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This article contains plot information that may spoil major story aspects for the reader. Read at your own risk!
|“||We want peace...||„|
— The Dark Ones
The Dark Ones (Russian: Чёрные or "black ones") are a sapient species descended from humans who survived the nuclear apocalypse and adapted to the new world.
Though rarely seen, the Dark Ones serve as the driving antagonists throughout both iterations of Metro 2033, in which they pose as a new mutant threat aggressively descending from the surface to Artyom's home station of VDNKh (Exhibition, in the video game).
In both the novel and game, the Dark Ones began their existence living in a beehive on the surface at Botanicheskiy Sad (Botanical Gardens) metro station, which is located north of VDNKh station, Artyom's home. They were first revealed to mankind not long after a young Artyom opened the great hermetic door of Botanicheskiy Sad to glimpse the surface. Eventually, the Dark Ones found this entrance and explored the Metro, VDNKh being the first station and human contact they came across. They were not bloodthirsty beasts as most of the inhabitants of the Metro believed, but sentient beings wanting nothing more but peace with humanity. Metro citizens didn't understand their desire to live in a symbiotic society, thus "striking back" before any attempt to create peace was ever made. As the Dark Ones would approach VDNKh in long strides, trying to simply walk into the station, the station guard would fire upon them out of fear, desperation, and a sudden onset of madness. It is revealed in The Gospel According to Artyom, and suggested by the opening scene in Metro: Last Light, that the Dark Ones never intended for the death of humans, yet their very presence and psychic influence drove the humans mad, and they subsequently killed each other.
It's because of the "threat" of the Dark Ones that Hunter first arrives in VDNKh, and is through him that Artyom begins his journey in the metro, to save his home. Despite this, throughout the Metro 2033 video game, the Dark Ones continually try to get Artyom to understand their intent. They projected peaceful and non-threatening images at several points in the game such as visions of children playing happily in a pre-war playground or leaves on a tree to show him that they only want peace and understanding. Equally so in the novel, it's somewhat implied that the Dark Ones were also committed to protecting Artyom throughout his journey by telepathically sending various protectors that would help him when the time came. Though afflicted by a reoccurring set of ever-expanding visions in the novel, it was never enough to make Artyom stop and consider the possibility of peace.
As revealed vaguely in the novel, but more so in the epilogue to the Metro 2033 novel: "The Gospel According to Artyom", and Metro: Last Light, Artyom's past also involved the Dark Ones. Sometime after arriving in VDNKh, Artyom, along with Eugine and Vitali, often went exploring as children. In one adventure, they traveled north to the gardens and opened the hermetic door there to get to the surface - the same door the Dark Ones would one day use to enter the Metro. While exploring, Artyom is attacked by mutants (dogs in most cases, watchmen in Last Light). Moments from imminent slaughter, he is saved by a Dark One. As a child, Artyom's sanity is not affected by the Dark One - who on the contrary, empathizes with Artyom. Stating he is alone in the world without his mother, in Metro: Last Light, the Dark One reassures Artyom that he is not alone - but "the first". Through their brief psychic contact, Artyom is rendered immune to the Dark Ones - who in turn, accept and "adopt" him to be the chosen - the bridge between the two races. As Artyom ages, however, he remembers his journey to the Gardens but forgets his encounter with the Dark One - leaving him well equipped to be their demise, when he should have been their savior.
In the end of the novel, after Artyom reaches Ostankino Tower he can see the Dark Ones moving around their 'beehive' much like ants around a nest. Sensing Artyom, the Dark Ones then desperately tried to convince Artyom to trust them, completing his visions and elaborating to him their message of peace, and that he was their adopted chosen one that would unite humans and the Dark Ones.
|“||Artyom knew what he would see and understood that now he must not fear it, and, therefore, he simply lifted his head and looked at the huge black eyes without whites or pupils. And then he heard it.
