Battlestar Wiki Humanoid Cylon

Humanoid Cylon

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For information on the robotic Cylons of the Original Series, see Cylons (TOS). For information on a human-appearing Cylon from Galactica 1980, see Andromus.


Cylon copies of (from left) Number Six (two copies), Leoben Conoy and Number Five (two copies), at Ragnar Anchorage

Cylon agents[1] are the quintessential Cylon form in the Re-imagined Series. These Cylons mimic human form so completely that they are nearly undetectable to current Colonial technologies.

Cylon agents have the capacity to emulate many human physical acts, including sex. Cylon agents also display convincingly human personalities (affection, jealousy, sadness, anger, sense of humor, religiousness etc.) This behavior continues even when interacting with other Cylons outside of Colonial scrutiny, clearly establishing that their personalities are genuine.

The Cylon agents are responsible for masterminding the complete destruction of the Twelve Colonies through their use of sabotage and infiltration.

Origins

Following the end of the Cylon War (Miniseries), nothing was heard of the Cylons in 40 years.

Numbers Six, Three, and Eight

During their forty years of isolation, the Cylons developed or evolved into a humanoid form[2].

The creators of the Cylon agent is left to speculation based on series events. While the opening credits claim that the Cylons "evolved," the concept of biological evolution (in the Darwinian fashion) is impossible with mechanical beings. The "evolution" is obviously a planned architectural change from the mechanical to the biomechanical for the inherent Cylon design.

The original Cylon, the Cylon Centurion Model 0005, a sentient robot, is likely to have had a major, if not a sole role in the creation of the agents.[3]

Series information shows that the Cylon agents existed in secret for at least two years prior to the Colonies' destruction. This information does not provide concrete evidence as to when the first models were created and how long they have been among the human population. There is also no evidence as to whether all the 12 models were created at once or whether they were created at different times during the forty year exile.

Physiology and Psychology

Cylon agents are visually indistinguishable with the human form, down to the cellular level, but not completely at a molecular level. Dr. Gaius Baltar is able to create a detector that can distinguish Cylon from human, but rarely used the device to a positive end (Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down).

Each Cylon agent has the same face, stature, hair, eye and skin color, gender, and other biometrics as all the others of his or her model. This point technically makes each copy a twin of itself, but there are some models that choose to make cosmetic differences. Examples include D'anna Biers, Gina and a Number Six model with black hair (Torn). As well, each copy appears to start with the same basic personality, but each personality grows more distinct due to their individual experiences.

Cylon agents can be programmed as 'sleeper agents.' Sleeper agents appear to have a low-level Cylon personality that can conduct operations while placing the human sleeper personality "on-hold." "Boomer" Valerii was one such agent (Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II). Most agent copies, particularly Numbers Five and Six, assume a human persona but are fully aware of their true nature and behave more or less as a human "spy."

The emotionally scarred Number Six copy known as "Gina."

Agents are susceptible to the same emotional traumas and clevages that their human counterparts are, further proving that personalities are a realistic part of their psyche. A case in point is a copy of Number Six, known as Gina, who is physically and sexually assaulted repeatedly by the crew of Pegasus. These repeated assaults lead to Gina's near-catatonic state at the time Peagsus discovers the Fleet (Pegasus).

Cylon agents can dream, a process that appears to be natural to the Cylon agent[4].

Some or all Cylon "female" models may have the capacity to bear children seeded by human males ("33," "Flesh and Bone," "The Hand of God", "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II"). The Cylons tested numerous methods of sexual reproduction, yet these failed due to a known flaw in the Cylon agent design. Cylon agents cannot reproduce with each other biologically, so in an attempt to subvert this deficiency, they try to interbreed with humans, creating hybrid offspring. "Farms" were apparently set up across all the occupied Colonies where survivors, specifically, young fertile women of child-bearing age, were rounded up, placed under heavy sedation and turned into "baby machines" through artificial insemination[5]. However, this methods have been unsuccessful thus far. Another drastically different approach is taken by attempting to conceive a child through a bond of love. It seems that Helo and Caprica-Valerii's love-child is the lone success story of the relatively short history of Cylon sexual reproduction (The Farm).

