The Hungries are light combat operatives, representatives of some bastard race the EI found in on a long-forgotten planet. The two kinds are distinguished by the presence, or absence, of the male, a symbiotic parasite hosted in the cranial base of the female Gaki. In order to feed, this symbiont must alter the biochemistry of the female-host’s body, a process that improves the performance of the host’s neural connections and enhances its intelligence. Far from rational, these symbiotic entities, known as Pretas, do exhibit faster learning rates and superior object manipulation skills. Both Gakis and Pretas are likely trained using a reward-mediated trial-and-error system, expedited by the EI artificially stimulating their appetite centers. This might explain the Combined Army military designation for these creatures: ‘The Hungries’. Humans met them for the first time on Paradiso, where they codenamed them Gakis and Pretas, the Japanese and Hindi names for hungry ghosts, after their fierce attacks and their inclination to move in ravening packs.
The main military applications of these units are to dissuade the enemy forces and to break their lines. Experience has taught human troops never to let them get too close. The Hungries have been trained to be insidious rather than intelligent. Each individual carries weaponized arm-claws, but Pretas can, by virtue of the presence of the symbiont, expel wide bursts of small calcareous outgrowths with such force that they can be used as a shrapnel gun. Pretas can also secrete bio-mines, sensitive globules filled with a neurotoxin, as an evolutionary advantage developed to protect their egg-laying areas, but this capacity used to bring about an unacceptable rate of security breaches and friendly-fire situations, so the mines are surgically removed prior to deployment. In combat, Hungries prefer to move as a group, following random patterns in unison to make the most of their numbers. Simply put, these things are bad, bad news. Their speed and tenacity makes for a terrifyingly ruthless enemy. Not in vain is it said that they never give up their pound of flesh.