Disclaimer: AR doesn't belong to me :)

"Alex, welcome back. Now-" Mrs. Jones started, clasping her hands on a khaki-coloured file with red ink printed on top. Without looking, Alex immediately knew what kind of file it was. It was always given to him.

Across the file in bold, the words read 'TOP SECRET'.

"What are you doing here?" Alex growled, eyes narrowing.

"I sincerely regret having to involve-"

"Jones, I remembered saying that I've had enough of these missions! For God's sake, spare me, would you!" Alex exclaimed, slamming both hands on the coffee table. Mrs. Jones visibly flinched.

"Alex, this is serious. We need-" Mrs. Jones attempted.

"You know the answer. No. Which part of the word don't you understand?" Alex cut her off. The chocolate brown eyes had almost gone all black in anger.


Alex Rider was now seventeen. Living with the Pleasures in America, he had been out of grasp from MI6 for two years already. But now, they were back, right in the middle of a place he could call home.

He wasn't going to give in this time.

He finally got a taste of being a normal teenager after all these years, though now life would never be the same as before. But whoever controls fate must be taking a laugh out of his life.

Deep down, Alex knew.

He can never ever escape the wrath of MI6, and his instincts were always right. Almost.

Mrs. Jones came all the way to America to talk to him.


"Spare me. You let me come to America with Sabina, wasn't that because you think I had enough?" Alex stood up straight, glaring down at Mrs. Jones.

"No, I let you come to America with the Pleasures because you needed a guardian." Mrs. Jones replied with utter calmness.

She sat ramrod straight on the sofa of the house of the Pleasures. Alex briefly wondered if she had an iron rod planted in her back.

"Alex, let me speak first." Mrs. Jones said softly.

Alex gave her a scale 10 glare and dropped down onto the sofa. He took the file that Mrs. Jones handed him.

"Aren't you afraid someone might be listening in?"

"No, I've had people to scan the house for bugs." Mrs. Jones replied curtly, and on the cue, 3 men in black appeared behind her, black wires trailing from the earpieces in their ears.

"Spies…" Alex muttered, annoyed, and proceeds to open the file.

"The main motive of this mission is to collect the files, from the person as mentioned in the file you are holding. Matt Warner…"

Mrs. Jones tapped the edge of the small black box sat on her palm. A small buzzed came from the box, and light shot out from the front. The men in black drew the blinds over the windows, before standing back at their original spot, as still as a statue. Momentarily blinded by the sudden light in the half-darkness, Alex brought his hands up and rubbed his eyes to clear his vision.

When he opened them again, he was facing Matt Warner, looking exactly the same as the picture in the file. Black hair with streaks of red, his hair cut short, but had a long fringe lying over his eyes. Obsidian-black eyes peeked out from beneath the mop of hair. After looking carefully, Alex realized it was a miniature version of Matt. There were green words beside the figure, and it took a while for Alex's eyes to get used to them.

He looked through the words and looked at Mrs. Jones curiously.

Mrs. Jones gave his a small smile.

"Courtesy of Smithers. He made this not long ago for holograms."

"Continue about the mission, Mrs. Jones." Alex replied dully.

Mrs. Jones cleared her throat. "Matt Warner, 1.60m tall. He is known as the "Master of Manipulation", otherwise known as "The Joker" He uses masks—realistic masks of people, so that his real identity will not be shown. This is one of the disguise he uses. Unfortunately, we do not have a picture of him without a disguise. I won't be surprised if Matt Warner wasn't his real name."

"So how do you expect me to track him without knowing how he looks like at all?"

"I didn't ask you to track him down. The mission is to collect as much information as you have on his company. And not Google search it, Alex. I meant infiltration. You are to infiltrate the company, or rather, its headquarters in Venice."

Alex felt his heart leaped up with fear. He could hear his heart pounding at his ears; the blood could be felt rushing out of his face.

Why Venice?

Mrs. Jones didn't notice Alex's sudden stiffness.

