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Type Spacecraft
Universe Skyward Universe
Featured In Skyward
This page or section contains spoilers for Skyward!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.
We were nomads among the stars then... We were a community made up of communities, traveling the stars together. Part mercenary fleet, part trade fleet. Our own people.
Gran-Gran telling Spensa of the Defiant's fleet[1]

The Defiant is a battle cruiser[2] and the biggest spaceship in a small, independent, nomad fleet of humans, that crashed on Detritus after being attacked by the Krell,[1] eighty years before Spensa joins Flight School.[3] It is said to be larger than Igneous Cavern.[2]


The fleet is comprised of one main ship, the Defiant, four smaller ships, the Yeong-Gwang,[4] the Antioch,[5], and two others, as well as thirty starfighters.[1] These ships are made up of a combination of trade and mercenary vessels.[1] One of the gunships that accompanies the Defiant is the Antioch.[5] The Defiant is the only ship capable of faster than light travel using a cytonic controlled hyperdrive, with the other ships attaching to the Defiant before the jump occurs.[1]

The ships hyperdrive and engines are controlled by a cytonic. The ship can move without a cytonic, however, its FTL capabilities are inaccessible.[1]

The fleets crews are multicultural[6] and made up of many divisions including; command, scientists, engineers, marines, and gunners. It is unclear whether the many cultures that can be found within the fleet are dispersed across the ships or whether different ships originated from different countries on Old Earth. The engineers of the Defiant are treated as outsiders by the rest of the fleet's crew due to their ability to control the engines. As this group was also the first to be able to explore space, this distrust may also stem from jealousy.[1]

Some technology, such as light-lines[7] and holographic projectors,[8] survived the crash, as well as subsequent destruction of the fleets electronic archive, and were passed down through the generations.[7] Before the crash, light-lines were used by the engineers while they worked on ship machinery in zero gravity.[6] Schematics of starships also survived the ships destruction.[9]


The Defiant's fleet avoided the war with the Krell, being neither the people to begin the war or propagate it. As the war continued, the Defiant found it increasingly more difficult, as well as dangerous, to contact space stations and planets, and as such did not know who the Krell were at the time that they were attacked.[1] Although the people of the Defiant considered themselves seperate to the humans involved in the war, the opposing force still required for them to surrender.[10] When they refused, the Krell were sent after the Defiant and its fleet to capture and contain the group.[10]

The day the Defiant crashed, the engineers, along with the scientists, mutinied against the command and military staff aboard the ship, after the Krell had surrounded the fleet and begun to attack the vessels. At some point during the battle, an explosion occurred on the bridge. The captain called down to the engine room, giving Spensa's great-grandmother her commands, however, she disobeyed, instead bringing the fleet to Detritus, using abilities to perform faster than light travel. However, the jump she made proved to be beyond her capabilities and she died. The ships were damaged and crashed onto the surface of the planet, with the engines in the Defiant being broken. It is unclear whether the ships crashed due to damage they had sustained before, or during the jump, or whether they was fired upon by the active guns found in the planets shielding. [1]

The electronic archive of the Defiant survived the crash, however, was destroyed, along with a majority of the senior leadership and professionals of the fleet killed, when the Krell dropped the first Lifebuster bomb, not long after the humans arrival at Detritus.[3] Following this event, the people of the Defiant's fleet formed seperate colonies based on the duties they performed in the fleet, living in groups of less than one hundred people to avoid detection, until they were unified during the Battle of Alta.[2][3] Different populations settled in different caverns with the marines colonizing Vici Cavern[4] and the crew from the Antioch settling in Bountiful Cavern.[5] The distinctive lifestyle features of these different caverns may extend back to the original groups aboard the Defiant.


  • Descendants of the engineers are known as the Motorskaps, based off the old words for engine crew.[2] It is unknown if the original engine crew of the Defiant were also known by this name.
  • The people on Detritus call themselves Defiants after the flagship of the fleet.[2]


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