Definitive Analysis about Jan (SPOILER HEAVY!)

Urban Assault has a very interesting plotline, but it is usually hidden from the players. Discuss the rich story of UA here, or write your own fan fiction and display it here!
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Definitive Analysis about Jan (SPOILER HEAVY!)

Post by CharlotteLabyrinth » Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:40 pm

I used to ponder about this long time ago when I was younger. Suddenly I was reminded of this topic recently, so I decided to write up something about it. :D

In the hidden backstory of UA, especially in Forbidden Readings, a figure named Jan plays an important role. He is the only friend of Leather Jacket who seems to be hiding many secrets.

At some point, Leather Jacket loses his contact with Jan, and never hear back from him again. What really happened to Jan and his true fate remains unknown.

However, I used to come up with three major theories about him. I may have discussed this with some people before. The lines in double quotes are taken verbatim from the official storyline texts.

1) Jan = Truzen?

Leather Jacket once mentioned in his diary that, before he lost contact with Jan, he expressed an opinion that the Taerkastens are different (compared to 'bad guys' like Ghorkovs and Mykonians?).
"I haven't heard anything about Jan for
some time. Since he has talked about
these Taerkasten. He was of the opinion
that they were different . That' strange,
I don't know him like that..."
- From Leather Jacket's diary
"Won another tournament at the Arcade.
Jan says I spend too much time there
but Jan's still got family to go home to
an uncle and a second cousin. For me the
Arcade is like home. Plugging into a good
game is like going through your own beam
gate, into your own world. I pretend the
bad guys are Ghorkovs and Mykonians."
- From Leather Jacket
These lines might have an implication that Jan decided to leave their domes to support the Taerkastens and their cause.

This is plausible, especially when we consider that the Taerkasten high priest Sylvius and his Taerkasten order was indeed seeking out the arcades of the Resistance, acting as double agents to search for the most promising child prodigy for their own cause.

Sylvius and his order also knew about the Leather Jacket. So it is possible that, at some point, they might have come into contact with Leather Jacket's friend Jan, and convinced him enough to believe that they are the good guys.

However, it was never directly stated in the storyline that Jan was a child prodigy, or that he possesses sufficient capabilities or talents to become an eligible host station master.

Even if Jan expressed a good opinion about Taerkastens, that fact alone does not guarantee that the Taerkasten order will recruit him and upload him into their Flying Fortress (a.k.a 'Savior Machine').

2) Jan was covertly assassinated by the Resistance government, because he knew too much.

During the conversations between Jan and Leather Jacket, Jan makes a claim that all these arcade games and tournaments are just a part of one big clandestine government scheme.

Which was, after the fact, the truth. Such statements lead Leather Jacket to label him as paranoid.
"Jan is paranoid. Jan says the Resistance
is funding the Arcade, and that's why
kids get to play there for free. Jan says I
should lose games on purpose or else
I'm going to get sucked into some weird
SDU machine. It must come from living
in the domes. All the kids think they are
being spied on and monitored constantly.
Maybe the adults feel the same. That's
why I love to plug into the machines
and leave all of this behind."
- From Leather Jacket

What's truly surprising about this is, not only Jan did knew about the government's hidden secret plot, but his detailed descriptions about their scheme were uncannily accurate; as if Jan himself was directly involved, or at least given sufficient information about such a plan.
"Jan says some hackers are putting
together a big war machine. It's called
Synaptic Donor Unit - SDU. Jan says I
better lay low at the Arcades, or else
Resistance is going to come looking for
me. Weird cookbook they've got going:
Wire together the computers of the free
world, add connectivity to all automated
armament plants, then upload one
human. Sounds like a dream I've been
- From Leather Jacket
Now the real question is, how did Jan knew about all of this with such precision and details? Was he really informed or directly involved in the project?

My theory on this matter is, that Sylvius and his Taerkasten order were secretly providing these information to him, in the hope of discouraging his friend Leather Jacket from keep winning the arcade tournaments.

