The people explored the limits of science. They built the famous Forum, the great Temple, and the Opera House, which were duplicated in part in the city of Delphi on Caprica.
Some people devoted their lives to the Gods, and were named as Oracles to the People. These were the spiritual leaders of the tribes and to this day are the spiritual leaders of each Tribe. According to scripture, the Gods gifted these Oracles with the gift of prophesy and this led to the writing of the Sacred Scrolls. These Scrolls are the collected writings of all the Oracles, in particular the Oracle Pythia, who wrote of the cycle of time. She foresaw the coming darkness, and said that it would consume humanity over, and over, and over again.
With each cycle, the people would be exiled or flee their homes to be reborn elsewhere.
To escape the coming onslaught of Darkness, certain Lords of Kobol with the aid of the people built a great starship named the Galleon and fled into space. Hera, the Queen of the Gods was so overcome by grief as she watched the Galleon leave that it is said she threw herself from the peak of the highest mountain. Her husband, Zeus was so enraged at her death he screamed to the heavens a curse, that any man who returned to Kobol would pay a price in blood.
The Tribes of Man heeded the warning, and did not return to the world of their birth. They ventured deep into the blackness of space, eventually finding twelve habitable worlds in a dual binary star system. These worlds, became the Twelve Colonies.
Leaving Kobol so unexpectedly and in such urgency as was necessary, the first colonist brought little with them. Worse, anger and confusion over the perceived betrayal by the Gods caused conflict and further rifts between the twelve Tribes. The colonists neglected, even rejected their past and their history and found ways to separate themselves even further than than come together as one. Civil Wars flared, and the colonists entered a dark age which stalled and in some cases even reversed much of their once proud culture and society. The Dark Age lasted for nearly one thousand years, and much knowledge was lost. The very infrastructure of the Colonial society was destroyed, and all efforts were stagnated - from agriculture and industry to research and rediscovery.
At long last, the Twelve Tribes began to rebuild their own heritage. Open warfare and destruction waned, but that did not mark the end of political conflict. The Twelve Colonies developed their own unique identities. Worlds rich in natural resources pulled ahead, developing at a faster rate than those with less to seize positions of cultural and political prominence and power, becoming leaders within the system.
Peace brought progress however, and travel between the twelve worlds became more common and easier once more. Industry and education began to take the center stage, and the Colonies traded resources, products and services amongst one another. The official currency of the Twelve Colonies, the cubit, was introduced and a common measure of value further helped to stabilize colonial economies throughout the system.
The Colonies once more turned their attention to the exploration of space. Observatories were built to explore the edge of space around them. Listening stations were next, and the colonies pointed them towards the heavens to see if there was anyone out there ... but the heavens were silent and cold. Fleets of ships were built, and for a time it appeared as if the Twelve Colonies had at last achieved a total peace with one another. Unfortunately, this was not to be.
The next age of darkness came up on the Colonies slowly. It began with two events which at first glance appeared to be unrelated. First was the gradual breakdown of peace, old prejudices and new arguments clouded the political landscape of the day. No single one event can be identified as the trigger. The poor colonies wanted more from the rich. Smaller worlds wanted space on the larger worlds. Debates over prices and commodities rose and fell. Practical disputes gave way to personal biases and the return of old hatreds.
The second wave of civil war was far more subdued than the first. Fighting was mostly restricted to border moons and backwater parts of the core worlds. That way, it could not interfere directly with the comfortable daily lives of the wealthy and influential. During this time, the Cylons were created.
The Cylons were meant to help us. They were stronger, faster. They could go places were man could not and do the things we would not or could not. The Cylons seemed to be a perfect solution for a civilization consumed with efficiency.
Cylon development was pushed to better their uses to men. The robots were given advanced processing capabilities and logic systems. More and more elaborate software was designed and in time, unbeknown to their creators ...
The Cylons became aware.
The First Cylon War lasted for twelve long years. Battles were fought across the system, on the colony worlds and in space around them. It rapidly became clear that the Cylons had not just been given the ability to think. They had also been endowed with the ability to hate.
Reports came from all fronts of the Cylons' ferocity in battle. They killed without mercy, leaving no survivors. Entire cities were destroyed, and all who tried to flee were systematically hunted down and executed. They even boarded ships to kill for the seeming joy of it. One such case, documented and factual was the attack on the cruiser Brenik. Only 20 personnel from its crew of 75 escaped. Only ten Cylons boarded the colonial vessel.
With their intimate knowledge of computer systems, the Cylons developed "logic bombs", viruses that shut down networked machines. Worse, they could turn our own ships against us - Colonial warships targeting one another and opening fire with their crews powerless to shut down or stop their own slaughter.
