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Ender in Exile

发布时间:2014-03-09 15:37:03  

Ender in Exile

By Orson Scott Card


Ender in Exile Ender in Exile Ender in Exile


To: jpwiggin@gso.nc.pub, twiggin@uncg.edu

From: hgraff%educadmin@ifcom.gov

Subj: When Andrew Returns Home

Dear John Paul and Theresa Wiggin,

You understand that during the recent attempt by the Warsaw Pact to take over the

International Fleet, our sole concern at EducAdmin was the safety of the children. Nowwe are finally able to begin working out the logistics of sending the children home.

We assure you that Andrew will be provided with continuous surveillance and an activebodyguard throughout his transfer from the I.F. to American government control. We arestill negotiating the degree to which the I.F. will continue to provide protection afterthe transfer.

Every effort is being made by EducAdmin to assure that Andrew will be able to return tothe most normal childhood possible. However, I wish your advice about whether he shouldbe retained here in isolation until the conclusion of the inquiries into EducAdmin

actions during the late campaign. It is quite likely that testimony will be offered thatdepicts Andrew and his actions in damaging ways, in order to attack EducAdmin throughhim (and the other children). Here at IFCom we can keep him from hearing the worst ofit; on Earth, no such protection will be possible and it is likelier that he will becalled to “testify.”

Hyrum Graff


Theresa Wiggin was sitting up in bed, holding her printout of Graff’s letter.

“‘Called to “testify.”‘ Which means putting him on exhibit as—what, a hero? Morelikely a monster, since we already have various senators decrying the exploitation ofchildren.”

“That’ll teach him to save the human race,” said her husband, John Paul.

“This is not a time for flippancy.”

“Theresa, be reasonable,” said John Paul. “I want Ender home as much as you do.”

“No you don’t,” said Theresa fiercely. “You don’t ache with the need for him everyday.” Even as she said it she knew she was being unfair to him, and she covered hereyes and shook her head.

To his credit, he understood and didn’t argue with her about what he did and did notfeel. “You can never have the years they’ve taken, Theresa. He’s not the boy weknew.”

“Then we’ll get to know the boy he is. Here. In our home.”

“Surrounded by guards.”

“That’s the part I refuse to accept. Who would want to hurt him?”

John Paul set down the book he was no longer pretending to read. “Theresa, you’re thesmartest person I know.”

“He’s a child!”

“He won a war against incredibly superior forces.”

“He fired off one weapon. Which he did not design or deploy.”

“He got that weapon into firing range.”

“The formics are gone! He’s a hero, he’s not in danger.”

“All right, Theresa, he’s a hero. How is he going to go to middle school? What eighth-grade teacher is ready for him? What school dance is he going to be ready for?”

“It will take time. But here, with his family—“

“Yes, we’re such a warm, welcoming group of people, a love nest into which he’ll fitso easily.”

“We do love each other!”

“Theresa, Colonel Graff is only trying to warn us that Ender isn’t just our son.”

“He’s nobody else’s son.”

“You know who wants to kill our son.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Every government that thinks of American military power as an obstacle to theirplans.”

“But Ender isn’t going to be in the military, he’s going to be—“

“This week he won’t be in the American military. Maybe. He won a war at the age oftwelve, Theresa. What makes you think he won’t be drafted by our benevolent and

democratic government the moment he gets back to Earth? Or put into protective custody?Maybe they’ll let us go with him and maybe they won’t.”

Theresa let the tears flow down her cheeks. “So you’re saying that when he left herewe lost him forever.”

“I’m saying that when your child goes off to war, you will never get him back. Not ashe was, not the same boy. Changed, if he comes back at all. So let me ask you. Do youwant him to go where he’s in the greatest danger, or to stay where he’s relativelysafe?”

“You think Graff is trying to get us to tell him to keep Ender with him out there inspace.”

“I think Graff cares what happens to Ender, and he’s letting us know—without actuallysaying it, because every letter he sends can be used against him in court—that Ender isin terrible danger. Not ten minutes after Ender’s victory, the Russians made theirbrutal play for control of the I.F. Their soldiers killed thousands of fleet officersbefore the I.F. was able to force their surrender. What would they have done if they hadwon? Brought Ender home and put on a big parade for him?”

Theresa knew all of this. She had known it, viscerally at least, from the moment sheread Graff’s letter. No, she had known it even before, had known it with a sick dreadas soon as she heard that the Formic War was over. He would not be coming home.

She felt John Paul’s hand on her shoulder. She shrugged it off. His hand returned,

stroking her arm as she lay there, facing away from him, crying because she knew she hadalready lost the argument, crying because she wasn’t even on her own side in theirquarrel.

“We knew when he was born that he didn’t belong to us.”

“He does belong to us.”

“If he comes home, his life belongs to whatever government has the power to protect himand use him—or kill him. He’s the single most important asset surviving from the war.The great weapon. That’s all he’ll be—that and such a celebrity he can’t possiblyhave a normal childhood anyway. And would we be much help, Theresa? Do we understandwhat his life has been for the past seven years? What kind of parents can we be to theboy—the man—that he’s become?”

“We would be wonderful,” she said.

“And we know this because we’re such perfect parents for the children we have at homewith us.”

Theresa rolled onto her back. “Oh, dear. Poor Peter. It must be killing him that Endermight come home.”

“Take the wind right out of his sails.”

“Oh, I’m not sure of that,” said Theresa. “I bet Peter is already figuring out howto exploit Ender’s return.”

“Until he finds out that Ender is much too clever to be exploited.”

“What preparation does Ender have for politics? He’s been in the military all thistime.”

John Paul chuckled.

“All right, yes, of course the military is just as political as government.”

“But you’re right,” said John Paul. “Ender’s had protection there, people whointended to exploit him, yes, but he hasn’t had to do any bureaucratic fighting forhimself. He’s probably a babe in the woods when it comes to maneuvering like that.”

“So Peter really could use him?”

“That’s not what worries me. What worries me is what Peter will do when he finds outthat he can’t use him.”

Theresa sat back up and faced her husband. “You can’t think Peter would raise a handagainst Ender!”

“Peter doesn’t raise his own hand to do anything difficult or dangerous. You know howhe’s been using Valentine.”

“Only because she lets him use her.”

“Exactly my point,” said John Paul.

“Ender is not in danger from his own family.”

“Theresa, we have to decide: What’s best for Ender? What’s best for Peter andValentine? What’s best for the future of the world?”

“Sitting here on our bed, in the middle of the night, the two of us are deciding thefate of the world?”

“When we conceived little Andrew, my dear, we decided the fate of the world.”

“And had a good time doing it,” she added.

“Is it good for Ender to come home? Will it make him happy?”

“Do you really think he’s forgotten us?” she asked. “Do you think Ender doesn’tcare whether he comes home?”

“Coming home lasts a day or two. Then there’s living here. The danger from foreignpowers, the unnaturalness of his life at school, the constant infringements on his

privacy, and let’s not forget Peter’s unquenchable ambition and envy. So I ask again,will Ender’s life here be happier than it would be if . . .”

“If he stays out in space? What kind of life will that be for him?”

“The I.F. has made its commitment—total neutrality in regard to anything happening onEarth. If they have Ender, then the whole world—every government—will know they’dbetter not try to go up against the Fleet.”

“So by not coming home, Ender continues to save the world on an ongoing basis,” saidTheresa. “What a useful life he’ll have.”

“The point is that nobody else can use him.”

Theresa put on her sweetest voice. “So you think we should write back to Graff and tellhim that we don’t want Ender to come home?”

“We can’t do anything of the kind,” said John Paul. “We’ll write back that we’reeager to see our son and we don’t think any bodyguard will be necessary.”

It took her a moment to realize why he seemed to be reversing everything he’d said.“Any letters we send Graff,” she said, “will be just as public as the letter he sentus. And just as empty. And we do nothing and let things take their course.”

“No, my dear,” said John Paul. “It happens that living in our own house, under ourown roof, are two of the most influential formers of public opinion.”

“But John Paul, officially we don’t know that our children are sneaking around in thenets, manipulating events through Peter’s network of correspondents and Valentine’sbrilliantly perverse talent for demagoguery.”

“And they don’t know that we have any brains,” said John Paul. “They seem to thinkthey were left at our house by fairies instead of having our genetic material throughouttheir little bodies. They treat us as convenient samples of ignorant public opinion. So. . . let’s give them some public opinions that will steer them to do what’s best fortheir brother.”

“What’s best,” echoed Theresa. “We don’t know what’s best.”

“No,” said John Paul. “We only know what seems best. But one thing’s certain—weknow a lot more about it than any of our children do.”

* * * * *

Valentine came home from school with anger festering inside her. Stupid teachers—itmade her crazy sometimes to ask a question and have the teacher patiently explain thingsto her as if the question were a sign of Valentine’s failure to understand the subject,instead of the teacher’s. But Valentine sat there and took it, as the equation showedup in the holodisplay on everybody’s desk and the teacher covered it point by point.

Then Valentine drew a little circle in the air around the element of the problem thatthe teacher had not addressed properly—the reason why the answer was not right.Valentine’s circle did not show up on all the desks, of course; only the teacher’scomputer had that capability.

So the teacher then got to draw his own circle around that number and say, “What

you’re not noticing here, Valentine, is that even with this explanation, if you ignorethis element you still can’t get the right answer.”

It was such an obvious ego-protective cover-up. But of course it was obvious only toValentine. To the other students, who were barely grasping the material anyway

(especially since it was being explained to them by an unobservant incompetent), it wasVal who had overlooked the circled parenthetical, even though it was precisely becauseof that element that she had asked her question in the first place.

And the teacher gave her that simpering smile that clearly said, You aren’t going todefeat me and humiliate me in front of this class.

But Valentine was not trying to humiliate him. She did not care about him. She simplycared that the material be taught well enough that if, God forbid, some member of theclass became a civil engineer, his bridges wouldn’t fall down and kill people.

That was the difference between her and the idiots of the world. They were all trying tolook smart and keep their social standing. Whereas Valentine didn’t care about socialstanding, she cared about getting it right. Getting the truth—when the truth wasgettable.

She had said nothing to the teacher and nothing to any of the students and she knew shewouldn’t get any sympathy at home, either. Peter would mock her for caring about school

enough to let that clown of a teacher get under her skin. Father would look at theproblem, point out the correct answer, and go back to his work without ever noticingthat Val wasn’t asking for help, she was asking for commiseration.

And Mother? She would be all for charging down to the school and doing something aboutit, raking the teacher over the coals. Mother wouldn’t even hear Val explaining thatshe didn’t want to shame the teacher, she just wanted somebody to say, “Isn’t it

ironic, that in this special advanced school for really bright kids, they have a teacherwho doesn’t know his own subject!” To which Val could reply, “It sure is!” and thenshe’d feel better. Like somebody was on her side. Somebody got it and she wasn’talone.

My needs are simple and few, thought Valentine. Food. Clothing. A comfortable place tosleep. And no idiots.

But of course a world with no idiots would be lonely. If she herself were even allowedthere. It’s not as if she never made mistakes.

Like the mistake of ever letting Peter rope her into being Demosthenes. He still thoughthe needed to tell her what to write every day after school—as if, after all these

years, she had not completely internalized the character. She could write Demosthenes’essays in her sleep.

And if she needed help, all she had to do was listen to Father pontificate on worldaffairs—since he seemed to echo all of Demosthenes’ warmongering jingoistic demagogicopinions despite claiming never to read the columns.

If he knew his sweet naive little daughter was writing those essays, he’d pooppetunias.

She fumed into the house, headed straight for her computer, scanned the news, andstarted writing the essay she knew Peter would assign her—a diatribe on how the I.F.should not have ended the hostilities with the Warsaw Pact without first demanding thatRussia surrender all her nukes, because shouldn’t there be some cost to waging anakedly aggressive war? All the usual spewings from her Demosthenes anti-avatar.

Or am I, as Demosthenes, Peter’s real avatar? Have I been turned into a virtual person?

Click. An email. Anything would be better than what she was writing.

It was from Mother. She was forwarding an email from Colonel Graff. About Ender having abodyguard when he came home.

“I thought you’d want to see this,” Mother had written. “Isn’t it just THRILLINGthat Andrew’s homecoming is SO CLOSE?”

Stop shouting, Mother. Why do you use caps for emphasis like that? It’s so—junior highschool. It’s what she told Peter more than once. Mother is such a cheerleader.

Mother’s epistle went on in the same vein. It’ll take NO time at ALL to get Ender’sroom back into shape for him and now there doesn’t seem to be any reason to put offcleaning the room a SECOND longer unless what do you think, would Peter want to SHAREhis room with his little brother so they could BOND and get CLOSE again? And what do youthink Ender will want for his VERY FIRST meal home?

Food, Mother. Whatever it is will definitely be “SPECIAL enough to make him feel LOVEDand MISSED.”

Anyway. Mother was so naive to take Graff’s letter at face value. Val went back andread it again. Surveillance. Bodyguard. Graff was sending her a warning, not trying toget her all excited about Ender’s homecoming. Ender was going to be in danger.Couldn’t Mother see that?

Graff asked if they should keep Ender in space till the inquiries were over. But thatwould take months. How could Mother have gotten the idea that Ender was coming home sosoon it was time to clear out the junk that had gotten stacked in his room? Graff wasasking her to request that he not be sent home just yet. And his reason was that Enderwas in danger.

Instantly the whole range of dangers that Ender faced loomed before her. The Russianswould assume that Ender was a weapon that America would use against them. The Chinesewould think the same—that America, armed with this Ender-weapon, might become

aggressive about intruding into China’s sphere of influence again. Both nations wouldbreathe easier if Ender were dead. Though of course they’d have to make it look likethe assassination had been carried out by some kind of terrorist movement. Which meantthat they wouldn’t just snipe Ender out of existence, they’d probably blow up hisschool.

No, no, no, Val told herself. Just because that’s the kind of thing Demosthenes wouldsay doesn’t mean it’s what you have to think!

But the image of somebody blowing Ender up or shooting him or whatever method theyused—all the methods kept flashing through her mind. Wouldn’t it be ironic—yet

typically human—for the person who saved the human race to be assassinated? It was likethe murder of Abraham Lincoln or Mohandas Gandhi. Some people just didn’t know whotheir saviors were. And the fact that Ender was still a kid wouldn’t even slow themdown.

He can’t come home, she thought. Mother will never see it, I could never say it to her,but . . . even if they weren’t going to assassinate him, what would his life be likehere? Ender was never one to seek fame or status, and yet everything he did would end upon the vids with people commenting on how he did his hair (Vote! Like it or hate it?)and what classes he was taking in school (What will the hero be when he grows up? Voteon the career you think The Wiggin should prepare for!).

What a nightmare. It wouldn’t be coming home. They could never bring Ender home anyway.The home he left didn’t exist. The kid who was taken out of that home didn’t existeither. When Ender was here—not even a whole year ago—when Val went to the lake andspent those hours with him, Ender seemed so old. Playful sometimes, yes, but he felt theweight of the world on his shoulders. Now the burden had been taken off—but theaftermath would cling to him, would tie him down, tear down his life.

The years of childhood were gone. Period. Ender didn’t get to be a little boy growingup into an adolescent in his father’s and mother’s house. He was already an adolescentnow—in years and hormones—and an adult in the responsibilities he’d borne.

If school feels empty to me, how will it feel to Ender?

Even as she finished writing her essay on Russia’s nukes and the cost of defeat, shewas mentally structuring another essay. The one explaining why Ender Wiggin should notbe brought back to Earth because he’d be the target of every crank and spy andpaparazzo and assassin and a normal life would be impossible.

She didn’t write it, though. Because she knew there was a huge problem: Peter wouldhate it.

Because Peter already had his plans. His online persona, Locke, had already started

laying the groundwork for Ender’s homecoming. It was clear to Valentine that when Enderreturned, Peter intended to come out of the closet as the real author of the Locke

essays—and therefore the person who came up with the terms of the truce that was stillholding between the Warsaw Pact and the I.F. Peter meant to piggyback on Ender’s fame.Ender saved the human race from the formics, and his big brother Peter saved the world

from civil war in the aftermath of Ender’s victory. Double heroes!

Ender would hate the notoriety. Peter was so hungry for it that he intended to steal asmuch of Ender’s as he could get.

Oh, he’d never admit that, thought Valentine. Peter will have all kinds of reasons whyit’s for Ender’s own good. Probably the very reasons I’ve thought of.

And since that’s the case, am I doing just what Peter does? Have I come up with allthese reasons for Ender not to come home, solely because in my heart I don’t want himhere?

At that thought, such a wave of emotion swept over her that she found herself weeping ather homework table. She wanted him home. And even though she understood that he

couldn’t really come home—Colonel Graff was right—she still yearned for the littlebrother who was stolen from her. All these years with the brother I hate, and now, forthe sake of the brother I love, I’ll work to keep him from . . .

From me? No, I don’t have to keep him from me. I hate school, I hate my life here, Ihate hate hate being under Peter’s thumb. Why should I stay? Why shouldn’t I go outinto space with Ender? At least for a while. I’m the one he’s closest to. I’m theonly one he’s seen in the past seven years. If he can’t come home, one bit ofhome—me—can come to him!

It was all a matter of persuading Peter that it wasn’t in his best interest to haveEnder come back to Earth—without letting Peter know that she was trying to manipulatehim.

It just made her tired, because Peter wasn’t easy to manipulate. He saw through

everything. So she had to be quite forthright and honest about what she was doing—butdo it with such subtle overtones of humility and earnestness and dispassion and whateverthat Peter could get past his own condescension toward everything she said and decidethat he had thought that way all along and . . .

And is my real motive that I want to get off planet myself? Is this about Ender or aboutme getting free?

Both. It can be both. And I’ll tell Ender the truth about that—I won’t be giving upanything to be with him. I’d rather be with him in space and never see Earth again thanstay here, with or without him. Without him: an aching void. With him: the pain ofwatching him lead a miserable, frustrated life.

Val began to write a letter to Colonel Graff. Mother had been careless enough to includeGraff’s address. That was almost a security breach. Mother was so naive sometimes. Ifshe were an I.F. officer, she would have been cashiered long ago.

* * * * *

At dinner that night, Mother couldn’t stop talking about Ender’s homecoming. Peterlistened with only half his attention, because of course Mother couldn’t see past herpersonal sentimentality about her “lost little boy coming back to the nest” whereasPeter understood that Ender’s return would be horribly complicated. So much to preparefor—and not just the stupid bedroom. Ender could have Peter’s own bed, for all hecared—what mattered was that for a brief window of time, Ender would be the center ofthe world’s attention, and that was when Locke would emerge from the cloak of anonymityand put an end to the speculation about the identity of the “great benefactor ofhumanity who, because of his modesty in remaining anonymous, cannot receive the Nobelprize that he so richly deserves for having led us to the end of the last war ofmankind.”

That from a rather gushy fan of Locke’s—who also happened to be the head of theopposition party in Great Britain. Naive to imagine even for a moment that the briefattempt by the New Warsaw Pact to take over the I.F. was the “last war.” There’s onlyone way to have a “last war,” and that’s to have the whole of Earth under a single,effective, powerful, but popular leader.

And the way to introduce that leader would be to find him on camera, standing beside thegreat Ender Wiggin with his arm flung across the hero’s shoulders because—and whoshould be surprised by this?—the “Boy of War” and the “Man of Peace” are brothers!

And now Father was blathering about something. Only he had addressed something to Peterdirectly and so Peter had to play the dutiful son and listen as if he cared.

“I really think you need to commit to the career you want to pursue before your brothergets home, Peter.”

“And why is that?” asked Peter.

“Oh, don’t pretend to be so naive. Don’t you realize that Ender Wiggin’s brother canget into any college he wants?”

Father pronounced the words as if they were the most brilliant ever spoken aloud bysomeone who had not yet been deified by the Roman senate or sainted by the Pope orwhatever. It would never occur to Father that Peter’s perfect grades and his perfectscore on all the college-entry tests would already get him into any school he wanted. Hedidn’t have to piggyback on his brother’s fame. But no, to Father everything good inPeter’s life would always be seen as flowing from Ender. Ender Ender Ender Ender what astupid name.

If Father’s thinking this way, no doubt everybody else will, too. At least everybodybelow a certain minimum intelligence.

All Peter had been seeing was the publicity bonus that Ender’s homecoming would offer.But Father had reminded him of something else—that everything he did would be

discounted in people’s minds precisely because he was Ender the Great’s older brother.People would see them standing side by side, yes—but they’d wonder why Ender’sbrother had not been taken into Battle School. It would make Peter look weak andinferior and vulnerable.

There he’d stand, noticeably taller, the brother who stayed home and didn’t do

anything. “Oh, but I wrote all the Locke essays and shut down the conflict with Russiabefore it could turn into a world war!” Well, if you’re so smart, why weren’t youhelping your little brother save the human race from complete destruction?

Public relations opportunity, yes. But also a nightmare.

How could he use the opportunity Ender’s great victory offered, yet not have it looklike he was nothing but a hanger-on, sucking at his brother’s fame like a remora? Howghastly if his announcement sounded like some sad kind of me-too-ism. Oh, you think mybrother’s cool? Well, I’ll have you know that I saved the world too. In my own sad,needy little way.

“Are you all right, Peter?” asked Valentine.

“Oh, is something wrong?” asked Mother. “Let me look at you, dear.”

“I’m not taking my shirt off or letting you use a rectal thermometer on me, Mother,because Val is hallucinating and I look just fine.”

“I’ll have you know that if and when I start hallucinating,” said Val, “I can thinkof something better than seeing your face looking pukish.”

“What a great commercial idea,” said Peter, almost by reflex now. “Choose Your OwnHallucination! Oh, wait, they have that one—they call it ‘illegal drugs.’ “

“Don’t sneer at us needy ones,” said Val. “Those who are addicted to ego don’t needdrugs.”

“Children,” said Mother. “Is this what Ender will find when he comes home?”

“Yes,” said Val and Peter simultaneously.

Father spoke up. “I’d like to think he might find you a bit more mature.”

But by now Peter and Val were laughing uproariously. They couldn’t stop, so Father sentthem from the table.

* * * * *

Peter glanced through Val’s essay on Russian nukes. “This is so boring.”

“I don’t think so,” said Valentine. “They have the nukes and that keeps othercountries from slapping them down when they need it—which is often.”

“What’s this thing you’ve got against Russia?”

“It’s Demosthenes who has something against Russia,” said Val with fake nonchalance.

“Good,” said Peter. “So Demosthenes will not be worried about Russian nuclear

weapons, he’ll be worried about Russia getting its hands on the most valuable weapon ofthem all.”

“The Molecular Disruption Device?” asked Val. “The I.F. will never bring it withinfiring range of Earth.”

“Not the M.D. Device, you poor sap. I’m referring to our brother. Our civilization-destroying junior sib.”

“Don’t you dare talk about him with scorn!”

Peter’s expression turned into a mocking simper. But behind his visage there was angerand hurt. She still had the power to get to him, just by making it clear how much moreshe loved Ender.

“Demosthenes is going to write an essay pointing out that America must get Andrew

Wiggin back to Earth immediately. No more delays. The world is too dangerous a place forAmerica not to have the immediate services of the greatest military leader the world hasever known.”