'You are the chosen one!' The world had been turned upside-down. In those unfathomable eyes he suddenly saw in a fraction of a second the answer to everything that had, for him, been left incomprehensible and inexplicable. The answer to all his doubts, hesitations and searches. And the answer turned out not to be what Artyom had been expecting. ...
— Metro 2033 Novel
When Artyom finally understands his purpose it was too late - the missiles destroyed the Dark Ones' nest leaving Artyom conflicted and mortified. This end to the Dark Ones was altered in two manners for the Metro 2033 video game. Firstly, in order for a more developed climax, the Dark Ones are depicted as being far more desperate - and less inclined to share with Artyom their original intentions they had with him. Instead, a Dark One manages to follow Artyom up the tower - psychically assaulting him as he is setting up D6's missile guidance system. In the non-canonical Enlightened ending that is available after garnering enough moral points, Artyom wakes from the encounter before the guidance system is ready for launch. Here, inspired by Khan's words of enlightenment, he is offered the chance to knock it off the tower and save the Dark Ones as his attacker pleads that he stop. The standard and canonical, "Ranger" ending, however, has Artyom waking too late to do anything about the missiles, and feeling simply puzzled and sentimental over the destruction of the Dark Ones - wondering if maybe something had been lost along with the race. It's only in Metro: Last Light, and the comic adaption of The Gospel According to Artyom, that Artyom begins to feel scorched over the loss of the Dark Ones - in him beginning to learn of their rejected message of peace, and remembering of his "adoption".
Metro: Last Light
Though seemingly destroyed, the Dark Ones return in Metro: Last Light in more ways than one, primarily as the Baby Dark One, the sole survivor of the D6 missile strike. As a target of the Rangers, the Baby Dark One was to be killed by Artyom and Anna. It manages to escape, yet only to be captured by Nazis. Psychically afflicting a Nazi with the image of his son, the Dark One was sold to a Hansa freak-circus - instead of being sent to a Nazi firing line. As news of the Baby Dark One spread, it caught the attention of the Red Line general, Korbut. Korbut, originally planning to create an army of domesticated Dark Ones that would serve the Red Line, and help his takeover of the metro, soon sought out to seize the last Dark One. The plan falls through when Artyom and Khan rescue the Dark One from the apprehended Hansa train. Despite at first being the one assigned to kill the baby, Artyom decides to save it and the two form a partnership. Traveling together, Artyom expresses his regrets over the destruction of the Dark Ones, just as the Dark One learns of what it is to be human.
Together, along with Khan, the three of them learn of D6's best-kept secret - a nest of hibernating Dark Ones. As the battle for D6 begins, the Dark One leaves Artyom to save his surviving kin. Dependent on the Artyom's Moral Points acquired in the game, the tide of the battle for D6 is considerably changed by the Dark Ones. In the standard depressive, C'est la Vie ending, the Dark Ones go unheard from, as D6, and everyone in it, are destroyed - yet in the alternate Redemption ending, the crippled Rangers are saved at the last moment, by the second coming of the Dark Ones - who proceed to attack, and in turn, annihilate the Red Army, and secure victory for the heroes.
The last yet heard of the Dark Ones, as either transcribed down in history or directly to Artyom, is that the Metro is not to be their home anymore. For reasons, only marginally elaborated upon, the Dark Ones state that they must leave humanity for a time, though vowing to return one day. The last, canonical, shot of the Dark Ones, has the Dark Ones marching off into the sunset of a nuclear spring, with Artyom speaking Khan's words that the baby Dark One was an angel sent down from the heavens, an icon of forgiveness, and "the last light of hope in this kingdom of darkness".
