So I'm a dictator of the world, who seized power after a global collapse and I maintain control of the world with my giant army of killer robots - tanks, planes, androids, and so on. Things have been pretty good, and I've been able to be fairly benevolent, since no one can face down my invincible army of robots. The current designs are built to fight armies, but work pretty well suppressing rebellion. I rebuilt society to a 1950's-style tech level (except for my robot army, built by robotic factories with metals mined on the moon and difficult to scale up at this point), and I only modestly suppress free speech. Sure, there's an occasional massacre, but I really think everyone and everything is better under my rule, and want to be as kind and merciful as possible. I AM, after all, the newest incarnation of Vishnu, but I hate to make a big deal about that. All I want is to usher in the new golden age.

Only then extraterrestrials showed up, bringing disruptive technology in the form of self-replicating nanites. Some have been great (medical nanites have cured most disease) but there are nanites that transform ordinary people into "super heroes" by giving them access to extradimensional beings able to bend the laws of physics, predict the future (sorta) and manipulate probability to dodge bullets. Some are even teleporting and using telekinesis to pull down flying drones. There are serious side effects to the nanites (like alien possession and frequent insanity) so many people are reluctant to get them until they feel they have to. The nanites for heroes can be administered from a little blood, making new heroes, so things could grow out of control quickly due to the ease of transfer.

At first I could blow them up with big bombs and gas them, but the collateral damage is pretty bad, bombs were less effective than I hoped, and they are starting to use gas masks. The aliens say using nukes violates some kind of interplanetary law, and I didn't really want to destroy everyone anyway - you can't rule dead people. Throwing legions of robots at them is getting absurdly expensive and the supplies are ultimately limited. I may need to come up with some better designs, although I don't trust the engineers much. The nanites only work on people, so no super-robots or animals.

I never built a cadre of elite loyalists since I think other people are inherently untrustworthy (and I relied on my army of robots), so when I tried to make my own superheroes, it went badly (traitors!). I'm working on genetically perfect moral elites (a "master race") to carry on my legacy, but engineering morals and ethics is harder than I thought and it will be 15-20 years until I can upgrade them to heroes (what could possibly go wrong?). While I trust my robots, I don't trust true AI, despite being able to control programming. I'm expanding propaganda (mostly about how great I am), but so far, people just won't accept that I'm a great guy and they're better off with me in charge.

Meanwhile, heroes are getting out of hand. Billions of people will die if these possessed and often insane heroes take control of the world. The more I suppress the people, the faster they spread the nanites. I'm starting to think I'm not very good at being a world dictator (and self doubt is dangerous). Yet I don't want to be evil, per se.

How do I stop superheroes from disrupting my "perfect society" until my ethically perfect master race can take over and institute a 10,000 year Reich utopia?

Ideal solutions may involve engineering (my dictator would love better robot concepts), but should keep brutal suppression to a minimum. Social or technological changes could work, and the general society has minimal technology but can be upgraded in time as needed (although the optimum is keeping tech in the 1950's - I don't trust people to use it well). I'm getting a little desperate, so temporary fixes can work until my master race comes on line.

If things get too out of control, I'll have to abandon Earth in my stolen alien spacecraft, purge the unclean in nuclear fire (alien laws be damned) and rebuild elsewhere. Please help me save the Earth from destruction!

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    $\begingroup$ You don't want to bother with the superheroes. You want to stop the spread of an extraterrestrial disease. The nanites are effectively a virus, so get your infectious disease experts involved $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Mar 10, 2021 at 6:01
  • $\begingroup$ @nzaman There's a kernel of an answer there, although the superheroes are the symptom AND the source of nanites. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Mar 10, 2021 at 6:03
  • $\begingroup$ They're patients zero, one, two...till whatever number of infected you have. They are infected and spreading the virus. If it spreads through blood, you have existing HIV protocols to deal with them... unless your 1950 technology purge rolled back medical advances as well $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Mar 10, 2021 at 6:11
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH The actual dictator is inspired by esoteric National socialism, a weird pseudo-Hindu/pseudo-Nazi ideology that Adolph Hitler's descendant is the Vishnu avatar Kalki, and will descend from Thule (in this case, a moon base) to liberate the world in it's hour of need to end the Kali Yuga and bring about the golden age with his flying saucers (I can't make that up, it's too weird). Certainly he believes he's benevolent, and wants to institute an Aryan Brahman caste system because humans aren't worthy of self-government. Only he's been transparent with everyone about it - oops. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Mar 10, 2021 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexanderNied: Maybe he just wants children? youtu.be/iSZJbJ4Mfis?t=57 $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Mar 12, 2021 at 4:43

