I'm trying to get some of my citizens abducted from a planet and return them later...alive!

How do I do it?

If the following is excluded:

  • Beaming/teleportation - as it involves killing the individual/s and rebuilding them bit by itty-bitty little bit at the destination
  • Entering the atmosphere or landing the abductor/s ship or shuttlecrafts on the planet
    • I have a timespan of centuries so don't have the resources for large ship maintenance or spare shuttlecraft
    • but you can also say the ships can't enter to avoid detection by planetary authorities for more advanced civilisation scenarios.
    • eg how would aliens upduct humans on Earth/future Earth avoiding all our modern/future survelliance tech. (Avoiding re-entry would be the most obvious solution if the shielding technology was malfunctioning)

So how do I do it?

The closest question I could find is about a gravity beam lifting a small ship from the planet but it doesn't answer my question and I actually don't know if it is feasible for abducting humans without a cocoon of metal surrounding them.

I'm also not quite concerned with how many humans I can abduct without being noticed. I don't mind a few urban legends over time.

Everything listed above is the main criteria for the question. The rest of the details listed below is just icing.

I would prefer (but not absolutely required):

  • realistic non-magic based solutions
    • this does not exclude any "sufficiently advanced tech" as being acceptable
    • if necessary some advanced tech can be discreetly sent down to the surface
    • but it would be smallstuff like drones or swarms of drones/ portals/ launching pads/ etc.
  • a fast transport - preferably without the abductee/s in question figuring out what is happening
  • capable of abducting several humans at once
  • the abductee/s to be extremely disoriented when they arrive - alive
  • capable of returning abductee/s back to the planet surface - alive
  • the abductee/s to experience a bright light - to help with the disorientation and to help mask the method of transport
  • no loud sounds/smells/sights detectable more than a short distance away - don't want the wider world knowing someone has been abducted...again

Story settings that may help define the answers further:

  • abductee/s are human - have normal human requirements regarding acceptable survivable conditions
  • set in the future where space transport technology has been fully developed
  • planet has a planetary ring
  • no man-made satellites/garbage around the planet
  • there is possibly something natural/man-made inhibiting radio signals which would result in either (to fit various scenarios)
    • no long distance communication networks on the planet
    • interfence in abductees ships preventing them from shielding and becoming visible to advance detection tech
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    $\begingroup$ Very strict set of requirements. Can't send any kind of transport to pick up the humans, can't do teleport and have to be science based all the time. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 21:16
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    $\begingroup$ Where the abductee is transported to? To the ship in the atmosphere? To the moon? Or just don't care? $\endgroup$
    – Vylix
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ "the story is set in the future of human expansion into the galaxy" and "a few Renaissance and Enlightenment era telescopes" doesn't seem to match $\endgroup$
    – Vylix
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 21:26
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    $\begingroup$ To answer the question in the title... Very, very carefully. Humans are fragile. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 21:28
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I don't see how you can make it less broard, and it does seem fine on the broadness front. The off-topic one is a close reason which seems to have fairly recently started to be applied more rigorously and in a new way so it is now used on questions that are asking for ways to solve problems as you are doing here. I think the issue is that the question has to be about solving this problem which means it will get that you can't stop it getting that close vote, you just have to hope. Personally I'm not keen on using off topic in this way but it does seem to be policy. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 20:21

5 Answers 5


Abduct them while they are in a rollercoaster going into a tunnel. Inside the darkness there will be a flash of light - they think this is a camera flash - and they will be taken somewhere underground - the base. That explains why the abductees won't question anything except the tunnel is going a bit too long.

The base is a bit different from the primary base, only used for studying abducted humans. Make it appears as it is a stop from the ride during a technical issue, and they need to wait for a while, while being questioned to confirm a few things (insert anything you need to learn here). Body study might also be conducted as a check for any possible issue arising from the technical difficulty.

After finished with them, obviously say the issue is fixed and they can go back. But the "management" asked them to keep quiet as this will affect the park's reputation, and give them vouchers or money as a compensation for the issue. Win-win solution, eh?

Realistic? Check. Several humans at once? Check. Fast transport? Check. Disoriented and alive? Check. Bright light? Check. No one else know about the abduction? Check. Maybe.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 for imagination and all the checks. My world doesn't have rollercoasters unfortunately but still a valid answer and concept :) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 21:48

To abduct humans and return them unharmed on a regular basis from a low-tech planet requires a systematic process. The method of transporting the humans from and back to the planet is via a wormhole.

The wormhole is transported to a region south of the equator. There is a framework containing the wormhole mouth. This is also a drone vehicle that has a camouflage hull to make its presence undetectable even during daylight. This accompanied by a swarm of surveillance drones and micro-drones.

The abduction procedure is simple. The surveillance drones locate sufficiently isolated humans. This can be single persons or small groups or up to whatever size can be handled without detected. Once the target is selected the micro-drones approach silently and unobtrusively inject low doses of tranquillizer to sedate and dull the target into submission. Then an intravenous anaesthetic is administered and as the target falls into a state of unconscious the wormhole drone arrives. Robots send through an automated medevac gurney. The target is placed in the gurney and shunted through the wormhole to arrive at the processing centre. This can be located either on a space-based facility or the moon where the abductors have their base.

