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Which one: Atrocity, the Fifth Rider of the Apocalypse (page 9-10) Genre: Deadlands Earth, weird wild west
Married: .... no. Children: probably, but you wouldn't recognize them. (See below)
Era: Weird West, born about 1840 Lifespan: very likely immortal. Isn't that sweet.


Silk Red Striped Purple Ecothet

Bonded at: Dark's Night at Avengaea
Type: Male 4 headed Hath-Hydra
Personality: Devoted to Atrocity, Trustworthy only by his word, Danger freak - really enjoys thrill kills
Size: large, bigger than a typical brown dragon
Mate: Mayonaka (offspring included below)
Mate: Lao (offspring includes Torraz ) and grand-offspring (here)
Makot Hatching Message: Who would have thought that my own father would be the right bond for me? Pure evil attracts pure evil, does it not?
Name: Makot
Bonded to: Ecothet
Gender: Male
Colour: Slime-Black
Breed: Xeno-Hyhathian Burster
Rank: Drone (low)
Size: Small
Height: 7'
Personality: A keen, quick-witted drone, Makot is always on the alert. So long as he is not being ordered to go directly to his death, he is also incredibly obedient. He does not, despite his lineage, have any over-the-top urge to kill or cause pain... rather, he's more the type to gather information for others to use to do the pain and death-dealing thing more efficiently.
Cyborware: No cyborware modifications currently available for xenomorphs or xeno-dragons.
Recht Hatching Message: Lay a hand on me in anything other then praise and I'll bite your balls off, you filthy beast... but then, you'd like that, wouldn't you?
Name: Recht
Bonded to: Atrocity (Ecothet)
Gender: Female
Colour: Black-Black
Breed: Xeno-Hyhathian Burster
Rank: Warrior (medium)
Size: Medium
Height: 8'
Personality: Recht is an underhanded type of warrior, relying on cunning, speed, and all of the dirty tricks that she has (or will be) picking up over her life. She is far from a mindless fighter, to say the least. She looks out for her own, and only picks fights against those that she knows she has a chance of winning. She will serve those that she chooses to only until they lose her trust or her respect. Then, they're as likely for a tail-whipping as for a display of subservience!
Cyborware: No cyborware modifications currently available for xenomorphs or xeno-dragons.
Copper Thedakaliss

Type: Female shell-hatched Xenodragon (gift by Dracothrope)

Personality: Protective, and highly moral considering her surroundings

Size: medium-large, around 45 feet long

Green Black Bahut Serakna (tr: many to be created)

Type: 18 headed Soldier female hydra (gift by Mystic)

Crown Jewels: 4 sapphire (intelligence), 4 diamond (strength), 3 ruby (temper), 2 emerald (loyalty), 1 black opal (denotes female)  - Personality therefore is quite loyal but a bitch and a half, and can explain herself when she feels the need

Size: large, around 20 feet at shoulder

Mate: Andressaa (Mayonaka's 'rider') Offspring with Andressaa: Mengusikaa; Samuramat; Kedok; Kinkkori; (male); (female)
Mate: Baeris Kshau (shhh) Offspring with Baeris: thankfully only Bruno Kshau
Sexual Type: will rape whatever presents itself. Relatives: not alive any longer
Nemesis: the good guys Allies: Renaud's foul Institute. Believe it or not. (well, once upon a time)
Occupation: He's the fifth horseman of the apocalypse. Doesn't that say it all? Powers and Abilities: do not ask him to demonstrate his powers. They will all hurt you.
Prefered weapons: anything that he can touch, he can use as a weapon. Potato peelers, ice picks, q-tips, dead cats, whatever. He loves getting his hands on things. But notice that he doesn't have a spot of gore on him in the picture above. Weaknesses: WEAKNESS? There is no weakness! Don't bring that up again, mmmkay?
Song: I'll Damage You, Razed in Black Pets: none
NOTE that these pages have been collected below - formerly found across sanger-atrocity1 through sanger-atrocity5

The courtyard was always guarded by that bitch of a dragoness. Atrocity wasn't sure why she looked at him so angrily - after all, she'd called for bonders, and he was... well, into bondage. Wasn't that close enough?

It was for him. The night air was chill against his naked skin, and he tried to sneak into one of the riders rooms. Damn those little flitter menaces, he was foiled yet again when a flurry of small wings and sharp little claws assailed him.

He knew it was too much to ask that he be allowed to kill the damn little things. They did belong to someone else, and that someone else might be able to throw him out of the hatching grounds. That would just never do. He would fail his Master, and Atrocity wanted nothing of the sort.

All he could do was please Julian. It was remarkably satisfying. Long long before, when he was still half heartedly fighting Renaud's advances off, there had been some kind of reason behind refusing to submit. But whatever that reason was kept giving him welts, broken bones, and shamed silence while stuck face first in a bucket of shit as punishment.

He'd had enough of that crap for a lifetime. And the moment that the old Istvan let go, was the moment that Julian fell in love with him. Truly. At least, that was how Atrocity saw it. Because the beatings stopped - except for the good ones. Of course, by the time he was truly Atrocity, it didn't matter whether Julian beat him, kissed him, put an animal in front of him, or what. Any attention was the kind he wanted.

But the rewards... There were rewards. And Atrocity knew that while his otherworldly dopplegangers didn't think much of them, they'd never actually seen them. Julian was forceful, dangerous, with his love. But he was also amazing in most ways. Brilliant as a scientist and chemist, and devoted to his arts the way that many would call obsession.