In this way, the Resistian government will have a lesser chance of noticing him as well, and perhaps even increasing the odds of bring him into Taerkasten order instead. This also corresponds with their original plan to 'hide' child prodigies from the others.
"It's hard to keep an awesome computer
gamer secret. Even the godless people
are looking for such chill prodigies. You
must leave early to find them. Dis-
connect their computers and networks.
Only this way their scores cannot be seen
by the others."
- Order of holy seers,
Sylvius Shlkavisoon

On the other hand, the Resistian government wanted to make sure that Leather Jacket does not become suspicious, as well as wanted to ensure him that he was just living a normal life; that there is no one out there pursuing after him.
"I used to hang out in the arcades,
watching for the really promising
players. It was rather a schizophrenic
activity, this observing of awesome
gamers. Many of us did it, but the
schizophrenia came with the deep desire
on the one hand to see who the next
uploader might be, and the accepted
(and enforced when necessary) community
belief that whomever that gamer might
be they needed to be treated as normally
as possible - which meant we reporters
weren't exactly encouraged to stick a
microphone in front of his face."
- From My Dome Town Notebook

Jan's information (or rather, his surprisingly accurate delusional paranoia) was very detrimental to their masterplan, because he was literally feeding their hidden secrets and plots to the person they wanted to conceal the most from.

So they had to eliminate Jan, and any trace of information regarding him had been redacted and his presence officially denied by the authority.

3) Jan did not exist at all.

This theory is probably the most controversial one. It is about the person named 'Jan' did not physically existed at all since the beginning of the story.

Jan was an imaginary figure that Leather Jacker devised in his mind and in his diary.

So how does this work? Jan has not been mentioned anywhere else other than Leather Jacket's diary, and one could write anything in their diary. For the others who study his diary, his presence is mysterious and cannot be ascertained.

The only clue about Jan's fate after his disappearance can be found in the quotes from the group of psychologists who studied Leather Jacket's diary.
"When trying to observe the super
gamers, without intruding on their world,
several of us writers were affected by
this one kid in a leather jacket, who
always looked so lonely and sad. He'd
be gaming all day, while unknown to him
the psychologists would be debating the
relationship he was having with someone
named Jan. Heavy debates, too. Should
Jan be moved to another dome? Should
Jan be killed with blame placed on a
Ghorkovian terrorist? Or should the
relationship continue, as if no one had
noticed. The later path was taken
when cooler heads prevailed. Back then
it was so very difficult to determine
just what constituted a normal life."
- From My Dome Town Notebook
Just like many other Forbidden Readings story fragments in UA, they are expressed vaguely and thus interpretations are mostly up to the readers. However, many things could be deduced from here.

This conclusion from the psychologists: "Or should the relationship continue, as if no one has noticed", and Leather Jacket's quote, "I haven't heard anything about Jan for some time", are both mutually exclusive.

And the following line: "Back then it was so very difficult to determine just what constituted a normal life" emphasizes something about a normal life; something that Leather Jacket has yearned for.
"Back when I was eight years old I used
to dream about turning 16. I'd be able to
rent hoverboards, and I'd be able to beam
gate by myself and visit friends in other
domes. At age eight living in a dome
seemed natural. But the great curse
of our parents and teachers were the
endless stories of how great it used to
be before the domes, when you could
breathe the air, eat food grown in the
ground, and actually fish something live
from out of the seas. So they told us of
a paradise we could never know, while we
lived with the endless stream of news
about how things outside were just
getting worse, and with the rumors that
if the energy plants ever went down, we
would all meet the same gasping death.
Kind of made a farce of that standard
childhood question: "And what do you
want to be when you grow up?"
- From Leather Jacket
But as we can infer from the other texts, he could not live a normal life! So perhaps he wanted to have at least one friend, even if they do not exist in reality.

Most importantly, Leather Jacket was under the surveillance of Department of Defence 24/7; with a protection "with more security than the Secret Service used to wield back when we had presidents".
"Once a truly awesome computer gamer
was recognized they were protected with
more security than the Secret Service
used to wield back when we had
presidents. The trick, though, was to
keep all of the security out of sight of the
gamer, as the psychologists were always
worrying about keeping the player's life
as normal as possible. We were all
terrified of what would happen if The
Flying Fortress ever got uploaded with
some kid with a Napoleon complex.
Goodbye domes! Goodbye world!"
- Order of the True Seers,
Sylvius Shlkavisoon
Therefore, it is virtually impossible for him to maintain any form of contact (both physical or remote) between someone else without being noticed.

