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Type Spacecraft
Universe Skyward Universe
Featured In Skyward

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 gunship 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] 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 ship's hyperdrive and engines are controlled by a cytonic. The ship can move without a cytonic, however, its FTL capabilities would be 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 cytonic abilities. As it was known by members of the fleet that the Krell also possessed such abilities, this similarity likely further alienated the engineering crew.[7] As the engineers were also the first to be able to explore space, this distrust may also stem from jealousy.[1]

Some technology, such as light-lines[8] and holographic projectors,[9] survived the crash, as well as the subsequent destruction of the fleets electronic archive, however, much of the knowledge possessed by the fleet was lost.[8][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.[10] Knowledge of cytonics, both human and Krell usages, has faded as time has passed, however, rumors of such abilities have persisted through to present day.[7] While the humans of the Defiant were aware of artificial intelligence, it is unclear if they themselves possessed this technology or the knowledge of how to create AIs.[7] If this was technological knowledge that the crew of the Defiant once possessed, it has since been lost to time.[7]


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.[11] When they refused, the Krell were sent after the Defiant and its fleet to capture and contain the group.[11]

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. She brought the fleet to Detritus, using her abilities to perform faster than light travel, in the hope that the fleet could use the planet's defense system as protection.[1] However, the jump Spensa's great-grandmother made proved to be beyond her capabilities and she died.[1] Fired upon by the planet's orbital defense platforms, the fleet barely made it through Detritus's rubble belt before it crashed onto the surface of the planet, destroying its engines.[7]

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 separate 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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