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I dedicate the following book to my grandma who had recently passed away. She did a lot for my mom and I so I thank her for everything.

CHAPTER I “I have to get ready for tonight, I have to be there at 8pm sharp”, he yells to his friend on the other side of the apartment. “Okay, you’re suit will be ready in half an hour, just in time for your dinner and you’ll be on time.” James is meeting up at the restaurant with his fiancee to discuss their missions in the upcoming future.

“You are looking quite classy today, it’s just a dinner not some sort of wedding,” his friend Robert says. “It’s always good to look your best in public.” Rob hands him the secret envelope as James walks out the door to his car. “Remember, everything in this envelope is not to be shared with anyone else except for her.” “Yes, of course.” James walks out the door in a rush towards his bright red BMW waiting to be driven. Once, he gets to the restaurant in the center of Zurich, he parks in his parking spot two blocks away from the restaurant so it does not seem like he is being followed by anyone suspicious. As he is walking to the restaurant, he sees his fiancee Rebecca waiting patiently outside at a table for two in the restaurant. “Hi dear, sorry I’m late to this important meeting.” “No worries, I know you are a busy man these days.” As they both are enjoying their dinner, James sees a man wearing a black sweatshirt with a hood on his head, black jeans that just came out the back of a white van. He then realizes that in his hand was an envelope that looked exactly as the one that he just had and now he could not found it. “Rebecca, do you see the suspicious man walking towards the alley over there?” “Yes, I think he is up to no good,” she replies. “Come with me to follow him, maybe we can see what bad things he may be up to.” “Sure, let’s go,” she insists. As they both walk out of the restaurant and towards the alley that the man went in it, they find a post-it note that must have come from the envelope. It reads: “2376 Lambert Street. 10pm. Bring no one except yourself.” “This is a very helpful clue to finding the man and what he may be up to,” Rebecca states. “Indeed, let’s go back to the apartment to see if we can find anything that could lead us to the person.” When they arrive home, James tells Robert that they need the secret room behind the closet to be opened. Rob goes to get the key and unlocks it for them. Inside the room, there is a stack of money in case if they need to travel somewhere urgently so they would use the saved up money in there for the accommodations. Also in the room is different types of guns ranging from handguns to full on rifles. “We’ve been together for three years now and now you are showing this to me!” Rebecca asked confused. “Yes, now since we are working together, it is the appropriate time to show you what you have that you may use if necessary”.

So, by tracing the fingerprints on the post-it note the man who was holding the envelope was a man by the name of Daniel Klein. He was an old friend of James until when they were on a mission a few years ago, he disobeyed James’s orders and killed one of his soldiers. “May you go get Daniel’s file on his past?” “Sure, one second.” Once Robert comes back with the enormous file in his hands, Rebecca gasps in disbelief. “How much information does that give us on him?”, she asks shockingly. “It tells us every crime he had committed, everywhere he has been, and any countries that he is banned from entering”. “Which countries is he banned from?” “He is banned from most of Asia, most of Europe, Canada, and Mexico.” “Okay, so where could he possibly be going to strike next?” “Well, he has family and other friends in New York City so that’s a possibility.” The group gets packed to go to New York and the flight leaves at 10pm and will get in NY at 6am so we have the whole day so explore any signs that he has been there. CHAPTER II They arrive at JFK, a representative from the NY agency is waiting to pick them up. “Hi James, my name is Matt and I am here to transport you to the NY Headquarters where you guys will be based for your stay here in NY.” “Okay, Great!”, James exclaims. “I hope your flight was smooth to get here.” “Yes it was a very smooth flight.” James, Rebecca, and Rob get into the SUV Matt brought and they head back to the headquarters in Midtown. There is so much traffic as usual going into the city. Once they got there, they were escorted to their rooms. The rooms were pretty nice, a couch, flat screen TV, kitchen, and three different rooms for everyone. The apartment was in the middle of Manhattan where the views were exquisite. The Empire State Building, The World Trade Center, and the different bridges in New York connecting New Jersey were in their view as well. Once they got settled, the three got together in James’s room to talk about what they will do regarding where they may find him and who may help them. A little bit later there was a knock on the door. They all look at each other in a confused manner and James slowly walks towards the door to open it. There was no one at the door but there was an envelope on the floor with “James” on it.

