I have this guy (lets call him Mike), that can instantly teleport anywhere in the universe with little effort (yes, even inside solid walls and such). He also happens to be very very dangerous, and needs to be contained (he is immortal).

One of the few things that can stop him is a forcefield, that works like this:

  • It is roughly spherical
  • Its size can vary anywhere between that of a truck and a small star
  • Mike can teleport in, but not out
  • Field generator has to be inside of the field, and Mike can disable it, if he finds it
  • Multiple forcefields can not overlap or get within few meters of each other, but a smaller field can be completely contained within a bigger one

This is my plan for containing Mike:

  • Put two generators in a labyrinth big enough, so that it takes relatively long time for Mike to find them, even as he teleports all over the place (maybe move them constantly, to make it even harder for him)
  • Use theese two generators to put one forcefield around the entire labyrinth (inner field), and one even bigger forcefield around it (outer field)
  • This way Mike can only get out if he disables both generators
  • When Mike disables one generator, have a team of engineers repair it, move it somewhere else and generate a new field around the one, that still works (Mike could not find it in time). Thus the new field from recently repaired generator will become the outer field and remaining one will become the inner field.
  • Both fields are then shrunk to correct proportions
  • Repeat last two points

Consider also these points:

  • This is just an emergency solution. It is supposed to work just for short periods of time, while other methods are unavailable
  • Mike can not find the second generator before the first one is repaired. Probability of that happening is extremely low (considered zero).
  • Engineers have some way of defending themselves, so that Mike will not kill them
  • Mike has intelligence of an average human and no special powers to give him an edge over engineers (other than immortality and teleportation of course)
  • Do not worry about catching Mike, just containing him.

Could you point out any obvious flaws this plan might have? Or did I maybe miss an obvious simpler solution (using these forcefields)?

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ You need only one forcefield generator. Simply place it inside a steel case Mike, who "has no special powers", cannot enter. If he can do partial teleport (i.e. place a hand inside a material), place the generator inside a large steel case full of blades, and have it rotate rapidly. Mike's hands are either intangible or not; if they are he can't turn the generator off, and if they are not he's going to hurt something fierce. While he decides what to do, flood the entire volume with anaesthetic gas. $\endgroup$
    – LSerni
    Jun 21, 2017 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ Can he walk out like the engineers do if i understand it correctly? $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Jun 21, 2017 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ @LSerni Looks like I did not think this "teleporting into solids" thing through. I will have to figure out, how exactly does that work... $\endgroup$
    – J. Joscak
    Jun 21, 2017 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ So what happens when he intersects solid material? Is that material destroyed? Displaced? Can he move or interact with the solid material when he's inside of it? How does the field interact with other matter? Does it allow other matter to pass through? How sturdy are your field generators, what kind of environments can they survive? Would the field protect the generator from the pressures at the center of Jupiter? How about the sun? $\endgroup$
    – House
    Jun 21, 2017 at 20:01

4 Answers 4


If the field can be the size of a small star, and the generator is (necessarily by the description) smaller than a truck, just start shelling generators. Why wait for Mike to find them? Have your engineers build a field, then another generator outside the first, that contains the other field entirely, then another field (bigger by one more truck radius) that contains the first two, etc.

Your plan depends upon engineers being able to build generators faster than Mike can disable them, but is fatally flawed in two respects that this scheme addresses.

  1. You don't act until a generator is broken.
  2. All your generators are available to Mike. In combination with (1), this lets Mike find all the generators first, and then disable one, instantaneously teleport to the other, and disable it too. Mike only needs patience to be sure he knows where all the generators are; something he will acquire when he breaks the first one he finds and still cannot escape: "Ah ha, multiple fields. I will make sure I find them all."

Further, a labyrinth is not an obstacle to a teleporter! He can pass through the walls and search it just as fast as if there were doors in every wall.

