Jan Ors is primarily known as the partner of Kyle Katarn. Who was a major Star Wars protagonist back during the 1990s.
Since her setting and storylines are the same as Katarn, you should read Kyle’s profile first.
Jan’s profile will be expanded as our Kyle Katarn research (verrrry slowwwwllly) progresses.
- Real Name: Jan Ors.
- Note: By the Battle of Yavin, she may be a Captain with the Alliance.
- Other Aliases: Jan Strange, and presumably many other cover identities.
- Known Relatives: Parents (names and statuses unrevealed).
- Group Affiliation: Rebel Alliance. Former member of the Justice Action Network.
- Base of Operations: Mobile.
- Height: 5’7″ (1.70m). Weight: 130 lbs. (59 Kg.).
- Eyes: Brown. Hair: Black.
Powers & Abilities
Jan Ors is among the top spies and special agents of the Rebel Alliance. Her primary speciality is long-term, high-risk infiltration/undercover work.
As one can imagine, she is :
- Highly intelligent.
- Preposterously resilient against stress and anxiety.
- Exceptionally skilled at planning, deception, manipulation and general resourcefulness under pressure.
- An experienced assassin.
- Adept at bribery, and familiar with the corruption economy across the Core Worlds.
She is a skilled dancer, and a competent and experienced small spacecraft engineer. The latter is prolonged by strong skills as a pilot, navigator, gunner and flight engineer.
Ms. Ors has considerable combat experience. She usually uses blaster pistols, grenades and knives – and is conversant with concealable weapons.
Her skills set also includes shadowing, and demolitions.
A typical ordnance pack for Jan on a discreet mission goes as follows. It’s selected to fit into an ordinary satchel – the kind you can easily cram into an overhead bin.
- Energy cells for her weapons.
- Six grenades.
- Two knives.
- An ounce of plitex explosive.
- A garrotte.
- Lock picks.
- Two comlinks.
- A toothbrush.
- An unspecified self-defense mechanism for the satchel.
Ors also became associated with the Moldy Crow lighter, which she co-operates with Kyle Katarn. See Kyle’s profile for more about the Crow.
One illustration shows her with a DH-17 blaster pistol. We’ll assume that it’s her regular ordnance. Since the list above says weapons, plural, it’s reasonable to assume she also has a concealed blaster on her.
Fellow techy persons will also notice Jan’s tools when she does spaceship maintenance, repairs and improvement. It’s a smart selection of top-shelf gear, meticulously maintained and organised.
Music from Star Wars: Rogue One should work.
History (part 1)
Jan Ors is from Alderaan.
Her mother was a choreographer for that planet’s premier ballet company, and raised her daughter between rehearsals. Her father was a first class aerospace engineer.
As a sort of heritage, Jan sees herself both as a dancer and a vehicular engineer.
Justice Action Network
After the Clone Wars , Alderaan opted for a neutral position, refusing to align with either the Empire or the Rebels.
The Orses virulently disagreed. They helped found a terrorist network called the Justice Action Network. The acronym alluded to their daughter, who joined when she was old enough.
The Network wasn’t known for faffing around. It conducted thousands of bombings and strikes against the Empire and its allies, killing tens of thousands. It was also known for disseminating propaganda and hacking media broadcasts.
To the JAN, not supporting armed rebellion against the Empire meant being a collaborator.
The Network eventually took excessive casualties at the hands of Imperial Intelligence. Whether Jan’s parents were caught is unrevealed.
The third founder of JAN, Earnst Kamiel, lived to see the Battle of Yavin – but not by long.
Alliance to Restore the Republic
As the JAN lost steam, many of its assets transferred to the ascendant Rebel Alliance.
The JAN may have had ties with the Alliance through former Alderaan senator Bail Organa – Leia’s dad, and a Rebel Alliance core founder. But the documented link was the ties of Jan’s parents with another core founder, Mon Mothma.
Ms. Mothma’s dialogue with Ms. Ors give a faint impression that they’ve known each other for decades. Since Mothma is from another Core World — Chandrila — there likely is a story there.