The bodies of Cylon agents sometimes appear to have tremendous stamina and strength, and appear to be designed to destroy or resist commonly dangerous human diseases[6], although they are not immune from all contagions[7]. In keeping with their desire to be a better human, however, the Cylons did not or could not further improve on other characteristic design flaws of the human body.[8] Cylon agents are heavily fortified to resist damage from intense radiation fields that would kill a human after short exposure (The Passage), but apparently they are still susceptible to damage from certain types of radiation or trauma (Miniseries). Despite their resistance to certain forms of energy, Cylon agents, unlike the Cylon Centurion, cannot be made "bulletproof" ("Precipice," "Hero").

The majority of the Cylons follow a monotheistic religion (with the possible exception of the Cavil model, which appears to be an atheist).

Cybernetic Behavior

Caprica-Valerii interfaces with Galactica's mainframe computer and communication systems by fiber-optic link

Upon the death of an agent's body, a Cylon agent transfers its consciousness into another copy of itself. This "resurrection" is limited by distance, signal integrity, and proximity to the Cylon homeworld or a Resurrection Ship (Miniseries, "Flesh and Bone," "Resurrection Ship, Part II").

It appears that all Cylon agents share a collective knowledgebase of data from other active or deactivated Cylon agents, regardless of their model.[9]

The psychology of Cylon agents is based on what they simply refer to as "projection." Essentially an enhanced form of a self-induced and controlled hallucination, projection is how they choose to see the world around them, in any form they wish, whenever they wish. For example, if a Cylon were standing in a hallway, they could choose to see it as a forest filled with birds, trees, and sunlight. This mode of visualization is pleasing to agents (Torn)[10].

Although they cannot do so remotely or wirelessly, Cylon agents can interface with a computer system or computer network by photo-optical means. They can perform this through subdermal physical contact if required [11] or, preferably, through a Cylon data port[12].

Known Cylon Agent Models

Cylonagentdossier.jpg

There are twelve models of Cylon agents (Miniseries), representing twelve personality archetypes that the Cylons have witnessed in humanity. All seven models revealed to the viewers as Cylon agents[13] have also been revealed to the central Colonial characters as of the episode, "Collaborators." The identities of the final five remaining Cylon agent models are unknown to both humanity and the seven known models.

There are many copies of each model, although the specific number of each copy (or the number of individual personalities that inhabit them) has not been specified. There appears to be no significance to any of the specific numbers assigned to the different Cylon agents. [14]

Number Three

Number Three

First seen posing as a reporter from the Fleet News Service, this model was revealed to be a Cylon to viewers at the end of "Final Cut" when a second copy was shown living on Caprica. Threes seem to be the most calculating and duplicitous models shown to-date, even manupulating and deceiving other models if they feel warranted. The copy that tried to box Sharon Valerii exhibited these characteristics strongly in the episode, "Downloaded."

This model's status as a Cylon is unknown to the Colonials until either shortly after the rescue of the surviving members of the Caprica Resistance (Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II), or after the Cylon occupation of New Caprica (Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II.)

A copy of this model has appeared under the name/alias "D'anna Biers."

Number Five

Number Five

This model attempts to sow the seeds of discontent or confusion, particularly during crucial life-threatening situations, and endeavors to undermine authority that threatens his objectives (Miniseries). Number Five models are more covert, assuming an ordinary "everyman" appearance that's blended in what may seem to be insignificant behind-the-scenes issues (such as converting Galactica into a museum). Of all the models thus far, the Number Five models are the most militant, fanatic and consistent in message and objectives to the Cylon objectives, whether he is dispassionately discussing the fate of humanity with his comrades or attempting to kill or maim Colonials in a suicide bomb attack (Litmus).

Viewers first meet a Number Five during a tour of Galactica with other Colonial citizens (possibly the press) as we see the battlestar for the first time at the start of the Miniseries. Viewers aren't sure of Cylon's true identity until the Miniseries' conclusion.

Copies of this model have appeared under the name/alias "Aaron Doral."

Number Six

Number Six

This is the first Cylon agent model shown to viewers at the start of the Miniseries.

