In my world there are lots of illegal neurological and mechanical enhancements you can purchase off the black market. Gangs make super soldiers by doing this. The procedure is very dangerous and side effects include mental instability and death by over exertion. These people are a credible threat and must be imprisoned. They are strong enough to bend metals and tear peoples heads off. They can take bullets to the legs and arms without being slowed but shots to the chest will wound them. Direct head shots will probably kill them if they don't have metal bones.

So here is the idea:
I am sinking a giant structure under water. You have any resources. No money constraints.

Prisoners must be kept alive except in dangerous scenarios. There must be guards or some sort of active containment (no prison colony set up). How to contain these prisoners? I would like it to be underwater but if you want it elsewhere that’s okay.

  • $\begingroup$ So we need to build a prison for you to do this? Fitting the exaft question in there would be appreciated. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 13:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is that edit better? $\endgroup$
    – 11Bravo
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ It is. Thank you. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 13:59
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Gangs don't make "super-soldiers." Gangs make "super-thugs" or "super-goons" or "super-mooks." $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ Not really enough for an answer: EMP-gun! $\endgroup$
    – Martijn
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 8:54

5 Answers 5


Remove implants

Implants went in, so you'll likely can get them out. Replace whatever they have with low grade components or remove them altogether if they shouldn't have it. (We're not monsters to rob them of an arm or eye.) If this isn't easily done, underpower components or use software to limit their potentials. They do this already with the computer in cars, so why not here? When finished you can put them at the regular mentally unstable facilities. They might even fare better as you can implement a panic button to turn a lot if their implants off. That way they require less drug and physical intervention when they become violent, which is better for their health.

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Power supplies are also a key component you could target. A prosthetic limb capable of bending metal and tearing heads needs way more power than the body can provide, so it needs some kind of battery or fuel cell. Removing it or replacing it with a lower draw would be a simple, reversible way of hobbling prisoners. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 0:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Cadence But muh rights! Muh cyborg rights! $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 4:37
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen: You will respect mah bodily autonomy! $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 12:00

Use their implants against them.

I am not sure of the advantages of having the prison underwater. People still need to come and go and supplies must come in. Motivated prisoners can escape. The one advantage is the rule of cool!

Your underwater prison was not always a prison. It is or was something else, which happens to be underwater and it has been pressed into service as a prison. Maybe it is a sunken spacecraft. Maybe it is a research lab built underwater and it is handy to have prisoners as research subjects. Being underwater mostly deters people who want to come and break prisoners out.

As regards keeping them in, having a population of disgruntled supersoldiers scheming in their cells is a recipe for trouble. If I had such folks in the present day I would keep them well drugged to reduce creativity and motivation. But ho. Hum. Been done been done.

Better is to roll with the scenario you have set up. These supersoldiers have implants and most have them in their brains which is what sets them up for mental illness and also what lets them push past normal physiologic limits. The prison uses those implants to control them. Certain implants can be used to mellow the prisoners. Many can be used to make the prisoners feel good, in charge, well fed, and on top of things - a good situation. For certain tech the best you can do is cause the prisoner to be disoriented, with weird psychedelic reality overlays.

That last one would be great for a story. Unlike many fellow prisoners your character is smart and has (had) resources. His original motivations were different. He disallowed some implants and customized one himself which cost him an eye. As opposed to feeling good and mellow like his fellow prisoners, his captors have hacked his tech such that he lives in a semihallucinatory dream world(s) overlaid (underlaid) on what is real. He has various methods to sort out real from fake when he needs to. They do not always work.

Some of the fake things can still be helpful. He does not consider them entirely fake. There are a couple of other prisoners like him. One might be him. It is a tricky world he lives in.


They just need to be held in an especially strongly built conventional prison with guards kept at a safe distance up high or behind very strong bars. The guards could also be armed with heavier calibre automatic weapons or even exploding rounds or rocket propelled munitions. Unless these cyborgs use supernatural strength or magic (in which case they might do anything) they could surely be killed by a weapon tailored for that purpose.