Atrocity lurked in the darkness of the castle for a number of days, continually being chased away from one room or the next.

The pregnant woman - the rider of one of the dragons? - Gave birth to some mewling brat. Atrocity would rather have kept it for himself, he almost stole it. But the demonic woman/dragon/whatever she was kept close and made sure that no one dared touch it let alone be left with it without her being there.

And only one day later, while the castle was still loud with the noise of baby, and the smell was still fresh - another sound came to Atrocity's sensitive ears. The faint meep-sounds of the dragonets in their shells, ready to get out.

He was called out with the other candidates, of course. And they dutifully went along. One or two of them seemed utterly out of place. And Atrocity knew the value of style - he would be fashionably late. He had to take some time and actually dress for the occsaion, in his leathery best.

Look who's finally here, said Onithris. Atrocity thought that was pretty amusing. After all, the moment he was bonded to one of the offspring on the dirt here, he was absolved of his promise not to hurt anything.

Yes. That would be good. He got hard just thinking about what he wanted to do to the riders. Or their animals. Or the staff. Whatever.

He hadn't actually had proper sex (whatever passed for that with him: meaning insertion, right?) with anyone since he was brought out of his transformation tube more than two weeks before. That, he thought, sucked ass.

By the time he was on the courtyard square, he noticed that a couple eggs had already opened up. A little two headed black marked male was eyeing the candidates carefully. Atrocity thought he was a good looking dragon thing. But he took too long to be the first in anything other than breaking his shell. His single-headed sister ran out to one of the women at the hatching, and paired up.

It was almost sickening in its potential for a lovey dovey moment. And Hedoro recognized this fact immediately, telling them to get to the kitchens and get some food.

Mmm, that would be good, Atrocity thought. Meat. He barely ate anyway, but when he did it would be with deep enjoyment. Maybe they had something still alive that he could listen to while eating parts of it?

The first to hatch became the second to bond, when he chose his pair. By that time, another couple eggs broke open. There was one with two heads, another with three. Females, by their appearance, though with dragons or halfbreeds or whatnot, who could really tell these things?

One of them lunged at the animal that one of the other women brought along. What it was doing here other than being eaten viciously was beyond Atrocity's ken. It was almost like the female hydragon had been listening in on Atrocity's thoughts of food - for she went right for its belly and started eating, it hadn't even clearly died or tried to escape! Good kill.

At least Hedoro agreed with everyone that the creature had to be killed. Zerinka, the new mother, brought her whelp with her to watch the hatching.

While the other female didn't bond right off, a male hatched and went out to bond. Cheran'khan, the sire of the eggs (or some of them, Atrocity wasn't sure) seemed pleased from his rooftop perch, and Atrocity noticed the similarity between he and the newly bonded hatchling.

The unbonded female was asked if she had some problem, and she aloofly left the area, obviously deciding that she was too good for anyone here. Atrocity wondered ... would they see her again some day? He hoped so. She had guts.

The two big eggs left over finally broke at the same time, and eight heads vyed for the best upright position, four glaring back at four. One of them, clearly the best of the whole clutch, was a violet color danced with red stripes, and with vibrant blue eyes and four tails, lunged at the other - a smaller brown colored with blood red on his limbs. They were both magnificent, but just after the purple one looked up at Atrocity, he turned on his sibling and lunged with three of his four sharp mouths.

They tussled, hard teeth and sharp short claws tearing at one another's skin. Every limb was occupied with striking at its counterpart on the other dragon!

Onithris decided that she didn't much like this turn of events, and announced loudly, Stop this! You are not beasts!

She came down to the yard and brought her two offspring apart sharply. She had to physically throw the purple one away from his brother, twice, because he came right back at his brother who cowered behind their mother's legs.

The bigger brown went off to bond, while the purple had to be held back by Onithris lest he do more damage than necessary. When they'd left, and everyone else was pretty much gone too, off to find their food or get rested or cleaned up, Atrocity was the last left to watch as the purple marked sat down and pouted.

His fun, his prey, his brother, was gone, and there was nothing he could do about the great bitch of a mother he had. She was just too strong to ignore. Atrocity knew that this was his. It was clear to everyone else that they thought he wanted to do something worse than talk.

"There there, we'll have more than enough prey to play with," he said with a wide grin. His eyes danced with laughter and madness, like the dragonet's. "Now tell me your name."

Ecothet, and I want to kill something!

"Oooh, of course," Atrocity said under his breath. "We could do that now, if you wanted." Because now, he gazed around the courtyard and saw the bitch with her new little baby clutched in her arms, he could do whatever he wanted. He had bonded. And his promise never extended beyond that moment.

He was hard again, and he was positive that some day Ecothet would enjoy his own kind of lust.

"Cheran," Hedoro said, his dragon powerdived onto the pair in the courtyard before they could do any hunting.

"This is really unnecessary," Atrocity said, complaining a bit only because his dragon was being denied his first meal, and his first proper hunt. And by his own sire!

They were abruptly teleported away from the courtyard - the cold blackness was both frightening and comforting to both. This was the Nexus, this was the place where the Healing Den resided, and he would get back there. Yes... He would. Now that there was a dragon. He could navigate back there.

