Admiral William Adama (callsign "Husker"), a veteran of the First Cylon War, is the commanding officer of the battlestar Galactica, and the highest ranking officer left in the Colonial Fleet after the Fall of the Twelve Colonies.
Adama rose through the ranks of the peacetime fleet, becoming the executive officer of the battlestar Columbia, then on as commander of the battlestar Valkyrie. After a mission failure, and in an attempt to cover up the off the book black-ops mission Adama was reasigned as the commander of the aging battlestar Galactica as a graceful way of easing him into retirement. Bill Adama is on the point of retirement when the big Cylon attack occurs that destroys the Twelve Colonies. He is then tasked with leading a rag tag fleet to the 13th Tribe of man known as Earth.
Adama was shot by Lt. Sharon "Boomer" Valerii (who was a sleeper Cylon) but he survived. When the battlestar Pegasus appeared there was friction between the two commanding officers. Eventually Adama retook command of the fleet as Admiral after Admiral Cain was shot by a Cylon Six model named Gina.
When the fleet settled on New Caprica, Adama had to leave the population behind when the Cylons suddenly reappeared. Later, Adama reunited the fleet in space after a big battle, but lost the battlestar Pegasus in the course of the fight.
Leland Joseph Adama, commonly known as Lee Adama or by his callsign, "Apollo". After the Fall, he is appointed Galactica CAG. He is later promoted to executive officer, then commander of Pegasus. After Pegasus's destruction, he resumes being Galactica CAG until he resigns from the Colonial Fleet to aid in Romo Lampkin's defense of Gaius Baltar.
Lee becomes the Caprican delegate to the Quorum of Twelve, then later the interim President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. He is the sole surviving son of William Adama.
Kara "Starbuck" Thrace is a gifted Viper pilot, with an attitude that has hindered her career in the Colonial Fleet. However, William Adama has confidence in Thrace's military skills, and she greatly aids the Fleet inside and out of the cockpit. She is the last Commander, Air Group (CAG) of Galactica, and mysteriously vanishes in a region that will later be known as Tanzania on the second Earth shortly after the Fleet's arrival on the planet (Daybreak, Part II).
Laura Roslin serves as Secretary of Education at the time of the Cylon attack, later becoming President of the Twelve Colonies, despite never actually being elected to office.
Despite being thrust into the role of President in highly unusual and stressful circumstances, Laura Roslin initially proves herself both tough and capable within the role. Initially in awe of Commander Adama, and worrying that he didn't hold her in high regard, she quickly overcomes her doubts and fears to be able to make the required decisions at the right time, and also stand up to Adama himself. She is always prepared to put the safety and destiny of the Fleet first, no matter what the cost of her actions while remembering her limitations and fears. Roslin is rarely hesitant to make controversial decisions unilaterally, but often must deal with the significant ramifications of her choices.
"Number Six" is a humanoid Cylon who plays several key roles in Cylon society. She is the first humanoid Cylon that viewers witness in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. Stunningly beautiful, sensual, and highly religious, this highly driven model is marked by a ruthlessness against all who stand in her way.
To date, more unique versions of the Six model have been witnessed than any other humanoid Cylon. Besides the use of numerous aliases, Six is also the only Cylon model known to have varied appearances and personalities: while most often seen as a platinum blonde, Six has also been seen with honey blonde and black hair in varying styles, and displaying personalities ranging from overtly sensual to wide-eyed and innocent, and from blindly supporting the attack on the Colonies to desiring peaceful coexistence. This differs from the other known models who generally display the same personality traits, use the same name, and have fewer cosmetic differences in appearance.
Saul Tigh is the Executive Officer (XO) of Galactica, and repeatedly serves as acting commander in the absence of William Adama. Before his service on Galactica, he served as Adama's XO on the battlestar Valkyrie. During the Cylon occupation of New Caprica, Tigh commanded the New Caprica Resistance.
