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I'm thinking of creating a story where a relatively peaceful species is capable of taking themselves apart and then putting themselves back together again in a different place. Because of this, a group of different species has banded together to use this power to achieve Faster-than-Light technology (or as close as possible), which they haven't even come close to. As of right now I've decided they cannot "transport" themselves off planet and so are relatively stuck on their home planet (maybe because of the distance, or lack of direction in space, atmosphere, etc.)

I need to know if it's possible (or if there are ideas of fake technology to make this possible) for 1. The enslavers to catch them 2. The enslavers to KEEP THEM IN ONE PLACE (basically if it's possible to keep them enslaved)

They are also more than willing to kill a few hundred of them if need be, and are using a genetically engineered army to do their bidding (as in, kidnap and kill when they have to)

Bonus to anyone Who can tell me if this race of being is even possible, And why they wouldn't be able to transport themselves off planet.

More info will be added if needed!!

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    $\begingroup$ Slavery is mental, not physical. You need to know how to break them down generation to generation. Whether via fear, violence, hypnosis/brainwashing, indentured servitude, or any other means, if you cannot enslave the mind, they will escape. $\endgroup$ – Fayth85 Sep 4 '16 at 23:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Niko May I suggest having a herd animal be capable of doing this teleportation? Their innate herd mentality would make them rematerialise next to each other. Rig up something to scare all of them and just keep an eye out for where the first creature rematerialises, now get over there and maybe you can catch the 5th or 6th one. Assuming it doesn't rematerialise in you... Unless you are talking about a sapient race then that's a different matter, why are they not cooperating then? $\endgroup$ – Skye Sep 5 '16 at 12:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Sky - Enslavement implies sapience, I think. Otherwise wouldn't "domestication" be the more appropriate term? $\endgroup$ – aroth Sep 5 '16 at 13:24
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    $\begingroup$ Just pay them, hire them for work - best known slavery strategy. $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Sep 5 '16 at 20:53

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Make them want to help you (and leave them no real choice)

This is basically an extension of @Fayth85's comment.

Your creatures have a limitation in that they can only teleport around their own planet. Meaning you eliminate their ability to escape if you can convince them that nowhere on their planet is safe or that you'll render their entire planet uninhabitable if they don't comply with your wishes. Or if you actually render their planet largely uninhabitable.

Since you've got a Galactic Alliance of sorts, with lots of different alien species involved, and since your teleporters don't seem to be spacefaring yet, why not mount a bit of a false-flag operation? Have one species of aliens come in, give a brief warning and targeting list (so that the teleporters can reach your nominated safe-havens), and then lay waste to the planet with radiological or other weapons that render specific areas of it completely uninhabitable for long periods of time. Now all the teleporters will be clustered in a small number of "collection-centers" that weren't on your targeting list.

Next it's time for one of your other alien species (or all the rest of them) to come in and save the day. They rock up and make a show of (just barely) driving off the evil alien invaders. Once the dust settles, the saviors have to deliver the harsh "truth" to your species of teleporters:

  • No, we don't have any way of undoing the damage that was done to your planet; large portions of it are now permanently uninhabitable. Without external aid to provide food and clean water, much of your population is likely to die over the coming weeks and months due to shortages.
  • Yes, we're the good guys and we managed to drive off the attackers, but only just barely and the fact of the matter is that we're in a long-standing war with those guys, and we're losing the broader conflict.
  • We want to provide continued aid in the form of defense, food, water, and medical support, but are stretched thin by our ongoing, losing conflict with the attackers, and can only provide those things if you're willing to join our Alliance and agree to provide us with troops to help in the war effort.
  • If you cannot agree to our terms, then we must leave immediately because the losses we've sustained in our unsuccessful attempt to save your world are already too great, and the resources are direly needed elsewhere. We cannot guarantee that the attackers won't return after we're gone, to finish what they started.

Then the rest pretty much takes care of itself. You get local "recruits" that you subject to military-style discipline, and keep on a "need to know" basis (and what they need to know is basically nothing). You "discover", to much fanfare, that their unique ability to teleport has FTL travel implications that could turn the tide of the war in your favor. You keep your recruits in dark engine-room boxes where they power your interstellar spacecraft, and feed them some occasional stories about how, because of their efforts, you just glassed an enemy planet and got them some revenge for what was done to their world.