Once the processing is finished the citizens can be shunted back through the wormhole. The citizens are left to recover from whatever has been used to sedate or anaesthetize them.

For efficiency the abductors could use a pair of wormhole carrier drones. One of the wormhole drones is used to extract the abducted citizens. Once it has been removed one citizen or a group of citizens it moves on to the next target. The second wormhole drone is used the return the processed humans to their original location. Once it has done this it moves on to the follow the first wormhole drone and subsequently return the other abductees.

The wormholes drones and their swarm of support drones can be controlled by machine intelligences. Robots can be used to move the abductees through the wormhole and carry out all the processing or whatever is done to abductees.

Basically this entire process can be carried without attracting too much attention. The bright light experienced by the abductees will be the result of light radiation circulating back and forth through the wormhole. Theoreticians in our era surmise this sort of radiation multiplication would be fatal for anyone traversing a wormhole, but this problem will have been solved in the future epoch where these abductions take place.


Why not use a diving bell?

Paint one of your ship's utility crafts in non-reflective black paint and then enter orbit on the night side, carefully staying in the planet's shadow so as to remain invisible to the telescopes.

Now drop a diving bell on a long unbreakable cable down into the atmosphere and lower it till it is a couple hundred feet above the surface. Leave it suspended at that height until your target town rotates underneath then lower it to the ground in a farmyard just past the town lights.

Keep spooling out the cable and/or adjust your ship's geostationary position so that your diving bell stays stationary as the planet continues to rotate. Then start a timer...

Your diving bell crew now has "n" minutes to enter the farm and nearby town to locate potential abductees, stun them and transport them back to the diving bell while still leaving enough time for the bell to be reeled back up into the atmosphere and into the utility craft, before they run out of planet shadow and become visible to the telescopes.

Then a quick ride back to the dark side of the moon where the abductees can be revived and studied.

  • $\begingroup$ could possible automate the whole system. have a small remote controlled utility craft drop the "diving bell" and then put some sort of "bait" to lure people in. no need to send any crew down to the planet surface. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ Geostationary orbit is almost 36,000 km high. That is a huge amount of cable you'd need. Not to mention, making an ad-hoc Space Elevator has a significant amount of engineering challenges to overcome. It's not impossible, but it's a massive undertaking. $\endgroup$
    – Andon
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Andon, I'm imaging that ad-hoc Space Elevators will be the standard planetary access method of all future space faring vessels. It saves on having to make the aerodynamic and atmosphere capable. It doesn't pollute the planet or disturb the natives; and it's the best we've come up with since we proved that transporters are murder machines. Yes, it was tough to get the first one working right but that was done by engineers generations ago. Now it is just a push button operation. The computers handle all the math. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 22:25

The movie The Forgotten features alien abductions. Linked is one. I jumped.


Here is another. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArcjvWTwWXw

I think it must be via a tractor beam. A tractor beam could pull along an envelope of air with the abducted to allow them to breathe. That enveloipe would also prevent them from being damaged by the high velocity air ripping past them. You would not be "beaming them up" in the Trek transporter sense. You would be dragging them rapidly up through the air.

  • $\begingroup$ I really like this idea but would a tractor beam be able to protect them from vacuum of space and provide enough air to survive the entire journey? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 10:07
  • $\begingroup$ Finally got a chance to watch the clips. 1st link isn't available. 2nd link is hilarious! $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 10:45
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    $\begingroup$ @EveryBitHelps - since you can make it as you like, yes. One cannot accelerate a human too quick but you can accelerate them uncomfortably quick over a period of time and get where you are going quickly. The destination is not entirely clear but I assume it is in orbit somewhere. Remember to leave time to slow down. Also the pocket of air you bring does not need to be huge either, and it can be as big as you like $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 13:25

Assuming the level of technology which can produce gravity technology, a form of stasis would also be plausable. Abduct people, place them in stasis and into a capsule or sphere of some sort. Launch it into space either by rockets alone or a combination of rockets and a gravity lift or even just gravity beam alone (even a sort of acceleration system to launch it upwards to reduce the work of the gravity beam). Then, effectively, chuck them at the moon (accelerate them in the appropriate direction, it would effectively be a like an lump of metal flying through space). When it is near the crashed ship, they slow it down (gravity beam) and lower it (gravity beam alone/and/or rockets). Then the return is similar just in reverse.

When I say rockets, I mean any form of propulsion technology.

Our technology can make the trip in three days with people, without the shortest was about 9 hours with a probe, but it should be a lot shorter with the advanced civilisation. So you could even make it a one day return trip.

The stasis would produce that disorientation as well as hide the method of transportation from them.

You could make the actual space flight as complicated or as easy as you want. Anything from propelling it so it path will come as close to the moon ship as possible in a linear path. Or a system to use the moons gravity well as well as the planets.

  • $\begingroup$ Last night I was thinking about rendering them temporarily unconscious/in Stasis etc somehow and that way the "fast" transport could take as long as needed. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 10:01

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