Immediately a fresh wave of hatred for Peter swept over Valentine. Partly because sherealized his approach would work far better than the essay she had already written. Shehadn’t internalized Demosthenes as well as she thought. Demosthenes would absolutelycall for Ender’s immediate return and enlistment in the American military.

And that would be as destabilizing, in its own way, as a call for forward deployment ofnukes. Demosthenes’ essays were watched very carefully by the rivals and enemies of theUnited States. If he called for Ender to come home at once, they would all start

maneuvering to keep Ender in space; and some, at least, would openly accuse America ofhaving aggressive intentions.

It would then be Locke’s place, in a few days or weeks, to come up with a compromise, astatesmanlike solution: Leave the kid in space.

Valentine knew exactly why Peter had changed his mind. It was that stupid remark of

Father’s at dinner—his reminder that Peter would be in Ender’s shadow, no matter whathe did.

Well, even political sheep sometimes said something that had a good result. Now Valwouldn’t even have to persuade Peter of the need to keep Ender away from Earth. It

would be all his idea instead of hers.

* * * * *

Theresa once again sat on the bed, crying. Strewn about her were printouts of theDemosthenes and Locke essays that she knew would keep Ender from returning home.

“I can’t help it,” she said to her husband. “I know it’s the right thing—just asGraff wanted us to understand it. But I thought I’d see him again. I really did.”

John Paul sat beside her on the bed and put his arms around her. “It’s the hardestthing we ever did.”

“Not giving him up in the first place?”

“That was hard,” said John Paul, “but we didn’t have a choice. They were going totake him anyway. This time, though. You know that if we went on the nets and put up vidsof us pleading for our son to come home—we’d have a pretty good chance.”

“And our little boy is going to wonder why we don’t do it.”

“No he’s not.”

“Oh, you think he’s so smart he’ll figure out what we’re doing? Why we’re doingnothing?”

“Why wouldn’t he?”

“Because he doesn’t know us,” said Theresa. “He doesn’t know what we think or feel.As far as he can tell, we’ve forgotten all about him.”

“One thing I feel good about, in this whole mess,” said John Paul. “We’re still goodat manipulating our genius children.”

“Oh, that,” said Theresa dismissively. “It’s easy to manipulate your children whenthey’re absolutely sure you’re stupid.”

“What makes me saddest,” said John Paul, “is that Locke is getting credit for caringabout Ender more than anybody. So when his identity does come out, it’ll look as thoughhe loyally stepped in to protect his brother.”

“He’s our boy, that Peter,” said Theresa. “Oh, what a piece of work he is.”

“I have a philosophical question. I wonder if what we call ‘goodness’ is actually amaladaptive trait. As long as most people have it, and the rules of society promote itas a virtue, then the natural rulers have a clear field of action. It’s because ofEnder’s goodness that it’s Peter we’ll have at home on Earth.”

“Oh, Peter’s good,” said Theresa bitterly.

“Yes, I forgot,” said John Paul. “It’s for the good of the human race that he’llbecome ruler of the world. An altruistic sacrifice.”

“When I read his simpering essays I want to claw his eyes out.”

“He’s our son, too,” said John Paul. “As much a product of our genes as Ender orVal. And we did goad him into this.”

Theresa knew he was right. But it didn’t help. “He didn’t have to enjoy himself somuch, did he?”


Ender in Exile


To: hgraff%educadmin@ifcom.gov

From: demosthenes@LastBestHopeOfEarth.pol

Subj: You know the truth

You know who decides what to write. No doubt you can even guess why. I’m not going totry to defend my essay, or how it’s being used by others.

You once used the sister of Andrew Wiggin to persuade him to go back into space and winthat little war you were fighting. She did her job, didn’t she? Such a good girl,fulfills all her assignments.

Well I have an assignment for her. You once sent her brother to her, for comfort andcompany. He’ll need her again, more than ever, only he can’t come to her. No house bythe lake this time. But there’s no reason she can’t go out into space to be with him.Enlist her in the I.F., pay her as a consultant, whatever it takes. But she and herbrother need each other. More than either of them needs Life On Earth.

Don’t second-guess her on this. Remember that she’s smarter than you are, and sheloves her younger brother more than you do, and besides, you’re a decent man. You knowthis is right and good. You always try to bring about what’s right and good, don’tyou?

Do us both a favor. Take this letter and shred it and stick it where the sun don’tshine.

Your devoted and humble servant—everybody’s devoted and humble servant—the humble anddevoted servant of truth and noble jingoism—Demosthenes.

How does a thirteen-year-old admiral spend his days?

Not commanding a ship—that was made plain to Ender from the day he received hiscommission. “You have a rank commensurate with your achievements,” said AdmiralChamrajnagar, “but you will have duties commensurate with your training.”

What was his training? To play at virtual war on the simulator. Now there was no oneleft to fight, so he was trained for . . . nothing.

Oh, one other thing: to lead children into combat, to squeeze the last ounce of effortand concentration and talent and intelligence from them. But the children had no purposehere, and one by one, they were going home.

They each came to Ender to say good-bye. “You’ll be home soon,” said Hot Soup.“They’ve got to prepare a hero’s welcome.” He was heading to Tactical School, tocomplete the bits of work remaining before he could earn his high school diploma. “So Ican get into college right away.”

“Fifteen-year-olds always do great in college,” said Ender.

“I have to concentrate on my studies,” said Han Tzu. “Finish college, find out whatI’m supposed to do with my life, and then find someone to marry and start a family.”

“Get on with the cycle of life?” said Ender.

“A man without a wife and babies is a menace to civilization,” said Han Tzu. “Onebachelor is an irritation. Ten thousand bachelors are a war.”

“I love it when you recite Chinese wisdom.”

“I’m Chinese, so I get to make it up.” Han Tzu grinned at him. “Ender, come see me.China’s a beautiful country. More variety inside China than in the rest of the world.”

“I will if I can,” said Ender. He didn’t have the heart to point out that China wasfull of human beings, and that the mix of good and bad, strong and weak, courageous andfearful was bound to be about the same as in any other country or culture or

civilization . . . or village, or house, or heart.

“Oh, you’ll be able to!” said Han Tzu. “You led the human race to victory, andeveryone knows it. You can do whatever you want!”

Except go home, said Ender silently. Out loud, he answered, “You don’t know myparents.”

He had meant it to be in the same jocular tone that Han Tzu was using, but nothing cameout right these days. Maybe there was a moroseness in him that colored all his speechwithout his knowing it. Or maybe it was Han Tzu who couldn’t hear a joke coming fromEnder’s mouth; maybe he and the other kids all had too many memories of how it was nearthe end, when they worried that Ender might be losing his mind.

But Ender knew that he wasn’t losing it. He was finding it. The deep mind, the uttersoul, the heartlessly compassionate man—able to love others so deeply he can understandthem, yet remain so detached that he can use that knowledge to destroy them.

“Parents,” said Han Tzu joylessly. “Mine’s in prison, you know. Or maybe he’s outnow. He set me up to cheat on my test, to make sure I got in here.”

“You didn’t need to cheat,” said Ender. “You’re the real thing.”

“But my father needed to bestow it on me. It was no good if I earned it myself. It’show he made himself feel necessary. I understand that now. My plan is to be a betterfather than him. I am the Good Man-Parent!”

Ender laughed and then embraced him and they said good-bye. But the conversation stuckwith him. He realized that Han Tzu would take his training and turn himself into theperfect father. And much of what he had learned in Battle School and here in CommandSchool would probably serve him well. Patience, absolute self-control, learning thecapabilities of those under you so you can make up for their deficits through training.

What was I trained for?

I am Tribal Man, thought Ender. The chief. They can trust me utterly to do exactlywhat’s right for the tribe. But that trust means that I am the one who decides who

lives and dies. Judge, executioner, general, god. That’s what they trained me for. Theydid it well; I performed as trained. Now I scan the help wanted ads on the nets andcan’t find a single job on offer for which those are the qualifications. No tribesapplying for chieftains, no villages in search of a king, no religions in search of awarrior-prophet.

* * * * *

Officially, Ender was never supposed to have been informed of the court martialproceedings against ex-colonel Hyrum Graff. Officially, Ender was too young and toopersonally involved and the juvenile psychologists declared, after several tedious

psychological evaluations, that Ender was too fragile to be exposed to the consequencesof his own actions.

Oh, right, now you’re worried.

But that’s what the trial was going to be about, wasn’t it? Whether Graff and otherofficials—but mostly Graff—acted properly in the use they made of the children whowere put in their care. It was all being taken very seriously, and from the way adultofficers fell silent or looked away when Ender came into a room, Ender was reasonablysure that there had been some terrible consequence of something he had done.

He came to Mazer just before the trial began and laid out his hypotheses about what wasreally going on. “I think Colonel Graff is being put on trial because they’re holdinghim responsible for things I did. But I doubt that it’s because I blew up the formics’home world and destroyed an entire sentient species—they approve of that.”

Mazer had nodded wisely but said nothing—his normal mode of response, left over fromhis days as Ender’s trainer.

“So it’s something else I did,” said Ender. “I can think of only two things I’vedone that they’d put a man on trial for letting me do them. One was a fight I was in atBattle School. A bigger kid cornered me in a bathroom. He’d been bragging that he wasgoing to beat me till I wasn’t so smart anymore, and he brought his gang with him. Ishamed him into fighting me alone, and then I put him down in a single move.”

“Really,” said Mazer.

“Bonzo Madrid. Bonito de Madrid. I think he’s dead.”


“They took me out of Battle School the next day. They never spoke of him. I assumedthat meant I had really hurt him. I think he’s dead. That’s the kind of thing they’dhold a court martial for, isn’t it? They have to account to Bonzo’s parents for whytheir son is dead.”

“Interesting line of thought,” said Mazer. Mazer said that whether his guesses wereright or wrong, so Ender didn’t try to interpret it. “Is that all?” asked Mazer.

“There are governments and politicians that would like to discredit me. There’s a moveto keep me from coming back to Earth. I read the nets, I know what they’re saying, thatI’ll just be a political football, a target for assassins, or an asset that my countrywill use to conquer the world or some such nonsense. So I think there are those whointend to use Graff’s court martial as a way to publish things about me that wouldordinarily be kept under seal. Things that will make me look like some kind ofmonster.”

“You do know that it sounds suspiciously like paranoia, to think that Graff’s trial isabout you.”

“Which makes it all the more appropriate that I’m in this loony bin,” said Ender.

“You understand that I can’t tell you anything,” said Mazer.

“You don’t have to,” said Ender. “I’m also thinking that there was another boy.Years ago. When I was just little. He was hardly that much bigger than me. But he had agang with him. I talked him out of using them—made it personal, one-on-one. Just likeBonzo. I wasn’t a good fighter then. I didn’t know how. All I could do was go crazy onhim. Hurt him so bad he’d never dare to come after me again. Hurt him so bad that hisgang would leave me alone, too. I had to be crazy in order to scare them with how crazyI was. So I think that incident is going to be part of the trial, too.”

“Your self-absorption is really quite sweet—you really are convinced you’re thecenter of the universe.”

“Center of the court martial,” said Ender. “It’s about me, or people wouldn’t be soanxious to keep me from knowing about it. The absence of information is information.”

“You kids are so smart,” said Mazer, with just enough sarcasm to make Ender smile.

“Stilson’s dead, too, isn’t he,” said Ender. It wasn’t really a question.

“Ender, not everyone you fight with dies.” But there was just a titch of hesitationafter he said it. And so Ender knew. Everyone he had fought with—really fought—wasdead. Bonzo. Stilson. And all the formics, every hive queen, every bugger, every larva,

every egg, however they reproduced, it was over.

“You know,” said Ender quietly, “I think about them all the time. How they’ll neverhave any more children. That’s what being alive is, isn’t it? The ability to

replicate. Even people without children, their bodies are still making new cells all thetime. Replicating. Only that’s over for Bonzo and Stilson. They never lived long enoughto reproduce. Their line is cut off. I was nature, red in tooth and claw, for them. Idetermined their unfitness.”

Ender knew even as he said it that this was unfair. Mazer was under orders not todiscuss these matters with him and even if he guessed right, not to confirm them. Butending the conversation would confirm it, and even denying the truth had confirmed it.Now Ender was practically forcing him to speak, to reassure him, to answer his perceivedneed. “You don’t have to respond,” said Ender. “I’m not really as depressed as Isound. I don’t blame myself, you know.”

Mazer’s eyes flickered.

“No, I’m not insane,” said Ender. “I regret their deaths. I know that I’m

responsible for killing Stilson and Bonzo and all the formics in the universe. But I’mnot to blame. I didn’t seek out Stilson or Bonzo. They came to me, with a threat ofreal damage. A credible threat. Tell them that in the court martial. Or run the

recording you’re doubtless making of this conversation. My intention was not to killthem, but my intention was definitely to stop them from damaging me. And the only way todo that was to act brutally. I’m sorry that they died from their injuries. I’d undothat if I could. But I didn’t have the skill to hurt them enough to prevent futureattacks, and yet not kill them. Or whatever it was that I did to them. If they’re

mentally damaged or crippled, I’ll do what I can for them, unless their families wouldrather I stay away. I don’t want to cause any more harm.

“But here’s the thing, Mazer Rackham: I knew what I was doing. It’s ridiculous forHyrum Graff to be on trial for this. He had no idea of the way I thought, when it cameto Stilson. He couldn’t have known what I’d do. Only I knew. And I meant to hurthim—I meant to hurt him bad. Not Graff’s fault. The fault was Stilson’s. If he hadleft me alone—and I gave him every chance to walk away. I begged him to leave me alone.If he’d done that, he’d be alive. He chose. Just because he thought I was weaker thanhim, just because he thought I couldn’t protect myself, doesn’t mean it stopped beinghis fault. He chose to attack me precisely because he thought there would be noconsequences. Only there were consequences.”

Mazer cleared his throat a little. And then spoke. “This has gone far enough.”

“With Bonzo, however, Graff was taking a terrible risk. What if Bonzo and his friendshurt me? What if I died? Or was brain-damaged? Or was simply made fearful and timid? Hewould lose the weapon he was forging. Bean would have won the war even if I was out ofthe picture, but Graff couldn’t know that. It was a terrible gamble. Because Graff alsoknew that if I got out of that confrontation with Bonzo alive—victorious—then I wouldbelieve in myself. My ability to win under any circumstances. The game didn’t give methat—it was just a game. Bonzo showed me that in real life I could win. As long as Iunderstood my enemy. You understand what that means, Mazer.”

“Even if anything you’re saying were true . . .”

“Take this vid and introduce it into evidence. Or if, by some remote chance, nobody’srecording our conversation, then testify on his behalf. Let them know—the court

martial—let them know that Graff acted properly. I was angry at him for doing it thatway, and I suppose I still am. But if I were in his place, I would have done the same.It was part of winning the war. People die in war. You send your soldiers into combat

and you know some of them won’t come back. But Graff didn’t send Bonzo. Bonzo was avolunteer for the duty he assigned himself—attacking me and allowing us all to learnthat no, I would not allow myself to lose, ever. Bonzo volunteered. Just like the

buggers volunteered by coming here and trying to wipe out human life. If they’d left usalone, we wouldn’t have hurt them. The court martial has to understand. I am whatBattle School was designed to create, what the whole world wanted it to create. Graffcannot be blamed for shaping and sharpening the weapon. He did not wield it. No one did.Bonzo found a knife and cut himself on it. That’s how they have to look at it.”

“Are you done?” Mazer had asked.

“Why, are you running out of recording room?”

Mazer got up and left.

When he came back, he said nothing about their discussion. But Ender was now free tocome and go anywhere. They no longer tried to hide things from him. He was able to readthe transcript of Graff’s arraignment.

He had been right on every point.

Ender also understood that Graff would not be convicted of anything serious—he wouldnot go to prison. The court martial existed only to damage Ender and make it impossiblefor America to use him as a military leader. Ender was a hero, yes, but he was nowofficially a really scary kid. The court martial would cement that image in the publicmind. People might have rallied around the savior of the human race. But a monstrous kidwho killed other children? Even if it was self-defense, it was just too terrible.Ender’s political future on Earth was nonexistent.

Ender tracked how the commentator Demosthenes responded as things began to come out inthe trial. For months—ever since it became clear that Ender was not being sent homeimmediately—the famous American chauvinist had been agitating on the nets to “bringthe hero home.” Even now, as Ender’s private killings were being used against Graff atthe trial, Demosthenes still declared, more than once, that Ender was a “weapon thatbelongs to the American people.”

This practically guaranteed that no one from any other nation would consent to thatweapon getting into American hands.

Ender thought at first that Demosthenes must be a complete idiot, playing his handcompletely wrong. Then he realized that Demosthenes might be doing it on purpose,energizing the opposition, because the last thing Demosthenes wanted was a rival forAmerican political leadership.

Was the man that subtle? Ender pored over his essays—what else did he have to do?—andsaw a pattern of self-defeat. Demosthenes was eloquent, but he always pushed a littletoo hard. Enough to energize the opposition, inside and outside America. Discreditinghis own side of every argument.


Probably not. Ender knew the history of leaders—especially of the original Demosthenes.Eloquence didn’t imply intelligence or deep analysis. True believers in a cause oftenbehaved in self-defeating ways because they expected other people to see the rightnessof their cause if they just stated it clearly enough. As a result, they tipped theirhand in every game and couldn’t understand why everyone ganged up against them.

Ender had watched the arguments unfold on the nets, watched the teams form, saw how the“moderates” led by Locke kept benefiting from Demosthenes’ provocations.

And now, as Demosthenes continued to agitate in support of Ender, he was actually theone doing Ender the most damage. To everyone who feared Demosthenes’ movement—which

was the whole world outside America—Ender would not be a hero, he’d be a monster.Bring him home, to lead America on a nuevo-imperialista rampage? Let him become anAmerican Alexander, Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler, conquering the world or forcing theworld to unite in brutal war against him?

Fortunately, Ender did not want to be a conqueror. So he wouldn’t be hurt by missingout on the chance to try it.

Still, he’d love to have a chance to explain things to Demosthenes.

Not that the man would ever consent to be alone in a room with the killer hero.

* * * * *

Mazer never discussed the actual court martial with Ender, but they could talk aboutGraff.

“Hyrum Graff is the consummate bureaucrat,” Mazer told him. “He’s always thinkingten steps ahead of everyone else. It doesn’t really matter what office he holds. He canuse anybody—below him or above him or complete strangers who’ve never met him—toaccomplish whatever he thinks is needful for the human race.”

“I’m glad he chooses to use this power of his for good.”

“I don’t know that he does,” said Mazer. “He uses it for what he believes is good.But I don’t know that he’s particularly good at knowing what ‘good’ is.”

“In philosophy class I think we finally decided that ‘good’ is an infinitely

recursive term—it can’t be defined except in terms of itself. Good is good becauseit’s better than bad, though why it’s better to be good than bad depends on how youdefine good, and on and on.”

“The things the modern fleet teaches to its admirals.”

“You’re an admiral too, and look where it got you.”

“Tutor to a bratty boy who saves the human race but doesn’t do his chores.”

“Sometimes I wish I were bratty,” said Ender. “I dream about it—about defyingauthority. But even when I absolutely decide to, what I can’t get rid of is

responsibility. People counting on me—that’s what controls me.”

“So you have no ambition except duty?” asked Mazer.

“And I have no duties now,” said Ender. “So I envy Colonel . . . Mister Graff. Allthose plans. All that purpose. I wonder what he plans for me.”

“Are you sure he does?” asked Mazer. “Plan anything for you, I mean?”

“Maybe not,” said Ender. “He worked awfully hard to shape this tool. But now that itwill never be needed again, maybe he can set me down and let me rust and never think ofme.”

“Maybe,” said Mazer. “That’s the thing we have to keep in mind. Graff is not . . .nice.”

“Unless he needs to be.”

“Unless he needs to seem to be,” said Mazer. “He’s not above lying his face off toframe things in such a way that you’ll want to do what he wants you to do.”

“Which is how he got you here, to be my trainer during the war?”

“Oh, yes,” said Mazer, with a sigh.

“Going home now?” asked Ender. “I know you have family.”

“Great-grandchildren,” said Mazer. “And great-great-grandchildren. My wife is deadand my only surviving child is gaga with senility, my grandchildren tell me. They say it

lightly, because they’ve accepted that their father or uncle has lived a full life andhe’s getting really old. But how can I accept it? I don’t know any of these people.”

“Hero’s welcome won’t be enough to make up for losing fifty years, is that it?”asked Ender.

“Hero’s welcome,” muttered Mazer. “You know what the hero’s welcome is? They’restill deciding whether to charge me along with Graff. I think they probably will.”

“So if they charge you along with Graff,” said Ender, “then you’ll be acquittedalong with him.”

“Acquitted?” said Mazer ruefully. “We won’t be jailed or anything. But we’ll bereprimanded. A note of censure placed in our files. And Graff will probably be

cashiered. The people who brought this court martial can’t be made to look foolish fordoing it. They have to turn out to have been correct.”

Ender sighed. “So for their pride, you both get slapped. And Graff maybe loses hiscareer.”

Mazer laughed. “Not so bad, really. My record was full of notes of reprimand before Ibeat the buggers in the Second Formic War. My career has been forged out of reprimandsand censures. And Graff? The military was never his career. It was just a way to getaccess to the influence and power he needed in order to accomplish his plans. Now hedoesn’t need the military anymore, so he’s willing to be drummed out of it.”

Ender nodded, chuckled. “I bet you’re right. Graff is probably planning to exploit itsomehow. The people who benefit from his being kicked out, he’ll take advantage of howguilty they feel in order to get what he really wants. A consolation prize that turnsout to be his real objective.”

“Well, they can’t very well give him medals for the exact same thing that he wascourt-martialed for,” said Mazer.

“They’ll give him his colonization project,” said Ender.

“Oh, I don’t know if guilt goes that far,” said Mazer. “It would cost billions ofdollars to equip and refit the fleet into colony ships, and there’s no guarantee thatanyone from Earth will volunteer to go away forever. Let alone crews for the ships.”

“They have to do something with this huge fleet and all its personnel. The ships haveto go somewhere. And there are those surviving I.F. soldiers on all the conquered

worlds. I think Graff’s going to get his colonies—we won’t send ships to bring themhome, we’ll send new colonists to join them.”

“I see you’ve mastered all of Graff’s arguments.”

“So have you,” said Ender. “And I bet you’ll go with them.”

“Me? I’m too old to be a colonist.”

“You’d pilot a ship,” said Ender. “A colony ship. You’d go away again. Becauseyou’ve already done it once. Why not go again? Lightspeed travel, taking the ship toone of the old formic planets.”


“After you’ve lost everybody, what’s left to lose?” asked Ender. “And you believein what Graff is doing. It’s his real plan all along, isn’t it? To spread the humanrace out of the solar system so we aren’t held as hostages to the fate of a singleplanet. To spread ourselves out among star systems as far as we can go, so that we’reunkillable as a species. It’s Graff’s great cause. And you also think that’s worthdoing.”

“I’ve never spoken a word on the subject.”

“Whenever it’s discussed, you don’t make that little lemon-sucking face when Graff’sarguments are presented.”

“Oh, now you think you can read my face. I’m Maori, I don’t show anything.”

“You’re half-Maori, and I’ve studied you for months.”