People are strange, when you’re a stranger
With the JAN falling apart, Jan offered to work for Mon. By this point Ors had already infiltrated the dreaded Imperial Intelligence Service, making her a critical source of inside information.
As “Jan Strange”, Ors was a Captain within Imperial Intelligence. Her résumé was unusual in that “Jan Strange” had attended neither the Military Academy, nor COMPNOR.
(COMPNOR is a political group that was created to back Palpatine’s rise to power.)
From one speculative sentence, I’d *imagine* that she murdered a highly-placed Imperial officer, then murdered his daughter and stole her identity. This likely was a path to join Imperial Intelligence without anybody wondering why they had never met Jan Strange at either the academy or the party.
Strange kind of woman
Captain Strange’s track record for Imperial Intelligence was exceptional. She kept identifying, capturing and interrogating important Alliance officers.
Most of these captures had actually been prepared with Alliance intelligence. The “captives” were briefed as to what bogus but credible intelligence they would provide, then exfiltrated as Strange reported them deceased during interrogation.
They usually left with information gathered by Jan, to be handed over to Alliance intel.
For credibility’s sake, part of the intel Strange provided to the Empire was actually correct.
Vicious games under different names
On multiple occasions, Jan also hunted down incompetent and/or unlucky Alliance agents. She killed them to protect her cover and/or prevent their capture by a loyal Imperial Intelligence officer.
“Jan Strange” was considered a key agent by Mon Mothma. She was admired for her bravery and results by Alliance intelligence.
Cpt. Jan Strange reportedly crossed paths with Cadet Katarn while he was at the Academy. But that was routine and they soon forgot about it.
Jan’s backstory is the result of a collageA collection or combination of various things. between the character who appears in Dark Forces, and two unrelated bits from West End Games’ Star Wars tabletop role-playing game.
- The JAN (originally JAL) appeared in the Star Wars Adventure Journal. Which was a periodical with gamemaster resources, stories, adventure seeds, etc..
- Jan Strange appeared in the Cracken’s Rebel Operatives Non-Player CharacterRPG characters not played by a player, but by the gamemaster or the computer. compendium.
LucasArts agreed to “attach” these two elements to Jan Ors when the video game became a hit.
This had obvious benefits in terms of weaving a tighter universe.
However, this also created discrepancies between an impressive track record, and Jan playing second fiddle to Kyle in the games. Where her actual appearances occur.
The novella attempts to paper over this. The reasoning is that Kyle is far more expendable than Jan. So Mon Mothma orders Ors to support Katarn, but not take the bulk of the risks herself.
I, a sinister and contrarian individual, wasn’t too convinced by this. The whole Jan Strange cover was about taking mad risks. Furthermore, it led to depiction of the former Jan Strange, reputed for her coldness and neutronium steel nerves, taking foolish security risks when it came to trusting Katarn.
From bad to Ors
But we already have a similar issue with Kyle. Which we proposed to patch by adding about two years to the timeline, where he proves his mettle to Alliance intel (and Jan, and Mon).
If you’re using this approach, it fixes itself :
- The Jan Strange identity became severely compromised. This builds on the end of her Cracken’s Rebel Operatives entry, which states she’s not expected to survive her next mission.
- Jan Ors is therefore forced out of infiltration missions for a few years, until she can create a new cover. This explains why Mothma sends Katarn in rather than Ors. There’s too much heat around Ors at this point.
- Jan and Kyle trust each other. Not because she’s enthralled by the manly power of his handsome space beard, but because they’ve worked together for two years as Alliance-affiliated intelligence troubleshooters.
(The dates in this entry do not assume the two-or-so additional years. They’re the official ones.)
A game of you
Like Kyle, Jan had a slightly different appearance and voice in the earliest Dark Forces material. But this was overwritten by the FMV appearances. Which is retroactively considered the actual Jan Ors appearance and voice.
If you want to be cute, the original voice (by Julie Eccles ) and features could be those of the Jan Strange identity. The features and voice in the Jedi Knight appearances would correspond to Ors having undergone minor cosmetic surgery – just enough to dodge biometric scans.