7 Answers 7


At the times of Roman Empire they knew that to keep the masses at rest w.r.t. to political agitations, they needed to give them panem et circenses

"Bread and circuses" (or bread and games; from Latin: panem et circenses) is a metonymic phrase referring to superficial appeasement. It is attributed to Juvenal, a Roman poet active in the late first and early second century CE — and is used commonly in cultural, particularly political, contexts.

In a political context, the phrase means to generate public approval, not by excellence in public service or public policy, but by diversion, distraction or by satisfying the most immediate or base requirements of a populace — by offering a palliative: for example food (bread) or entertainment (circuses).

That lesson has been quite successfully put into practice also by modern governments, which managed to keep their power as long as they could meet those needs: if I can buy a new smartphone every 10 months, do I really want to worry about that guy being imprisoned for saying something against the leader?

Do the same. With your capabilities you should be able to provide panem et circenses to your people and keep them sufficiently happy to not worry about deeper things.

Even non-dictators use the same concept for their election campaign: one of the most famous in the recent years has been Clinton's "It's the economy, stupid"

"The economy, stupid" is a phrase coined by James Carville in 1992. It is often quoted from a televised quip by Carville as "It’s the economy, stupid." Carville was a strategist in Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign against incumbent George H. W. Bush. His phrase was directed at the campaign's workers and intended as one of three messages for them to focus on. The others were "Change vs. more of the same" and "Don't forget health care."

Clinton's campaign advantageously used the then-prevailing recession in the United States as one of the campaign's means to successfully unseat George H. W. Bush. In March 1991, days after the ground war in Kuwait, 90% of polled Americans approved of President Bush's job performance. Later the next year, Americans' opinions had turned sharply; 64% of polled Americans disapproved of Bush's job performance in August 1992.

Another example can be found in the attempted assassination of Italian Communist Party leader Palmiro Togliatti in 1948

On 14 July 1948, Togliatti was shot three times, being severely wounded by Antonio Pallante, a strongly anti-communist fascist student; his life hung in the balance for days and news about his condition was uncertain, causing an acute political crisis in Italy (which included a general strike called by the Italian General Confederation of Labour)

According to some journals, Gino Bartali's victory at the Tour de France the same day helped calming the riots.

It was during that Tour that the leader of the Italian Communist Party, Palmiro Togliatti, was shot in the neck by a sniper as he was leaving the parliament building. The writer Bernard Chambaz said:

History and myth united, and a miracle if you like because that evening Bartali got a phone call at his hotel. In a bad mood, dubious, he didn't want to answer. But someone whispered that it was Alcide de Gasperi, his old friend from Catholic Action, now parliamentary president, who told him that Palmiro Togliatti, secretary-general of the communist party, had been shot at and had survived by a miracle. The situation in the peninsula was very tense amid the ravages of the Cold War. Italy needed Bartali to do what he best knew how to do, to win stages.

The communists occupied factories and radio and television stations, and angry rows in parliament came close to blows. A revolt was looming. Then Bartali won three stages in a row and led the Tour by 14 minutes. An obituary says:

Just as it seemed the communists would stage a full-scale revolt, a deputy ran into the chamber shouting 'Bartali's won the Tour de France!' All differences were at once forgotten as the feuding politicians applauded and congratulated each other on a cause for such national pride. That day, with immaculate timing, Togliatti awoke from his coma on his hospital bed, inquired how the Tour was going and recommended calm. All over the country political animosities were for the time being swept aside by the celebrations and a looming crisis was averted.

