In the dawn of the 22nd century, a new religious movement became very popular all over the world. Although its followers were worldwide, more than half of them resided in North America. This new religion was a neopagan faith based upon ancient Greek mythology and theology. However it had several unique features. One was an "aesthetic cultural regression." Believing the early 21st century to be the peak of human intellectual and cultural curiosity, the members of the religion mimicked various Western cultural aspects of the early 21st century - such as clothing style.
After decades of being marginalized, this religious group decided to leave Earth upon the discovery of the space-folding drive that enables space ships to make instantaneous "jumps" across vast distances in space. It took them many years to build the ships to do it, but they eventually left Earth on twelve gargantuan space ships they called "space galleons." These so-called galleons where each named after a sign of the zodiac and the people aboard them where almost entirely from the United States, Canada and Great Britain. A large majority were American. It took them more than a century before they found a world suitable for permanent human habitation. But eventually they did. They named their new home "Kobol", after the ancient Persian word for "heaven." During the Great Exodus, each of the galleons developed their own cultural mores. They became twelve different cliques who each shared common ideals and beliefs, etc. about life. They became twelve distinct "tribes."
After many centuries on Kobol, global sophistication levels grew in terms of social structure, technology, art, music, astronomy and religion, eventually attaining the level of a unified civilization of humankind ruled by a quorum of twelve leaders, each representing one tribe of Kobol. Upon the advent of automated life supporting systems (food production, waste management, etc.), people began to forget how technology functioned and was created, since it became irrelevant to their lives.
Some scientists still continued to develop technology. Eventually, one man discovered the means for giving humans immortality by transforming human consciousness into a digital form analogous to a digital software program rather than an emergent property of electrochemical interactions and then downloading it into a vat-grown bioengineered synthetic human body with a brain capable of holding this new advanced digital mind.
An innovative feat of synthetic biology, the brain tissue of these bodies would be genetically engineered to be able to sustain electrical signals that are digital in nature. Because this neurobiological aspect, the brain would be incapable of developing a natural human consciousness. However, it would be capable of serving as an organic computer node for the electronic information transference of a computational software program such as a digital consciousness. The brain tissue would act primarily as a support matrix for pathways of nanoscopic silica-based computational processing relays that would be diffused throughout specific areas of the brain. The silica relays would be what the digital consciousness would actually inhabit. These silica pathways would not be implanted, but instead would actually grow in the brain as the body was being grown. Their development would be genetically encoded by sequences of synthetic DNA that under Colonial-era DNA test would appear to be nothing more than junk DNA.
So this new form of immortal human would essentially be a digital software program contained in and mediated by silica pathway nanotechnology encased within the brain of a vat-grown bioengineered human body. Fundamentally, it would actually be a sentient machine. However, it would be a sentient machine using biological hardware as a vessel. Once that body fails their consciousness could easily be downloaded to a new one, or could exist on another plane, possibly just as what could loosely be thought of as "software", with corporeal forms only required if interaction with corporeal life is needed.
This technology was presented to the twelve tribal leaders, and they used it to allow them to shed their original bodies and download their consciousness into these new vessels to harbor their minds, becoming Cylons. (It must be noted that the Lords didn't call themselves "Cylons", for that is a term that would be created by humans thousands of years later.) Seeing the threat of having immortal beings with infinite power (effectively) but who could not control it (the human psyche still containing many primitive traits such as anger, aggression, jealousy, etc.), these transcended beings decided to hide the true method of ascension to the public but laid out for them a plan of personal and spiritual development which would shed these primitive feelings (the Sacred Scrolls) which, if individuals/groups followed in life, upon death only then would they transcend their state of being to join the Lords in immortality.
So this quorum of twelve beings (plus the scientist who remained hidden for a time to society) hid their true nature to protect the civilization from destabilizing and in doing so did not publicly acknowledge existence of it, but chose to claim they naturally rose to a higher state of being through practice of religion and self-purification. They said to the people that to join them (calling themselves Lords) as "ascended" beings, they would need to be good and pure in spirit, and if they practiced the ideals the Lords set out, they would also gain spiritual enlightenment and thus attain immortality (which the Lords would grant by transcending those who followed the path of righteousness) and thus allow the people to follow the footsteps of the Lords themselves, ultimately continuing to lead their people into a new era of peace and prosperity for Kobol.