I would suggest you make your spherical force fields so they are domes, half underground: Deep underground is where generators are buried. Make the first field about five miles across, thus 2.5 miles deep; giving Mike 32.7 cubic miles of dirt to search. Even if he can teleport to every location underground, he cannot see anything, so he has to find the generator by literally bumping into it and recognizing that he did so. The size of a truck (an 18 wheeler) is about 9000 cubic feet, giving Mike 16.3 million distinct locations per cubic mile of dirt, or 533 million opaque distinct locations to teleport into, in order to check each one, by virtue of intersecting it.

The smallest stars, red dwarfs, can have a 50,000 mile radius. For each subsequent shell, add 5 miles to the radius. Mike must find the first generator before seeking the next one (outside the first field), and find the second before seeking the third, etc. You have the room to build 10,000 shells.

  • $\begingroup$ Mike will not be dead, he is immortal, and he can not find the generators first and destroy them later, because engineers constantly move them around (which would be problematic, if they were buried). Labyrinth was really only meant to impair Mike's vision, so he has to get close to generators to find them. But I fully agree, that generators should be built one after another, without waiting for Mike to disable them. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – J. Joscak
    Jun 21, 2017 at 21:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Presumably Mike will know when engineers are in the labyrinth, he can patrol the entire extent quite easily. He will figure out they are moving the generators. This makes it easier for him to find the generators: He will learn how long they leave a generator (one cycle); figure out how many locations he can visit in that amount of time, and if he patrols just that many locations in a cycle, sooner or later they will move both generators into it! When he finds one he can track it, checking on it every hour to see if it has moved, and then searching for the party that moved it. $\endgroup$
    – Amadeus
    Jun 21, 2017 at 21:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also, if Mike cannot disable or destroy a generator while the engineers are moving it due to their "protection" then you should just have protected engineers constantly surround the generators. You only need one, then, and shifts of protected engineers. Otherwise, following the engineers to the generators will let him destroy the new or repaired generators, without harming the engineers. Mike can use many things, like chalk dust or well-placed strands of spider webs they disturb upon passage, to help him track the movements of engineers. His job is easier if they are in and out a lot. $\endgroup$
    – Amadeus
    Jun 21, 2017 at 21:15

Contain Bob in the biggest field, with the small star. The generator is inside the star somewhere. Stars are freaking IMMENSE.

From https://www.universetoday.com/25348/what-is-the-smallest-star/

The smallest known star right now is OGLE-TR-122b, a red dwarf star that’s part of a binary stellar system. This red dwarf the smallest star to ever have its radius accurately measured; 0.12 solar radii. This works out to be 167,000 km. That’s only 20% larger than Jupiter. You might be surprised to know that OGLE-TR-122b has 100 times the mass of Jupiter, but it’s only a little larger.

I assume Bob cannot see through matter because of your labyrinth. I assume hot bright starstuff is not an issue for him or the generator.

The surface area of the earth is 510 million square km. Imagine I put a truck somewhere on earth. I suppose with infinite time you might find it. The surface area alone of a star is over 9 trillion square km. If you can use the entire volume you get 2.81 × 10+18 cubic km. For comparison the oceans of earth contain 1.3 x 10+9 cubic km of water. Consider how many trucks fit in one cubic km. Assuming a truly bigass truck of 100 cubic meters: 10 million. If he can teleport through each 100 cubic meter area and check it every tenth of a second it will take him 11 days to check one cubic km. Multiplying it out I got 60,273,972,602,739,720. Years.

Of course he will find it before he has to check every cubic km. He has a 50% chance of finding it within the first 30 quadrillion years. The universe will end before he finds the generator. Unless Bob is very, very lucky. Or has inside help.


1) put him in a box small enough (eg lure him with a 3rd generator)

2) turn on 2 fields that (almost?) touch each other inside his body

Unless he can also walk through solids that is

  • $\begingroup$ That sound logical, but kind of boring. Maybe those forcefields can not be this close to each other... $\endgroup$
    – J. Joscak
    Jun 21, 2017 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ @J.Joscak Depending on what you want to do in your story - agreed $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Jun 21, 2017 at 19:44

Pair your generators, and nest them, lock them up securely, and bury them. With decoys.

I'm bouncing a bit off of Amadaeus' answer, in truth, but there are a lot of ways to add complexity and make the whole much harder to negotiate.

