Darkling is a Luminoth term used to identify Ing-possessed creatures and mechanisms. Most of them will have the word dark added to the front of their non-possessed counterpart's name. The term Darkling is also used to identify original bioforms that can only be seen on Dark Aether.
According to scans, the Ing race were initially unaware of their ability to invade another being's body. They first learned to possess organic creatures early on in the war against the Luminoth until finally learning how to do the same to robots near the conflict's final stages (prior to Samus' arrival to Aether).
Darkling-possession was the Ing Horde's solution to gaining access to the Light dimension, in which its atmosphere was otherwise fatal to them. An Ing invades the opposite dimension by creating a small portal and emerges in as the Black fog to possess the nearest being within its range, be it synthetic or organic. If an Ing wants to possess a being in Dark Aether, its homeworld, it needs only to lunge itself at its target and envelop it in its liquid, semi-gaseous or intangible form, which will then be "absorbed" into said host's body. A Darkling's body allows the dark Ing within to survive in the light dimension, and the presence of said Ing prevents the light body from deteriorating inside the corrosive dark dimension. Some Ing brought their possessed victims to their homeworld and added them to the Ing Horde; as a result, the Ing army is composed of a variety of beings, ranging from mechanoids to wildlife, pure Ing and others. Early on in the war for Aether's planetary energy, the Luminoth were among the first to be targeted for Darkling-possession, creating Dark Luminoth, thus forcing the light-dwelling race to kill their possessed friends and family members.
Since the Ing are a sentient and intelligent race, any animal relying on instinct or robotic entity with basic programming becomes a vastly larger threat when turned into a Darkling, as their low intelligence is replaced with the invading Ing's greatly advanced mind. It is largely due to this that the Ing Horde nearly won the war against the Luminoth. By converting a portion of light Aether's beings into Darklings, the Ing strategically attacked with military precision important locations and stole the planetary energy from three of the light planet's four Energy Controllers in order to stabilize their own world and destroy the Luminoth's (the fourth controller was protected by Samus' intervention).
The victims of darkling-possession gain an altered physical appearance following the Ing's corruption: one change that is seen in all but one possession is an overall purple/darker shade of color (the lone exception to this is the Quadraxis drone). Other possible changes are the growths of thorns and spikes on the possessed's body, and the least common mutation is the addition of one or several red glowing spheres on the Darkling; these spheres are likely the same cluster of red particles present in several pure Ing.
According to a scan, the controlling Ing can leave the host's body any time it wishes to do so; there is no known method to separate the entities apart without the former's consent. Killing a Darkling will end the lives of the host and the inhabiting Ing. Possession is also possible with deceased bioforms, however it seems that the time usually required for complete parasitic fusion, a mere few seconds, is exponentially extended in this case. Until the fusion is finished, the "resurrected" Darkling will have slow movements and reflexes similar to a typical zombie. The Ing must be certain if their potential hosts are healthy or clinically dead before taking control: a scan in Dark Agon Wastes reveals that, following a biosystem shock, a Space Pirate suffered cardiac arrest during its conversion into a Darkling, causing the deaths of both individuals.
An Ing that fuses with an entity tends to greatly increase the latter's natural health and/or offensive capabilities; in most cases, the combined being is more powerful than the lone Ing, but now shares the high vulnerability to light based weaponry. However, if a powerful Ing were to possess a weak host for whatever reason, the resulting Darkling is likely to be weaker than the invader's pure form. This scenario seemed to intentionally take place during a young Ing's trials to adulthood, where it would prove its worth by using a weak individual in the battlefield and graduate to the control of stronger entities. There exists some limitations to their ability: a lone Ing possessing an incredibly powerful and immense being is seemingly impossible, and instead takes an untold amount of Ing members to successfully take over such a being. This was the case for the Quadraxis. Interesting to note is that some bioforms' minds, despite being possessed, are difficult to control and are not fully-accessible by the Ing. This makes the invading race incapable of utilizing some of their hosts' natural abilities, such as the sonic attack from the Bloggs being non-existent in the Dark Blogg.