The former prime minister, Giulio Andreotti said: "To say that civil war was averted by a Tour de France victory is surely excessive. But it is undeniable that on that 14th of July of 1948, day of the attack on Togliatti, Bartali contributed to easing the tensions."

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So free televisions and shows about evil insane supervillains? Tough to demonize the actual aliens who cured disease and cancer, but not impossible. Giant killer robots don't play well, but maybe in a sort of Judge Dredd impartial justice way. Sponsor sports teams? $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Mar 10, 2021 at 6:10
  • $\begingroup$ just say the reason they got rid of disease and cancer is an attempt to make healthier humans to work as better slaves and you should be fine $\endgroup$
    – zackit
    Mar 10, 2021 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ @DWKraus I suppose you could turn the message around. You criticize the aliens for using their nanites as their own form of panem et circenses as the first step in their attempt to dominate humanity. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Mar 12, 2021 at 20:51

Take inspiration from an expert and DARVO your way out.

I really don't want this to come across a either a positive or negative political commentary on 2016-2020 USA, but there really was a genius at the helm when it comes to defending yourself against an external threat like this.

You need to make a decent chunk of your population angry enough to do things not in their own self interest. And getting people to storm buildings at great risk to their own life & liberty even though its not in their self-interest to do so is a perfect example of the behavior you want.

And after you've done it once, and you've forced a superhero to kill normal people in self defence, play that footage on the nightly news every night. Dedicate statues to every true patriot who gave their life fighting the "fascist" supes.

The easiest way to do this is via social media - get 1000 low-paid interns cranking out the propaganda in meme form 24/7.

Get Trump's library of tweets. Replace all the offensive variations of "Liberal" and "Socialist" with equivalent words representing the "supe freaks" . You need to demonise over and over, blame them for everything from the national debt to a sports team losing.

"Those nanites mess with their brains, take away their sense of right and wrong!". Proof to the contrary is just "Super-moron propaganda!". "Overpowered-nanite crazies coming here to hurt you and I'm protecting you!"

Typically an argument used in this case is "think of women and children". "Who will defend your wife when some nanite-injecting junkie comes to rape her in the middle of the night? He's super powered your bullets will just bounce right off him! The cops can't do anything, he can just take who and what he wants!" ... "And how will you fight the super nutcase when he returns the next night to kidnap your innocent child?"

Set up your own Qanon pointing out what those crazy demon-worshiping nanite-junkies are doing in the basements of pizza shops with abducted children. If they show proof they're not - well that's "fake news".

The golden rule:

  • Deny anything that makes you look bad or superheros look good.
  • Attack anyone who believes that as a fool for believing the propaganda.
  • Reverse Victim and Offender. Swap yourself and the superhero. You're the hero fighting for your people, those nanite freaks are the real villains.
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    $\begingroup$ Reverse Victim and Offender. Swap yourself and the superhero. You're the hero fighting for your people, those nanite freaks are the real villains. Our benevolent dictator's OP is already doing just that $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Mar 10, 2021 at 7:07
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    $\begingroup$ @nzaman - barely, partial credit for what hes done so far. He needs to crank it up to trump levels if he wants any chance of keeping his kingdom. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Mar 10, 2021 at 10:44
  • $\begingroup$ Who's talking about his kingdom? I'm talking about the posted question. We only have one side of the story and no independent confirmation. All we know for sure is that the alien nanites cured most diseases $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Mar 10, 2021 at 10:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @nzaman that's fake news. The OP isn't doing enough to defend us from this threat. If he was you and I would already be locked up just for spreading the harmful idea that OP anything less than a perfect leader. $\endgroup$ Mar 10, 2021 at 18:15

The Incas had an app for that.

A variation on plain old Hostaging.

Inca leaders were dispersed across the empire...but their families were required to live in the capital under the emperor's thumb. Loyalty was rewarded: The children were raised to be the next generation of the empire's ruling class. Disloyalty was punished severely upon the loved ones.

The Inca also cleverly distributed power among the leaders out in the village: The chain of command for military leadership was completely separate from the civil authority for growing food, maintaining roads, and providing resources for the army. The two had to cooperate (to keep their families alive), and each had incentive to squeal if their counterpart became disloyal.

