Dubauer was an Ensign serving on the Betan Astronomical Survey ship, the Rene Magritte, under Commander Cordelia Naismith. He was badly wounded by a nerve disruptor fire to the head by Barrayaran soldier Konstantine Bothari; he had jumped in front of Naismith to protect her from the blast.
Due to the resulting cerebral damage, his cognitive and language skills were severely impaired, though he was able to recognize faces. He was held prisoner by Captain Aral Vorkosigan, who offered to euthanize Dubauer, as was Barrayaran custom. Naismith immediately opposed this.
Dubauer suffered several mishaps while being escorted to a hidden Barrayaran supply depot; he was attacked by native Sergyaran wildlife and brutalized by Barrayaran enlisted men who thought he was a Betan spy. He received aid and food when he was transferred to the General Vorkraft under Vorkosigan's protective care. Dubauer was returned along with Naismith by the daring (albeit ultimately unnecessary) rescue by officers of the Rene Magritte.
Dubauer returned home, where his mother quit her job to give him permanent home health care.