Ted Krever's Mindbenders
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Max Renn, the legendary Soviet mind control agent, faces a terrifying new threat to the global balance of power--and an opponent who ruthlessly uses Renn's own deepest secrets to betray him.

That Man

South China Sea


I fingered Max’s note: Take the slowest ship you can from Singapore to Pulau Patang. Find a room on the second floor with a view of the beach. Drink tuak. Walk the beach twice a day. You will be contacted.

As we got near, it became clear Patang was hell on stilts. The island remained wildest jungle—no one had tried to tame it. The town was a forest of tiny houses jutting out into the water on three jetties, thrown together from loose timber and sheets of tin, connected by narrow plank walkways with no railings, the whole works as rickety as a Louisiana toolshed. The  place looked thrown together in three months and built to last as long.

Unwashed children of three or four dangled out of windows over a two-story drop to the sea. The plankboard walkways were jammed with bicycles and families with their every possession stuffed into shopping carts. It was a Dickens-slum-on-the-sea, at least it would have been but for the cellphones at every ear and the full-zoot satellite dishes sprouting like mushrooms from the rooftops.

A lineup of tankers waited at anchor for the privilege of tying up to the dock. On the far side, a tall complex of chemical tanks and suspended pipelines rose into the inland jungle.

Helicopters fluttered off an octagonal pad, derelict boats puttered out to the big ships at anchor, returning with food, booze (contraband in nearby Muslim countries) and other, even more slippery commodities. Packages openly circulated that, in size and handling, suggested contents smokable, snortable or injectable. In broad daylight, guns and explosives were shipped and received in ones, twos and stacks. Friendly women in accidental wardrobes climbed onto the ships and returned to dock with pathetic speed.

Well, if you literally had to get lost—and surely that was the plan—this was the place for it. If you wanted to work, you could, but if you preferred to hang out for months at a time with no visible means of support, nobody was asking questions. You didn’t have to worry about flouting the law—there didn’t appear to be any law to flout.

 Continued... ...

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