He'd have to. Because Cheran'khan dropped them back into reality on a planet .... it might have been his proper place, but Atrocity didn't know for sure. It smelled right, but that was about it. It was a deserted area, scrubland. Yes, that would be right.

Wouldn't it be a pleasant surprise if he went to the Alabaster mansion and took his dragon's first meal there?


Ecothet and Atrocity lurked in the scrubland wandering around until they could locate the Institute again. They were in the right world, but it was all so hard to distinguish between countries. They eventually realized they were almost four hundred miles away from their destination.

"Well here we are," said Atrocity. They stood before a monolythic structure, set among a shattered stand of pipe-stones.

But where is this? This is not our home, I know that much.

Atrocity gave off a brilliant smile. "It is going to be where you learn to fly, though. Your wings are getting bigger. And you've got enough of them," he laughed.

Two of Ecothet's heads snapped at Atrocity's hand, but the other two gazed with more intelligence at the structure.

So it is inhabited?

"Not for long," Atrocity said.

The stone was old, but the building was made during the big Ghost Rock rush not too many decades before. It was supposed to be a stronghold of faith and purity.

Fat lot of good that was going to do for the people there. They were just as juicy as any others, and there were fewer dead ones among the walking. That at least was a pleasure to Atrocity - he wasn't all that fond of the walking dead, unless he was going to fuck one, and even then they had to be fresh. So when he started picking off the young ones who wandered too far out into their fields, they were superstitiously aware.

"That's right," Atrocity said, while he watched from an outcropping. His keen eyes saw more than a mile away that the parents of the last girl he'd swiped were grieving. They had consulted their local priestly type - who thought he'd be able to wipe the pestilence of whatever evil was plaguing them away.

The priest and a cadre of others strode out to the fields where three of their children had been snatched, and began some kind of half-arcane half-innane purification rite.

But when they got to the parts about evil, the Horsemen and all that to be kept away and at bay? Atrocity waited for his cue.

"We sweep thee away!" Said the priest. "No further death, no more starvation!" He turned to face the parents, "no more war, and no more pestilence."

"But what about me?" Atrocity said, with Ecothet glaring at them from behind him. All four heads with their eager blue eyes - matching Atrocity's. "You didn't mention me... I would love to introduce myself," He bowed and came up halfway with a clearly insane and lusty glare at the mother of the girl he'd just killed up on the rocks.

"I am Atrocity, courtesy of the Renaud Institute, and I would like to kill you all. In most horrible ways, of course," he said aside to the priest.

The priest fainted. One of Ecothet's heads bit him in half.


Eventually, when Ecothet was strong enough to try his wings, he flew from the highest spire of the stronghold. Within weeks, he was quite adept at flight. Atrocity displayed one last vestage of his Sanger heritage: he was still a bit afraid of heights. But that merely meant they would cruise low over the scrubland as they found their hostages or food. (Or, as it was likely, both of those in the same package.)

"Now that our range is extended," Atrocity said, "we should find our home again."

Your home, I haven't seen it yet.

"Details." Atrocity waved his hand. "We should be able to find it more easily now. I will know the land, by the towns if they are still there. Ruins or not." He licked his thin lips.

They set off from the tower, leaving behind a mass of bones and rubble.

It took several weeks to sweep across the land. From north to south, and steadily west, they wove around until they spotted what Atrocity knew was the Institute.

"I hope that my master is going to welcome me back," he said. Dread suddenly took hold - he had been gone quite some time, after all. Would Julian still want him?

Of course he will want you. You are ideal. Who would not want you?

Pausing to think, clouded by his vanity, Atrocity shortly shook his head and laughed. "You're right of course. No one will ever turn me down."

Before they made it to the Institute, however, Atrocity urged Ecothet south, along the river gorge and over the little foothills. There was Alabaster, sitting pretty. It still had all the trappings of defense, but ... it also had dragons already. Defending it? Damn.

They will be good to fight, some time. We should go.

Without being seen by the Alabaster dragons, then, Atrocity and Ecothet made it back to the Institute.

Julian was both furious and deeply pleased. Atrocity put himself down practically flat, and Ecothet glared at Julian daring him to do something to his bond.

"I see you haven't forgotten how to act," Julian said.

"I could never forget," Atrocity said. "Please forgive me for taking so long. The flying dragon left us too far to get here easily. Ecothet could not fly until recently."

Julian looked at the hydragon with some appraisal. "He is a fine creature, Ecothet is it?"

The satin striped hydragon nodded with two heads, snarled with the others. Julian knew enough to realize that he couldn't possibly tame this creature, it only would respond to Atrocity. So be it.

"You will still be punished for taking so long. Alabaster has gained its own defenders." Julian said flatly.

"I noticed, we flew past them on our way here," Atrocity admitted. "Ecothet, you will remain here. Do not interfere."

Whatever it was that Julian had in store as punishment was something that at first Ecothet thought Atrocity was enjoying. When he - and Renaud - realized that, it got much much worse. But Atrocity was named well, after all. It would be a long time before Renaud was satisfied with his 'punishment'.

Eventually - Ecothet and Atrocity would be making some attacks on Alabaster. But what happens then?





Between Engell's Xeno and Ecothet, Alabaster and the Institute had reached an impasse of massive proportion. The female Xeno was able to defend her territory with vicious talent, and even Ecothet thought she would be best off left alone.

