Nat (also norm) is a slang term for a normal human, unaffected by the wild card virus. As colorful and intriguing as they are, aces and jokers are still a tiny minority, less than 1% of the total population. Even after the wild card, the world still belongs to unmodified humanity, the nats. Nats' reactions to wild carders are very diverse. Some nats are frightened and distrustful of wild carders, others are fascinated. As a general rule, the more conservative a nat is, the more negative his view of wild carders.
The term nat apparently was used for the first time by activist jokers in the mid-1970s, to refer to their oppressors, and soon entered mainstream use. It's short for "natural" and is slightly derogatory. An alternate meaning has been given: that nat is short for "gnat," meaning a insignificant, helpless insect that can be swatted by the awesome power of the aces. Whatever its origins, the term implies that a person is "only a nat," inconsequential and outside of the wild card community. An older term that is less common now is "norm."
In the meta-context of the novels, most nats have been supporting characters, the friends, family, and love interests of the ace protagonists, similar to comic book characters like Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. A few nats have been protagonists in their own right, such as Jetboy, Hannah Davis, and Yeoman. Yeoman is the only nat ever to have a career as a costumed crimefighter in the Wild Cards universe.
Other nats have been major villains or at least antagonists to the wild cards. Such is the case of Reverend Leo Barnett, a conservative preacher and anti-wild card politician; Kien Phuc, a Vietnamese crime lord; the Mafia; and the Card Sharks, a huge anti-wild card conspiracy.
- The term "nat" was created by John J. Miller. It is short for "natural". "Natural" in playing cards refers to a hand that does not use any wild cards.