- "Greetingzzz, Master. How may Drone Beegee-Arfivetoo zzzervice the colony, hive, or zzzocial collective?"
- ―Start-up greeting from a new J9 worker drone
Roche Hive Mechanical Apparatus Design and Construction Activity for Those Who Need the Hive's Machines, more commonly referred to as simply Roche, was a technology manufacturing program operated by members of the Verpine species. Based in the Roche asteroids, the program was in direct competition with other technology companies, and struggled with entering the galactic market. Initially, Roche achieved only limited success with its insect-like droid designs. Later designs, such as the Siak-series protocol droid, were developed with humanoid customers in mind, and thus appealed to a far larger customer base. By 40 ABY, Roche had expanded into the field of spacecraft manufacturing.
Despite being one of the most successful non-Human droid manufacturers, Roche had trouble competing with other, larger companies, and was thus forced to distribute nearly exclusively in the Roche asteroids and aboard Ithorian Herdships.
Given the success of other Verpine technology efforts (such as Slayn & Korpil) and the species' tendency towards technophilia, it was only natural for them to eventually branch out into droid manufacturing. Thus Roche Hive Mechanical Apparatus Design and Construction Activity for Those Who Need the Hive's Machines was founded by Verpine some time before the Clone Wars.
One of Roche's first designs, the J9 worker drone protocol droid, was a disaster. The droid strongly resembled its Verpine creators, spoke in a buzzy, insect-like manner, and frequently worked words such as "royal jelly" into its translations. This alienated most potential customers, especially those of mammalian species. The few J9s that were sold often ended up doing menial tasks; its "worker drone" title confused buyers into thinking it was a labor droid.
Roche had more success with later, more humanoid-looking designs such as the 8D smelter droid and the Siak-series protocol droid. For the Siak-series, Roche hired Human engineers to develop both the chassis and personality matrix, hoping to avoid the design flaws that kept humanoids from purchasing the J9. The result was a sales success.
- "Shab, a Mando-Verpine assault fighter. That'll cause some sleepless nights on Coruscant."
- ―Medrit Vasur
In 40 ABY, Roche representative Sass Sikili secured a deal with the Mandalorian Protectors, where Roche would receive Mandalorian iron in exchange for technology MandalMotors could use for their new Bes'uliik starfighter. At the same time, Roche was involved in a copyright dispute with the government of Murkhana, which had started manufacturing patented Roche technology. Representatives of Murkhana heavily criticized Roche's deal with the Mandalorians, accusing the company of using bullying tactics to force Murkhana to stop production.
After it was made clear that Murkhana would not receive any aid from the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, Roche threatened military action if Murkhana did not halt production of the technology that breached Roche patents. When Murkhana failed to comply, Roche and its new Mandalorian allies prepared to bomb Murkhanan factories with their new starfighters.
Confrontation with Sith Empire
Several years before the start of the Ossus Project, Verpine engineers, having endured subjucation by the Galactic Empire in the past, designed the IX-6 heavy combat droid to deter incursion into the Roche asteroid belt. When the new Empire became a force to be reckoned with, Roche increased the production of the IX-6 droids and spread them throughout Verpine hives, as well as continued to sell them to other interested parties. After the establishment of Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire, Roche was ordered by Imperial officials to immediately cease the production of the IX-6 and destroy all existing models. Unwilling to succumb to the Empire, Verpine spread the factories throughout the Roche asteroid belt, hiding them deep in the asteroids which appeared abandoned from the surface. When the Empire learned of the defiance, a fleet of Star Destroyers blasted several heaviy populated Verpine asteroids to dust. The massacre, however, did not break the will of the Verpine species and Roche continued to produce new IX-6 and smuggle them to anyone who could afford them.
Roche's Verpine engineers typically designed droids with insect-like appearances. After learning that this was detrimental to sales, they started designing more humanoid droids. Their droids were regarded as quite dependable and cheap, a trait appreciated by many customers. Roche models were typically either protocol or labor droids, though they were known to have manufactured at least one maintenance droid.
Roche's first attempt at a protocol droid was the aforementioned J9 worker drone. While unpopular with most species, Roche successfully marketed it towards other arthropods, such as the Yam'rii. Their successor protocol droid model, the Siak-series, addressed some of the major complaints with the J9, and thus sold in larger quantities.
Labor droids designed by Roche included the 11-17-series mining droid, a joint project with Slayn & Korpil. The 11-17 was a sales failure—the model's individual droid brain was considered an unnecessary expense by most customers. The 8D smelter droid was a small revolution for the metal processing industry: prior to this extremely heat-resistant droid, most work was performed by automated equipment. The introduction of the 8D meant that several steps of the metal processing process could be streamlined. The "Hatchling" maintenance droid, Roche's only known second degree droid model, was a versatile and cost-efficient repair unit that could be modified to perform a variety of tasks.
The company was also responsible for developing a number of technologies that had practical appliances in spacecraft manufacturing. This technology was extensively used in MandalMotor's Bes'uliik starfighter.
Behind the scenes
Roche Hive Mechanical Apparatus Design and Construction Activity for Those Who Need the Hive's Machines first appeared in West End Games' roleplaying sourcebook Cynabar's Fantastic Technology: Droids. Most mentions of the droid manufacturer have come from other roleplaying supplements and the two Essential Guides on droids.
The Roche logo shown in Cynabar's Fantastic Technology differs from the one used in the Essential Guides—it consists only of the word "ROCHE," written with Latin alphabet characters, in white on a black background.
Roche is the name of a global health-care company founded in 1896 by Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche.
- (Mentioned only)
- Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight (Mentioned only)
- When the Desert Wind Turns: The Stormtrooper's Tale (Mentioned only)
- Sacrifice (First appearance)
- Millennium Falcon (Mentioned only)
- Cynabar's Fantastic Technology: Droids (First mentioned)
- The Essential Guide to Droids
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 104 (MAN11, Droid Manufacturers)
- Arms & Equipment Guide Extras!
- The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- Look Sir, Droids!"—Star Wars Gamer 3 "
- Legacy Era Campaign Guide
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Cynabar's Fantastic Technology: Droids
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 The New Essential Guide to Droids
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Legacy Era Campaign Guide
- ↑ Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Sacrifice
- ↑ Arms & Equipment Guide Extras!
- ↑ The Essential Guide to Droids