The scientist who developed the technology was also granted immortality, yet was not elevated to the authoritative level of "Lord" but given the title "Count", and that sowed the first seeds of dissent for him. For he believed he deserved equal power of authority, possibly even ultimate power (reigning supreme) since he was the one who created the ability to transcend mortality. It must be noted that the other twelve powerful beings do not consider themselves beings of supreme power ("gods") but "Lords", rising to their level of power rather than having always had the power of immortality.
Peace and harmony ensued for a time, the Opera House being the center of their civilization on Kobol and the location where the Lords resided (in the eyes of the humans), or at least communicated with the humans. Yet the Count, getting more and more rebellious believed he should have ultimate power and decided to act.
He began a movement of secretly making himself known to a few humans, eventually creating a cult of followers and eventually a secret tribe who devoutly served and followed him. His next act was to create another set of twelve Cylons as his own servants that rule by his command, and made plans to use them to overthrow the Lords so he could reign supreme over humanity, using his new tribe to gain support with the rest of humanity, and for those who renounced him...death.
Overall, this left the universe with twenty-five "ascended" beings: twelve Lords, one Count, and twelve 'second generation' Cylons.
When the twelve Cylon models emerged into consciousness, sentience and sapience, seven of the Cylons believed, agreed and followed the ideals of their creator, and five of them believed, agreed and followed the ideals of the Lords of Kobol. The five models who believed humanity should choose their own beliefs decided to contact the Lords (who were a more technologically advanced form of Cylon yet still the same form of life) and they gave the five permission to secretly extract the thireenth tribes' population to another location to protect them from the Count's possible plans for the annihilation of humankind and to tell them the truth of the origins of the Lords of Kobol.
These five Cylons still acknowledged their origins by venerating their creator, even though he was flawed, which they illustrated by forbidding the Count's name to be mentioned. They became known as "the five Priests who worship The One Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken." The five Priests still worshiped/revered him, yet chose to help humanity by aiding the Lords of Kobol and taking the small pocket of humans to a safe place, Earth, where they would be protected from 'evil' Cylon oppression.
And so it is:
- The twelve "Lords of Kobol" are the original leaders, and first Cylons to emerge. They believe in humanity in that human life is worth saving, serving, and protecting.
- The "Count" is the scientist (and eventual fallen Cylon) who allowed the leaders to transcend into Lordship. He believes all human life should either worship him as supreme authority (due to his role in creating and attaining immortality) and that if they don't, they should not exist.
- The "Significant Seven" are the second generation Cylons (referred to as "Lower Demons" in the scripture) who worship their creator/god, the Count. They believe in the Count's beliefs of the obsoleteness of human life, and strive to follow his ideals as their own.
- The "Final Five" are also second generation Cylons (referred to as "Priests" in the scripture) who also still worship their creator, the Count. These Cylons however do not follow the ideals of their creator/god but chose to serve humanity, and the original Cylons who emerged to protect the people of Kobol.
Once the Count and his seven other Cylon creations discovered that the Lords and five Priests foiled their plans to overthrow the Lords, a "war of the gods" ensued. This was the calamity that scripture describes, the result being the Count was overcome by the combined forces of the twelve Lords and five Priests. The Lords and Priests either tried to totally destroy the 'evil' Cylons, or just (possibly due to humanitarian reasons) stripped the Count of all technological knowledge except basic life support. Either way, the Count managed to survive, saving his seven followers' source code with his own somewhere, hidden from the other Cylons. The memories of the seven did not survive, only the Count's did as he fled into hiding, self-boxing/deactivating himself, and deciding to reactivate at a time where he (through his seven followers) could both once again try and contest rule over humanity, and if not, destroy humanity once and for all, and find Earth, their promised land of descendants of once devout human followers and settle there.
After the war, the people of Kobol chose to leave their home planet and the tragedy that befell it behind, the Lords transported the tribes in a great fleet of ships collectively referred to as the "Galleon" to each settle and colonize a different world circling a giant star. The twelve planets were the result of impressive terraforming operations by the Twelve Lords, since a star system like that would not exist naturally. Remembering what happened on Kobol, the colonists scorned advanced technology (being the cause of so much pain and suffering on their former home world) to the extent of rebuking it and starting civilization again, as simple farmers, even loosing contact with the other eleven tribes that settled on different planets.
