|Name:||NatPack or Natpack (collective)|
NatPackers or Natpackers (plural)
|Date(s):||late 1993 to present|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The NatPack are a faction of Forever Knight fandom comprising fans who declare an affiliation with Dr. Natalie Lambert. This is one of the original six factions that took part in the first Forever Knight War. Individually, a member of the faction is called a NatPacker (plural NatPackers).
The NatPack has always used Natalie's office in the Coroners Building in Toronto as their headquarters in times of War.
In late 1993, in reaction to the establishment of the Cousins as followers of LaCroix, discussion on the FORKNI-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU mailing list supported the creation of other affiliations, including one for fans of Natalie. At the time of the first War, in January 1994, the faction members called themselves some variant of "Au-NATurelles", with the spelling varying considerably. However, in the concluding posts of the war, they declared their intention to find a better name. By War Two (July 1994), they had decided on the name "Natpack" or "NatPack". (Capitalization of the second morpheme is very much a matter of personal preference.)
The NatPack took part in Wars One through Eleven. They were a notably close-knit group.
Traditionally, to become a member of any Forever Knight faction all a fan needs to do is declare the affiliation; moreover, one can declare as many affiliations as one likes. Many factions then develop a sense of community through e-mail loops, e-groups, Yahoo!Groups, and chat rooms which enable members to talk to and make friends among people within the fandom who have similar preferences. However, to maintain their sense of uniqueness, the NatPack decided to admit people to these community forums only if they had no other affiliation. As a result of being denied membership (whether for this or some other reason), a group of fans who liked Natalie Lambert formed a separate faction, the MadNatters, which was active for a couple of years, starting in 1997.
As original members of the NatPack drifted out of the fandom, its numbers dropped. With its decline as an active faction, the NatPackers ceased to update their faction site; and it disappeared from the web in or around 2002.
Nevertheless, there are still fans on list who identify, to a greater or lesser degree, with the faction. In subsequent wars, remaining NatPackers have tended to declare their allegiance to the Nick and NatPack, which has assumed the traditional NatPack role of supporting Natalie in addition to its main role as a couple faction.
Each Forever Knight faction has its own characteristics, and tends to appeal more to some fans than others. Natalie is a professional woman, specifically in the medical field; and the faction therefore has interest for fans of strong female characters. She tends to dress either informally or conservatively, and comes across as a good, decent, normal woman. Her attraction to Nick—often interpreted to mean that, if she should find a cure for him, they will get married and have children—appeals to those inclined towards a traditional "happy ending" romance. Natalie is, in many ways, a modern professional version of the girl next door.
From the start, therefore, similar characteristics were seen in the NatPack. At the beginning of War Two, for example, Janette is acting as administrative assistant in charge of all the fan mail from people declaring their affiliation. She expresses her frustration to Nick, who picks up a letter from a prospective NatPacker:
Curious, he picked up another envelope--clean, the writing crisp and very legible.
"That must be for your coroner friend. I expect that it smells of formaldehyde."
Nicola lifted the envelope to his nostrils, sniffed, and smiled. "Wrong. Ivory soap. And . . . buttered popcorn." — from "Application Forthcoming", first story post in War Two
In War stories, NatPackers are often depicted as preferring such respectable, conservative clothes as flowered dresses, pastel suits, and pearl necklaces.
Both in fiction and reality, the NatPackers often wear scrubs in imitation of the clothes worn by Natalie in many of the scenes set at the morgue.
- A report on MediaWest on FKSPOILR@LISTS.PSU.EDU in 1996 mentioned the presence of "hordes of Natpackers in scrubs and labcoats".
- According to Valerie Kessler, at Nigel Bennett's solo Q&A at the 1998 Visions convention, "the attending NatPackers all sat in a row in our scrubs to devil him".
In War stories:
- In War Seven, the NatPack luggage was sent to the Raven, where a group of Ravenettes rifled through it. Among the dresses and suits (all rejected as insufficiently stylish for their taste), they found a large number of sets of scrubs:
"I have never seen so many pairs of scrubs in my life. In fact, I don't think that New York Hospital has seen so many pairs of scrubs in its existence as an institution." Catherine broke into the tune of "Little Boxes" for a moment, "There are green ones, there are pink ones, there are blue ones, there are yellow ones, and they're all made out of cotton-poly, and they all look just the same." — from the post "Sorting Luggage" in War Seven (archived)
- At the end of War Twelve, several posts were made in which various offerings were left in the Nick and NatPack memorial garden as tribute to fans who had died since the previous wars. One of these, Judy Freudenthal, had been a NatPacker. A fellow NatPacker, Jen, left a "traditional assortment of flowers plus a scrub clad teddy bear among the memorials."
The NatPack are reputed to act with one mind. This curious characteristic was commented on in War Seven:
The Knighties weren't like the NatPack, who were somehow part of some spooky gestalt. If you told one NatPacker something, all the other NatPackers knew instantly. It should have saved them a fortune on phone bills. But, being NatPackers they talked anyway, so it wasn't much good except for weirding out other affiliations. — from the War Seven post "One Good Ring" by Susan M. Garrett
In honour of Natalie's profession, the symbol for the NatPack is a caduceus. This not only appears on the NatPack affiliation pin created by Susan Garrett and Calliope Monsoon, but also in the background graphic used on the pages of Natalie's Bed and Breakfast, the faction website.
In 2012, Greer Watson created an icon for the NatPack as part of her project to create a set of icons for all the Forever Knight factions. The design composits a screen capture of Natalie with one of the notebook in which she records her experiments on Nick, against a background from the set most associated with her, the tiled walls of the morgue in the Coroners Building. A picture of a caduceus represents the faction symbol.
- This information is largely drawn from the article "NatPackers" in the Forever Knight Wiki.
- Personal correspondence from Stephanie Babbitt to Greer Watson, 18 January 2012.
- From a post made by Imajiru on FKSPOILR@LISTS.PSU.EDU on 29 May 1996 (archived).
- This information comes from a post made by Valerie Kessler to FORKNI-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU on 3 April 2002 (archived on KnightWind's Nook).
- From the War 12 Tribute to Marci Cheeseman and Judy Freudenthal