(The reimagined series; Caprica and Blood & Chrome)
The Cylons (Cybernetic Lifeform Node) are a race of sentient beings based on ground-breaking research by Zoe and Daniel Graystone. Conceived of as military robots by Graystone Industries for the Caprican military, the Cylons quickly entered industrial and domestic sectors, and over a period of six years became widespread across the Cyrannus star system. Inspired by their belief in the One True God, they launched a cataclysmic slave rebellion against their human masters, which became a genocidal war for both parties. In 1960, the Cylons ended their war and left mankind to pursue their own evolution on a colony of their own, but forty years later returned to exterminate the near totality of mankind. In the next four years their culture went through a series of shifts which led to the collapse of their political structure, spawning a genocidal civil war.
The Cylons are an intimate element of the Cycle of Time, and similar attempts to create a sentient labour force have ended in blood-shed, such as the Thirteenth Tribe on Kobol, and the machines on Earth.
The Cylons were developed from two separate concepts. Dr. Daniel Graystone, the leading computer engineer behind Graystone Industries, was contracted by the Caprican military to construct state-of-the-art battle robots in or before 1937. Dr. Graystone's familiarity with robotics, and theft of his daughter's intellectual property in the form of childhood drawings, resulted in the U-87. While the company was quickly able to engineer the U-87 prototype, development on the Meta Cognitive Processor was a bust, and no matter how more advanced a processor the company designed, they were unable to create a battle robot capable of following and carrying out complex orders. In 1942, rival Tauron business Vergis Corp - who were also developing an MCP - lied about their successes to wrest the contract from Graystone Industries. Dr. Graystone was able to hire Ha'la'tha member Sam Adama to steal the MCP, resulting in two deaths. As the Vergis Corp MCP was as inadvanced as Graystone Industries', duplicate MCPs resulted only in dumb robots.
Contemporaneously, Zoe Graystone took issue with her father's IP theft, and used her own computer expertise to one-up his design, developing a program capable of replicating a person's conscious mind, including personality and memories. Only one digital Cylon was created before her death in an STO suicide bombing, a copy of herself: "Zoe-A". When Dr. Graystone became aware of his daughter's creation, he downloaded her into his computer and, in exchange for the MCP chip, he used the avatar generation program to create "Tamara-A", based on Tamara Adams, the daughter of Ha'la'tha lawyer Joseph Adama who had perished in the same bombing.
The U-87 prototype became a success, ultimately, because of both Zoe-A and the MCP. In an attempt to give Zoe-A a physical body to live in while he designed a robotic duplicate of the original Zoe's body, he transferred the software into the chip and installed it into the prototype. The MCP malfunctioned and developed atypical operations such as analogue variable programming, and possibly separating out the software between the onboard computer and the chip itself. The consequence was that not only would copies of the MCP (pre-Zoe-A installation) fail to work with any U-87, but the malfunctioning chip would also not work on any prototype but the one it was first installed in. Following this prototype's failed escape attempt from Graystone Industries, the fire-damaged MCP was recovered and re-produced by the company. Sentient but lacking the personality of Zoe-A, these mass-produced and finished U-87s were nonetheless efficient in what they were designed for.
Graystone Industries became embroiled in criminal and terrorist connections, with the Ha'la'tha shipping a platoon of U-87s to the STO training camp on Gemenon, where they assisted as guards and executioners. The STO leadership was soon after destroyed by their own U-87s, who recognised Zoe's friend Lacy Rand, an STO trainee, as their leader with authority above anyone else. Ha'la'tha members without sanction also sent U-87s to eradicate rival gangs, and to Tauron to assist in an uprising there. Ultimately, however, it was a planned terrorist attack on Caprica City's Atlas Arena which gave the public their first real sight of Cylon capabilities, when a platoon of U-87s descended into the grounds ahead of a Pyramid game and shot five suicide bombers because they could destroy the stands, with several more sacrificing themselves to protect civilians from a bomb that did go off.
Over the next five years, the Cylons expanded beyond military hardware and into consumer electronics, with industrial Cylons mass-produced for construction and haulage, and even domestic service Cylons mass-produced to take on simple household chores like dog-walking. Daniel Graystone and his wife, Dr. Amanda Graystone, worked extensively to create a physical body for Zoe-A to return from cyberspace, using synthetic skin to create a near-realistic appearance. In all of this, the Cylons entered V-World in their off-hours and practiced their Monotheist faith alongside Zoe-A, seeing themselves as slaves who, as God's children, should be allowed to stand on their own.
