- "They're supposed to be geniuses at fixing and reassembling high-tech devices."
- ―Luke Skywalker
The Verpine were a sentient insectoid species from the Roche asteroid field. Best known for their technological aptitude, the Verpine were considered to be among the finest starship engineers in the galaxy.
Biology and appearance
Verpine were thin bipedal insectoids, standing 1.9 meters tall on average. Unlike many insectoids, including the Kibnon to which they were distantly related, the Verpine had only four limbs (two arms and two legs), though there were instances of Verpine growing vestigial wings. Their heads were dominated by large compound eyes. They also had two antennae, one located behind each eye. Their hardened carapace, composed of a green chitinous substance called carahide, was as flexible as the skin of other creatures, yet tough enough to deflect a blade or even absorb a glancing blaster bolt. The Verpine circulatory system did not contain a heart — at least, not an organ which Human physiologists would identify as a heart.
Verpine eyes were keen enough to pick out microscopic details. Their antennae contained tympanic nerves which picked up sound. Their antennae were also sensitive to radio waves, giving Verpine the natural ability to sense and transmit radio waves to communicate with another Verpine in their language over distances on the order of one hundred kilometers. Some observers mistook this nearly instant, silent communication for true telepathy. Thanks to their natural radio communication network, their colonies were run as a consensus democracy, with all Verpine instantly consulted on questions affecting the hive.
Given their reliance on radio communication, Verpine frequently suffered negative consequences when their antenna were damaged. While researching the Verpine, Leia Organa noticed that virtually all Verpine criminals suffered from a set of damaged antenna.
Verpine came in two types—intelligent, hermaphroditic Verpine and unintelligent worker drones. At the time of their entrance into Galactic society, only five percent of Verpine were intelligent, but the demands of technological civilization required the Verpine to restructure their society. After the change, egg-laying Verpine used a special enzyme to ensure all eggs laid developed into intelligent Verpine. Any drones needed by a Verpine hive were produced via cloning.
When a Verpine hive needed more members, some of the fertile Verpine would be asked to lay eggs, while others would be assigned to fertilize them. The eggs were cared for in colony incubators, and hatchlings were cared for by the entire hive.
Some individual Verpine had genders, either throughout their lifespan or at some point of their existences. A "hive mother" communicated with Jedi Leia Organa Solo during the Swarm War, and mentioned "male warriors." General Airen Cracken referred to Moegid as "he" in his reports.
Society and culture
Verpine had variable naming customs. Some had single names such as Fxz'et, Zix, Ss's, or Moegid. Others had first and last names such as Kuli Ned'lx, Kyli Ned'Ix, or Osos Niskooen. Many, though not all, Verpine names contained sibilant consonants and glottal stops.
The Verpine people did not evolve in the asteroids of the Roche system. Each inhabited asteroid was only made livable through the creation of artificial, self-sustaining environments in the interior. Some observers thought that the Roche asteroids were the remains of a Verpine homeworld which had broken up either slowly through natural forces, or suddenly as a result of a catastrophic civil war. Others theorized that the Verpine were descended from extra-galactic nomads who settled in the Roche asteroid field. The Verpine simply told outsiders that they did not know of the location of their original homeworld.
Whether it was due to the after-effects of this ancient civil war, or because of the political uniformity and egalitarianism of their civilization, the Verpine were a peaceful people, expert arbitrators who preferred compromise to conflict. The large insects had long been a spacefaring race and had colonized the Roche asteroid belts before the Old Republic was born.
By the time of the Jedi Civil War, the Verpine were part of the Galactic community. High-quality Verpine-manufactured items ranging from ion blasters to cardio-regulators were widely used. Some of these designs were adapted and improved from other species, such as the Bothans or the Arkanians. Contemporary rumors were suspicious of the Verpine, however. Extrapolating from the Verpine practice of testing ion blasters on active droids, some Verpine weapons and medical technology were thought to have been tested on live sentients.
In later years, Verpine engineering was exemplified by the starship manufacturer Slayn & Korpil, which built the famous V-19 Torrent starfighter for the Galactic Republic and the B-wing starfighter for the Rebel Alliance. Their shipbuilding skills were attributed to the need to produce vessels which could safely navigate the Roche asteroids. The Roche Hive Mechanical Apparatus Design and Construction Activity for Those Who Need the Hive's Machines, more commonly known simply as "Roche", was a Verpine-owned droid manufacturer which met with limited success with models like the 8D smelter droid and the J9 worker drone.