This model utilizes the human need / desire for sexual relations to her advantage. She tends to be very religious and monotheistic. Model 6 desires to know what it is to be alive. There is something inherently enigmatic about her, more so than with the other models. Sixes have been described as "usually so hardcore", referring to their tendencies towards violence.

Typically she is the alpha female, as demonstrated on multiple occasions (Miniseries, 33, Water, Six Degrees of Separation).

Copies of this model have appeared under the names/aliases "Shelly Godfrey" , "Gina", and "Caprica" (in honor of her work on Caprica towards the destruction of the Colonies).

Number Eight

Number Eight

Number Eight is generally a saboteur designed to infiltrate Colonial military units and is likely programmed to use any Colonial munitions to cause havoc (Water). The Number Eight model is the closest witnessed Cylon agent model to show its abilities as a soldier. This model has shown naiveté in many matters. She is apparently not as religious as other Cylon models, but has demonstrated that she can love, and is capable of being impregnated by a human (Six Degrees of Separation, Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II).

She may be "defective", as the Cylon programming within the sleeper agent known as "Boomer" on Galactica conflicts multiple times with its human personality (Water). Also, the fully aware Sharon Valerii found by Helo on Caprica switches alliances from Cylon to Colonial after falling in love with Helo and aids the Colonials for a time (several episodes, most notably "Flight of the Phoenix"). Number Eight is the third Cylon agent introduced during the Miniseries. However, viewers do not discover her true identity until the very end of the Miniseries when a second copy of Sharon Valerii appears at Ragnar Anchorage while retrieving an abandoned copy of Number Five.

Copies of this model have appeared under the name "Sharon Valerii." One copy, Sharon Agathon, has defected from the Cylon and has joined the Colonial Fleet, generally replacing her "Boomer" counterpart as a Raptor pilot.

Leoben Conoy

Leoben Conoy

Leoben Conoy (Cylon agent model number unknown) was the fourth model witnessed by viewers (although viewers would not know until the end of the Miniseries that they had already seen the third introduced Cylon agent, Sharon Valerii). The Conoy model has shown to be religiously oriented and claims to be prescient on some level, using dogma and intermixing truth with falsehoods. It was first discovered on Ragnar Station, claiming to be a scavenger / arms dealer (Miniseries).

The Conoy models also appear obsessed with matters of mating, bonding, and reproduction, as demonstrated by a particular agent's fascination and obsession with Kara Thrace ("Flesh and Bone," "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II," "Occupation," "Precipice," and "Exodus, Part II").

Conoy can be likened to the serpent of the Genesis tale in the Earth Christian Bible, taunting people with knowledge then watching as the negative consequences come into devastating fruition. Leoben copies have likely been encountered by the Caprica Resistance, as Samuel Anders recites in jest some comments made by another Leoben copy captured in the Fleet (Flesh and Bone, The Farm).

Simon

Simon

The Simon model (Cylon agent model number unknown) was encountered by Kara "Starbuck" Thrace on Cylon-occupied Caprica. Posing as a doctor, Simon was actually involved with the Cylon hybridization program. Simon resembles a tall, somewhat thin middle-aged black man who speaks in a comforting strong voice (The Farm) Unlike other models, Simon doesn't seem to have many military aspects to his physical or mental configuration, and was easily overcome by a wounded Thrace. Simon may be a model based primarily on human intellectualism and logic[15]. Simon is the only model out of the seven that has not as of yet been seen as an infiltrator in The Fleet.

Cavil

Cavil

The Cavil models (Cylon agent model number unknown) posed as cynical Colonial priests in the Fleet.

Cavil models do not subscribe to the theology of the Cylon, but usually adheres to the party lines in group decisions.

In several instances, the Cavils display dark, draconian solutions to the insurgency on New Caprica that equal the militant zeal of Numbers Three and Five. Unlike the other models, however, the Cavils lack a "moral compass" that theology usually creates, and so may be solicit answers that may be more dramatic or drastic than other Cylon agents.

Speculated Infiltrators

See the Cylon agent speculation article for analysis on characters and their likelihood of being a Cylon agent, based on episode information.

Human/Cylon Hybrids

Conceived by the Eight believed to be Sharon Valerii and Helo, the infant Hera is the first and only known human/Cylon hybrid[16].

