Cylon (reimagining)

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Cylons are a fictional artificially-intelligent "species" envisioned in the Battlestar Galactica science fiction series and related franchises. Originally created to serve human needs like other machines, a series of events involving the transfer of a human's consciousness into a Cylon's neural network led Cylons to evolve into sentient, self-aware beings. The original Cylons were purely mechanical.

The Cylon was reimagined in the second Battlestar Galactica television series and its prequel Caprica. The first configurations (Centurions) were robots. Others were cyborgs whose different configurations incorporated biological elements, including some that were nearly indistinguishable from humans.


The Cylons were created by Zoe Graystone and her father Daniel Graystone, owner of Graystone Industries. These characters appear in Caprica, the prequel to the Battlestar Galactica reboot (BSGr).[1]

The original Cylon is a combination of programming done by Zoe and Daniel's MCP-enhanced ("Meta-Cognitive Processor") Graystone Industries U-87 Robot. A common activity on Caprica was to participate in a virtual world (V-World) that allowed players to live an alternate existence. The original Cylon was developed as a place to house Zoe's avatar (virtual existence) after she is killed in a bombing on a maglev train in Caprica Episode 1. Her father sees her avatar in V-World and forces her best friend Lacy to take him to her there where she explains that she is much more than a simple digital simulation. She has Zoe's memories from a neural scan Zoe developed to extend a V-World character into a virtual instance of the person. The digital Zoe says to her father, "I don't feel like a copy", and that becomes the basis of the first Cylons.

Servant class

Cylons as robotic workers were originally accepted into Caprican culture after an attack on the public at Atlas Stadium by the Soldiers of the One (STO), a monotheistic group bent on enforcing their religious dogma on others through public bombings and acts of terrorism. The plan for this bombing was created and run by "Clarice", the head of the school where the principal young characters in Caprica attend. The Cylons then spread throughout the colonies as a worker class, but because they had basic self-consciousness they became increasingly resentful of their servitude.

The second Cylon war

In the reboot the Cylons were revealed to have disappeared and had no contact with humans for 40 years. In year 41 the Cylons returned and destroyed the 12 colonies in a surprise attack, pursuing the survivors through space.

Second generation

During their absence, the Cylons deployed the final Zoe skinjob model and evolved it and its successor models into a society of eight models. These were nearly indistinguishable from the humans. The humanoid Cylons kept simpler, biomechanical Cylons as soldiers and servants, as the humans once had.

A class of Cylon was modeled after a human and was nearly indistinguishable from them. These Cylons became the "thirteenth tribe" that settled the first planet to be named "Earth."

This knowledge was lost after the tribes' exodus from Kobol (the planet on which the human race originated before dispersing to the twelve colonies), as is the reason they hated their creators (we treated them as a labor class and denied them standing as thinking machines until the end of the first war). Cylons acknowledge themselves as "humanity's children", but find them deeply flawed. Cylons are mostly monotheists while humans predominantly worship a polytheistic pantheon of gods.

Along with the humanoid models, Cylon society consists of a labor-warrior class of Centurions and a transport-air warrior class of Basestars and Raiders. Basestars and Raiders are partly biological and as such vulnerable to viral infection.[2] Raiders and Centurions, while intelligent, were inhibited from exercising free will, although the Hybrids that controlled Basestars did exercise some autonomy and were respected by the humanoid Cylons.[3]

The humanoid Cylons lead Cylon society and the revelation that these infiltrators can mimic human form (down to the cellular level) creates a wave of fear among the humans. Some humanoid Cylons are sleeper agents, programmed with false memories so that they think they are human. Cylons can convincingly interact with humans and are capable of intimate relationships.

They have superhuman abilities such as increased stamina and strength and the ability to connect with computer systems. Cylons are more sensitive than humans to some forms of radiation and more resistant than humans to others. They can upload their memories to other copies of their model through a central station. Another Cylon, of the same model, can then access these memories if they choose. The humanoid Cylons have the ability to distinguish between copies by sight, unlike Centurions and humans.

Centurions are often called toasters, partly a reference to their shiny metal construction but also to demean them. For that reason, "toaster" was also used to derogate humanoid Cylons. Another term for human-looking Cylons is "skinjobs" (an homage to the film Blade Runner in which BSG reimagined (BSGr) star Edward James Olmos has a supporting role). Centurions were also termed "chromejobs" or "bulletheads".


Cylons were initially unable to produce children with each other. They turn their attentions to mating with humans. Their crossbreeding experiments in facilities called "farms" are unsuccessful. They theorize that love is necessary for them to procreate, because "God is love" in their theology. This leads to a successful experiment in which a Eight and human Karl Agathon fall in love and produce a daughter named Hera.

In lieu of sexual reproduction, humanoid Cylons have the ability to download their consciousness into another body when the body they are using dies, giving them virtual immortality. These downloads have a limited range, requiring the Cylons to build a "Resurrection Ship" to capture them. If not within range of a Resurrection Ship, a Cylon's death is permanent. The episode "Scar" established that the downloading process is shared by the semi-organic Raider spacecraft, which allows Raiders who have been killed several times to become more formidable fighters. The mechanical Centurions do not download. Resurrection Ships function as boosters for the central Resurrection Hub. Without the Hub resurrection is not possible.


Cylons also have an ability referred to as "projection", a form of realistic daydreaming that allows them to change the appearance of their surroundings in their own mind (e.g. making the corridors of a ship look like a forest, etc.). They have the ability to touch, smell, etc. the fantasy environment. They can share projections and create virtual individuals as part of the fantasy. This ability allows them to express their subconscious desires.[4]


If a Cylon is deemed dangerous by the other models, he or she may be "boxed" — deactivated with consciousness and memories placed into cold storage. This may involve a particular copy or an entire line. Boxed consciousnesses are stored in the Resurrection Hub and can be unboxed.


The origin of the original Cylons was revealed in Caprica. BSGr mentioned that resurrection/downloading technology had existed on-and-off since the time when the Thirteenth Tribe fled Kobol, but not whether Cylons or humans developed the technology.

Thirteenth Tribe

Between 3,000 and 4,000 years before the war, it is implied that the humans and Cylons of Kobol fought each other, but the nature of the conflict remains unrevealed. The Thirteenth Tribe fled Kobol and settled on a planet they dubbed Earth. Eventually, they developed the ability to reproduce sexually. Resurrection technology fell into disuse and was lost. The Final Five redeveloped resurrection, following warnings by mysterious "angels" that a Kobol-like disaster was coming. When life on Cylon Earth was destroyed in a nuclear war between the thirteenth tribe and their mechanical Cylon creations (stemming from the latter's maltreatment at the hands of the Tribe), the Final Five downloaded into an orbiting vessel.