Other tools that might be of use would be high voltage mesh screens and powerful tranquilizer darts.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Or build at the bottom of the ocean and leave your halls open and flooded to the outside water pressure. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ Yes but building a prison at the bottom of the ocean would also work, You could even build it on the Moon or in orbit and "flood" the halls with vacuum. Or easier still a pressurised facility on the land and flood the halls with chlorine gas. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ Above land, cyborgs could survive a vacuum long enough to bust through a wall. The same goes for pressurized facilities albeit some sacrifice of other cyborgs may be needed. Not to mention in either case it's a lot easier for other cyborgs to bust their friends out. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Slarty Chlorine gas has to be removed after, which can be unpleasant. $\endgroup$
    – Mary
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ Arm the guards with rocket pistols. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyrojet Low recoil, semi or full auto, lightweight, but can pack a punch of a much larger conventional firearm. Still effective, though less accurate, when fired underwater. The downside? It has a minimum effective range since the rocket needs to pick up speed in the air. I embellished a bit from the gyrojet concept, but not outside of the feasible. $\endgroup$
    – MacGuffin
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 10:08

Underwater works for me. Have the place pressurized to the depth, this can mean the "door is left open" as a large moon pool in the floor of a room for submarines to bring in prisoners. Trying to leave by jumping in can mean one of three likely outcomes. First is simply sinking to the sea floor and eventually drowning trying to walk to the shore for being too heavy. Second is an uncontrolled ascent to the surface with a lethal case of the bends for being too light. Third is trying a controlled ascent, by attaining neutral buoyancy, but unless they have a considerable oxygen supply they suffocate before reaching the surface. Any implants or augmentations to survive underwater must be removed or hobbled before being brought to the prison.

The question on why all augmentations would not or could not be removed must be answered. One reason is the removal of anything deep in the body could result in death. With a lot of the functions of these augmentations left undocumented there will be few physicians that would even attempt to remove them. One reason is ethics, another is just simple self preservation as the operation would be dangerous for the physician. Another is removal of augmentations to the limbs would leave the prisoners crippled to where they'd need specialized care, it's just cheaper/easier to bring them to the prison as at least moderately functional humans than have attendants spoon feed them every day.

Attempts to cut any hole in the walls or ceiling simply floods the compartment. Cutting into the floor means the same hazards as leaving through the moon pool. Active and passive sonar should detect anyone approaching without permission. Other means to detect any attempts to come and go could be lidar, metal detection, and trip wires along the sea floor. Exterior defenses would be torpedos at a distance. An "electric fence" of sorts can discourage making contact with the facility, an outer hull kept at a charge from an inner hull. Completing an electrical circuit between these two hulls can weld metal bits in place, electrocute anyone or any thing, set things on fire (burning off the oxygen inside any vessel), or some other interesting outcome I might miss. Two hulls also makes it difficult to just blow a hole in the hull, the water between the two hulls will soak up a lot of heat and pressure and inhibit damage to the inner hull. Use of electric current can be used to preserve or destroy metals underwater. The wrong voltage, metal composition, or other factors can determine if this is good or bad for the integrity of a metal hull. Concrete, glass, and other nonconducting materials should be in the hull as a backup in case of a failure in the metal parts of the hull. This doesn't have to float so the walls can be thick, and being underwater means even concrete is "light" from buoyancy.

Interior defenses can be selective flooding of compartments, gassing the compartments, different kinds of electric fences, and projectile weapons of your choice. Since these augmentations need power the prisoners can be kept "starved" for fuel or electricity.

There can be all kinds of interesting ways for people to come and go, with or without permission. There's the moon pool or pools. There can be an air lock on the top so supplies can be dropped in. Anything that needs to go to the surface can be floated up. If someone tries to sneak away through this air lock will get a lethal case of decompression sickness unless protected.


More Implants

If there is the technology to make such implants, I would consider a special prison implant. This could be anything that works to keep the prisoner submissive. Bad behavior? The implant shocks the prisoner. Trying to escape, violence against the guards, prisoner tries to remove the implant? Implant shocks more or even explodes, killing the prisoner.

It could also be used to track the prisoners or study their behaviour.

As a second thought, I don't even think that the device has to be an implant. Could just be a collar as well.

  • $\begingroup$ The premise behind the movie Fortress is prisoners have an explosive implant just like you've described. $\endgroup$
    – Thorne
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 23:06

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