“You can’t read my mind. Even if you’ve deluded yourself into thinking you can readmy face.”

“The colonization project is the only thing left out here in space that’s worthdoing.”

“I haven’t been asked to pilot anything,” said Mazer. “I’m old for a pilot, youknow.”

“Not a pilot, a commander of a ship.”

“I’m lucky they let me aim by myself when I pee,” said Mazer. “They don’t trust me.That’s why I’m going on trial.”

“When the trial’s over,” said Ender, “they’ll have no more use for you than theyhave for me. They’ve got to send you somewhere far away so that the I.F. will be safefor the bureaucrats again.”

Mazer looked away and waited, but there was an air about him that told Ender that Mazerwas about to say something important.

“Ender, what about you?” Mazer finally asked. “Would you go?”

“To a colony?” Ender laughed. “I’m thirteen years old. On a colony, what would I begood for? Farming? You know what my skills are. Useless in a colony.”

Mazer barked a laugh. “Oh, you’ll send me, but you won’t go yourself.”

“I’m not sending anybody,” said Ender. “Least of all myself.”

“You’ve got to do something with your life,” said Mazer.

And there it was: The tacit recognition that Ender wasn’t going home. That he was nevergoing to lead a normal life on Earth.

* * * * *

One by one the other kids got their orders, each saying good-bye before they left. Itwas increasingly awkward with each one, because Ender was more and more a stranger tothem. He didn’t hang out with them. If he happened to join in a conversation, hedidn’t stay long and never really engaged.

It wasn’t a deliberate choice, he just wasn’t interested in doing the things they didor talking about what they discussed. They were full of their studies, their return toEarth. What they’d do. How they’d find a way to get together again after they’d beenhome for a while. How much money they’d get as severance pay from the military. Whatthey might choose as a career. How their families might have changed.

None of that applied to Ender. He couldn’t pretend that it did, or that he had a

future. Least of all could he talk about what really preyed on his mind. They wouldn’tunderstand.

He didn’t understand it himself. He had been able to let go of everything else, all thethings he’d concentrated on so hard for so long. Military tactics? Strategy? Not eveninteresting to him now. Ways that he might have avoided antagonizing Bonzo or Stilson inthe first place? He had strong feelings about that, but no rational ideas, so he didn’twaste time trying to think it through. He let go of it, just the way he let go of hisdeep knowledge of everyone in his jeesh, his little army of brilliant kids whom he led

through the training that turned out to be the war.

Once, knowing and understanding those kids had been part of his work, had been essentialto victory. During that time he had even come to think of them as his friends. But hewas never one of them; their relationship was too unequal. He had loved them so he couldknow them, and he had known them so he could use them. Now he had no use for them—nothis choice, there simply wasn’t a purpose to be served by keeping the group together.They didn’t, as a group, exist. They were just a bunch of kids who had been on a long,difficult camping trip together, that’s how Ender saw them now. They had pulled

together to make it back to civilization, but now they’d all go home to their families.They weren’t connected now. Except in memory.

So Ender had let go of them all. Even the ones who were still here. He saw how it hurtthem—the ones who had wanted to be closer than mere pals—when he didn’t let thingschange, didn’t let them into his thoughts. He couldn’t explain to them that he wasn’tkeeping them out, that there was simply no way they’d understand what it was thatoccupied him whenever he wasn’t forced to think about something else:

The hive queens.

It made no sense, what the formics had done. They weren’t stupid. Yet they had made thestrategic mistake of grouping all their queens—not “their” queens, they were thequeens, the queens were the formics—they had all gathered on their home planet, whereEnder’s use of the M.D. Device could—and did—destroy them utterly, all at once.

Mazer had explained that the hive queens must have gathered on their home planet yearsbefore they could have known that the human fleet had the M.D. Device. They knew—fromthe way Mazer had defeated their main expedition to Earth’s star system—that theirgreatest weakness was that if you found the hive queen and killed her, you had killedthe whole army. So they withdrew from all their forward positions, put the hive queenstogether on their home world, and then protected that world with everything they had.

Yes, yes, Ender understood that.

But Ender had used the M.D. Device early on in the invasion of the formic worlds, todestroy a formation of ships. The hive queens had instantly understood the capabilitiesof the weapon and never allowed their ships to get close enough together for the M.D.Device to be able to set up a self-sustaining reaction.

So: Once they knew that the weapon existed, and that humans were willing to use it, whydid they stay on that single planet? They must have known that the human fleet wascoming. As Ender won battle after battle, they must have known that the possibility oftheir defeat existed. It would have been easy for them to get onto starships and

disperse from their home planet. Before that last battle began, they could all have beenout of range of the M.D. Device.

Then we would have had to hunt them down, ship by ship, queen by queen. Their planetswould still be inhabited by the formics, and so they could have fought us in bloodyconfrontations on every world, meanwhile building new ships, launching new fleetsagainst us.

But they had stayed. And died.

Was it fear? Maybe. But Ender didn’t think so. The hive queens had bred themselves forwar. All the speculations of the scientists who had studied the anatomy and molecularstructure of the formic corpses left over from the Second Formic War led to thatconclusion: The formics were created, first and foremost, to fight and kill. Thatimplied that they had evolved in a world where such fighting was necessary.

The best guess—at least the one that made the most sense to Ender—was that theyweren’t fighting some predatory species on their home world. Like humans, they wouldsurely have wiped out any really threatening predator early on. No, they had evolved tofight each other. Queens fighting queens, spawning vast armies of formics and developingtools and weapons for them, each of them vying to be the dominant—or sole


Yet somehow they had gotten over it. They had stopped fighting each other.

Was it before they had developed spaceflight and colonized other worlds? Or was it oneparticular queen who developed near-lightspeed ships and created colonies and then usedthe power that she had developed to crush the others?

It wouldn’t have mattered. Her own daughters would surely have rebelled against her—itwould go on and on, each new generation trying to destroy the one before. That was howhives on Earth worked, anyway—the rival queen must be driven off or killed. Only thenon-reproducing workers could be allowed to stay, because they weren’t rivals, theywere servants.

It was like the immune system of an organism. Each hive queen had to make sure that anyfood their workers grew was used only to nurture her workers, her children, her mates,and herself. So any formic—queen or worker—that tried to infiltrate her territory anduse her resources had to be driven off or killed.

Yet they had stopped fighting with each other and now cooperated.

If they could do that with each other, the implacable enemies that had driven eachother’s evolution long enough to become the brilliant sentient beings they were, thenwhy couldn’t they have done it with us? With the humans? Why couldn’t they have triedto communicate with us? Made some sort of settlement with us, just as they had done witheach other? Divided the galaxy between us? Live and let live?

In any of these battles, Ender knew that if he had seen a sign of an effort to

communicate, he would have known instantly that it wasn’t a game—there would have beenno reason for the teachers to simulate any attempt to parley. They didn’t regard thatas Ender’s business—they wouldn’t train him for it. If some effort at communicationhad really happened, surely the adults would have stopped Ender at once, pretended thatthe “exercise” was over, and tried to deal with it on their own.

But the hive queens did not attempt to communicate. Nor did they use the obvious

strategy of dispersal to save themselves. They had sat there, waiting for Ender to come.And then Ender had won, the only way he could: with devastating force.

It was how Ender always fought. To make sure that there was no further fighting. To usethis victory to ensure that there was no more danger.

Even if I had known the war was real, I would have tried to do exactly what I did.

So in his mind he now asked the hive queens, over and over, though he knew they weredead and could not answer: Why?

Why did you decide to let me kill you?

His rational mind introduced all the other possibilities—including the chance thatperhaps they were really quite stupid. Or perhaps they had so little experience at

running a society of equals that they were unable to reach a rational decision together.Or, or, or, or, over and over he ran through possible explanations.

Ender’s study now, when he wasn’t pursuing the schoolwork that someone—Graff, still?Or Graff’s rivals?—kept assigning him, was to read over the reports from the soldiersthat he had once unknowingly commanded. On every formic colony world, humans now walked.And from every exploratory team the reports were the same: All the formics dead and

rotting, with vast farms and factories now available for the taking. The soldiers-turned-explorers were always alert to the possibility of ambush, but as the monthspassed and there were no attacks, their reports became full of the things they werelearning from the xenobiologists that had been sent with them: Not only can we breathethe air on every formic world, we can eat most of their food.

And so every formic planet became a human colony, the soldiers settling down to liveamong the relics of their enemies. There were not enough women among them, but theybegan to work out social patterns that would maximize reproduction and keep from havingtoo many males without a hope of mating. Within a generation or two, if babies came inthe usual proportions, half male and half female, the normal human pattern of monogamycould be restored.

But Ender took only peripheral interest in what the humans were doing on the new worlds.What he studied were the formic artifacts. The patterns of formic settlement. The

warrens that had once been the hive queens’ breeding grounds, full of larvae that wereso hard-toothed they could gnaw through rock, creating more and more tunnels. They hadto farm on the surface, but they went underground to breed, to raise their young, andthe young themselves were every bit as lethal and powerful as the adults. Chewing

through rock—the explorers found the larval bodies, rotting quickly but still there tobe photographed, dissected, studied.

“So this is how you spend your days,” said Petra. “Looking at pictures of formictunnels. Is this a return-to-the-womb thing?”

Ender smiled and set aside the pictures he had been studying. “I thought you’d alreadygone home to Armenia.”

“Not till I see how this stupid court martial turns out,” she said. “Not until theArmenian government is ready to receive me in high style. Which means they have todecide whether they want me.”

“Of course they want you.”

“They don’t know what they want. They’re politicians. Is it good for them to have meback? Is keeping me up here worse for them than having me come home? It’s so very, veryhard when you have no convictions except your lust to remain in power. Aren’t we gladwe’re not in politics?”

Ender sighed. “é. I will never hold office again. Commander of Dragon Army was too muchfor me, and that was just a kids’ game.”

“That’s what I tried to assure them. I don’t want anybody’s job. I’m not going toendorse anybody for office. I want to live with my family and see if they remember who Iam. And vice versa.”

“They’ll love you,” said Ender.

“And you know this because . . . ?”

“Because I love you.”

She looked at him in consternation. “How can I possibly answer a comment like that?”

“Oh. What was I supposed to say?”

“I don’t know. Am I supposed to write scripts for you now?”

“OK,” said Ender. “Should it have been banter? ‘They’ll love you because somebodyhas to, and it sure isn’t anybody up here.’ Or maybe the ethnic slur: ‘They’ll loveyou because hey, they’re Armenian and you’re a female.’ “

“What does that mean?”

“I got that from an Azeri I talked to during that whole flap about Sinterklaas Day backin Battle School. Apparently the idea is that Armenians know that the only people whothink Armenian women are . . . I don’t have to explain ethnic insults, Petra. They’reinfinitely transferable.”

“When are they letting you go home?” asked Petra.

Instead of sidestepping the question or giving it a lazy answer, Ender answeredtruthfully for once. “I’m thinking maybe it won’t happen.”

“What do you mean? You think this stupid court martial is going to end up convictingyou?”

“I’m the one on trial, aren’t I?”

“Definitely not.”

“Only because I’m a child and therefore not responsible. But it’s all about what anevil little monster I am.”

“It is not.”

“I’ve seen the highlights on the nets, Petra. What the world is seeing is that thesavior of the world has a little problem—he kills children.”

“You defended yourself from bullies. Everybody understands that.”

“Except the people who post comments about how I’m a worse war criminal than Hitler orPol Pot. A mass murderer. What makes you think I want to go home and deal with allthat?”

Petra wasn’t playing now. She sat down next to him and took his hands. “Ender, youhave a family.”


“Oh, don’t say that! You have a family. Families still love their children even ifthey’ve been away for eight years.”

“I’ve only been away for seven. Almost. Yes, I know they love me. Some of them atleast. They love who I was. A cute little six-year-old. I must have been so huggable.Between killing other children, that is.”

“So is that what this obsession with formic porn is?”


“The way you study it. Classic addiction. Got to have more and more of it. Explicitphotos of rotting larva bodies. Autopsy shots. Slides of their molecular structure.Ender, they’re gone, and you didn’t kill them. Or if you did, then we did. But wedidn’t. We played a game! We were training for war, that’s all it was.”

“And if it had really been just a game?” asked Ender. “And then they assigned us tothe fleet after we graduated, and we actually piloted those ships or commanded thosesquadrons? Wouldn’t we have done it for real?”

“Yes,” said Petra. “But we didn’t. It didn’t happen.”

“It happened. They’re gone.”

“Well, studying the structure of their bodies and the biochemistry of their cells isnot going to bring them back.”

“I’m not trying to bring them back,” said Ender. “What a nightmare that would be.”

“No, you’re trying to persuade yourself that you deserve the merdicious things

they’re saying about you in the court martial, because if that’s true, then you don’tdeserve to go back to Earth.”

Ender shook his head. “I want to go home, Petra, even if I can’t stay. And I’m notconflicted about the war. I’m glad we fought and I’m glad we won and I’m glad it’sover.”

“But you keep your distance from everybody. We understood, or sympathized, or pretendedwe did. But you’ve kept us all at arm’s length. You make this show of droppingeverything whenever one of us comes around to chat, but it’s an act of hostility.”

What an outrageous thing to say. “It’s common courtesy!”

“You never even say, ‘Just a sec,’ you just drop everything. It’s so . . . obvious.The message is: ‘I’m really busy but I still think you’re my responsibility so I’lldrop whatever I’m doing because you need my time.’ “

“Wow,” said Ender. “You sure understand a lot of things about me. You’re so smart,Petra. A girl like you—they could really make something out of you in Battle School.”

“Now that’s a real answer.”

“Not as real as what I said before.”

“That you love me? You’re not my therapist, Ender. Or my priest. Don’t coddle me,don’t tell me what you think I need to hear.”

“You’re right,” said Ender. “I shouldn’t drop everything when one of my friendsdrops by.” He picked his papers back up again.

“Put those down.”

“Oh, now it’s OK because you asked me so rudely.”

“Ender,” Petra said, “we all came back from the war. You didn’t. You’re still init. Still fighting . . . something. We talk about you all the time. Wondering why youwon’t turn to us. Hoping there’s somebody you talk to.”

“I talk to anybody and everybody. I’m quite the chatterbox.”

“There’s a stone wall around you and those words you just said are some of thebricks.”

“Bricks in a stone wall?”

“So you are listening!” she said triumphantly. “Ender, I’m not trying to violateyour privacy. Keep it all in. Whatever it is.”

“I’m not keeping anything in,” said Ender. “I don’t have any secrets. My whole lifeis on the nets, it belongs to the human race now, and I’m really not that worried aboutit. It’s like I don’t even live in my body. Just in my mind. Just trying to solve thisquestion that won’t leave me alone.”

“What question?”

“The question I keep asking the hive queens, and they never answer.”

“What question?”

“I keep asking them, ‘Why did you die?’ “

Petra searched his face for . . . what, a sign that he was joking? “Ender, they diedbecause we—“

“Why were they still on that planet? Why weren’t they in ships, speeding away? Theychose to stay, knowing we had that weapon, knowing what it did and how it worked, theystayed for the battle, they waited for us to come.”

“They fought us as hard as they could. They didn’t want to die, Ender. They didn’tcommit suicide by human soldier.”

“They knew we had beaten them time after time. They had to think it was at least apossibility that it would happen again. And they stayed.”

“So they stayed.”

“It’s not like they had to prove their loyalty or courage to the footsoldiers. Theworkers and soldiers were like their own body parts. That would be like saying, ‘I haveto do this because I want my hands to know how brave I am.’ “

“I can see you’ve given this a lot of thought. Obsessive, borderline crazy thought.But whatever keeps you happy. You are happy, you know. People all over Eros talk aboutit—how cheerful that Wiggin boy always is. You’ve got to cut back on the whistling,though. It’s driving people crazy.”

“Petra, I’ve done my life’s work. I don’t think they’re going to let me go back toEarth, not even to visit. I hate that, I’m angry about it, but I also understand it.And in a way it’s fine with me. I’ve had all the responsibility I want. I’m done.I’m retired. No more duty to anybody. So now I get to think about what actually bothersme. The problem I have to solve.”

He slid the pictures forward on the library table. “Who are these people?” he asked.

Petra looked at the pictures of the dead larvae and formic workers and said, “Theyaren’t people, Ender. They’re formics. And they’re gone.”

“For years I’ve bent every thought to understanding them, Petra. To knowing thembetter than I know any human being in my life. To loving them. So I could use thatknowledge to defeat them and destroy them. Now they’re destroyed, but that doesn’tmean that I can switch off my attention to them.”

Petra’s face lit up. “I get it. I finally get it!”

“Get what?”

“Why you’re so weird, Ender Wiggin, sir. It’s not weird at all.”

“If you think I’m not weird, Petra, it proves you don’t understand me.”

“The rest of us, we fought a war and we won it and we’re going home. But you, Ender,you were married to the formics. When the war ended you were widowed.”

Ender sighed and rolled his chair back from the table.

“I’m not joking,” said Petra. “It’s like when my great-grandpa died. Great-grandmahad always taken care of him, it was pathetic the way he bossed her around, and she justdid whatever he wanted, and my mother would say to me, ‘Don’t you ever marry a man whotreats you like that,’ but when he died, you’d think Great-grandma would have beenliberated. Free at last! But she wasn’t. She was lost. She kept looking for him. Shekept talking about things she was working on for him. Can’t do this, can’t do that,Babo wouldn’t like it, until my grandpa—her son—said, ‘He’s gone.’ “

“I know the formics are gone, Petra.”

“And so did Great-grandma. That’s what she said. ‘I know. I just can’t figure outwhy I’m not gone too.’ “

Ender slapped his forehead. “Thank you, doctor, you finally revealed my innermostmotivations and now I’m able to get on with my life.”

Petra ignored his sarcasm. “They died without giving you answers. That’s why youhardly notice what’s going on around you. Why you can’t act like a regular friend toanybody. Why you don’t even seem to care that there are people down there on Earth whoare trying to keep you from ever coming home. You win the victory and they want to exileyou for life and you don’t care because all you can think about is your lost formics.They’re your dead wife and you can’t let go.”

“It wasn’t much of a marriage,” said Ender.

“You’re still in love.”

“Petra, cross-species romance just isn’t for me.”

“You said it yourself. You had to love them to defeat them. You don’t have to agreewith me now. It will come to you later. You’ll wake up in a cold sweat and you’llshout, ‘Eureka! Petra was right!’ Then you can start fighting for the right to returnto the planet you saved. You can start caring about something again.”

“I care about you, Petra,” said Ender. What he didn’t say was: I already care aboutunderstanding the hive queens, but you don’t count that because you don’t get it.

She shook her head. “No getting through the wall,” she said. “But I thought it wasworth one last try. I’m right, though. You’ll see. You can’t let these hive queensdeform the rest of your life. You have to let them be dead and move on.”

Ender smiled. “I hope you find happiness at home, Petra. And love. And I hope you havethe babies that you want and a good life full of meaning and accomplishment. You are soambitious—and I think you’ll have it all, true love and domesticity and greatachievements.”

Petra stood up. “What makes you think I want babies?” she said.

“I know you,” said Ender.

“You think you know me.”

“The way you think you know me?”

“I’m not a lovesick girl,” said Petra, “and if I were, it wouldn’t be over you.”

“Ah, so it bothers you when somebody presumes to know your deepest inner motivation.”

“It bothers me that you’re such an oomo.”

“Well, you’ve cheered me up marvelous well, Miss Arkanian. We oomos are grateful whenthe fine folk from the big house come to visit us.”

Petra’s voice was angry and defiant when she fired her parting shot. “Well, I actuallylove you and care about you, Ender Wiggin.” Then she turned and walked away.

“And I love and care about you, only you wouldn’t believe me when I said it!”

At the door she turned back to face him. “Ender Wiggin, I wasn’t being sarcastic orpatronizing when I said that.”

“Neither was I!”

But she was gone.

“Maybe I’ve been trying to study the wrong alien species,” he said softly.

He looked at the display above his desk. It was still in motion, though muted, showingbits from Mazer’s testimony. He looked so cold, so aloof, as if he had contempt for thewhole business. When they asked about Ender’s violence and whether that made it hard totrain him, Mazer turned to face the judges and said, “I’m sorry, I misunderstood,isn’t this a court martial? Aren’t we all soldiers here, trained to commit acts ofviolence?”

The judge gaveled him down and reprimanded him, but the point was made. Violence waswhat the military existed for—controlled violence, directed against appropriate

targets. Without actually having to say a word about Ender, Mazer had made it clear thatviolence wasn’t a drawback, it was the point.

It made Ender feel better. He could switch off the newslink and get back to work.

He stood up to reach across the table and retrieve the photos that Petra had moved. Theface of a dead formic farmer from one of the faroff planets stared up at him, the torsoopen and the organs arranged neatly around the corpse.

I can’t believe you gave up, Ender said silently to the picture. I can’t believe thata whole species lost its will to live. Why did you let me kill you?

“I will not rest until I know you,” he whispered.

But they were gone. Which meant that he could never, never rest.


Ender in Exile


To: mazerrackham%nonexistent@unguessable.com/imaginary.heroes

From: hgraff%educadmin@ifcom.gov

{self-shred protocol}

Subj: How about a little voyage?

Dear Mazer,

I know as well as anyone that you almost refused to come home from your last voyage, andI’m certainly not going to let them send you anywhere now. But you took too big a risktestifying for me (or for Ender; or for truth and justice; I don’t presume to guessyour motives) and the heat is on. The best way, I think, for you to become less visibleand therefore less likely to be further interfered with is to let it be known that youwill be the commander of a certain colony ship. The one that’s going to carry Enderaway to safety.

Once you’re fully ignored because you’re supposedly going on a forty-year voyage, itwill be easy enough to reassign you at the last minute to another ship that isn’tleaving till later. No publicity that time. You’ll just happen not to go.

As for Ender, we’ll let him in on the lie from the start. He doesn’t need or deserveany more surprises. But he also doesn’t need you or me to protect him. I think he’sproven that many times over.


PS: It’s just too cute for you to use your real name as your secret identity on . Whoknew you had a sense of irony?

Mother and Father were both out of the house. That was a bad thing, because it meantPeter could get in full carpet-chewing mode if he felt like it, and things weredefinitely heading that way.

“I can’t believe I got suckered into this,” said Peter.

“Suckered into what?”

“Having Locke and Demosthenes push for Ender not to come home.”

“You haven’t been paying attention,” said Valentine. “Demosthenes is pushing forEnder to come back and restore America to its former greatness. And Locke is theconciliatory moderate, trying to find a middle way, as he always does, the miserableappeaser.”

“Oh shut up,” said Peter. “It’s too late for you to start playing dumb. But I had noway of knowing they were going to turn that stupid court martial into a smear campaignagainst the Wiggin name!”

“Oh, I see,” said Valentine. “It’s not Ender, it’s the fact that you can’t takeadvantage of being Locke without revealing who you are, and who you are is Ender’sbrother. Now that won’t be such a nice boost for you.”

“I can’t accomplish anything unless I get into a position of influence, and now it’sgoing to be a lot harder because Ender killed people.”

“In self-defense.”

“When he was a baby.”

“I distinctly remember,” said Valentine, “that you once promised to kill him.”