These can be adapted.

"SuperFellow, I want to put you in charge of mitigating all natural disasters in Asia. Save as many of our people from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and asteroid strikes and tsunamis and forest fires and floods as you possibly can.

Your job does NOT involve fighting crime or using your powers against people. Let the police handle the petty criminals.

Your parents and your girlfriend (and her family) will be perfectly safe here, and you should definitely drop by and visit them on your days off. Everybody needs their family."

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is not too different from what Europeans did. There would often be "hostage exchanges" between heads of states. Some times this is after a war ends but other times it's as part of a peace treaty. The "hostages" would be the children of the rulers and would be treated very well - given good education, looked after and so on. Really far from being locked in a dark cell. However, it was still a deterrent from the opposing rulers taking hostile actions. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Mar 10, 2021 at 14:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As having "hostages" internally within the state - the Romans practised it. That was different from taking hostages from foreign rulers but very similar in the end - noble families would want their progeny in the court. Maybe not their heirs but certainly their other children. They could at the very least try to curry favours there or hear information that's valuable. Conversely, when there is a family member in the court, the nobles would do very well to behave, lest the family member be removed or worse. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Mar 10, 2021 at 14:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No, it's not too different from what many other courts practiced. I used the Inca example precisely because it's very clear. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Mar 10, 2021 at 14:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If you allow the superheroes direct access to their loved ones, then they could empower said loved ones at any time and help them break out. Maybe limit them to videoconferences? $\endgroup$
    – MJ713
    Mar 10, 2021 at 21:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MJ713 seems perhaps counterproductive. If SuperFellow and his girlfriend break up due to the stress of a videoconference-only relationship, she becomes worthless as a hostage...and (more importantly) the Dictator loses one of his holds over the hero. That can turn an apolitical superhero into a super-powered rebel. One hopes that a successful Dictator of Earth would be a little smarter (and a little less openly villainous) than that. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Mar 10, 2021 at 21:18

It sounds like your benevolent dictatorship is in need of a stronger ministry of truth (AKA Propaganda) with some different goals. Instead of focusing propaganda on how great you are, which is likely debatable, you need to focus on how evil the supers are. With two intended outcomes.

One, keep the civilian population against the supers. They may not like you, but you are the only thing keeping those bad people from destroying everyone's lives. This is a tried and true method, if the people are convinced that the opposing force is that bad, they will not only suffer deprivations, but will themselves go along with extreme solutions. The ends justifying the means is often accepted. Also this is likely to prevent the population from willingly becoming supers themselves.

Two, cause dissent among the supers themselves. If the powered individuals are fighting (and killing) each other, they are doing your work for you. Also super on super fights will likely have a lot of collateral damage, which is clearly not your fault, and will cause more of the population to turn against all of them. Sure, Superdude is generally cool, but he did knock down that building killing thousands while fighting UltraBadMan.

Some ideas:

  • Framing is important, stop calling them heroes, they may be super but they are not heroes they are super villains who are outright evil, or they are infected with an alien disease.

  • All casualties in the fight against the heroes is their fault. It's not that your bombs used to kill these villains are causing a lot of civilian casualties, it's those evil supers using human shields and killing civilians.

  • As much as you love your robot armies, you need to have people in your armed forces. If you want they can still be in the minority and lack power, they aren't there to win, they are there to die. Nothing makes the enemy look worse then casualties on your side. The civilian population doesn't care if dozens of drones are shot down hunting these terrorist supers, but when these brave men and women of your armed forces are killed in their peacekeeping efforts, people will be outraged. Care is needed here, too many casualties or casualties that reflect poorly on your military's strategy can backfire and result in the populace turning against you. This can be mostly mitigated by the use of a volunteer military force, no conscripts or drafts, and the careful control of information allowing you to properly frame any casualties.

  • You need a vaccine! Nanites made them, nanites can unmake them. Start an effort to reverse engineer the nanites and make countermeasures. This plays well to a general strategy of treating the super-maker nanites as a disease. If you can make people immune to becoming super powered or cure those already changed you have a whole new toolbox of ways to deal with the problem. If your R and D capacity is limited, try and convince the aliens to do it. If the nanites are actually driving supers insane, I expect you wouldn't even need to use outright lies to make the case that these nanites are causing huge problems which they have an ethical responsibility to fix.