The Final Five wanted to warn the Twelve Colonies to treat their Cylon workers well to prevent another catastrophe. However, without faster than light (FTL) travel, the Five required approximately 2,000 years (relative to human time, while only a few years passed inside the ship due to Special Relativity). When they arrived, the Twelve Colonies' Cylon Centurions had revolted and a war was raging. The Colonies counter-attacked and the first Cylon War commenced, lasting roughly twelve and a half years. The Final Five learned that the Centurions were trying to develop organic bodies through experiments on humans, resulting in the first Hybrid. To end the war, the Final Five helped the Centurions develop model numbers One to Seven and resurrection technology. The war ended with an armistice and an attempt by the Colonies to establish diplomatic relations between the parties. The Cylons disappeared for forty years.

The first of the Colonial humanoid Cylons, John Cavil, refused to let the Final Five's concern for humanity blind them. He suffocated the Final Five and boxed their memories before they resurrected. He then periodically sent them to the Colonies so that they would see how terrible humanity was.[citation needed]


After forty years, the Colonial Admiralty sent Battlestar Valkyrie on a covert mission close to the armistice line to gather intelligence on Cylon activity. A stealth ship from the Valkyrie crossed the armistice line but was intercepted by the Cylons. Three years later the Cylons initiated a surprise attack on the Twelve Colonies. The attack was successful because a Cylon agent, later known as Caprica Six, infiltrated the colonial defense network on Caprica with the unknowing complicity of renowned Colonial scientist Gaius Baltar and created backdoor programs to shut down the network and its defenses. The attacks wiped out billions of humans, nearly the entire colonial population. Two Battlestars – Galactica and Pegasus – escaped the massacre because their systems were either air-gapped or offline. The others were destroyed during the attacks. A fleet of civilian ships was scattered throughout the neighboring space. All told only a little over 50,000 humans survived, stuck on ships.

The Cylons pursued the civilian fleet led by Galactica, as well as initiating the next phase of their evolution, procreation. Female human survivors on the planet Caprica and perhaps other Colonial worlds were detained and used in experiments to create Cylon-human hybrids. The experiments were unsuccessful leading the Cylons to conclude that the missing component was love. They tested this by using a Eight posing as Lt. Sharon "Boomer" Valerii from Galactica to seduce a marooned Galactica officer, Lt. Karl "Helo" Agathon on Caprica. Helo fell in love with "her". This copy of Eight fell in love with Helo and abandoned the Cylons, knowing that Helo would never agree to stay on Caprica. She defied orders to kill him if he refused, helping Helo to escape the planet. The couple produced the first viable human/Cylon birth. This Eight joined the fleet with Helo. After approximately a year's imprisonment on Galactica she gained the trust of Adama and the crew. She would later marry Helo, join the Colonial military and receive the call sign "Athena" from a mostly accepting crew.

Ten months after the initial attacks, Valerii (call sign "Boomer"), attempted to assassinate Adama under the influence of internal programing unknown to her. She was unaware that she was a Cylon before the attack, though she had been uneasy because of unexplained blackouts (during various attempts to sabotage Galactica). She was killed by a vengeful crew mate, Cally Henderson and downloaded into a new body. She settled on Cylon-occupied Caprica in her former apartment, unable to relinquish her human identity for some time. She began leading a Cylon campaign for better treatment of the humans. The word of these two Cylons, considered "war heroes" by the others, influenced the Cylon civilization, which withdrew from the colonial home worlds and pursued benevolent treatment of the humans and then reconciliation.


During this time, the half-human half-Cylon hybrid, Hera Agathon was born on Galactica. Fearing the outcome of the Cylons capturing the child, President Laura Roslin faked Hera's death and secretly had her adopted by a human woman. Shortly after, the humans found a barren but habitable world hidden in a nebula. They settled on the planet they would dub New Caprica.


The refuge lasted a year before the Cylons traced the radiation signature to that planet from a nuclear explosion indirectly and unintentionally caused by Baltar (who had given a nuclear device to Gina, a Six type). The Cylons occupied the new human settlement, at first peacefully but later forcefully and more viciously as the human Resistance increased. In the end they used punitive methods to keep the humans in line, including summary executions and infiltration by seemingly sympathetic Cylons. One such infiltrator was an Eight model who manipulated Felix Gaeta into giving her a list of people the Resistance desired to free from Cylon detention whom she then had executed.


Four months later the colonials escaped from the Cylons with the help of a resistance movement and the efforts of both the Galactica and Pegasus, with heavy loss of life. The escape required the help of the same Eight that earned Adama's trust and was sworn into the Colonial Military. She entered the Cylon facility and took the keys to the various Colonial spacecraft that were on the planet. Prior to this a Three found out from a human oracle that Hera was alive and on the planet. rescued Hera after her adoptive mother was killed during the escape. The Pegasus sacrificed itself to save the crippled Galactica, but the crew survived, abandoning ship and joining Galactica.

The Cylons then adopted the colonials’ mission to find the home of the Thirteenth Tribe, a planet they called Earth, intending to settle there. They resumed pursuit of the fleet, but upon reaching the Lion's Head Nebula, dispatched a Basestar to investigate. The Basestar took on board a canister left by the Thirteenth Tribe. The canister contained an airborne virus that proved deadly to the Cylons. The virus persisted through the download process so the Basestar that had been dispatched for the investigation was abandoned by the Cylon fleet to avoid contamination. The colonial fleet discovered the Basestar and captured the ailing Cylons. The colonial fleet's attempt to use the virus to wipe out the Cylons was defeated when Helo, repulsed by the strategy, had the captive Cylons killed before they were within range of a resurrection ship.

Meanwhile, Boomer turned increasingly anti-human after the disappointment of the occupation of new Caprica. She was charged with Hera's care, but Hera rejected her. During a truce negotiation, Boomer told Athena that her daughter was alive but sick on the Baseship. She invited Athena to come to the Baseship and rejoin her people, because the occupation showed that humans and Cylons were incompatible and that Humans would never truly accept her. Later, desperate for her child, Athena convinced Helo to kill her so she could resurrect on the Cylon Baseship. Once there, she retrieved Hera with the help of Caprica Six who killed a hate-filled Boomer to prevent her from killing the child. She had tried to prevent Athena from taking Hera back to the humans and declared that Cylons were never meant to have children Caprica Six returned with Athena and was detained by Adama in Athena's old cell.

Cylon struggles

As the pursuit continued, internal relations between the Cylons began to break down. A Three violated her programming by actively seeking information about the Final Five, seeing a vision of them on the Algae Planet where the Colonials stopped to get food. From that she was able to identify them. She and her "twins" were then "boxed". Within the fleet a musical activation signal was received by the Final Five, bewildering and in some cases disorienting them. It soon became apparent to each of them that Galactica crew members Saul Tigh, Samuel Anders, Galen Tyrol and Tory Foster were Cylons (four of the Final Five) when they simultaneously became aware of their origins after hearing the music, which drew them to each other. They kept their discovery secret. Tigh and Anders remained loyal to the humans, willing to fight and possibly die for them. Tyrol and Foster were ambivalent, with Tyrol having pro-human leanings but wondering what it was like to be a Cylon. Foster became increasingly anti-human, murdering Tyrol without remorse to protect her secret. After their realization, the fleet came under attack but, during the battle, a Cylon Raider identified Anders and he and his fellow Raiders broke off the attack, refusing to fight.