They'll help you because they want revenge. They'll help you out of gratitude for saving their planet and keeping their species alive. They'll help you out of peer-pressure from the planet-side members of the species, because "service is a great honor". They'll help you out of fear that you'll cast them aside to the brutal attackers if they don't. They'll help you because once they join your "army", you control everything that they see and hear, and you're devious when it comes to propaganda and manipulation.

They'll be your slaves, but they won't realize it. And all it cost you was some theatrics and a ship full of fresh supplies every now and then, plus the ethical quandary of rendering most of a planet uninhabitable to further your technological ambitions.

And if they ever manage to discover the truth, what of it? Most of their world is ruined, they can't use their power to hide, they're dependent upon you for their continued survival, and you can cut them off at any time. You have all the leverage in the world.

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    $\begingroup$ Detailed and dark $\endgroup$ – Sarfaraaz Sep 5 '16 at 6:59
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    $\begingroup$ It's evil and I love it. $\endgroup$ – fyrepenguin Sep 5 '16 at 18:51
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    $\begingroup$ "And if they ever manage to discover the truth, what of it?". Well, maybe they will ally with your real enemies and help them destroy you. $\endgroup$ – Oriol Sep 6 '16 at 0:38
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps. But you control all access to their world, and your enemies won't have FTL capabilities until they can change that. And at least some (if not most) of the teleporters in your dark engine rooms won't find out about the shift in alliance, and maybe you've already used some of them to spin up a clandestine cloning/breeding program, allowing you to create your own supply of the creatures, who can then be systematically indoctrinated into servitude from birth. A few generations, and you can breed/genetically-engineer out that troublesome tendency towards free-will. $\endgroup$ – aroth Sep 6 '16 at 0:55
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    $\begingroup$ ahh, you beat me with the Noghris. But do you remember how that ended: "But ... it was so artistically done."? And they could not "blink" as the species described here - not to mention how to prevent them from accessing the information, if they can go anywhere as long its within one planet. $\endgroup$ – Shamis Sep 6 '16 at 15:07
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The tricky part is to catch them, but you can knock them unconscious (sleeping gas or something like that), then it will be easy to collect them. After that, feed them poison that needs a daily antidote (which you have, of course). It doesn't physically stop them from running away, but will kill anyone who attempts to and thus, keeps them in one place.

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    $\begingroup$ simple and effective +1 $\endgroup$ – XenoDwarf Sep 5 '16 at 1:07
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    $\begingroup$ Could be risky. Any who run get 24 hours to either find the antidote or reach a medical facility advanced enough to keep them alive without the antidote (or place them in stasis/cryosleep until an antidote can be synthesized, etc.). Even if the first few escape attempts fail, all you need is for one member of the species to succeed in synthesizing the antidote and then they can instantly 1) inform all your slaves, and 2) have the slaves teleport out to somewhere that can immediately provide them with the antidote. $\endgroup$ – aroth Sep 5 '16 at 5:37
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, that is why you need to always move the place with antidote and keep the location secret $\endgroup$ – Oleksandr Firsov Sep 5 '16 at 7:26
  • $\begingroup$ And everything should have authorization. Bio scans or something. Especially weapons - imagine what havoc can wreak a teleporting person with a gun. Shorten the time of the poison, gain more control. $\endgroup$ – Oleksandr Firsov Sep 5 '16 at 7:37
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    $\begingroup$ @aroth you don't know how evolved those lifeforms are... if they allow to be enslaved probably they are probably less evolved (from a technological standpoint at least)... $\endgroup$ – wannabeLearner Sep 5 '16 at 17:37
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The "Long Earth" series by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter covers almost this exact premise, except that the species in question can instantly transport themselves to parallel planets. There are certain conditions surrounding this transportation though (possible spoiler):

In this series, ferrous metals do not transport. One of the species invented a mechanism to stop prisoners transportation away by using a spring loaded device which kills the wearer if a metal pin is removed. They put these on the prisoners (memory is hazy but I believe by knocking them out first), and if the wearer does attempt to transport away the metal pin stays behind and they are killed by the mechanism as they arrive at their destination.