A Dark One is seen on the roof of the Institute in Novosibirsk, just after Artyom emerges from Metro entrance directly in front of the building, as well as above the tunnel after the worm-infested metro station. A Dark One can also be seen on a distant rooftop across from the Institute. This building overlooks the exact spot where Miller finds Artyom after he falls from the building. It's difficult to tell, however, if the Dark One is still present at that time, as the heavy snow/fog effects mask most of the buildings. While the blind ones inside the facility seem to facilitate intelligence and telepathy, it could also be the work of a Dark One. When Miller finds Artyom outside and puts him in the car, he remarks that he knew where to find him, but he did not know how. It's possible a Dark One told him where to find Artyom, which would support the theory that the Dark One was real, and not a hallucination. Given that the Dark Ones are adapted to live in radioactive environments, Novosibirsk would be an ideal habitat for them, given that there are virtually no humans left and the radiation levels are far too high for unwanted visitors.
At the Caspian Sea, there is an easter egg where an infant Dark One briefly appears sitting at the campfire after Artyom smokes a hookah.
A Dark One also makes an appearance in the main menu as an easter egg. Should you leave the game running for an extremely long time, until the odometer in the background reaches 2033 kilometres one will briefly appear outside the Aurora train window while the instrumental track from Metro 2033 heard during "Driving to Sparta" begins to play.
Morphology and Appearance
When encountered in combat situations, Dark Ones prove to be very dangerous due to their telepathic abilities. While stronger and more durable than a typical human, they are still fairly weak when compared to other mutants, capable of being taken down with five shots from a revolver, but their psychic abilities more than make up for this.
|“||In the light of the spotlight, you can see how the bullets tear at their glossy bodies, how they're being pushed backwards, how they fall; but they get right back up again, rise to their full height and march on. And again, hoarsely now, because its throat has already been pierced, a sinister howl rings out.||„|
— Metro 2033 Novel
Aside from their basic resemblance to humans in terms of overall shape, the outward appearance of a Dark One is quite strange. They have long, slender arms and legs, with the arms ending in large hands that have four long digits. The skin color is a dark, ashen gray. Adults have sunken in lower jaws, but in their juvenile stage, they have mouths surrounded by insect-like mandibles.
Despite their physical appearances, the Dark Ones are the biological relatives - one might even say descendants - of humans. However, the Dark Ones are much better adapted to the recently ravaged post-apocalyptic world. Homo Novus, as they are referred to, have evolved to be highly resistant to radiation, cold temperatures, and developed extra-sensory perception, which in Metro: Last Light is depicted as a perception of both blood and aggression. As shown to Artyom by the Baby Dark One, through the eyes of a Dark One: angry or aggressive beings glow red, fearful ones glow blue, ambivalent glow yellow, and friends appear green. They are also capable of seeing the various paranormal phenomena found throughout the Metro, such as ghosts.
The Dark Ones are not capable of vocal communication, but they are able to communicate telepathically amongst themselves and with other beings. Their telepathic powers however, are too strong for humans, and if they try to communicate with them without properly controlling these powers, they will inadvertently destroy the being's mind. Using these powers, they are able to create realistic illusions by manipulating the mind of their target and are similarly able to induce fear telepathically to scare their enemies away.
The Dark Ones share a form of collective consciousness and communicate telepathically. In the Metro 2033 video game, the Dark Ones are able to telepathically speak to Artyom, manipulating his mind and sending him into a dream-like state.
The Dark Ones state to Artyom in the final chapter of the Metro 2033 novel that they no longer have any ability or understanding as to how to create and use technology and so are approaching mankind on a joint venture, they help mankind survive and in return, mankind can again come to the surface and rebuild civilization. One of the questions set by the novel is would humans really be co-species with the Dark Ones or is that in fact some form of slavery? The question is left unanswered, and the reader is permitted to formulate their own opinions about whether co-existence would have worked or not.
Another theory on their creation is one proposed by Khan after learning of the hibernating Dark Ones inside D6. He believes that the Dark Ones might have actually been genetically engineered before the war (perhaps as telepathic soldiers immune to radiation). If that is true, then the experiment appears to be a failure since the Dark Ones are pacifists and dislike killing. It would also explain the lack of (visible) reproductive organs and lead one to presume that the Dark Ones needs a long time to mature (at least more than 21 years), as the little Dark One encountered in Metro: Last Light must have been created prior to the war that took place 21 years before the events of the second game and is still considered a child.