This set off a debate in the Cylon government regarding the Raiders. Ones, Fours and Fives voted to "lobotomize" the Raiders to make them acquiescent. Twos, Sixes and Eights, led principally by a Six named Natalie, became convinced that the Raiders had sensed the presence of the Final Five. They voted on this measure. Boomer's vote against broke the 3-3 tie, something that had never been done before.[citation needed] In frustration over the trick, Natalie retaliated by removing inhibitor circuitry from the Centurions, granting them free will and independent thought. The Centurions then killed the models who were “lobotomizing” the Raiders.

In response, Cavil lured Natalie and her forces into a trap beyond resurrection range and slaughtered them. Only Natalie's crippled Basestar survived. With her Raiders destroyed except for some Heavy Raiders and the surviving Twos, Sixes and Eights (minus Boomer), Natalie allowed Two Leoben Conoy to locate Kara Thrace and form an alliance with the humans. The alliance was formed and a deal was struck between the two sides: the humans would help the rebels unbox the Threes and the rebels would lead the humans to the Resurrection Hub and help them destroy it so Cavil would lose resurrection forever. The humans agreed to the deal and transferred half of their Vipers to the Rebel Basestar to act as the ship's fighter force. Athena feared that Natalie would take Hera away from her and murdered Natalie, causing the Hybrid to jump the Rebel Basestar, with Roslin on board, away before everyone was ready. The Hybrid took the Basestar to the Hub where the allies had the human Vipers towed into battle by Cylon Heavy Raiders so they could catch the Cylons by surprise. The plan worked and the Hub's FTL drive was taken out, stranding it. While the Rebel Basestar engaged two other Basestars, Helo and an Eight boarded the Hub to unbox D'Anna and found her already unboxed by Cavil and Boomer. The three escaped and the Vipers nuked the Hub, destroying it and Cylon resurrection capability.

After a standoff, the identities of the four Cylons in the human fleet were revealed and together they found the devastated Earth, a nuclear wasteland after 2000 years. There, Tigh, Anders, Foster and Tyrol got flashes of their life on Earth and Tigh learned the identity of the final Cylon: his dead wife Ellen. As Earth was uninhabitable, the humans and rebel Cylons (minus D'Anna), abandoned it in search of a new home together. The humans and Cylons ended up striking a deal: in return for joining the fleet as full members the rebels would upgrade the fleet's FTL drives with Cylon technology, increasing their jump distance by at least three times. This led to a political coup and failed mutiny, but left Anders seriously injured, although with his true memories returned. After telling the others as much as he could, Anders slipped into a coma from which he partially emerged while acting as Galactica's hybrid.

Cavil revealed that he had a resurrected Ellen Tigh as his prisoner, ever since her download after she was killed on New Caprica. Her resurrection restored her true memories, although her only company was Cavil and Boomer whom he'd let in on the secret. After Cavil planned to dissect her brain to try to regain resurrection technology, Boomer helped Ellen escape to the fleet as part of a plan to kidnap Hera so the Cylons could study her.

Galactica and some of the rebel Cylons assaulted the Colony, the Cylon space station that was the Cylon homeworld, to rescue her while the Rebel Basestar protected the fleet. During the battle, Boomer, who had begun to feel remorse for kidnapping Hera, killed the Four that was starting to dissect the child and carried her back to her parents. Athena then killed Boomer. The rescue team returned to Galactica where Cavil led a Centurion assault on CIC, but was defeated. He took Hera hostage, but was convinced to create a permanent peace with the humans in exchange for the Final Five giving him resurrection technology.

Then Tyrol learns that Foster murdered Cally and breaks the download, causing the Cylons to attack again. Cavil kills himself. An unmanned Raptor is struck by an asteroid, causing the dead pilot (Racetrack) to fire eight nuclear missiles into the Colony, knocking it out of orbit and into a black hole, destroying it and every remaining One, Four and Five. Galactica jumps away as the Colony dies and arrives at a habitable planet. The humans and rebel Cylons settle there while the rebel Centurions are given their freedom and the Rebel Baseship to find their own destiny. To get a fresh start, Anders flies the human fleet and all its technology into the Sun. 150,000 years later, it is revealed that the planet they settled on is our Earth, and Hera was Mitochondrial Eve, which means all modern humans are partly descended from the humanoid Cylons.


The Cylon Centurion is a mechanical infantry model, made less intelligent than human models. Centurions retain the silver appearance, robotic body, helmet-like head and oscillating red bar eye of their forbearers but are larger, taller, stronger, more agile and have a more streamlined appearance. They also have retractable guns built into their lower arms, bladed fingertips and heavy armour.

Initial models

In the Caprica pilot the first colonial Centurion is seen and is identified as a 'Cybernetic Lifeform Node'. Built on contract for the Caprican Defense Ministry, the Cylons are to replace human warriors on the battlefield. The U-87 prototype Cylon contains a copy of the consciousness of Zoe Graystone. Daniel Graystone conceives of the Cylons as a slave race and demonstrates this by instructing the prototype to rip her own arm off. After catching it interacting with the family dog, he realises that it contains Zoe's consciousness and attempts without success to force her to admit her identity. She is able to defeat the tests he attempts, and convinces him that she is just a robot. Upon learning that Graystone is about to erase her memory the prototype escapes in a van. The Battlestar Galactica miniseries displays an original model Centurion on display in Galactica's museum hangar. The original Centurion is also depicted in a diagram reviewed by the armistice officer in the opening scene.

In Battlestar Galactica: Razor, Centurions are almost identical to those from the original series, except they are rendered using CGI and have exposed joints. The Centurion in the museum hangar is retconned in Part 2 of "Daybreak" as a CGI version with exposed joints.

In "Sometimes a Great Notion", mechanical Cylon Centurions similar to previous models were present. Earth was devastated by nuclear war 2,000 years before the series' events, but the Centurions were allegedly responsible. In Part 2 of "Daybreak", initial-model Centurions are among those seen defending the Cylon colony from an assault by Colonial and rebel Cylon forces.

