" Some of you already have field experience on Dugats and know that they are some mean SOBs. An adult Dugat can easily take five hollow point bullets before falling down. More if you’re dumb enough to use armor piercing bullets on them. My advice is to use explosives if you can. The more tissue damage you can make on them the better. And don’t even think about going into close combat with those things. "
-Lieutenant McGroves, 5th Landing Fleet
Originally Dugats were a domesticated livestock animal herded by the Byrids. As Byrids spread out from star system to star system, they always brought Dugats with them. As livestock animals Dugats were perfect. They reproduced fast and grew to an adult size in mere weeks and thanks to their strong digestation they could eat almost anything. However, the brutal treatment of Dugats grew into moral disputes among the Byrids. Organisations were formed by activists that protested against the use of Dugats as livestock, but they had little effect on the meat market. Byrids needed food to eat and they had no plans on giving away such an effective food source. Frustrated by the lack of progress brought by the negotiations, a radical group inside the anti-meat organisation came up with a plan to uplift the Dugats into a sapient species.
After a long period of secret experiments and trials, the radical group invented a virus that could change the DNA structure of the Dugats and thus give them significantly increased intelligence. The activist group infiltrated the central livestock refining institute and smuggled the virus into the main hormone lab. In there they replaces each hormone update scheduled to be delivered across the Byridian empire with the uplift virus. From there the virus spread out into every single Byridian colony.
However, the consequences of the uplift were something the activists had not anticipated. Instead of becoming civilized creatures that evoke empathy, Dugats became something else. The formerly mindless creatures driven only by their insatiable urge to eat, were transfered into cunning creatures that use their intelligence only to acquire more food. The basic instincts were too strong to be repressed by intelligence. One after one the Byridian colonies fell under the ravaging attacks of the Dugats. With colonies where there were hundred Dugats per one Byrid the consequences were inevitable. Small refugee fleets managed to escape and return to their home star system. The Byridian star system was saved from the Dugat slaughter thanks to overpopulation. The planets there were too densely populated to have roaming Dugat herds.
Five hundred years have passed since the uplifting of the Dugats and still they are a great nuisance for many would-be colonists who wish to habit the old Byridian worlds. On rare occasions small fleets of Dugats manage to acquire old Byridian vessels and launch assaults on neighbouring worlds.
So far Dugats have proven to be incapable of manufacturing their own technology. This has not prevented them from using the tech of other species, especially the old Byridian weaponry and space vessels left behind by them. The tech used by Dugats is usually in bad condition and unreliable.
Appearance & Anatomy:
Dugats are four limbed omnivores that can walk on both two or four legs. The front limbs are capable of using simple objects such as weapons and vehicles but lack the finesse to use or manufacture complex devices. Dugats have sharklike heads with razor sharp teeth capable of crushing stone and metal. Their skin is thick, though and often covered in a slippery slime. The color of their hide varies between different breeds but most are brown or grey.
A curious fact about Dugats is that they neither external nor internal skeleton. They have so strong muscle and tendon structure that it holds their body together. This fact used to be one the reasons Dugats were so valued as livestock – most of their body mass is meat. The only bonelike parts of their body are their teeth, claws and a thick shieldlike plate protecting their forehead. Just like Byrids, Dugats have blue blood.