Your whole problem here can be broken down into these 3 basic principles:

I trust my robots ... The nanites only work on people... I don't trust people

But there is a 4th issue that almost every other answer ignores. If your robots were strong enough to suppress humanity when we had more advanced technology, but robots are too weak to stop a super uprising, then the general population is much too weak to do anything about a super uprising. So, all of the answers that involve propaganda or public support are pointless. You NEED something capable of combating supers, and in this scenario, the only way to do that is to get your own supers and fast. If you wait 15-20 years, you will already be overthrown. The rebel supers do not need popular support to do this because they are too strong to be opposed by the populus.

The closest answers that will actually work for you are those that give you leverage to control a super, but none of those levels of control are as reliable as a Robot. If you hostage a super's family he may choose to attack to get that family back instead of being controlled, or he may make a decision where he sacrifices the needs of the few for the needs of them many which is the exact kind of free will issue that the dictator can not afford to risk.

So, to really get the desired outcome, you must put your trusty Robots in direct control of human superpowers.

Use Human Hosts

If your robots themselves can not have super powers, then perhaps you could use them to control people who do by making cyborgs. First, you take a normal person and break their neck before you make him into a super so that he is paralyzed. Then you plug the disabled super into the robot and the robot stimulates the super's body using electrical impulses of its own to activate the super's powers at will. In this way, the robot is calling all the shots, and the human element is trapped inside of the robot with no actual free will of his own, only kept alive by the robot's life support features.

This is already pretty much doable with today's technology; so, if you assume the dictator retained all scientific research for himself before plunging humanity into a 1950's dark age, then you can assume he has access to things that allow him to control the body in fine detail using spinal implants allowing the robot to control and active all of the super's physical abilities, and things that can read the super's mind allowing it to take advantage of things like precognition. Because the nanites down signal from the brain are receiving input and accepting output via the Human's nervous system, they can not tell the difference between a command coming from the human brain, and something coming from the robot (Think man-in-the-middle attack for those of you who know about cyber security).

So, your robots are basically your stereotypical exo-suit, except that you have the robot piloting the person instead of the other way around. In a worst case scenario, another super destroys the the exosuit leaving the remaining super paralyzed and unable to breath resulting in a quick death; so, you don't need to worry about the super-cyborgs regaining their free will and becoming a threat.

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Caveats to be Mindful of

Your Benevolent Image: If this goes against your "benevolent" image, you could probably get away with repurposing people who are already quadriplegic. Your exosuit would allow them to walk again, and even give him some of his normal life back, but the Robot part could take control of his actions at will filtering out any signals intended to activate his super powers, and taking over completely whenever there is a battle to fight. In this way, your human hosts are volunteers who benefit from the procedure rather than unwitting victims.

Some super powers are off limits: These cyborg supers may still be a notch below some of the human supers because you have to be mindful of what exact powers you give them. You can not give them super healing or their spine might fix itself and you can not give them powers that are projected by the head itself or you can not intercept control of it. This second limitation may not be an issue through. While the thought to engage a power like telekinesis might originate in the brain, your brain does not make for a good antenna. The thing that actually projects the power may well be in the super's chest, hands, or feet in which case, even powers that we perceive as being mental may in fact still be interceptable for use.

It's also possible that your cyborgs can do things that supers can not. For example, the human brain is only designed to be able to pay attention to a relatively small number of things at at time. While a human super might have a few extra powers, cyborgs may have certain cognitive advantages to counter them.

So Cyborgs can be supers, but they will not have the exact same tool kit as a human super. You can scale this to meet the needs of your story. Maybe you want the cyborgs to be horrible mega-supers driven by inhuman processing power able to chain abilities in ways that a human can't in which case they become BBGs that take entire hero teams to take down, or they may be limited by only being able to host certain powers to the point that it still takes several cyborgs to take down a single hero. How you balance this is up to you, but both scenarios can be easily justified.

