STAR WARS: RECKONING
San Juro Manko (Missing, Presumed Captured)
Outer Rim Manhunter
San Manko is a lean, hard-faced, hard-muscled human with golden-brown skin, dark brown eyes and hair, habitually dressed in spacer’s coveralls and a long dusty poncho, face shaded by a broad-brimmed hat, and usually sporting about five days’ worth of stubble. His lightsaber hilt is made of dark gunmetal set with pale sandalwood paneling, an activation trigger protected by a trigger loop projecting from the side about a third of the way up from the pommel, and he ordinarily carries it in a tied-down leather holster on his right thigh. The blade is silver.
Character Concept: Jedi with No Name. A drifter on the plains of the Outer Rim, a hunter of slavers, pirates, and petty despots. Gruff, scruffy, intimidating, free-spirited.
Drive: Freedom of Mind (Each Wd spent to ignore the negative effects of those mentally manipulating you, either through Attunement or Skill, is an automatic success.)
Tenet of the Will: Righteousness [Bravery] (You are immune to Fear, and allies gain +1Ad to resist Fear while in your presence.)
Specialty: Bounty Hunter – No matter where they run, you always find your quarry
○ Select one quarry at a time. You have permission to roll for tracking, interrogating, or detaining Tasks for your quarry that others would find impossible.
○ You automatically succeed at locating the general area (such as a planet) of your quarry, and basic information about their habits and abilities.
Skills: Specialized Array
Heroic: Awareness, Influence, Might, Resistance
Proficient: Coordination, Stealth
Common: Knowledge, Logic
Talents: Resonant Fane, Attuned, Iron Stare, Unyielding, Defender, The Blue Flame of Justice
Homeworld: Ura, a barren, dusty fringe world, like Tattooine without the cosmopolitan charm, run by feuding gangsters until a native son’s homecoming shut down both camps permanently.
This is the story they tell about the man called Manko. Who he was, and where he came from. Documentation is hard to come by, and even Jedi archivists cannot confirm many of the particulars, but this is the story as it’s told by those who knew him best.
A lot of people think Tattooine is the armpit of the Galaxy. That’s because they’ve never experienced the real hellholes of the Outer Rim territories. Tattooine still has untapped mineral resourses out in the desert, and its location at a nexus of hyperspace routes makes it a vital transit hub for anyone looking to traverse that side of the galaxy. No, there are planets that make Tattooine look like a cosmopolitan paradise. Kamar. Jakku. Lemuria. Phaeda. Akir. Zaddja. And, if you go as far as you can down the least hospitable space lane you can find until you hit rock bottom, there’s Ura.
Ura’s another one of those rare worlds, a planet in a binary star system that manages to barely qualify as habitable for humanoid life. At one point multiple mining corporations set up shop there, but the profits couldn’t keep up with the costs of operating on such a harsh world, so far from civilization, and most of them moved on long ago. It’s said the B’omarr sect built a monastery here once, but if so, its ruins have been lost to the desert sands. There was once a penal colony as well, but the Republic deemed sentencing people to live on Ura to be cruel and unusual punishment.
What’s left, then, is one dried-up settlement. A small spaceport that’s mostly a slab of duracrete and some bulldozed acres of desert, a mining camp in the hills that still produces a little ore tradeable for offworld goods, moisture and yeastvat farms producing enough water and food to sustain the place, and a string of festering saloons and brothels. One of Ura’s principal industries was actually providing the Galaxy’s most desperate fugitives a place to hole up for however long it took for the heat to die off. Some of those desperados, the heat on them was too much for time and distance to ever quench, and so on Ura they remained.
These outlaws eventually refined themselves into two distinct gangs. Zeg, Zeg the Tyrant, he ran the mines, and pretty well owned the folk who worked in them. His rival, Bal Caz, had control of most of the vice dens and most of the vaporators. One controlling the shiny metal from out of the dirt, and the flesh used to dig it up. The other controlling the water, and the whiskey, and the tumbling dice and chain-wearing brothel slaves. Ura was a miserable mound of dirt, but those two still pushed against each other in a fight to see who could be the one man standing at the top of that mound.
The gangs were the law on Ura, for all practical purposes. On paper, though, the mining company’s charter still held, and called for a planetary marshal. There was a badge went with that title. Nothing impressive, just a five-credit coin with some holes punched in it, so it was the shape of a five-pointed star inside a circle. Most of the people who wore that badge kept their heads down, stayed on one gang’s payroll or the other, and generally stayed drunk, by custom.
