In E.E. 'Doc' Smith's classic Skylark of Valeron,
Dick Seaton and party are beset in space by disembodied intelligences. These intelligences working as they do on the 6th order of forces are able to travel with accelerations and speeds thousands of times fast than light (relativity has been proved wrong in the skylark universe)
Even after having developed his own 6th order ray projectors, fields of force and inertial dampeners etc mounted them in a huge 'spaceship' and created a house sized 'brain' of vacuum tubes to control it all. Seaton says he is unable to hurt the intelligences because :
"they can travel at the same speed as any force I can direct against them"
Any ray or field directed against them simply pushes them back. and he is
"unable to create a spherical field without cutting my own beams"
However he comes up with a plan. Communicating with Norlamin (a distant planet) he instructed the residents (super scientists all) to construct a similar space ship and travel towards him. Additionally he creates a 'bait' to attract the intelligences, mid way between the two ships.
The intelligences are attracted to the bait and trapped in a spherical shell of force one hemisphere generated by each ship.
this story has always confused me. A. how can a ship generate a hemispherical field without "cutting its own beams" but more pertinently is it actually possible to capture the intelligences?
the nature of 6th order forces has not been entirely revealed so I offer a number of options/rules
1: its clear that the ships accelerate at certain rates. Greater than the speed of light/s^2, but not instantaneously. There is no top speed
2: the rays and the intelligences propagate at a speed relative to the ether. much faster than the ships would normally travel and instantaneously reached
3: the intelligences react instantly and are super intelligent (except for bait)
4: the universe is infinite and the speeds and distances involved allow us to treat the ships as points
5: the ships are essentially stationary relative to each other and the bait
6: communicating and sensing is all at 6th order speed, including 'triggering' the bait and detecting things
Can the intelligences be captured?
Is it trivial?
What are the key factors that enable escape or make capture certain?