Nobody liked Molina. Not because he looked like a bum; not even because he smelled unfashionably like a Hungarian. They didn't like him -- well, feared him outright, actually -- because of his unique mind.

Molina did not present the kind of image that one would expect of a man with the ability to transcend conventional social barriers. He rarely shaved or washed. His clothes, though always purchased new, were worn until threadbare and far from fashionable, and usually bore the look of having been repeatedly slept in. Which, of course, they had been. He always drank, but somehow never seemed to get drunk.

Molina usually had a pungeant foreign cigarette burning dangerously close to his stubbly chin. Because of this, if one looked closely at the area of puffy flesh just below his lower lip, one could easily identify the tattooed yellow rivulets of nicotine, where smoke from countless forgotten unfiltered cigarettes, dangling from the corner of his mouth, had trickled down his chin and permanently stained it. There were also minute patches of scar tissue bereft of facial hair, the unhappy consequence of many times passing out with one of those self-same cigarettes, forgotten, finally falling from their perches to the broken moonscape of Molina's lower jaw.

Molina's mind was the sort of possibly-unbalanced, but extremely fine instrument that would never allow the people that knew of it to rest, even for a moment. It gave nightmares to intelligence services all over the world, with a fine disrespect for geography or politics. CIA, MI5, KGB, Mossad, Stasi, it didn't matter. Every one of them had small bureaus of pale, nervous, nail-biting insomniacs assigned to track his every movement. The fact that none of them seemed to be able to do this at all consistently was what had made them all pale, nervous, nail-biting insomniacs.

Molina had keen eyesight and hearing, a razor-edged sense of timing, and an incredible memory that allowed him to remember endless rows of faces and names. He could dredge them out of himself even after decades had passed. His lightning-quick memnomic technique had allowed him to master several languages, including three dialects of Chinese and several of the more obscure contintental African argots.

This information overload contributed to creating a mind that Molina had come to explain to himself as a sort of codebreaking super-computer, but which could perhaps be described more accurately as divinely, eerily omniprescient. He could tell when things were going to happen. And he knew about things he couldn't have known about, except via some kind of sixth sense.

Everyone in intelligence and security knew Molina. Or at least, knew somebody who knew him. Everyone. All the way up to the top, in every nation in the world worth the label.