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leahutinet
07-30-2017, 04:39 PM
Hi guys, I'm searching for a gas that could knock out some of my characters for several hours.
So, in my story, there's a bad guy who's kidnapped several people. They're all in different rooms, each of the same size, and he knows exactly how much everybody weighs, and he knows exactly what gas to use and how much of it, to knock everyone out for several hours, but I don't. Which is why I'm asking.
The characters are all around 17-19, they're in small rooms, around 10-12m2. They need to be knocked out for several hours because the bad guy knows some people are coming to rescue them, so he knocks his victims out so he can have the time to flee. It's something he planned a while ago, and it needs to be gas, he can't choke them or hit them on the back of their head, it needs to be gas that he spreads, probably through the vents or something like that.
So, I only need a name because the victims are taken to the hospital, so the doctors have to find out what gas was used on them, to maybe give them an antidote, or something that will make them wake up faster. Thanks!

Edit: Most of you are telling me that a gas can knock someone out as long as they keep breathing it. Since it doesn't fit with the story, how about a drug? Given to them either with a syringe or in their food or water?

Bufty
07-30-2017, 07:17 PM
Hi guys, I'm searching for a gas that could knock out some of my characters for several hours.
So, in my story, there's a bad guy who's kidnapped several people. They're all in different rooms, each of the same size, and he knows exactly how much everybody weighs, and he knows exactly what gas to use and how much of it, to knock everyone out for several hours, but I don't. Which is why I'm asking.
The characters are all around 17-19, they're in small rooms, around 10-12m2. They need to be knocked out for several hours because the bad guy knows some people are coming to rescue them, so he knocks his victims out so he can have the time to flee. It's something he planned a while ago, and it needs to be gas, he can't choke them or hit them on the back of their head, it needs to be gas that he spreads, probably through the vents or something like that.
So, I only need a name because the victims are taken to the hospital, so the doctors have to find out what gas was used on them, to maybe give them an antidote, or something that will make them wake up faster. Thanks!

Not really an answer but if they don't know where he's gone to - which information he presumably hasn't revealed - why not just leave them locked in- why gas them? If they were kidnapped I assume they are already locked in.

leahutinet
07-30-2017, 07:38 PM
Not really an answer but if they don't know where he's gone to - which information he presumably hasn't revealed - why not just leave them locked in- why gas them? If they were kidnapped I assume they are already locked in.

Because he wants to have the time to be far away before they realize he's gone. The ones who rescue the victims will take the time to help them out of the basement and take them to the hospital. If the victims were conscious, some of the rescuers would take the time to run after the bad guy to try and catch him.

Bufty
07-30-2017, 08:00 PM
Because he wants to have the time to be far away before they realize he's gone. The ones who rescue the victims will take the time to help them out of the basement and take them to the hospital. If the victims were conscious, some of the rescuers would take the time to run after the bad guy to try and catch him.

Unless he says "Farewell all" they're surely not going to realise he's gone until either they are rescued or the food stops appearing, but the logic is yours. Good luck.

ETA- Have you considered reducing the number of rescuers?

Dennis E. Taylor
07-30-2017, 08:07 PM
Halothane is an effective anesthetic. However, you have to keep breathing it or you wake up within seconds. So a supply in the air would do it.

leahutinet
07-30-2017, 08:12 PM
Halothane is an effective anesthetic. However, you have to keep breathing it or you wake up within seconds. So a supply in the air would do it.

Nah, that doesn't work. They need to be knocked out when they reach the hospital.

leahutinet
07-30-2017, 08:17 PM
Unless he says "Farewell all" they're surely not going to realise he's gone until either they are rescued or the food stops appearing, but the logic is yours. Good luck.


I mean the rescuers will figure it out. They reach the bad guy's house knowing they have to rescue the victims and also get their hands on the bad guy, who's in his house, while the victims are in the basement. He controls everything from his house. The rescuers find the house before the basement, and they find it empty. By the time they find the victims in the basement and get them out (there are 9 victims, so it takes a while, given that they're behind heavy, locked doors), the bad guys will be long gone and the chances of finding him are very slim.
- Maybe I haven't given enough details for it to make sense to you, but anyway, he just wants to keep everyone busy while he flees so they won't have time to look for him.