The Super's actions are not his own: as a bonus plot hook, you could consider ways that the will of the head and body are independent from one another. The body could be mercilessly smashing a hero against a wall while the face cries in horror, unable to look away from what his body is being made to do. This could even work against the heros who might recognize that the cyborgs contain innocent people making them less willing to just smash through them the way they would with a normal soulless robot.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The point is to STOP supers, not create new ones. That leaves aside whether inorganic robots get any benefit from nanites designed for humans $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Mar 10, 2021 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ @nzaman the OP clearly says that he TRUSTS his robots, but not people or advanced AIs and that he wants to make supers he can trust, but that will take too long. If the robots can be made super, then that eliminates the trust issue making it an ideal solution. Nanites need to bond with living tissue, this just gives him the tissue he needs. If it's an issue of needing hormones or impulses to activate the nanites, those can be built into the containment chamber using technology less advanced than military robots. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Mar 10, 2021 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ @nzaman But... if you find that unsatisfactory, I've added a second option that should better address how "inorganic robots get any benefit from nanites designed for humans" if you find the blood bank option a stretch. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Mar 10, 2021 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ If blood alone would activate the nanites, there would be nothing to stop them from jumping across species--blood is blood. All you need is a mosquito feeding on a superpowered human-->instant Super Mosquito--faster than a speeding palm and twice as annoying. It also ignores that the nanites affect the cognitive ability of the victims as part of giving them power. We don't know if this is an unintended side effect or part of the empowerment process. How would your robot get any benefits from, say, telepathy/telekinesis or physical enhancements? How would it control external effects, e.g. fire? $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Mar 11, 2021 at 3:42
  • $\begingroup$ @nzaman Human and animal blood is very different, this is why you can't receive a blood transfusion from a cat. If the aliens programed the nanites to only bond to human DNA, then you're blood bank solutions gives it that Human DNA. I've Added citations and relevant details for your other concerns.. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Mar 11, 2021 at 17:20

Aliens are creepy.

  1. Aliens are creepy. You need help getting the populace suspicious of aliens? Freaky human eating cow mutilating experimentally probing aliens? How to serve Man? You are already with 1950s tech. Bust out the 1950s scary alien stuff! You dont lay out what the agenda of the aliens is but apparently it is opposed to yours.

  2. Make your own superheroes. / The nanites for heroes can be administered from a little blood, making new heroes/ Fight fire with fire, you know. You have all the good stuff people want like food and booze and warm houses and sweet rides and jewels. Make a few of your own superheroes with the nanites. They will be good for stuff giant robots can't do because they are giant, and robots.

  3. You are a reasonable overlord! If the superheroes are getting the upper hand in an area and the people are behind them, then be magnanimous. You were only trying to give the people a better life. You understand they no longer want your services. If they prefer to be ruled by superheroes in this country, you will graciously cede power to the superheroes. Then withdraw your troops and cease administering the area.

It will be Iraq after the fall of Saddam. The superheroes will have their work cut out for them governing the populace. It is a lot easier to fight giant robots than to settle feuding old families.

When the people beg for you to come back, make them ask nicely. Perhaps do a little dance.

  • $\begingroup$ I considered option 3 (for exactly those reasons), but was worried they would turn the entire population into supers with the resulting chaos, or would use it as the base for organized resistance. The actual aliens are fairly incompetent (except the really nasty extradimensional ones, and those can easily be viewed as demons). Making my own supers didn't work so well, which is why I'm waiting for my more trustworthy master race before trying THAT again (shudder!) $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Mar 10, 2021 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ I COULD try creating a bunch of the worst, most disbalanced scum possible, then loose them on the world to sow fear and distrust of supers, though...(handwashing) $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Mar 10, 2021 at 22:18

You've got a large robot workforce, who're immune to spreading nanites. Your robots are even immune to mind-control.

If you can detect nanites in humans, then there are simple solutions.

Put everyone in their own individual box, and test them.

