Saturday Morning, 8 AM
It is a bright and beautiful fall morning in New York City. The sun is rising over the buildings, encompassing all in its warm glow. Warm rays were piercing the very heart of the city. Everyone is taking advantage of the pleasant day. While others prepare their businesses for the morning rush, others decide to start their day with fitness. Such is the case of two individuals making their way into Central Park. They are a young couple around the same age. Both are wearing sweaters and matching grey sweatpants. As they enter the park, they decide to take a rest on a nearby bench.
“Remind me again why we are running this early in the morning, especially on a Saturday?” says Vincent in his heavy accent. He is a twenty-three-year-old cadet at West-Point Academy. His eyes are emerald green, and his hair is jet black.
“You said that we should try new things, and besides, it is for a good cause,” says Arya. She is his girlfriend of five years. She works as a social worker in Little India, located in New York City’s Metropolitan Area. Her eyes are blue, with long flowing black hair and a slender frame.
“Everything we do is for a good cause,” Vincent jokes. Arya playfully slaps him across the face before taking a seat beside him. The couple is preparing for a charitable 5K run. It is the largest one in New York. Taking a bottle out of their bag, Vincent takes a few sips from it before giving it to Arya. As they rest, they notice they are not the only ones in the park. Just in front of them is a large group of volunteers from the local church. They are getting ready to pass out flyers for the upcoming event. Leading them is Father Lou, a family friend of both Vincent and Arya.
“Good morning, Vincent and Arya. Training for the event, I take it?” The young couple gets up from the benches and walks over to the father and his group. As they converse amongst themselves, a random stranger walks by them and drops a backpack next to them. One of the youth volunteers sees it and rushes over to it. When picking up the bag, she notices that the top zipper is open and sees two medium-size pieces of clay and wires. Confused by what it is, the volunteer walks over to the three adults.
“What’s wrong, Abigail?” says father Lou.
“Some man left his bag near our stand. And in it are two clay pieces and wires.” This catches Vincent’s attention.
“Clay and wires, you say? Mine if I see it?” Abigail hands it over to Vincent. He slowly unzips the main zipper. Inside, confirm his suspicions. The backpack is filled with two pounds of C4, enough to do severe damage.
Further inspecting the bag, he notices that there is no timer. This means that the stranger has a detonator. Vincent knows what this will do, thus with utter calmness; he motions Arya towards him. He shows her the contents of the bag.
“Call the police and get the father and his youth group out of the area. I’m going to go find him,” he whispers. “Do not raise any concern. He may still be in the area, watching us. Act natural and remain calm.” Realizing the danger, Arya listens to Vincent and motions the father and youth group away from the benches, telling them that this spot did not have many people. Making sure they are far away; Vincent inspects the backpack once more. He notices that there is a small homing beacon attached to the clay bricks. With this as his guide, he uses his tracking skills and follows the stranger’s footprints. He follows the sneaker prints to a trail only several yards from the benches. The beeping grows louder until and gives off a sharp ping sound.
Knowing the man is close, Vincent finds cover. Hiding behind a tree, he sees the hooded man with a detonator in his hand. Placing the backpack down, he fiddles around with the bomb compartments. With the bomb safely disarmed, Vincent slowly makes his way towards his target. Getting closer, he makes the mistake of stepping on some fallen leaves. With a slight crunch, he gives himself away. Just before him, the stranger looks up, and without hesitation, presses the button, yet nothing happens. Pressing the button again, the bomb does not go off. To the stranger’s surprise, Vincent had removed the ignition pin from the block before making his move. With a shocked and confused look on his face, fear consumes the attempted terrorist and darts off. Not wanting him to escape, Vincent chases after him. Luckily for him, the years of jogging pay off as he catches up to the terrorist and lunges at him. Vincent wraps his arms around the stranger’s waist and uses his knee to kick the terrorist to the ground.
Just when he has him, Vincent hears the sound of footsteps nearing him. He looks up and sees Arya with the police in tow. Smiling, he hoists the terrorist up, arms tied behind his back. Handing him over to the authorities, Vincent lets out a sigh of relief. Suddenly, a photographer for the local paper asks Vincent and Arya to take a picture of them. At first Vincent objects, he never likes taking photos, yet Arya convinces him to do so. Seeing no other option, he begrudgingly agrees. Just as they are about to take the picture, Vincent notices a metal eagle medallion around the strangers’ neck.
Interestingly, it is the same design as his. Vincent tells himself it is just a coincidence and thinks nothing of it. However, unaware of Vincent, this day was far from over.