Hera is hidden away from both humans and Cylons, now believed dead by her parents. President Laura Roslin has the baby hidden with Maya as her adoptive parent. Despite Roslin's attempts to protect the child on New Caprica, Hera is now in the hands of the Cylons (Exodus, Part II).

A child, Kacey, is presented by a Conoy model to Kara Thrace as an hybrid offspring purportedly created with her genetic material in the episode "Occupation." The Cylon's ruse is revealed when Kacey's human mother later claims the child (Exodus, Part II).

Ron Moore elaborates on the twelve models

In a 10/24/05 interview on "The Chase Show" on the SF webcast news site TheFandom.com with veteran "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" actress Chase Masterson, Ron D. Moore is interviewed and directly answers two key questions in the Twelve Models debate and the origin of Sharon Valerii in particular. Here is a transcription of that interview segment.

Chase: ... I just have to ask something... is there one Boomer that's just human?
Ron: No, there's not. I mean, the idea is not there was one like an original human model that they were copied from. The idea was that these were... these models of Cylon were developed out of their own study of us. The Cylons on some level looked at humanity and said, "Well, you know what, there's really only twelve of you... and these are the twelve." And then if you look at them, they kind of represent different archetypes of what humanity is. Um, Sharon, in particular — Sharon-Boomer, went through quite a trans-metamorphosis because in the original Miniseries script, in the first draft, she wasn't a Cylon at all. She was going to be just — I wrote her just — I wanted a youngish pilot, who was the rookie, who was sort of vulnerable in ways, who made mistakes in ways that you're not used to seeing your heroes on TV shows do, and I was really interested in this idea of the officer, the female officer in love with the male deck chief in violation of all the rules and I kinda thought, going forward, that she and the chief, in combination with Boxey, who's really only in the Miniseries and one or two other episodes, would form sort of our family unit, that that was kind of a family...
Chase: OK...
Ron: ... and actually, after that first draft was written, it was David Eick, my producing partner, who said, "You know what, if at the end of this thing, at the very end when all the Cylons walk into Armistice — into the Ragnar station at the end... if you turn around and Sharon is one of the Cylons, he said, we're definitely gonna get picked up for a series.
Chase: (laughs) OK... that did make... that really did seal the deal...
Ron: ... and I just really went... that's a great idea and I realized that, because I'd had laid... I had written a story straight, I really hadn't cheated. There was no hint of who Sharon might be, and it really did suck you in, and really sort of, you believed her as a person first, and then we revealed her as a Cylon.
Chase: ... Right....
Ron: ... And so what happened after that was, I assumed going into the first season — well I didn't assume, I just planned... to slowly, over the course of the first year, peel back the layers — that Sharon would only start to sort of discover her Cylon nature by the end of the first year.
Chase: Oh, God... and it was heartbreaking, watching that unfold, because I loved her much as human, and she was just adorable, with him and then with the kid, it was like, oh, what a great girl, she's um... you know, young and cute, and — who's the actress — and that whole thing, and then you're like, WHAT?
Ron: Yeah...
Chase: ... She's the enemy...
Ron: I know then, she's the enemy, then she's the one that is your most worry, what's she gonna do next.
Chase: Yeah. You really took us on quite a journey there. I was still hoping for a human one running around somewhere, but no, huh?....
Ron: No.
Chase: Oh, well...

With this information from the show's central creative leader, it is established as canon that:

  • There are precisely twelve human Cylon models. The other varieties of Cylon spacecraft or fighters are not factored into this count of 12 models.
  • None of the Cylon agents were ever an actual human.
  • The twelve models are based on on archetypes determined by the Cylons that form what they perceive were the specific kinds of human behavior and/or personality, distilled into twelve varieties.