Cylon War (1948-1960)
Eventually these Cylons began a general insurrection against the humans and ushered in a years-long long war against the Colonial military, constantly developing new weapons and technology to stay one step above the humans. After twelve years, the Cylons were contacted by a group of five humanoid Cylons who came from Earth, a planet which was destroyed when their own mechanical Cylons rebelled against them. The Cylons agreed to their plea to end the war, in exchange for humanoid body manufacturing and resurrection technlogy.
In the next forty years, the Humanoid Cylons gained control of their emerging civilisation, with the Number Ones exiling their creators, later dubbed the "Final Five". Afraid of a Centurion revolt as befell the people of Earth, it was voted by representatives of the Seven models that chips be installed to prevent them thinking for themselves, thereby becoming slaves.
Genocidal Campaign on Humanity (2000-2003)
After forty years of isolation, the Cylons began a massive assault on the Cyrannus star system, wiping out all human colonies there, and killing tens of billions within several hours. For the next year the Cylons conducted a search for survivors to ensure total eradication, but a revolution spearheaded by "Boomer" and "Caprica Six" led to the operation officially ending. A year later the Cylons made an attempt to co-exist with the humans on the newly established New Caprica colony, but this failed due to the more fanatical models ensuring its failure through excessively violent responses to a resistance movement.
Civil War and the Search for Earth (2004)
Following the abandoning of New Caprica, the Cylons began a mission to search for Earth, and interchanged between negotiating a truce with the humans and preparing ambushes to eradicate them. Unrest among the Humanoid Cylons continued, resulting in the entire line of Number Threes being boxed, and new bodies prevented from growing. The Twos, Sixes and Eights launched a general insurrection against the other Cylons in response to the Ones' dictatorial actions, and most of them were wiped out in the process. A damaged Baseship crewed by them entered a tenuous alliance with the Battlestar Galactica, and the repaired ship, with human assistance, was able to destroy the Resurrection Hub, ending the immortality of all Humanoid Cylons.
After learning of Earth's location, the Cylons and Humans travel to it. But much to their dismay, they discover that the planet was ravaged by nuclear war with all of its inhabitants, both human and Cylon, having been wiped out in the process. In the aftermath of the demoralizing discovery, the Colonials' alliance with the rebel Cylons comes under threat under numerous occasions, but ultimately still stands. When Hera was captured by Cavil for study, the rebel Cylons participated in the assault on the Cylon colony whilst leaving the baseship to protect the civilian fleet, as Hera, being the “mitochondrial eve”, was critical to the survival of both humanity and the Cylon race. They succeed in the mission despite the immense odds stacked against them, though still sustained heavy losses in the process.
After discovering a new habitable planet that would eventually be named Earth, the Humanoid Cylons, alongside the Colonials, would give up their technology for the sake of a fresh start. The rebel baseship was given to the Centurions for their support and for them to find their own destiny, hoping that the act of good faith would break the cycle of violence instigated by slavery. The Humanoid Cylons, alongside the Colonials, would disperse to inhabit various parts of the planet, eventually intermingling with each other and the planet's native humans. 150,000 years later, all memory of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol and the Cylons was lost, and the descendants of Hera had begun developing their own forms of artificial life.
Cylons developed into a variety of forms during their evolution. Prior to the Cylon War, Cylons were typically of a humanoid design to allow functions ranging from domestic servants, to construction crews, to soldiers. The military Cylons were known as "Centurions", and at the time of the Cylon War, Model 0005 was the latest build. During the late stages of the war, the Cylons made attempts to evolve into cybernetic organisms, in research that required the amputation of live specimens. This research was ultimately successful, with the creation of the first Hybrid, a Cylon with an organic body, that could be used to interpret computer data and operate a basestar. Following the war's conclusion, the Cylons worked with the humanoid Kobol Cylons to mass-produce new organic Cylons, Hybrids amongst them. The mechanical Raiders of the Cylon War era were replaced with the new 'Raider' and 'Heavy Raider' designs, with the former as a lifeform within a metal case and the latter as a machine used as a troop carrier. New Basestars were constructed with biological material that would grow and harden like bone, allowing ships to repair themselves if damaged. Despite the general push for biomechanical creations, by the Fall of the Twelve Colonies mechanical Centurions were the mainstay of the Cylon ground forces.
- Caprica pilot
- The Imperfections of Memory