Ora, also known as Aura and Ora Panzil (sub-lieutenant 2960B8651), was a female Felis sapiens, and a tough agent of the Felis sapiens military.
Ora features as the mating interest of the Cat in the "lost episode" of Series VII, "Identity Within", as the Cat struggles with issues relating to his "domestication" after spending too much time around humans on-board Red Dwarf.
Ora was born aboard Red Dwarf, possibly in Supply Pipe 28, but left Red Dwarf with all the other able-bodied Cats in the two Cat Arks, about a decade or so before Dave Lister, the last human, came out of stasis.
One of the Cat Arks crashed into an asteroid, and the other, on which Ora was present, was preyed on by Brefewino. The surviving Cats formed a military structure in response to this, although one was perhaps already present from the earlier Cat Wars which had consumed the species aboard Red Dwarf.
Ora joined a soldier platoon under the command of Zural, becoming battle-hardened and fearless, but still a true Cat, aloof and icy in character. The platoon was eventually betrayed, by persons unknown, and most of them were either killed or taken captive by the Brefewino. Ora herself was taken to a Brefewino planet for upcoming slave auction, and kept in a cage there.
Events of Identity Within
Whilst imprisoned on the Brefewino moon, Ora was approached by the Cat - the son of two other Cats (The Idiot and The Cripple) that the Cat Arks had left behind on Red Dwarf. Cat was thrilled to finally meet a female of his species for the first time, especially since he was suffering from a libido-related illness. If he doesn't mate soon, he will die.
Ora however didn't even recognise him as a Cat, noting that he was apparently domesticated and had no Cat instinct left, finding him ridiculous. Her misgivings were apparently justified when a jail-break attempt left her getting immediately re-captured. Cat angrily and bitterly blames Lister for his predicament.
Lister comes up with a plan to use Kryten to cheat at four-dimensional pontoon in a Brefewino gambling den, thereby winning enough Brefewino currency - mushy peas - to buy Ora themselves. However, Lister gets drunk on GELF Hooch, and loses everything - including the keys to Starbug - to a strangely savvy Brefewino leader wearing an ornate belt.
After the Brefewino leader buys Ora at the auction at dawn, Cat desperately chases after it, engaging it in a sword fight. Cat manages to confuse it and knock it down, before it activates it's belt and reveals itself to be Zural. Cat still thinks there is something not right about him. Approaching Ora with a knife behind his back, Zural is speared as Cat throws his sword. With Cat's help Ora realises that it was her former commander who had betrayed her platoon, and Zural was merely tying up loose ends - her - on the Brefewino moon. Ora then changes her mind about Cat and kisses him.
Aboard Starbug, Cat and Ora prepare to leave in a survival pod to mate, and find the other Cats. Rimmer has plotted it with the last known co-ordinates of Felis sapiens life-signs detected by the navicomp. Lister says an emotional farewell, thinking he won't see him again, and apologises for not treating him with the respect a proud and instinctual creature should be treat with.
Cat mates with Ora, curing himself of his ailment. Twenty minutes later Cat reappears on Starbug, explaining that Cat relationships don't last long, and demands a tuna bake from the "monkeys". ("Identity Within", Series VII)
Cat says that he dropped Ora off on a safe planetoid (perhaps with the other Cats), but her ultimate fate remains unknown.
Behind the scenes
- If "Identity Within" had been produced, Doug Naylor's first choice of actress for Ora would have been Yasmin Bannerman, who played the first Ground Controller in Series VIII's "Back in the Red III" (Series VII DVD booklet)
- In the Series VIII episode "RD: Back in the Red I", the Chief M.O. of Red Dwarf, Karen Newton, gives the Cat a full medical, thinking he is human. Much to her amazement, and that of Captain Hollister, he has six nipples, and Captain Hollister wonders what the female of the species must be like. Cat replies that they are "pretty easy to please in bed". Since Cat doesn't meet another female Felis sapiens anywhere else except "Identity Within", this is certainly a reference to Ora who he lost his virginity to in Identity Within, and possibly making the events of "Identity Within", and Ora, "canon" in the franchise.