Darklings usually have Aether counterparts, such as the Dark Splinter and the Splinter. However, some are not known to have any: the Dark Phlogus, the Amorbis and Darkling Tentacles are a few examples. These creatures could be considered as original Darklings, as they were seemingly born on Dark Aether without having any light counterpart possessed and/or brought over to the dark world. Below is a list of all Darkling organisms encountered by Samus in Metroid Prime 2 divided into two categories: those confirmed to be Ing-possessed entities and the previously described original Darklings.
- Dark Alpha Splinter
- Dark Blogg
- Dark Diligence Drone
- Dark Grenchler
- Dark Ingsmasher
- Dark Missile Trooper
- Dark Pirate Commando
- Dark Pirate Trooper
- Dark Preed
- Dark Quad MB/CM
- Dark Shredder
- Dark Splinter
- Dark Tallon Metroid
- Dark Trooper
- Dark War Wasp
- Corrupted Sentreye
- Bomb Guardian (Dark Alpha Sandigger)
- Grapple Guardian (Giant Dark Grenchler variant)
- Spider Guardian (Dark Pillbug)
- Power Bomb Guardian (Dark Sporb)
- Quadraxis (main body and head module)
- Amorbis/Dark Amorbis
- Chykka Larva/Chykka/Dark Chykka
- Dark Phlogus
- Darkling Tentacle (potentially a pure Ing)
- Ingclaw (potentially a pure Ing)
- Webling/Dark Webbing (potentially a Dark Luminoth Webbing)
The Darkling Tentacle and Ingclaw are peculiar entities, as their names and logbook entries describe them as being both pure Ing and Darkling.
The Webling is a more bizarre case due to the fact that its potential light-counterpart, the Luminoth Webbing, is a non-living, non-sentient inanimate object. All in-game evidence regarding Darklings have always pointed towards the fact that the Ing can only invade the bodies of organic beings (alive or dead) and robots (online or offline), making the Webling a contradiction of sorts. However, there are no scans related to the Webling or Luminoth Webbing that state any connection whatsoever between the two, leaving the possibility that the former is an original Darkling with a structure that simply corresponds with the latter.
Samus Aran and specially armored Luminoth seemed to be immune to any form of darkling-possession, the former having acquired the Energy Transfer Module early on in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, which generates a constant light energy from within, thus making it impossible for her to become a Darkling. An Ing attempting to possess Samus following the Module's acquisition will simply leave her body mere seconds after enveloping and/or entering her, though she may receive damage from the Ing's corrosive body. If the special armor of a Luminoth were to break and allow access to an Ing, the wearer would be prepared to end his/her own life before losing his/her will. There are uniquely powerful Luminoths, however, that possess incredible stamina and psychic durability capable of fending off Darkling-possessions without the use of the mentioned armor: A-Voq was one such Luminoth that repelled numerous Ing possession attempts.
Destruction of Dark Aether
It is unknown if any Darklings survived on Light Aether when Dark Aether collapsed, though it is a possibility, and it is known that at least one Dark Tallon Metroid was kept as a specimen by the Space Pirates on one of their homeworlds and dissected for research purposes.
If any number of Darklings remain on Aether after the Luminoth awakened from their life-preserving stasis, it is probable they were disposed of by the latter, given their deep hatred for the Ing race.
- Darklings share many similarities to individuals possessed by spirits and demons.
- If the Luminoth Webbing is indeed a candidate for Ing-possession, the resulting Darkling would be akin to a poltergeist event during which inanimate objects such as dolls are moved and controlled by malevolent ghosts.
- Dark Phlogus, Darkling Tentacles and Nightbarbs are odd cases, because the only creatures that could potentially be their natural forms are only seen on other planets; the Puddle Spore and Reaper Vines are found on Tallon IV, while Nightbarbs on Bryyo share the same name. If the mentioned Darklings are not original beings, then it is possible that the Chozo, Luminoth and Bryyonians, having all met each other at some point in the past, had exchanged a few wildlife from their respective planets, thus explaining how the Ing were able to possess these extraterrestrial bioforms.
