Type-V mutant is a term used in the Battle Angel Alita: Last Order manga to refer to humans who are infected with a retrovirus called the V-virus. The virus causes mutations in the DNA which result in the carriers exhibiting vampire-like characteristics, most notably pronounced canines and a thirst for blood. The origins of the V-virus have not been made clear, but Type-V mutants have existed throughout human history. Only in the late 20th century did advances in biology reveal that vampires were once humans who had been infected with the V-virus.
Type-V mutants suck human blood, are resistant to injury, and possess eternal youth, but have many characteristics that defy the common perceptions of what a vampire is. Among these are the abilities to go about in daylight, eat regular foods (even garlic, depending on their personal tastes), and cast reflections in reflective surfaces. Type-V mutants cannot transform themselves into creatures such as bats, do not need to rest in coffins or be surrounded by their native soil at night, and are not immortal, as they can die or be killed.
Interestingly, Type-V mutants can get sunburned or form stigmata if they are devout Christians when confronted with a crucifix. They gain additional abilities in the forms of physical strength and heightened senses, and depending on the individual, may also gain unique powers, referred to as "Satan's Honor", particularly if they live long lives. This is because they experience additional states of "Altered Shock" that grant them these additional abilities if they survive them. Because they lose their reproductive abilities, the only means of creating new Type-V mutants is to infect more humans. Nano-infused antidotes can prevent infection, taking the form of, for example, a piece of candy that Caerula Sanguis shows to Aga Mbadi when she confronts him in a secluded hallway on Ketheres.
While infection can be achieved through bites, the chances of an individual surviving the transmission of the V-Virus are extremely low. The body goes into a state of what the Cognate term "Altered Shock" for 70 hours, during which the victim experiences hallucinations, agonizing pain, a drop in blood pressure, convulsions, muscle rigidity, and stupor. The survival rate is 1% among healthy individuals (between 19 and 25 years of age), and almost all children and the elderly die. A factor that may impact the survival rates is the temperature, as it decreases if this rises above 25°C during the onset of symptoms. The levels of growth and sex hormones are also thought to play a factor.
Means of death
After having survived Altered Shock, there are only three means left by which a Type-V mutant can die.
The suicide rate within ten years of infection can be as high as 60%. Because their thirst for blood (“carnivorous aggression”) becomes marked, infected victims are afflicted with psychological anguish as they are faced with the need to fill this thirst. If they were unwillingly infected, they turn to moral or religious reasons as a means of suppressing it, and the change that has come over them may prove unacceptable. Unless they are willing to think nothing of taking lives, they cannot continue to exist as Type-V mutants.
Type-V mutants are prone to disease, in particular cancer, and cancer rates are 30 times normal within the first 50 years of infection. This particular susceptibility is likely due to the ageless cell division that their bodies undergo. The cancer rates however, drop 100 years after infection. A Society superstition held that once an individual reached 200 years of age, their likelihood of death was practically nil, barring conflict with other Type-V mutants.
The Society will take necessary action against Type-V mutants who enjoy killing too much if they are unable to confine or shelter such individuals, usually by terminating them. Conflict with other Type-V mutants can also result in death once an individual is experienced and skilled enough to kill proficiently and not draw too much attention to themselves. Vilma Fachiri was targeted by assassins sent by the Society in their bid to expand their influence into Asia, but was able to kill them all.
The Society was formed in the 17th century by Type-V mutant elders in response to Christian persecution throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. It served to organize Type-V mutants worldwide, teaching them how to integrate themselves into human society and not draw attention to themselves with excessive violence. Members of the Society referred to themselves as “the Cognate,” as the term “vampire” was considered derisive. The Society became influential enough to wield political influence, primarily in Europe. It also attempted to gain power in Asia, but this was short-lived, as it was destroyed by the Catastrophe in ES 55, when a giant meteorite impacted Japan and wiped out civilization, causing a prolonged impact winter. Victor Bryon, the Society’s last known leader, survived, along with a handful of other Type-V mutants including Vilma Fachiri. Subsequent events over the next 60 years or so resulted in her being the sole surviving member of the Cognate left. By ES 173, 47 years after Arthur Farrell had established Star City, the future site of the Scrapyard, the truth about Type-V mutants has been lost to legend, and they have again become the vampires of folkore.
Notable Type-V mutants
- Kishiro, Yukito (May 2006). Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Vol. 5, Haunted Angel (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-282-3.
- Kishiro, Yukito (December 2006). Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Vol. 8, Angel’s Vision (1st ed.). San Francisco: Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-0865-6.
- Kishiro, Yukito (September 2007). Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Vol. 9, Angel’s Duty (1st ed.). San Francisco: Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1348-X.