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Janus Fhurek

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"Janus Fhurek—you've seen him talking to Ramsy on the sidelines. Skinny guy, kind of a red face. Bennis warned me that you don't want to get on his bad side."
―Beck Ollet's impressions of Janus Fhurek[src]

Janus Fhurek was a male human who served as the athletic director at the Junior Academy of Applied Sciences on the planet Lothal. With the academy's heavy focus on athletics, Fhurek was generally believed to hold more power and influence than even the Academy's headmaster. Fhurek had close connections to the Academy for Young Imperials on Lothal and was seen as a middleman for prospective academy recruits.

When Zare Leonis became center striker on the school's grav-ball team, the AppSci SaberCats, he eventually came into conflict with Fhurek when he ordered the removal of two of the team's players, Frid Kelio and Hench Sina, prior to the championship game, due to their being Nonhuman. Fhurek's stated reason for their removal was that some individuals felt their Nonhuman status gave them an unfair advantage, but Leonis felt this was simple xenophobia. Leonis ignored Fhurek's orders and kept the two Alien players on his team; who helped propel the team to victory during an important qualifying grav-ball tournament against the Mavericks. In retaliation, Fhurek had Kelio and Sina transferred to the Technical Institute for Agricultural Research, a less reputable institution.

On a later occasion, Zare and his hacker friend Merei Spanjaf discovered that Fhurek had made a bet that the SaberCats would win by eight points during the final grav-ball tournament match without alien help. In retaliation, Zare carefully guided his team to a victory of only six points; causing Fhurek to lose his bet. After Zare's older sister Dhara Leonis mysterious disappearance, Fhurek taunted Zare by commenting that disloyalty ran in the latter's family; prompting Zare to give him a black eye. As a result of the incident, Leonis feared that Fhurek would interfere with his application to Lothal's Imperial Academy. However, Fhurek ultimately had no influence in this matter as the Grand Inquisitor had taken a personal interest in Leonis's application.

BiographyEdit

Imperial serviceEdit

"... Fhurek's the athletic director—around here that's a lot more powerful than headmaster. Think of this place as a junior sports organization that also happens to be a school. Grav-ball every weekend in the fall and winter, chin-bret every weekend in the spring—that's what puts the parents and the alums in the stands. And all the while, new ag specialists and Academy cadets are getting trained."
―Beck Ollet describing Fhurek's power[src]

Janus Fhurek was a male human from the Outer Rim planet of Lothal who served as the athletic director of the Junior Academy of Applied Sciences. In his youth, Fhurek was a player on the Junior AppSci's grav ball team, the AppSci SaberCats. Known as "Fury Fhurek", he served as the SaberCats' strong-side striker before moving up to the position of centre-striker. For over forty years, Fhurek held the AppSci record for completed passes until an Alien broke it a few years prior to Zare Leonis' migration to Lothal. Following the end of the Clone Wars, Fhurek supported the new Galactic Empire and developed close ties with several high-ranking local Imperial officials on Lothal. As AppSci's Athletic Director, Fhurek wielded more power than the school's principal and became the middleman for youths seeking to enroll at the Academy for Young Imperials on Lothal. The Imperial Academy's administration saw the school's athletes as prospective recruits for the Imperial Army and Stormtroopers.[1]

Enter Zare LeonisEdit

"I know that seems like a tall order, Leonis. And it demands both compassion and toughness. If I can help you figure it out, it would be my pleasure."
―Fhurek attempting to ingratiate himself with Zare Leonis[src]

After the new student Zare Leonis was appointed as the AppSci SaberCats' centre striker during Lothal's fall season, Fhurek sought to ingratiate himself with the young teenager. During their first meeting in his force, Fhurek stressed the importance of the centre striker as the leader of the grav-ball team and likened it to the Empire's efforts to promote development in the Outer Rim. While conversing with Zare, Fuhrek inadvertently exposed his prejudice against Aliens when he commented that the Empire needed to ascertain which alien and immigrant elements bettered Lothal society and which were undesirable. In an attempt to win Zare over, he even offered to speed up his enrollment process to join the Imperial Academy. While Zare disagreed with Fhurek's view that the centre striker won a game alone, he kept his views to himself since he did not want to antagonize the athletic director. At the end of the meeting, Fhurek offered to mentor Leonis.[1]