Al X.
07-30-2017, 08:29 PM
Cursory research suggests that effective inhaled knockout agents are fictional, although a vapor delivery of fentanil might have some merit, in addition to the previously mentioned halothane.

Carbon monoxide is also another possibility, except that a does sufficient to achieve unconsciousness will also normally result in death.

M.C.Statz
07-30-2017, 11:40 PM
Nitrogen displacing the oxygen will work quite well at knocking people out, and it's not toxic at all. Your bad guy has to be careful - if he displaces too much oxygen he will kill them pretty quickly.

I don't know how long it will take the victims to recover. Assuming the oxygen levels aren't so low it doesn't cause death or brain damage, I would imagine they would rouse pretty quickly, but suffer a dehibilitating headache. If you know any mountain climbing buddies (the kind of mountains that require compressed oxygen) they may be of help. Or read some articles about climbing Mount Everest.

M.C.Statz
07-30-2017, 11:44 PM
If your bad guy controls the oxygen levels and put it at a very low level (e.g. Displacing with nitrogen) your rescuers will probably rush in and get drowsy, begin to pass out. Things like that happen sometime sin enclosed spaces like utility manholes or tanks. The rescuers often die with the victims. Not sure if it fits with your scenario, but you could have one of the rescuers begin to feel lightheaded, figure out there is something wrong with the atmosphere, and devise a plan to get more air in (like find the controls, or break a basement window, etc)

Bongo
07-31-2017, 01:50 AM
Chlorine and ammonia I hear can knock people out. You have to get creative with the delivery system though. And I don't know if it's lethal or not.

Dennis E. Taylor
07-31-2017, 01:54 AM
I needed to have a character knock another character out well enough to be able to carry them out of a campground without fuss. Research indicated that a rag soaked with halothane used like the ether cliché, followed immediately with an injection of etorphine, which could keep them out for a while.

As an aside, this should probably be added to the thread "Research that will get you noticed by the govmint."

M.C.Statz
07-31-2017, 03:40 AM
I needed to have a character knock another character out well enough to be able to carry them out of a campground without fuss. Research indicated that a rag soaked with halothane used like the ether cliché, followed immediately with an injection of etorphine, which could keep them out for a while.

As an aside, this should probably be added to the thread "Research that will get you noticed by the govmint."

I still haven't been contacted by the FBI or ATFEC after downloading an Earth Liberation Front guide to arson.

blacbird
07-31-2017, 08:10 AM
Chlorine and ammonia I hear can knock people out. You have to get creative with the delivery system though. And I don't know if it's lethal or not.

I garontee you that both those things can easily be lethal. Which points out a general problem with the often clichéd trope of "knocking somebody out". No matter how you do it, you take a risk of a worse outcome, like death. Even surgical anaesthesia sometimes goes bad and the patient dies (an acquaintance of mine perished that way several years ago, in a routine gall bladder surgery). The scenario in the OP is one of uncontrolled introduction of some kind of essentially poisonous substance to unsuspecting people. Not only is poisoning possible (think chlorine, which is really bad stuff), but suffocation is another potential thing. Consequences could easily be unpredictable. Same thing, in reality, with whacking somebody in the head.

So, for the purposes of your story, you need to decide how realistic/less realistic you want to be.

Al X.
07-31-2017, 08:08 PM
I still haven't been contacted by the FBI or ATFEC after downloading an Earth Liberation Front guide to arson.

Likewise, I suspect at least one analyst embedded deep within the bowels of NHB in McLean, Virginia has done due diligence on my research and concluded it was for a series of books. They don't have time to have black Crown Vics with zero light window tint camp out across the street from homes and apartments these days.

WeaselFire
07-31-2017, 08:44 PM
There's a major flaw here, there are no gasses that will render a person unconscious for hours without constant application. If you're not breathing it, you wake up. If you are, and it's not controlled, you end up dead. Works in the movies, not in real life.