“I didn’t mean it.”

Valentine had her doubts. She was the only one who didn’t trust Peter’s sudden bout ofniceness several Christmases ago, when apparently he was anointed by Saint Nick—orUriah Heap—with the unguent of altruism. “My point is that Ender didn’t killeverybody who threatened him.”

And there it was—a flash of the old rage. She watched, amused, as Peter fought it down,got it under control.

“It’s too late to change our position on Ender’s return.” He said it like anaccusation, as if this had all been her idea.

Well, in a way, it had. But not the actual implementation—that was all Peter’s script.

“But before we let it be discovered who Locke really is, we have to rehabilitate

Ender’s reputation. That’s not going to be easy. I just can’t figure out which of usshould do it. On the one hand, Demosthenes would be right in character—but nobody wouldtrust his motives. On the other hand, if Locke does it openly, then everybody will thinkI had an ulterior motive when it comes out who I really am.”

Valentine didn’t even smirk, though she knew—had known for years—that Colonel Graffand probably half the I.F. command knew who Locke and Demosthenes really were. They hadkept the secret so that it wouldn’t compromise Ender. But at some point, somebody wasgoing to let it slip—and it wasn’t going to be on Peter’s own timing.

“No, I think what we have to do,” said Peter, “is bring Ender home after all. But notto the United States, or at least not under the control of the U.S. government. I thinkLocke needs to speak with compassion about the young hero who can’t help how he wasexploited.” Peter put on his Locke voice—a conciliatory whine that if he ever used itin public, Locke would be out of business in a trice. “Let him come home, as a citizenof the world he saved. Let the Hegemon’s Council protect him. If no one threatens him,the boy poses no danger.” Peter looked at her triumphantly and went back to his ownvoice. “See? We bring him home, and then when my identity comes out, I’m a loyalbrother, yes, but I also acted for the good of the whole world, and not for theadvantage of the United States.”

“You’re forgetting a couple of things,” said Valentine.

Peter glared at her. He hated it when she accused him of making a mistake, but he had tolisten to her because she was often right. Even though he usually pretended that he hadalready thought of her objection.

“First, you’re assuming that Ender wants to come home.”

“Of course he wants to come home.”

“You don’t know that. We don’t know him. Second, you’re assuming that if he doescome home, he’ll be such a cuddly kid that everybody will decide he isn’t really achild-killing monster.”

“We’ve both watched the vids of the court martial,” said Peter. “Those men loveEnder Wiggin. You could see it in everything they said and did. All that mattered tothem was protecting him. Which is exactly how everybody used to act when Ender livedhere.”

“He never actually lived here,” said Valentine. “We moved after he left, remember?”

Another glare. “Ender makes people want to die for him.”

“Or kill him,” she said with a smile.

“Ender makes adults love him.”

“So we’re back to the first problem.”

“He wants to come home,” said Peter. “He’s human. Humans want to go home.”

“But where is Ender’s home?” asked Valentine. “He’s spent more than half his lifein Battle School. What does he even remember about living with us? An older brother whowas constantly bullying him, threatening to kill him—“

“I’ll apologize,” said Peter. “I really am sorry I acted like that.”

“But you can’t apologize if he doesn’t come home. Besides, Peter, he’s a smart kid.Smarter than us—there’s a reason we weren’t taken into Battle School and he was. Sohe’ll figure out exactly how you’re using him. Hegemon’s Council—that is suchitshay. He won’t stay under your thumb.”

“He’s been trained for war. Not for politics,” said Peter.

His hint of a smile was so smug Valentine wanted to smash a baseball bat into his face alittle. “It doesn’t matter,” said Valentine. “You can’t bring him home no matterwhat Locke writes.”

“And why is that?”

“Because you didn’t create the forces that dread him and fear his return, you justexploited them. They aren’t going to change their minds, not even for Locke. And also,Demosthenes won’t let you.”

Peter looked at her with amused contempt. “Oh, going freelance, eh?”

“I think I can scare people into keeping Ender in space better than you can make thempity him enough to bring him home.”

“I thought you loved him best. I thought you wanted him home.”

“I wanted him home for the past seven years, Peter,” said Valentine, “and you wereglad he was gone. But now—to bring him home so that he can be under the protection ofthe Hegemon’s Council—which means under your control, since you’ve got the thingpacked with your toadies—“

“Locke’s toadies,” Peter corrected her.

“I’m not helping you bring Ender home so he can be a tool to advance your career.”

“So you’d make your beloved little brother stay in permanent exile in space, just tospite your nasty older brother?” asked Peter. “Wow, I’m glad I’m not the one youlove.”

“You nailed it, Peter,” said Valentine. “I’ve spent all these years under yourthumb. I know exactly how it feels. Ender would hate it. I know, because I hate it.”

“You’ve loved the whole thing. Being Demosthenes—you know what power feels like.”

“I know what it feels like to have power flow through me and into your hands,” saidValentine.

“Is that what this is about? You’re suddenly power hungry?”

“Peter, you’re such an idiot about the people you supposedly know best. I’m nottelling you I want your power. I’m telling you that I’m getting out from under yourthumb.”

“Fine, I’ll just write the Demosthenes essays myself.”

“No you won’t, because people would know something was wrong. You can’t do


“Anything you can do . . .”

“I’ve changed all the passwords. I’ve hidden all of Demosthenes’ memberships andmoney and you can’t get to any of it.”

Peter gazed at her with pity. “I’ll find it all if I want to.”

“It wouldn’t do you any good. Demosthenes is retiring from politics, Peter. He’sgoing to plead ill health and offer a ringing endorsement . . . of Locke!”

Peter looked horrorstruck. “You can’t! It would destroy Locke to have Demosthenes’endorsement!”

“You see? I do have some weapons you fear.”

“Why would you do this? All these years, and suddenly now you’ve decided to pack upyour dolls and dishes and leave the tea party?”

“I never played with dolls, Peter. Apparently you did.”

“Stop this,” said Peter sternly. “Really. It’s not funny. Let’s get Ender home. Iwon’t try to control him the way you’re saying.”

“You mean the way you control me.”

“Come on, Val,” said Peter. “Just a couple more years and I can unmask myself asLocke—and as Ender’s brother. Sure, salvaging his reputation will help me, but it’llhelp Ender, too.”

“I think you should do it. Salvage away, Peter. But I don’t think Ender should comehome. Instead, I’ll go to him. Mom and Dad will, too, I bet.”

“They’re not going to pay for you to have a jaunt into space—not all the way to Eros.That would take months anyway. Right now it’s practically on the other side of thesun.”

“Not a jaunt,” said Valentine. “I’m leaving Earth. I’m joining Ender in exile.”

For a moment Peter believed her. It was gratifying to see genuine alarm on his face.Then he relaxed. “Mom and Dad won’t let you,” he said.

“Fifteen-year-old females don’t have to have their parents’ consent to volunteer tobe colonists. We’re the ideal age for reproduction, and are assumed to be dumb enoughto volunteer.”

“What do the colonies have to do with anything? Ender’s not going to be a colonist.”

“What else will they do with him? It’s the only task remaining for the I.F., and he’stheir responsibility. That’s why I’m making arrangements to get assigned to the samecolony as him.”

“Where did you get these imasen ideas?” If she didn’t understand Battle School slang,too bad. “Colonies, voluntary exile, it’s just crazy. The future is here on Earth, notout at the far reaches of the galaxy.”

“The formics’ worlds were all in the same arm of the galaxy as us, and not all thatfar away, as galaxies go,” said Valentine primly, to goad him. “And Peter, just

because your future is all tied up with trying to become the ruler of the world doesn’tmean that I want to spend my whole future as your sidekick. You’ve had my youth,you’ve used me up, but I will spend my declining years without you, my love.”

“It’s sickening when you talk as if we were married.”

“I’m talking as if we were in an old movie,” said Valentine.

“I don’t watch movies,” said Peter, “so I wouldn’t know.”

“There’s so much you ‘wouldn’t know,’ ” said Valentine. For a moment she was

tempted to tell him all about Ender’s visit to Earth, when Graff tried to use Valentineto persuade a burnt-out Ender to get back to work. And to tell Peter that Graff knew allabout their secret identities on the nets. That would take the smirk off his face.

But what would that accomplish? It was better for everyone to leave Peter in blissfulignorance.

While they were talking, Peter had been doing some desultory pointing and typing on hisdesk. Now he was seeing something in his holo that made him as angry as she had everseen him. “What?” she asked, assuming it was some dreadful world news.

“You shut down my back doors!”

It took her a moment to understand what he meant. Then she realized—he had apparentlythought she wouldn’t notice that he had secret access points to all of Demosthenes’vital sites and identities. What an idiot. When he made a big deal about how he hadcreated all these wonderful identities and accounts for her, of course she assumed thathe had created back doors to all of them so he could always come in and change what shedid. Why would he imagine she’d leave things that way? She found them all within a fewweeks; anything he could do with Demosthenes on the nets, she could undo. So when shechanged all the passwords and access codes, of course she closed the back doors, too.What did he think?

“Peter,” she said, “they wouldn’t be locked if I let you have a key, now, wouldthey?”

Peter rose to his feet, his face turning red, his fists clenched. “You ungratefullittle bitch.”

“What are you going to do, Peter? Hit me? I’m ready. I think I can take you down.”

Peter sat back down. “Go,” he said. “Go into space. Shut down Demosthenes. I don’tneed you. I don’t need anybody.”

“That’s why you’re such a loser,” said Valentine. “You’ll never rule the worlduntil you figure out that you can’t do it without everybody’s cooperation. You can’tfool them, you can’t force them. They have to want to follow you. Like Alexander’ssoldiers wanted to follow him and fight for him. And the moment they stopped wanting to,his power evaporated. You need everybody but you’re too narcissistic to know it.”

“I need the willing cooperation of key people here on Earth,” said Peter, “but youwon’t be one of them, will you? So go, tell Mom and Dad what you’re doing. Break theirhearts. What do you care? You’re going off to see your precious Ender.”

“You still hate him,” said Valentine.

“I never hated him,” said Peter. “But at this moment, I certainly do hate you. Not alot, but enough to make me want to piss on your bed.”

It was a standing joke between them. She couldn’t help it. It made her laugh. “Oh,Peter, you’re such a boy.”

* * * * *

Mother and Father took her decision surprisingly well. But they refused to come withher. “Val,” Father said, “I think you’re right—Ender won’t be coming home. Itbroke our hearts to realize it. And it’s wonderful of you to want to join him, even ifneither of you ends up going with a colony. Even if it’s just a few months in space.Even a few years. It’s a good thing for him to be with you again.”

“It would be better to have the two of you out there, too.”

Father shook his head. Mother pressed a finger to each eye—her gesture that said, I’mnot going to cry.

“We can’t go,” said Father. “Our work is here.”

“They could spare you for a year or two.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” said Father. “You’re young. What’s a couple of yearsto you? But we’re older. Not old, but older than you. Time means something different tous. We love Ender, but we can’t spend months or years just going out to visit him. Wedon’t have that much time left.”

“That’s exactly the point,” said Valentine. “You don’t have much time—and stillless time to get a chance to see Ender again.”

“Val,” said Mother, her voice quavering. “Nothing we do now will give us back theyears we’ve lost.”

She was right, and Valentine knew it. But she didn’t see the relevance. “So you’regoing to treat him as if he’s dead?”

“Val,” said Father. “We know he’s not dead. But we also know he doesn’t want us.We’ve written to him—since the war ended. Graff—the one who’s on trial—he wroteback. Ender doesn’t want to write letters to us. He reads them, but he told Graff thathe had nothing to say.”

“Graff’s a liar,” said Valentine. “He probably hasn’t shown Ender anything.”

“That’s possible,” said Father. “But Ender doesn’t need us. He’s thirteen. He’sbecoming a man. He’s done brilliantly since he left us, but he also went through

terrible things, and we weren’t there. I’m not sure he’ll ever forgive us for lettinghim go.”

“You had no choice,” said Valentine. “They would have taken him to Battle Schoolwhether you liked it or not.”

“I’m sure he knows that in his head,” said Mother. “But in his heart?”

“So I’m going without you,” she said. It had never crossed her mind that theywouldn’t even want to go.

“You’re going to leave us behind,” said Father. “It’s what children do. They liveat home until they leave. Then they’re gone. Even if they visit, even if they move

back, it’s never the same. You think it will be, but it won’t. It happened with Ender,and it’ll happen with you.”

“The good thing,” said Mother, who was crying a little now, “is that you won’t bewith Peter anymore.”

Valentine couldn’t believe her mother was saying such a thing.

“You’ve spent too much time with him,” said Mother. “He’s a bad influence on you.He makes you unhappy. He sucks you into his life so you can’t have one of your own.”

“That’ll be our job now,” said Father.

“Good luck,” was all Valentine could say. Was it possible that her parents really didunderstand Peter? But if they did, why had they let him have his way for all these


“You see, Val,” said Father, “if we went to Ender now, we’d want to be his parents,but we don’t have any authority over him. Nor anything to offer him. He doesn’t needparents anymore.”

“A sister, now,” said Mother. “A sister, he can use.” She took Valentine’s hand.She was asking for something.

So Valentine gave her the only thing she could think of that she might want. A promise.“I’ll stick with him,” said Valentine, “as long as he needs me.”

“We would expect nothing less of you, dear,” said Mother. She squeezed Valentine’shand and let go. Apparently that was what she had wanted.

“It’s a kind and loving thing,” said Father. “It’s always been your nature. AndEnder was always your darling baby brother.”

Valentine winced at the old phrase from childhood. Darling baby brother. Ick. “I’llmake sure to call him that.”

“Do,” said Mother. “Ender likes to be reminded of good things.”

Did Mother really imagine that anything she knew about Ender at age six would stillapply to him now, at age thirteen?

As if she had read Valentine’s mind, Mother answered her. “People don’t change, Val.Not their fundamental character. Whatever you’re going to be as an adult is alreadyvisible to someone who really knows you from your birth onward.”

Valentine laughed. “So . . . why did you let Peter live?”

They laughed, but uncomfortably. “Val,” said Father, “we don’t expect you to

understand this, but some of the things that make Peter . . . difficult . . . are thevery things that might also make him great someday.”

“What about me?” asked Valentine. “As long as you’re telling fortunes.”

“Oh, Val,” said Father. “All you have to do is live your life, and everyone aroundyou will be happier.”

“No greatness, then.”

“Val,” said Mother, “goodness trumps greatness any day.”

“Not in the history books,” said Valentine.

“Then the wrong people are writing history, aren’t they?” said Father.


Ender in Exile


To: qmorgan%rearadmiral@ifcom.gov/fleetcom

From: chamrajnagar%polemarch@ifcom.gov/centcom

{self-shred protocol}

Subj: In or out?

My dear Quince, I’m quite aware of the difference between combat command and flying acolony ship for a few dozen lightyears. If you feel your usefulness in space is over,then by all means, retire with full benefits. But if you stay in, and remain in nearspace, I can’t promise you promotion within the I.F.

We suddenly find ourselves afflicted with peace, you see. Always a disaster for thosewhose careers have not reached their natural apex.

The colony ship I have offered you is not, contrary to your too-often-stated opinion(try discretion now and then, Quince, and see if it might not work better), a way tosend you to oblivion. Retirement is oblivion, my friend. A forty-or fifty-year voyagemeans that you will outlive all of us who remain behind. All your friends will be dead.But you’ll be alive to make new friends. And you’ll be in command of a ship. A nice,big, fast one.

This is what the whole fleet faces. We have heroes out there who fought this war thatThe Boy is credited with winning. Have we forgotten them? ALL our most significantmissions will involve decades of flight. Yet we must send our best officers to commandthem. So at any given moment, most of our best officers will be strangers to everyone atCentCom because they’ve been in flight for half a lifetime.

Eventually, ALL the central staff will be star voyagers. They will look down their nosesat anyone who has NOT taken decades-long flights between stars. They will have cutthemselves loose from Earth’s timeline. They will know each other by their logs,transmitted by ansible.

What I’m offering you is the only possible source of career-making voyages: colonyships.

And not only a colony ship, but one whose governor is a thirteen-year-old boy. Are youseriously going to tell me that you don’t understand that you are not his “nanny,”you are being entrusted with the highly responsible position of making sure that The Boystays as far from Earth as possible, while also making sure that he is a completesuccess in his new assignment so that later generations cannot judge that he was nottreated well.

Naturally, I did not send you this letter, and you did not read it. Nothing in this isto be construed as a secret order. It is merely my personal observation about the

opportunity that you have been offered by a polemarch who believes in your potential tobe one of the great admirals of the I.F.

Are you in? Or out? I need to draw up the papers one way or the other within the week.

Your friend, Cham

Ender knew that making him the nominal governor of the colony was a joke. When he gotthere, the colony would already be a going concern, with its own elected leaders. Hewould be a thirteen-year-old—well, by then a fifteen-year-old—whose only claim to

authority was that forty years before he commanded the grandparents of the colonists, orat least their parents, in a war that was ancient history by then.

They would have bonded together into a closed community, and it would be outrageous forthe I.F. to send them any governor at all, let alone a teenager.

But they’d soon find out that if nobody wanted him to govern, Ender would go alongquite happily. All he cared about was getting to a formic planet to see what they hadleft behind.

The bodies that had so recently been dissected would have long since rotted away; butthere’s no way the colonists could have settled or even explored more than a tinyfraction of the formic civilization’s buildings and artifacts. Governing the colonywould be an annoyance—all Ender wanted was to see if there was some way to understandthe enemy he had loved and vanquished.

Still, he had to go through the motions of preparing to be governor. For instance,training sessions with legal experts who had drafted the constitution that was being

imposed on all the colonies. And even though Ender didn’t actually care, he could seethat an honest effort had been made to reflect what had been reported by all the

soldiers-turned-colonists so far. He should have expected that. Anything Graff did, orcaused to be done, was done well.

And then there were the even-less-relevant lessons on the workings of starships. Whatdid Ender care? He was never going to be regular fleet. He had no interest in captainingany vessel of any size.

On the third day of his walk-through of the ship that would carry him and his colonists,Ender was so tired of phony nautical terminology transferred to starships that he foundhimself making sarcastic remarks. Fortunately, he didn’t actually say them, he onlythought them. Do we swab the decks, matey? Will the bosun pipe us aboard? How manydegrees will she tack into the wind, sir?

“You know,” said the captain who had Ender duty today, “the real barrier tointerstellar flight wasn’t just getting up to lightspeed. It was overcoming thecollision problem.”

“You mean with all of space to work in . . .” Then, from the captain’s smirk, Enderrealized he had fallen into a little trap. “Ah. You mean collisions with spacedebris.”

“All those old vids showing spaceships dodging through asteroid clusters—they weren’tactually far off. Because when you hit a molecule of hydrogen when you’re nearlightspeed, it releases a huge amount of energy. Like hitting a huge rock at a muchslower speed. Tears you up. Any shielding scheme our ancestors came up with involved somuch additional mass, or cost so much energy and therefore fuel, that it simply wasn’tpractical. You had so much mass that you couldn’t carry enough fuel to get anywhere.”

“So how did we finally solve it?” asked Ender.

“Well of course we didn’t,” said the captain.

Again, Ender could see that this was an old prank to play on novices, and so he gave theman the pleasure of showing off his superior knowledge. “Then how are we getting fromstar to star?” asked Ender. Instead of saying, Ah, so it’s formic technology.

“The formics did it for us,” said the captain with delight. “When they got here, yes,they devastated parts of China and damn near whupped us in the first two wars. But theyalso taught us. The very fact that they got here told us that it could be done. And thenthey thoughtfully left behind dozens of working starships for us to study.”

The captain had by now led Ender to the very front of the ship, through several doorsthat required the highest security clearance to enter. “Not everybody gets to see this,but I was told that you were to see everything.”

It was crystalline in substance and ovoid in shape, except that it came to a sharp pointat the back. “Please don’t tell me it’s an egg,” said Ender.

The captain chuckled. “Don’t tell anybody, but the engines of this ship, and all thatfuel—they’re just for maneuvering near planets and moons and such. And getting theship going. Once we get up to one percent of lightspeed, we switch on this baby, andfrom then on, it’s just a matter of controlling the intensity and direction.”

“Of what?”

“Of the drive field,” said the captain. “It was such an elegant solution, but wehadn’t even discovered the area of science that would have gotten us to this.”

“And what area is that?”

“Strong force field dynamics,” said the captain. “When people speak of it, theyalmost always say that the strong force field breaks apart molecules, but that’s notthe real story. What it really does is change the direction of the strong force.

Molecules simply can’t hold together when the nuclei of all the constituent atoms startto prefer a particular direction of movement at lightspeed.”

Ender knew he was pouring on technical terms, but he was tired of the game. “Whatyou’re saying is that the field generated by this device takes all the molecules andobjects it runs into in the direction of movement and uses the nuclear strong force tomake them move in a uniform direction at lightspeed.”

The captain grinned. “Touché. But you’re an admiral, sir, and so I was giving you theshow I give all the admirals.” He winked. “Most of them don’t have a clue what I’msaying, and they’re too stuffed to admit it and ask me to translate.”

“What happens to the energy from the breaking of the molecules into their constituentatoms?” asked Ender.

“That, sir, is what powers the ship. No, I’ll be more specific. That’s what actuallymoves the ship. It’s so beautiful. We move forward under rockets, and then we switchoff the engines—can’t be generating molecules of our own!—and turn on the egg—yeah,we call it the egg. The field goes up—it’s shaped exactly like the crystal ballhere—and the leading edges start colliding with molecules and tearing them up. The

atoms are channeled along the field and they all emerge at the trailing point. Giving usan incredible amount of thrust. I’ve talked to physicists who still don’t get it. Theysay there isn’t enough energy stored in the molecular bonds to produce the

thrust—they’ve come up with all kinds of theories about where the extra energy iscoming from.”

“And we got this from the formics.”

“There was one terrible accident the first time we turned on one of these. Of coursethey weren’t using them in-system. But we had one of our cruisers simply disappearbecause it was docked right up against a formic ship when the egg got turned on. Poof.Every molecule in the cruiser—including the unluckiest crew in history—got

incorporated into the field, then got spit out the back, and made the formic ship itselfjump like a bullet halfway across the solar system.”

“Didn’t that kill the people on the formic ship, too? To jump that fast?”

“No. Because the formic anti-grav—technically, anti-inertial—was on. Powered by theegg reaction, too, of course. It’s like all the molecules in space were put there to becheap fuel for our ships and everything on them. Anyway, the anti-gravs compensated forthe jump and the only problem was communicating with IFCom to tell them what happened.Without the cruiser, no communications except short-range radio.”

The captain went on to tell about the clever way the men on the formic ship attractedthe attention of rescuers, but Ender’s concentration was on something else—somethingso disturbing that it made him lightheaded and a little nauseated from the shock of it.

The egg, the strong force field generator, obviously was the source of the moleculardisruption device. What the captain had just described was the reaction that was in theM.D. Device, the “Little Doctor,” which Ender had used to destroy the formic homeplanet and kill all the hive queens.

Ender thought it was a technology that humans had come up with on their own. But it wasclearly based on formic technology. You just take away the controls that shape the

field, and you’ve got a field that chews up everything in its path and spits it out asraw atoms. A field that sustains itself on the energy it generates by playing with thestrong nuclear force. A planet-eater.

