Jan Struthers is an OOPS operative who makes contact with Theresa Sullivan and continues to explain to her the government's involvement with HAL. During Theresa's senior year, she disappears and is assumed to have been killed by the government, but is later found to have been in hiding due to a misunderstanding. She eventually becomes Theresa's chief financial expert and businesswoman.
Role in the Story
After renting 2001: A Space Odyssey, Theresa is visited by "a woman in her twenties" with a "cheerful" demeanor who introduces herself as "Jan Struthers from the government of the United States." She then proceeds to interrogate Theresa about her encounter with the alien, emphasizing "how important it is to tell nobody about this" as that would end any chance of Theresa having a private life. She assures Theresa, however, that the government is watching her at all times in order to keep her safe.
After that, Jan sometimes stops by Theresa "in a store or someplace" when her mother and father are out of sight, giving her brief updates on the government's involvement, and asking if there was any news on what HAL was capable of. Jan reveals to Theresa that four hundred people are monitoring her at all times, and even the fact that she had told the government to just offer her ten million dollars to stay home.
At age 16, Theresa meets Jan at a Burger King, because "the noise gave privacy as good the Sahara Desert [SIC]." There, Jan explains how the government knew HAL had arrived, and suggests the possibility that HAL might be an ambassador from another planet. Based on this, she suggests Theresa get as broad an education as possible, in case she has to speak to the human race on HAL's behalf.
After this incident, Theresa receives a strange letter from someone named Jeremy Benton, asking where Jan Struthers is, and suggesting they meet at Framingham Library. Theresa arrives with Father Donoughty, and discovers that Jan Struthers had documented everything pertaining to Theresa and sent "a package of four volumes" to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Turgeon. Benton states the information is so thorough that "no biography I've read has so much information about a human being." The plan by Struthers, it is revealed, was, if anything happened to Theresa, the Canadian prime minister would make a big fuss about it to the press. It is also revealed that the newly sworn in President William Martin had spoken with Jan Struthers, and hinted at doing away with both Theresa and HAL. The implication is that Jan Struthers was striving to make Theresa go public, and was silenced by the US government.
Much later on, after the attempted assassination, Theresa's husband Steve asks a question no other character had since her disappearance: "Whatever happened to Jan Struthers?" They ask one of Prime Minister Peter Blair's security team to find her. It is revealed that, because of her eight years spent in a classified mission following Theresa around, she had a "eight year hole in her resume," and she was "now in her thirties, her college education was wasted, unemployable, unmarried, and living with her aging parents." She had remained in hiding for fear that Theresa believed that "she'd cooperated in President Martin's plot."
Theresa accredits Jan Struthers and her watchers as being part of the reason why she was able to step up as "Empress Theresa."
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