DARK ONE (METRO 2033)
Metro: Last Light
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.
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.
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 mouth parts.
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 have extra-sensory perception, which in 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. However, their telepathic powers 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 his/her 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 to presume that the Dark Ones needs a long time to mature (at least more than 21 years) as the little dark one encontered in 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 baby.
It is even possible that they are in fact Angels given physical form, or that God ‘breathed souls into them’ as Artyom suggests in Last Light. And they are here to offer Humanity one, last chance at salvation and redemption.
It is 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.