The formics had to recognize it when Ender used it the first time. It wasn’t mysteriousto them—they’d recognize it immediately as a raw, uncontrolled weaponization of theprinciple that powered every formic starship.

Between the time of that battle and the final one, the formics surely had the time to dothe same thing—to weaponize the strong force field generator and use it against thehumans before they came in range.

They absolutely knew what the weapon was. They could have made their own whenever theywanted. But they didn’t do it. They just sat there waiting for Ender.

They gave us the stardrive we used to get to them, and the weapon we used to kill them.They gave us everything.

We humans are supposed to be so clever. So inventive. Yet this was completely beyond ourreach. We make desks with clever holodisplays that we can play really fun games on. Plussend each other letters over vast distances. But compared to them, we didn’t even knowhow to kill properly. While they knew how—but chose not to use the technology that way.

“Well, this part of the tour usually bores people,” said the captain.

“No, I wasn’t bored. Truly. I was just thinking.”

“About what?”

“Stuff that’s too classified to talk about using any method but telepathy,” saidEnder. Which was true—the existence of the M.D. Device was only on a need-to-know

basis, and the secret had been well kept. Even the men who deployed and used the weaponsdidn’t understand what they were and what they could do. The soldiers who had seen theLittle Doctor consume a planet were dead, lost in the same vast chain reaction. Thesoldiers who had seen it used in one of the early battles just thought of it as an

incredibly big bomb. Only the top brass understood it—and Ender, because Mazer Rackhamhad insisted that he had to be told what the weapons he carried actually were and howthey worked. As Mazer told him later, “I told Graff, You don’t give a man a bag oftools and not tell him what they are and what they do and how they might go wrong.”

Graff again. Graff who decided Mazer was right and allowed them to tell Ender what itwas and how it worked.

My slaughter of the formics—it’s all here in the egg.

“You’ve gone off again,” said the captain.

“Thinking about what a miracle starflight is. Whatever else we might think of thebuggers, they did give us our road to the stars.”

“I know,” said the captain. “I’ve thought of that before. If they had just bypassedour system instead of coming in and trying to wipe Earth clean, we’d never have knownthey existed. And at our level of technology, we probably wouldn’t have gotten out intothe stars until so much later that we’d have found every nearby planet completelyoccupied by formics.”

“Captain, this was a most excellent and productive tour.”

“I know. How else would you have learned how to find the head on every deck?”

Ender laughed at the joke. Partly because it was true. He’d need to find a bathroomseveral times a day through the whole voyage.

“I assume you’re staying awake for the flight,” said the captain.

“Wouldn’t want to miss any of the scenery.”

“Oh, there’s no scenery, because at lightspeed you—oh, a joke. Sorry, sir.”

“Got to work on my sense of humor, when my jokes make other people apologize to me.”

“Begging your pardon, sir, but you don’t talk like a kid.”

“Do I talk like an admiral?” asked Ender.

“Since you are an admiral, however you talk is like an admiral, sir,” said thecaptain.

“Very cleverly sidestepped, sir. Tell me, are you coming on the voyage with me?”

“I have a family on Earth, sir, and my wife doesn’t want to join a colony on anotherworld. No pioneer spirit, I’m afraid.”

“You have a life. A good reason for staying home.”

“But you’re going,” said the captain.

“Have to see the formic homeland,” said Ender. “Or the next best thing, consideringthat their home planet doesn’t exist anymore.”

“Which I’m damned happy about, sir,” said the captain. “If you hadn’t whupped themfor good and all, sir, we’d be looking over our shoulder through the next ten thousandyears of human history.”

There was a stab of insight there. Ender caught it and then it immediately slipped away.Something about the way the hive queens thought. Their purpose in letting Ender killthem.

Well, if it’s true, then I’ll think of it again.

Ender hoped that optimistic thought was right.

When all of Ender’s tours and training sessions were finished, he finally got aninterview with the Minister of Colonization.

“Please don’t call me Colonel,” said Graff.

“I can’t call you MinCol.”

“Officially, a Hegemony minister is addressed as ‘Your Excellency.’ “

“With a straight face?”

“Sometimes,” said Graff. “But we’re colleagues, Ender. I call you by your firstname. You can call me by mine.”

“Never in my life,” said Ender. “You’re Colonel Graff to me, and that will neverchange.”

“Doesn’t matter,” said Graff. “I’ll be dead before you get to your destination.”

“Hardly seems fair. Come with us.”

“I have to be here to get my own work done.”

“My work is done.”

“I don’t know about that,” said Graff. “The work we had for you is done. But youdon’t even know yet what your own work is going to be.”

“I know it won’t be governing a colony, sir.”

“And yet you accepted the job.”

Ender shook his head. “I accepted the title. When I get to the colony, then we’ll seejust how much of a governor I’ll be. The Constitution you came up with is good, but thereal constitution is always the same: The leader only has as much power as his followersgive him.”

“And yet you’re going to make the voyage awake instead of in stasis.”

“It’s only a couple of years,” said Ender. “And it’ll make me fifteen when wearrive. I’m hoping I’ll get taller.”

“I hope you’re bringing a lot of books to read.”

“They stocked a few thousand titles for me in the ship’s library,” said Ender. “Butwhat matters to me is that you use the ansible to give us all the information about theformics that comes out while we’re in flight.”

“Of course,” said Graff. “That will be sent to all the ships.”

Ender smiled slightly.

“All right, yes, of course I’ll send them directly to you as well. What, are yoususpecting that the ship’s captain will try to control your access to information?”

“If you were in his place, wouldn’t you do the same?”

“Ender, I would never let myself get in the position of trying to control you againstyour will.”

“You just spent the last six years doing that.”

“And got court-martialed for it, you’ll notice.”

“And your punishment was to get the job you’ve wanted all along. Let me see. Ministerof Colonization doesn’t go to Earth to be under the thumb of the Hegemon. He stays inspace, nicely ensconced with the International Fleet. So even if they change hegemons,it won’t involve you. And if they fire you—“

“They won’t,” said Graff.

“You’re so sure of that.”

“It’s not a prediction, it’s an intention.”

“You, sir, are a piece of work,” said Ender.

“Oh, speaking of pieces of work,” said Graff, “did you hear that Demosthenes hasretired?”

“The guy on the nets?” asked Ender.

“I don’t mean the Greek author of the Philippics.”

“I don’t actually care,” said Ender. “It’s just the nets.”

“The nets, and this rabble-rouser’s screeds in particular, are where the battle wasplayed out and you lost,” said Graff.

“Who says I lost?” asked Ender.

“Touché,” said Graff. “My point is that the person behind the online identity isactually younger than most people imagined. So the retirement isn’t about age, it’sabout leaving home. Leaving Earth.”

“Demosthenes is becoming a colonist?”

“Isn’t that an odd choice,” said Graff, sounding as if it weren’t odd to him at all.

“Please don’t tell me he’s coming on my ship.”

“Technically, it’s Admiral Quincy Morgan’s ship. You don’t take over till you setfoot on the ground in your colony. That’s the law.”

“Dodging the question as usual.”

“Yes, you’ll have Demosthenes on your ship. But of course no one will be using thatname.”

“You’ve been avoiding the use of the masculine pronoun—of any pronoun,” said Ender.“So Demosthenes is a woman.”

“And she’s eager to see you.”

Ender sagged in his chair. “Oh, sir, please.”

“Not your normal hero-worshiper, Ender. And since she’s also going to be awake throughyour whole voyage, I think you’ll want to be prepared by seeing her in advance.”

“When is she coming?”

“She’s here.”

“On Eros?”

“In my cozy little antechamber,” said Graff.

“You’re going to make me meet her now? Colonel Graff, I don’t like anything shewrote. Or the result.”

“Give her credit. She was warning the world about the Warsaw Pact’s attempt to takeover the fleet long before anybody else took the threat seriously.”

“She was also crowing about how America could conquer the world once it had me.”

“You can ask her about that.”

“I have no such intention.”

“Let me tell you one pure and simple truth. In everything she wrote about you, Ender,her only concern was to protect you from the terrible things people would have done toexploit you or destroy you if you ever set foot on Earth.”

“I could have dealt with it.”

“We’ll never know, will we?”

“If I know you, sir, what you just told me is that you were behind this. Keeping me offEarth.”

“Not really,” said Graff. “I went along with it, yes.”

Ender wanted to cry. From sheer moral exhaustion. “Because you know better than mewhat’s in my best interest.”

“In this case, Ender, I think you could have dealt with any challenge that came to you.Except one. Your brother, Peter, is determined to rule the world. You would have beeneither his tool or his enemy. Which would you have chosen?”

“Peter?” asked Ender. “Do you think he really has a chance of it?”

“He’s done incredibly well so far—for a teenager.”

“Isn’t he twenty by now? No, I guess he’d still be seventeen. Or eighteen.”

“I don’t keep track of your family’s birthdays,” said Graff.

“If he’s doing such a great job,” said Ender, “why haven’t I heard of him?”

“Oh, you have.”

That meant Peter was using a pseudonym. Ender quickly thought through all the onlinepersonalities that might be considered close to some kind of world domination and whenhe got it, he sighed. “Peter is Locke.”

“So, clever boy, who is Demosthenes?”

Ender rose to his feet and to his own chagrin he was crying, just like that. He didn’teven know he was crying till his cheeks were wet and he couldn’t see for the blur.“Valentine,” he whispered.

“I’m going to leave my office now and let the two of you talk,” said Graff.

When he left, the door stayed open. And then she came in.


To: imo%testadmin@colmin.gov

From: hgraff%mincol@heg.gov

Subj: What are we screening for?

Dear Imo,

I’ve been giving our conversation a great deal of thought, and I think you may beright. I had the foolish idea that we should test for desirable and useful traits sothat we could assemble ideally balanced teams to the colonies. But we’re not gettingsuch a flood of volunteers that we can afford to be really choosy. And as history showsus, when colonization is voluntary, people will self-select better than any testingsystem.

It’s like those foolish attempts to control immigration to America based on the traitsthat were deemed desirable, when in fact the only trait that defines Americans

historically is “descended from somebody willing to give up everything to live there.”And we won’t go into the way Australian colonists were selected!

Willingness is the single most important test, as you said. But that means all the othertests are . . . what?

Not useless, as you suggested. On the contrary, I think the test results are a valuableresource. Even if the colonists are all insane, shouldn’t the governor have a gooddossier on each individual’s particular species of madness?

I know, you’re not letting through anyone who needs to maintain functional sanity withdrugs. Or known addicts and alcoholics and sociopaths, or people with genetic diseases,etc. We always agreed on that, to avoid overburdening the colonies. They’ll developtheir own genetic and brain-based quirks in a few generations anyway, but for now, letthem have a little breathing room.

But the family you queried about, the ones with a plan for marrying off a daughter tothe governor—surely you will agree with me that in the long history of motives forjoining a faraway colony, marriage was one of the noblest and most socially productive.


“Do you know what I did today, Alessandra?”

“No, Mother.” Fourteen-year-old Alessandra set her book bag on the floor by the frontdoor and walked past her mother to the sink, where she poured herself a glass of water.


“Got the electricity turned back on?”

“The elves would not speak to me,” said Mother. It had once been funny, this game thatelectricity came from elves. But it wasn’t funny now, in the sweltering Adriatic

summer, with no refrigeration for the food, no air-conditioning, and no vids to distracther from the heat.

“Then I don’t know what you did, Mother.”

“I changed our lives,” said Mother. “I created a future for us.”

Alessandra froze in place and uttered a silent prayer. She had long since given up hopethat any of her prayers would be answered, but she figured each unanswered prayer wouldEnder in Exile 5

add to the list of grievances she would take up with God, should the occasion arise.

“What future is that, Mother?”

Mother could hardly contain herself. “We are going to be colonists.”

Alessandra sighed with relief. She had heard all about the Dispersal Project in school.Now that the formics had been destroyed, the idea was for humans to colonize all theirformer worlds, so that humanity’s fate would not be tied to that of a single planet.But the requirements for colonists were strict. There was no chance that an unstable,irresponsible—no, pardon me, I meant “feckless and fey”—person like Mother would beaccepted.

“Well, Mother, that’s wonderful.”

“You don’t sound excited.”

“It takes a long time for an application to be approved. Why would they take us? Whatdo we know how to do?”

“You’re such a pessimist, Alessandra. You’ll have no future if you must frown atevery new thing.” Mother danced around her, holding a fluttering piece of paper infront of her. “I put in our application months ago, darling Alessandra. Today I gotword that we have been accepted!”

“You kept a secret for all this time?”

“I can keep secrets,” said Mother. “I have all kinds of secrets. But this is nosecret, this piece of paper says that we will journey to a new world, and on that newworld you will not be part of a persecuted surplus, you will be needed, all your talentsand charms will be noticed and admired.”

All her talents and charms. At the coleggio, no one seemed to notice them. She wasmerely another gawky girl, all arms and legs, who sat in the back and did her work andmade no waves. Only Mother thought of Alessandra as some extraordinary, magicalcreature.

“Mother, may I read that paper?” asked Alessandra.

“Why, do you doubt me?” Mother danced away with the letter.

Alessandra was too hot and tired to play. She did not chase after her.

“Of course I doubt you.”

“You are no fun today, Alessandra.”

“Even if it’s true, it’s a horrible idea. You should have asked me. Do you know whatcolonists’ lives will be like? Sweating in the fields as farmers.”

“Don’t be silly,” said Mother. “They have machines for that.”

“And they’re not sure we can eat any of the native vegetation. When the formics firstattacked Earth, they simply destroyed all the vegetation in the part of China where theylanded. They had no intention of eating anything that grew here naturally. We don’tknow if our plants can grow on their planets. All the colonists might die.”

“The survivors of the fleet that defeated the formics will already have those problemsresolved by the time we get there.”

“Mother,” said Alessandra patiently. “I don’t want to go.”

“That’s because you have been convinced by the dead souls at the school that you arean ordinary child. But you are not. You are magical. You must get away from this worldof dust and misery and go to a land that is green and filled with ancient powers. Wewill live in the caves of the dead ogres and go out to harvest the fields that once weretheirs! And in the cool evening, with sweet green breezes fluttering your skirts, you

will dance with young men who gasp at your beauty and grace!”

“And where will we find young men like that?”

“You’ll see,” said Mother. Then she sang it: “You shall see! You shall see! A fineyoung man with prospects will give his heart to you.”

Finally the paper fluttered close enough for Alessandra to snatch it out of Mother’shands. She read it, with Mother bending down to hover just behind the paper, smiling herfairy smile. It was real. Dorabella Toscano (29) and daughter Alessandra Toscano (14),accepted into Colony I.

“Obviously there’s no sort of psychological screening after all,” said Alessandra.

“You try to hurt me but I will not be hurt. Mother knows what is best for you. Youshall not make the mistakes that I have made.”

“No, but I’ll pay for them,” said Alessandra.

“Think, my darling, beautiful, brilliant, graceful, kind, generous, and poutful girl,think of this: What do you have to look forward to here in Monopoli, Italia, living in aflat in the unfashionable end of Via Luigi Indelli?”

“There is no fashionable end of Luigi Indelli.”

“You make my point for me.”

“Mother, I don’t dream of marrying a prince and riding off into the sunset.”

“That’s a good thing, my darling, because there are no princes—only men and animalswho pretend to be men. I married one of the latter but he at least provided you with thegenes for those amazing cheekbones, that dazzling smile. Your father had very goodteeth.”

“If only he had been a more attentive bicyclist.”

“It was not his fault, dear.”

“The streetcars run on tracks, Mother. You don’t get hit if you stay out from betweenthe tracks.”

“Your father was not a genius but fortunately I am, and therefore you have the blood ofthe fairies in you.”

“Who knew that fairies sweat so much?” Alessandra pulled one of Mother’s drippinglocks of hair away from her face. “Oh, Mother, we won’t do well in a colony. Pleasedon’t do this.”

“The voyage takes forty years—I went next door and looked it up on the net.”

“Did you ask them this time?”

“Of course I did, they lock their windows now. They were thrilled to hear we were goingto be colonists.”

“I have no doubt they were.”

“But because of magic, to us it will be only two years.”

“Because of the relativistic effects of near-lightspeed travel.”

“Such a genius, my daughter is. And even those two years we can sleep through, so wewon’t even age.”


“It will be as if our bodies slept a week, and we wake up forty years away.”

“And everyone we know on Earth will be forty years older than we are.”

“And mostly dead,” sang Mother. “Including my hideous hag of a mother, who disownedme when I married the man I loved, and who therefore will never get her hands on mydarling daughter.” The melody to this refrain was always cheery-sounding. Alessandrahad never met her grandmother. Now, though, it occurred to her that maybe a grandmothercould get her out of joining a colony.

“I’m not going, Mother.”

“You are a minor child and you will go where I go, tra-la.”

“You are a madwoman and I will sue for emancipation rather than go, tra-lee.”

“You will think about it first because I am going whether you go or not and if youthink your life with me is hard you should see what it’s like without me.”

“Yes, I should,” said Alessandra. “Let me meet my grandmother.”

Mother’s glare was immediate, but Alessandra plowed ahead. “Let me live with her. Yougo with the colony.”

“But there’s no reason for me to go with the colony, my darling. I’m doing this foryou. So without you, I will not go.”

“Then we’re not going. Tell them.”

“We are going, and we are thrilled about it.”

Might as well get off the merry-go-round; Mother didn’t mind endlessly repeating

circular arguments, but Alessandra got bored with it. “What lies did you have to tell,to get accepted?”

“I told no lies,” said Mother, pretending to be shocked at the accusation. “I onlyproved my identity. They do all the research, so if they have false information it’stheir own fault. Do you know why they want us?”

“Do you?” asked Alessandra. “Did they actually tell you?”

“It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out, or even a fairy,” said Mother “They wantus because we are both of childbearing age.”

Alessandra groaned in disgust, but Mother was preening in front of an imaginary full-length mirror.

“I am still young,” said Mother, “and you are just flowering into womanhood. Theyhave men from the fleet there, young men who have never married. They will be waitingeagerly for us to arrive. So I will mate with a very eager old man of sixty and bear himbabies and then he will die. I’m used to that. But you—you will be a prize for a youngman to marry. You will be a treasure.”

“My uterus will, you mean,” said Alessandra. “You’re right, that’s exactly whatthey’re thinking. I bet they took practically any healthy female who applied.”

“We fairies are always healthy.”

It was true enough—Alessandra had no memory of ever being sick, except for food

poisoning that time when Mother insisted they would eat supper from a street vendor’scart at the end of a very hot day.

“So they’re sending a herd of women, like cows.”

“You’re only a cow if you choose to be,” said Mother. “The only question I have todecide now is whether we want to sleep through the voyage and wake up just beforelanding, or stay awake for the two years, receiving training and acquiring skills sowe’re ready to be productive in the first wave of colonists.”

Alessandra was impressed. “You actually read the documentation?”

“This is the most important decision of our lives, my darling Alessa. I am beingextraordinarily careful.”

“If only you had read the bills from the power company.”

“They were not interesting. They only spoke of our poverty. Now I see that God waspreparing us for a world without air-conditioning and vids and nets. A world of nature.We were born for nature, we elvish folk. You will come to the dance and with your fairygrace you will charm the son of the king, and the king’s son will dance with you untilhe is so in love his heart will break for you. Then it will be for you to decide ifhe’s the one for you.”

“I doubt there’ll be a king.”

“But there’ll be a governor. And other high officials. And young men with prospects. Iwill help you choose.”

“You will certainly not help me choose.”

“It’s as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one.”

“As if you’d know.”

“I know better than you, having done it badly once. The rush of hot blood into theheart is the darkest magic, and it must be tamed. You must not let it happen until youhave chosen a man worthy of your love. I will help you choose.”

No point in arguing. Alessandra had long since learned that fighting with Motheraccomplished nothing, whereas ignoring her worked very well.

Except for this. A colony. It was definitely time to look up Grandmother. She lived inPolignano a Mare, the next city of any size up the Adriatic coast, that’s all that sheknew of her. And Mother’s mother would not be named Toscano. Alessandra would have todo some serious research.

A week later, Mother was still going back and forth about whether they should sleepthrough the voyage or not, while Alessandra was discovering that there’s a lot ofinformation that they won’t let children get at. Snooping in the house, she found herown birth certificate, but that wasn’t helpful, it only listed her own parents. Sheneeded Mother’s certificate, and that was not findable in the apartment.

The government people barely acknowledged she existed and when they heard her errandsent her away. It was only when she finally thought of the Catholic Church that she madeany headway. They hadn’t actually attended Mass since Alessandra was little, but at theparish, the priest on duty helped her search back to find her own baptism. They had arecord of baby Alessandra Toscano’s godparents as well as her parents, and Alessandrafigured that either the godparents were her grandparents, or they would know who hergrandparents were.

At school she searched the net and found that Leopoldo and Isabella Santangelo lived inPolignano a Mare, which was a good sign, since that was the town where Grandmotherlived.

Instead of going home, she used her student pass and hopped the train to Polignano andthen spent forty-five minutes walking around the town searching for the address. To herdisgust, it ended up being on a stub of a street just off Via Antonio Ardito, a trashy-looking apartment building backing on the train tracks. There was no buzzer. Alessandratrudged up to the fourth floor and knocked.

“You want to knock something, knock your own head!” shouted a woman from inside.

“Are you Isabella Santangelo?”

“I’m the Holy Virgin and I’m busy answering prayers. Go away!”

Alessandra’s first thought was: So Mother lied about being a child of the fairies.She’s really Jesus’ younger sister.

But she decided that flippancy wasn’t a good approach today. She was already going tobe in trouble for leaving Monopoli without permission, and she needed to find out fromthe Holy Virgin here whether or not she was her grandmother.

“I’m so sorry to trouble you, but I’m the daughter of Dorabella Toscano and I—“

The woman must have been standing right at the door, waiting, because it flew openbefore Alessandra could finish her sentence.

“Dorabella Toscano is a dead woman! How can a dead woman have daughters!”

“My mother isn’t dead,” said Alessandra, stunned. “You were signed as my godmotheron the parish register.”

“That was the worst mistake of my life. She marries this pig boy, this bike messenger,when she’s barely fifteen, and why? Because her belly’s getting fat with you, that’swhy! She thinks a wedding makes it all clean and pure! And then her idiot husband getshimself killed. I told her, this proves there is a God! Now go to hell!”

The door slammed in Alessandra’s face.

She had come so far. Her grandmother couldn’t really mean to send her away like this.They hadn’t even had time to do more than glance at each other.

“But I’m your granddaughter,” said Alessandra.

“How can I have a granddaughter when I have no daughter? You tell your mother thatbefore she sends her little quasi-bastard begging at my door, she’d better come to meherself with some serious apologizing.”

“She’s going away to a colony,” said Alessandra.

The door was yanked open again. “She’s even more insane than ever,” said Grandmother.“Come in. Sit down. Tell me what stupid thing she’s done.”

The apartment was absolutely neat. Everything in it was unbelievably cheap, the lowestpossible quality, but there was a lot of it—ceramics, tiny framed art pieces—andeverything had been dusted and polished. The sofa and chairs were so piled with quiltsand throws and twee little embroidered pillows that there was nowhere to sit.

