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A malignant infectious disease. Patients will die soon after their bodies start to crystallize, and become new vectors of infection.
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Oripathy is a progressive, terminal "disease" in the world of Arknights, caused by direct or prolonged exposure to Originium.

Individuals with Oripathy are referred to as the "Infected".

Description

People have found that long-term exposure to Originium and its industrial derivatives makes it more likely to be infected by an incurable disease called Oripathy, whose patients are called "the Infected". Oripathy can increase the patient's Arts power in a dangerous way, but tapping into this power will hasten the deterioration process and eventually lead to death, at which point the body becomes a new source of infection. Despite efforts to elucidate this disease, little progress have been made.[1]

Overview

Oripathy usually starts within a few days after initial contact with Originium particles from raw (unprocessed) sources, such as Originium shards and Originium gasses. The Infected will begin to exhibit hardened skin on the site of contact, which will then turn dark and start to rise in elevation similar to a regular scab. After a few more days, the Infected will often experience internal burns and the blackened spot will continue to harden to the point of crystallization like that of Originium crystals, which becomes the tell-tale sign of Oripathy, and is typically preceded by lesions in the shape of radiating lines on their outer skin. As such, Oripathy is comparable to cancers in our world, at least superficially.

Further contact with Originium and overusing Originium Arts are the main factors which accelerates the progress of Oripathy.

A dying Infected's disintegrating body

The crystallization will continue to spread through the Infected's body, causing pain and discomfort and inhibiting their ability to respirate and properly intake and distribute nutrition, eventually causing organ failures which are fatal to the Infected. Upon the Infected's death, their body will eventually start to disintegrate in a similar way to spontaneous combustion as the crystals on their body start to glow, leaving behind a dust of Originium particles that could cause secondary Oripathy infections if the Infected's body is not isolated properly.[2] In some cases, the Originium crystals inside the Infected can be destabilized upon death, causing an explosive chain reaction which turns the Infected into a "living bomb".[3]

It is commonly believed that Oripathy is infectious and can spread through physical contact with the Infected, although recent studies suggest that person-to-person Oripathy transmission is unlikely.[4]

A common misconception is that Oripathy also improves the Infected's affinity towards Originium Arts, although this is generally not the case; even most Infected individuals are incapable of using Arts and Oripathy has no effect on one's Arts potential. Some Infected even have their Arts potential weakened instead of strengthened. The Infected, however, are able to use Arts without a catalyst (e.g. staves) at the cost of worsening their Oripathy, as mentioned above.

The Ancients of Terra, especially those of the Sarkaz race, are highly vulnerable to Oripathy.

As Terran society has been highly dependent on Originium since ancient times,[5] Oripathy can be found in all Terran countries and territories – thus making it a pandemic.

Stages

The severity of one's Oripathy is measured through how much the Originium particles have assimilated with the Infected's cells (Cell-Originium Assimilation) and the density of Originium particles in every liter of the Infected's blood (Blood Originium-Crystal Density).

Using this method, Oripathy is divided into three stages: I (early), II (mid), and III (late). However, the characteristics of each stage often overlap with each other, as seen with Cliffheart and Franka whose blood Originium-crystal densities are 0.28 and 0.34 u/L, respectively, yet are considered to be nearing stage II.

Some of the notable cases of Oripathy and their symptoms are:[6]

Infected Assimilation Density Symptoms
Ceobe 9% 0.31 u/L Obsession with weapons, amplified Originium Arts
Estelle 16% Unnatural horns
Eyjafjalla 8% 0.5 u/L Loss of hearing and sight
Ifrit 19% 0.27 u/L Chronic nervous pain, DID (suspected)
Lappland 13% Obsession with Texas, amplified physical strength
Manticore 12% 0.32 u/L Active camouflage
Nightingale 9% 0.33 u/L Amnesia (partially)
Nightmare 16% 0.31 u/L DID (suspected)
Phantom 14% 0.35 u/L Unnatural vocals capable of causing brain damage
Provence 18% 0.3 u/L Unnatural tail
Ptilopsis 8% 0.43 u/L Schizophrenia and/or psychosis, narcolepsy
Scavenger 12% 0.29 u/L Personality disorder
Shamare 9% 0.23 u/L Amplified Originium Arts, schizophrenia (suspected)
Silence 6% 0.24 u/L Narcolepsy
Specter 14% 0.31 u/L Amnesia, mental disorder, psychosis

Treatment

So far there is no known cure for Oripathy, although Rhodes Island is actively trying to find one. This, however, seems an unlikely prospect as the Originium particles are assimilated into the Infected's cells and blood thus making the particles impossible to filter out from the healthy cells/blood without killing the Infected.

R.I., at least, has developed certain treatments which can slow or impede the progress of an active (and only active) Oripathy infection. The damaged parts of the Infected's body can also be treated with conventional methods (i.e. removing the Originium crystals from the body).

Oripathy has a near-100% mortality rate, with a select few managing to retard or even halt their Oripathy's progress, though the condition itself remains.

Social effects

The Infected are ostracized and persecuted by much of Terran society because they pose a health risk to the non-Infected. The risk itself has been highly exaggerated in many areas thanks to various misinformation spread about Oripathy – mostly due to politically motivations. This is especially prominent in countries such as Ursus where the Infected are subject to forced labor in gulag-like Originium mines which only worsens their Oripathy, and in Leithania where an Infected whose Oripathy reaches a certain limit is euthanized.

As a result, a seemingly endless cycle of hatred between the Infected and the non-Infected has dominated Terra for centuries and continues to this day. Many have attempted to break the cycle through both peaceful and violent means. The most recent dichotomy of peaceful and violent activism is between R.I. who seek a more rational, moderate approach to mitigating the Infected's suffering and Reunion who adopt a radical method: delivering retribution for the Infected's plight on the non-infected in Terran society instead.

Trivia

Oripathy is similar to several diseases/medical conditions in various fictional media:

  • The Apocalypse Virus in Guilty Crown. Unlike Oripathy which entirely involves Originium, however, Apocalypse Virus involves the namesake, a viral pathogen that crystallizes the infected's body.
  • The Branches of Sin in Deadman Wonderland. Like Oripathy, it involves a crystalline substance and bestows the infected with special powers, but are not contagious.

References

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