Most mutants, Web Heads and Leather Skins, could pass for humans in the right circumstances with minimal disguise; a scarf around the head to hide the marking tattoo, clothing to cover the reptilian-like skin, a hat to obscure the elongated head, sunglasses to conceal the eyes.

Hydrates’ bodies were whipcord thin, all muscle and bone and almost totally devoid of fat. They looked skeletal and disturbing with desert-blotched skin stretched tight over frames of hard bone. Their faces seemed to be permanently masked in anger: thin lips and bared teeth, bulging eyes with red-rimmed pupils that rarely dilated more than a couple of millimeters.

Hydrates rarely evacuated their bodies of waste and, by the same token, they rarely consumed moisture. Most of them were extremely hydrophobic and reacted badly, very badly, when faced with water and other liquids. And Hydrates despised normal mutants almost as much as they despised humans, which they hated with a passion. They considered Webs—even though they had been outlawed—sub-humans, sell-outs, traitors to the Mutant Race.

The truth be known, Hydrates despised almost anything and everything whether it made sense or not. The same extreme levels of radiation that had sent the genes of their physical forms on a permanent detour had leeched deep into the accelerated declension of their brains and made them crazier than a plague of shithouse rats.