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    $\begingroup$ just the answer I was going to give! I would also mention the Artemis Fowl series where demons are trapped inside a pocket galaxy with silver bracelets. The problem with this idea however, is for the enslaved species to be useful, they must be able to teleport, which this would prevent them doing. Anytime you want them to teleport, you have to remove the device and hope they come back. $\endgroup$ – Tom Doyle Sep 5 '16 at 11:49
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The basic premise here is that these creatures (I'm going to call them zappers because I like the name and I don't know what else to call them) can take themselves apart and rebuild themselves elsewhere. For this to happen in any kind of reasonable time and with any kind of reasonable accuracy we must assume that the zappers use different particles. When the zapper takes itself apart, it retains a pattern, a grocery list of all the particles it will need to resemble its physical form. The essence of the zapper then travels to its destination where it collects the necessary particles from its new surroundings, reforming itself. For this model to work, the zapper must have some part, the essence, which is not taken apart during teleportation. This essence must move quickly, must be able to pass through air and objects, and must be capable of recalling matter to it. The best choice for this kind of essence is energy, preferably in the form of electricity. This packet of electricity contains all the zapper's memories and personality, as well as the code for its physical body. When the zapper teleports, the electrical essence zaps to the new location almost instantaneously and reforms the body, leaving the conscious zapper unaware of the process. Depending on how aware you want the zappers to be, you could make the essence record the body as it was upon destruction, or as it was originally. The former will allow the zapper to retain such distinctions as scars and tattoos, the latter will allow the zapper to heal whenever he teleports.

With this model in mind, there is a very simple way to prevent teleporting: insulated rooms. Just as we humans coat metal tools in rubber to prevent electrocution, a thick rubber wall will stop the zapper essences from leaving the room, giving them no choice but to reform within the walls. At best, they might be able to zap from one side of the room to the other, but with small enough room, this shouldn't be a problem. As mentioned, slavery is a state of mind as well as a state of being, so within a few generations, the zappers shouldn't need to be contained in this way, except, perhaps, as punishment. To capture a zapper, all one needs is a localized chemical reaction that consumes energy. Basically, all you have to do is fire a drained battery at the zapper, then pick it up and carry it home. When you're ready to let it out, just reverse the reaction, releasing the energy. This might wreck havoc on the zapper's memories and personality (but that's really up to you to decide how resistant the zappers' essences are) but somehow I doubt the enslaving race will be too troubled by that. This also makes zappers easy to transport and store, an ideal quality in an enslaved race. If the storing does destroy some or all of the zapper's personality, so much the better for enslavement.

The reason zappers can't teleport off-planet is that space is simply too empty. Under the pressures of their planet's atmosphere, the zapper essences can hold themselves together for the brief periods of time in which they are loose energy, but in space, the pull is far too great. The essences just fly apart, lost to space in a thousand directions. Not to mention, even if the essence could get where it was going it wouldn't be able to find all the particles it would need to recreate its body. Maybe if it made it to another planet, but there are still no guarantees, not to mention the zapper would have to know where it was going in order to get there. It certainly couldn't reform in space.

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  • $\begingroup$ yes, was thinking along the lines of some sort of shield as well, either physical or energy. Individuals can be held in shielded cells, and entire population groups restricted to limited areas by larger shields covering cities or towns. $\endgroup$ – jwenting Sep 5 '16 at 11:16
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Put them in public schooling. Really. (Really really, read about John Dewey in China if you don't believe me.)

Otherwise you need a way to harm them when they reconstitute.

The slavemaster race could use something like a slave collar (as in Fallout or the Long Earth), that would trigger when they reappear. That could be as simple as tracking environmental changes. In fact, there is probably a change in air pressure when they transapparate.

The slavemasters' ability to confine them in one place would likely depend on how much progress they have made on their FTL technology, because learning how the creatures move would also show them how to stop the movement.

Edit: Forgot to mention the most basic method of keeping slaves throughout history. Hunt the runaways.