Start with a huge hole about the size of your intended complex (should be a sphere twice the size of the building, half sunk into the ground).

Then, take several generators, creating nested force-fields. From room sized up to just over twice the building size, perhaps. Leave a bit of space between layers, at least enough to hold a couple generators.

Lock each generator securely, with layers - cases or cages with complex locks, solid layers (like poured concrete), open layers (rubble, braced scaffolding, spikes, etc), puzzle locks, and a couple fail-safes (anesthetic gas, or things to tangle or trap, setups to injure, etc).

Pair each generator with another generator (also locked in layers), set at the very smallest size, or else just enough larger to hold both generators and their assorted locks (depending on actual size of generators). Turn on the second fore-field and fill it with rubble, dirt, etc.

If it is possible to have variations in the generators, do so as much as possible - even if the mechanisms are the same, perhaps a varied physical layout is possible, different access panel locations, different wire organization or color coding, differently shaped casing for internal parts, different interfaces, anything that can make disabling a second generator different (or apparently different) than the first.

Bury each generator pairing so that the fields will be nested, but each generator is within their respective bubble - not all in the innermost bubble, have a few in the spaces between the nested bubbles. And bury thoroughly - fill the second generator's force-fields with dirt or rubble, and make sure the floor is level throughout and is deep enough the curve of each force field above ground is a dome. Perhaps vary the dome levels a bit, how much is above or under ground, though they must fit entirely inside each other.

Once the floor is level, dig the foundation, pour a thick reinforced concrete foot, and build the building. Have lots of locks and traps, mechanisms for food, water, and waste, knockout gas, and a host of other mundane barriers to keep the teleporter from just walking out. Make sure there are locked doors just outside each layer of fore-field, and include rooms or areas in the layout he is simply locked out of (more decoys). Maybe a few electronic or generator decoys.

Get the teleporter in the prison, in the room covered by the innermost bubble. Try to make sure they don't have tools on hand, if putting them there - harder to do if luring them there, I'll admit. Turn on the layer generators, and lock the doors when leaving.

For the last, outermost level, don't pair it and don't bury it - make sure the dome just barely overlaps the roof, and tuck the generator in a locked structure between the roof and the top of the dome. Let him waste his time looking in the (very large) space underground for that last generator.

As a bonus, keep a few decoy boxes (with various running electronics), a few trap boxes, and even a few generators with minimum-sized fields (defunct or whole), and bury them all in the spaces between the actual generators.

This will take forever to get out of. He has "no special powers" - so even if he can somehow phase through solids... he can't see in the dark, he can't breathe without air, he has to figure out the locks and layers, one by one, to reach the generator, he has to figure out which bits would disable a force-field and which are decoys. He may get trapped in the second generator's force-field, which is completely full, if he teleported around to find the generator instead of digging it up - and then he can't see, can't breathe, might be physically trapped (if, say, he phased partway through and can't get back out).

He won't know how to access the generators, through layers of locks and traps, and if he eventually works through them he will have to figure out how to disable each one (even shallow variations can be a big problem if he can't see). And he may have difficulty negotiating the need to phase through things to reach, and the need to be solid to figure out and disable the thing, and the vulnerability of being solid when there are traps and things to injure or ward off.

And even if he eventually finds the first generators, he has to negotiate each layer, and their generators, and all the traps and such - including disabling generators and not seeing any result because it was for the next layer out or a decoy, or getting out but not finding the next layer's generator easily because he's only looking between but it was a few layers in. Coupled with decoy electronics, traps, and generators, he would take a long, long time to figure out which bits he needed and which were distractions.

And the last layer, well, having spent several layers with generators and a couple decoys underground, he would probably search the entire under-floor volume from one end to the next without realizing the force-field overlapped the roof, or that the generator might be above, rather than below, in this layer.

I would expect just three or four layers to take quite a bit of time to solve (months or years), and the potential for injuries or incapacitation (via traps, knockout gas, suffocation, or despair) to add more time still. More than enough time to add layers, or you can set up layers that would overlap the previous generator (auto-switching them on when the previous layer fails, so they don't actually overlap when active), or any number of things.


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