- "The Stigma. It's a symptom of alien matter infesting the body. The body tries to eliminate it, and overcompensates. Inside our bodies is a current like the Lifestream. That current is what fights off any malevolent intruders."
- —Vincent Valentine
Geostigma (星痕症候群, Seikon Shōkōgun?, lit. "Planet Scar Syndrome"), also known as The Sephiroth Gene and Jenova's Memetic Legacy, is a disease in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. In the ending cutscene of Final Fantasy VII the Lifestream is seen sweeping throughout the Planet, particularly in Midgar; however, this emergence has the unexpected side-effect of infecting the world with the deadly plague.
Cause and SymptomsEdit
When Meteor began to fall on Midgar at the end of Final Fantasy VII, the Lifestream emerged to push the Meteor back. Because some parts of the Lifestream had been infected with Jenova cells, the people who came in contact with this tainted Lifestream contracted Geostigma. The disease is not contagious, but is believed to be so. In Advent Children, Vincent Valentine says Geostigma is caused by the host being infected with Jenova cells, and in On the Way to a Smile, the novella "Case of the Lifestream" states that Sephiroth's will acting through those cells is the cause, and the cells are the medium through which they act. In Advent Children Complete, Rufus Shinra states the public believes mako energy to be the cause of the disease.
When someone is infected with Geostigma they contract Jenova's cells, and the immune system works to try and eliminate them. This fails to remove the cells, and the immune system ultimately overcompensates fighting an incurable contamination. Those infected with Geostigma experience debilitating weakness as their bodies devote energy to fighting off Jenova's cells. They also develop open sores on their body that secrete black ooze. Although its severity seems to vary from person to person, it is invariably fatal. Cloud Strife also experiences hallucinations and seizures, but it is unknown if this is caused by his Geostigma or not, as none of the other victims are shown to have these symptoms. The disease has no known cure, though Cloud was searching for one, and as noted by Barret Wallace in On the Way to a Smile, even if a cure were to be found it would be next to impossible to deliver and administer it to all those infected around the world.
Because their immune systems are weaker, a great number of children around the world have been infected. The infection is most concentrated in Edge, town populated by the Midgar survivors that rests on the Midgar ruins' outskirts. Three of the major characters, Cloud Strife, Denzel, and Rufus Shinra, carry the disease. As a result of so many dying from the disease, the citizens are largely used to death: in Advent Children Complete, a man with Geostigma drops dead in the street and the people around him continue walking, while another vomits black ooze and collapse in an alley as the Moogle Girl and her little brother watch.
The film's antagonist, Kadaj, lures the children to the Forgotten Capital with the promises of curing their Geostigma. He has them drink from a pool of water tainted with Sephiroth's will and negative Lifestream, placing them under his control. The Jenova cells within the children have their "reunion instinct" awakened, and lead Kadaj and his brothers to Edge to find Jenova.
At the film's climax, Sephiroth reveals he was using Jenova's will to control those with Geostigma through the Lifestream. Eventually, enough infected people would die of the disease and he could control the Lifestream itself and take control of the Planet. Then, he would use the Planet as a vessel to travel the universe and eventually attack another planet, as Jenova herself had done for eons.
In the film's final moments, the spirit of Aerith Gainsborough brings down healing rain from the Lifestream, which cures everyone in contact with it of their Geostigma. Others can go to Aerith's church where a spring of water infused with pure energy from the Lifestream cures anyone infected with the disease.
A year later, as chronicled in Dirge of Cerberus, the mysterious SOLDIER group known as Deepground attacks Edge and Kalm abducting all those who were never afflicted with Geostigma and either ignore, or more likely slaughter, those who were, being considered "tainted" for their plans. It is revealed the Deepground are trying to trick the Planet into thinking it is in danger by filling the Lifestream with untainted spirits to summon Omega. Those who had Geostigma were considered "impure," and could not be used to trick the Planet.
- Before a proper name was applied to the epidemic, Geostigma was known as "the Midgar Disease" by those not living in Midgar.