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    $\begingroup$ Think of Dobby the house-elf in Harry Potter, and one must agree that this is really a way to enslave a race. $\endgroup$ – cytsunny Sep 5 '16 at 5:08
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    $\begingroup$ and convince them that there's benefits to working with the masters in hunting down the escapees. No more ruthless slave hunters than other slaves willing to do whatever it takes to gain favours.\ $\endgroup$ – jwenting Sep 5 '16 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for "slave collar", but this answer could be improved by explaining more of what it's talking about, and relying less on references to books that contain the explanations. $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Sep 6 '16 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ You need to explain that first paragraph. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Sep 6 '16 at 14:08
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In the book series "Jumper", the main character is able to teleport as well.
Spoiler

In the second book, he is captured. To keep him in one place they install a device inside of him, which within a specific radius does nothing. However, beyond that radius, the device induces a feeling of nausea leading to vomiting, involuntary defecation and a pain throughout the body.
They could put this radius effect wherever they pleased, so he can only teleport there. It became automatic, outside the radius he couldn't even think, he just jumped back inside the radius.

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  • $\begingroup$ This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review $\endgroup$ – Vincent Sep 5 '16 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ I think it does... $\endgroup$ – lois6b Sep 5 '16 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ This shows how to stop teleportation, so I think it far within the OP's parameters $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Sep 5 '16 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ This answer was helpful to me, actually. Gives me more ideas to play around with!! $\endgroup$ – Anaïs Sep 5 '16 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ This and Farkas Seven's answer are essentially the same — ankle bracelets. (As per this answer, I recommend surgically implanting the devices.) I suggest two sensors (1) proximity to some sort of base station, and (2) GPS, with a list of allowed locations. If a slave strays from where he's supposed to be, the device can inflict pain, inject drugs to render him unconscious, and/or escalate to lethal responses. Of course all this falls apart if the teleporters are able to teleport their bodies and leave implants/attachments behind. $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Sep 6 '16 at 1:43
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A) .1 They use a secondary factor to take themselves apart, like a quantum nutrient. If the oppressors take away access to this nutrient, they could prevent them from traveling.

.2 They wouldn't be able to transport themselves off planet because each 'jump' uses up the nutrient or other secondary factor. They could, however, jump through a series of spaceships placed only a few hundred miles away from each other. This is impracticable however.

.3 They wouldn't be able to transport themselves off planet because they have a cultural prohibition against using up too much of the nutrient- so travelling off planet is theoretically possible, but no one's been rude enough yet to consume so much of the nutrient in order to do so.

B) They can transport themselves because they are not actually part of our dimension. They exist in a 4th or 5th dimension, and when we say they 'travel' or 'jump', what they are really doing is just shifting from our dimension, back into their higher dimension, and then into ours again.

.1 In this case, it would be very difficult if not impossible to enslave them. However, it would depend on why they were being enslaved. Is it to harvest the energy they release when they jump? Well then you wouldn't need to confine them at all since you want them to jump. You could pretend to confine them to force them to jump. Unless the oppressors are from a higher dimension than the jumpers are, and are able to put a kind of interdimensional fence around the planet to prevent them from jumping off planet. Then, the oppressors pretend to be an occupying army in order to make the 'jumpers' jump a lot. This generates energy which is used to further the oppressors' nefarious ends.

Edit for quantum nutrient:

A quantum nutrient would have an n-sided spin. If you gather enough of the nutrient, you can hitch your subatomic particles to the nutrient, which then 'spins' interdimensionally in order to 'expose' your subatomic particles to a different location, thus 'reassembling' them. So the nutrient acts as a protectant against damage you might otherwise incur when taking yourself apart on a molecular level. In essence, you never really take yourself 'apart', you just 'connect' yourself on a subatomic level to a cloud of subatomic particles that protects you while you travel through spacetime. The nutrient is naturally occuring but can only be mined by beings who have the ability to use it for travel. That's why the jumpers are being enslaved - they're being forced to mine this very powerful nutrient so that the oppressors can use it to attain FTL travel for their spaceships.

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    $\begingroup$ good point with this 'quantum nutrient' (another handwavium), any action needs energy, and any energy has a limit. I'm surprised I didn't think of this +1. $\endgroup$ – XenoDwarf Sep 5 '16 at 1:06
  • $\begingroup$ thanks! So much 'instantaneous travel' ignores laws of thermodynamics. If matter isn't being created or destroyed, it's being absorbed into the quantum nutrient. $\endgroup$ – Daniel M Sep 5 '16 at 1:14
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Their natural teleportation could perhaps be limited to places where the individual has been to or has seen before. So each individual probably can't teleport anywhere in the world because, well, it's unlikely one person visited the entire planet.