Grandmother Isabella moved nothing, and finally Alessandra sat on top of one of thepillow piles.

Feeling suddenly quite disloyal and childish herself, telling on Mother like a

schoolyard tattletale, Alessandra now tried to softpedal the outrage. “She has herreasons, I know it, and I think she truly believes she’s doing it for me—“

“What what what is she doing for you that you don’t want her to do! I don’t have allday!”

The woman who embroidered all of these pillows has all day every day. But Alessandrakept her sassy remark to herself. “She has signed us up for a colony ship, and theyaccepted us.”

“A colony ship? There aren’t any colonies. All those places are countries of their ownnow. Not that Italy ever did have any real colonies, not since the Roman Empire. Losttheir balls after that, the men did. Italian men have been worthless ever since. Yourgrandfather, God keep him buried, was worthless enough, never stood up for himself, leteverybody push him around, but at least he worked hard and provided for me until myungrateful daughter spat in my face and married that bike boy. Not like that worthlessfather of yours, never made a dime.”

“Well, not since he died, anyway,” said Alessandra, feeling more than a littleoutraged.

“I’m talking about when he was alive! He only worked the fewest hours he could get bywith. I think he was on drugs. You were probably a cocaine baby.”

“I don’t think so.”

“How would you know anything?” said Grandmother. “You couldn’t even talk then!”

Alessandra sat and waited.

“Well? Tell me.”

“I did but you wouldn’t believe me.”

“What was it you said?”

“A colony ship. A starship to one of the formic planets, to farm and explore.”

“Won’t the formics complain?”

“There aren’t any more formics, Grandmother. They were all killed.”

“A nasty piece of business but it needed doing. If that Ender Wiggin boy is available,I’ve got a list of other people that need some good serious destruction. What do youwant, anyway?”

“I don’t want to go into space. With Mother. But I’m still a minor. If you would signas my guardian, I could get emancipated and stay home. It’s in the law.”

“As your guardian?”

“Yes. To supervise me and provide for me. I’d live here.”

“Get out.”


“Stand up and get out. You think this is a hotel? Where exactly do you think you’dsleep? On the floor, where I’d trip on you in the night and break my hip? There’s noroom for you here. I should have known you’d be making demands. Out!”

There was no room for argument. In moments Alessandra found herself charging down thestairs, furious and humiliated. This woman was even crazier than Mother.

I have nowhere to go, thought Alessandra. Surely the law doesn’t allow my mother toforce me to go into space, does it? I’m not a baby, I’m not a child, I’m fourteen, Ican read and write and make rational choices.

When the train got back to Monopoli, Alessandra did not go directly home. She had tothink up a good lie about where she’d been, so she might as well come up with one thatcovered a longer time. Maybe the Dispersal Project office was still open.

But it wasn’t. She couldn’t even get a brochure. And what was the point? Anythinginteresting would be on the net. She could have stayed after school and found out allshe wanted to know. Instead she went to visit her grandmother.

That’s proving what good decisions I make.

Mother was sitting at the table, a cup of chocolate in front of her. She looked up andwatched Alessandra shut the door and set down her book bag, but she said nothing.

“Mother, I’m sorry, I—“

“Before you lie,” said Mother softly, “the witch called me and screamed at me forsending you. I hung up on her, which is what I usually end up doing, and then Iunplugged the phone from the wall.”

“I’m sorry,” said Alessandra.

“You didn’t think I had a reason for keeping her out of your life?”

For some reason, that pulled the trigger on something inside Alessandra and instead oftrying to retreat, she erupted. “It doesn’t matter whether you had a reason,” shesaid. “You could have ten million reasons, but you didn’t tell any of them to me! Youexpected me to obey you blindly. But you don’t obey your mother blindly.”

“Your mother isn’t a monster,” said Mother.

“There are many kinds of monsters,” said Alessandra. “You’re the kind that flitsaround like a butterfly but never lands near me long enough to even know who I am.”

“Everything I do is for you!”

“Nothing is for me. Everything is for the child you imagine you had, the one thatdoesn’t exist, the perfect, happy child that was bound to result from your being theexact opposite of your mother in every way. Well, I’m not that child. And in yourmother’s house, the electricity is on!”

“Then go live there!”

“She won’t let me!”

“You would hate it. Never able to touch anything. Always having to do things her way.”

“Like going off on a colony ship?”

“I signed up for the colony ship for you.”

“Which is like buying me a supersized bra. Why don’t you look at who I am before youdecide what I need?”

“I’ll tell you what you are. You’re a girl who’s too young and inexperienced to knowwhat a woman needs. I’m ten kilometers ahead of you on that road, I know what’s

coming, I’m trying to get you what you’ll need to make that road easy and smooth, andyou know what? In spite of you, I’ve done it. You’ve fought me every step of the way,but I’ve done a great job with you. You don’t even know how good a job I’ve donebecause you don’t know what you could have been.”

“What could I have been, Mother? You?”

“You were never going to be me,” said Mother.

“What are you saying? That I would have been her?”

“We’ll never know what you would have been, will we? Because you already are what Imade you.”

“Wrong. I look like whatever I have to look like in order to stay alive in your home.Down inside, what I really am is a complete stranger to you. A stranger that you intendto drag off into space without even asking me if I wanted to go. They used to have aword for people you treated like that. They called them slaves.”

Alessandra wanted more than ever before in her life to run to her bedroom and slam thedoor. But she didn’t have a bedroom. She slept on the sofa in the same room with thekitchen and the kitchen table.

“I understand,” said Mother. “I’ll go into my bedroom and you can slam the door onme.”

The fact that Mother really did know what she was thinking was the most infuriatingthing of all. But Alessandra did not scream and did not scratch at her mother and didnot fall on the floor and throw a tantrum and did not even dive onto the sofa and buryher face in the pillow. Instead she sat down at the table directly across from hermother and said, “What’s for dinner?”

“So. Just like that, the discussion is over?”

“Discuss while we cook. I’m hungry.”

“There’s nothing to eat, because I haven’t turned in our final acceptance because Ihaven’t decided yet whether we should sleep or stay awake through the voyage, and so wehaven’t got the signing bonus, and so there’s no money to buy food.”

“So what are we going to do about dinner?”

Mother just looked away from her.

“I know,” said Alessandra excitedly. “Let’s go over to Grandma’s!”

Mother turned back and glared at her.

“Mother,” said Alessandra, “how can we run out of money when we’re living on thedole? Other people on the dole manage to buy enough food and pay their electric bills.”

“What do you think?” said Mother. “Look around you. What have I spent all thegovernment’s money on? Where’s all the extravagance? Look in my closet, count theoutfits I own.”

Alessandra thought for a moment. “I never thought about that. Do you owe money to themafia? Did Father, before he died?”

“No,” said Mother contemptuously. “You now have all the information you need to

understand completely, and yet you still haven’t figured it out, smart and grown up asyou are.”

Alessandra couldn’t imagine what Mother was talking about. Alessandra didn’t have anynew information. She also didn’t have anything to eat.

She got up and started opening cupboards. She found a box of dry radiatori and a jar ofblack pepper. She took a pan to the sink and put in some water and set it on the stoveand turned on the gas.

“There’s no sauce for the pasta,” said Mother.

“There’s pepper. There’s oil.”

“You can’t eat radiatori with just pepper and oil. It’s like putting fistfuls of wetflour in your mouth.”

“That’s not my problem,” said Alessandra. “At this point, it’s pasta or shoeleather, so you’d better start guarding your closet.”

Mother tried to turn things light again. “Of course, just like a daughter, you’d eatmy shoes.”

“Just be glad if I stop before I get to your leg.”

Mother pretended she was still joking when she airily said, “Children eat their parentsalive, that’s what they do.”

“Then why is that hideous creature still living in that flat in Polignano a Mare?”

“I broke my teeth on her skin!” It was Mother’s last attempt at humor.

“You tell me what terrible things daughters do, but you’re a daughter, too. Did you dothem?”

“I married the first man who showed me any hint of what kindness and pleasure could be.I married stupidly.”

“I have half the genes of the man you married,” said Alessandra. “Is that why I’mtoo stupid to decide what planet I want to live on?”

“It’s obvious that you want to live on any planet where I am not.”

“You’re the one who came up with the colony idea, not me! But now I think you’venamed your own reason. Yes! You want to colonize another planet because your motherisn’t there!”

Mother slumped in her seat. “Yes, that is part of it. I won’t pretend that I wasn’tthinking of that as one of the best things about going.”

“So you admit you weren’t doing it all for me.”

“I do not admit such a lie. It’s all for you.”

“Getting away from your mother, that is for you,” said Alessandra.

“It is for you.”

“How can it be for me? Until today I didn’t even know what my grandmother looked like.I had never seen her face. I didn’t even know her name.”

“And do you know how much that cost me?” asked Mother.

“What do you mean?”

Mother looked away. “The water is boiling.”

“No, that’s my temper you’re hearing. Tell me what you meant. What did it cost you tokeep me from knowing my own grandmother?”

Mother got up and went into her bedroom and closed the door.

“You forgot to slam it, Mother! Who’s the parent here, anyway? Who’s the one whoshows a sense of responsibility? Who’s fixing dinner?”

The water took three more minutes before it got to a boil. Alessandra threw in twofistfuls of radiatori and then got her books and started studying at the table. She

ended up overcooking the pasta and it was so cheaply made that it clumped up and the oildidn’t bind with it. It just pooled on the plate, and the pepper barely helped make itpossible to swallow the mess. She kept her eyes on her book and her paper as she ate,and swallowed mechanically until finally the bite in her mouth made her gag and she gotup and spat it into the sink and then drank down a glass of water and almost threw thewhole mess back up again. As it was, she retched twice at the sink before she was ableto get her gorge under control. “Mmmmm, delicious,” she murmured. Then she turned backto the table.

Mother was sitting there, picking out a single piece of pasta with her fingers. She putit in her mouth. “What a good mother I am,” she said softly.

“I’m doing homework now, Mother. We’ve already used up our quarreling time.”

“Be honest, darling. We almost never quarrel.”

“That’s true. You flit around ignoring whatever I say, being full of happiness. Butbelieve me, my end of the argument is running through my head all the time.”

“I’m going to tell you something because you’re right, you’re old enough tounderstand things.”

Alessandra sat down. “All right, tell me.” She looked her mother in the eye.

Mother looked away.

“So you’re not going to tell me. I’ll do my homework.”

“I’m going to tell you,” said Mother. “I’m just not going to look at you while Ido.”

“And I won’t look at you either.” She went back to her homework.

“About ten days into the month, my mother calls me. I answer the phone because if Idon’t she gets on the train and comes over, and then I have a hard time getting her out

of the house before you get home from school. So I answer the phone and she tells me Idon’t love her, I’m an ungrateful daughter, because here she is all alone in herhouse, and she’s out of money, she can’t have anything lovely in her life. Move inwith me, she says, bring your beautiful daughter, we can live in my apartment and shareour money and then there’ll be enough. No, Mama, I say to her. I will not move in withyou. And she weeps and screams and says I am a hateful daughter who is tearing all joyand beauty out of her life because I leave her alone and I leave her penniless and so Ipromise her, I’ll send you a little something. She says, don’t send it, that wastespostage, I’ll come get it and I say, No, I won’t be here, it costs more to ride thetrain than to mail it, so I’m mailing it. And somehow I get her off the phone beforeyou get home. Then I sit for a while not cutting my wrists, and then I put some amountof money into an envelope and I take it to the post office and I mail it, and then shetakes the money and buys some hideous piece of garbage and puts it on her wall or on alittle shelf until her house is so full of things I’ve paid for out of money thatshould go to my daughter’s upbringing, and I pay for all of that, I run out of moneyevery month even though I get the same money on the dole that she gets, because it’sworth it. Being hungry is worth it. Having you be angry with me is worth it, because youdo not have to know that woman, you do not have to have her in your life. So yes,

Alessandra, I do it all for you. And if I can get us off this planet, I won’t have tosend her any more money, and she won’t phone me anymore, because by the time we reachthat other world she will be dead. I only wish you had trusted me enough that we couldhave arrived there without your ever having to see her evil face or hear her evilvoice.”

Mother got up from the table and returned to her room.

Alessandra finished her homework and put it into her backpack and then went and sat onthe sofa and stared at the nonfunctioning television. She remembered coming home everyday from school, for all these years, and there was Mother, every time, flitting throughthe house, full of silly talk about fairies and magic and all the beautiful things shedid during the day and all the while, the thing she did during the day was fight themonster to keep it from getting into the house, getting its clutches on littleAlessandra.

It explained the hunger. It explained the electricity. It explained everything.

It didn’t mean Mother wasn’t crazy. But now the craziness made a kind of sense. Andthe colony meant that finally Mother would be free. It wasn’t Alessandra who was readyfor emancipation.

She got up and went to the door and tapped on it. “I say we sleep during the voyage.”

A long wait. Then, from the other side of the door, “That’s what I think, too.” Aftera moment, Mother added, “There’ll be a young man for you in that colony. A fine youngman with prospects.”

“I believe there will,” said Alessandra. “And I know he’ll adore my happy, crazymother. And my wonderful mother will love him too.”

And then silence.

It was unbearably hot inside the flat. Even with the windows open, the air wasn’tstirring so there was no relief for it. Alessandra lay on the sofa in her underwear,wishing the upholstery weren’t so soft and clinging. She lay on the floor, thinkingthat maybe the air was a tiny bit cooler there because hot air rises. Only the hot airin the flat below must be rising and heating the floor so it didn’t help, and the floorwas too hard.

Or maybe it wasn’t, because the next morning she woke up on the floor and there was abreath of a breeze coming in off the Adriatic and Mother was frying something in thekitchen.

“Where did you get eggs?” asked Alessandra after she came back from the toilet.

“I begged,” said Mother.

“One of the neighbors?”

“A couple of the neighbors’ chickens,” said Mother.

“No one saw you?”

“No one stopped me, whether they saw me or not.”

Alessandra laughed and hugged her. She went to school and this time was not too proud toeat the charity lunch, because she thought: My mother paid for this food for me.

That night there was food on the table, and not just food, but fish and sauce and freshvegetables. So Mother must have turned in the final papers and received the signingbonus. They were going.

Mother was scrupulous. She took Alessandra with her when she went to both of the

neighbors’ houses where chickens were kept, and thanked them for not calling the policeon her, and paid them for the eggs she had taken. They tried to refuse, but she insistedthat she could not leave town with such a debt unpaid, that their kindness was stillcounted for them in heaven, and there was kissing and crying and Mother walked, not inher pretend fairy way, but light of step, a woman who has had a burden taken from hershoulders.

Two weeks later, Alessandra was on the net at school and she learned something that madeher gasp out loud, right there in the library, so that several people rushed toward herand she had to flick to another view and then they were all sure she had been looking atpornography but she didn’t care, she couldn’t wait to get home and tell Mother thenews.

“Do you know who the governor of our colony is going to be?”

Mother did not know. “Does it matter? He’ll be an old fat man. Or a bold adventurer.”

“What if it’s not a man at all? What if it’s a boy, a mere boy of thirteen orfourteen, a boy so brilliantly smart and good that he saved the human race?”

“What are you saying?”

“They’ve announced the crew of our colony ship. The pilot of the ship will be MazerRackham, and the governor of the colony will be Ender Wiggin.”

Now it was Mother’s turn to gasp. “A boy? They make a boy the governor?”

“He commanded the fleet in the war, he can certainly govern a colony,” said


“A boy. A little boy.”

“Not so little. My age.”

Mother turned to her. “What, you’re so big?”

“I’m big enough, you know. As you said—of childbearing age!”

Mother’s face turned reflective. “And the same age as Ender Wiggin.”

Alessandra felt her face turning red. “Mother! Don’t think what I know you’rethinking!”

“And why not think it? He’ll have to marry somebody on that distant lonely world. Whynot you?” Then Mother’s face also turned red and she fluttered her hands against her

cheeks. “Oh, oh, Alessandra, I was so afraid to tell you, and now I’m glad, andyou’ll be glad!”

“Tell me what?”

“You know how we decided to sleep through the voyage? Well, I got to the office to turnin the paper, but I saw that I had accidentally checked the other box, to stay awake andstudy and be in the first wave of colonists. And I thought, What if they don’t let mechange the paper? And I decided, I’ll make them change it! But when I sat there withthe woman I became afraid and I didn’t even mention it, I just turned it in like acoward. But now I see I wasn’t a coward, it was God guiding my hand, it truly was.Because now you’ll be awake through the whole voyage. How many fourteen-year-olds willthere be on the ship, awake? You and Ender, that’s what I think. The two of you.”

“He’s not going to fall in love with a stupid girl like me.”

“You get very good grades and besides, a smart boy isn’t looking for a girl who iseven smarter, he’s looking for a girl who will love him. He’s a soldier who will nevercome home from the war. You will become his friend. A good friend. It will be yearsbefore it’s time for him and you to marry. But when that time comes he’ll know you.”

“Maybe you’ll marry Mazer Rackham.”

“If he’s lucky,” said Mother. “But I’ll be content with whatever old man asks me,as long as I can see you happy.”

“I will not marry Ender Wiggin, Mother. Don’t hope for what isn’t possible.”

“Don’t you dare tell me what to hope for. But I will be content for you merely tobecome his friend.”

“I’ll be content merely to see him and not wet my pants. He’s the most famous humanbeing in the world, the greatest hero in all of history.”

“Not wetting your pants, that’s a good first step. Wet pants don’t make a goodimpression.”

The school year ended. They received instructions and tickets. They would take the trainto Napoli and then fly to Kenya, where the colonists from Europe and Africa were

gathering to take the shuttle into space. Their last few days were spent in doing allthe things they loved to do in Monopoli—going to the wharf, to the little parks whereshe had played as a child, to the library, saying good-bye to everything that had beenpleasant about their lives in the city. To Father’s grave, to lay their last flowersthere. “I wish you could have come with us,” whispered Mother, but Alessandra

wondered—if he had not died, would they have needed to go into space to find happiness?

They got home late on their last night in Monopoli, and when they reached the flat,there was Grandmother on the front stoop of the building. She rose to her feet the

moment she saw them and began screaming, even before they were near enough to hear whatshe was saying.

“Let’s not go back,” said Alessandra. “There’s nothing there that we need.”

“We need clothing for the journey to Kenya,” said Mother. “And besides, I’m notafraid of her.”

So they trudged on up the street, as neighbors looked out to see what was going on.Grandmother’s voice became clearer and clearer. “Ungrateful daughter! You plan tosteal away my beloved granddaughter and take her into space! I’ll never see her again,and you didn’t even tell me so I could say good-bye! What kind of monster does that!You never cared for me! You leave me alone in my old age—what kind of duty is that? Youin this neighborhood, what do you think of a daughter like that? What a monster has been

living among you, a monster of ingratitude!” And on and on.

But Alessandra felt no shame. Tomorrow these would not be her neighbors. She did nothave to care. Besides, any of them with sense would realize: No wonder Dorabella Toscanois taking her daughter away from this vile witch. Space is barely far enough to get awayfrom this hag.

Grandmother got directly in front of Mother and screamed into her face. Mother did notspeak, merely sidestepped around her and went to the door of the building. But she didnot open the door. She turned around and held out her hand to stop Grandmother fromspeaking.

Grandmother did not stop.

But Mother simply continued to hold up her hand. Finally Grandmother wound up her rantby saying, “So now she wants to speak to me! She didn’t want to speak to me for allthese weeks that she’s been planning to go into space, only when I come here with mybroken heart and my bruised face will she bother to speak to me, only now! So speakalready! What are you waiting for! Speak! I’m listening! Who’s stopping you?”

Finally Alessandra stepped between them and screamed into Grandmother’s face, “Nobodycan speak till you shut up!”

Grandmother slapped Alessandra’s face. It was a hard slap, and it knocked Alessandra astep to the side.

Then Mother held out an envelope to Grandmother. “Here is all the money that’s leftfrom our signing bonus. Everything I have in all the world except the clothes we take toKenya. I give it to you. And now I’m done with you. You’ve taken the last thing youwill ever get from me. Except this.”

She slapped Grandmother hard across the face.

Grandmother staggered, and was about to start screaming when Mother, lighthearted fairy-born Dorabella Toscano, put her face into Grandmother’s and screamed, “Nobody ever,ever, ever hits my little girl!” Then she jammed the envelope with the check in it intoGrandmother’s blouse, took her by the shoulders, turned her around, and gave her ashove down the street.

Alessandra threw her arms around her mother and sobbed. “Mama, I never understood tillnow, I never knew.”

Mother held her tight and looked over her shoulder at the neighbors who were watching,awestruck. “Yes,” she said, “I am a terrible daughter. But I am a very, very goodmother!”

Several of the neighbors applauded and laughed, though others clucked their tongues andturned away. Alessandra did not care.

“Let me look at you,” said Mother.

Alessandra stepped back. Mother inspected her face. “A bruise, I think, but not toobad. It will heal quickly. I think there won’t be a trace of it left by the time youmeet that fine young man with prospects.”


Ender in Exile


To: GovNom%Colony1@colmin.gov

From: GovAct%Colony1@colmin.gov

Subj: Naming the colony

I agree that calling this place Colony I is going to get tiresome. I agree that namingit now instead of REnaming it when you and your colony ship get here in fifty years willbe much better.

But your suggestion of “Prospero” would not play well here right now. We’re buryingformer fighter pilots at the rate of one every other day while our xenobiologist

struggles to find drugs or treatments that will control or eliminate the airborne wormsthat we inhale and that burrow through our veins until they’re so perforated we bleedout internally.

Sel (the XB) assures me that the drug he just gave us will slow them down and buy ustime. So there’s a chance there’ll actually be a colony here when you arrive. If youhave questions about the dustworm itself, you’ll have to ask him at


My address is my job title but my name is Vitaly Kolmogorov and my permanent title isAdmiral. Do you have a name? Whom am I writing to?

To: GovAct%Colony1@colmin.gov

From: GovNom%Colony1@colmin.gov

Subj: Re: Naming the colony

Dear Admiral Kolmogorov,

I have read with great relief the recent report that the dustworm has been completelycontrolled by the drug cocktail your xb Sel Menach developed. The worm is being namedfor him, but the actual name will be held up while committees argue endlessly aboutwhether Latin should be used for naming xenospecies. Some are arguing for a differentlanguage for each colony world; others for standardization across all the colonies;others for linguistic differentiation between species native to each planet and the

species from the formic home world that were transplanted to all the colony worlds. Thusthe Earthbound keep themselves busy while you do the real work of trying to establish abridgehead in an alien ecosphere.

I am part of the problem, with my fussing about the colony’s name. Please forgive mywasting your time on this; yet it must be done, and you have already prevented me from afaux pas that would have hurt the relations between your colonists and the Ministry andits minions (including me). You were right that Prospero doesn’t work, but for somereason I am quite drawn to using a name from The Tempest by William Shakespeare. PerhapsTempest itself, or Miranda, or Ariel. I suspect Caliban would not be a good choice.Gonzalo? Sycorax?

As to my name, there is debate about whether to inform your colonists of who I am. I amstrictly forbidden to tell even you, the “acting” governor. Meanwhile, my name isbeing bandied about on the nets, with no great secret made of the fact that I am

appointed governor of Colony I. The information will simply not be transmitted to you byansible. So easy to deceive you or leave you ignorant—something that I will keep inmind when I receive information from ColMin as governor 40 years from now. Unless I canget them to change this foolish practice before I depart.

