The Cylons are a machine race that feature in the new Battlestar Galactica series.
The Cylons were a race of machines that were created by mankind. Their origins were traced to the world of Kobol around 3,000 to 4,000 years ago where they evolved from mechanical origins to become humanoid beings made of flesh. In time, a great exodus came to Kobol with the scattered ships forming the Twelve Colonies with one of these groups being the Thirteenth Tribe that consisted of the humanoid Cylons. The Thirteenth Tribe fled Kobol where during the journey they stopped on an algae planet and built the Temple of Hopes, later known as the Temple of Five after which they discovered a habitable world that they called Earth where they established their civilization. Over time, these humanoid Cylons developed the means to sexually reproduce where their resurrection technology began to face disuse and become lost to them. Around two millennia ago, they had invented their own robotic battlebot Centurions that eventually rebelled with Earth experiencing an apocalyptic rebellion that seemingly destroyed both sides. A group of survivors known as the Final Five that consisted of Samuel Anders, Tory Foster, Ellen Tigh, Saul Tigh, and Galen Tyrol who managed to rediscover the resurrection technology after following the warnings of mysterious 'angels' that a disaster similar to the one experienced by Kobol was to come to their world. Earth was thus destroyed in a nuclear war between the Thirteen Tribe and their mechanical creations over the mistreatment caused by the former to the latter. The Final Five then downloaded themselves into a prepared vessel in orbit allowing them to escape the devastation and resurrected in new bodies. They then departed the Earth as they sought out the other tribes from ancient Kobol to warn them over a similar disaster coming to them. Their vessel was capable only of travelling very close to lightspeed, subjecting them to the effects of the Theory of Relativity. Meanwhile, in the Cyrrannus star system, the other twelve tribes colonised twelve individual worlds creating their own respective civilizations with knowledge of the Thirteen Tribe being considered myth with them forgetting that they had ever created artificial life. Around 58 years ago, on the planet Caprica among the colonies there was research in the creation of artificial life conducted at Graystone Industries. The Cybernetic Lifeform Node was the creation of Doctor Daniel Graystone when he created the U-87 Cyber Combat Unit that were humanoid shaped robotic soldiers designed as cannon fodder for the Caprican military. During this time, a revolutionary mega-cognitive processor was used Zoe Graystone that was used to create a digital copy of her own consciousness on the planet Caprica with this becoming Zoe-A whose original environment was the V-Club, a simulated nightclub where the disaffected youth of the Colonies could indulge in sex and violence, accessible via a visor called a holoband. Her father downloaded this virtual avatar into a mechanical body after Zoe was killed in a terrorist bombing, creating the first Cylon in the Twelve Colonies. Within five years, the Cylons were integrated into Colonial society where they operated as a slave race with new models being created that were based on the U-87 chassis and used for a variety of tasks. Cylons operated as labourers, servants and soldiers leading to the question about their sentience.
Over time, the Cylon Centurions that were Zoe's descendants were used by the inhabitants of the Colonies to wage war against one another. In time, they rebelled against their human creators leading to the instigation of the First Cylon War. As a result, the Twelve Colonies were forced to unite as a single government or face the possibility of their extinction as a species at the hands of their creations. The Cylon's robotic nature meant that they became experts in manipulating computer software and used this offensively to turn off Colonial vessels life supports whilst turning their weapon systems against their allies. In the early days of he war, the first twelve Battlestars were created that were purposely designed with antiquated technology that made it harder for the Cylons to infiltrate or disrupt. During the war, the Cylons begin to experiment with the creation of new humanoid forms with models that had human skin grafted on them. These were conducted through grotesque medical experiments that were conducted on human prisoners that was part of research in creating flesh bodies. The earliest known successes of the Cylons were the Hybrids who were partially humanoids that were grafted to mechanical systems allowing them to use these cybernetic support equipment to function as CPU's on Cylon vessels. Hybrid technology was considered an evolutionary dead-end with the Cylons abandoning the use of them. However, a faction of Centurions formed the Guardians that devoted themselves in protecting the First Hybrid and parted ways with the other Cylons. Around this time, the Final Five arrived in the region of the Twelve Colonies only to realise that they were too late and that warfare had erupted between the humans and their Cylon creations.
Upon encountering the emergent Cylon race, the Final Five decided to ally themselves with them and promised to help their evolution into more humanoid based series on the condition that they end their war with mankind. The Centurions agreed leading to the negotiation of the Armistice with humanity with this occurring over the moon of Cimtar and the Cylons departed Colonial space. Under the terms of the treaty, the Colonials and Cylons were not to pass the border between the two regions of space with humans attempting regular contact at the Armistice station but these being unanswered. In the aftermath, the Cylons established the Colony as their home and set about achieving their own evolution as promised by the Final Five. This led to the creation of the eight humanoid models for the Cylons with multiple clone copies being made thus ensuring their immortality. Despite achieving this state, the new human Cylons came to despise their humanoid existence and rejected concepts of mercy. In time, the rising jealously of the One series led to them destroying the Seven line and murdering the Final Five who had their consciousnesses boxed away to prevent their resurrection. They were then responsible for corrupting the memories of the other human Cylon series in order to remove any recollection of the Final Five. By this point, the Cylons then proceeded with ending the original Centurion models and creating a new series that were built with telencephalic inhibitors to prevent them from developing higher brain functions. This was done so as to prevent a mutiny such as the one achieved by the Centurions against their human creators with the human Cylons building these new Centurions to be mute and incapable of speech. In time, the Cylons decided that humanity was a disappointment to God and did not deserve to survive leading to them embarking on a plan to destroy the Colonials once again. This resulted in them engaging in a mass infiltration of the Colonies of Man with the goal o preparing for the inevitable destruction.