The next-to-last person who wore that star, though, she took her job seriously. That proved to be a terminal condition. She had ambitions of bringing down the gangs, making it so the people of Ura could breathe without someone’s boot jammed down on their neck. The inevitable results were a blaster bolt, a shallow grave, and an orphaned son.
The boy, San Manko. Scrawny, underfed, scrounging for scraps in the back alleys, it’s said. He had luck, though, and a knack for seeing what others couldn’t. And he was strong, too strong to die.
Where his luck really kicked in was the day the Jedi Knight came to Ura.
Kurasu, a Fosh Jedi, one of the rare members of his species who was drawn to conflict. Fosh have a reputation for frailty, hollow-boned avian stock, but Kurasu was more like a bird of prey. A manhunter, who never let up until he got his man. The name of the fugitive he tracked to Ura is forgotten, unimportant, but in addition to his prisoner, when he left Kurasu brought along an apprentice, as well.
The boy learned quickly. It took some time for him to overcome his anger, but his master was no stranger to anger. Kurasu taught his student to replace his rage and bitterness with a cool resolve. No emotion, but peace, and from that place of inner peace, the freedom to act righteously, clear-eyed and decisive. The living Force, the tidal current running through the universe, swept him up and carried him with it, and he learned to trust its ebb and flow. As he let it guide his actions, it also obeyed his commands.
As a swordsman, Manko was as good as any, and better than most. Kurasu began with the first form, simple, forceful, crude but effective. The second form, the duelist’s form, was never Manko’s strongest suit, for elegance wasn’t part of his makeup, but he quickly mastered the defensive focus of Soresu: clean, efficient, and optimised for use against multiple opponents using ranged weapons, it was the ideal style for a knight whose primary service was in frontier law enforcement. They say his lightsaber’s hilt was made with pieces from his mother’s blaster, dark gunmetal and desert sandalwood, with the gun’s trigger for the activation switch, ringed with a trigger guard. The blade shone silver, bright and cold.
Manko learned much from Kurasu, and learned it well, excelling at tracking outlaws across the surfaces of untamed worlds and through the pathless reaches of deep space. He passed the Trials easily, and when he was knighted, he vanished into the Rim.
This part’s put together from fragments of testimony from liars and drunks, and none of them saw more than a fraction of the whole. It’s said that shortly after the Jedi San Manko was knighted, a stranger came to Ura, a tall man, face shadowed by the broad brim of his hat, strange weapon riding in a tied-down holster on his thigh. Said he was a gunman for hire. Worked for Zeg the Tyrant a while, it’s said. Then supposedly he switched sides, when that fat slug Bal Caz made him a better offer. They say he did a lot of damage to both sides, and that a lot of it was to the one he was supposed to be working for at the time.
When it ended, the gangs had near torn each other apart, Bal Caz and Zeg the Tyrant were both in Republic custody, and the stranger, a silver-bladed lightsaber in his hand, pinned a five-credit star to his poncho, over his heart, and walked out of town with the two of them handcuffed and trailing along behind him.
Word got around. In every smuggler’s den, pirate nest, and slave market in the Rim, the stories spread. A Jedi Knight, implacable, incorruptible, immune to fear or temptation, hunting those who profited off suffering. It was said that he didn’t answer to the Jedi Council, which may have been one reason he stayed on the fringes of the Galaxy, far from the Temple and the interfering old ones who ran it. No one ever claimed to have seen anger in his face, any more than they ever saw fear there. Nothing but cool, hard determination.
Those who worked with him said Manko fostered this reputation, and refined the power of his cold glare, because anyone he could intimidate into surrendering was someone he wouldn’t have to fight. If he could make a gunslinger drop his weapon and give up with just a look, that was one man Manko wouldn’t need to hurt or kill. At the outset of each encounter, he’d give his quarry a chance to give up, and come along peacefully. Whenever they declined, that silver blade came out, like steel flashing in the moonlight, and he’d sever their weapon, or the hand holding it. That was their second chance to surrender, and the rare fools who pressed him after that didn’t get a third. They say once or twice some pirate or gunhand tried to force him to back down by threatening someone else. That never worked out well for them. Given a choice between the life of an armed criminal and the life of a bystander, Manko was not one to hesitate.
After one such incident, it’s told, the Jedi Council forced him back to Coruscant to give an accounting of himself. “Healthy trees are kept healthy by pruning and flower beds by weeding,” he said. “We’re caretakers of the garden of the Force, and sometimes that responsibility falls to us, when weeds threaten to choke the flowers.” In the end they cleared him of wrongdoing, found no trace of the Dark in him, and turned him loose. But after that, it’s said, he was on a list.