All anesthetics need to be carefully monitored and applied per the individual's response in order to be effective and not cause damage. You could roofie them for a similar effect though.

Jeff

Cyia
07-31-2017, 09:02 PM
There's a major flaw here, there are no gasses that will render a person unconscious for hours without constant application. If you're not breathing it, you wake up. If you are, and it's not controlled, you end up dead. Works in the movies, not in real life.

All anesthetics need to be carefully monitored and applied per the individual's response in order to be effective and not cause damage. You could roofie them for a similar effect though.

Jeff

Yep.

Do some reading on espionage related deaths during the cold war. Ether, and similar rag-applied substances were popular for some reason (I assume the metabolisation rate or something along those lines). A fair number of agents on both sides died from faulty application because the fumes have to be constantly renewed at a precise rate.

Same principle applies during surgeries, which is why there's an anesthesiologist on deck with the sole job of monitoring the patient's level of consciousness and vitals.


Chlorine and ammonia I hear can knock people out.

Only if you want to poison everyone in the room with chlorine gas. Bleach is stable as a liquid. Add the ammonia, and you're going to release the chlorine gas and leave yourself with hydrochloric acid. The ammonia itself can super-heat and pop like a grease fire.

Had this accidentally happen at school, during a play. Fast thinking teacher threw a wet towel over the blanket to catch the vapors.

Thomas Vail
07-31-2017, 10:36 PM
I mean the rescuers will figure it out. They reach the bad guy's house knowing they have to rescue the victims and also get their hands on the bad guy, who's in his house, while the victims are in the basement. He controls everything from his house. The rescuers find the house before the basement, and they find it empty. By the time they find the victims in the basement and get them out (they're 9, so it takes a while, given that they're behind heavy, locked doors), the bad guys will be long gone and the chances of finding him are very slim.
- Maybe I haven't given enough details for it to make sense to you, but anyway, he just wants to keep everyone busy while he flees so they won't have time to look for him.
Really, the heavy locked doors and such seem like an easier way of keeping everyone busy. Or some sort of booby trap (real or imagined) that triggers after the rescuers get in, and prevents them from immediately getting out again until they disarm it/realize it's fake.

Twick
08-01-2017, 12:05 AM
If you want to use a "real" gas, I'm afraid there's not a lot out there that will knock people out for prolonged periods, not run the risk of killing them if a very slight edge is exceeded, and yet could be treated at hospital with an antidote. I'd say either make up your own stuff if it's a James Bondish "who cares about the science if we have an adventure?" story or else come up with a better way of delaying rescuers.

If it's merely trying to delay things until he gets away, why not a bomb that the rescuers must spend time defusing before reaching the hostages?

Cyia
08-01-2017, 12:27 AM
(they're 9, so it takes a while, given that they're behind heavy, locked doors)

I missed the part where you said the people being rescued were 9. As unstable and unreliable as a gas-delivery system is for adults, when you're talking about someone with the frame and body mass of a child, you're increasing your dosage headache (if you want to keep the characters alive). This is why gases in dentists' offices and surgeries are administered by fixed mask. You've got to be a 1,000 times more precise with children.

His best bet would be a drug administered in the kids' water or food (they might be too scared to eat, but they'll eventually need water whether they want it or not). More stable, and longer lasting. You can use an inert gas in the room as a red herring to make the rescuers think the kids were gassed, if you want.

leahutinet
08-01-2017, 10:42 AM
I missed the part where you said the people being rescued were 9. As unstable and unreliable as a gas-delivery system is for adults, when you're talking about someone with the frame and body mass of a child, you're increasing your dosage headache (if you want to keep the characters alive). This is why gases in dentists' offices and surgeries are administered by fixed mask. You've got to be a 1,000 times more precise with children.

His best bet would be a drug administered in the kids' water or food (they might be too scared to eat, but they'll eventually need water whether they want it or not). More stable, and longer lasting. You can use an inert gas in the room as a red herring to make the rescuers think the kids were gassed, if you want.

