Face is injured and upset the Team goes on missions without him.

Tasmin sat on the sofa in her Response Centre. On the little side table beside the sofa, a cloth was spread out and on it the components of her Beretta 92SB were neatly aligned. She held the barrel in her hand and cleaned the inside of it with a small brush.

Allison sat at the console, reading a newsletter. "Says here," she said, without checking whether her partner was listening, "that the self-confidence of American kids is so high, it is actually off the charts. Years of school programmes to encourage kids' confidence have resulted in very high self-confidence. Eighteen percent of kids scored the maximum points on the confidence test. Researchers suggest devising a new test, or ending the confidence programmes."

"I vote for the latter."

"You think kids shouldn't have self-confidence?" Allison turned to Tasmin.

"Sure, some. But these programmes missed their mark. Their goal was to increase performance by increasing self-confidence. While the latter is off the chart, the former isn't. This shouldn't have been surprising, because some of these confidence building programmes worked like this: 'Eight out ten, that is great.' 'Four out of ten, well done.', all without telling these kids what they did wrong and allowing them to learn from their mistakes. We get to deal with the outcome of that every working day: badfic, written by authors who have never learned that not everything they produce is great. Leaving us to clean up the mess."

Allison weighed these comments. "So with less self-confidence there would be fewer badfic?"

"There was fewer badfic before these confidence programmes started. Although, that was also before the advent of the Internet. Still, I think there is a relation."

"Makes s-"


Allison was nearly blown off her seat. "Getting aggressive, are we?" she asked the machine as she pounded on all the buttons to find the one that would make it stop howling. It was probably luck she found one that did.

"Thank you." Allison managed a half-smile. "Let's see what we have. Oh, I guess the Flowers still think you need your rest."

"Why's that? Is my name not on the assignment sheet?" Tasmin carefully placed the barrel on the side table.

"No, it's another non-Sue one. I don't get it. Why are you getting the soft approach?"

"Perhaps it is because I'm one of their best operatives." Tasmin got up from the sofa and walked over to the console.

Allison growled in reply.

"I don't see why you call this the soft approach. The whole Team is out of character and there is not a Sue in sight to blame it on. I think we should go in as Ables." Tasmin pressed the buttons and opened a portal.


The Team, consisting of Hannibal, BA and Murdock, and accompanied by Frankie, walked into the house through the front door. In the hall way they walked past the two PPC agents - completely ignoring them - and went into the front room. Frankie was the last one to enter and left the door open.

"Self-preservation, you think?" Allison asked.

"Born in a barn more likely."

The agents approached the door and craned their necks to look into the room. Face lounged on one of the sofas. It was a few weeks after he had gotten shot in the stomach, and he looked well considering. Except for the scowl on his face.

The Team fell silent when they noticed, but Frankie was oblivious. He cheerfully announced to Face they had a great mission.

The others just looked down, almost ashamed that they had a good mission whilst Face was forced to stay behind. It wasn't as if they hadn't wanted Face with them, in fact they had tried to smuggle Face out with them, but Stockwell had been waiting for this eventuality and had the Abels escort Face back to the house.

"They had tried to take a wounded man on a mission with them," Allison summarised. "And Stockwell was the voice of reason. This is not going to end well."

"Apparently, letting Face heal from his gunshot wound had felt like abandoning him."

"Yeah, I'd want friends like that, too. Friends that care for me so much their cuddles get me killed."

Face didn't even dignify the statement with a reply and simply left the room slamming his door behind him.

"Hey, careful there," Allison cried out. "You almost cut off my fingers with that."

Face threw her a miserable look and kept on walking.

The agents watched his receding back.

"I feel he should have apologised." Allison carefully inspected her fingers.

"He's not feeling very well. You should catch him, though, and bring him back here, so I can neuralyze all of them in one go."

Allison nodded and set off on a dull run to catch up with Face and steer him back to the front room.

Tasmin turned her head to the Words. By now, BA had marched up to Frankie, grabbed him by his waistcoat and slammed him against a wall. He told him off for making Face feel bad about not going on a mission with them. Frankie didn't understand what had gotten Face, or BA, upset.

"The big problem Frank, is that we never leave a man behind!" Murdock yelled.

Tasmin rolled her eyes. "Not leaving an injured man behind when you are moving to safety is not quite the same as not leaving an injured man behind in safety."

To the Team it apparently was.

"It's called L.O.Y.A.L.T.Y Santana. We have never left a man behind, injured or not!"

"Allison's right. With friends like these, who needs enemies?"

"Were you talking about me?" Allison asked. "My ears were burning."

Tasmin replied with a glare. "You've brought Face. Good. Let's go in there." She nodded to the front room.

Allison opened the door to the front room and pushed Face through first. Hannibal, who had been just on his way to see him, expressed surprise at his return to the front room.

"Gentlemen, if you could all look this way, please."

The Team and Frankie turned their heads to look at the two Ables standing in the doorway, sporting sunglasses. One of them held a small cannister and when she depressed a button, a red light flashed.

"Face," Tasmin started. "You are not upset and suffering abandonment issues about not being taken along on a mission while injured. BA, Hannibal, Murdock, you do not take an injured man with you on missions. Not taking an injured man with you does not feel like abandonment. Rather, you hope he will get well soon, so you can start taking him along on missions. Frankie..." Tasmin looked at him for a moment. "As you were."

Tasmin and Allison stepped back out of the room and took off their sunglasses. Allison closed the door while Tasmin rummaged through her bag for the Remote Activator.

"You think Frankie was in character?"

"He was annoying. How far out of character could he have been?"

Tasmin opened a portal and the agents returned to their Response Centre, wondering how many more non-Sue missions they would get until Tasmin had had enough rest. Well, Allison wondered about that. Tasmin thought of cleaning her gun.

Yeah, the Team are probably big on loyalty. Leaving an injured man behind on the sofa so he can rest and heal, is, however, not the same as being disloyal. I'm sure the Team, with their many injuries, would know the difference.