But there was another Xeno dragon which had caught the four-headed Hydragon's many eyes. In the three years since arriving at the Institute, Ecothet and his bond had been experimenting with the machinery common to the genrehopping Sangers. He tested the device with small animals first, and was able to determine that not only could he send living things through this small portal, but he could focus where and when they were sent as well.

It was a kind of looking-glass portal for the time being. Slung on the wall of his personal lab, which Renaud afforded Atrocity after some spectacular death party. Its edges crackled and probably gave off some bizarre radiation. But Ecothet was staring into it with two heads as the other two gobbled down a freshly caught deer.

"I do hope you're going to clean that mess up," Atrocity said of the dripping blood and gore on the floor around Ecothet's paws. The two hungry heads glared at him, but he merely laughed. If it were human blood he'd never have said a thing. He didn't much care for the stink of wild animal innards.

Do you see what I see in this portal, my one? asked Ecothet. Piqued, Atrocity walked to the device and tilted his head.

"It's a busy place, where ever it is..." He said. The portal showed a steel and glass structure, curved, somewhere on the inside of a corridor which opened out into a large dome. Within that dome, however, there were -

There are dragons there... Female ones, see how that one flies and attracts mates?

"A profoundly filthy idea just sprang into my mind, but that's nothing new," Atrocity said with a grin. "I see how it works, my friend. And I see what's on your minds."

He scratched at the nearest smart head, while the nearer dull witted one growled at him. "I'm not going to take your meal from you, dolt!" He yelled at the other head. The three spares that Ecothet had also snarled at its fourth member, who gulped a large chunk of meat down and looked away sulking.

I do wish to chase after a female. I know that your master does not enjoy their company but you know different. And I am hungry for mating. You never let me try it.

"That's because you're a dragon, Ecothet, and humans just can't handle your magnificence." Atrocity said with a gigantic smile. "But another dragon... there's a thought."

They looked through the portal for another few minutes, and then Atrocity swept upstairs into his storehouse of items and spare parts. "I'll make another portal, big enough to go through. Those blasted pure blooded dragons can teleport."

I wish I could, it is my one shame.

"Don't feel bad. You can do everything else and more." Atrocity complimented the four-headed hydragon, who gave off four hums of gloating pleasure.

It took several days, but in that time Atrocity built a similar device - round and made of exposed wires, connected to a smallish box. Within was enough ghost rock to power the device for years. It would be exactly like the one that the other Sangers developed - only it ran on the condemned souls of the dead...


They arrived to the place in this portal, a world that they gathered was called Star City. There was a dragonry there, it was in deep space somehow. That made Atrocity a bit nervous - floating around in space? With only a thin metal and glass shell around them? But he'd survived worse, he thought, so off they went.

The four-headed, four winged half-Hathian dragon and his tall terrifying companion walked through Star City like they owned the place. But both knew very well that they had to behave themselves. No eating anyone out of hand, and no attacking anyone. That would be rude. That would have to wait.

"There are some other dragons," Atrocity said and pointed down into the dome. Ecothet reared up and flew down to greet them - or something like that. In reality he scared the crap out of three, and merely made the other angry.

He was in her light, or something. Atrocity watched with some interest as Ecothet danced around in a kind of confused, annoyed way. Chasing him across the turf down there was a big black colored dragoness. A Xeno, he could tell by the head shape, and the chitin exterior. She was lovely, much more sturdy looking than Engell's female. And a queen, anyway - he didn't have one of those. Merely a warrior.

But this queen also had Hathian wing spars from her forelegs - meaning that she in some small way was related in breed to his own Ecothet. Beautiful!

Ecothet soon tired of the sparring play and went back up to the deck above to speak with his bond.

Her name is Mayonaka, he said. She brought two other males with her, though. They will be difficult to get through when she comes into her full heat.

"You're not afraid of them, are you?" Atrocity chided.

No, not afraid. I just worry that they will slow down my progress toward their queen, and make my fun too short.

"Bite theirs off," Atrocity muttered. "I will go find us somewhere to bunk, and ... you go harass them some more. Look at them - I see them now." He looked down and glowered at the two black Xenodragons who hovered about their mistress like flies. "You can take one with one pair of heads and the other with your spares. You see, there's no problem at all."

Ecothet bellowed and cheerfully - if morbidly - imagined the two males suffering horrible wounds at his whim.


Atrocity was finally able to swing space for he and his large hydragon companion. He absently noticed that one of the others in the occupied dorms bore a striking similarity to someone he'd seen in passing at the Healing Den when he was there. A droid? One of him? Weird.

But fortunately Atrocity had better things on his mind than trying to corrupt or destroy another version of himself. He wanted to have as much fun as Ecothet would doubtless have, and he was determined to find out who the caretaker of the beautiful black queen on the flight board was.

Purely by chance he overheard someone in a chamber near the entrance to the flight dome say that the 'people' belonging to those travesties (he guessed correctly that they meant the Xenodragons) were hardly people at all, but half-breed shapeshifters!

Shapeshifting dragons? Xeno dragons? And humans? Atrocity literally got stiff and licked his lips with delight. "I cannot believe the luck of this trip," he said to himself. "If she needs a proper mate for her dragon, she'll clearly need a strong male to sire any of her own brood..."