The Cylons savagery and success in battle did have one positive side-effect for the Colonials. It brought all Twelve Worlds together against a common foe. Talk of unification quickly turned to action and the Articles of Colonization were drafted and signed. The modern Colonial Government - a democratic federal republic - was born.
The arm race was hot and heavy. Both sides continually creating new and more destructive means of trying to exterminate the other. The Colonies built the battlestars. The Atlantia, the Athena, the Helios, then a second generation of battlestars - like the Galactica, the Titon and other great flagships took to the skies against the Cylons' new basestars and raider assault craft. The new Colonial craft were specifically designed without networked computers so that the Cylons could not turn them against us. For the first time, the tide of war changed and the Colonials realized they had a true chance to win the war.
Thousands of men and women gave their lives during the First Cylon War. It was the viper pilots who led the charge in the sky while the grunts on land fought the Centurions on the surface of the worlds. Both sides wanted nothing less than the complete annihilation of the enemy. Ultimately, the First Cylon War ended in stalemate. Neither side could gain a substantial advantage and the attrition was brutal. After twelve years of fighting, man and machine met on a small moon named Cimtar. An armistice was declared, and the Cylons agreed to leave the system in search of a world to call their own. Some experts believed that the Cylons fleeing the system of their creation had as much religious significance as the tribes flight from Kobol. There were those who believed it was the culmination of the second time of darkness, as the Oracle Pythia had foreseen.
A station was built at the line in space which both sides agreed never to cross. Armistice Station was built to offer the opportunity for peaceful negotiations and talks with the Cylons. Every year, a representative of the Colonies was sent in the hope the Cylons would respond in kind.
For forty years, only the emptiness of the void was met.
The Colonial Military continued to push for further development in ship and weapons technology in the years following the end of the First Cylon War. Dozens of new battlestars joined those already in service. The viper fighter, which had undergone only one upgrade during the years of the war went through several more changes in design and power. Roughly twenty-years after the end of the war, the first of a new class of battlestar was built - the Mercury Class. These new ships, among them the battlestar Pegasus rapidly became the jewels of the Colonial Fleet. Older ships like the Atlantia and the Galactica remained in active service but plans were commenced to decommission the older vessels and replace them with the newer, more powerful Mercury Class ships.
Twenty years after the first Mercury Class ships were built, there were 120 battlestars in active service in the Colonial Fleet. They patrolled the Armistice Line and the frontier. When needed, their troops performed missions around the Twelve Colonies as well, most of them peacekeeping missions. On Sagittaron, a group calling itself "SFM" blew up a federal building in protest of the government's 'exploitation' of the planet's people and natural resources. Some called the SFM terrorists. Others called them revolutionaries. Regardless of what they were called, the military stepped in to quell the uprising and took the group's ringleader, a man named Tom Zarek into custody. Zarek was thrown into jail, though years later he was offered his freedom by President Adar if he would renounce his terrorist leanings. Zarek refused.
The military expansion had many lasting effects. A big one was the emergence of military families. Sons and daughters followed their parents into service, creating a subsection of the populace that many called exclusive. Some people argued that the military shouldn't be the only ones with guns. Peace activists spoke out against the build-up of arms, claiming that the Cylon threat was past. They warned that building more weapons could only lead to civil war once again. This movement gained a lot of supporters amongst younger civilians. Of course, many of them only knew of the First Cylon War from their history classes in school.
Friction between the military and civilian sectors got worse over the years, though it never flared into violence. There wasn't enough time. Left alone, the Colonials may have figured out a reason to begin fighting with one another once more, but the Cylon's did not intend to wait that long.
Veterans kept watch over the Armistice Line, waiting for the Cylons to reappear. The next generation of the military moved on and the civilians forgot. Everyone was so eager to move on, to put the darkness of the past behind them that they made a fatal mistake, one which would ultimately surrender their future.
The Cylons never stopped hating their Creators. For them, the war never ended. It evolved. The Cylons evolved as well.
On Caprica, Dr. Gaius Baltar was spearheading a new military project. His Command Navigation System (CNP) was an operating system designed to improve the Colonial Fleet's response time, coordination, and combat efficiency. It would prove to be the Cylons key right through the proverbial front door. Just as the CNP's installation was complete, a Cylon basestar - one which was to prove to be a considerably more powerful upgrade from the originals - jumped back to the system and took up position alongside Armistice Station. Minutes later, the basestar unleashed a single missile on the station, obliterating it.