The interesting thing about this concept is that it also explains why this species doesn't seem to be space-faring. They've never felt the need to be. I wouldn't be surprised if they've never even developed modes of ground transportation like cars or, well, maybe not even the wheel. Because, well, why would they? They can just teleport wherever they want to. This lack of transportation technology, however, binds them to their home planet. If they've never been to or seen another planet, then they don't have the technology required to get them there in the first place.

If the limit is defined as "places they've seen", then the planet should probably be moonless, otherwise they'll have tried teleporting there at some point in their history. But even if there is a moon, that's just one more place where you need to control them. My solution below is scalable, so that's not much of a problem.

Notice that I described this as "their natural teleportation". One might say that such a limit would also make the species useless as engines for FTL, but that's not necessarily the case. By studying the species (perhaps some cadavers), your scientists have been able to develop technology which would harness the species' ability without the "places you've been to/seen" limit. Put the specimen in an induced coma, put it in this special tube, place some uncomfortable probes, and your ships can now teleport across the galaxy. Should the specimen somehow escape, that's unfortunate and your ship will be stranded. But the specimen will still be bound by its own limits - the technology you developed only works for your ships, the individual fueling it has not been "upgraded" in any way. And since the only place they know is their home planet, they'll just teleport there, where they'll still be well within the confines of my solution.


So, now for the actual solution:

Firstly, you study the species. Find out how they reproduce, how they raise their young, how they teach them to teleport (even better if it's not a learned skill, but a natural one). Once you are confident you'd be able to breed and raise a newborn into adulthood, move on to the next step.

Now, you annihilate the entire species (so much for "willing to kill a few hundred of them"). Or, well, almost. Kill every single post-pubescent member of the species. And I mean all of them. If you can develop some virus/poison/nanoweapon which accumulates over time but can then be triggered to kill all the adults at once (they're peaceful, so begin by trading with them until you're confident you can trigger the hidden bioweapons in such a way as to kill all adults), that's probably a safer bet than trying to kill them by arms (wherein some might figure out ways and places to hide), but whatever floats your boat.

Now all you have left are a bunch of kids. These are young and can't survive without their parents. They've also not had time to discover vast regions of the planet, so their teleportation won't get them very far.

And then you start building your farms: opaque domes all over the planet. Move the kids into these domes. Once they're in (they might even come voluntarily: remember, they're kids without parents, they're probably starving and will accept any lie you tell them about food), immediately place them into induced comas. Once they've past puberty, start breeding to create the next generation. Once they've bred sufficiently, ship them off and start fueling your first spaceships. (Or, if you fear the risk of escape, simply kill this generation off. After all, they'll be the last generation capable of teleporting out of your domes. This just means you'll need to be a bit patient before you can start using FTL. But then again, your empire's probably existed for centuries or millennia. What's another twenty years?)

Now you have the second generation of infants.

If teleportation is a natural (unlearned) skill, there's no need for them to ever be conscious: immediately place them in induced comas and wait until they mature.

If teleportation is a learned skill, that's why you learned how to raise them before you began, and why the domes are opaque. Create nurseries inside the domes where you teach the kids to teleport from one side of a room to another. They'll never leave the domes and they'll never see outside. The inside of that dome will be their world. They won't know there's anything out of that dome to teleport to - which means they won't even want to - and even if they did, well, they haven't seen or been outside, so they won't be able to.

Once this second generation comes into puberty, have a big party with cake. The cake is laced with coma-inducing drugs. Once everyone's passed out, into the farm they go: breed the third generation and then plug the second one into your ships.

Rinse and repeat.

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Cover the planet with beacons that emit noises/lights that are extremely painful (deafening/blinding) or unpleasant (e.g. nails on chalkboard) for the teleporters. Warn the teleporters that they must all teleport to a single room to avoid the noise/light and give the coordinates to the room. Turn on the system so that they will necessarily teleport to the room. After congregating all of them in the room, train them to be slaves; blast noise/light as group punishment when they disobey your commands. Keep the system on outside so that they cannot teleport away.