I believe that the powers-that-be think that having a child of thirteen appointed asgovernor of your colony might hurt morale among your colonists, though it will be fortyyears before I arrive. At the same time, others think that having the victorious

commander as governor will help morale. While they decide, I trust both your powers of

deduction and your discretion.

To: GovNom%Colony1@colmin.gov

From: GovAct%Colony1@colmin.gov

Subj: Re: Naming the colony

Dear Governor-Nominate Wiggin,

I am impressed with the alacrity with which ColMin acted on your petition for ansiblebandwidth to be made available for unrestricted access to the nets by colonists, at thediscretion of the governors.

My first thought was to inform everyone in the colony about the identity of their

governor-in-transit. The name of Ender Wiggin is revered here. After our own victory, westudied your battles and debated about just which superlative was most appropriate whenapplied to your degree of military brilliance. But I have also seen the reports of thecourt martial of Col. Graff and Admiral Rackham. Your reputation was savaged and Idon’t want to provide an incentive for the colonists, when they finally have the

leisure for connecting to the home of humanity, to brood about whether you are a savioror a sociopath. Not that any of the soldiers and pilots among us has the slightest doubtthat you are the former; but there will be children born here during the fifty years ofyour voyage who did not fight under your command.

I confess to having had to reread The Tempest upon receiving your list of names. Sycoraxindeed! And yet, obscure as the name is in the play, it is astonishingly appropriate forour situation. The mother of Caliban, the witch who made the unmapped island rich withmagic—Sycorax would then be the appropriate name for the hive queen who once ruled thisworld but now is gone, leaving behind so many artifacts . . . and traps.

Our xb—a remarkable young man, who refuses to hear of our gratitude for his havingsaved our lives—says that the formic bodies were riddled with damage from the

dustworms. Apparently the individual formics were regarded as so expendable that therewas no attempt to control or prevent the disease. The waste of life! Fortunately, Selhas found that the dustworm life cycle has a phase that requires feeding on a certainspecies of plant. He is working on a means of wiping out that entire plant species.Ecocide, he calls it—a monstrous biological crime. He broods with guilt. Yet thealternative is to keep injecting ourselves forever, or to genetically alter all thechildren born to us in this world so our blood is poisonous to the dust-worms.

In short, Sel IS Prospero. The hive queen was Sycorax. The formics, Caliban. So far, noAriels, though every female of reproductive age is venerated here. We’re about to havea lottery for mating purposes. I have taken myself out of the running, lest I be accusedof making sure I got one of them. No one likes this unromantic, unfree plan—but wevoted on the method of allocating scarce reproductive resources and Sel persuaded amajority that this was the way to go. We have no time for wooing here, or for hurtfeelings, or rejection.

I talk to you because I can’t talk to anyone here, not even Sel. He has burdens enoughwithout my spilling any of mine onto his back.

By the way, the captain of your ship keeps writing to me as if he thought he could giveme orders about the governance of Colony I, without reference to you. I thought you

should be aware of this so you can take appropriate steps to avoid having to deal with awould-be regent when you arrive. He strikes me as being the kind of officer I call a“man of peace”—a bureaucrat who thrives in the military only when there is no war,because his true enemy is any officer who has a position or assignment he wants. You arethe thing he hates worst: a man of war. Look behind you; that’s where the man of peacealways tries to stay, dirk in hand.

—Vitaly Denisovitch

To: GovAct%Colony1@colmin.gov

From: GovNom%Colony1@colmin.gov

Subj: Re: I have the name

Dear Vitaly Denisovitch,

I have it: Shakespeare. As the name for both the planet and the first settlement. Thenlater settlements can be named for characters in The Tempest and other plays.

Meanwhile, we can refer to a certain admiral as Thane of Cawdor, to remind ourselves ofthe inevitable result of overweening ambition.

Are you content with Shakespeare as the name? It seems appropriate to me that a new

world be named for that great writer of human souls. But if you think it is too English,too tied to a particular culture, I will start over on another track entirely.

I am grateful for your confidence. I hope it will continue during the voyage, even

though time dilation will make it take weeks to send and receive each message. Of coursethat means I will not be in stasis—arriving at age fifteen will be better than at agethirteen.

And, so you know, the voyage will not take fifty years, but closer to forty—refinementshave been made in the eggs that power the ships and in the in-ertial protection of theships, so we can accelerate and decelerate faster in-system and spend more time atrelativistic speeds. We may have gotten all our technology from the formics, but thatdoesn’t mean we can’t improve on it.


To: GovNom%Colony1@colmin.gov

From: GovAct%Colony1@colmin.gov

Subj: Re: Naming the colony

Dear Ender,

Shakespeare belongs to everyone, but now especially to our colony. I sounded out a fewcolonists and those who cared at all thought it was a good name.

We will do our best to stay alive until you come with more to augment our numbers. But Iremember from my own voyage leading up to the war: Your two years will feel longer thanour forty. We will be doing something. You will feel frustrated and bored. Those whoopted for stasis were happier. Yet your argument for arriving at age fifteen instead ofthirteen is a wise one. I understand better than you do the sacrifice you will bemaking.

I will send you reports every few months—every few days to you—so that you have someidea of who the colonists are and how the village works, socially, agriculturally, andtechnologically, as well as our achievements and the problems we will have overcome. Iwill do my best to help you get to know the leading people. But I will not tell themthat I am doing this, because they would feel spied upon. When you arrive, try not tolet them know how much I have told you. It will make you appear to be insightful. Thisis a good reputation to have.

I would do the same for Admiral Morgan, since there is a chance that he will actually bein control—the soldiers on your ship will answer to him, not you, and the nearest lawenforcement is forty years distant if he should choose to illegally deploy them on ourplanet’s surface. Our colonists will be unarmed and untrained in military action so hewould face no resistance.

However, Admiral Morgan persists in sending me orders without once inquiring aboutconditions here, beyond what he may or may not have read in my official reports. He isalso becoming quite testy about my failure to respond in a satisfactory way (though Ihave responded fully to all his legitimate inquiries and requests). I suspect that if heis in control when he arrives, removing me from office will be his first priority.

Fortunately, demographics suggest that I will be dead before he gets here so that issuewill be moot.

Thirteen you may be, but at least you understand that you cannot lead strangers, you canonly coerce or bribe them.


Sel Menach’s back and neck ached from his hours staring at alien molds through amicroscope. If I keep this up, I’ll be bent over like an old hag before I’m thirty-five.

But it would be the same out in the fields, hoeing, trying to keep the vines from

growing up the maize and blocking out the sun. His back would bend there, too, and hisskin turn brown. You could hardly tell one race from another in this savage sunlight. Itwas like a vision of the future: Personnel chosen from all the races of earth to besurgeons and geologists and xenobiologists and climatologists—and also combat pilots,so they could kill the enemy who once owned this world—and now that the war was over,they’d interbreed so thoroughly that in three generations, maybe two, there would be noconcept of race or national origin here.

And yet each colony world would get its own look, its own accent of I.F. Common, whichwas merely English with a few spelling changes. As colonists began to go from world toworld, new divisions would arise. Meanwhile, Earth itself would keep all the old racesand nationalities and many of the languages, so that the distinction between colonistand Earthborn would become more and more clear and important.

Not my problem, thought Sel. I can see the future, anyone can; but there’ll be nofuture here on the planet now called Shakespeare unless I can find a way to kill thismold that infests the grain crops from Earth. How could there be a mold that is alreadyspecific to grasses, when the grasses of Earth, including the grains, have no geneticanalogue on this world?

Afraima came in with more samples from the test garden in the greenhouse. It was soironic—all the high-tech agricultural equipment that had been carried along with thefighters in the belly of the transport starship, and yet when it failed there would beno parts, no replacements for fifty years. Maybe forty, if the new stardrive actuallybrought the colony ship sooner. By the time it gets here, we might be living in thewoods, digging for roots and utterly without any working technology.

Or I might succeed in adjusting and adapting our crops so that they thrive in thisplace, and we have huge food surpluses, enough to buy us leisure time for the

development of a technological infrastructure.

We arrive at an extremely high level of technology—but with nothing under it to hold itup. If we crash, we crash all the way down.

“Look at this,” said Afraima.

Dutifully, Sel stood up from his microscope and walked over to hers. “Yes, what am Ilooking at here?”

“What do you see?” she asked.

“Don’t play games with me.”

“I’m asking for independent verification. I can’t tell you anything.”

So this was something that mattered. He looked closely. “This is a section of maizeleaf. From the sterile section, so it’s completely clean.”

“But it’s not,” she said. “It’s from D-4.”

Sel was so relieved he almost wept; yet at the same moment, he was angry. Anger won, inthe moment. “No it’s not,” he said sharply. “You’ve mixed up the samples.”

“That’s what I thought,” she said. “So I went back and got a new selection from D-4.And then again. You’re looking at my triple check.”

“And D-4 is easy to make out of local materials. Afraima, we did it!”

“I haven’t even checked to see if it works on the amaranth.”

“That would be too lucky.”

“Or blessed. Did you ever think God might want us to succeed here?”

“He could have killed this mold before we got here,” said Sel.

“That’s right, sound impatient with his gift and piss God off.”

It was banter, but there was truth behind it. Afraima was a serious Jew—she had renamedherself in Hebrew to a word meaning “fertile” when they held the vote on mating, inhopes that it would somehow induce God to let her have a Jewish husband. Instead, thegovernor simply assigned her to work for the only orthodox Jew among the colonists.Governor Kolmogorov had respect for religion. So did Sel.

He just wasn’t sure that God knew this place. What if the Bible was exactly right aboutthe creation of that particular sun, moon, and earth—only that was the whole of God’screation, and worlds like this one were the creation of alien gods with six limbs, ortrilateral symmetry or something, like some of the life forms here—the ones that seemedto Sel to be the native species.

Soon they were back in the lab, with the amaranth samples that had been treated the sameway. “So that’s it—good enough for starters, anyway.”

“But it takes so long to make it,” said Afraima.

“Not our problem. The chems can figure out how to make it faster and in larger

quantities, now that we know which one works. It doesn’t seem to have damaged eitherplant, does it?”

“You are a genius, Dr. Menach.”

“No Ph.D.”

“I define the word ‘doctor’ as ‘person who knows enough to make species-savingdiscoveries.’ “

“I’ll put it on my resume.”

“No,” she said.


Her hand touched his arm. “I’m just coming into my fertile period, doctor. I want yourseed in this field.”

He tried to make a joke of it. “Next thing you’ll be quoting from the Song ofSolomon.”

“I’m not proposing romance, Dr. Menach. We have to work together, after all. And I’mmarried to Evenezer. He won’t have to know the baby isn’t his.”

This sounded like she had really thought things through. Now he was genuinely

embarrassed. And chagrined. “We have to work together, Afraima.”

“I want the best possible genes for my baby.”

“All right,” he said. “You stay here and head up the adaptation studies. I’ll gowork in the fields.”

“What do you mean? There are plenty of people who can do that.”

“It’s either fire you or fire me. We’re not working together anymore after this.”

“But no one had to know!”

“Thou shalt not commit adultery,” said Sel. “You’re supposed to be the believer.”

“But the daughters of Midian—“

“Slept with their own father because it was more important to have babies than to

practice exogamy.” Sel sighed. “It’s also important to respect the rules of monogamyabsolutely, so we don’t see the colony torn up with conflict over women.”

“All right, forget I said anything,” said Afraima.

“I can’t forget it,” said Sel.

“Then why don’t you—“

“I lost the lottery, Afraima. It’s now illegal for me to have offspring. Especially bypoaching another man’s mate. But I also can’t take the libido suppressants because Ineed to be sharp and energetic in order to conduct my study of the life forms on thisworld. I can’t have you in here, now that you’ve offered yourself to me.”

“It was just an idea,” she said. “You need me to work with you.”

“I need someone,” said Sel. “Doesn’t have to be you.”

“But people will wonder why you fired me. Evenezer will guess that there was somethingbetween us.”

“That’s your problem.”

“What if I tell them that you got me pregnant?”

“You’re definitely fired. Right now. Irrevocably.”

“I was kidding!”

“Get your brain back inside your head. There’ll be a paternity test. DNA. Meanwhile,your husband will be made a figure of ridicule, and every other man will look at hiswife, wondering if she’s offering herself to someone else to put a cuckoo in the nest.So you’re out. For the sake of everyone.”

“If you make it that obvious, then it’ll do the same damage to people’s trust inmarriage as if we’d actually done it!”

Sel sat down on the greenhouse floor and buried his face in his hands.

“I’m sorry,” said Afraima. “I only half meant it.”

“You mean that if I had said yes, you’d have told me you were just kidding and left mehumiliated for having agreed to adultery?”

“No,” she said. “I’d do it. Sel, you’re the smartest, everyone knows it. And youshouldn’t be cut off without having children. It’s not right. We need your genes inthe pool.”

“That’s the genetic argument,” said Sel. “Then there’s the social argument.

Monogamy has been proven, over and over, to be the optimum social arrangement. It’s notabout genes, it’s about children—they have to grow up into the society we want them tomaintain. We voted on this.”

“And I vote to carry one baby of yours. Just one.”

“Please leave,” said Sel.

“I’m the logical one, since I’m Jewish and so are you.”

“Please go. Close the door behind you. I have work to do.”

“You can’t turn me away,” she said. “It would hurt the colony.”

“So would killing you,” said Sel, “but you’re making that more and more tempting thelonger you stay here to torture me.”

“It’s only torture because you want me.”

“My body is human and male,” said Sel, “and so of course I want to engage in matingbehavior regardless of consequences. My logical functions are being suppressed alreadyso it’s a good thing I made the decision irrevocably. Don’t make me turn my decisioninto a painful reality by cutting the little suckers off.”

“So that’s it? You castrate yourself, one way or the other. Well, I’m a human female,and I hunger for the mate that will give me the best offspring.”

“Then look for somebody big and strong and healthy if you want to commit adultery, anddon’t let me catch you because I’ll turn you in.”

“Brain. I want your brain.”

“Well, the kid would probably have your brain and my face. Now go and get the reportson the D-4 treatment and take it over to chem.”

“I’m not fired?”

“No,” said Sel. “I’m resigning. I’m going out into the fields and leaving youhere.”

“I’m just the backup XB. I can’t do the work.”

“You should have thought of that before you made it impossible for us to worktogether.”

“Who ever heard of a man who didn’t want a little roll in the hay on the side?”

“This colony is my life now, Afraima. Yours too. You don’t shit in your own soup. CanI put it any plainer than that?”

She began to cry.

“What have I done that God would punish me like this?” said Sel. “What comes next?Interpreting dreams for Pharaoh’s baker and butler?”

“I’m sorry,” she said. “You have to stay on as the XB, you really are a genius atit. I wouldn’t even know where to start. Now I’ve ruined everything.”

“Yes, you have indeed,” said Sel. “But you’re right about all my solutions, too.They’d be almost as damaging as your original idea. So here’s what we’ll do.”

She waited, the tears still coming out of her eyes.

“Nothing,” he said. “You will never mention this again. Never. You won’t touch me.You’ll dress with perfect modesty around me. Your communication with me will be workonly. Scientific language, as formal as possible. People will think you and I detesteach other. Because I can’t afford to drug down my libido and still try to do thiswork. Get it?”


“Forty years till the colony ship arrives with a new XB and I can quit this lousyjob.”

“I didn’t mean to make you miserable. I thought you’d be happy.”

“My hormones were thrilled. They thought it was the best idea they’d ever heard.”

“Well, then I feel better,” she said.

“You feel better because I’m going to be going through hell for the next fortyyears?”

“Don’t be stupid,” she said. “As soon as I’m having babies, I’ll get fat andunattractive and way too busy to come here to help. Child production is everything,right? And soon the next generation will provide you with an apprentice to train. Themost it will bother you is a few months. Maybe a year.”

“Easy for you to say.”

“Dr. Menach, I’m truly sorry. We’re scientists, I start to think of human

reproduction just like the animals. I didn’t mean to be disloyal to Evenezer, I didn’tmean to make you miserable. I just felt a wave of desire. I just knew that if I wasgoing to have a baby, it should be yours, it should be the baby most worth having. ButI’m still a rational person. A scientist. I will do exactly as you said—all business.As if we disliked each other and neither could ever desire the other. Let me stay untilI need to quit this work to have babies.”

“All right. Get up, take the formula to chem, and leave me alone to work on the nextproblem.”

“And what is that? After the dustworm and the corn and amaranth mold, what are weworking on?”

“The next problem I’m working on,” said Sel, “is burying myself in whatever tedioustask I can find that does not involve you in any way. Will you please go away now?”

She went.

Sel wrote his report and sent it to the governor’s machine so it could be queued up foransible transmission. If it turned out that the mold was something that cropped up onother worlds, his solution might work there, too. Besides, that’s what science was—thesharing of information, the pooling of knowledge.

That’s my gene pool, Afraima, he thought. The meme pool, the collective knowledge ofscience. What I discover here, what I learn, the problems I solve—those will be mychildren. They will be part of every generation that lives on this planet.

When the report was done, Afraima was still not back. Good, thought Sel. Let her spendall day with chem.

Sel walked through the village and out into the communal fields. Fern?o McPhee wasforeman on duty. “Give me a job,” Sel said to him.

“I thought you were working on the mold problem.”

“I think it’s solved. It’s up to chem now to figure out how to deliver it to theplants.”

“I’ve already got all the crews working on all the jobs. Your time is too valuable towaste on manual labor.”

“Everybody does manual labor. The governor does manual laborer.”

“The crews are full. You don’t know the jobs, you know your job, which is much moreimportant. Go do your job, don’t bother me!”

He said it jokingly, but he meant it. And what could Sel answer? I need you to give me ahot, sweaty job so I can work off the steam from my beautiful assistant having offeredme her body to put babies into!

“You’re no help to me at all,” said Sel to Fern?o.

“Then we’re even.”

So Sel went on a long walk. Out beyond the fields, into the woods, gathering samples.When you don’t have an emergency to deal with, you do science. You collect, classify,analyze, observe. Always work to do.

No fantasizing about her, about what might have happened. Sexual fantasies are scriptsfor future behavior. What good will it do to say no today, and yes six months from now,after rehearsing the adultery over and over in my mind?

It would be so much easier if I weren’t determined to do what’s best for everybody.Whoever said virtue was its own reward was full of crap.


Ender in Exile


To: jpwiggin@gso.nc.pub, twiggin@uncg.edu

From: vwiggin%Colony1@colmin.gov/citizen

Subj: Ender is fine

By “fine” I mean of course that his body and mind seem to be functioning normally. Hewas happy to see me. We talked easily. He seems at peace about everything. No hostilitytoward anyone. He spoke of both of you with real affection. We shared lots of childhoodmemories.

But as soon as that conversation ended, I saw him almost visibly crawl inside a shell.He is obsessed with the formics. I think he’s burdened with guilt over having destroyedthem. He knows that this is not appropriate—that he did not know what he was doing,they were trying to destroy us so it was self-defense anyway—but the ways of conscienceare mysterious. We evolved consciences so that we would internalize community values andpolice ourselves. But what happens when you have a hyperactive conscience and make uprules that nobody else knows about, just so you can punish yourself for breaking them?

Nominally, he is governor, but I have been warned by two different people that AdmiralQuincy Morgan has no intention of letting Ender govern anything. If Peter were in such aposition, he would already be conspiring to have Morgan removed before the voyage began.But Ender just chuckles and says, “Imagine that.” When I pressed him, he said, “Hecan’t have a contest if I won’t play.” And when I pressed him harder, he gotirritable and said, “I was born for one war. I won it and I’m done.”

So now I’m torn. Do I try to maneuver for him? Or do what he asks and ignore the wholesituation? He thinks I should spend my time on the voyage either in stasis, so we’d bethe same age when we arrived, both fifteen—or, if I’m awake, then I should write ahistory of Battle School. Graff has promised to give me all the documents about BattleSchool—though I can get those from the public records, since they all came out in thecourt martial.

Here’s my philosophical question: What is love? Does my love for Ender mean that I dowhat I think is good for him, even if he asks me not to? Or does love mean I do what heasks, even though I think he would find being a figurehead governor a hellish


It’s like piano lessons, dear parents. So many adults complain about the hideous

experience of being forced to practice and practice. And yet there are others who say to

their parents, “Why didn’t you MAKE me practice so today I’d be able to play well?”

Love, Valentine

To: vwiggin%Colony1@colmin.gov/citizen

From: Twiggin@uncg.edu

Subj: re: Ender is fine

Dear Valentine,

Your father says that you will be irritated if I say how shocking it is to discover thatone of my children does not know everything, and admits it, and even asks her parentsfor advice. For the past five years, you and Peter have been as closed off as twins witha private language. Now, only a few weeks out from under Peter’s influence, you havediscovered parents again. I find this gratifying. I hereby declare you to be my favoritechild.

We continue to be devastated—a slow, corrosive kind of devastation—that Ender choosesnot to write to us. You say nothing of anger toward us. We do not understand. Doesn’the realize we were forbidden to write to him? Why doesn’t he read our letters now? Ordoes he read them and then choose not to poke the reply box and say even as little as“Got your letters”?

As to your questions, the answers are easy. You are not his mother or father. We are theones with the right to meddle and do what’s good for him whether he likes it or not.You are his sister. Think of yourself as companion, friend, confidante. Your

responsibility is to receive what he gives, and to give him what he asks only if youthink it’s good. You do not have either the right or the responsibility to give himwhat he specifically asks you not to give. That would be no gift; that is neither friendnor sister.

Parents are a special case. He has built a wall exactly in the place where Battle Schoolfirst built it. It keeps us out. He thinks he does not need us. He is mistaken. Isuspect we are exactly what he is hungry for. It is a mother who can provide the

ineffable comfort to a wounded soul. It is a father who can say, “Ego te absolvo” and“well done, thou good and faithful servant” and be believed by the inmost soul.

If you were better educated and hadn’t lived in an atheistic establishment, you wouldunderstand those references. When you look them up, please remember that I did not haveto.


????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Your sarcastic, overly analytical,

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????deeply wounded yet quite satisfied,


To: jpwiggin@gso.nc.pub, twiggin@uncg.edu

From: vwiggin%Colony1@colmin.gov/citizen

Subj: Ender is fine

I know all about Father’s confessionals and your King James Version and I did not haveto look anything up either. Do you think your and Father’s religions were a secret fromyour children? Even Ender knew, and he left home when he was six.

I am taking your advice because it is wise and because I have no better ideas. And I’mgoing to follow Ender’s and Graff’s advice, too, and write a history of Battle School.My goal is a simple one: to get it published as quickly as possible so it can be part ofthe task of erasing the vile slanders of the court martial, rehabilitating the

reputations of the children who won this war and the adults who trained and aimed them.Not that I don’t still hate them for taking Ender from us. But I find it quite possibleto hate someone and still see their side of the argument between us. This is perhaps theonly worthwhile gift Peter ever gave me.

Peter has not written to me, nor I to him. If he asks, tell him that I think about himoften, I notice that I don’t see him anymore, and if that counts as “missing him,”then he is missed.