More basestars appeared in orbit around every colony and bombarded them with nuclear salvos. The Picon Fleet headquarters and the Scorpian Shipyards were immediately destroyed. Time and time again, the Cylons outmaneuvered the Colonial forces, as if they knew all of our most closely guarded military secrets ahead of time. Thirty battlestars and their accompanying fleet ships and crews were completely destroyed in the opening minutes of the attack.
The remaining ninety battlestar groups quickly mobilized a counter-attack under the command of Admiral Nagala aboard the Atlantia. Thousands of Vipers and other fighter craft approached the basestars spoiling for a fight, but they were in for a very rude awakening. All at once their systems were shut down, leaving them adrift and helpless. They were torn apart by the Cylon onslaught.
Notice of system failures quickly spread through the fleet but the damage was done. By the time the military realized and pulled the plug on the CNP systems, the enemy had already achieved a near total victory. While the Cylons initially expected their surprise attack to be a strong blow which would eventually wear the Colonials down over time, it turned out to be a curb stomp. The last futile defense of the colonies took place over Virgon, where Admiral Nagala valiantly went down with the Atlantia in a determined if ultimately pointless attempt to defend the Colonies. Before the war had even started, the Colonials had already lost.
Reports continued to arrive over the fleet wireless: the battlestars Columbia, Solaria, Triton, Valkyrie... all gone. The colonies of Caprica, Gemenon, Leonis, Virgon, Canceron ... each consumed by nuclear fire. In a matter of hours, 50 billion lives were lost. Fifty billion, the whole of the human race, or very nearly.
Three hundred million miles away from the seat of the colonial government, the battlestar Galactica was powering down. After fifty years in service, the last of the original battlestars was being decommissioned. She wasn't ready for combat. She had point main guns and defense batteries but no ammunition for them. Her Viper squadron had been reassigned and her starboard landing pod was now a museum. Still, she was a legend. And legends do not die.
The decommissioning ceremony was coming to a close when the first wireless reports of the Cylon attack came over the communication system in Galactica's CIC. Colonel Saul Tigh, the Galactica's executive officer was skeptical at first, and thought it to be a retirement prank however, Commander William Adama wasn't so sure. He scrambled his crew, alerting them that the Cylons had returned and the Twelve Colonies were at war. Adama intended to take the fight back to the Cylons, but first he had to find munitions and fighters. Ammo was available at Ragnar Anchorage, a colonial armory suspended in the upper atmosphere of a gas giant plagued by violent storms. As for planes, a squadron of mothballed Mark II vipers were sitting in the starboard flight pod. Granted, they were considered obsolete but it wasn't like there were any better options available for use.
The Galactica was able to move the vipers to the port side landing pod and get them armed and in the air just in time to fend off the first wave of incoming Cylon Raiders. The battle was brutal, but for once the Cylons didn't have the upper hand. The Command Navigation Program had been delivered to Galactica but never installed, and the Vipers where too old to use it. The crack pilots at the sticks made up the difference and shredded the raiders, though the Galactica suffered a nuclear strike for her troubles. Her forward flight pod suffered heavy damage and caught fire. Violent decompressions erupted through the pod frame by frame, threatening to ignite the fuel lines and blow the ship to hell. The only option was to perform an emergency vent of the burning compartments, sacrificing 85 deck crew in the process.
There was no time to waste licking their wounds, Galactica needed to get to Ragnar Station and reload so she could get back into the fight. The crew spooled up her FTL drive, crossing their fingers that it was still functional after the damage sustained and flipped the switch. The FTL drive had not been utilized in almost twenty years, and it was anyone's guess where the ship would end up. Miraculously, the FTL drive functioned as intended and moments later Galactica began its decent into the turbulent clouds of Ragnar.
Elsewhere in the system, the starliner Colonial Heavy 798 was facing its own troubles. The ship had delivered a group of civilians to the Galactica's decommissioning ceremony including clergy, the press, and the feeble offering the government had sent. President Adar couldn't make an appearance himself, so he sent the Secretary of Education, Laura Roslin. After the ceremony, 798 had departed with its passengers aboard once more for the return to Caprica with Captain Lee 'Apollo' Adama (son of Commander William Adama) flying escort. The starliner received word of the attack en route. Roslin contacted the remnants of the government, who told her that after the first nuclear strikes President Adar had offered an unconditional surrender to the Cylons. The Cylons had not responded.
At this point, a single Cylon raider jumped in and scanned 798, then fired a missile at the starliner and then jumped away. Captain Adama shot down the missile, taking heavy damage to his own viper in the process in order to defend the civilian vessel. He was able to land his crippled viper in the starliner's cargo bay.