The body had synthetic skin, and although superficially similar to the humanoid Cylons seen in the Battlestar Galactica series (after the First Cylon War), the Zoe model was still primitive and was mechanical rather than biological.[5] During the First Cylon War, the Centurions experimented with creating humanoid Cylons on their own, carving up human prisoners in the process, but succeeded only in creating the Hybrids. Because Hybrids require cybernetic support to live, this was considered an evolutionary dead end. Upon the Final Five's arrival at the Twelve Colonies, they offered to assist the Centurions in creating fully humanoid Cylons, complete with the Thirteenth Tribe's ability to resurrect, in exchange for ending the war with humanity. The Centurions were monotheists who believed in a single loving God, a belief that the Final Five passed on to their descendants to provide a moral compass and/or at the Centurions' insistence. The Ones, however, become atheists; ironically, they pose as clergy to the humans.

Later model

Screenwriter Ronald D. Moore commented that new Cylon Centurions do not download into new bodies when they are destroyed, though in the Season 2 episode "Scar" it is stated that the Raiders do, in order to preserve their experience. Based on a comment by Athena in the episode "Torn" the Hybrids have something to do with the programming of the Centurions. She states that when the virus infected the Hybrid on the infected Basestar, it caused the Centurions to shut down. However, several instances show that Centurions can function independently even when no Basestars or humanoid models are near to command them. In the episode "Faith", a Centurion immediately fires upon an Eight when she unplugs a Hybrid — it is unclear whether this was in willful defiance of the Hybrid or as a result of the removal of their higher function inhibitor modules (in episode "Six of One"). As of that episode, the connection between the Centurions and the Hybrids had not been fully explored.

In "Six of One", after the Raiders showed signs of free will the Twos, Sixes and Eights (except Boomer),voted against a decision to reconfigure the Raiders, considering it an act of lobotomy. Outvoted, they removed the inhibitor modules from the Centurions that restrict higher functions, granting them independent thought. Although still largely servile, the Centurions were shown to exhibit human-like behaviour, such as politeness and consideration (e.g., responding to "please"). The newly freed Centurions sought retribution on the Cylons who decided to lobotomize the Raiders.

At the end of the series the sentient Centurions are given their own Baseship by the humanoid models and leave, with both the humans and the Cylons trusting that they would not return.

These Centurions are taller than their predecessors, and are less blocky and "toaster-like", with a sleeker look. The Centurions possess less of a humanoid structure, averaging a head taller than humans. They retain the bipedal structure of the first model, as well as rough hands and feet. The feet of the new Centurions are a simple two-toed form that produces a distinctive sound when they walk as the toes move and touch the ground. Their heads are sleeker and less human, armoured and more slender at their base. They retain the distinctive, oscillating red "eye" on their heads, as well as a rudimentary mouth (even though they cannot speak). The hands are much thinner and visibly segmented, and more claw-like (they can cut flesh and mortally wound a human,[6] making them effective close-combat weapons.) These claws can be modified at will, to a more 'finger-like' digit or less of a razor-sharp weapon.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of this model is the twin cannons built into each hand, mounted on the side, that can be deployed by retracting the hands. It was originally established that the Centurions could not move while firing their cannons, however in later seasons they were seen to walk and even run while firing. The Centurions carry heavy weapons, such as anti-aircraft rockets that are strapped to their backs, for missions where their cannons are not enough.[7] Most Centurions can be destroyed or at least damaged by small-arms fire, however most require substantial artillery or special rounds to be destroyed (a Centurions party that boarded Galactica were especially strong, and required explosive rounds to be destroyed, as regular rounds proved completely ineffective[6]).

These Centurions greatly outmatched the previous model.[8] They were better-armoured, stronger, and carried internal weapons (as opposed to their predecessors, who needed to carry weapons such as rifles and pistols, like their human creators).


The later form of Cylon Raiders are biomechanical entities that function as small fighter spacecraft. They resurrect when they die. Raiders are subservient, and were compared to trained animals by the humanoid Cylons. A Raider nicknamed "Scar" developed a personality, in the episode of the same name. Scar was the Cylons' top gun, driven by a bitter hatred of humans. He was killed and reborn many times. Raiders do not use vocal communication, appearing to communicate through electronic signals via an unspecified mechanism. These modern Raiders, unlike their predecessors in the First Cylon War, are alive, with a complex system of veins, organs and biological fluids contained within their main body.[9] The Raiders are programmed and are part machine. As such, they cannot think for themselves, despite their "personalities". The sole occasion on which the Raiders overstepped their programming was when one saw a Final Five in the human fleet during an attack.[10] This revelation caused that Raider to instantly retreat, leading the remaining Raiders back to the Basestar, where they promptly jumped away. The Raiders then refused to fight the humans, for fear of harming their Cylon kin. This led to the lobotomy vote.

Well-trained Colonial pilots, even nuggets, can beat a Raider in most situations. The Raiders' primary advantage seemed to be in their massive numbers: while Galactica carries around 40 Vipers, Cylon Basestars support 3-600 Raiders. The Raiders are maneuverable, once described by Kara as a "squirmy son of a bitch", and most human pilots were unable to keep them in sight for more than a few seconds.[11]


The Raiders' primary weapons are two kinetic energy guns mounted on the underside of their wings, close to the main body. They may carry conventional missiles and tactical nuclear weapons. Raiders, by revealing their red "eye", can transmit deadly computer viruses or signals to enemy ships, which strike with brutal efficiency and can "shut down" Colonial vessels, turning off their power and making them easy prey. If all else fails, Raiders sometimes attempt suicide attacks against larger vessels. A single Raider spun out of control, hit and destroyed a sizeable civilian transport.[10]

The Cylon Raiders from the First Cylon War were larger spacecraft driven by Centurion pilots, and not alive. These are used by the remaining First War Centurions guarding the Original Hybrid and the Cylon Colony, and later became obsolete.

The later Cylon Raiders are fighter craft and different from Cylon Heavy Raiders. Like the raiders of the First Cylon War, the Heavy Raiders are transports and attack bombers, and are primarily piloted by Sixes and Eights.

Significant seven

Although they made only a single appearance in the original continuity (the episode "The Night the Cylons Landed" from Galactica 1980) humanoid Cylons play a major part in the reimagining. The term 'humanoid Cylon' is a description, rather than an official designation. These beings are usually just known as "the Cylons", or derogatorily as "skinjobs" or "toasters". These Cylons are indistinguishable from organic-humans due to their creation through synthetic-biology, meaning that they are made of real bones, flesh and blood rather than metal, but still possess a digital molecular structure. Some Cylons are initially programmed to believe that they are "organic" until otherwise informed.

The Cylons can communicate nonverbally, but do not have a hive mind, even among the identical duplicates, and are most often shown talking to one another.

The twelve distinct humanoid models are divided into the "Final Five" that originated on Earth, and "Significant Seven" (the latter term is only used by the Battlestar Galactica producers). The Final Five are unique, and are the last survivors of the Thirteenth Tribe. They developed the copies of the Seven in conjunction with the Centurions of the Twelve Colonies. Each copy shares basic traits with the rest of their model, but they develop into distinct individuals.

