Built slenderly, a single Skag weighs anywhere from 20 lbs (~10 kg) to 100 lbs (~45 kg). This large weight variance is due to the Skag's dietary habits, which fluctuate depending on its environment.Elements of Skag appearance differ from spacecraft to spacecraft, as much of their biology is influenced by the slag they consume from broken piping. Because of their biological flexibility, Skag diagnosis is often an engineering technique indicating the state of ship disrepair. One report by Thomas M. Clark (Sanitations Advisor) records his observance of the Skag aboard the luxury ship The CR Venerable:
- "...in a way the intestines of the vessel were truly scrambled. This was, in fact, one of the few times I've been able to witness multiple Skaggrath before they moved out of sight. If what I saw reflects the entire population, which I estimate is somewhere around 40,000, then the length of the average Skag would be 3 meters when outstretched. Given the cruiser's reputation for 'recycling' these suckers must be well nourished, and not just on bathwater..."
Skaggrath physical features are most notable in their facial region; two large eyes and four gripping mandicles distinguish its appearance. In the dark a Skag can find it's way around thanks to its natural night vision and ability to the damp air. When confronted with light, however, a Skag must rely only on its gustation. Other features such as colouration, number of limbs and size, depend on the substances ingested over generations.
The application of a Skaggrath nodule into any part of a ship is remarkably simple. The acquisition of one of these egg clusters is also remarkably simple given the massive Skaggrath industry between spacefaring civilisations. An egg node is attached to a wall, or the floor, in a dark damp location, from this point the Skaggrath eggs within quickly grow over a week (standard Cradle time). Once grown the newborns seek moisture and sustenance. Once a Skag is old enough it will produce its own nodule, most will do this at the same time. As a result the Skaggrath will pile their frothy embryos together. The 'face' of these creatures will then start to run with a liquid (other than the usual Skag spit), a creamy liquid that they will rub into the frothy embryo mountain. This fertilises the eggs and starts the next generation off, to continue the cycle.
The average Skag will usually live to see three broods of its own gestate into fully grown creatures. As one ages, the looser skin on its body starts gaining little dark spots. With this, the skin also starts to retract from its looser positions (including the facial tentacles), leaving a relatively thin looking creature. Upon the death of a Skag, all body liquids within will release. This also gains the attention of the rest of the Skaggrath, who now can no longer tell the shape from the muck they suck from the pipes around them.
To most humans the actual origin of the Skaggrath is a subject of great, and sometimes violent, debate. This is due to the almost overnight sensation that the introduction of Skag maintenance was to many a greasy starship captain.
The origin, while mysterious to humans, is a relatively simple story. The Skaggrath species was found aboard an incredibly huge and unfathomably ancient mining vessel. This hulk had been drifting through space until it came along to the outskirts of occupied G'fan space. Given the relatively disarrayed nature of the G'fan empire at the time, a number of 'galactic independants' sought to gain some sort of wealth out of the fractured people.
As luck would have it one of these relatively small vessels mistook the hulk as a war ravaged planet that had been knocked considerably out of orbit. With no signs of surface life the crew would scavenge from the planet's ruins with ease, in theory at least. What they were next to discover would quickly change their plans.
After weeks of cutting their way into the vessel, the scavengers soon discovered an intensely complicated network of passages, with little to no discernible purpose. With barely any idea of what they were doing, they descended deeper into the bowels of the structure. After a week or so traces of recent activity soon became apparent to them, such as thick coats of what is now known as Skag spit, filling the cracks in piping. Only did the explorers first encounter the creatures when a self concious crew member went off to relieve itself away in the darkness. This first interaction was less than pleasant for all non-Skag lifeforms, as the individual was later found with his pants down and digestive tract stretched wide enough to fit a Skag. Once the crew understood what was going on, toilet breaks became an uncomfortable experience as all personal were to be accompanied by a partner armed with a high beam torch.
Seeing the functionality of the ship, despite it's age, gave a number of cunning crew members a few profitable ideas to do with these Skaggrath. Giving up their lives of pirating, they proceeded to study, breed, and market the Skag to all manner of gullible/optimistic engineering platforms and docking/space stations.
Despite all this, the actual origin of the creatures is still unknown. One theory is that the creatures evolved over millennia trying to survive in the darkness of the suddenly abandoned ship. Ironically, the more significant question to the story ("Who made this vessel and where did it come from?") will never be answered. Once the crew left the hulk with enough Skaggrath, and Skag eggs they destroyed the vessel in an intense remote detonation. So far no evidence of the hulk has ever been discovered, the only legacy left of this mysterious and sophisticated piece of technology, is the vermin that struggled to survive by sucking leaky pipes of sewage for millions of years.
Given the creature's natural aversion to any form of sunlight, it is bizarre to think that such a reclusive beast would hold any significance. However, given every Human's natural desire to gawk at other species, upon hearing of the existence of the Skaggrath, a single Skagg was brought before press in Neo-Neo-Tokyo by providers of the species. The resulting scenario was that the Skagg stood completely still for 13 minutes before letting out a sound phonetically similar to 'Mak mak'. The bizarre situation became a sort of meme on the Hypernet, and the resulting popularity of the creature resulted in entertainment producers creating the cartoon of Mak-Mak' the Skagg'. A show that continues to be produced today, and is aired on 4 planets in 450 different languages (including Sint).