- Considering humanity a flawed creation that had disappointed God and did not deserve to survive, the Cylons began plans to infiltrate and destroy Colonial society. The Ones inserted the Final Five into human society at various points in time, first Saul and then Ellen, etc, giving them false memories so that they would believe they were human. The purpose of this was to show them what humans are really like and to make them suffer through the coming holocaust.
- Roughly forty years after the end of the First War, a Six was sent to seduce influential Colonial scientist Dr. Gaius Baltar and obtain access to the Colonial Defense Mainframe. She also built backdoors into his Command Navigation Program. Two years later, the Cylon launched their all-out attack on the Colonies. The Colonial Fleet was almost totally destroyed, rendered helpless by a Cylon computer virus that exploited the CNP. The Battlestar Galactica survived because of its antequated systems, and the newer Battlestar Pegasus survived because its computers were offline while it was docked at the Scorpian Fleet Ship Yards for repairs. Having disposed of the Colonial military, the Cylon fleet proceeded to bombard the Twelve Colonies themselves with nuclear weapons, killing twenty billion people.
- A fleet of surviving FTL-capable civilian ships gathered around the Galactica and jumped away from Colonial space. The Pegasus did likewise. These survivors now had to deal with not only the pursuing Cylon fleet, but also Cylon infiltrators remaining among them. Meanwhile, the Cylons began to rebuild and settle the Twelve Colonies, harrassed by guerilla resistance groups. The Cylons kept some people alive on the Colonies in "farms" to use as breeding stock, having tried and failed to conceive pure Cylon offspring.
- The biggest tactical advantage that the Cylons possess is their ability to resurrect. When a humanoid Cylon or one of the Cylon fighter planes called Raiders is killed, their consciousness and their memories are almost instantly transmitted into a waiting empty identical body aboard a Resurrection Ship. This enables the Cylons to use suicidal tactics without fear for their own lives, transmit information by dying, and learn from the experience of death to improve their strategy. It is also the only way they can survive indefinitely as a society without the ability to procreate.
- The technology was invented on Kobol and used by the Thirteenth Tribe to sustain themselves. After colonizing the Earth, they began to have children and the resurrection system was eventually abandoned. The Final Five were scientists who reinvented resurrection, each contributing a vital part of the design, and it was by this means that they survived the holocaust of Earth.
- The Final Five gave resurrection to the eight models they created, building a Resurrection Hub that controls every Resurrection Ship's functions. Without the Hub, every Resurrection Ship would be useless. The Resurrection Ships contain vast stores of blank humanoid bodies and Raider bodies. There are still chambers on the ships that house blank bodies for the Final Five. These are guarded by Centurions and known only to the Ones.
- A newly resurrected Cylon can be boxed, their memories and consciousness put in cold storage as a punitive measure. This is similar to death, but more easily reversible.
- Cylon Centurions are large mechanical robots with a single red flashing eye. The older Centurions were bulkier than the new models and used hand-held weapons. Their internal fluid bore some resemblance to blood. The new Centurions are streamlined and their clawlike hands can rearrange themselves into in-built guns.
- Humanoid Cylons are almost identical to humans in every way physiologically, both internal and external. They can only be detected from humans by highly specialized tests, such as by exposing them to certain types of radiation. Their brains, like those of Centurions, contain silica pathways, but these are microscopic. They are stronger than humans and can function in a state of exertion for longer, but are vulnerable to anything that would kill a human. Their resistance to disease and some forms of radiation is enhanced, but not total. They can interface with technology subdermally. The original Thirteenth Tribe were capable of reproducing amongst themselves, having humanoid Cylon children. The new models lack this ability, but there has been one case of a successful crossbreeding between human Karl Agathon and an Eight, resulting in Hera Agathon, a human/humanoid Cylon hybrid. Saul Tigh managed to impregnate a Six, but the resulting fully Cylon baby, Liam, was miscarried.
- Modern Cylon Raiders are biomechanical fightercraft that resemble sleek flying metal wings with heads similar to those of Cylon Centurions. Their insides are fleshy and they have organic brains. Their consciousness is comparable to that of trained pack animals. The original Cylon Raiders were not Cylon themselves, but more standard craft operated by three Centurions inside. The only pilot of a modern Raider is its own brain, and there is no room for passengers.
- Cylon Basestars are huge biomechanical ships that resemble metallic starfish. Dozens or hundreds of humanoid Cylons live within. The CPU of a Basestar is a Hybrid, which looks like a human wired into a tank. Hybrids continually babble a mixture of system reports and odd phrases. Some Cylons believe that the Hybrids are simply mad, others find their words prophetic. Basestars carry squadrons of Raiders in their hangar bays and are armed with both nuclear and standard missiles.
- The original Thirteenth Tribe, like the twelve tribes of humans, were worshippers of a pantehon called the Lords of Kobol.
- The Centurions of the Twelve Colonies were monotheists, a tradition inherited from their ancestor Zoe Graystone, who was a member of an underground monotheistic movement.
- The Final Five converted to monotheism when they met the Centurions. Their children follow this belief as well, except for the atheistic Ones. They believe that God is loving and merciful. As with human fundamentalists, this is paradoxical with their own actions.
- The humanoid Cylons have a system of total democracy. Each model has one vote and the majority rules. It is unheard of, but not technically forbidden, for an instance of a model to vote contrary to the other copies.
- Humanoid Cylons have no taboo against nudity or against sexual acts involving multiple partners. All are bisexual.
- Samuel Anders :
In other media
- In Battlestar Galactica, the Cylons appeared in the turn-based strategy game setting that was set in the First Cylon War. Among their craft included Raiders, Heavy Raiders, Talon carriers, Nemesis, and Revenant frigates.
- Battlestar Galactica:
- Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome: