|Affiliation(s)|| Rebel Alliance
Alliance of Free Planets
|Rank / Title||Commander (Commanding Officer, New Republic Special Operations team Valkan’s Rayzurs)|
|Performance||Nathan P. Butler|
|Creator(s)||Nathan P. Butler and Devon Read|
Jaren Valkan is the central protagonist in the Rayzur's Edge Audio fan audio drama Second Strike, wherein he leads the New Republic Special Ops team Valkan's Rayzurs against the forces of Arilus Dehrahn.
Jaren Valkan began his life on Eriadu, where he and Quaid Krayton were best friends all through their early schooling. Jaren’s father and mother worked together in one of the newer Republic diplomatic facilities on the world, as did Quaid’s father. When the time came for Jaren and Quaid to leave Eriadu and move forward into their adult lives, the two parted ways. Quaid became a transport pilot, moving to Alderaan, while Jaren entered the Imperial Navy, training at the Academy on Carida, which later led to specialized training in the Imperial Navy.
A short time into his formal military career (after extensive extra studies at the urging of his academy mentor, Markus Zimair), Jaren was assigned to the Star Destroyer Vengeance, the personal vessel of Dark Jedi Jerec, under the command of Captain Thrawn (the Chiss military genius Mitth’raw’nuruodo). Jaren was present for the slaughter of settlers on Sulon by Imperial troops at Jerec’s orders. Unbeknownst to him, the slaughter below would lead to the defection of Rebel hero Kyle Katarn. For his part, Jaren was left with the same question that Kyle would deal with—the choice between his conscience and his duty. Jaren chose his conscience and deserted during his next leave, never returning.
Upon joining the Rebel Alliance, Jaren soon found himself in Alliance Special Operations, working with various Rebel cells and their leaders, including Kal S'Darcis, before finally being given a command of his own. He named his new Special Ops team “Valkan’s Rayzurs,” after a nocturnal predator beast from Chornia VI. His first pick for the team was a Danvian named Lanas Zlauter, who had only recently joined the Alliance. Jaren took Lanas under his wing, and the two soon formed a sort of brotherly bond.
A little over a year later, while on a mission to assist Kal S’Darcis’ Rebel cell in the confirmation of the death of the former ruler of the planet Vorash, the mysterious “Quintas,” Jaren was teamed for the first time with an Intelligence agent named Kristara Eri'lur. Despite claims that “Special Ops and Intel don’t mix,” Jaren found himself captivated by Kristara, and vice versa. The two soon began a relationship that they kept private from their superiors. There was nothing to their relationship that was not allowed in regulations, but the stigma of the inter-agency feuding between Special Ops and Intel made making the situation very low key the most logical choice.
As preparations were made for the assault on the second Death Star, Jaren was assigned to participate as a Special Ops assistant to General Han Solo’s strike team. However, when Jaren discovered an Imperial spy aboard a Rebel vessel, he was injured in apprehending that spy, leaving him in a bacta tank during the Battle of Endor. Later, Jaren would suggest that he could feel the explosions and vibrations of the battle from inside the bacta tank—a very unique perspective from which to witness such a momentous event in galactic history.
Fully healed, Jaren next participated in the Battle of Bakura. His team was assigned to work with an Imperial group in Salis D’aar, but the teamwork only lasted as long as the Ssi-ruuvi assault. The moment the Imperials turned on their Alliance “allies,” the Rayzurs came under fire from their own Imperial “partners.” In the struggle that followed, the Rayzurs’ original slicer, Pol Danna, was killed. The rest of the team, including Jaren, Lanas, Klo'pa'deen, Shista Ti'lana, and Jivs Korus, made it out alive.
Over the next five months (half of a galactic standard year), the team was given downtime, but Jaren spent part of the time assisting other Special Ops teams, including a small force on Dintreel. While aboard the Restored Prince on his way back from the world, Jaren bore witness via transmission to the Fourth Battle of Ferri’sol. Little did he know that the world would be the site of the most tragic and life-altering events of his career.