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This is mostly about:

And why they wouldn't be able to transport themselves off planet.

This is easy: Assume an individuum would transport itself off a planet. Where does the (now larger) potential energy come from? My suggestion: From its thermal energy.

Thus transporting to a place further out the gravity well of a planet will freeze the individuum, transporting to a place further down a gravity well will cook it.

This also gives rise to an easy solution to the problem at hand: Once caught (poison, knock out, whatever) transport them (in the usual way) to an orbital space station. Transporting down on the planet will kill them, transporting in the void of space (due to the usual reasons like lack of breathable air, pressure, ...), too.

If a space station does not fit your story, how about:

  • Deep caves
  • Tall mountains
  • Blimps

This also makes for a nice "escape story" ... either taking an ice bath or cooking oneself before transporting.


Physics: Assuming a species whose bodies consist to a significant part of water, we set their specific heat capacity to

c = 4
[c] = J / (kg * K)

Further we know

c = dQ / (m * dT)
dQ: difference in thermal energy / "heat"
m : mass
dT: difference in temperature

Also we know that potential energy is (simplifying for small h)

E = m * g * h 
m: mass
g: gravity of earth (assuming an earth like planet)

The difference in potential energy between two heights is thus:

dE = m * g * dh

Solving for dT:

dE = dQ
m * g * dh = c * m * dT
dT = (g / c) * dh

With g ~ 10 m/s^2 this means that for every meter height difference the transported mass has to change its temperature by approx 2.5 Kelvin. This is really limiting their transportation ability. You thus might want to:

  • reduce gravity (thus g)
  • increase the specific heat capacity of their bodies (c)
  • have them e.g. also transport whatever mass is at their destination to their departure, in order to use it as energy sink or source.
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  • $\begingroup$ What about jumping to different lattitudes on a rotating planet? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Sep 6 '16 at 14:00
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This is a simple case of going about it the wrong way. What is the object of the exercise? It is this: "a group of different species has banded together to use this power to achieve Faster-than-Light technology (or as close as possible), which they haven't even come close to." The objective is to use the native's teleportation power to achieve faster-than-light travel.

The group of different species decide to enslave the zappers (a good name, so it can used here too), but why? The zappers must be masters of escapology. Escaping by teleportation will be second nature to them. Enslaving them only works against their greatest strength. This is fools' errand, and it doesn't achieve the main objective of harnessing FTL travel.

Remember "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar". Slavery is super-toxic vinegar. It won't work. The slugwits (my name for the group of different species) will do what any neo-colonial exploitative imperialists have done for time immemorial. They will cosy up with the zappers' ruling classes, offering them blandishments and whatever good stuff an interstellar travelling group like the slugwits to have give or sell. In turn, the zappers' rulers only have to allow access to a few members of the lower orders.

Once this is done the specimens will be obeying the orders of their rulers and before they know is happening to them they will be anesthetized and taken to another planet (where teleporting won't help them) in the same planetary system for dissection, vivisection and other biomedical analysis.

Admittedly the slugwits have to solve the same problem of thwarting the escape of zappers by teleportation, but instead of trying subdue many of them from escaping they only have to deal with a few zappers and this will be more tractable and easy to handle.

The slavery option was plain dumb. There are always better and more sensible options. The slugwits were never going to be nice organisms. This way they're less messy and not so stupid.

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As others have suggested first explain how the teleportaion is possible in the first place. I'd like to suggest another way of teleportation: Wormholes.

Let's assume the members of said species are able to manipulate space by will to form a wormhole connecting their current location with the one they'd like to go to. For this they must be able to concentrate well enough and make the decision to actually do it.

So to prevent them from teleporting or to exploit their ability to form wormholes their slavers found a way to enforce their own will on the poor fellows. For example through a drug which renders them unable to decide what to do unless someone tells them so, or by hindering their ability to concentrate properly for some time while brainwashing them so they accept the slavers' authority.

As for a reason why they cannot teleport to a location outside their planet I have two suggestions which, however, reinterpret "anywhere" a little.

A) To open a wormhole at least two members of the species, one at each end, must combine their minds. So teleportation would only be possible between locations where at least one capable individual may be found.

