The boy was sitting quite still, his face a strange mixture of confusion, eagerness, interest and fright.
The Minder sat down again and sipped his coffee. "Tell me, boy, what had you planned to do with your life, before you irritated your headmaster beyond bearing?" His expression showed nothing but slight amusement and sympathetic interest.
The abrupt change of subject from recruitment speech to questioning again jarred him. Taken aback, he gaped at the Minder in silence. The Minder's expression of apparently genuine interest didn't change, he just sat and waited and sipped his coffee.
The boy's mouth was feeling dry again, so he took another drink. A bewildering succession of thoughts passed through his mind at high speed. Eventually they crystallised into something that might have been expressed as: No-one ever took this much interest in me before, they probably know everything about me already so there's no point in holding back, and, being honest, I kind of like this guy and he's easy to talk to.
He took a deep breath and gathered himself. "Well, I .. I thought of being a doctor. When I was little, you know? It's fascinating, how things work, cells and biochemistry, ways to manipulate it, and fix things, with drugs, or gene splicing and other tech, that sort of thing. And the differences between species, like the vascular structures in Iridonians with their two hearts, and the way the Twi'lek digestion works, it's really complex and their liver works in multiple stages ... umm
, he was visibly lighting up with enthusiasm but then consciously damped it down, not wanting to start babbling.
He thought a moment then shrugged. But, well, I don't really like people all that much." He smiled ruefully." I don't have the empathy or sympathy or whatever it is you need. No-one would like my bedside manner. So I got more into computing and electronics and looked at cybernetics a bit. I was thinking of going for biotechnology research instead, but the school wasn't interested."
The Minder continued to listen, still without saying anything. The boy gulped the remainder of his juice and shrugged again. "They weren't teaching me anything useful, hell, I knew more than the teachers in some classes. So I just messed around a lot and got in trouble, and .. well, I guess I could've just left, but it was kind of more fun deliberately doing really annoying stuff so they'd kick me out. He gave the Minder a slightly sheepish grin.
The Minder grinned back. So having succeeded, what were you going to do next?
The boy shifted uneasily in his chair and shuffled his feet on the floor. I
", he stopped for a moment, I guess I thought of making a living through hacking the nets, moving credits around, selling information, that sort of stuff. He looked down, embarrassed, and wondering why he'd gone quite that far in his confessions.