 2:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The Dalians use primitive hovering vehicles to fly over the Tayan's pit and push the victims in. The small flaw is that the prisoners have hidden a primitive laser sword in a primitive robot that is serving drinks on the primitive hover yacht. $\endgroup$
    – Deolater
    Sep 17, 2018 at 20:29

4 Answers 4


The Dalians worked out how to safely feed the Tayan long ago. They use a berry from a nearby oasis, which (also genetically engineered long ago) acts as a powerful sedative. Juice from this berry is served to each victim on the night before their execution. Those who drink it, soon pass out and don't awaken until the agony of digestion begins.

The area surrounding the Tayan mouth is surrounded by solid posts which have carefully measured ropes tied to them. The Guardsmen, each tie themselves to those ropes, then carry the unconscious victims toward the Tayan. When they run out of rope, they are at the edge of the safe zone. After tossing the victims forward into the sand covered mouth, the guards then pull themselves back up to solid ground using the ropes. It is a time-honored and effective ritual which requires a minimum of manpower while providing complete safety to the guardsmen who perform it.

The subtle flaw which this ancient procedure hides, is that the sedative, being genetically engineered, is unnaturally safe. The consumer cannot overdose on it by taking too much. They just end up sleeping a little longer than they would have on a smaller dose. Your main characters, with total trust among themselves, can distract the guards while the lightest weight person among them drinks the doses meant for the team's best fighters. From there, everything is set up for the undrugged characters to surprise the guards, overpower them, escape, while carrying their sleeping companion out of harms way.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I've gotta ask. If you throw a sedated victim into the Tayan, would you expect the Tayan to become sedated? :-) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 17, 2018 at 2:27
  • $\begingroup$ No, but its tongue may get numb for a bit. Keep in mind that the same gene jockeys who refined the Tayan's digestive track also created the berries. Either they won't effect the giant beast at all or its size will protect it from large scale effects. There might even be something in the berries which the beast needs replenished regularly. This would reinforce the berry's role in the ritual and offer a more public reason why that particular berry juice is reserved for prisoners. And if the beast doesn't get fed often enough, it will come out of that hole, go to the oasis and feed itself. $\endgroup$ Sep 17, 2018 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, so that one sleepy person misses out on all the action. Also, how is the sleeping person stopped from being thrown in? $\endgroup$
    – DT Cooper
    Sep 17, 2018 at 4:38
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertPaul, the surprise attack by the undrugged members of the team has to be timed before the real sleeping member(s) gets anywhere near the Tayan. It is up to the sleeping person's team mates to choose a moment when the number of guards is smallest PRIOR to reaching the danger point. $\endgroup$ Sep 17, 2018 at 12:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A giant Tayan with numb tongue! I love it! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 17, 2018 at 14:02

Guards use long poles with a crescent-shaped tip to push victims into the Tayans mouth. The victims need only have their hands restrained, then they're helpless against the push of 2 or 3 guards equipped with these poles.

Unfortunately, some sneaky victims won't accept their fate without a fight and try to dodge below or jump over the poles. Most escape fights last no longer than a few seconds because the sands are too unstable to be an effective fighting ground, but some lucky individuals manage to confuse their guards with their dodges. Especially junior guards loose their orientation and step too close to the Tayans maw in their attempt to catch their victim.


Assuming rope

You can just use a rope to pull the victim into the mouth. You can engineer it up or keep it simple, depending on your story needs. Ex. two parties pulling the victim between them in a V shape where the two edges go clear of the Tayan's mouth, but the middle doesn't.


Roll them

The victim's hands and arms are tied to their sides and their legs are tied together at the ankles. Then the victims are rolled down a steep slope into the Tayan's mouth.

The ramp can be facing the Tayan at a 45 degree angle. The bound prisoners are placed at the top of the ramp and roll down like logs into the Tayan's mouth. Even if they do not roll all the way into the mouth, the Tayan can pull them in with its tentacles.

Sometimes, prisoners use Houdini magic to escape their bonds. Either they jump off the ramp and run away before the guards can stop them, or they break out of the rope as they roll down the ramp. They use their arms to stop their roll, and by staying at the edge of the Tayan's mouth, they ensure the guards do not come after them. No one has ever been able to do it, but if they can jump over the mouth of the Tayan or walk around its mouth, all while dodging crumbling sand and the Tayan's tentacles, they can escape to the other side. If they take too long, either the Tayan will pull them in or the guards will surround the prisoner and force them in. The reason the guards is that prisoners rarely escape their bonds, let alone get around the Tayan.


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