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Manny Mc Knight

Born November 2, 1965 (pending GM approval), Manuel is the son of Richard McKnight, a diplomat from New Hampshire, and Daniela Quispe, an astronomer from Peru. Manny has one younger sister, Christina, who's recently (1996) become a medical doctor. He grew up speaking English, Spanish, and Quechua, and "collects languages" as a hobby. After the Moon Landing, he wanted to be an astronaut; after Enter the Dragon, he wanted to be Bruce Lee. He went through a "Machu Picchu" phase, fascinated by the lore surrounding his mother's homeland, but was quickly disillusioned, developing a disdain for "alien astronaut spaceman BS." Instead, he channeled his fondness for weirder SF into Star Wars fandom, going nuts for the stuff in his early teens. This renewed his interest in flying, though Manny became less enamored of being "spam in a can" after his father got him a copy of the book "The Right Stuff", wanting to actually *fly* stuff.

As he grew up, Manny's collection of hobbies became a more general interest in doing something with his life. When he hit 18, Reagan was President, the Soviet Union was the Evil Empire, and his skill set was almost preternaturally suited towards Special Forces. A high school military recruiter scored a critical hit to his idealism, and Manny got a scholarship to West Point. There, he blossomed, embracing the discipline and drive to excellence. In June of 1987, he was on the high side of 21, and ready to serve his country.

They sent him to El Salvador. There, he helped train government forces against the FMLN. At first, he was gung-ho, but the more Manny saw of the conflict, the less he liked. The talented young Green Beret bounced around Central and South America for the next five years, aiding various government efforts, growing increasingly cynical. His brief leaves home made him feel increasingly alien to his home country, and over time he felt more at home with the people he was helping in foreign lands. Desert Storm didn't help matters. Fortunately, the US government eventually supported diplomacy in El Salvador, leading to a cease-fire. Manny was extremely happy to assist with that (perhaps he spent time as one of Alfredo Cristiani's bodyguards?). Had this not happened, his future might have been very different, but the successful resolution and the last days of the Cold War gave him a jolt of hope that sustained him in the dark period to come.

After Desert Storm and El Salvador, Manny spent increasing amounts of time fighting the Drug Wars, and grew sick of them very quickly. Always at his best working with native populations, he was nevertheless a highly trained commando (note: Green Beret), and did things he'd rather forget. His father died in 1993, leaving Manny devastated. Given the first extended leave of his life, he found himself at a bit of a loss. At a Star Wars convention, Manny's first fan event, he met Jennifer Lang. The two hit it off, and in spite of his long absences (or perhaps because of them) they found themselves growing closer. Manny's increasing disgust with Southern Command and increasing attachment to home life eventually stalled his career and left him flying a desk -- which suited him just fine, allowing Manny to marry his sweetheart. As of 1997, he divides his work time writing largely-ignored reports, occasionally decrying the massive expenditure of lives and resources in what Manny calls an "excuse war," and helping train the next generation of Special Forces.

Manny's skill sets are varied, but can be clumped into three general fields of expertise. Primarily, he's a social chameleon, phenomenally gifted as a linguist and incredibly skilled in becoming part of a culture. He's been accused more than once of "going native" (a term Manny LOATHES, for both the implied slander to his loyalty and what he sees as bigotry), but no one denies his talent. As a combatant, he's the whole package, skilled in CQC and every range of firearms, a natural driver and pilot, and capable of the minimal-contact takedown and swift lethality as the situation requires. Finally, Manny is a talented improviser; while not really an engineer or scientist, he's a talented mechanic, superb with security systems (both setting up and bypassing), and very capable with gadgetry as an end-user. Some of his superiors look down on his "Batman/James Bond" tendencies, but he never requisitions equipment casually, always considering the possibility that someone might need it more.

Captain McKnight is deeply devoted to whatever group he's responsible for at any given time. One of his best qualities is also one of his worst -- Manny gets attached to the locals he's helping. It's a central part of what makes him so good at his job, but Manny's just no good at treating them as "resources." While he's never flat-out violated a direct order, he's gotten extremely good at creative interpretations of his orders to minimize the danger to his people.

His one oddity as a fighter is his fondness for a "fighting cable." In '88, he was stuck fighting unarmed, and grabbed a loose chain. Manny found it very useful, suited to his flexible combat style -- until a link in the middle broke. After some interminable running, he ended up with the chain's hook and some metal cable. He improvised, and has since become fond of both carrying a weaponized cable and using the two as an example. "This is a chain. It is only as strong as its weakest link." (Break chain) "This is a cable. Each strand supports all the others, but while the loss of one weakens the whole, its purpose remains. A good team is like a cable, made of many strands-- stronger together, but capable apart."