Despite this, the debating psychologists concluding that their relationship continues, without anyone else noticing implies something more intricate and implicit.

Jan is a dissociative identity of Leather Jacket in his head, a split personality he devised to achieve his own sense of security and defence mechanism.

Now why I think this is a valid theory and his reasons behind shaping an imaginary figure:
  • 1) To better justify his own paranoid thoughts, and to better believe in the idea that there's no one out there intent on getting him. Because psychologically, it is much easier to deny inputs from the external figures than the ideas stemming from the self.
  • 2) To deliberately obfuscate and bewilder psychologists and the other government officials who were intrusively studying his behaviours, thoughts, and his personal diary. Because he already knew there was a large plot and there are people scheming behind the scenes.
  • 3) A purely innocuous product of his schizophrenia*. (This one requires additional explanation. Psychological disorders seem to be a very prevalent theme in the background story of UA.)

Because of his background, Leather Jacket seems to have grown a very manipulative personality, and his relationship between his therapists was never really seemed amiable:
"At my mom's funeral the minister came
up to me and said, "She's in a better
place." I said, "Duhh!" That got me stuck
in counseling for about two years. The
remaining adults are scared about how
many of us kids are deciding to off
ourselves. And so we get sent to
therapists, and these therapists are
good, really good. For example, mine
said, 'You've got so much to live for.'
And she didn't even laugh."
- From Leather Jacket
"How did the Mykonian Papers survive?
Rumor has it that some computer
gaming wizard who lived in the back of an
arcade and never removed his leather
jacket, hid the complete text by typing
it into the Help system of an old
Microsoft game. His brilliant insight
was that the information would be safe
throughout the ages, because nobody
ever reads Help."
- From My Dome Town Notebook

Notice the 4th wall breaking in the last quote! Eventually, when the time has come, his therapist reveals everything; that he has chosen to save their world.
"My therapist had me in for a super long
session today. She said she knew why I
never took off my jacket, and that
there's something else I can do that will
give me that same feeling . . . while doing
a lot of good. She started sounding like
Jan as she spoke of uploading into that
DoD machine called the Host Station.
- From Leather Jacket

I'm pretty sure I had something better to support my viewpoints for this one. But it's been quite a long time and so I do not remember everything right now... :) I might add something more later.
; Vielleicht der niedlichste Hubi, Knuddel.

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Personal Declaration: I always use different usernames across different websites. Hence if you ever see my username is being used outside of Stoudson Corporation, I have absolutely no affiliation whatsoever with that!

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Re: Definitive Analysis about Jan (SPOILER HEAVY!)

Post by GoldStar611 » Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:06 am

This post was an awesome read. I never accumulated much knowledge of the mission briefings to put much if the story together and reading this was really interesting, especially since it's all opinionated (but with supporting evidence). :)

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Re: Definitive Analysis about Jan (SPOILER HEAVY!)

Post by CharlotteLabyrinth » Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:28 am

I think it is the magic of UA storyline! It has a very interesting background that are not directly accessible without assembling the puzzle pieces together. Many storyline fragments are also expressed in such a vague manner, so that the interpretations can vary greatly from one reader to another as well. The story writer Grant Fjermedal did a really impressive work for creating those untold stories behind the UA universe!

My interpretation here was obfuscated by the fact that, as we know well already, some of the original storyline fragments from Forbidden Readings were reused and adapted by Stefan Karau for Taerkasten mission briefings in Metropolis Dawn. Which may have affected a great portion of the established canon. Still, I have to admit that I had a lot of fun writing this post.
; Vielleicht der niedlichste Hubi, Knuddel.

„ Helfen - Wehren - Heilen “
Special thanks to CERNBox!

Personal Declaration: I always use different usernames across different websites. Hence if you ever see my username is being used outside of Stoudson Corporation, I have absolutely no affiliation whatsoever with that!

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