The Imperial Drones are akin to genetic debt collectors of troll society, and facilitate the reproduction of the troll race. They travel around Alternia collecting genetic material that has been combined by trolls paired both as matesprits and kismesisses. Their differently marked arms could either imply matesprits produce a different genetic material than kismesisses, or just that both relationships produce genetic material.
They bring this genetic material to the Mother Grub, who combines it all in an incestuous slurry and lays hundreds of eggs at once - genetic material from stronger bonds of either nature see more representation in the resulting brood, while weaker relationships result in more recessive genetic traits.
We should all take a moment to lament how pedestrian the human reproductive system is, and further lament that the phraseis not a feature of common parlance in human civilization.
Failure to contribute to each filial pail when prompted results in death. Trolls unable to find a mate have nothing to contribute to troll society and are therefore removed from the gene pool. This is referred to as "culling," although failure to contribute to the filial pails is not the only reason a troll can be culled. Consequently, the Imperial Drones may be related to the Culling Drones mentioned, potentially even being one and the same.
The Drones may also be related to His Honorable Tyranny (seen ), or the Carpenter Droids who assist young trolls in constructing their Hives.
As trolls are consistently implied to be an alien equivalent to social insects such as ants or bees, complete with their early life metamorphosis, this suggests a specific origin of the Imperial Drones. Trolls would be the fertilized offspring of a Mother Grub while Imperial Drones are the unfertilized offspring - related only to the mother grub. This would mirror how insect queens give birth to drones without being fertilized and workers with being fertilized. However, this is never confirmed in comic, so as aliens, they could be completely different.
They were created by the Condesce after she took over Earth and initially were part of her scheme to force the Alternian reproduction system upon humanity. After humans go extinct they serve as a sort of "police" of her twisted regime, patrolling the world in large numbers and carrying out her orders. Unlike their Alternian counterparts they are robotic instead of organic. Dirkthat this is because on Earth the Condesce was unable to successfully breed things the traditional Alternian way. Like all other Crocker Corp tech they are bright red.
- It is apparent that the drones only take genetic material from adult trolls. What defines "adult" is yet unknown.
- The drones look somewhat similar to His Honorable Tyranny.
- It is unclear what happens if one quadrant's worth of material is provided but not the other.
- Drones seem to be slaves or workers of the Mother Grub. This also is seen in His Honorable Tyranny, as he seems to be a drone.