Anyone not in their underground, individual coffin box, gets nuked. You monitor each box for teleports trying to squeeze in. Anything outside is fair game, hunt down anyone who resists; as they're likely supers (or want to be) and liquidate them - while you feed your docile population in their cyrosleep via tubes and smaller-than-human-sized robots. In addition, you'll also be (indirectly) eliminating or reducing cleithrophobia and claustrophobia from your remaining population.

You can leave your population in cyro while doing a cleansing operation, and they'll barely notice it - for example, you could spend a couple centuries cleaning up the fallout and repopulating nature. You, personally, can skip forward - coming out for an hour every other week for a total age-loss of 26 hours per year. Just a little under a season's worth of time and you'll have skipped a century (or up to 6 months if you need to sleep in real time vs being rested in cyro), while not letting anything go for more than 2 weeks without your eye on it.

Of course have robots set to wake you up whenever an anomaly shows up in the monitors/data capture, or if an emergency goes down. If you want, have minions awake, and have them monitoring each other for disloyalty, and don't let them know when you're actually awake. Smite some every once in awhile to keep the others on their toes, and fearful. For added protection, keep your cyro durations random, versus scheduled.

If you don't want to go whole hawg, set up testing in every building, and every transport. Deploy your CCTVs, drones and algorithms to monitor and track every person (like ARGUS in the US). Anyone who shows anomalous behavior, back-track in the records and if you can't lay hands on them, just take out everyone in the surrounding blocks and interrogate (like Nazis in WW2). Put plants in the innocent bystanders' places, and capture the suspects when they return. Of course, some paranoid supers may never sleep in the same place, and have no friends - but with a halfway decent (dis)information campaign (I mean, they're purposefully risking insanity and possession by alien entities - so it's not even fake news!), they'll soon get tripped up by some stranger who'll call a tip-line for a reward; because these rebels have been stripped from any friendship/social-network by being vagrants/losing all their friends and relatives to your purg...investigations.

You've provided shelter for the homeless, as well as social workers, and insane asylums that're well-staffed - so there is no reason for anyone to be homeless - and no homeless population for rebels and vagrants to blend into. Anyone out after dark (or on Sundays - I mean, you've got blue laws, correct?), is pulled in for questioning. There's no reason to work all hours of the day/night, as the robots can handle the economy.

Of course, you've removed money, correct? It's all crypto-currency; that has every transaction logged permanently. There will be no way to get a new identity that can access crypto-transactions (wallets aren't allowed to be self-generated - even if you didn't to start, you can force everyone to confirm their wallets, and any transaction that doesn't go to a registered citizen gets a hunter-killer strike on it, as soon as it's registered) - and thus the rebels will have nothing but stolen goods, which they can only barter. Of course, bartering is illegal. Everything gets sold and paid out in crypto/work-units, so it can be taxed.

Your police force should be tracking down robberies. Give every cop a robot buddy, to help with the lawless, insane supers (and to surreptitiously keep an eye on the cops, so they don't get any blood on them/consort with terrorists). Same with doctors, hospitals, firefighters, and paramedics.

  • $\begingroup$ No cryostasis (the tech isn't there, but could be developed from alien devices with time). No internet so no cryptocurrency (1950's tech). Indeed no homeless, as everyone is either cured of diseases, guaranteed employment, or kept in protective confinement. Nanites are very challenging to spot since everyone ever treated for a serious illness will have the healing version, but not impossible. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Mar 10, 2021 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ Internet is possible in 1950, just not fun - unless you've removed telephony and televisions. And you have giant robots, so you have computing power, if you want to let the population have it. You can also drug people in unconsciousness, and or give them bigger cells; just have to cleanse the surface quicker / keep in bunkers afterwards. $\endgroup$
    – user83143
    Mar 10, 2021 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ And if you don't want crypto, that's fine - you can still remove money. Direct vouchers worked for Nazis and Communists - there's then no ability to move around and pay for things on the sly, so everyone stays in their district/place. Anyone who's attempting to skirt those laws, is obviously a rebel - and aiding rebels means you suffer their fate. Since they're insane; most people are going to report them. Decent police states existed quite easily prior to the 1950s. Your robots can be clearing-houses for all transactions, for example. $\endgroup$
    – user83143
    Mar 10, 2021 at 21:52

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