Chuckling to himself, then, and wandering the darkening halls of Star City, Atrocity played over every possible connotation of human-xeno interaction in his mind. He loved every single imagined pain and bloodletting, every danger and every teardrop. He could really wind up hurt - but that was the joy in it. He could really wind up hurting her. And he suspected that if he didn't - or couldn't - do that, she would never accept him as a mate.

Now if only she'd fly and set the record straight...

The record, as requiring being straightened, read that Ecothet mated joyously with the xenoqueen Mayonaka. Her existing males also paired - with females who had either mistakenly or by chance shown up in the flight dome that very moment. Their defeat at attempting to pair their bondmate turned into glory when they all got to mate.

Atrocity imagined it would be an insanely huge clutch on the sands. The other females weren't quite similar to any other dragons he'd seen.

But then neither was his own - dangerous - mate. He left the woman/xeno alone when she threatened to actually kill him when he was sleeping. But he'd be back to check on her. As long as their dragon's eggs were on the sands, he was going to wait it out.

So far Atrocity had suffered a bit more than he expected, but he didn't care. His leg healed almost immediately, and the large chunk of his chest that the female bit out of him wouldn't scar for very long. Such was his ability to heal, and he was supremely glad for it. She'd tried biting off one of his ears, and that was the last straw for that night - he summoned a bit more of the rage-strength he had and pinned her down once and for all at that point.

That made her even more angry and likely to shift back into her queenly-xeno shape. It was a good thing Atrocity was fast on his feet. Even leaving a blood trail back to his dorm, he still made it with time to spare. Maybe he'd try more tricks later. Maybe he could use one of those clever snares that he'd seen some other species using to trap the xenos in hunts... Yeah. That would work. Give her a good jolt of electricity if she tried shifting too much...

While he was laid up with parts regenerating, Atrocity just let his mind wander...


With their success at Star City assured, their glorious offspring soon to be sent out into the great universe, Atrocity and Ecothet decided to head home. His master would be furious, wouldn't he? It had begun to matter less, to Atrocity, that Renaud's rage would meet him. After Mayonaka's rider, a human rage was... tame. By comparison, what could he do?

But devotion and loyalty were deep. There was little reason not to head home, after all, because then he could gloat about his exploits.

Perhaps he does not want to hear about them, Ecothet bespoke carefully, upon reaching their home. The Institute was just as oppressive and stark as ever, with the people in it wandering like desperate slaves, the air howling with the indistinct sound of Ghost Rock being burned in the distance.

"I think it would still be proper," Atrocity said. "Besides, I do not know whether we have missed any important battles. Engell and his people might have tried something while we were gone."

What will you tell him?

"That you wanted to hunt bigger things, and I wished to watch." It was mostly the truth anyway. When Atrocity did greet his master, it seemed to Ecothet that Renaud would never allow Atrocity to leave the building ever again. He felt the touch of a ghost-rock-powered 'tazer' of some kind upon Atrocity's back, which rendered their contact difficult.

That was the last straw for Ecothet. He burst through one strongly-built wall, and bellowed with two heads while completely enveloping one guard's upper body in another. The fourth head glared at Renaud fiercely. Head three spat out the remains of the guard, and raised itself to view him as well.

"Well, the beast arrives," Renaud said. He was still confident that he could somehow subdue Ecothet. Atrocity lay with a burn mark and smoke coming from his back, nearby. Ecothet wished to move to his side, pick him up and leave - but Renaud walked over to block him.

"You cannot have him until he's been punished, beast," Renaud spoke clearly and with menace in his voice. "I know where you have been, and I forbid you to leave again. He is mine, after all, and you are only an animal. Both of you are mine."

"You FORBID?!" Ecothet spoke for the first time, using all his might to force words from his mouths - all of them. You are not my master, you are merely an old man sustained by the will of the dead. I am alive and nothing you can do can stop me from taking him away from you!

Faintly disturbed by the loud contact, Renaud stepped back half a foot, but recovered himself quickly. It was what he was known for, after all. His composure intact, Renaud raised his hand to Ecothet's muzzle.

"I dare you to even take one bite, beast," he said with a strange smile. "You do not know how correct you are, when you said what you did about me." He waggled his strong, short fingers at the hydragon. Ecothet's nostrils flaired in anger, and one of the smaller heads took the bait. It swung in quickly, like it would if killing a deer.

And immediately regretted the action. Its teeth sunk into skin, true, its tongue tasted blood. But... That blood was tainted so badly, burning with the distillation of spirit-sickness called Ghost Rock. Spitting out the hand, coughing on the remnants of blood in its mouth, Ecothet's head warbled in distress.

It is worse than Mayonaka's blood... Ecothet whispered to himself mainly. What is this man?

"I am your master," Renaud hissed, glaring all the while at the main head. "Say it."

Ecothet pawed at the floor, his wing-fingers touching something more familiar under them. The slick real blood of the guard he'd killed. With one swift move, he swept up the body of the guard with his forepaw, striking Renaud with it and knocking him into the corridor beyond. Then Ecothet snatched up his true bond's form, still smoking from the blast which knocked him out, and screamed with all his might,

YOU ARE NOT MY MASTER! I belong to only one - Atrocity is my bond and you are nothing!

With that, he swept back to his own corridor lair, slipping through confused guards and laying three more to their graves. Ecothet flew up into the Institute's highest hallway, where there was an observation dome. He shattered through it, cutting himself deeply and probably ripping a good amount of skin from Atrocity as well. Taking to the air with only two wings was a bit difficult for Ecothet but he had to do it. He took Atrocity to his lab, which lay on the opposite side of the Institute from where they'd arrived.