Seven months later, a new slicer was finally assigned to the Rayzurs, a young man named Lolat Gastun. The team, which was reassigned to the Liberation’s Scythe, commanded by Jaren’s old friend Kal S’Darcis, was given several small missions, mostly requiring only a pair of team members, until three months later.
At that time, word had reached New Republic Intelligence that a biological weapons project begun by the late Emperor Palpatine, known as Project FlashDeath, had been continuing development on Ferri'sol. The Intel mission to extract a defector from the project had failed, leaving it up to the Rayzurs to infiltrate Ferri'sol, strike at FlashDeath, and put an end to its threat.
The team, including Intel agent Tathan Aldric, inserted onto Ferri’sol just outside of Pri'gorod. They soon entered Pri’gorod and found themselves confronted with Imperial forces loyal to the sector's warlord, former Imperial Moff Arilus Dehrahn. The Rayzurs were barely able to escape the destruction of Nadix Rovas' Pri'gorod Resistance cell, but upon reaching the FlashDeath lab, they found it empty. As they made preparations to strike at FlashDeath inside of Dehrahn’s own citadel, Imperial forces gave chase to the team, leading to the deaths of Shista, Lolat, Lanas, and Jivs.
The survivors (Jaren, Klo’pa’deen, and Aldric) were taken into custody, where Jaren and Klope freed the three of them. In the citadel cellblock, Jaren discovered Kristara, beaten, assaulted, and otherwise abused. She had been the last survivor of the Intel mission against FlashDeath, captured by Dehrahn several weeks earlier.
Desiring payback and to complete their mission to stop Dehrahn from being able to use FlashDeath, Jaren, Kristara, and Klope ascended the citadel, leaving a disagreeing Aldric unconscious in the cellblock.
Outside of Dehrahn’s personal office, Jaren witnessed Klo’pa’deen’s death at the hands of Imperial Guardsman Cor Javos before he and Kristara entered the office. Jaren used intimidation and several bluffs to convince Dehrahn to order the Imperials to withdraw from the planet, leaving FlashDeath to the New Republic and freeing the world. Jaren had promised not to kill Dehrahn, but Kristara did so anyway, guaranteeing justice for his victims, herself included.
After the mission, Jaren and Kristara retired with full honors from New Republic service and were engaged to be married. Their marriage took place on Coruscant, shortly after the liberation of the capital by the New Republic. Two years later, their first child was born, a daughter that they named Lara. It was the birth of Lara that would later lead Jaren to begin writing his own memoirs of the Galactic Civil War, as a means of letting his daughter, in her later years, know the man that her father had been in those dark times.
- Second Strike, Act I: Descent (First Appearance)
- Second Strike, Act II: All Fall Down
- Second Strike, Act III: Ascension
Behind the ScenesEdit
- Jaren Valkan was created by Nathan P. Butler, utilizing a concept created in discussions with Devon Read. A previous incarnation of Jaren and the Rayzurs existed earlier, however, in the form of an abandoned online RPG that Butler once planned to run, entitled The Chiss of Fate.
- Jaren is played by Nathan P. Butler, though that was not Butler's original intent. The character was first to be played by Kristoffer Newsom, but was switched to Butler due to lack of time on Newsom's part. At that point, Newsom became Lanas Zlauter and Butler's previous role, that of Lolat Gastun, was passed to Ian Bowie.
- The name "Jaren Valkan" is derived from a favorite boy's name of one of Butler's best friends throughout high school and college (Christopher Herron, who originated the "Jaren" name for various RPG and other situations), alongside "Valkan," which is meant to be similar to the name "Falcon" (a bird of prey and G.I.Joe character).
- Butler often refers to the primary characters of Second Strike as facets of his own personality given separate form and allowed to interact in a story. In this sense, Jaren is representative of Butler's "whole" personality.
- The artwork depicting Jaren Valkan was created by Craig Moore as some of the project's first character sketches.