Frankie was chewing on the inside of his lip so intently that he was pretty sure it had started to swell, and he’d be accidentally biting it for weeks to come. He was torn between wanting to scream at people and wanting to break down into tears. Technically, it was his fault. Of all the things that they kept on location, The Marbles had to be the singularly most important. Yes, they had a silly name, but still, they were very powerful, and they had to be protected. Hadn’t that been made clear? How could he have made it clearer?
He hadn’t stressed just how important these items were. He hadn’t trained his staff well enough to understand just how much was at stake. He had to come up with a new process to teach his staff, and to come up with a new security system for the vaults, and maybe he could come up with some kind of compound that would make the objects easier to track without damaging them or accidentally setting them off, in case, heaven forbid, something like this was to ever happen again.
Frankie was so engrossed with his work that when he lab door creaked open, he jumped about half a foot and threw his pen at his intruder. Hank, or Agent Ten because they were all on emergency duty now, batted the pen away easily and laughed. “A little on edge, Frank dear?”
“Mmph.” Frankie huffed, pulling another pen out of the cup on his desk and turning back to his work.
“You know that it was a highly trained team that broke in here, right? They knew what they were doing. They took out several of my men, so your guys barely stood a chance. There is very little, if anything, that you could have done to make any kind of difference.”
Frankie raised an eyebrow at Hank. “Who told you to say that?”
“Well, Darryl told me it might be the kind of thing you’d want to hear, but I agree with the sentiment. You can’t beat yourself up over the break in because if you spend all your time second guessing yourself, then how in the world are we going to be able to use you to find the Marbles and the Users?”
Frankie put his pen down and rubbed his hands over his face. “It was just a huge mistake. Probably the biggest mistake in the history of the agency. And it was my tech, and on my watch that the items got stolen.”
“It’s was an incident, and a bad one, but not a mistake. And, I repeat, it was not your fault.” Hank put his hands on Frankie’s shoulders and looked him squarely in the face for the first time since coming into the room. “Whoa. Frank-man, when was the last time you slept?”
“I’d rather not say,” Frankie muttered sheepishly.
“Well, then I’m sure it’s been far too long. Laurel called to say she has confirmed that four and six are finally on their way and that the full team meeting will be tomorrow at eight. You should go sleep until then.”
“Four and Six?” Frankie knew them by name, and their nick names as the After the Fact Agents, the ones called in when things went wrong, “I’ve never actually met them, I don’t think. Are they really as intense as they seem?” Frankie asked weakly.
“They’re—well. Let’s just say they are interesting, shall we? But you can meet them tomorrow.” Hank crossed his arms over his chest and put on one of his more intimidating faces. “Now, are you going to go to bed willingly, or should I pick you up and carry you over my shoulder to your bunk?”
Frankie eyed hank suspiciously. He knew that Hank was easily capable of throwing Frankie over his shoulder, but would he? Finally deciding that yes, yes he most definitely would, Frankie packed all of his notes away and led the way out of the lab.
“There’s a good man,” Hank clapped him on the back, almost causing Frankie’s knees to buckle as they walked out of the room.