Still within the building, though, which made Ecothet's hearts pound with anger and worry. Atrocity had to wake before Renaud could arrive. They had to leave, before then. Ecothet prodded his rider, gently with one muzzle, while another searched the room for a source of water. Ungracefully dumping a pitcher onto his rider's head, Atrocity woke with a gasping shudder.

"W-wh-argh!" Inconherent anger mixed with pain howled from his lips, shortly. But then just as suddenly, Atrocity stood up stiffly and looked around him, realizing where he was and with whom.

"Ecothet," he growled, afraid, "what have you done?"

I have protected you from him, Ecothet said.

He could feel the mixture of pain, anger, fear and grief in Atrocity's heart, and wondered if he'd ever be forgiven. Not that hydra need to be forigiven. But he wasn't all hydra. He was half dragon. You were going to be hurt more than -

"I deserved it!" Atrocity demanded loudly, "If you'd just left me alone he would have-"

He demanded that I call him master! And that we never leave! He is NOT my master! Even you are not that to me! You are my friend, my love, my bond, and you do not deserve to be punished for our actions! We have mated and shown the worlds our power - what is wrong with that? We are the most superior males, that is what males do!

Sobering a bit, Atrocity stood and fiddled with the ruined shirt on his shoulders, and threw it to the side. He couldn't quite reach the blast mark on his back, but he knew it would eventually heal.

He is made of that stuff, Ecothet said, twisting his head toward their little portal-windows. That rock powers him, as much as those machines of his. He tasted horrib-

"YOU BIT HIM!?" Atrocity shrieked, "Ecothet - Ecothet, you've ..."

I did what I had to do, rider. I could almost taste what he wished to do to both of us. And he does not own me. You are not his slave if you do not wish to be.

"But... I - owe - him, for ..." He waved his hands up and down, indicating himself, "all of me."

You saw the others. You are responsible for you now. And I am.

"But I ..." Atrocity's voice wavered. Ecothet did not know the name for the emotion running through Atrocity's mind. Nor did the man, apparently. Tears streamed from his brilliant blue eyes. "Ecothet...." Atrocity sank to his knees, holding on to one wing spar of his beloved beast. "I do not know how to live without this. Without him."

But he hurts you so much, and he does not love you. You know that. Even your shifting Xeno mate loved you more than he does. She appreciated you for what you could do.

"But I couldn't do it without him making me... into this..." Atrocity sobbed. He would not break. He would not be weak. The other Sangers were so so so weak... Like this. They worried about what love was. They worried about how real people acted. But he was not real. He knew he wasn't - ever since he came here to this foul place, he was unreal. Unmade, remade. Manufactured to order. Atrocity was what he was - he was not a who. Only a what.

Ecothet's two smaller heads butted up against Atrocity, surrounding him. I know what you are. You are mine. I will bite him in half if I have to - he will not do these things to you any longer. Not while I am with you.

"Something happened here while we were gone, Ecothet," Atrocity said, oddly. "Don't you smell it?"

His other two heads sniffed at the air. It was difficult from here, but it was true. The air coming from the vents had a tang in it, something familiar.

There is another dragon here. Ecothet said.

"We have to go," Atrocity said. There was a thin film of desperation in his voice, disguising true fear. "Maybe he'll forget about this with some time. Maybe we can find someone who can teleport us back in time, like those riders do..."

Maybe we just leave and never return, my one.

"I can't do that," Atrocity said, flatly. "We have to come back some time. After we find ... something." He perked up. "If I bring him back a gift, he'll be less likely to do those things you hate. Right?"

Bribery works for many humans, Ecothet admitted. It would work for him.

Atrocity cleared the tears from his eyes, and hastily readied the portal. His mind raced. What could he do? If there was another dragon here already it meant that either someone Renaud sent had gotten one or...

They ported away, but not before Ecothet took down the other smaller experimental portals from the walls. Surely Renaud meant that he knew where they'd been because one of them showed it all. There were no secrets kept from that man. With the batch of wires and small black boxes in his big clawed hands, Ecothet and Atrocity were whisked away from the Institute...


They went back to Star City. It was the only place he could think of, and Renaud didn't know where to look for him - that he knew about.

The eggs will be hatching shortly. We should be there anyway. Your eggs are different, I think.

"My eggs?" Atrocity said, but they landed and strode around to the hatching dome without saying another word. Ecothet was angry that his rider would be so stubborn. Yes, he liked pain - but when it reminded him he was alive! He wasn't soft - far from it. Neither man nor hydragon were soft in any way. But hurt? Yes!

Atrocity slid into the den he'd appropriated before, no one had come to claim it while they were gone. Ecothet strutted around his mate's handiwork, and was shooed away from the resin-stuck creatures with a loud hiss. He hissed right back. It was almost like they'd never left. For Star City it had been several weeks they'd been gone, for the pair, mere hours spent at the Institute. Time did strange things around travelers like them.

Very shortly, indeed, the hatching was called. Mayonaka bade everyone attend, and Ecothet forgot all thoughts of Renaud or pain or even his rider's tortured self. As dozens of his own offspring came to life in their hosts or from their eggs, his hearts swelled with pride.