Prior to a practice session, Zare visited Fhurek's office to discuss his concerns about his friend Beck Ollet, whose temper had cost the SaberCats their victory during a winter match against the East City Brawlers. Zare feared that Beck's inability to control his anger would jeopardize the SaberCat's chances of success. Instead of giving Zare advise on how to deal with Beck's discipline issues, the athletic director proceeded to lecture the young man about why leadership was more important than teamwork. When Zare gave a favorable appraisal of the Aqualish player Hench Sina's ability to follow orders, Fhurek remarked that Hench's talents were little more than brute force. Fuhrek further irked Zare when he commented that an intelligent but undisciplined player like Beck was preferable to an obedient but untalented fullback like Hench. Stressing the important of leadership over teamwork, Fhurek advised Zare that as centre striker it was his duty to teach his team to obey him and suggested weeding out players who could not be taught. Fhurek also told Zare that a good leader should not let affection for his players blind him to their shortcomings.[1]

Rising TensionsEdit

"By leading, Leonis. You need your best team on the grid for the championship game. I'm sure your two nonhumans are fine individuals, but are you sure they have the necessary capabilities to grasp strategy and tactics?"
"I've told you they do! A minute ago they couldn't play because they were too good. But now it's because they're too stupid?"
―Janus exposing his xenophobic tendencies during a conversation with Zare.[src]

During the winter season, relations between Janek Fhurek and his mentee deteriorated when the former summoned the latter to his office prior to the tenth and final regular-season grav-ball game. The school's grav-ball coach Ramset, an elderly Duros man was also present at the meeting. The athletic director advised Zare remove the SaberCats' two alien players—the Aqualish Hench Sina and the Rodian Frid Kelio—from the team's roster on the grounds that some Human grav-ball fans complained that alien physiognomies gave non-Human players an unfair advantage over their Human counterparts. Zare protested and sprung to Hench and Frid's defence, arguing that they were important members of the team and that they had earned the right to be there. Fuhrek attempted to resolve himself of responsibility of his proposal by suggesting that Zare carry out the hatchet job himself. The athletic director also added that he did not want the school grav-ball team's reputation to be "tainted" by talk that they had an unfair advantage. While disagreeing with Fhurek's views, Coach Ramset gently advised Zare to comply with the athletic director's wishes in order to appease "misguided" people.[1]

While Fuhrek conceded that there were "misguided" Human bigots, he argued that Zare should not worry about social change but should instead focus on winning the grav-ball title. When the centre-striker reiterated that there was no league rule proscribing non-Human players, Fhurek urged Zare to take charge of the team and alleged that Hench and Frid lacked the necessary capabilities to grasp strategy and tactics. When Zare pointed out that Fuhrek was belittling his friends, the athletic director reluctantly allowed Kelio and Sina to play the following day but ordered him to remove the two alien players from his team before the final championship game. Zare rejected Fuhrek's demand and reiterated that he and Coach Ramset had spent the entire fall season training his cohort to be the best possible SaberCats team. Zare's defiance angered the athletic coach who decided to go out of his way to make Zare's life at AppSci difficult.[1]

Defying Janek Fuhrek's orders, Zare kept Hench and Frio in the SaberCats and the two alien players helped contribute to the team's victory over the rival Mavericks, which qualified the AppSci team to compete in the league championship. When Zare and his team arrived back at Junior AppSci to a victory celebration, a bitter Fuhrek remarked that he would have kicked Zare out of the team if he had another centre striker. When Zare ignored him and tried to walk past the athletic director to the locker room, Fuhrek grabbed him by the arm and spun him round. Fuhrek then told Zare to enjoy his stunt and warned that the youth had no idea what he was capable of as athletic director. Making good on his threat, Fuhrek had Hench and Frid transferred to the Technical Institute for Agricultural Research over the weekend. While Fuhrek admitted that the Institute was a less reputable institution than AppSci, he told Zare that the academy had some excellent academic programs. Fuhrek's actions struck a raw nerve with Zare since he did not get the opportunity to farewell his alien players.[1]

Later, Zare found a way to get back at Fhurek when his hacker friend and fellow SaberCat player Merei Spanjaf discovered that the had made a bet that the SaberCats would win by eight points during the final grav-ball tournament match at the end of the winter season without alien help. Using this information, Zare carefully guided his team to victory over the Kothal Roughnecks by a margin of six points; causing Fhurek to lose his bet. Zare's defiance only further angered Fhurek who sought every opportunity to make life difficult for Zare. The following week, the athletic director issued the young grav-ball center-striker with several demerits for trivial misdemeanors. In addition, Fhurek also tried to sabotage Zare's application to study at the Imperial Academy by sending a letter questioning his fitness for Imperial service. Fhurek's vindictiveness towards Zare even unnerved Coach Ramset who encouraged Zare to ignore Fhurek and to remember that he was a champion.[1]