- The Quadraxis drone is the only darkling that did not keep a darker shade of color after the Ing fully possessed it. Curiously, when the Ing were first attempting to get it active, the drone's body momentarily turned dark purple with glowing blue "eyes" before reverting to its normal color scheme.
- The corpses of Keybearer Luminoths found throughout Aether seem to be wearing smooth, glowing armor pieces not found on living Luminoths nor among normal Luminoth corpses; these Keybearers were possibly wearing the special armor designed to protect their wearers from Ing possession.
- Ironically, despite being Dark-based creatures, they are still vulnerable to certain sub-categories of dark energy. For example, if a Dark Pirate Trooper or Dark Pirate Commando stumbles upon Dark Water, it gets incinerated. Other examples would be that the Dark Missile Trooper and Dark Pirate Commandos remain susceptible to the Entangler's effect.
- It is a common misconception that Dark Samus is a Darkling due to the "Dark" prefix in her name. Dark Samus as a Darkling would entail Samus being possessed by the Ing.
|Guardians||Amorbis • Chykka • Quadraxis|
|Darklings||Chykling • Corrupted Sentreye • Dark Alpha Splinter • Dark Blogg • Dark Diligence Drone • Dark Grenchler • Dark Ingsmasher • Dark Missile Trooper • Dark Phlogus • Dark Pirate Commando • Dark Pirate Trooper • Dark Preed • Dark Quad MB/CM • Dark Shredder • Dark Splinter • Dark Tallon Metroid • Darkling Tentacle • Dark Trooper • Dark War Wasp • Nightbarb • Dark Luminoth|
|Ruling caste||Emperor Ing|
|Battle forms||Warrior Ing • Hunter Ing • Boost Guardian • Jump Guardian • Ingstorm • Darkling Tentacle|
|Submissive||Darkling • Inglet • Ing Webtrap • Flying Ing Cache|
|Immobile||Bladepod • Ingsphere Cache • Ingworm Cache • Ingworm • Webling • Ingclaw|
|Misc||Black fog • Ing Horde • Ing Larva • Fusion attack • Transdimensional energy • Phaz-Ing|
|Species||Alimbic • Boost Guardian • Chozo (Ghost) • Craftsmen • Dark Pirate Commando • Darkling • Darkling Tentacle • Gorea • Ing (Hunter, Emperor, Warrior) |
Ingsphere Cache • Kralee • Leviathan • Luminoth • Metroid Prime (Core essence) • Phantoon • Warp Hound • Phazon Metroid
|Gateways||Alimbic Cannon • Artifact Temple • Interdimensional void • Portal • Stronghold Portal • Wormhole|
|Alternate Dimensions||Dark Aether • Infinity Void • The Locker • Oubliette • Stronghold Void|
|Other||Black fog • Dark Visor • Darkburst • Multidimensional Stealth Warship • Transdimensional energy • Transdimensional flux|
|Hybrids||Asborean • Chozo Statue • Darkling • Dark Samus • Dark Suit • Light Suit • PED Suit • Samus Aran • Omega Suit|
|Biomechanical||Aurora Unit • Security Robot B.O.X. • Cortex Chamber • Dark Diligence Drone • Dark Ingsmasher • Dark Quad • Fusion Suit • Mother Brain • Nightmare • Quadraxis • SA-X • Space Pirate Boarding Pod|
|Cyborgs||Crash Pillar • Cyborg Zebesian (Super) • Ghor (-G) • Kyratian • Leviathan Battleship • Pirate Militia • Preed (Dark) • Puffer Mine • Ridley (Meta/Omega) • Samus Aran • Slench • Space Pirate • Weavel • Zebesian |
Large Leviathan-class armed ship • U-ton