I'm so sorry, I didn't realize my sentence came out like this! I meant that there are 9 of them, not that they're 9. They're actually between 17-19. Thank you for your reply!

Celia Cyanide
08-04-2017, 05:42 AM
If a drug is an option for you...

Etorpine is a very powerful tranquilizer. It is used in tranquilizer darts. But apparently, it was discovered to be a tranquilizer by accident. The researchers studying it were having afternoon tea, and the one who was making the tea could not find a spoon, and he used a stirring rod from the lab. He didn't know that it had not been sterilized, and it had traces of etorpine, and it put everyone to sleep. Apparently, it is such a powerful tranquilizer that it worked, even with an amount so small that the researcher could not see it, and no one tasted it. So that might be an option for you.

neandermagnon
08-04-2017, 10:45 AM
If you want to use a "real" gas, I'm afraid there's not a lot out there that will knock people out for prolonged periods, not run the risk of killing them if a very slight edge is exceeded, and yet could be treated at hospital with an antidote. I'd say either make up your own stuff if it's a James Bondish "who cares about the science if we have an adventure?" story or else come up with a better way of delaying rescuers.

If it's merely trying to delay things until he gets away, why not a bomb that the rescuers must spend time defusing before reaching the hostages?

I agree with this.

Basically, humans aren't supposed to be unconscious. You have to harm the brain in some way to make someone lose consciousness. A blow to the head or a poison that affects the brain will do it. There's the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain from stuff that might get in and harm the brain. It's not perfect (obviously some things do get in) but it makes it more tricky to develop medicines that affect the brain in just the right way.

Anaesthetics are basically poisons, but when used in a very controlled way, they can keep someone unconscious without killing them. When someone undergoes surgery, the anaesthetist's job is to keep them alive but unconscious. It's so tricky that you have one person whose job it is to just do that for the entire surgery. They have machines that help them do this. The anaesthetist doesn't knock the patient out and then go away and leave the surgeons to get on with it. Some anaethetics require the patient to be ventilated, i.e. the anaesthetic affects the breathing and the ventilator breathes for the patient while they're in surgery. Without the anaesthetist and ventilator, the patient would die. (And the anaesthetist's job includes stuff like keeping the patient ventilated, etc.)

To keep someone unconscious for more than a few moments you have to harm the brain worse (unless you have an anesthetist to constantly monitor them, as above). More harm = unconscious for longer = much greater risk of dying. That goes for drugs and head injuries. There are lots of drugs that would cause someone to lose consciousness, but the more you give them, the more likely they'll die. A small dose and they'll come round after a while. A severe head injury can knock someone out for hours... but when you're talking head injuries that severe, surviving them without intensive medical intervention (or even with intensive medical intervention) is unlikely. How do you give someone a blow to the head that's going to leave them unconscious for hours but not kill them? - the question isn't that different when it comes to drugs/poisons to knock people out. If it was that simple as giving someone a medicine to keep them unconscious for the desired amount of time, then there'd be no need for anaesthetists.

The traditional way for kidnappers to keep their victims quiet and still and out of the way while they get on with other stuff is rope and a gag. Threatening the victim with serious harm if they make a noise or try to escape is another common tactic.

Sleeping pills might be an option if he just wants the victims to be asleep and not completely knocked out. If he just wants to keep them quiet, this will give him some time, though there's still a risk of overdose if they have too much. Someone who's taken sleeping pills will still wake up if their sleep is disturbed enough. They tend to make people sleep more deeply therefore harder to wake, but individual effects vary so it's not reliable if he wants them to be certain to stay asleep for long periods. And the wrong dose or weird individual side effects, or interaction with medicines the victims are already taking may kill the person.