Two who came from their hosts bodies along the walls, still covered a bit with the gore of their birth, met on the sands and milled around the eggs, before examining with eyeless heads the candidates. They were sadly not to their liking at all!

There was obviously only one solution to this - head to their parents and find out why they couldn't locate a bond worthy of their loyalty.

Yet when they did approach the queen, both sightless creatures looked up at Ecothet. He could feel their minds squirming about each other's as well as their mother's.

The green and tan male, single headed, slunk up to Ecothet's forepaw and wrapped himself around it. Who would have thought that my own father would be the right bond for me? Pure evil attracts pure evil, does it not?

The female black and silvery colored 2 headed burster on the other hand didn't bother to stop at the ground level. She went quickly up his wing arm, where his local heads looked at her in curiosity. She bit at one, while her other head gazed eerily around. Lay a hand on me in anything other then praise and I'll bite your balls off, you filthy beast... but then, you'd like that, wouldn't you?

Ecothet rumbled gently to his offspring. He appreciated both of them - their presence would reassure his rider as well. They would grow into formidible xenos - the male a drone and the female a strong warrior. Both of them would be of considerable use against Renaud should he come to try harming Atrocity...

Ecothet aimed a comment at one of the Xenos who had bonded in a prior clutch, who was paired up with a local, who then wrote down the information. The sire of the clutch bonded off with Makot the slime-black male, and Recht, the black female.



Meanwhile Atrocity slept this off. He was still wounded, and had marvelous dreams of the hatching. He awoke abruptly though, when he was inspired to do something quite strange. He'd been thinking about that statement that Ecothet had made, about bribery working with many humans. It was true, Renaud loved to get things.

He'd just have to find the RIGHT things to give. Then, he'd be gone forever. There were universes out there he could explore - conquer? Dominate? Yes.... Ecothet's fierce pride and sensibility was begining to wear off onto the tall horrifying man.


Atrocity wasn't sure quite what to do with the young dragons. They were growing very quickly and would require more food than just a little now and then. Between the two of them they were consuming almost as much as their sire had when he was young.

If we go back there now, you will be killed, and I will not have that, Ecothet told his rider. But there are other worlds. You have been looking into them, haven't you?

"I have," Atrocity said, walking distractedly by the trio of hydra-mixes. He wasn't quite so unaware that when Recht attempted to snap at his arm, he struck her right back. They had this understanding. While Ecothet would probably have chomped down harder upon the chitinous back of his daughter, he merely rumbled with four throats worth of a laugh instead.

He is still little enough to be food to us, why will you not give him to us for food, father?

Because he is mine, do not ever forget that, little child. The pride eminating from Ecothet as Atrocity decided where they were all going to head, was catching. The warrior and her drone brother remained close to their sire, when Atrocity began laying out the lines of his dimension gate.

"We will be heading through this, so be very careful when you step through it," he told them. "Even though you are the most annoying creatures on the face of any planet, you are still all I have."

You will not lose them, I will not lose you. Now, show us what you have found, Atrocity, I wish to see what you have decided to do to barter your way out of your slavery.

With a smile which would make anyone else very uncomfortable, Atrocity nodded and turned the gate on.

^ Makot adult ... Recht adult V


While the group danced around the Nexus, Ecothet found more and more ways to entertain himself, at least in the sexual ways. He'd sired more than a couple wierdly beautiful clutches by the time Atrocity caught up with him.

There were consequences from their Star City stay. Well, from Atrocity's.

I could have told you that. I DID tell you that! I told you your eggs were different.

"I don't have eggs, Ecothet," Atrocity said calmly. "But she did..." ** What happens then? **


It seemed though that the Xenos had dug in to the whole Star City area more firmly than anyone imagined. As Atrocity stalked around, mostly naked and always eyed with suspicion, he thought he heard something. Well he was always hearing things, his hearing was that of a keen hunting animal - blessed with inhuman reflexes to back it up. He turned a darker corner, and smelled the distinct acidic tang of xeno-dragons.

"Well well well," he muttered, seeing easily in the darkness that there were a small brood collection of xenomorphs. "Hiding here? Aren't people going to notice when their friends go missing?"

We do not hunt sentients for food, hissed one with her mind. She was clearly the dominant force here, but another would quickly take her place if she let it. Atrocity could see that both the large females had collections of scratches on their armor, probably from fighting for dominance.

The other was clearly angry that she'd decided to speak to this ... human-thing. Atrocity stood by and watched with a passing interest, as she struck the brackish colored female back, swiping her tail and snarling in annoyance.

I will talk to whomever I wish! Bitch!

"That's telling her," Atrocity said. "Why not ... just leave those things. Come along with me. I've already got plans for you."

Did he? Or had he just said it? It didn't much matter, for the female coppery-colored xeno dragon came walking out with pride near her new attendant. "Don't worry - she'll lose control over those drones soon enough. It will be her payment for annoying you."

The xeno clearly thought that was a good plan. I did not want them. They were so... little.

They came to Atrocity's still-used still-supposedly-temporary quarters and the xeno stiffened a bit. You already have a female warrior here...

"Yes, there is, Recht, but you two will get along, I suspect." Atrocity half wished they didn't - because honestly it might mean they would gang up on him. Yet, he knew better suddenly. This female warrior would be his defender, not as strongly as Ecothet but certainly she didn't make any moves toward snapping at him like Recht and Makot did. The two xeno-type offspring from Ecothet's brood stood up and began sniffing the stranger.