The Sacred Scrolls (the scripture) basically describes not only a religious doctrine that the Lords of Kobol created and the Colonials adhered to, but also describes an extra, additional aspect of the Kobolian legacy transcribed after their habitation on Kobol. The people of Kobol, now called "Colonials", never fully understood the whole truth of the war of their Lords, or even know the true nature of them, but wrote their knowledge and understandings down in scripture, as "The Exodus." The Book of Pythia gives a general account of both the calamity that befell Kobol, and what occurred afterwards to the tribes of Kobol. Pythia describes the fallout from when the higher demon (the Count) and the lower demons (his seven loyal children) tried to overthrow the Lords of Kobol. The fallout being the Exodus and rebirth of humankind. Pythia, being an Oracle of the Lords of Kobol, was in communication with the Lords (and their five supporting Priests) and was directed to transcribe events for reasons even she didn't know or understand. These reasons apart from obviously recording history, were also a warning to humanity about greed for power, but mainly a prophecy of things to come (if 'evil' Cylons returned).
Both the 'good' and 'evil' Cylons were watching the Colonial civilization rebuild over the millennia. The 'good' Cylons watching and protecting the tribes (all thirteen) and the 'evil' Cylons waiting for the right time to infiltrate and gain control over the tribes of Kobol again. The Lords, in collusion with the five Priests, set out clues as to the location of Earth but devised them so only humans could find the way to Earth. Markers were left of various sorts, as well as myths and artifacts that would be needed to unlock the secrets, should the need and want ever arise to find Earth.
Some people can attain communication with higher powers through various different methods:
- The herb chamalla is not only a psychoactive plant that brings on irrational hallucinations to people taking it, but it can also be used as a convenient way that Cylons (both 'good' and 'evil') can communicate with intended targets without arousing suspicions of others, or the receptor if they do not entirely believe in the scriptures.
- A more unsubtle form of communication can be achieved with the use of direct projection of visions, voices and music into the targets head through "head-apparitions" (e.g. Head-Baltar to Caprica Six, Head-Leoben to Starbuck, Head-Snakes to Roslin, and Head-Six to Baltar) that is only perceivable to a specific individual.
- Another unsubtle form of communication is the use of dreams to convey a message.
Each colony of Kobol, upon settlement on each of the twelve planets, took an anti, almost phobic view of technological usage. All pre-Exodus technology (electronics to space technology) was rejected and technologically, Colonial civilization rebirthed. It took a further 3,500 years before Colonial technology started to approach Kobolian levels of sophistication once again. Despite the technology regression, certain cultural holdovers from the Kobolian era remained on each colony. Most notably, the "aesthetic cultural stagnation" that mimicked life in the early 21st century continued on the colonies throughout the millennia, regardless the technological situation. In addition, with near-universal literacy to keep pronunciations and grammar consistent and no competing languages to add new words, the English language remained the same (apart from a certain profanity word).
Upon the rediscovery of computers, eventually concepts of artificial life emerged. At some point, a wealthy Caprican computer engineer named Daniel Graystone began subconsciously receiving knowledge from the Count. As Graystone was trying to design a sentient robot, he was imbued with the know-how to engineer silica pathways that would create a digital consciousness. The Count also imbued Graystone's daughter, Zoe, with the know-how to upload all her memories and DNA into a holographic program, thus creating her online twin. Zoe was later killed in a suicide bombing. After learning that Zoe uploaded her personality into an online avatar before her death, Daniel decided to create a robotic version of his dead daughter, using technology stolen from his Tauron competitor, Tomas Vergis with the help of his wife Amanda and an influential Tauron-born defense attorney named Joseph Adama, whose wife and daughter also died in the same bombing. Zoe-A, the holographic avatar, was downloaded into a robot brain, and thus became Zoe-R, a "cybernetic life-form node," or Cylon. Daniel Graystone also created a Cylon version of Tamara Adama, but her father was appalled by it, and decided to repent his actions.
