"Okay, well, that gives me a place to start, anyway." Jon crushed his beer can, dropped it in the wet-towel-filled trash can. "Anything else you can think of to suggest?"
"Just one thing." Kip locked eyes with the scrapper. "It's kind of a long shot, but it might pay off for you, if you play your cards right. If you go to Brickstown, there's a trainer there, her name is Swan. You can usually find her near the Independence Port tunnel."
Jon nodded, listening intently.
"Check in with her, and she can probably tell you where to find Manticore."
"Yeah...one of the Surviving Eight, and if you haven't heard of them, shame on you, Jon, you haven't been doing your homework."
Jon grinned. "Yeah, I know about the Surviving Eight....haven't really spent much time researching them, though. Should I?"
"That's up to you. You probably don't have to, if you don't want to, or don't have the time. It's enough to know that of all the heroes involved in the Rikti war, the Eight came back alive, and they were the ones with the most power and authority that did. Others left Paragon after the war, the Eight stayed on to train and help out the newbies, the heroes who were too young, or too new to their powers, or too badly trained to have fought through the war.
"The thing to know about Manticore is that he's the only one of the Eight without any powers."
Jon blinked. "Come again?"
"Justin Sinclair was, and is, a superbly trained athlete, who specialized in archery and has developed a collection of bow-delivered technological weaponry that would make William Tell weep with envy. He's also one of the meanest sons-a-bitches you'll ever meet, loyal to the death, and has a brain like a computer. There's a reason Statesman and the rest of the Freedom Phalanx inducted him into their supergroup. He's no fifth wheel."
Jon nodded solemnly.
"Go talk to Manticore. Maybe he'll help you out. Maybe he won't. Maybe he'll just run you in circles, and laugh at you afterward, if he thinks you're a fool, he has very little tolerance for fools. He might send you on an errand, to test you. Or he might like you right off, there's never any telling, and if he decides to hand you a mission or two, thank your lucky stars, and be grateful for the opportunity. Whether or not you learn anything about Crey and Paragon Protectors doesn't really matter. I guarantee you'll learn *something* valuable....and I happen to know that Justin has a bee in his bonnet about Countess Crey and her right-hand man Hopkins, heaven only knows why, but if Justin Sinclair thinks they're bad news, I'm ready to believe him."
Copyright terraforming.com, November 26, 2012