Part 1 - Chapter 8 - A New Threat

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Darla and I stood at attention in Boone's office watching a playback of Trent's meltdown on the computer monitor on Boone's desk. It pissed me off how they recorded everything. The entire incident between Trent and me played out, the audio and video as clear as if we were watching it live. How were they able to pick up on our voices? I cringed at the part where I told Trent all about myself. Didn't want to let Darla in on my story. When the playback ended, Boone sat forward in his chair and looked between the two of us.

Since Boone wouldn't speak, I decided that I would. "Why did you stick Trent with a hypo? What are you going to do to him?"

"Shouldn't you be more concerned about what I'm going to do to you?" Boone asked.

Standing beside me, I heard Darla's breath catch.

Boone looked at her. "Being Sing's first day, you should have let him sit with you, informed him about some of our more volatile students. You should have warned Sing about Trent's touch phobia. Your inattentiveness to this matter calls into question your qualifications as a mentor."

Touch phobia? I never knew such a thing existed.

Touch phobia? I never knew such a thing existed

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"Sorry, sir," Darla said in a meek tone. "It was a lapse of judgment, and it will not happen again."

Boone turned his attention back to me. "And you. Explain yourself."

I shrugged. "I had no place else to sit and Trent looked like he needed a friend."

"Do you always impose yourself on people who look like they need a friend?"

Following Darla's lead about being meek, I lowered my head. "I don't know. But, sir, I don't understand something. How does Trent get to and from the academy? Obviously, he can't take the bus. People are always bumping into each other and touching."

"Not everyone takes the bus," Boone said. "Trent's grandmother drives him."

I hadn't considered that.

Boone stroked his chin. "Sing, your attitude interests me. Relive the moment in your mind and tell me, what motivated you to want to lighten Trent's mood?"

Was he freaking kidding me? Again with the what motivates me crap. "I suppose because he didn't even try to do his math quiz. Something obviously bothered him."

"So what?" Boone said. "Why did that concern you?"

How could I get it through Boone's thick head that I just wanted to help the kid? That's all there was to it. In a peevish tone I said, "Look, I already told you."

Darla nudged me in the side and mumbled, "Watch yourself, pupil."

"Leave him be," Boone said calmly. "Think, Sing, something provoked you to take action. What was that root cause? That's what I need you to bring to the surface. So, I ask you again. What was your motivation?"

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