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"Vugs" are squat humanoid creatures, standing about three -four feet tall with flat-topped, triangular heads and stocky bodies. Their arms are slightly longer relative to their body than would be the case for a human. Their eyes are small and solid black. They are totally hairless and their skin is smooth. It is either a mottled orange colour or mottled purple. They have no obvious nose, and a small lipless mouth. There are no genders discernable to humans, although some conjecture that the purple and orange varieties represent sexual differences. They are stronger than most humans, and have more resistance to extremes of heat and cold.

Vugs have no culture of their own. They are only quasi-intelligent and seem incapable of existing by themselves. They do not speak and appear to totally lack the ability to think for themselves. They can, however, understand and follow out simple orders given in many languages. In fact, no language has been discovered yet that a Vug has failed to comprehend.

Vugs are common in the Empire as servants and laborours. Since the vugs do not seem to possess free will this use of them is not considered slavery by most citizens. Outsiders consider it another sign of the Empire's moral decay.

If given a task, they will carry it out tirelessly, although those giving the command must take care as to the wording since Vugs can sometimes be overly literal in their interpretation. They can follow simple commands like "Move all of those things over to there" easily. More complex commands like "Make me breakfast every morning at sunrise" must be broken down (in this case first to define "making breakfast" as a series of tasks. eg. toast bread, scramble eggs and then a further breakdown of those tasks. Think subroutines). They are incapable of tasks requiring any imagination or artistic skill (a vug could never become a portrait painter, although they would be able to whitewash a house). They also make poor fighters due to their lack of initiative, although sometimes they are used as cannon fodder. Their most common military uses are as bearers, sappers and any role that involves repetitive manual labour.

If a vug is not commanded, it will stand idle. They are known to eat a little (any organic matter seems to suffice), but do not seek food themselves. Most vugs live for about three-five years, the purple variety seemingly lasting longer.

Vug Harvesters
Vugs are found wild in mountainous areas, and are "harvested" by men and women who make their living rounding up these docile beings and selling them to trainers who "condition" the vugs with a selection of standard commands and check them for vug fever. No-one knows how vugs reproduce - it has never been observed in captive vugs, and vug-harvesters claim to have no knowledge of the process either.

Vug Fever
Vug never show fatigue and have not been known to fall ill, although sometimes they carry an illness known as "vug fever" which can be caught by humans in proximity of them. This disease is unpleasant but not fatal, making the unlucky recipient bed-ridden for a few days with a high temperature, nausea and an orange-coloured rash. Vug who carry this disease can be discerned by small white specks in their eyes.