Cylon Basestar

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The Basestar is the capital ship of the Cylons in the 1978 science fiction television series and movie Battlestar Galactica along with its re-imagining in the 2003 miniseries and 2004 television series.

Battlestar Galactica (1978, 1980)[edit]

Basestars in a typical three-ship formation.
First appearance"Saga of a Star World"
AffiliationCylon Alliance
Combat vehiclesCylon Raiders
General characteristics
ArmamentsLaser turrets
Missile turrets
PropulsionReactionless drive

The Basestar is the Cylon counterpart of the Colonial Battlestar. The Basestar has also been called a Baseship and a Cylon Battlestar in the episode “Gun On Ice Planet Zero” but "Basestar" conforms to the Colonial ship naming system.

The Cylon Basestar is a superior warship to a Colonial Battlestar in a technological respect as it carries stronger weapons in greater quantity (periodically alluded to in dialogue) and carries a greater fighter complement as well (Basestars can hold up to 300 Cylon Raiders). Because of this, the Galactica and her crew prefer to avoid combat with them as much as possible. They are propelled by reactionless drive (noted at some length in series novelizatons) that appears to make the ship spin slowly on its axis while engaged.

Basestars are considerably larger than Battlestars (a scale comparison, via footage, of the Galactica with one of her vipers and of a basestar to Cylon raiders in the series shows a basestar to be 5,800 feet wide vs. 4,100 feet of length for a battlestar). Their numbers are unknown although in "The Living Legend" Commander Cain points out that the Cylon empire lacked the ability to send a task force to hunt down the Battlestar Pegasus whilst simultaneously pursuing the Galactica and her fleet with three ships. Throughout the course of the series the Galactica and the Pegasus destroy four basestars, one of them via luring it into the fatal gravitational pull of the planet Carillon.


A basestar's shape is that of two saucer-shaped tiers[disambiguation needed] joined to each other at their axis. The saucers are externally identical and some of the functions that they house are redundant of each other; the primary difference between the two tiers is the bottom tier is used for landing raiders and other ships. Each saucer contains a hangar deck at its center, accessible from five large hatches distributed across the top of the cone.[1] Unlike a battlestar, a basestar's hangar is closed with a hatch when not in use.[2] All decks are connected by the Core, which allows access to any deck via a ladder. The Control Center or bridge is at the bottom of the core; the Control Center suite also includes the ship's sensor control computers.[2]

Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009)[edit]

Cylon Basestar
Fleet Of Basestars.png
Fleet of Basestars from "The Ties That Bind"
First appearanceMini Series, Part 1
Combat vehiclesCylon Raiders
Cylon Heavy Raiders
General characteristics
ArmamentsNuclear missiles
Conventional missiles

The Basestar, or Baseship is the primary capital ship of the Cylons within the re-imagining of the science fiction mini-series and television series Battlestar Galactica. They are different in appearance and function from the Basestars of the 1978 TV series.

Earlier Basestars have a design similar to that of the 1978 series. The following deals with Basestars as they existed during the main events of the series.

General description[edit]

Basestars physically resemble two Y-shaped sections joined at an axis and pointing in opposite directions, although those sections can swivel to direct alignment for atmospheric flight.[3] They are designed to make FTL jumps and are equipped to deploy large-scale strikes with nuclear and conventional ordnance. Basestars are biomechanical entities, with fleshy "hangars" to house Raiders. Basestars are capable of carrying other Cylon models as crew within them.[4]

A tactical nuclear weapon was deployed aboard a Basestar in orbit over Kobol, and it was destroyed in the resulting explosion. In the season two episode "Resurrection Ship, Part II", with both sides' fighter groups engaged elsewhere the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus engage and destroy one Basestar in ship-to-ship combat. The second Basestar is not seen to explode however it takes massive damage. Robbed of their Raider fleet (which is superior in numbers to a Battlestar's Viper complement), they appear to be no match for the Battlestars. The Battlestars used the tactic of circling one Basestar while firing upon it until destroyed.[5] A similar tactic is used in the battle of New Caprica in which the Galactica uses diversions to occupy the Cylon Raiders and fights four Basestars simultaneously. With the arrival of the Pegasus, two Basestars are lost - one by crashing Pegasus into it, a second due to collateral damage from the resulting explosion and debris. A third Basestar is heavily damaged by direct fire from the Pegasus' forward main batteries.[6] Another basestar was seen to explode after its crew died from a virus contacted from a recovered artifact that is presumed to have been left behind by the 13th tribe.

The role and performance of the basestars indicate that they are not nearly as well armored or armed as battlestars. Although they possess formidable missile-based offensive weaponry, their defensive capabilities appear limited entirely to their Raiders. Basestars appear to have no kinetic-energy weapons equivalent to those found on Colonial warships. Deprived of their Raiders, basestars are extremely vulnerable to Colonial warships. In contrast, while the Galactica is heavily dependent upon its Vipers for defense, it is heavily armored against nuclear and conventional weapons and has several batteries capable of maintaining a much higher volume of fire than a basestar can achieve.

Later episodes establish a basestar's ability to "heal" itself of battle damage. In "Guess What's Coming to Dinner" a severely damaged basestar regenerates its damaged and truncated "spokes" over the course of the episode. It appears nearly fully repaired by the end of the episode. It is not known how the basestar performs this feat without raw materials. It is not known if basestars can regenerate their Raider complements. By Blood on the Scales it is still not fully repaired and bears damage with at least one of its spikes not fully regrown. Despite the damage it took it shows a remarkable tenacity and is able to engage in a major battle not long after its repairs started.