History (part 2)
Ms. Ors had to abandon the Jan Strange identity. She began working more directly with the Alliance, which she eventually joined.
But one operation on Oulanne went wrong. Jan and her Rebel team stole a shipment of prime-grade fuel slugs, but the Empire intercepted them. Ors was wounded, and her leg became weirdly infected in the alien jungles.
The Rebel freighter escaped with the fuel slugs to Duro, to get medical help for Jan. But an Imperial shuttle caught up with them.
Datch the spirit
Meanwhile, a teenage local pilot found the feverish, delirious Jan as he was providing routine spaceport maintenance for the freighter.
The youth, one Tarrin Datch, saved the day. Piecing together what was going on from Jan’s delirium, he launched the freighter into aerobatic manoeuvres.
Datch actually managed to shake off the Imperial pursuers, and dive into hyperspace. He then got Ors to a medical centre.
Jan enlisted Tarrin’s services to deliver the valuable slugs to the Rebellion.
Datch later joined the Rebellion as a fighter pilot. He proved talented enough to join Wedge Antilles’ famous Rogue Squadron.
Encounter at asteroid AX-456
When next seen, Jan Ors seemed to be working as a non-combatant engineer. This may have been a result of both excessive heat from her Jan Strange days, and her leg taking a long time to recover.
(Wookiepedia also posits that she had already lost her right hand, which was replaced by a cybernetic hand. This seems based on the art on page 111 of the Star Wars – Dark Forces – Soldier for the Empire novella).
(I’m not convinced. Chiefly because the text would have mentioned that when describing how she aims her gun during that scene. But it’s not a pants-on-head-crazy interpretation of the painting, either. Depends whether you trust the art or the text.)
She was part of the team working on a secret base’s systems. However, sheer bad luck led to said base being raided by Imperial Stormtroopers. These were verifying vague intel, and hadn’t really expected to find something.
If wishes were Ors
Jan and her coworkers were among the last survivors. The stormtroopers’ leader, Cadet Katarn, saw that they were unarmed. And when he saw Jan’s eyes, they experienced an immediate connection.
Katarn ordered his reluctant troops not to execute Ors and the other techies.
A Rebel counterstrike then hit asteroid AX-456. Though it was ultimately unsuccessful, they managed to evacuate Jan and her colleagues.
(Why Jan and her crew are unarmed and not fighting is a mystery. Especially since the novella has multiple descriptions of Rebel fighters using any old random gun they can scrounge, and clearly lacking training and experience.)
(My No-Prize HypothesisA made-up explanation to plug a plot hole is that the tech team had been working within massive equipment — a stardrive ? — with extreme temperature, EM pollution, pressure and flammability conditions. And got out of their long shift — and the decontamination showers — right as the assault was ending.)
Worth Kyling for
The bulk of the subsequent events can be found in the Kyle Katarn writeup. So you already know about them. Isn’t that great ? I think it’s great.
Therefore we can jump to the point where our Kyle Katarn profile ended – when he breaks into the Imperial base at Danuta.
History – in-game
As Kyle began his intrusion, Jan prepared the getaway. She built a bomb as a diversion, and readied the Crow for a combat rescue op.
However, she had been spotted – and had to take off while under stormtrooper fire. But Jan was quick enough to destroy the local TIE fighters while they were still being scrambled, greatly improving her odds.
She then engaged the base’s armoured vehicles, making a much bigger diversion than planned. Thus, while Kyle was shooting it out within the base, Jan was flying outside in a damaged Moldy Crow, focusing on taking out any gun large enough to shoot her down.
This made her a smidgen late to pick Kyle up from the base’s roof. But she made it, and the Crow was still operational.
In the second game’s FMV, Jan was portrayed by model Angela Harry. If you’re a fictional character and they ask you whether you want to look like Ms. Harry, you say yes.
She’s usually dressed as a rugged, practical spacer type. With lots of pockets for her tools, and a vague paramilitary vibe.