A tough but troubled man with a long history of alcoholism, Tigh has false memories of having served in the Colonial Fleet since his teenage years, seeing action in the First Cylon War. He is married to Ellen Tigh whose death was incorrectly (though logically) presumed to have been permanent. Believing himself to be a widower, he entered a sexual relationship with Caprica-Six with whom he sired a miscarried child named Liam Tigh. Upon reaching the Ionian nebula, he and three others became aware of their nature as Cylons. Since then, he has sporadically regained memories and knowledge of his prior life.
Anastasia "Dee" Dualla is the former Communications Officer of Galactica and was the Executive Officer of the battlestar Pegasus prior to its destruction. At one time she was married to Lee Adama, but separated from him. At the time of the Cylon attack she monitors Colonial Fleet communications traffic. Dualla is among the first to notice the unusually high levels of shipboard malfunctions and failures aboard other battlestars (Miniseries). After the Fleet's initial escape and pursuit by the Cylons, Dualla coordinates Fleet activities such as FTL jumps with Tactical Officer Felix Gaeta. Dualla's avionics training helps in building a stable communications package for the experimental Blackbird fighter.
Before the Cylons came, Tory Foster was a precinct captain for the Federalist Party in Delphi, where her job included taking polls. After the death of Billy Keikeya, Tory was tapped to become President Laura Roslin's new aide and campaign manager. Tory's duties for Roslin at this time included finding a foster mother for Sharon Agathon's child. In her spare time, she conspired with Saul Tigh and Lt. Dualla to rig the Presidential election is Roslin's favor; but the ruse is discovered by Admiral Adama and Lt. Gaeta. During the occupation of New Caprica, Foster helps create a list of humans who are helping the Cylons and is tasked with the failed mission of getting baby Hera off-planet. Tory suffers an arm injury during a Raptor crash with Colonial One.
As part of her duties, Tory helps the president assemble a tribunal against Baltar. In the process she helps to establish security arrangements for the trial and tries to stonewall the defense. After the death of Starbuck, she and Samuel Anders hook up, but Roslin doesn't like this development. As the fleet nears the Ionian nebula, Tory starts to hear a strange noise that disrupts her sleeping and waking routine. This causes problems; she lashes out against reporters during a press conference and Laura threatens to replace her.
When the Fleet reaches the nebula, Tory is drawn to Tigh, Tyrol and Anders-and they collectively realize they are four of final five Cylons.
Thomas Zarek, commonly known as Tom Zarek, a political activist for more than 30 years before the Fall of the Twelve Colonies. He is charismatic, eloquent and a ideological political agitator who was incarcerated for destroying a government building on Sagittaron.
His 20-year incarceration culminated in a sojourn on the Astral Queen, an FTL-capable prison ship, whilst in transit to parole hearings. Assigned the prison number of 893893, Zarek is under consideration for parole at the time of the Cylon attack.
He ends up becoming first the Sagitarion delegate to the Quorum of Twelve, the Vice President under Gaius Baltar, and serves as the President for a few days, before he returns Laura Roslin to power and becoming her Vice President.
After leading a coup against the civilan government, he is executed for murder and treason alongside Felix Gaeta.
Ellen Tigh is the wife of Colonel Saul Tigh, a genius scientist, and a Final Five Cylon. According to Sam Anders, she spearheaded the experiments that allowed Cylons to resurrect. She and the other four members of the Final Five Cylons are responsible for creating the humanoid Cylons that planned and carried out the Cylon Holocaust. According to William Adama, her marriage to Saul Tigh was the reason that he took to drinking. While her husband was away from home, she apparently "went through half the (Colonial) fleet" in her sexual promiscuity.
During the occupation of New Caprica, she collaborated with the Cylons and was killed by her husband, only to download to a Cylon Resurrection Ship. Besides Anders who regained his memories due to a bullet to the brain, Ellen was the only one of the Final Five to ever regain her full memories which was due to her resurrection after Saul poisoned her to death in her old body.
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