Kaetif (IPA: /ˈkeɪtiːf/) are one of two mutant factions in Imperium Offtopicum: The Aftermath. They can be described most simply as anthropomorphic animals; while physiologically similar to the Neo Incans and their Marian descendents, they are genetically distinct, and possess a notable resistance to radiation. Kaetif are commonly found in Yellow Zones, and can have significant domestic, political and military consequences.
The IOT4 epilogue suggests the term 'Kaetif' was taken from the webcomic Black Tapestries, in which it refers to the descendents of magically-uplifted animals originally used by mages for slave labour. The word is itself adapted from the old English caitiff (/ˈkeɪtɪf/), meaning a captive, coward or wretch. The tensions between humans and Kaetif in IOT:A draw parallels to Black Tapestries, a fact noted in the IOT4 epilogue.
Origin and initial studiesEdit
The Kaetif can be nominally traced back to Neo Incan genetic experiments. According to the IOT4 epilogue, the Marian Federation continued the empire's work in secrecy, developing unstable mutagens for unknown purposes that were released into the atmosphere after the research facility in Peru was compromised by a nuclear attack. In the ensuing months, reports began to emerge from Yellow Zones of mammalian species with humanoid characteristics, including bipedal locomotion and primate-like structures to the forepaws featuring opposable thumbs.
Scientific expeditions revealed these animals had an immense capacity for learning, and could be taught not only rudimentary language, but eventually human speech. Through means that continue to puzzle, this learning was transmitted across the globe such that later expeditions in unrelated areas had a progressively easier time in their own experiments. With the acquisition of speech and education in human customs, the Kaetif were eventually brought into society, chiefly as exotic spectacles.
Kaetif are more "feral" in appearance than the Neo Incans. While 'human' in mannerisms, they retain their various sensory traits and some instincts. Kaetif are genetically distinct from the Neo Incans, and are not believed to be compatible. Their most noteworthy aspect is their inherent resistance to radiological effects, believed to be a byproduct of the original mutagen's interaction with the fallout, allowing them to live unassisted, if meagerly, in Yellow Zones; they are, however, as susceptible to Red Zone environments as humans.
The first major scientific report on the Kaetif was the NLLP's Investigation into the Genetics and Physiology of the Kaetif, a consolidation of field research and the first comprehensive publication, made ten years before the start of IOT:A. The Marian Republic initiated the Kaetif Genome Project years later; one of its primary goals was to investigate isolating the rad-resistant trait for use in 'immunizing' humans and Neo Incans.
The "Kaetif question"Edit
While some Kaetif remained in the wild after education (so-called "nomads"), most tried to join human communities. Individual responses varied from country to country, but were frequently hostile, and in some cases led to virtual civil war. As a result, the current international attitude is mixed, with some nations offering full equality and others legislating apartheid. State domestic policy often translates into foreign policy, the Cantabria Crisis offering one example of nations nearly going to war over the issue.
The Marian Republic was unique; building on the country's longstanding history with the Neo Incans, President Sombra de Mar attempted to forge a "Kaetif state", going so far as to discriminate against humans. The Sombra régime became a vocal proponent of the Kaetif internationally and frequently involved itself wherever they were under "threat".
Kaetif have been incorporated into some countries' armed forces either voluntarily or through conscription, and mitigate the combat penalty of Yellow Zones.