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- "Long ago, a cosmic object fell to our planet, Aether, exploding with great force. A rift was torn in time and space, and a strange power flowed over the world. Where once there was one Aether, there were now two. One of light...and one of shadow, each existing in its own dimension."
- ―U-Mos (Luminoth)
Dark Aether, as stated above, was born when a Phazon Leviathan crashed onto Aether long ago. However, the impact's magnitude was so intense, the chaotic Phazon energies tore off half of Aether's planetary energy, creating a replica of Aether in another dimension, Dark Aether. After its creation, dimensional rifts between Aether and its dark twin began to appear across the land. From these portals, the Ing surged forth and attacked Aether's peaceful inhabitants, the noble Luminoth. Since the Luminoth's ultimate defeat, the remaining planetary energy held in the temples at Agon, Torvus, and the Sanctuary Fortress were stolen by the Ing and taken to the temples' dark counterparts on Dark Aether.
Dark Aether is a hellish world, inhospitable to any creature besides the Ing and their Darkling warriors. The bright blue skies are replaced by an empty void with a vortex of dimensional energies above. The regions of Dark Aether look almost exactly like their counterparts on Aether, but twisted and corrupted.
Just about everything on Dark Aether is dangerous, from the hordes of Ing to the acidic dark waters. The atmosphere is highly corrosive to most foreign creatures that wander into Dark Aether, and it can kill anything that isn't an Ing in seconds without the right protection (i.e. a Light Crystal or the Dark Suit).
Dark Aether also contains all of the Phazon from the Leviathan that created it, as the Leviathan had been warped to Dark Aether when it hit Aether. Despite the planet's completely inhospitable environment, this has not deterred a Space Pirate task force from setting up a mining operation on Dark Aether from their base in the Agon Wastes.
The dominant species on Dark Aether is the Ing, a race of omnicidal shapeshifting species born from a combination of Phazon and dark energy. Primarily, Ing of the Warrior and Hunter class dominate the lands, patrolling for intruders. Other Ing castes, such as Ingclaws or Nightbarbs, assist the Ing at home by providing security measures or being a source of food for warriors. In addition, the creatures the Ing capture and possess on Aether, better known as Darklings, are brought to Dark Aether to serve alongside other warriors, using the innate combat prowess of the creatures they possessed.
Despite the abundance of Ing, some Aetherian species, like the Lumite, are able to survive on Dark Aether due to unique natural abilities. In cases such as the Lumite, they are able to survive by feeding on the light-based energy shields generated by Light Crystals.