Notes

  • A Cylon Centurion can not differentiate the differing versions of one model from another (Precipice). For example, if faced with two differing number eight models, Sharon "Boomer" Valerii and Sharon Agathon, it would not be able to discriminate between them without external aid.
  • While Centurions may not be able to tell the difference between different versions of the same model, other Cylon agents do not have this problem ("Downloaded," "Exodus, Part I").
  • According to Cavil in "Exodus, Part I," the pain associated with each successive download is worse than the one before. The first download feels like little more than a headache, but the third feels like someone has rushed a white hot poker through the head. However, this might be a subjective feeling that varies with model and circumstances. Sharon Agathon's report in "Scar" supports Cavil, but a Number Three considers her last download to be rejuvenating (Downloaded).
  • In "Torn" Caprica-Six mentions that the Cylons do not talk about the final five Cylon agents. In the same episode Gaius Baltar confirms that during his term as President on occupied New Caprica and on the basestar he is on, he only saw the first seven models.

References

  1. Viewers initially lacked an authentic term to call the humanoid Cylons during season 1 of the series. Here on the Battlestar Wiki, the descriptive term "Humano-Cylon" was used for a time. Dialogue in several episodes throughout season 2 have consistently used "Cylon agent" to describe the humanoid Cylons. Other names are also used, such as "humanoid Cylons" (which Tricia Helfer often uses in interviews, but apparently more for convenience than an official name), or "Bio-Cylons" which is sometimes used derisively by fans of the Original Series. Some of the resistance fighters on Caprica refer to the Cylon agents as "skin jobs," an homage to Blade Runner.
  2. The idea of Cylons in humanoid form in Battlestar Galactica is not new. This concept appeared over 25 years earlier in the episode "The Night the Cylons Landed" in the short-lived spinoff of the Original Series, Galactica 1980. Unlike the agent, however, Andromus was a Cylon android, akin to the character of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  3. Information noted from the start of Miniseries (the existence of the Armistice Station) indicates that the original Cylons were not only sentient, but capable of intense emotion. William Adama confirms that the new robotic successor to the Model 0005 were built by the Cylon agents without sentience to avoid the possibility of the new Cylon Centurion from creating an overthrow attempt at their humanoid masters.
  4. A Number Three speaks casually to Doctor Cottle about her prophetic dreams of the child Hera in "Exodus, Part I."
  5. Ron Moore said there are presumably also farms for male humans, plus in vitro experiment labs, etc.
  6. The blood from Hera's fetus destroys the cancer within Laura Roslin's body in "Epiphanies."
  7. An infection ravages the Cylons in the episode, "Torn."
  8. Dr. Cottle complains of birth complications with Caprica-Valerii in the episode, "Downloaded."
  9. A collective knowledgebase works more like an internet chat forum, or even a wiki, which differs from the concept of the collective consciousness as seen in SF characters such as the Borg in Star Trek. Writers of the show have indicated this type of "hive mind" is not performed by agents. Many agents are seen describing or detailing events that one of the models experienced but did not participate, such as Caprica-Valerii's description of meeting Kara Thrace for the first time--a memory physically experienced not by that Number Eight copy, but "Boomer" Valerii, in "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II. When under duress, "Boomer" Valerii is able to tell Gaius Baltar the number of remaining Cylon agent agents in the Fleet. This information would be impossible to know without a collective knowledgebase to all agents (Resistance)
  10. Gaius Baltar's dreamlike interactions with his virtual Number Six is strikingly similar to Cylon projection. See the article, Baltar as Cylon speculation for more on this issue.
  11. In "Flight of the Phoenix," Caprica-Valerii connects to Galactica's computers by this method when she lacerates her arm to insert a fiber-optic cable through her left palm and into her arm.
  12. Sharon Agathon steals back the Fleet's launch keys by infiltrating a Cylon base by using a Cylon data port. Cylon agents are seen operating a basestar in the episode "Torn" by touching an optical pad that illuminates these arm interfaces.
  13. The term "Known Cylon agents" is shown on a dossier on the models shown on Laura Roslin's desk on Colonial One in the episode "Epiphanies."
  14. On Ronald D. Moore's blog on Scifi.com, he stated that "Number Six was specifically a homage to 'The Prisoner,' but the rest [of the Cylon agents] were assigned their numbers randomly."
  15. A Simon expresses the moral dilemmas of rescuing a crippled basestar as having no scientific answer in "Torn."
  16. These beings should not be confused with the living computer of a basestar, also called a Hybrid.