It is even possible that they are in fact angels given physical form, or that God 'breathed souls into them' as Artyom suggests in Metro: Last Light. Now, they are here to offer Humanity one last chance at salvation and redemption.
It's unknown how they reproduce, as stated by a Nazi soldier. They do give live birth, as evidenced by the fact that they have a navel, which requires an umbilical cord to form. This suggests that their reproduction is similar to that of a human.
"I asked the kid about how he made it. How did he survive the inferno? Now I know. When the missiles rained upon the city of the Dark Ones he was simply not there. The Dark Ones... We've been asking ourselves how it happened so that new sentient life emerged almost instantly. Why did we take millions of years of evolution, and all the Dark Ones needed were a few years? The answer was simple. It was us, people, who had brought them to life. They emerged amongst us. Sukhoi, my stepfather, was right - they were the next step of evolution. Next to ours. We were their fathers, they were our children. We had created so many weapons to destroy ourselves with... and one of those weapons gave birth to them. They are not like us. What kills us makes them stronger. We left them a ravaged, poisoned world. But they learned to live in it. They sustain themselves by absorbing radiation. After being born, they do not enter the world at once-
For some time they continue to exist in a dream, growing and learning from the ones who came before them. What we destroyed was their home. But the place where their young one slept was underground. Close to the Botanical Gardens. Close to the TV Tower. It was in the bunkers under the TV buildings, which were connected to D6. But when the warheads fell, the entrance tunnels caved in. The Dark Ones who were almost ready to enter the world got blocked inside. Instead of them, he, the Little One, opened his eyes, awakened by the explosion and the last scream of his mother. Knowing nothing of what had happened. Not ready for anything, knowing nothing of the world. He tried looking for his kin, but could not find them, because the few survivors continued sleeping. Their time to wake up had come and passed. Very soon they could die of hunger, without even opening their eyes once. I do not know how Khan persuaded Miller, but he was the icon of stoicism and did not reach for his weapon when he saw the Dark One. And the following events shocked me even more than the plans of the Reds -
There were Dark Ones in D6! Khan had hypothesized that they were created artificially before the war. Created as what? Soldiers immune to radiation and having no need for voice communication? Could be so... But then God probably decided to breathe souls into them..."
|Find the truth.|
|If It's Hostile, You Kill It||20|
|Become a true ranger.|
- "Homo Novus" means "new man" in Latin.
- The content of the epilogue to Metro 2033 (The Gospel According to Artyom) suggests that the Dark Ones find it easier to communicate with adolescents. The point below on drawings supports this idea further.
- Metro 2035 ignores the Dark Ones' plotline from Metro: Last Light.
Metro 2033 video game
- The first encounter of a Dark One is actually of one's ghost. Artyom collides with it during "Chase" and enters its memory, seeing Hunter shoot it. This likely means that Hunter killed the dark one at some point entering/leaving Exhibition, and it is infinitely reliving the final moments.
- It has been speculated that Artyom was not the only one to be contacted by the Dark Ones. They are shown on several occasions to scour the dead city with little to no trouble, and a notable number of children's drawings contain tall humanoid figures.
- One of the dead stalkers found at the beginning of "Depository" has drawn the same tall figure on the floor with his knife, before perishing as well.
- In Metro 2033 Redux, the Dark Ones in Dead City will become invisible after their brief encounter with Artyom. The flashlight can reveal their silhouettes similar to ghosts as they flee the scene.
- The vision at the end of "Black Station" is a bit blunt, as the dark one clearly says: "Even children hated by their parents try to love and understand them. We want to understand you, help you." This is said no matter what Artyom does in the vision, making it somewhat confusing why he still continues to try and destroy them. One possibility is that Artyom simply did not believe it.
|Creatures of the Metro Series|
|Plant Life Forms|
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