Cylon society is made up of the seven, whose types are numbered One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Eight. The extinct Seven model (the "Daniel" series) was destroyed by a One decades prior to the Colonies' destruction. The Final Five were killed, and temporarily boxed, by Cavil, who then purged their memories and sent them to live among the humans. The remaining six models had no knowledge of the Final Five's identities, presumably blocked by Cavil, though they were aware of the existence of five absent models who were not to be spoken of. When D'Anna (a Three) attempts to learn their identities, her entire model's line is boxed as punishment by Cavil. In the final episode of the third season, four of the final five are revealed to be "human" characters with long histories on the Galactica. Their purpose, and how and why they were hidden from the rest of their kind, is a major plot point of the fourth and final season when Ellen Tigh is revealed to be the other member of the Final Five.


The humanoid Cylons are responsible for command decisions. While the command structure has not been fully explored, some hints at organization are known. At the end of the mini-series, a group of Cylons are debating what to do, and one speaks authoritatively, to which another responds, "by your command", a reference to the original series. The humanoid Cylons can freely impose blocks on the behavior and cognitive programming of Centurions, the Raiders and Hybrids.

In the episode "Precipice", a Cylon council (made up of multiple copies of several models) appears to cast votes collectively by model, indicating that model plays an important role in the structure of Cylon society. Cylons of the same model are implied to have higher or lower ranks than other models. During the occupation of New Caprica, a select group of humanoid Cylon individuals, who mostly had been within the Colonies, such as Boomer and Caprica Six, seemed to have seniority among specimens of their own model. One of each model was seen deliberating and discussing their course of action, with each of the 'senior' copies representing the opinion of their model group. Ones subvert consensus by undertaking many actions without the knowledge or consent of their siblings, such as turning against the Sevens and the Final Five, and then reprogramming their siblings to hide this.

Although little is known about Cylon psychology, it is clear that they share many human emotional vulnerabilities. This is evidenced by Gina's catatonic state as a result of the severe trauma of her abuse at the hands of the Pegasus crew. This abuse was presented in the form of multiple sexual assaults, battery, starvation and outright torture. Six/Caprica Six also revealed that Cylons exist by 'projecting' an environment of their choice on the real/physical world.

Number One (John Cavil)

The main antagonist of the series, John Cavil first appears on Galactica in the two-part episode "Lay Down Your Burdens", posing as a priest. His true identity is revealed when a second copy boards Galactica and reveals his Cylon nature. Cavil's role in society is contradictory. He occasionally serves as a devil's advocate, pointing out the absurdity of his fellow Cylons and their religious zealotry. He was revealed to be the first model in the episode "Six of One".

Despite his talk of religion and his alter-ego as a priest, Cavil has a sadistic, cruel and Machiavellian streak in his personality which none of the other Cylon models share. He tortured Saul Tigh by gouging out one of his eyes and showing it to him. He also took exquisite pleasure blackmailing Saul's wife (Ellen Tigh) into providing sexual favours in exchange for releasing her husband Saul from Cylon captivity on New Caprica. Cavil is also an atheist (alone among the seven models), and often mockingly make quotation signs with his hands when saying the word "God". His opinions of humans are also driven by contradictions; despite being one of the most violently anti-human Cylon models, and even advocating a policy of culling humanity down to a "controllable number", Cavil claimed to have been against the destruction of the Twelve Colonies and advocates a unique Cylon Society, not one that emulates its creators. After finally arranging Colonel Tigh's release, Cavil manipulated the situation even further by again blackmailing Ellen Tigh to betray the human resistance on New Caprica and threatening to kill her husband if she did not comply.

Cavil is aloof compared to the other models, though Boomer implies that Cavil has begun teaching her his views that Cylons should not emulate humanity. Cavil knows aspects of Cylon lore that the others models do not. His knowledge of the Final Five led him to box the Threes to ensure that whatever she had learned about the Final Five went with her.

The fourth season reveals that he and the other seven Cylon models were created by the Final Five and that he was made in Ellen's father's image. She also named him "John". He hates this name and shows deep resentment towards Ellen at being 'limited' by having to live in a humanoid body.

One was the first model. With the help of the Final Five, Ones created the other seven models. Therefore, Ones knew about the Final Five. The Final Five showed the Centurions how to make Humanoid Cylons in attempt to give them human characteristics (love, mercy). The Final Five thought that these characteristics would prevent war. For some reason, Cavil rejected the human trait of mercy and turned against the Final Five.

When the Final Five were resurrected and unboxed, John wiped their memories and implanted new memories for their life in the Twelve Colonies. He also altered the original programming of the seven other models so that searching for, talking about, and even thinking about the Final Five was strictly forbidden.

Ones are played by Dean Stockwell.

Number Two (Leoben Conoy)

Leoben first appears as a smuggler at the munitions depot at Ragnar Anchorage, where he was exposed as a Cylon in the mini-series. Twos are religious zealots, entwined with a pathological, and sometimes sexual, obsession with Starbuck. He was revealed to be a Cylon in the episode "Six of One".

Like his fellow Cylons, Twos are skilled at deceit. This was most notably seen when Conoy manipulated Starbuck into thinking that a young girl he had kidnapped on New Caprica was her biological daughter. Twos display cunning minds and the ability to find and exploit others' weaknesses. As such, they mix truth with lies in order to better manipulate their victims. Unlike other Cylons Twos appear to be prescient and on several occasions prophesied future events.

Twos are played by Callum Keith Rennie.

Number Three (D'Anna Biers)

A Three first appeared in the episode "Final Cut", as D'Anna Biers, a reporter for the Fleet News Service. Roslin and Adama grant Biers access to all areas of Galactica to investigate her suspicions of a military cover-up surrounding civilian deaths aboard the Gideon. Their belief is that Biers will discover that military personnel deal with the same pressures and fears as the rest of the fleet, and that the events on board the Gideon were just a tragic mistake. The Biers model used the documentary as a means to relay information that Sharon was alive to Cylons on Caprica. D'Anna was revealed to be a Three in the episode "Downloaded".

Threes are among the more aggressive models, and share a fatalistic understanding of the Cylon religion, believing that everything that happens is the will of God. Their religious devotion masks a deep questioning by Threes about why God allows bad things to happen (Theodicy).

Threes possess an "alpha-female" aggressiveness, advancing themselves as de facto leaders in any situation. They are often rivals of Ones and Sixes. The rivalry with the Sixes partly stems from when Caprica-Six killed a Three to save Samuel Anders from torture and death. D'Anna and Caprica-Six later reconcile and both of them are involved in a relationship with Gaius Baltar. Baltar seduces D'Anna by exploring her crisis of faith, which leads to her secretly committing suicide (a major Cylon taboo) to go through the process of resurrection. She feels these near-death experiences will answer the burning questions regarding her faith, notably the identity of the Final Five. This culminates in the episode "Rapture" in which D'Anna sees the faces of the Final Five. Unfortunately, as she does so, the other Cylons vote to "box" all Threes. Cavil told D'Anna that she was being silenced because of what she jad seen regarding the Final Five and that her memories would be kept in "cold storage". D'Anna, but not the other Threes, is unboxed in the fourth season episode "The Hub".