A Painful LessonEdit

"Can't say I'm surprised, Leonis. Apparently disloyalty runs in the family."
―Janus Fhurek, before getting punched in the face by Leonis[src]

After Zare's older sister Dhara Leonis, a Cadet at the Imperial Academy "ran away", Janus Fhurek taunted Leonis by remarking that disloyalty ran in the latter's family. In response, Zare attacked Fhurek and gave him a black eye. It took Zare's fellow player Beck and three other students to restrain Zare and pull him away from the athletic director. Fhurek was forced to put a coldpack on his eye and gave Zare a demerit. This incident was the last known encounter between Fhurek and Zare, who graduated on a warm day in late spring. During Lothal's summer season, Zare related his last encounter with Fhurek to his former Rodian teammate Frid Kelio, who praised Zare for chastising the bigoted athletic director. Despite Fhurek's best efforts to sabotage Zare's application to join the Imperial Academy, some unknown Imperial authority, later revealed to be the Grand Inquisitor[2], disagreed with the athletic director's report on Zare and instead sped up Zare's application process. In the end, a reluctant Zare decided to infiltrate the Imperial Academy on Lothal in order to find his missing sister and to learn about the Empire's secrets in order to help any future Rebellion.[1]

LegacyEdit

"Athletic Director Fhurek suggested my sister was a traitor, sir. I'm not the least bit sorry for what I did."
―Zare Leonis' recollections of the "incident" with Fhurek[src]

During Leonis's time at the Academy for Young Imperials, Captain Piers Roddance attempted to use Leonis's altercation with Fhurek against him. Cadets throughout the Academy were questioned regarding their possible participation in treasonous activities on Lothal and Roddance brought up the incident during an interrogation session, trying to paint Leonis as someone who had a history of treacherous behavior against the Empire. Leonis, however, remained firm, explaining his reasoning for his actions against Fhurek and giving Roddance no further ammunition to use for attacks against him, besides those which he already had planned.[3]

Personality and traitsEdit

"Obviously not. That's the problem with the Outer Rim—small-minded thugs like this athletic director [Janus Fhurek] get little kingdoms to rule, when closer to the Core Worlds they'd have to compete with more qualified people, and would wind up fixing droids or cleaning streets."
―Leo Leonis' assessment of Janus Fhurek[src]

Janus Fhurek was a skinny Human man with a red face and a temper, who had little tolerance for dissent. Fhurek was a strong supporter of the Galactic Empire and believed that the Imperial authorities should remove undesirable alien and immigrant elements from Lothal. While Fhurek claimed that he was not personally prejudiced against Aliens and that he had non-Human friends, he still accepted the contention of some prejudiced Human grav-ball fans that the alien players' unique physiognomies gave them an unfair advantage over Human players. However, Zare Leonis refused to accept Fhurek's explanation and suspected that the man was xenophobic. Leonis' suspicions were confirmed when Fhurek twisted his face after the former complimented the team's Aqualish player Hench Sina. Later, Fhurek unilaterally transferred the AppSci SaberCats' two alien players—Frid Kelio and Hench to another school.[1]

Fhurek was also a bully and sought every opportunity to torment Leonis, after the teenager refused to remove his two Alien teammates. After Zare's older sister Dhara mysteriously disappeared, Fhurek taunted Zare which prompted the young man to assault him. As revenge, Janus tried to sabotage Zare's admission to the Imperial Academy on Lothal but was overruled by the authorities, who were interested in Leonis' talents and skills. Zare's father Leo Leonis had a dim opinion of Fhurek and regarded him as an incompetent small-minded thug who treated AppSci as his own "little kingdom." While sharing her husband's assessment of Fhurek, Zare's mother, Tepha, cautioned her son not to get onto the athletic director's wrong side since he could jeopardize Leonis' career opportunities.[1]

Behind the scenesEdit

Janus Fhurek first appeared as a minor antagonist in Jason Fry's 2014 young-adult novel Edge of the Galaxy, the first of the Servants of the Empire series which is set in the world of Star Wars Rebels and told through the point-of-view of Zare Leonis, a young Imperial Cadet. According to the author, Fhurek was intended to be an "out-and-out" xenophobe but added that his views were not representative of the Galactic Empire. In Fry's view, the Empire in the newly established Canon was not openly and uniformly xenophobic or sexist unlike the Galactic Empire from the Star Wars Legends universe. However, he acknowledged that some of the Empire's strongest supporters were xenophobes like Fhurek.[4]

AppearancesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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