Unrelated to them, probably, and of a different physical type than they - she broke shell, as a dragon. With wings, she could fly. She was still young, small enough to slither around Star City without being detected, and quick enough that if she was, she'd soon vanish.

What is this? Asked Recht. Atrocity, you are kidding me. I am in charge here!

"No, Recht, I am," Atrocity said evenly and with a tiny hint of a smile on his insane face. "And if you doubt that, go right ahead and try hurting me."

She stayed where she was, because Ecothet's ringing voice told her, not if you value your little life, daughter!

Atrocity's smile grew into a smirk. "That's it. Now. We've got a proper hunting party, don't you want to have some fun?"

I do not even know her name, if she has one, Recht spat, I will not go anywhere with her until I know if she'd even been named by her mother.

Of course I was! The copper growled. She only came up to about half the height of Recht and Makot, but she was also quadrupedal, so she'd reach a length rather than a height anyway. Light and shadow danced over her carapace and shining wings like oil, a beautiful effect. She'd be larger than Ecothet's offspring, but probably not large enough to give him a good threat.

But big enough to mate with, when she matured?

Atrocity kept a smile on his face when he thought of that - because probably Ecothet thought it at the same time. Looking through the twin eyes of his bond, Ecothet asked, well, what IS her name?

Thedakaliss, she announced, I am Thedakaliss. I will be happy to come with you, but I do not hunt sentients.

We do, Makot gleefully chattered his teeth. You don't have to share with us. You wouldn't like their taste as they yell for mercy anyway.

Atrocity got the strange feeling that she really was offended by that. Well, he'd gone wandering in search of something in the halls of Star City before they left on another jaunt, and what he'd appeared to have found was ... something like a conscience?

Nah. That couldn't be right... After all, most of this creature's burst siblings came from humanoid hosts - that murdered them. He wondered... Maybe he'd survive that ordeal. He'd heard of other immortals doing so, he could brood his own!

Chuckling at the thought that he could inflict so much pain on himself for the sake of so much terror for others made him hard again, and they would find all sorts of things to piss Thedakaliss off with while out in the big wide Nexus.


What is with these ... females! Makot was angry, but his sire Ecothet was just amused.

They are apt to congregate around me, I know...

Atrocity, who was working on ... something ... over by the edge of the lab started laughing raucously at that. "I must be rubbing of on you, Ecothet, that sounds like something I would say."

Well you ought to take your eyes off that corpse and turn to see what we are discussing, Ecothet said, three more voices than necessary in Atrocity's mind. He sighed, put down the bone saw and made sure that the corpse wasn't going to get up again like it'd been doing for the past two hours. Then he turned to bitch at Ecothet for interrupting.

But what he saw beyond the great beast was ... a sight to behold indeed.

She was young, it looked as though all her heads hadn't quite finished growing yet for two or three of them were still in a kind of 'sealed' stage. But Atrocity did a quick count (halfway through Ecothet's eyes) and came up with eighteen heads.

She is a proper guardian for our lair, while I am out or you are asleep, my one. Ecothet seemed rather proud of himself, but the soldier hydra had actually come of her own volition. How she knew to come here to their new hiding place, who could tell. But that was how things worked for Atrocity - indeed, for almost any Sanger.

"Well well," Atrocity put down his goggles and slipped around one of the operating tables that still had goo from the last subject on it. His eyes were looking over the new prize, a green and black hydra. Her crown had several colorful bits on it, and though Atrocity didn't know it, they represented a measurement of her strength and wisdom, temper and loyalty. "What is your name, then?"

Some many of her heads hissed out a wordless noise, the one with the crown proclaimed, "I am Bahut Serakna," she seemed to get most of her heads under control, and they all but bowed in respect to him. "Ecothet found me, and I chose to come here with him, if you are indeed what he says of you. You will not back away from a challenge?"

"Not if I have two dozen sets of teeth to help me," Atrocity said, still somewhat enamored of just looking at her. "Between you and Ecothet, I would say that anyone stupid enough to challenge us would be a quick lunch." He took a quick glance at Thedakaliss, who was wary of the large hydra. "We'd only eat the stupid sentients, Thedakaliss, right?"

Makot and Recht both gave off oddly grinding laughs, and surely if Thedakaliss had eyes she would have rolled them. She did have to admit: stupid things shouldn't breed...

"Then I would like to welcome you to our home for the time being..." he waved his hands at the huge lab. It had apparently been vacated only recently and rested underground below a busy city filled with 'spandex heroes' and 'supervillains'. Atrocity was seriously considering joining the fun up there but he knew he had to be careful who saw him come and go... He didn't know if this world's Renaud had been killed off, was one of those villains, or just what.

So you ARE afraid of something, Bahut's mind spoke, quietly but with waves of static from her other heads.

"Yes, I am," Atrocity said. "I'm part of a breed of ... dopplegangers, perhaps," he explained, "and if I were to be seen by the man that made me this way," he waved over himself, he was hardly normal in any way, "I do not know that I would be able to fight back. So Ecothet keeps me sensible, and I daresay you keep me protected from that menace. It is, I promise you, my only weakness. And I know precisely where he lives. He's got a batch of boys to keep him busy, I doubt he will make any undue appearances in my life again."

She was seemingly satisfied about that, it was enough to stop her from glaring hard at him with half her heads.