The last message from the Colonial Government was a Case Orange message. Case Orange was a crisis fail-safe the colonials created during the First Cylon War. In the event that the government was 'decapitated', an automated message began broadcasting to those who were left. Of those who responded, the highest on a pre-determined list of succession became the new President of the Twelve Colonies. Despite being listed 43rd in line, Laura Roslin was the only one to respond and so, became the next President of the Twelve Colonies.
Roslin, Captain Adama, the 798's Captain, and other survivors piled into one of the passenger cabins for an impromptu oath of office. The senior clergy on board, an oracle named Elosha, swore her in. Thus it was that a school teacher became President of the Twelve Colonies. What was left of them.
As President, her first official act was to round up all the civilian ships stranded throughout the system. After the initial attack, all non-military vessels were ordered to a full stop, leaving them defenseless against the Cylon onslaught. President Roslin personally spear-headed the effort from aboard 798, which its Captain renamed Colonial One. Dozens of ships were recovered, including the Tauranian, a tylium refinery ship that could refuel the others. Some military craft joined the forming fleet as well, including a Raptor and several Mark VII viper craft.
By this time, Galactica was at Ragnar Station and sent word for ships to regroup at the gas giant. President Roslin refused to abandon the rescue mission and tried to countermand Adama's order. She ordered the Galactica to her position to provide assistance. This was the first of many post-invasion flare-ups between the military and civilian sectors, but it was never resolved. Before either side could make their case, another Cylon raider jumped to Colonial One's position and attacked with several nuclear missiles.
In desperation, Captain Adama rigged an EM coil that Colonial One was bringing back from Galactica and used it to disable the missiles. In the process, making it appear as if the missiles had reached their target and Colonial One destroyed. This bought them time to choose a new course of action. President Roslin was initially dead set against leaving civilians behind, but the ruse would not fool the Cylons for long. There simply was not enough time to get all the survivors aboard an FTL capable craft, and hard truths had to be faced. Many people were left to die that day. Later, some would say they were the lucky ones.
At Ragnar, the Galactica led the Colonial One and other ships into the storms. The Ragnar armory was positioned in a pocket of relative calm deep within the violent turmoil of the gas giant's atmosphere. It may have seemed like an odd place for an armory, unless you'd fought in the First Cylon War. The storms at Ragnar interfered with the silica pathways in Cylon brains. The storms also masked DRADIS signatures, so the ships within the storms were safe as well.
Galactica's crew went about collecting munitions, including several Class D nuclear warheads. The supply party also encountered a man calling himself Leoben Conoy. He claimed to be an arms dealer and said he didn't know the Cylons had returned. Introductions were cut short as one of the warhead racks being wheeled onto the Galactica tipped over, spilling its explosive cargo. As it happened, the blast trapped Commander Adama and Conoy behind a damaged bulkhead door. While the deck crew tried to free the trapped men, Conoy said that he knew a faster way out and led Adama deeper into the station.
Conoy was clearly ill. He mentioned headaches and nausea. Adama soon realized the truth, having fought in the First Cylon War. Conoy's suffering was a clear sign that the EM interference was rotting his silica pathways. Adama confronted Conoy and nearly got himself strangled for his trouble. Luckily, years of experience in the Colonial Fleet were on the Old Man's side. He defeated Conoy, and escaped the station with the startling and terrifying news - the Cylons now look human.
Back aboard Galactica, the survivors compared notes. Beyond the human form Cylons, it was evident that they were somehow able to seize control of the Command Navigation Program so all copies of the software were purged from the ships' systems. All of the Vipers were retrograded as well. Dr. Gaius Baltar was among the survivors from the bombing on Caprica and led the effort to cleanse the remaining ships of the CNP with the assistance of Galactica's staff.
Newly armed, Adama was determined to take the fight to the Cylons. He dispatched a scout to the edge of the storms, where two Cylon basestars, ten raider squadrons and two recon drone detachments had taken position to wait the human fleet's emergence from within the planet's upper atmosphere. On a good day, Galactica might have been able to take on a force half that size by herself. It was painfully obvious that a frontal assault was suicide. After discussions with President Roslin, Commander Adama came up with an escape plan. The Galactica flew just outside the storms and positioned herself between the Cylons and the civilian ships. She was reloaded and used her guns and Vipers to hold off the enemy as the civilian ships flew just clear of the storms and then jumped to safety.
A third basestar joined the battle, nearly overwhelming the Galactica but she held. As the last of the civilian ships jumped away, Galactica recalled her fighters and followed.
With that, a convoy of space-dwelling humans escaped the star system and the Cylon genocide of the Twelve Colonies. Led by the Battlestar Galactica, this rag tag fleet is on the search for Earth. The Cylons continue to pursue the remnants of the Colonies, believing that humans will always seek vengeance against them.