“What the heck is this,” he questions. “Open it,” Rebecca answers in her mix of French and Italian accent. It reads: Dear James, you have been invited to the Met Gala on Saturday night at 8pm. Please arrive at 6pm for the behind the scenes pass of the event. You may bring a guest. Hope to see you there! “Ok so, this may be a clue to finding this guy who has been behind these terrible acts of mischief”. “Ok and who will accompany you to the event?” “I want Rebecca to go with me so it seems normal and we’ll have Rob and the people from the New York headquarters looking on as backup eyes on the event. So the group has a day to gather their thoughts on how they will attempt to catch the suspect or suspects involved. CHAPTER III A little bit later, James and Rebecca leave the hotel to look for what they might wear to the event. Since they were basically tourists in NYC they needed the help of strangers on the streets of Manhattan to search for a department store that they could find luxury clothes for a good price. The two go to a bunch of stores like Macy’s, Zara, Banana Republic looking for clothes. Once they return to the hotel, James and Rebecca discuss what their plan may be for tomorrow evening. “How will we be transported from here to the Gala?”, questioned Rebecca. “We will loan a van for the day so we can transport you to the event, be your backup eyes once you’re inside the building, and then once finished, we will bring you back to the hotel.” “Ok, since now we have the transportation part of it out of the way, what gadgets will we be supplied with?”, James asked. “You both will have glasses that sense something suspicious occurring and it also can detect if a person just committed a crime or not. You will also have an undetected gun which will not alarm the metal detectors upon arrival”, Matt answered abruptly. “Great so once inside we will stay for the ceremony but then we will split up and search the building for the people behind the note that they left back in Switzerland. Both James and Rebecca could not sleep that night because their minds were thinking about the event too much. They crashed at about 2 a.m. from exhaustion thinking about what may happen if we do not succeed in this mission. The following morning Matt came into the room with bagels, fruit, and smoothies for Rob, James, and Rebecca. “So this is what an American breakfast looks like?”, Rob asked.

“Not quite, there is still a lot more to experience to eat”. After breakfast, Matt took the group sightseeing just to get their minds off the task for a moment. They went to the top of the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center. The views from the top of those two skyscrapers were magnificent and a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience. After the World Trade Center they took the subway from downtown to uptown into Times Square 42nd Street. There they got to experience the hustle and bustle of millions of New Yorkers experience everyday. After that, they got the American meal they were looking for at Applebee's. They got to choose any food that they wanted to try. All of them chose hamburger with fries on the side with a milkshake. At the end of the meal, they all were full and felt like they could not walk anymore. So, to rest up for the Met Gala, they went back to the hotel to be ready for the event later that day. CHAPTER IV “James… James, wake up it’s already 4:15”, Rebecca whispered in his ears as he gradually got up from his nap. He got up a bit drowsy from his nap and got his clothes and went into the shower. A few minutes later he walks out of the bathroom all dressed up in his tux. “You look very handsome today”, Rebecca approached James. “You look stunning yourself”, James replied. It was now 5:00 and they both were anxiously waiting to leave the hotel to head to the event. Then there was a knock on the door. James goes to open it and he sees the person from the front desk. “Hi, you have a van waiting for you in the front whenever you are ready”. “Thank you, we’ll be down in a couple of minutes”, James answers politely. The group heads downstairs with all the equipment in Rob’s backpack and small carry on bag. James sees Matt at the van and they greet him as he opens the backdoor to put the equipment needed. Before they left the hotel parking lot, they had to get their glasses updated with their information and set up the back of the van how they wanted it to be for the night. On one side, there was a makeshift table set with their laptops and wireless speaking devices they would communicate with one another. And on the other side was their bags in case they would need to help James and Rebecca with the mission. “Ok so let’s review how you will enter the room where the bomb is supposed to be. First, you will not have your weapons until you get past the security so they do not get suspicious of why you may have a weapon on you. Then, you will be guided by Rob through the enormous room