Threes are among the more anti-human Cylons, for practical reasons: in "Exodus" Part II, D'Anna tells Baltar that she believes that humanity must die to prevent future generations of humans from seeking revenge. She is temporarily the leader of the "rebel" faction of Cylons that makes peace with the human fleet, but when the first Earth is found to be a devastated ruin, she decides to stay there and die rather than continuing to be part of the cycle of death, exodus and rebirth.

Threes are played by Lucy Lawless.

Number Four (Simon O'Neill)

Simon first appears in the episode "The Farm", posing as a human physician who treats Starbuck for a gunshot wound in what was supposedly a resistance hospital on Caprica. In reality this was a Cylon "farm" set up to breed human-Cylon hybrids using captured humans. Simon also performed invasive tests on Starbuck's reproductive organs. He was revealed to be the 4th model in the episode "Six of One". Fours are consistently medical specialists.

Another Four appeared in The Plan, posing as a married man in the Colonial Fleet. Cavil at one point asks Simon to leave his life behind and destroy the ship he lives on. He defies this order to protect his wife and her child by committing suicide and flying out of an air lock. He was not close enough to a Resurrection Ship and therefore died permanently.

Fours are played by Rick Worthy.

Number Five (Aaron Doral)

In the miniseries, Doral appears as a public relations worker for the abortive Galactica museum. In the episode "Litmus," another Four sneaks aboard the Galactica and detonates an explosive. This event prompts the fleet-wide announcement that Cylons can have a human appearance. He was revealed to be the 5th model in the episode "Downloaded."

During the Occupation of New Caprica, the Fives anti-human and aggressive. The Fives specialize in public relations and control, using large scale events and media manipulation.

Fives are played by Matthew Bennett.

Number Six (Caprica-Six / Shelly Godfrey / Gina Inviere / Natalie Faust / Lida / Sonja)

The first model explicitly revealed to be a Cylon in the mini-series, Sixes often use seduction to their advantage. Important copies include Shelly Godfrey, Gina Inviere, Head Six, Caprica Six and Natalie.

Caprica Six

One of the models, later known as Caprica Six, on her way to meet with Baltar, murdered an infant by breaking its neck. This could either be considered sociopathic or a mercy killing due to the coming Cylon attack. She saved Baltar's life when his house was struck by a blast wave from the Cylon attack.

Caprica Six has a love-hate relationship with Baltar, alternately defending him to other Cylon models or leaving him to suffer at their hands.

A reincarnation of Caprica Six committed the first incident of Cylon-on-Cylon violence in their history killing a Three with a rock in order to save the life of Samuel Anders, who himself was later discovered to be a Cylon.

Caprica Six was imprisoned on Galactica after helping Sharon (Athena) ( Eight) escape from the Cylons with Hera, she offered to testify against Baltar. While in the brig, she has a relationship with Saul Tigh that results in the first Cylon-Cylon pregnancy in 2000 years, however it ends in a miscarriage.

Caprica Six has a "Head Baltar" which only she sees, similar to how Baltar has a "Head Six" that only he can see; Head Baltar serves as a sort of conscience for Caprica Six, but also an advisor in times of trouble or danger, much the same role that Head Six plays for Baltar. Head Baltar appeared at least once to Baltar himself. Before the true nature of both Head Baltar and Head Six was revealed, speculation rose that Baltar was a Cylon. In the series finale, both Head Baltar and Head Six turned out to be divine beings (actually referred to as "Angels") manipulating both the Colonials and Cylons into fulfilling "God's plan."

Shelly Godfrey

Godfrey appeared in season 1's episode Six Degrees of Separation. She was a Six who was on Galactica after the Cylon attack. She accused Baltar of treasonously sabotaging human defenses, and therefore of killing several million people. She also appears in Battlestar Galactica: The Plan TV movie.

Gina Inviere

Gina acted as a contractor for Pegasus and was in a relationship with Admiral Cain. When Cain discovered that Gina was a Cylon agent, she ordered her crew to "push her programming" in an attempt to see if Gina was vulnerable to emotional trauma. Gina later escaped with Baltar's aid, assassinated Cain and founded a resistance group in the fleet, preaching peace with the Cylons. While it seemed that Gina developed feelings for Baltar and wanted to pursue him, she detonated a nuclear warhead (provided by Baltar) that destroyed Cloud Nine, other fleet ships and generated an electromagnetic signature, the detection of which ultimately led the Cylon fleet to the colony on New Caprica.

Sonja and Natalie

Other important Sixes include Natalie, who originally led the rebel Cylon faction against Cavil's faction before being killed by Sharon Agathon in a misunderstanding, and Sonja, who was elected to represent the rebel Cylons in the Colonial fleet's Quorum of Ships' Captains.

Sixes are played by Tricia Helfer.

Number Seven (Daniel)

Daniel was the seventh Cylon model created by the Final Five, as revealed in the episode "No Exit". Ellen referred to Daniel as an "artist, and so sensitive to the world". She was very close to Daniel, which enraged Cavil; he felt that Daniel was Ellen's favorite child and became jealous. Cavil poisoned the amniotic fluid used to mature the Daniel copies and then corrupted Daniel's genetic code. This sabotage meant that no further Sevens could be created – an elimination more permanent than the later model-wide boxing of the Threes. The Sevens were not mentioned again. Because of the destruction of this model line, twelve models were active throughout the series rather than thirteen.

Fans speculated that Kara Thrace was a version of the corrupted Seven line, or that her father was. Ronald D. Moore as stated in the podcast for "Islanded in a Stream of Stars" that Daniel is merely a plot device to explain the missing number and to expand on Cavil's character (noting that Daniel is essentially the Abel to Cavil's Cain). In the podcast for "No Exit", Moore described the Sevens as a springboard for Caprica, the BSG prequel, where Daniel Graystone is the name of a main character played by Eric Stoltz; this Daniel is the creator of the Colonial Centurions.

Sevens are never seen in the series, and therefore not played by any actor.

Number Eight (Sharon "Boomer" Valerii / Sharon "Athena" Agathon)

At the end of the miniseries, a Six says "By your command" to an Eight. This phrase is usually spoken to the Imperious leader in the old series by Centurions. It seemed to give this particular Eight a leadership role.


Sharon "Boomer" Valerii first appears as a Raptor pilot aboard the Galactica. Her true nature as a Cylon was revealed only at the end of the miniseries, and the series quickly establishes that Sharon acted as a sleeper agent, unaware of her true nature and programmed to carry out attacks on the fleet without realizing what she was doing. She was revealed to be an Eight in the episode "Downloaded".