Another thing, doctors treating patients who are unconscious due to drugs/poisons won't be able to tell what they've taken without other clues. This is why if someone's taken an overdose or accidentally poisoned themselves, you have to take the container to A&E (ER) with the patient, because the doctors won't know. They can run blood tests that detect substances, but they need a rough idea of what to test for, and the time it takes to get the results back from the lab may make the difference between life and death. They won't have time to keep testing until they find the right one, and when presented with a patient that's been unconscious for hours, they aren't going to think "don't worry he'll wake up in a bit". Presented with an unconscious patient and no knowledge of why they're unconscious, doctors will be frantically looking for signs regarding what's happened (e.g. signs of injury, illness, something the patient has on their person like pills or medic alert bracelets) and there are various tests but it would take a lot of time to figure it out and meanwhile time could be running out for the patient. And bear in mind that injury or illness could be the explanation rather than drugs, that means there are a whole lot more possibilities to consider than "what drug have they been knocked out with?" They would be treating the effects (e.g. if the patient stops breathing they'd ventilate them, etc,) but wouldn't be able to give medicines that counteract the effects of any drugs, without knowing a) they've been knocked out with drugs and b) what drug it is. They would probably test for the more common ones (e.g. if the rescuer has reason to suspect they've been drugged), but if they've been poisoned by something unusual, the doctors would have no clue. (Best reason not to take "legal highs" or other newly invented recreational drugs!)

Like Twick said if it's a James Bond style thing where all the science is handwaved away, then you can do this and it's probably better if you have whoever's saving the day have some new drug that they invented (or the organisation they work for invented) or whatever. But if you want any scientific realism to this, then go for rope and a gag to keep them quiet and out of the way. Or a bomb or some other major distraction to slow the rescuers down.

leahutinet
08-04-2017, 10:51 AM
If a drug is an option for you...

Etorpine is a very powerful tranquilizer. It is used in tranquilizer darts. But apparently, it was discovered to be a tranquilizer by accident. The researchers studying it were having afternoon tea, and the one who was making the tea could not find a spoon, and he used a stirring rod from the lab. He didn't know that it had not been sterilized, and it had traces of etorpine, and it put everyone to sleep. Apparently, it is such a powerful tranquilizer that it worked, even with an amount so small that the researcher could not see it, and no one tasted it. So that might be an option for you.

Thank you so much! I'll make some research but I'm probably gonna use that :)

MaeZe
08-04-2017, 11:05 AM
I agree with this.

Basically, humans aren't supposed to be unconscious. You have to harm the brain in some way to make someone lose consciousness. ...I'm not sure you can support this assertion with evidence. My body wasn't designed to stand on my head, that doesn't mean it harms me to do so.

Perhaps we are defining 'harm' differently.

Arcs
08-04-2017, 12:25 PM
If you want to make some kids non responsive and have no lasting effects (if you do it the one time) pump the room full of cannabis. It's literally impossible to OD from, and it will provide an enormous roadblock for the kids to keep chasing depending on how their guardians react to the situation.

neandermagnon
08-04-2017, 09:21 PM
I'm not sure you can support this assertion with evidence. My body wasn't designed to stand on my head, that doesn't mean it harms me to do so.

Perhaps we are defining 'harm' differently.

I just meant that in order to knock someone out (fully unconscious, not just sleeping), you have to prevent the brain from working in its normal way. If you're preventing the brain for working in its normal way, you're harming it in some way, albeit not necessarily permanent harm. Yeah, probably harming wasn't the best word choice... maybe "interfering with its function" would be a better way to have phrased it.

I wouldn't trust anyone but a sufficiently qualified and competent anaesthetist to knock me out. Even then there's still a small risk of adverse effects.

MaeZe
08-04-2017, 10:10 PM
I just meant that in order to knock someone out (fully unconscious, not just sleeping), you have to prevent the brain from working in its normal way. If you're preventing the brain for working in its normal way, you're harming it in some way, albeit not necessarily permanent harm. Yeah, probably harming wasn't the best word choice... maybe "interfering with its function" would be a better way to have phrased it. If I hold my breath it prevents my respiratory system from working in its normal way. Whether it causes harm, temporary or permanent is a separate issue.


I wouldn't trust anyone but a sufficiently qualified and competent anaesthetist to knock me out. Even then there's still a small risk of adverse effects.Yes, most definitely. But again, this is a different issue.