The Colonists are a fictional extraterrestrial species on the television show, The X-Files, and also in the first feature film. The mystery revolving around who they are and what they are planning is revealed across the course of the series. In the show they are collaborating with a group of United States government officials known as the Syndicate in a plan to take over the Earth and "colonize" it, hence their name.
According to the series mythology, the Colonists are actually Earth's original inhabitants, forced to abandon the planet during the last ice age (although the exact details concerning their departure are unknown). They highly resemble the well-known "grey aliens" in their mature form. In their immature stage, they are more yellowish colored, tall, and very aggressive. This form is sometimes referred to as the "reptilian" form, due to the fangs, claw, and scale like texture of the skin. They are a symbiotic species, as their blood contains an intelligent virus/life force (similar in texture to crude oil), which can incubate within other life forms, including humans. Once incubated, a human host, within 96 hours (Fight the Future), gestates the immature alien form, and in the process, kills the host (somewhat similar to the xenomorphs in the Alien film series). The virus apparently contains the aliens' genetic blueprints, awaiting reconstitution when the master species returns to Earth. After the mature aliens depart, the black oil influences the development of life on Earth, even human evolution, until later going into hibernation in petroleum deposits.
Return to EarthEdit
While away from Earth, the Colonists evidently sought out life throughout the universe, and were apparently successful in subduing other species. The Colonists at some point returned and monitored Earth for some time, awaiting an opportune moment to reclaim the planet. In 1947, one of their ships crashed in New Mexico, with the crew dying from exposure to magnetite. Shortly after this event, a select few power brokers, mainly in the U.S., though also from a few other nations, first learned of the Colonists' plot to retake the planet. These men eventually formed The Syndicate, and early on in the Cold War, an alliance was created between them and the Colonists. An agreement was reached that a small group of humans would be allowed by the Colonists to survive by becoming alien-human hybrids. The date for recolonization was set for 2012, and both sides began working on creating a hybrid. In exchange for the Syndicate's cooperation, the Colonists allowed limited military use of their technology, and promised that the heirs of the Syndicate members, who were turned over to the Colonists as an act of good faith, would survive the takeover. Meanwhile, both sides worked secretly against the other, the human conspirators attempting to develop a vaccine for the alien virus and the Colonists setting up the Black Oil to "birth" a new alien being within the human body as its incubator.
This section is about Alien-Human Hybrids in the X-Files franchise. For the alien abduction related concept that inspired this creation, see Alien abduction#Child presentation.
Early attempts to create alien/human hybrids were pioneered by German and Japanese scientists shortly after World War II, and for some time during the Cold War. However, these often met with failure, and the Syndicate started to rely more on their own scientists. According to an Alien Bounty Hunter, in the 1950s, Soviet geneticists found a unique genetic anomaly within identical twins. The Colonists and Syndicate scientists used this to eventually develop human clones with alien elements and partial hybrids, but they were still ultimately inferior. Hybrids of this type include Samantha Mulder, Kurt Crawford, the Gregors, Ernest Calderon, and Dr. William Secare. Child and adult versions of Samantha and Kurt are also seen. These clones have the same caustic greenish blood of the aliens, have greater muscular strength and higher physical endurance levels than most normal humans, and can breathe underwater. In addition to their intended use by the alien colonists, the Syndicate is occasionally seen using these clones to perform various tasks, such as research and physical labor.
Under a Dr. Takeo Ishimaru, renegade Japanese scientists, who had once worked for the Syndicate, manage to produce their own type of alien-human hybrid. This type has a combination of human and alien physical features, and was resistant to the effects of nuclear radiation, as well as biological warfare (this presumably includes resistance to the Black Oil). However the hybrids are physically very weak and all are eventually killed.
The pinnacle of the project is Cassandra Spender, mother of Jeffrey Spender and wife of CGB Spender, aka The Smoking Man. Cassandra is a hybrid created through a process other than cloning, and worked on by both the Syndicate and the aliens themselves, although the exact methods used to transform her are never fully revealed. The experiment presumably began when she, along with other family members of the Syndicate, were turned over to the colonists in the 1970s. For many years, Cassandra was under the mistaken impression that she was to be an emissary of the aliens to spread a higher spiritual understanding to humanity, but after her final abduction in the late 1990s (as seen in the episodes "Patient X" and "The Red and The Black") she comes to realize the truth. She is killed, along with most of the Syndicate, by the alien rebels in the episode "One Son".
There also exists a faction of aliens who actively oppose Colonization. Though of the same species as the Alien Bounty Hunter(s), the Rebels are distinguished by their grotesque appearance: the orifices on their face are morphed shut (to avoid absorption of the parasitic black oil). Colonization has apparently begun where the rebels are from. They carry prod-like weapons that can quickly incinerate a human and do not hesitate to use it; they burn abductees with chips in their necks at abduction sites. The Alien Rebels appear to be trying to prevent colonization from going any further.
Though the Syndicate become an enemy of the Rebels because of their allegiance with the Colonists, the Rebels themselves have a vested interest in keeping the Colonists from finding out that a successful hybrid has been created. While the Rebels have an opportunity to destroy the hybrid (Cassandra Spender), they choose to let her survive in hopes that the Syndicate will join them in fighting the Colonists. The Rebels go so far as to infiltrate the Syndicate and bring up the possibility of fighting the Colonists. However, it is decided by the Syndicate that fighting the Colonists would be futile. At this point, a full-working vaccine has not been created, and it is therefore decided that the best thing to do is to comply with the original deal and turn over the hybrid to the Colonists. Before this can be done, the Rebels destroy all but a few members of the Syndicate and Cassandra Spender, the only living successful alien-human hybrid. They do this in order to delay the invasion.
Krycek appraises the war between the rebels and colonists as favoring the rebels at their last sighting.
With nearly every Syndicate member dead, the Colonists decide that they no longer need human collaborators. Instead, they begin to use Human Replacements, who come to be known as "Super Soldiers," on which the Colonists have been working covertly since at least the Gulf War. To create Super Soldiers, the Colonists infect humans with a new strain of their virus, which slowly destroys and then rebuilds the body of the host. This process seems to involve a lengthy surgical procedure on abductees as opposed to simple infection (as with the black oil). They have normal red blood and are identifiable only by spiny protrusions on the backs of their necks or by analysis of a blood sample, which shows their DNA to exist as a complex with iron. The Super Soldiers are far greater improvements over previous hybrid types and arguably even over the bounty hunters. Although they cannot shapeshift, Super Soldiers are practically unstoppable. They can survive being crushed by a garbage compactor, decapitation, and can rip through steel with their bare hands. The only known way to kill them takes advantage of their metallic biochemistry: Their bodies are torn apart by the magnetic fields present near large deposits of magnetite ore. The Super Soldiers quietly fill the positions of power previously occupied by Syndicate members and rarely use human conspirators. By the end of the series, they have virtually replaced the Syndicate. Currently, the Super Soldiers are presumably hunting down Mulder and Scully, as well as preparing for the final invasion.