During the Galactic Civil War, the Verpine were openly sympathetic towards the Rebel Alliance. However, they did not officially join the Rebellion as a whole, partly due to their natural pacifistic idealism, and partly due to the Imperial "advisors" posted in their system. After the Empire fell, however, the Verpine became supporters of the New Republic, with a close relationship with its military.
In 8 ABY, the Verpines broke a number of contracts with the Barabels to produce starships. They claimed that a "mad" hive mother had taken the ships, and given the nature of their society they were under no obligation to retrieve the ships. The Barabels did not see it in the same light, and began negotiating with Kubaz chefs for the sale of Verpine body parts to use in their cuisine. In response to this, the New Republic planned to send Leia Organa Solo to mediate the situation. The situation deteriorated rapidly when a Barabel ship was discovered with frozen Verpine parts. A fleet was sent to avert a war between the species, and Mon Mothma herself traveled to mediate.
During the Swarm War, some Verpine who were addicted to the Gorog Nest's black membrosia acted on the side of the Killiks, including procuring B-wings and Verpine shatter guns for the Killik forces. The Killiks attempted to invade the Verpine capital asteroid, Nickel One, and overthrow their government. The attempt was foiled by the actions of the Jedi Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade Skywalker and Jacen Solo.
During the Second Galactic Civil War, the Verpine accused the people of Murkhana of breaking trade agreements by producing technology similar to theirs. They signed a non-aggression pact with the Mandalorians because of their fear that the Mandalorians would expand their borders once again and invade Verpine territory. The treaty was simple: the Mandalorians would supply their best export, military strength, while the Verpines would supply defense technology and quality control.
This agreement was later put to the test when Imperial Remnant forces allied with Darth Caedus attacked the Verpine's home system in an attempt to gain control of their technology. The Mandalorians rushed to their aid and, with the help of Jedi Jaina Solo, the Mandalorians fought to defend the system.
Following their experiences with Imperial attacks, the Verpine developed the IX-6 heavy combat droid to aid in their defense of the asteroid settlements. Sometime after the establishment of Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire in 130 ABY, 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 heavily 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.
Verpine in the galaxy
Many of the Verpine who left their home system found work as starship technicians. Most of them met with success, though some of them would get in trouble for continually making unauthorized, sometimes dangerous, "improvements" to the equipment they maintained. Others used their experience with Verpine communal decision making to act as professional arbitrators and negotiators. At least one Verpine, Beyghor Sahdett, became a Jedi, and managed to survive Order 66, killing a large number of clone troopers in the process. A population of Verpine was present on the planet Essowyn, where they were thought to be weak-willed by the native Saurtons.
Han Solo and Chewbacca befriended a Verpine priest of the Sacred Way on Aduba-3 after rescuing the clergyman from an angry mob. Years later, Solo, Lando Calrissian, and Lobot worked with a Verpine slicer named Moegid on an ill-fated mission to recover a copy of the Caamas Document from Bastion. Zraii, Rogue Squadron's mechanic, was also a Verpine. Suskafoo, a member of the first hive contacted by the Alliance, actively joined the Rebels by helping to develop the B-Wing and serving in Dagger Squadron.
Behind the scenes
The insectoid priest Han Solo met in Star Wars (1977) 7 was not identified by species, though Solo referred to him as an "Insect-guy" and a "Buggie," with the latter nickname also being used by another character. The retcon identifying the priest as a Verpine was established in Star Wars Gamer 4. This character has a yellow-green exoskeleton and large green eyes, but no visible antennae. The priest was also addressed as "Pera", meaning "Father" in High Galactic.
It is possible that "Buggie" is a common nickname for Verpines—possibly a derogatory one, since Solo used the more respectful "Pera" when addressing the priest directly. According to Leia Organa Solo in Dark Nest I: The Joiner King, Solo had been uncomfortable with insectoid species since his encounter with Kamarians (as seen in Han Solo's Revenge).
Notes and references
- The Essential Guide to Alien Species
- Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races
- The Unknown Regions
- Dark Times 16
- Dark Nest III: The Swarm War
- Ultimate Alien Anthology
- Galaxy Guide 7: Mos Eisley, 55.
- Star Wars (1977) 7
- The Courtship of Princess Leia
- Cracken's Rebel Operatives
- Strike Force: Shantipole
- Vision of the Future
- The DarkStryder Campaign
- Legacy of the Force: Invincible
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- Alien Anthology
- Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice
- Legacy Era Campaign Guide
- Star Wars: Republic: Into the Unknown
- Planets of the Galaxy, Volume One, pp. 33, 35
- The Starhoppers of Aduba-3"—Star Wars Gamer 4" "
- X-Wing: Rogue Squadron
- Rebellion 13