The gas filled the air and everyone started blacking out. I was just far enough away to escape the first wave of gas so I grabbed a rock off the ground and shoved it in my mouth. As I swallowed it I transformed it into a kind of gas mask--minus the mask part. It attached itself to my windpipe and began to filter all the air I was breathing. As the mysterious stranger came closer I transformed a log into an uzi and was about to fire it at him when the gas enveloped me. I began to cough uncontrollably and fell to the ground. I lay squirming, more and more slowly on the ground as the man walked up to me. I saw the outline of his face through the fog of gas before closing my eyes and going still.
It was all I could do to keep from grinning as the man poked me to make sure I was passed out before carrying me to where the others lay unconscious. All but healer boy. I hadn't noticed in my hurry to do something about the attack, but sometime in that time the stranger had managed to tie him up. The mystery man loaded us all into the bed of a truck and tied something over healer boy's head to keep him from seeing or moving before getting into the truck and taking off with us in tow.
As soon as we started moving I sprang into action. I morphed the rope tying my hands together into another gas filter and turned to the person whose legs I had been thrown onto. I jumped away immediately—it was the girl who supposedly had no powers…though apparently she could read minds. Gently, I shook her. There was no response and her head lolled to the side. With an exasperated sigh I shook her harder. Still there was no response. The gas must have knocked everyone out for quite a while. After thinking for a little while I moved from person to person, untying their bonds and then re-tying them so that they looked secure, but could be easily escaped. I got to healer-boy last. I moved up close to his ear and whispered, “Do you think you could wake everyone up?”
He looked like he was considering it for a little bit, but then he shook his head with a frown. I nearly swore, how were we supposed to escape if none of them could move by themselves and we were on a fast-moving truck? I dropped onto my butt and put my head in my hands. How many times were we going to have to escape these situations. There was nothing I could do. Well, that wasn’t true. Healer boy and I could escape and just hope that the loosened bonds on the others would allow them to escape when they woke up. We could even take one or two of them on our backs. The others would have no chance of escaping however, because gas man could just wave his magical voodoo stick and make them all see stars again. If I left I would be condemning the ones I didn’t get out to death. Their death would be my fault.
Shut up said a little voice inside my head. Oh great…now I was talking to myself. Shut up and stop whining. They are not your responsibility. They should take care of themselves; you can take care of yourself. It’s not as if you got them into this, they made the choice to go on the plane because of the advice of some stranger. They even dragged you along. Now is your chance; just leave.
No. That was not ok. I couldn’t just leave them. I glanced over all of their faces. It was true. They had gotten themselves into this and they had dragged me along. But I couldn’t just abandon them. Not like this.
“There has to be a way!” I growled angrily. I tightened my grip on the gas filter—wait! I still had a gas filter! I could give each of them a gas filter! Then they might stand a chance! I went to mind reader first and put the filter into her mouth. That wasn’t enough though…it wouldn’t just work from her mouth…she needed to swallow it. I looked around desperately but no pleasant option presented itself. With yet another exasperated sigh I put my hand in her mouth and forced the filter down her throat. Her gag reflex made it a little tough and her through may have been a little scratched…but this would be her ticket to survival so I didn’t feel too bad about it…at least not bad enough to stop me from doing it. I then repeated the process with everyone except the healer boy, who was conscious so he was just able to swallow it when I told him to. By the time I was done I felt like I was ready to die. I had never done this much transmutation in so little time before and it was really sapping me.
We didn’t have any rope tying us anymore, I had used it to make the filters so we would just have to hope that the gas man wouldn’t notice. I put the hood back over healer boy’s head and then I lay back down on the bed of the truck. Without thinking I laid my head back onto the mind-reader’s legs and almost immediately fell asleep.