In the add-on to the series, "The Plan", a basestar was shown entering and flying through the upper atmosphere of a colonial planet similar to earth, after rotating its upper and lower halves into alignment, giving it an apparent "front end" and "swept back wings".

The Hybrid[edit]

The Basestar's internal functions are controlled by a part-biological, part-machine central computer system known as the Hybrid. The biological part of the Hybrid is a female humanoid Cylon-like being (played by Tiffany Lyndall-Knight), housed inside an immersion tank similar to a Cylon re-birthing tank and attached to the mechanical part of the Basestar computers by umbilicals.[7] The Hybrids do not have a completely human body, but rather appear to be more like cyborgs, consisting of conduits and other connectors mated to, or in place of elements of their bodies. The Hybrid is not one of the "twelve models" of humanoid Cylon, but is a separate model that is essentially another stage in "evolution" from fully mechanical Centurion, to partially biomechanical Raider, to humanoid Cylon. Hybrids are similar to the autonomous biomechanical pilots within Raiders, specially constructed as living computers that manage the autonomic functions of the Basestar, including navigation and FTL jumps, climate control, and the like. The extent to which a given Hybrid is integrated into its Basestar means that, for all practical purposes, they are the Basestar.

The Hybrid is revealed to be capable of having its own opinions and thoughts, but does not have a say in decisions made by the humanoid Cylon models. The humanoid Cylon models control the Basestar via "Data-Font" in the Basestar's Control Room that are made up of a red flowing substance that seems to take the commands to the Hybrid itself.[7]

The Hybrid speaks strange, seemingly random phrases, which most Cylons interpret as the nonsensical babbling of a deranged mind. However, the Leoben Conoy/number 2 model of Cylons believe that every word the Hybrid speaks means something, and that the Cylon god speaks through the Hybrids. The Caprica/Natalie/Model Six Cylon, however, has given an alternate explanation: the Hybrids do not perceive their existence in the same way as normal beings. They possess an expanded awareness of being one entity existing in space as well as perceiving all activity in their basestar's interior.[7] The Hybrid may also express the state of the ship physically, as demonstrated when one has a physical reaction during an FTL jump, similar to an orgasm.[7]

The Hybrids seemingly random switching of thought train in the middle of a sentence is similar to the Computer science concept of threading, where one or more CPUs work on a collection of tasks by timeslicing the work load among multiple threads. For Example, given a multi-thread program, where each thread print output to the same shared Computer terminal, the output from each thread will be interleaved producing an incoherent jumbling of output from each thread, however each threads output is correct and coherent if separated from the stream of other threads output.

The Centurions developed the Hybrids on their own while attempting to evolve, but nothing that could live independently. They agreed to cease the war with humanity in exchange for the Final Five building them fully humanoid Cylons with the ability to resurrect.[8]

After being shot in the back of the head, Samuel Anders is hooked up to Galactica's main power grid in an effort to reset his neural net- after which, he essentially takes on the role of the ship's Hybrid. He speaks like a Hybrid and acts like one as well and his job as Galactica's Hybrid proves to be critical as he is able to access The Colony's Hybrids in the final battle and shut them down.

The First Hybrid[edit]

The First Hybrid, an old Hybrid which first appeared in Battlestar Galactica: Razor, was played by Campbell Lane. Lieutenant William Adama witnessed him being "created" in grotesque biological experiments carried out on live human beings before the destruction of the Twelve Colonies. The First Hybrid was protected by a sect of old Cylon Centurions called the "Guardians". The Guardians took off with him in a prototype basestar just before the Armistice was signed and got away with him. He claimed to have the gift of prophecy and is far more lucid than newer models.

There are references in the Cylon databases to this prototype, considered a failed experiment and unaccounted for.

He is housed on a Cylon basestar known as the Guardian Basestar that is a cross between the old model Cylon basestar from the first Cylon war and the modern basestar. However, his basestar does not appear to possess any actual weapons of its own as it does not directly engage the Pegasus and relies on its own Raiders to do the battling for it.

After the First Hybrid's crew kidnapped a science team and his Raiders engaged the Pegasus, the remnants of humanity learned of his existence from Sharon Valerii, a cooperative Cylon prisoner who informed them of the legend surrounding his existence after seeing a crashed Raider on the Pegasus deck. After figuring out where the First Hybrid and his crew were, William Adama, now an Admiral and in charge of what was left of the human military, committed the battlestar Pegasus (last remaining battlestar besides the battlestar Galactica) to a rescue mission of the science team and the elimination of the First Hybrid. The Pegasus, under the command of Lee Adama and accompanied by Admiral William Adama (who came along in order to get some answers and closure on what he witnessed so many years before), engaged the Guardian Basestar while a rescue team, led by Major Shaw and Captain Thrace, entered the basestar with a nuke. The science team was rescued, but the mortally wounded Shaw stayed behind to detonate the nuke. Shaw encountered the First Hybrid and he offered her forgiveness for her terrible actions and warned her about Starbuck being the Harbinger of Death. Shaw tried and failed to warn Pegasus of this information and detonated her nuke, killing herself and the First Hybrid, and destroying the Guardian Basestar. The First Hybrid expressed no fear at his death saying he will be reborn in "ways uncertain".


  1. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part 1" (1978 TV series)
  2. ^ a b "The Hand of God" (1978 TV series)
  3. ^ Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
  4. ^ "Kobol's Last Gleaming". Battlestar Galactica, 2004 series.
  5. ^ "Resurrection Ship". Battlestar Galactica, 2004 series.
  6. ^ "Exodus". Battlestar Galactica, 2004 series.
  7. ^ a b c d "Torn". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  8. ^ "No Exit". Battlestar Galactica, 2004 series.