Amy took a deep breath as she walked back into her room at campus, fighting tears. She couldn't believe she'd made a mistake like that on her first mission. Her phone rang, and she checked it reluctantly. To her shock she realised it was Dr MacAfferty.
"Hello?" she said, gulping.
"Good afternoon, Amy. I'd like to see you in my office, just to go over the mission. I do it with everyone after their first mission."
"If that's alright with you." He hung up, and Amy turned back the way she'd come.
"Please sit down," Dr MacAfferty said.
"I'm sorry," Amy mumbled.
"Making a stupid mistake."
"Oh, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. We've had a go at cracking some of the files on the memory stick, but the encryption on it is very strong. So, you're upset because you didn't clean up the mess you'd made on the computer when you copied over the information?"
"Pretty much," she nodded.
"Well, about that. We've been monitoring Gwen's movements for some time, and although she's experienced enough not to have a very firmly established routine, some of her usual movements have changed. Additionally, a teacher at the school you attended - Miss Voolt, I believe her name was?"
"Yeah, what about her?"
"The police had an anonymous tip off about her involvement in some shoplifting."
"I don't understand."
"What we think happened is that Gwen realised that someone had been moving files around on her computer. She must have blamed Miss Voolt, and tipped the police off."
"I still don't get it, what if Miss Voolt spilt the beans on Gwen?"
"I think what will happen is Gwen will provide evidence to stop Miss Voolt going to jail. I believe it's more of a warning than anything else. Still, I think this may be the start of fractures appearing in her empire."
"We still failed though, didn't we?" Dr MacAfferty sighed.
"Well, if I'm honest, we can't really call it a success, but on the other hand, I think some good will come of this. Just, maybe more long term than we were hoping for. You've done well, befriending Lauren."
"Lauren would've made a good CHERUB agent," Amy said thoughtfully.
"I would be tempted to agree with you. If we get Gwen behind bars, and things don't work out with her father in the next few years, we still may be able to recruit her." He stood and held his hand out. "Hopefully I'll be seeing your successes on another mission soon."
"I'm not sure," Amy said sadly.
"Don't knock yourself. I think you've got a good future here at CHERUB."
Some years later
Amy yawned as she ran down the stairs. She was supposed to be tutoring some new kid for swimming, and she wanted to get there early. She changed, and got in the pool, starting to swim laps. She noticed the new kid poking his head around the door, and to her shock she recognised him.
"Are you James?" A million thoughts were flying around her head. If James was here, maybe Lauren was here as well. James clearly hadn't remembered her, which didn't surprise her - she had barely met the boy on her mission. In some ways, that was for the best. She hoped Lauren wouldn't be too angry with her if she was here as well. Amy knew you weren't supposed to form connections to the people you met on missions, but she really hoped that she could resume her friendship with Lauren - despite the age difference. She'd tried to forget about her first mission, but maybe, this was a chance for some good to come of it for her.