Part of her visual signature is using a pair of 1940s-ish flight goggles as a headband. Her shoulder-length hair is usually loose behind the goggles, but she’ll quickly tie it in a queue with — I guess — a scrunchie if it looks like trouble is about to break.
A space scrunchie.
Officially, Jan is at most 5’3″ (1.60m) tall. With her build, I guess she’d be 110 lbs. (50 kg.) or so — realistic scale, not “handbook scale”. But she’s never drawn that much smaller than the 6’+ (1.82+ metres) Kyle Katarn in the comics.
Angela Harry is 5’9½” (1.77m) according to fashionmodeldirectory.com . I’d guess 130 lbs. (59 Kg.) or so from the photos – and her job likely imposing stringent weight stability.
So, as with Kyle Katarn, I went with vitals closer to the actress’ as she was back in the 1990s, reasoning that the pair is primarily remembered from the old FMV footage.
Jan Ors’ most striking trait is her calm, which verges on Green Lantern-style fearlessness. She faces death, fear and suffering with strikingly clear, tranquil eyes.
Now, this did hit a number of Fatalistic Serene Oriental™ tropes. A more modern telling of the story would likely put more emphasis on why she’s like this, rather than let it stand as an intrinsic feature.
The West End Games material does provide this bit of missing context – Jan has been a trained terrorist and infiltrator since she was a child. Her parents created the Justice Action Network when she was at most 10.
Thus, most of her life has taken place within the context of an asymmetric shadow war that killed hundreds of thousands. One that eventually escalated to an asymmetric open war that would destroy her homeworld.
So it’s more that being a double agent and setting up terror strikes is what she’s always done. Warchild and all that. One with exceptional, unsentimental professionalism.
Settler of Katarn
Jan and Kyle had an almost literal love-at-first-sight thing going. After an unlikely coincidence reunited them, it seemed that fate itself yadda yadda.
Jan accepted that she just had too much chemistry with Kyle to turn her back on him. But she certainly didn’t want to charge in either. That ship would get to port, but at a controlled pace.
When Mon Mothma asked whether Jan and Kyle were in a relationship, not long after they met, Jan answered “not in that sense”. She was aware of where she was headed with Kyle from day one, but did not seek quick progress.
She loves spaceships. Don’t we all.
She also prefers to do things on her own.
Jan tends to be coolly sarcastic, but otherwise communicates in a clear and factual way.
DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
|Dex: 03||Str: 02||Bod: 03|
|Int: 05||Wil: 05||Min: 06|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 04||Spi: 06|
|Init: 012||HP: 100|
Artist (Dancer): 04, Evasion: 04, Gadgetry: 05, Medicine (First aid): 02, Military science (Demolition): 04, Thief (Concealment, Forgery, Stealth, Security systems): 05, Vehicles: 05, Weaponry (Firearms, Knives, Grenades): 04
Bonuses and Limitations:
Gadgetry uses realistic rules.
Credentials (Rebel Alliance, Medium), Expertise (Spaceship maintenance and repair, Intelligence procedures), Familiarity (Dancing and choreography lore), Iron Nerves.
- DH-17 blaster [BODY 02, Energy blast: 05, R#03].
- Holdout blaster [BODY 02, Energy blast: 04, Miniaturisation: 02, Range: 03, R#03, Limitation: Energy Blast has no Range, use the listed Range instead].
- Compact grenades [BODY 02, EV (Area of Effect 1 AP): 08, Grenade Drawback].
- Knives [BODY 05, Enhance (EV): 01 (Cap is 06), Descriptor: Piercing, Slashing, Note: balanced for throwing].
- Garrote [BODY 04, Enhance (STR): 01 (cap is 04), Limitation: Enhance only for Grappling Manoeuvres, and only when doing a Blindside Attack from behind)].
Stats are highly speculative, as we seldom see her in action.
Source of Character: The Wookiepedia for tracking down mentions of Ors in TTRPG material, ’cause that sure gets arcane.
Writeup completed on the 8th of August, 2021.