"You are to proceed to the headquarters, infiltrate in, and get into Matt Warner's office. Copy all information in the thumbdrive that Smithers will provide you with. Get the documents, and please, put on the latex gloves, and get out of there. But if time shall allow, get a glimpse of the research laboratory. We think that they have been creating and distributing drugs with severe effects. Also, they may be an opponent in MI6's technology. Recently, we found out that several secret intelligence agencies had been hacked. All information is still intact, but whether they had been copied is still being checked. Military Intelligence Sector 5 had recently reported to be the latest to be hacked into. We fear that MI6 may be next."

"Why didn't you send someone else in?" Alex asked.

"We did, and in different circumstances, the agents did not come back, or they were found dead. Those who returned were terrorized into silence."

Alex gulped.

"How many people did you send in?"

"10. They went in fives. 2 groups were sent in, but only some came back."

"That's what they get for a retrieval mission? Now you are suggesting that I go in! And I supposed I'm going in alone!"

"Well, I'm afraid that is."

"I'm afraid I'm not going, Mrs. Jones. Like I said, I had enough, I've seen enough, and I've done enough. I'm sick of being tangled into this mess."

"We can provide you with backup, if we must, but it will make things trickier. Having a partner means that you two must stay in contact as all times. What if one goes missing? Then the mission will be slowed down. There won't be efficiency. I sent 5 in together that time. It was a mistake. They were incompetent."

"Do you know you are sending me to a suicidal mission? I'm not as gullible as before. You've got nothing to blackmail me anymore."

"Alex, I'm not going to blackmail you. Not at all. But if you don't accept the mission, you'll be in grave danger as well. If Matt Warner managed to hack into our system, every agent's particulars will be exposed, and they will be tracked. As our highest ranking agent, we need to keep your particulars as a secret. They can't know your success rate. They will want you to work for them. So we have no choice but to send in a competent agent for this mission. I'm sorry, Alex, I don't wish to, but I've ran out of choices."

Just then, the door opened.

"Why is it so dark?" A voice murmured. "Alex? Alex! Why did you pull the blinds down?"

"Hi Sabina."

"Oh, hi, there you are—" Sabina stopped. She stared at Mrs. Jones.

"Why are you here? Wait, you…have you come for Alex again? Another suicidal mission? He's not leaving here. Not ever. You can't take him back to that cruel world of yours! He'll be ruined again!" Sabina shrieked.

Alex felt his heart pang. It was true. But did he have a choice?

He could always say no…

But risk letting his identity be revealed and tracked down, and get killed? He might get the Pleasures into trouble too.

"There now, Sabina. Just go up first. I'll…I'll talk to you later." Alex murmured, pushing Sabina lightly towards the stairs.

"But Alex…!"

"Please, Sabina." Alex pleaded, his voice soft. His fair hair had fallen over his eyes, making his brown eyes look darker.

Sabina obeyed.

Alex walked back to the couch.

"I'll go." He sighed.

Mrs. Jones didn't smile.

"I'm sorry, Alex."

When Alex didn't respond and decided that the ground was way more interesting, she continued, "I'll see you tomorrow at 5am. I'll be waiting outside. Pack your luggage, but you don't need a lot."

Mrs. Jones stood up, and strode towards the door, the men in black flanking her sides.

"I'll go off now. Thank you, Alex. I sincerely apologise."

Mrs. Jones left the room, leaving Alex staring at the floor in the dark room.


A/N: Hello :) after so long I'm finally back on Fanfiction. But I'm afraid I can't stay for too long so let me try to make the best out of my time to upload stuff.

I know I'm not done with Jigsaws. I lost inspiration and have a massive "lifeblock" so yeah, I can't think about anything properly. Sorry. I'd like to classify it as an after-effect of final exams this year. I really apologise and I hope I can get back to uploading more stories and continuing my old ones.

I think I lost my touch on writing proper stories (because I can only remember how to write argumentative essays, and I'm hooked onto psychological thrillers currently-which are so hard to write). So maybe I suck. Do review, I want to know whereI can improve on, because I want to know if I'm wasting my time writing when people don't like my stories