Original or V 1 refers to both a serial novel told in real-time by Anne Walsh on the chat and later edited and published on TFA and in paperback form. See character page for dramatis personæ.
Natural Life takes place in the early twenty-first century, specifically the 2030s, where a genetic abnormality has surfaced in the population. Seemingly random people discover the ability to turn into animals. It is later theorized to be brought on by stress, strong emotions, or hormones, though not always. Most transformations are uncontrolled, and cause the human to lose their mind to the animal. Some transformations have been fatal. The government labeled this "disease" therianthropy.
In the early 2020's, to keep normal humans safe from therianthropes ("theris" for short), and (supposedly) theris safe from normal humans, a large facility to house theris was built in Colorado and dubbed Sanctuary. The Bureau of Therianthrope Control (Department of the Interior) was formed to run Sanctuary and oversee theri capture teams.
Most of the therianthropes thrown into Sanctuary quickly lose control to their animal sides. Hardly able to speak or reason, they are what most people think of when they hear the word "theri". To those who recognize differences in theris, this type are known as "ferals". Those who retain their humanity but allow their animal side to influence them badly are called "therals" and are very dangerous. They generally rise to lead packs of ferals and constantly battle for territory.
Only one group in Sanctuary has control over their animal sides rather than the other way around. Led and organized by a black panther therianthrope self-named Bastet, they call themselves the Pack. Their lives are a near-constant battle with theral-led packs of ferals, their own instincts, and the ever-present scourge of hunger, but they are human and they are alive (and, since most of the Pack are female, unmolested as well). To them, the vigilance is worth it.
Into this world is thrust a young, bewildered, little girl named Helen.
2000: The virus which would cause the Millenium or Y2K Flu disceminated worldwide as New Year's is celebrated.
2013: The first known therianthrope, a teenage girl who has the form of a white cat, is discovered. She will later be known colloquially as "Theri Zero."
2014: The Hataira is created by a Mr. Jacques Trevelyan, who dies for the cause of helping therianthropes twelve years later.
2019: An online petition is signed by over twenty thousand American citizens begging Congress not to pass the Emergency Powers (Therianthropes) Act. The organizers' battle cry: "Theris Are People Too!" The group will later develop into a formalized, structured, action-oriented organization—the most prominent arm of the theri-rights movement.
2022: Despite the best efforts of pro-theri organizations like TAPT, Congress passes the Sanctuary Act and begins construction of a facility in the Rocky Mountains designed to house the American theri population, along with others from other nations, indefinitely. The Act also provides a legal basis for the forming of the Bureau of Therianthrope Control.
2024: The compound known as Sanctuary is completed beside the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Therianthropes start getting sent there.