The other significant Eight, Sharon "Athena" Agathon, married Karl "Helo" Agathon, rebelled against the Cylons and joined forces with the Colonials. Her child with Helo, a daughter named Hera, is the first Cylon/human hybrid. Such a child is the subject of a Cylon prophecy. Its importance was increased as it was a 'child born of love'. Shortly after Hera's birth, Roslin decides to mislead the Cylons into believing the child has died. Her plan involves lying to Athena and Helo, and giving the child to an adoptive mother, Maya. While aiding the Colonials in their plan to rescue the humans on New Caprica,

Athena sneaks into a Cylon storage facility and steals launch codes for the civilian ships trapped on New Caprica by the Cylons. During this action, Athena is discovered by D'Anna, who informs her that Hera is still alive, citing strange dreams and a prophecy by a human mystic as proof. Athena, believing this to be a ruse, kneecaps D'Anna. During the exodus from New Caprica, Maya is killed and D'Anna finds the baby. Boomer later tells Athena that Hera lives. Athena has Helo kill her (Athena), allowing her to download into a new body within the Cylon fleet. With the help of Caprica Six, she rescues Hera and returns to Galactica.

Eight was described as "weak" by Baltar's vision of Six, and Eights usually appear more compassionate and sympathetic than other Cylons. However, they fully supported the destruction of the Twelve Colonies. The actions of Boomer and an Eight who had a duplicitous affair with Felix Gaeta on New Caprica make it clear that Eights are capable of homicide and betrayal. Eights are also capable of intense loyalty and have the ability to break from Cylon traditions and laws to help human friends or family. They voted to save humanity in the Cylon civil war that Boomer started. She hesitated for a while when Cavil started to influence her, but in the end chose to support the humans, even if it meant that she would have to give up her life.

Athena became completely assimilated in human culture. Her child and husband became her life's focus. She was the only Cylon to create a family. The Eight's perceived fragility camouflaged great strength and direction. (In one episode, Athena hardwired herself to Galactica, hack into a Cylon fleet and shut them all down.

Eights are played by Grace Park.

Final Five (Samuel Anders, Galen Tyrol, Tory Foster, Saul Tigh, Ellen Tigh)

File:Battlestar Galactica 3x10 The Passage - Final Five.jpg
The "Final Five" Cylons drawn in a crude sketch by Three


The Final Five were Cylon models who could not be named or researched by Cylons ("Rapture"). They were the original humanoid Cylons, born 2,000 before the series on Earth as part of the Thirteenth Tribe. ("Sometimes a Great Notion") In their original lives they were born to Cylon parents through sexual reproduction, rather than built.They were the researchers who rebuilt Cylon resurrection technology, abandoned when the Thirteenth Tribe gained the ability to procreate. Saul and Ellen were married at the time, while Tyrol and Foster were in love and planned to marry ("No Exit").

While on Earth the Final Five learned of the upcoming attack on the Colonies from beings ("Angels") only they could see. They placed the resurrection technology on a ship in Earth orbit. When the nuclear attack happened and they were killed, they resurrected on the ship and headed for the Colonies to warn them. They arrived during the First Cylon War, unbeknownst to the humans, and made a deal with the Centurions: stop the war and they would help them build human bodies.They built the first One, Cavil, who helped them build seven other models. ("Sometimes a Great Notion").

Cavil kills and boxes the Five and removes the memory of their identities from the other Cylons. He later unboxes them, replacing their memories. Cavil periodically seeds them among the human populations starting with Saul, and then Ellen, to show them the evils of humanity.[12]

The Five are fully Cylon — although "fundamentally different" from the others.[13] Unlike the other models, they do not have model numbers.[14][15]

Other Cylons do not talk about the Five ("Torn").


Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) and Galen Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) are Galactica officers, while Samuel T. Anders (Michael Trucco) is an athlete on Caprica. Tory Foster (Rekha Sharma) is a political operative who is rescued from Caprica and works for Roslin. Their Cylon identities are revealed (to each other) after they are drawn together by hallucinatory music (a version of "All Along the Watchtower") that the humans cannot perceive. They resolve to continue their duties ("Crossroads"). Ellen Tigh (Kate Vernon), is the fifth member as Saul later realizes as more of his memory returns. ("Sometimes a Great Notion") Ellen resurrected after her poisoning and was held prisoner by Cavil on a Basestar ("No Exit").


The Five's "awakening" seems to affect other Cylons. A Cylon Raider scans Anders and disengages the attack; in the same episode, aboard Galactica, Caprica Six tells Roslin that she can feel the Final Five and that they are near. ("He That Believeth In Me") Twos, Sixes and Eights believe that the Raiders called off the attack because they sensed the Final Five, something with which the Ones, Fours and Fives disagree. This disagreement leads directly to the Cylon Civil War, in which the Twos, Sixes, and Eights become known as the rebel faction ("Six of One"). A standoff between Galactica and the rebel Baseship exposes the four as Cylons to the human Fleet. but Lee Adama, in his capacity as acting President, grants them amnesty as part of an alliance between the Fleet and the rebel Cylons ("Revelations").

Only Anders and Ellen regain their true memories: when Anders gets shot in the head, it seems to break Cavil's block on his memory, while Ellen's resurrection restores all of her memories. Cavil had planned for the Five to die in the destruction of the Colonies, download, regain their true memories and apologize for their faith in humanity (The Plan). Instead, four of the Final Five survive the destruction of the Colonies without resurrecting (Tigh and Tyrol were on Galactica and Tory and Anders survived through luck) while one Cavil kept Ellen alive so she could suffer more and learn her "lesson". The Cavils' plan thus fails, as all of the Five (with the possible exception of Foster) maintain their loyalty to humanity.

They play a major role in ending the second war, taking a prominent role in the Battle of The Colony, especially Anders who acts as Galactica's Hybrid and shuts down the Colony's weapons and Hybrids. The Five also nearly bring a peace between human and Cylon by exchanging resurrection technology (which can only be rebuilt by the combined knowledge of the Five) for peace.

They see each other's memories and Tyrol learns that Tory had murdered his wife. In a rage, he strangles her, shattering the temporary peace, although a fortuitous nuclear explosion and Cavil's subsequent suicide effectively ends the war moments later.

After escaping and reaching a new Earth, Anders flies the fleet into the Sun, destroying it and himself, leaving only three of the Final Five alive.


The Hybrids resemble human beings inside an immersion tank similar to a Cylon rebirthing tank. The Hybrids are cyborgs, consisting of conduits and other connectors mated to, or in place of biological elements. The Hybrid is not one of the "twelve models". It represents a step on the path from mechanical Centurion, to partially bio-mechanical Raider, to Hybrid, to humanion Cylon. Hybrids are so integrated into the basestar's functionality that they are, for all practical purposes, its brains.