with a lot of people into the hallway. At the end of the hallway, there will be an elevator. You will get into the elevator and go down onto floor B3. Once on B3, you will not have connection with us so LISTEN CAREFULLY. You will get into room 103 and once you see the device just cut the blue wire and the bomb should be disabled”. “PHEW that was a lot of information thrown at me but I think I got it,” James said a bit overwhelmed. CHAPTER V On the way to the Gala there were butterflies in everybody’s stomach. They were nervous because of different scenarios that may go wrong if their plan is not executed to perfection. “Ok, today is your day to shine. All of the training you’ve been through in the past is for situations like this and I believe that everyone here will do exceptional”, James said before they got out of the van. “All you need to do is keep calm and make them move the pieces until they got downstairs where the bomb is supposed to be. Once there, you strike”. “Coms in and make sure you communicate to me everything you see and anything that may be suspicious going on”, Rob warns. “Absolutely, I’ll be back before you know it”. James justified his buddy. James steps out of the van first, looks back at Rebecca, holds her hand and helps her down the stairs. They both walk elegantly up the red carpet and into the ballroom. “Ok, we’re in,” James says secretly. James and Rebecca split to explore what may be going on. “See you later”, she whispered in James’s ear. He nodded back certain of that. There was a lot of space to check and without getting spotted was another aspect of uncertainty. They roamed looking for the man until just about 9pm which was when James had to make his move. “I’m going down. Come to the elevator on the east side of the building,” he says in his mic to Rebecca. “Copy that, on my way”.

He waits next to the bathroom to seem like nothing suspicious is going on until Rebecca gets here. “Everything ok?” He questions. “Yes”, she responds. “Good, stay in the bathroom until I give you the signal the come down and make the arrest”. She nods her head in accordance. CHAPTER VI

James presses the down button on the elevator and once in the elevator sees B3 and presses it. Once the elevator door opens, he steps in turns around and whispers “See you later”. He remembers the things that Rob and Matt had said to him and as the door opens, he takes a deep breath and heads into the hallway. The hallway is dim lighted with white walls and the doors are not in order for some reason. That confused James but still had the objective of looking for room 103. But suddenly he sees a door cracked open and he calls Rebecca for backup. He decides to wait for her to get down so he is not in trouble if anything goes wrong. She gets down on B3 and sees James. “What’s wrong?” “SHHHH! Take your heels off, I think there is someone in here”. Another cool part about the glasses that they were wearing was that they worked as night-vision glasses as well which benefitted them in this scenario. “Ready?” James asked. “Let’s go,” she answers confidently. James and Rebecca both pull their guns out and James slowly creeps into the room followed by Rebecca. As they walk farther and farther into the room, they begin to see the bomb that they need to stop but most importantly they see a man just staring at James with a smirk. “Why hello there friend”, his old nemesis Daniel says to scare both James and Rebecca. “I knew you were up to this kind of stuff these days”. “These kinds of jobs are interesting to me”. “Does going to prison sound interesting enough for you?” “Oh you know that will not happen to me”.

As Daniel began to say his next sentence, Rebecca snuck up behind Daniel and tackled him because there was not a lot of time to stop the bomb if they continued talking. “Great job Rebecca”, James said in delight as she put handcuffs on Daniel. They bring him out of the room and floor so that they can bring the bomb squad in and stop the bomb. As they leave the building, everyone is outside anxious to find out if they could stop the bomb and as they step foot outside, there was a tremendous cheer for both James and Rebecca. They both smiled as they handed Daniel to the cops and was soon transported out of the area and sent to jail. Since there work is done, they got to go back to the hotel to decompress with some well deserved wine and snacks. CHAPTER VII Once they got back to the hotel, there was a massive relief in everyone in the group and each one of them thanked the others for their work. They all gathered together a couple of couch chairs and brought them next to the TV and sat their watching TV while eating different types of cookies, chips and drinking wine or soda if they wanted. Then a couple minutes later, the door opens and Matt walks into the room. “Hey guys, sorry to interrupt, the agency from New York wanted me to tell you that they’ve stopped the bomb and the person in face consequences.” “Wow, that’s great news”, James replied. “Also, for all the hard work, we wanted to give you a gift. It jewelry from the Gala and you all should have one”. “Oh my gosh, thank you so much”. “My pleasure, it was the least I could do”. “Ok then, it was nice working with you and I hope you’ve enjoyed your stay here in the Big Apple and I hope you have a safe flight back”. “Thank you Matt, we’ll keep in touch”.

Patrick resides in Edison, New Jersey with his mother and father. He was born in Mauritius which is a small island between Madagascar and Australia. In his soon to be 16 years of living, he’s embarked on a journey to England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland without his parents with a group called People To People Student Ambassadors program which was an experience for a lifetime for him. The point of this journey was to experience new cultures and new foods that people in the United States do not experience everyday. This novel was Patrick’s first of possibly many more to come which can be found in your local Barnes & Nobles stores hopefully.

The Exploration Mission  

by Patrick Joseph

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