B) One individual is able to open a wormhole if the destination is known "well enough", because the surroundings interfere with the process and have to be taken into account, otherwise the passage is unsafe, the wormhole instable or the location less precise. Since this species does have some kind of collective memory, every place a species' member has been is a potential destination - considering changes to the place which may have occurred since the last visit.

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I would suggest you, too first think of the boundaries of the "teleporting" itself and the "logic" behind it. From that point on, its much easier to think of a way to create a trap.

E.g.: A boundary for the species is that they can not travel trough space (as you stated as example in your original question). Why can't they?

  • Because of the low temperature? => A cage surrounded by 0 Kelvin cold "area"
  • Because of the lack of air? => A cage surrounded by a vacuum

Hope this approach may help you! Good Luck with your species :)

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Similar to the suggestion of a poison that needs a daily antidote, an implanted device with a remote kill switch. (There are places in the human body where it would be extremely risky to remove an embedded object; your species can be designed to have some similar spots.)

Failing that, craft a religion that instills the need for subservience.

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The question to ask is "Do they teleport via magic or science?" Either way it isn't inconceivable that the more advanced species would have studied how they do it and then figured out a way to nullify or prevent it; either via a collar/implant or a wide area field.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to explain how or why something works. Heinlein was notorious for having wildly advanced technology and then spending no time explaining how it works. Think about it. How many people do you know that can tell you how the internet or even their cell phone works? Most people can't, yet they use these technologies everyday.

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Fear is always the answer

1. Huge-### lasers

If you have the power to destroy the planet they are bound to, they will be eager to support whatever you have in mind.
Fear campaigns can be used too.

2. Sacral leadership

You can either become their sacral leader/god or kidnap their existing ones.

3. Collective punishment

Can you catch a pixie that can vanish? No. Can another pixie do so? Yes.
If you punish the whole species/planet for offenses then they will enforce your code of law.

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The final phase of Charles Stross's "Merchant Princes" series (so far anyway; he's writing more but they aren't published yet) features something similar. Not FTL travel, but travel between alternative Earths. Worldwalkers can escape any time they want to, if they use their worldwalking powers.

Stross's solution for enforced servitude of captured worldwalkers is pretty simple. Torture them extensively first, so that they know you really won't pull punches. Then put an explosive collar round their necks which will go off if it doesn't get a "yes-they-deserve-to-live" message from base at regular intervals. And release them under the supervision of military units with "push-button-to-explode-head" controls for their handlers.

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In the Alfred Bester book, "The Stars My Destination," personal teleportation, or "jaunting," is a mental capability most everyone on Earth has some competency in. Generally speaking, jaunters need to memorize the locations of where they want to jaunte to, or to have visited some location before. In the book this is illustrated with big "landing pads" in urban areas that are free of obstacles and act as a known target to teleport to. (Incidentally, telefrags are possible, but IIRC this is shown in passing just once.) The book goes into really good detail on the physical problems of teleportation and what society looks like when everyone has it.

There is no interplanetary jaunting and there is space travel between solar system planets (people don't have the mental capacity to choose a location that far out, and jaunting into space is also cited as a method of suicide.) The way that buildings or private areas are created is by baffling entrances with literal mazes that the jaunter's mind can't navigate easily, or by coordinates alone. An entire chapter of the book is dedicated to the internment of the main character in a prison underneath a mountain, where the prisoners aren't allowed to see much of the internal structure of the prison outside their cell and there are large mazes isolating the important parts of the prison. Prisoners who attempt escape by jaunting out usually end up stuck in the mountain and die instantly. I can't summarize all the good bits by memory and it's worth a read.

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That’s a major plot point of Reflex by Steven Gould from 2004.

In order to both constrain him and allow him to use his power for the captive’s ends, they surgically implanted a device that would quickly kill him if it did not receive a coded radio signal. This allows the captives to set up areas where he can operate.

They also tried psychological conditioning and making threats against loved ones.

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Maybe an EM field can contain many types of particles. Maybe they can't jump through an EM field boundary, and maybe the heliopause counts. Slavers could build containers for such purpose.

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protected by James Sep 6 '16 at 16:15

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