Hybrids continually speak what most of the humanoid Cylons consider to be gibberish, although there is some difference of opinion on this point. Many Cylons believe a hybrid's conscious mind is completely mad and the functions it performs are part of a deeper state of mind in connection with the ship. Caprica Six states that the Conoy model believes that every word a hybrid says is channeled from the Cylon god. A Hybrid is not allowed to vote in the Cylon democratic process, though it sometimes objects to the resulting decisions, for example, leaving another basestar full of disease-infected Cylons to their fates.[16]

One Hybrid, considered the First Hybrid in Cylon lore, was the result of experiments on humans during the first Cylon war and appears to be more coherent and prophetic than the others. It went rogue as early as the end of the First War, and is protected by model 0005 Cylons called Guardians, who consider it their god. According to the Twelve, the First Hybrid and its Guardians are legends. The Colonial Fleet accidentally clashes with the Guardians and destroys them and the First Hybrid along with its basestar. The First Hybrid has the appearance of an old man, whereas the standard Hybrids look like young women and are identical.

After he is shot in the head and enters a vegetative state, Samuel Anders is connected to a datastream and as a result develops Hybrid-like abilities, whereupon he acts Galactica's Hybrid. When hooked up, he speaks and acts like a Hybrid. This shows that apparently under special circumstances, normal Cylons, or at least the Final Five, can become Hybrid-like beings.

The Basestar Hybrids are played by Tiffany Lyndall-Knight. The First Hybrid is played by Campbell Lane.


Humanoid Cylons, except for the Cavil models, follow a monotheistic religion. Religious fanaticism partially motivates their genocide of humanity. Despite their origins, the Cylons believe themselves to be spiritual beings. This monotheism seems to share some of the characteristics as the Abrahamic religions: belief that God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, that he will one day deliver divine retribution and that he intervenes in the mundane world.

Moore said that this spirituality comes when a species becomes sentient and self-aware — questioning faith and religion and about what happens after death.[17]

Their beliefs are different from the Abrahamic religions, in that they deal with issues such as consciousness, enlightenment and reincarnation.

The different Cylon models have slightly different ways of talking about and dealing with their god, reflecting the different aspects of humanity that each Cylon model reflects.[17] As shown in at least one case in season four, Ones do not all believe in God and can be agnostic or atheist. In contrast, Twos are fanatically religious.


Some Cylons are physically stronger than humans. While this is obvious with respect to Centurions, the extent to which the Twelve are also is unclear. In the miniseries, William Adama fought in hand-to-hand with a Two who, despite suffering from the effects of radiation, proved to be stronger. The Two managed to break off a metal pipe to use as a club and lift Adama off the floor with one arm. Another Two was able to break apart a pair of metal handcuffs while under interrogation ("Flesh and Bone"). A Six engaged Kara Thrace hand-to-hand and proved to be exceptionally fast, agile and strong ("Kobol's Last Gleaming II"). Despite this Cylons are vulnerable to most of the same things as humans. The Two who fought Adama was beaten to death with a flashlight while the Six who fought Thrace was impaled by a piece of rebar. While the Twelve may match or exceed human strength, they do not display superhuman powers or resilience. Cylon skin appears just as vulnerable to breaking as human skin, bleeding just as a comparable wound would in a human.

Cylon's mental faculties are sufficiently similar to those of a human to allow for manipulation. Cain and Thrace exploited this fact while 'interrogating' Cylons. The experience of death (even with resurrection) is traumatic and can leave deep emotional damage in one of the Twelve.

Cylons are susceptible to an ancient virus that can be transmitted by rodents but which humans have developed an immunity to, lymphocytic encephalitis. This virus was carried on a beacon left by the Thirteenth Tribe at the Lion's Head Nebula millennia before and disrupts all organic Cylon technology including Raiders, Hybrids (which in turn disrupts Centurions) and the Twelve. The humans speculate that the beacon was accidentally contaminated when someone sneezed. The Cylons believe that a critical symptom of this virus, a harmful bioelectric feedback, can be transmitted during a download and attempt to prevent infected Cylons infected from downloading. The only immune Cylon is Athena, who had given birth to a half-human child and thus 'inherited' human antibodies from her offspring (although it is unclear whether she retained this immunity after downloading).

Dr. Cottle developed a vaccine after some Twelves were infected on a basestar near the Lion's Head Nebula. The disease requires regular booster shots to keep an infected Cylon healthy. The Cylons failed to develop a cure or a vaccine to the virus.

Cylon's silica pathways are affected by certain forms of radiation, such as that surrounding Ragnar Anchorage. It is assumed but not stated that this radiation affects all of the Twelve as the station was chosen as a refuge by Commander Adama before he learned of the existence of biomechanical models. The radiation had deleterious effects on the Two they found at Ragnar Anchorage but not on Adama. This suggests that humans are not vulnerable to the effects of this type of radiation.

plutonium is used for Baltar's Cylon Detector because its radiation affects humans and Cylons differently. The detector was dropped as a plot device early in Season 2 as the revelation that Boomer (a test subject) was a Cylon convinced the command staff that the detector did not work.

See also

Cylon vessels


  1. Caprica pilot
  2. Season three
  3. Season four
  4. Maureen Ryan (2009-02-28). "Play it again, Starbuck: Talking to Weddle and Thompson about 'Someone to Watch Over Me'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-02-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. [DVD commentary with Kevin Murphy, Caprica Executive Producer ("Apotheosis")]
  6. 6.0 6.1 Battlestar Galactica, Season 2, Episode 2 "Valley of Darkness".
  7. Battlestar Galactica, Season 3, Episode 10 "The Eye of Jupiter".
  8. Battlestar Galactica, Season 4, Episode 20 "Daybreak, Part II".
  9. Battlestar Galactica, Season 1, Episode Five "You Can't Go Home Again".
  10. 10.0 10.1 Battlestar Galactica, Season 4, Episode 1 "He That Believeth In Me".
  11. Battlestar Galactica, Season 2, Episode 15 "Scar".
  12. Maureen Ryan (2009-01-17). "'Battlestar Galactica's' Ron Moore addresses the shocking developments of 'Sometimes a Great Notion'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-01-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Rob Owen (2007-03-26). "Executive producer Ron Moore discusses thrilling 'Galactica' cliffhanger". Retrieved 2007-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Sullivan, Brian Ford (2008-06-11). "Live at the "Battlestar Galactica" Midseason Finale Premiere". Futon Critic. Retrieved 2010-01-24. there's a certain repetition of the number in the mythology of the show - there's not a direct correlation between what you're asking about."<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - Season 4 Mid-Season Finale "Revelations" Screening". Daemon's TV. 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2010-01-24. MOORE: The final 5 don't have numbers and the number 12 is repeated but there is no direct correlation.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "A Measure of Salvation". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. 17.0 17.1 Ellen Leventry. "The Souls of Cylons - a Beliefnet Interview with Ron Moore". Retrieved 2010-01-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links