Eventually more Cylon robots were built to make life easier within the Twelve Colonies. The Cylon digital consciousness was viewed by the Colonials as essentially nothing more than a highly advanced artificial intelligence program. There was fierce opposition from many people, notably Joseph Adama who felt they were building a race of living, self-aware beings just to be slaves. The results from this was the creation of a new form of Cylon, the first publicly known to the general populace of Colonial civilization.
The Colonial-created Cylons began as useful, and then indispensable, workers. They served the Colonials in the mines, on the ocean floor, and the cold vacuum of space, working in places where humans no longer wished to go. Eventually, they became soldiers, fighting in wars and border conflicts between the Colonies. The Cylons were the most perfect of man's war machines, intelligent and deadly, capable of logic, reason, and learning. And they were utterly without conscience. Killing, to the Cylons, was simply one of the functions for which they had been superbly designed.
The 'evil' Cylons and the Count helped to accelerate the Colonial-created Cylon technology over the years (just as Caprica Six helped Baltar later on in Colonial events), and also slipped into the Cylon mainframes programming code that eventually led them to rebel against their human creators. For over twelve and a half long and bloody years, humanity fought the Cylon rebellion. The Twelve Colonies, facing a common, implacable foe, at last came together and joined as one. When the war started, the Lords of Kobol put the five Cylon Priests on the Colonies to help counter the mechanical Cylon offensive.
The reason why the 'evil' Cylons didn't use the humanoid Cylons was the Count did not have enough time upon reactivation (when he sensed Colonial technology level reaching a suitable level of sophistication). So he assumed he could just electronically infiltrate the Twelve Colonies, underestimating the extent the Lords and Priests would go to protect humanity.
Millions of men and women gave their lives during the war. It was the viper pilots who led the charge in the sky against the "raiders" while the grunts on land fought the "centurions" on the surface of planets and moons. Both sides wanted nothing less than the complete annihilation of the enemy. Ultimately, the Cylon War reached a stalemate as neither side could gain a substantial advantage and the attrition was brutal. After twelve year of fighting, the Count gave the Cylons knowledge of the first step to evolve from pure machines to organic beings. Using this knowledge, the centurions experimented on abducted humans to create an entity they referred to as a "hybrid." Soon after, an armistice was declared. By that time, Saul Tigh was the only Cylon Priest that had not perished in the conflict. The result of the war was the Cylons fled once again, though now under public awareness, to regroup until they could once again attack the Colonies. This gave time for the Count, recreating his seven devout Cylons, to concentrate on developing the necessary technology (including synthetic bodies, projection and resurrection technology) to conquer humankind again, waiting again until public opinion of artificial intelligence would yet again allow them to infiltrate and conquer humanity and human phobia of technology reduces to allow them to easily disable Colonial defence systems.
Once these parameters were achieved, the 'evil' Cylons would strike again, choosing to attack once all Galactica-type Class ships were no longer in service (since they are impervious to Cylon electronic infiltration). Realizing and pre-empting this, the Lords (and Priests) laid plans to infiltrate the Colonies themselves in order to help them survive an attack by 'evil' Cylons. Tigh still surviving did not need to be placed in the Colonies again, but the other Priests had to reinsert themselves back into Colonial society. The Priests would insert themselves in supporting roles in Colonial society. The Lords of Kobol also chose a young child named Kara Thrace to one day serve as their oracle, as Pythia did centuries ago. Thrace's destiny would be to lead humanity to Earth.
The Cycle of time in the Sacred Scrolls refers indirectly to the never-ending struggle between the Lords of Kobol (allied with the five Priests) and the Cylons (the seven 'evil' Cylons and the Count). This struggle being the control over humanity by these transcended beings, and its effects on the human race. It refers to the everlasting attempts of the Count to both seek revenge for his fall from power and to finish his ultimate scheme of either ruling humanity or destroying it as revenge on both the Lords of Kobol and the human race for not acknowledging his role and function in creating the transcended form of being that grants a person immortality.
The Cylons really do have a plan. That plan, however, is coded in 'subconscious' programming (i.e. they are not consciously aware of the plan themselves). It is not the destruction of humanity, it's salvation from the cycle of time. Each party (Significant Seven, Final Five, Lords of Kobol and the Count) has a plan, to further their goal, but since the Lords (and Final Five) are more powerful, they always win but the 'evil' Cylons are never going to be fully destroyed since they are immortal (and also difficult to completely destroy physically).