Data Canister: Snakemen
Data Canister 914, X-Com Archives. Transcript of personal report on Snakeman social and economic culture, Peter Weissman, 6657-9fd-XRC, 15/11/2001
"Yes, interrogations are proceeding smoothly. But in light of current budgetary problems, well...
"Let me explain myself. From the data we have, we can extrapolate that the Snakemen are not of sectoid origin or modification. Other than key genome alterations, similar to those in mutons, Snakemen are almost untouched from their original species.
"Their heat tolerance is exceptional. They've inherited self-modifying genomes relating to their body chemistry that allows them to slowly adjust to almost any atmosphere in any kind of noticable pressure. Hell, some of the new high altitude intercepts, craft coming down from orbit, possibly the theorized base on the moon or one of the other near planets, have snakemen with partially digested tablets in their guts, containing oxygen and other similar atmospheric chemicals bonded with several proteins. More research is needed, but I'm fairly sure that they're breathing tablets. I don't think the snakemen even need to breathe anymore.
"They seem to have a relatively free society, compared to the Mutons or Floaters, and as a result I think that from all indications, they're operating under a... mercenary capacity. I have no idea what the Sectoids and Ethereals are paying them, but they are here of their own free will.
"Interrogations lead me to suspect that the entire Snakeman 'empire', if you will, is composed of semi-independant colonies, protected by mercenary armies, that are entirely self funding. Snakeman technology was at one stage more similar to our own, this is clear, though their predatory base led them very quickly to, what for them, is an efficient pinnacle of their economic culture.
"The problems we're having with X-Com, international funding, treaties, etcetera, were all very cleanly swept off the board by the Snakemen by simply making their militaries entirely independant and private, responsible to their leaders, which, admittedly, are most likely ethereals.
"If budgetary constraints and similar problems continue to be a problem... well, I think we could take a real page from the Snakemen's book."