Meanwhile, I had a chance to meet Petra Arkanian in transit and I have spoken—well,literally WRITTEN—to “Bean,” Dink Meeker, Han Tzu, and have letters out to severalothers. The better I understand from them what Ender went through (since Ender’s nottelling), the better I will know what I should be doing but am not because, as you pointout, I am not his mother and he has asked me not to do it. Meanwhile, I am pretendingthat it’s only about writing the book.

I am an astonishingly fast writer. Are you sure we have no genes of Winston Churchill inus? Some dalliance of his, for instance, with a Pole-in-exile during World War II? Ifeel him to be a kindred spirit of mine, except for the political ambitions, the

constant blood alcohol level, and walking around the house naked. He did those things,by the way, not me.


????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Your equally sarcastic, just-analytical-enough,

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????not-yet-wounded-nor-satisfied daughter,


Graff had disappeared from Eros soon after the court martial, but now he was back. Itseems that as Minister of Colonization, he could not miss the opportunity for publicitythat the departure of the first colony ship would offer.

“Publicity is good for the Dispersal Project,” said Graff when Mazer laughed at him.

“And you don’t love the camera?”

“Look at me,” said Graff. “I’ve lost twenty-five kilos. I’m a mere shadow ofmyself.”

“All through the war, you gain weight, bit by bit. You balloon during the courtmartial. And now you lose weight. Was it Earth gravity?”

“I didn’t go to Earth,” said Graff. “I was busy turning Battle School into the

assembly point for the colonists. No one understood why I insisted that all the beds beadult-sized. Now they talk about my foresight.”

“Why are you lying to me? You weren’t in charge when Battle School was built.”

Graff shook his head. “Mazer, I wasn’t in charge of anything when I talked you intocoming home, was I?”

“You were in charge of the get-Rackham-home-to-help-train-Ender-Wiggin project.”

“But no one knew there was such a project.”

“Except you.”

“So I was also in charge of the make-sure-Battle-School-is-fitted-out-for-the-Human-Genome-Dispersal-Project project.”

“And that’s why you’re losing weight,” said Mazer. “Because you finally got thefunding and authority to carry out the real project that you’ve had in mind allalong.”

“Winning the war was the most important thing. I had my mind on my job of trainingchildren! Who knew we’d win it in circumstances that gave us all these uninhabitedalready-terraformed completely habitable planets? I expected Ender to win, or Bean ifEnder failed, but I thought we’d then be battling the buggers world to world, and

racing to found new colonies in the opposite direction, so we wouldn’t be vulnerable totheir counterattack.”

“So you’re here to have your picture taken with the colonists.”

“I’m here to have my smiling picture taken with you and Ender and the colonists.”

“Ah,” said Mazer. “The court martial crowd.”

“The cruelest thing about that court martial was the way they savaged Ender’s

reputation. Fortunately, most people remember the victory, not the evidence from thecourt martial. Now we place another image in their minds.”

“So you actually care about Ender.”

Graff looked hurt. “I have always loved that boy. It would take a moral idiot not to. Iknow deep goodness when I see it. I hate having his name tied to the murder ofchildren.”

“He did kill them.”

“He didn’t know that he did.”

“Those weren’t like winning the war while thinking it was a game, Hyrum,” said Mazer.“He knew he was in a real fight for his life, and he knew that he had to win

decisively. He had to know that the death of his opponent was always a possibility.”

“So you’re saying he’s as guilty as our enemies said he was?”

“I’m saying that he killed them and he knew what he was doing. Not the exact outcome,but that he was taking actions that could cause real and permanent damage to thoseboys.”

“They were going to kill him!”

“Bonzo was,” said Mazer. “Stilson was a petty bully.”

“But Ender was so untrained he had no idea of the damage he was doing, or that hisshoes had steel toes. Weren’t we clever to keep him safe by insisting he wear shoeslike that.”

“Hyrum, I think Ender’s actions were perfectly justified. He didn’t choose to fightthose boys, so the only choice he had was how thoroughly to win.”

“Or lose.”

“Ender never has the choice to lose, Hyrum. It’s not in him, even when he thinks itis.”

“All I know is that he promised to try to work a picture with me and you into hisschedule.”

Mazer nodded. “And you think that meant that he’d do it.”

“He doesn’t have a schedule. I thought he was being ironic. Except for hanging withValentine, what does he have to do?”

Mazer laughed. “What he’s been doing for more than a year—studying the formics soobsessively that we all worried about his mental health. Only I have to say that withthe colonists’ arrival, he’s been preparing to be governor in more than just name.”

“Admiral Morgan will be disappointed.”

“Admiral Morgan expects to get his way,” said Mazer, “because he doesn’t realizeEnder is serious about governing the colony. What Ender was doing was memorizing thedossiers of all the colonists—their test results, family relationships with othercolonists and with family members who were left home, their towns and countries of

origin and what those places look like and what’s been going on there in the past year,during the time they were signing up.”

“And Admiral Morgan doesn’t get the point?”

“Admiral Morgan is a leader,” said Mazer. “He gives orders and they’re passed downthe chain. Knowing the grunts is the job of the petty officers.”

Graff laughed. “And people wonder why we used children to command the final campaign.”

“Every officer learns how to function within the system that promoted him,” saidMazer. “The system is still sick—it always has been and always will be. But Enderlearned how real leadering is done.”

“Or was born knowing it.”

“So he’s greeting every colonist by name and making a point of conversing with themall for at least a half hour.”

“Can’t he do that on the ship after they take off?”

“He’s meeting the ones who are going into stasis. The ones who are staying awakehe’ll meet after launch. So when he says he’ll try to fit you into his schedule, hewas not being ironic. Most of the colonists are sleepers and he barely has time for areal conversation with all of them.”

Graff sighed. “Isn’t he even sleeping?”

“I think he figures he’ll have time to sleep after launch—when Admiral Morgan iscommanding his vessel and Ender will have no official duties that he doesn’t assign tohimself. At least that’s how Valentine and I decode his behavior.”

“He doesn’t talk to her?”

“Of course he does. He just doesn’t admit to having any plans or any reasons for thethings he does.”

“Why would he keep secrets from her?”

“I’m not sure they’re secrets,” said Mazer. “I think he might not know that he hasplans of any kind. I think he’s greeting the colonists because that’s what they needand expect. It’s a duty because it means a lot to them, so he does it.”

“Nonsense,” said Graff. “Ender always has plans within plans.”

“I believe you’re thinking of you.”

“Ender is better at this than I am.”

“I doubt it,” said Mazer. “Peacetime bureaucratic maneuvering? Nobody does it betterthan you.”

“I wish I were going with them.”

“Then go,” said Mazer, laughing. “But you wish nothing of the kind.”

“Why not?” said Graff. “I can run ColMin by ansible. I can see firsthand what ourcolonists have accomplished during the years they’ve been waiting for relief. And theadvantages of relativistic travel will keep me alive to see the end of my greatproject.”


“To you, a horrible sacrifice. But you’ll notice that I did not marry, Mazer. I had nosecret reproductive dysfunction. My libido and my desire for a family are as strong asany man’s. But I decided years ago to marry Mother Eve posthumously and adopt all herchildren as my own. They were all living in the same crowded house, where one bad firewould kill the whole bunch of them. My job was to move them out into widely dispersedhouses so they’d go on living forever. Collectively, that is. So no matter where I go,no matter whom I’m with, I am surrounded by my adopted children.”

“You really are playing God.”

“I most certainly am not playing.”

“You old actor—you think there were auditions and you got the part.”

“Maybe I’m an understudy. When he forgets a bit of business, I fill in.”

“So what are you going to do about getting a picture with Ender?”

“Simple enough. I’m the man who decides when the ship will go. There will be atechnical malfunction at the last minute. Ender, having done his duty, will be

encouraged to take a nap. When he wakes up, we’ll take some pictures, and then thetechnical problems will be miraculously resolved and the ship will sail.”

“Without you on board,” said Mazer.

“I have to be here to keep fighting for the project,” said Graff. “If I weren’t hereto stymie my enemies at every step, the project would be killed within months. There areso many powerful people in this world who refuse to see any vision they didn’t thinkof.”

Valentine enjoyed watching the way Graff and Rackham treated Ender. Graff was one of themost powerful men in the world; Rackham was still regarded as a legendary hero. Yet bothof them quietly deferred to Ender. They never ordered him to do anything. It was always,“Will it be all right for you to stand here for the picture?” “Would 0800 be a goodtime for you?” “Whatever you’re wearing will be fine, Admiral Wiggin.”

Of course Valentine knew that calling him “Admiral Wiggin” was for the benefit of theadmirals and generals and political brass who were watching, most of them seethingbecause they weren’t in the picture. But as she watched, she saw many instances ofEnder expressing an opinion—or just seeming to be hesitant about something. Graffusually deferred to Ender. And when he didn’t, Rackham smilingly made Ender’s pointfor him, and insisted on it.

They were taking care of him.

It was genuine love and respect. They might have created him like a tool in a forge,they might have hammered him and ground him into the shape they wanted, and then plungedhim into the heart of the enemy. But now they truly loved this weapon they had made,they cared about him.

They thought he was damaged. Dented from all he had been through. They thought hispassivity was a reaction to trauma, to finding out what he had really done—the deathsof the children, of the formics, of the thousands of human soldiers who had perished

during that last campaign when Ender thought he was playing a game.

They just don’t know him the way I do, thought Valentine.

Oh, she knew the danger of such a thought. She was constantly on the alert, lest sheentrap herself in a web of her own conceit. She had not assumed she knew Ender. She hadapproached him like a stranger, watching everything to see what he did, what he said,and what he seemed to mean by all he did and said.

Gradually, though, she learned to recognize the child behind the young man. She had seenhim obeying his parents—immediately, without question, though he surely could haveargued or pleaded his way out of onerous tasks. Ender accepted responsibility andaccepted also the idea that he would not always get to decide which responsibilitieswere his, or when they needed to be carried out. So he obeyed his parents with fewhesitations.

But it was more than that. Ender really was damaged, they were right. Because his

obedience was more than that of the happy child springing up at his parents’ request.It had strong overtones of the kind of obedience Ender had given to Peter—compliance inorder to avoid conflict.

Somewhere between the two attitudes: eagerness versus resignation mixed with dread.

Ender was eager for the voyage, for the work he would do. But he understood that beinggovernor was the price he was paying for his ticket. So he was acting the part,

performing all his duties, including the pictures, including the formal good-byes, thespeeches from the very commanders who had allowed his name to be so badly tarnishedduring the court martial of Graff and Rackham.

Ender stood there smiling—a real smile, as if he liked the man—while Admiral

Chamrajnagar bestowed on him the highest medal the International Fleet could offer.Valentine watched the whole thing sourly. Why wasn’t that medal given during the courtmartial, when it would have been an open repudiation of the terrible things being saidabout Ender? Why had the court martial been opened to the public, when Chamrajnagar hadthe complete power to suppress it all? Why was there even a court martial? No lawrequired it. Chamrajnagar had never, for a moment, been Ender’s friend—though Endergave him the victory that he could not otherwise have achieved.

Unlike Graff and Rackham, Chamrajnagar showed no sign of real respect for Ender. Oh, hecalled him Admiral, too, with only a couple of instances of “my boy”—both immediatelycorrected by Rackham, to Chamrajnagar’s visible annoyance. Of course, Chamrajnagarcould do nothing about Rackham, either—except make sure he was in all the pictures,too, since having two heroes associated with the great Polemarch would be an even morememorable picture.

What was plain to Valentine was that Chamrajnagar was very happy, and the happinessclearly came from the prospect of having Ender get on that starship and go away. Thingscould not go quickly enough for Chamrajnagar.

Yet they all waited for the pictures to be printed out in physical form so that Ender,Rackham, and Chamrajnagar could all sign copies of that most excellent souvenir.

Rackham and Ender were each given signed copies with a great flourish, as if

Chamrajnagar imagined he was honoring them.

Then, at last, Chamrajnagar was gone—“to the observation station, to watch the greatvessel sail forth on its mission of creation instead of destruction.” In other words,to have his picture taken with the ship in the background. Valentine doubted any of thepress would be allowed to take pictures of the event that did not include

Chamrajnagar’s smiling face.

So it was actually a great concession that the picture of Graff, Rackham, and Ender hadbeen allowed to exist at all. Perhaps Chamrajnagar did not even know it had been taken.It was the official fleet photographer, but perhaps he was disloyal enough to take apicture he knew that his boss would hate.

Valentine knew Graff well enough to know that appearances of the Polemarch’s pictureswould be rare compared to the picture of Graff, Rackham, and Ender, which would bepasted on every possible surface on Earth: electronic, virtual, and physical. It wouldserve Graff’s purpose to have everyone on Earth reminded that the I.F. existed for onlytwo purposes now—to support the colonization program, and to punish from space anypower on Earth that dared to use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons.

Chamrajnagar had not yet reconciled himself to the idea that most of the continued

funding for the I.F. and its bases and stations came through Graff’s hands as Ministerof Colonization—MinCol. At the same time, Graff was perfectly aware that it was fear ofwhat a disgruntled I.F. might do—like seizing worldwide power from the politicians,which the Warsaw Pact had tried to do—that kept the funding coming to his project.

What Chamrajnagar would never understand was why he was somehow the adjunct in all ofthis, why his lobbying came to nothing—except for allowing Ender’s diminishment in thecourt martial.

Which led Valentine once again to her suspicion that Graff, too, could have preventedthe court martial if he had wanted to, that perhaps it was a price he paid in order togain some other advantage. Even if all it did for Graff was “prove” that not

everything was going his way, that would be a great source of complacency for Graff’srivals and opponents, and Valentine well knew that complacency was the best possibleattitude for one’s rivals and opponents to have.

Graff loved and respected Ender, but he was not above allowing something very

unfortunate to happen to him if it served the larger purpose. Hadn’t Graff proved itover and over?

Well, my dear MinCol, by the time we get to Shakespeare Colony, you will almostcertainly be either dead or very, very old. I wonder if you’ll still be runningeverything then?

Poor Peter. Aspiring to rule the world, while Graff had already done it. The differencewas that Peter needed to be known to rule the world; all the outward forms of governmentneeded to be seen to lead to Peter’s throne. Whereas Graff only needed to use hiscontrol of whatever he wanted to control in order to accomplish his single, loftypurpose.

But aren’t they the same person, apart from that? Manipulators, letting anyone else paywhatever cost was required to accomplish the end in view. It was a good end, in Graff’scase. Valentine agreed with it, believed in it, happily cooperated with it. But wasn’tPeter’s goal also a good one? The end of war, because the world was united under asingle good government. If he brought it off, wouldn’t it be as much a blessing to thehuman race as anything Graff accomplished?

She had to give both Peter and Graff credit for this: They weren’t monsters. Theydidn’t require that all costs be paid by others, none by themselves. They would alsomake whatever personal sacrifices were required. They really did serve a cause biggerthan themselves.

But couldn’t that also have been said of Hitler? Unlike Stalin and Mao, who wallowed inluxury while others did all the work and made all the sacrifices, Hitler lived sparinglyand truly believed himself to be living for a cause greater than himself. That’sprecisely what made him such a monster. So Valentine was not quite sure that Peter’s

and Graff’s self-sacrifices were quite enough to absolve them of monsterhood.

Well, they would both be someone else’s problem now. Let Rackham watch out for Graffand kill him if he gets out of hand, which he probably won’t. And let Father and Motherdo their pathetic best to keep Peter from becoming the devil. Do they even realize thatPeter’s whole good-son attitude was an act? That Peter had obviously made the consciousdecision several years back to pretend to be just like the boy Ender had been? All anact, dear parents—do you see it? Sometimes I think you do, but other times you are sooblivious.

You will be lost in the past by the time I get where I’m going, all of you. My presentwill be Ender and whatever he’s doing. He is my whole flock, and I must shepherd himwithout ever letting him see the crook I use to guide him and protect him.

What am I thinking? Who’s the megalomaniac here? I think I will know better than Enderwhat is good for him, where he should go, what he should do, and what he should beprotected from?

Yet that is exactly what I think, because it’s true.

Ender was so sleepy he could hardly stand, yet he stood, through all the pictures,

making the smile as warm and real as he could. These are the pictures Mother and Fatherwill see. The pictures for Peter’s children, if he has any, to remember that once theyhad an Uncle Ender who did something very famous before he was in his teens and thenwent away. This is how he looked when he left. See? He’s very happy. See, Mom and Dad?You didn’t hurt me when you let them take me. Nothing has hurt me. I’m fine. Look atmy smile. Don’t see how tired I am, or how glad I am to go, when they let me go.

Then at last the pictures were done. Ender shook hands with Mazer Rackham and wanted tosay, I wish you were coming. But he could not say he wished that, because he knew thatMazer did not want to go, and so it would be a selfish wish. So he said only this:“Thank you for all you taught me, and for standing by me.” He did not add “standingby me at the trial” because the words might be picked up by some stray microphone.

Then he shook hands with Hyrum Graff and said, “I hope this new job works out for

you.” It was a joke, and Graff got it, or at least enough to smile a little. Maybe thethinness of Graff’s smile was because he had heard Ender thank Mazer and wondered whyEnder had no thanks for him. But Graff had not been his teacher, only his master, and itwas not the same. Nor had Graff stood by him, as far as Ender could tell. Hadn’t

Graff’s whole program of teaching been to get Ender to believe to the depth of his soulthat there would never be anyone standing by him?

“Thanks for the nap,” he said to Graff.

Graff chuckled out loud. “May you always have as many as you need.”

Then Ender paused, looking at nothing, at the empty room, and thought, Good-bye, Mom.Good-bye, Dad. Good-bye, Peter. Good-bye, all the men and women and children of Earth.I’ve done all I could for you, and had all I could receive from you, and now someoneelse is responsible for you all.

Ender walked up the ramp to the shuttle, Valentine directly behind him.

The shuttle took them off Eros for the last time. Good-bye, Eros, and all the soldierson it, the ones who fought for me and the other children, the ones who manipulated usand lied to us for the good of humanity, the ones who conspired to defame me and keep mefrom returning to Earth, all of you, good and bad, kind and selfish, good-bye to you, Iam no longer one of you, neither your pawn nor your savior. I resign my commission.

Ender said nothing to Valentine beyond the trivial comments of travel. It was only abouta half hour of jockeying until the shuttle was docked against the surface of the

transport ship. It had been meant to carry soldiers and their weapons into war. Now itwas carrying a vast amount of equipment and supplies for the agricultural and

manufacturing needs of Shakespeare Colony, and more people to join them, to improvetheir gene pool, to help buy them enough productivity that there’d be leisure for

science and creativity and luxury, a life closer to what the societies of Earth offered.

But all of that had been loaded, and all the people. Ender was last. Ender andValentine.

At the bottom of the ladderway that would take them up into the ship, Ender stopped andfaced Valentine. “You can still go back now,” he said. “You can see that I’ll befine. The people of the colony that I’ve met so far are very nice and I won’t belonely.”

“Are you afraid to go up the ladder first?” asked Valentine. “Is that why you’vestopped to make a speech?”

So Ender went up the ladder and Valentine followed, making her the last of the coloniststo cut the thread connecting them to Earth.

Below them, the hatch of the shuttle closed, and then the hatch of the ship. They stoodin the airlock until a door opened and there was Admiral Quincy Morgan, smiling, hishand already extended. How long did he strike that pose before the door opened, Enderwondered. Was he there, perhaps, for hours, posed like a mannequin?

“Welcome, Governor Wiggin,” said Morgan.

“Admiral Morgan,” said Ender, “I’m not governor of anything until I set foot on theplanet. On this voyage, on your ship, I’m a student of the xenobiology and adapted

agriculture of Shakespeare Colony. I hope, though, that when you’re not too busy, I’llhave a chance to talk to you and learn from you about the military life.”

“You’re the one who’s seen combat,” said Morgan.

“I played a game,” said Ender. “I saw nothing of war. But there are colonists onShakespeare who made this voyage many years ago, and never had a hope of returning hometo Earth. I want to get some idea of what their training was, their life.”

“You’ll have to read books for that,” said Morgan, still smiling. “This is my firstinterstellar voyage, too. In fact, as far as I know, no one has ever made two of them.Even Mazer Rackham only made a single voyage, which ended at its starting place.”

“Why, I believe you’re right, Admiral Morgan,” said Ender. “It makes us all pioneerstogether, here in your ship.” There—had he said “your ship” often enough to reassureMorgan that he knew the order of authority here?

Morgan’s smile was unchanged. “I’ll be happy to talk to you any time. It’s an honorto have you on my ship, sir.”

“Please don’t ’sir’ me, sir,” said Ender. “We both know that I’m an admiral inname only, and I don’t want the colonists to hear anyone call me by a title other thanMr. Wiggin, and preferably not that. Let me be Ender. Or Andrew, if you want to beformal. Would that be all right, or would it interfere with shipboard discipline?”

“I believe,” said Admiral Morgan, “that it won’t interfere with discipline, and soit shall be entirely as you prefer. Now Ensign Akbar will show you and your sister toyour stateroom. Since so few passengers are making the voyage awake, most families havequarters of similar size. I say this because of your memo requesting that you not havean exorbitantly oversized space on the ship.”

“Is your family aboard, sir?” asked Ender.

“I wooed my superiors and they gave birth to my career,” said Morgan. “The

International Fleet has been my only bride. Like you, I travel as a bachelor.”

Ender grinned at him. “I think your bachelorhood and mine are both going to be much inquestion before long.”

“Our mission is reproduction of the species beyond the bounds of Earth,” said Morgan.“But the voyage will go more smoothly if we guard our bachelorhood zealously while intransit.”

“Mine has the safety of ignorant youth,” said Ender, “and yours the distance of

authority. Thank you for the great honor of greeting us here. I’ve underslept a littlethe past few days, and I hope I’ll be forgiven for indulging myself in about eighteenhours of rest. I fear I’ll miss the beginning of acceleration.”

“Everyone will, Mr. Wiggin,” said Morgan. “The inertia suppression on this ship issuperb. In fact, we are already accelerating at the rate of two gravities, and yet theonly apparent gravity is imparted by the centrifugal force of the spin of the ship.”

“Which is odd,” said Valentine, “since centrifugal force is also inertial, and you’dthink it would also be suppressed.”

“The suppression is highly directionalized, and affects only the forward movement ofthe ship,” said Morgan. “I apologize for ignoring you so nearly completely, Ms.Wiggin. I’m afraid your brother’s fame and rank have distracted me and I forgotcourtesy.”

“None is owed to me,” said Valentine with a light laugh. “I’m just along for theride.”

With that they separated and Ensign Akbar led them to their stateroom. It was not a hugespace, but it was well equipped, and it took the ensign several minutes to show themwhere their clothing, supplies, and desks had been stowed, and how to use the ship’sinternal communications system. He insisted on setting down both their beds and thenraising them up again and locking them out of the way, so Ender and Valentine had seen acomplete demonstration. Then he showed them how to lower and raise the privacy screenthat turned the stateroom into two sleeping areas.

“Thank you,” said Ender. “Now I think I’ll take the bed down again so I can sleep.”

Ensign Akbar was full of apologies and took both the beds down again, ignoring theirprotests that the point of his demonstration was so they could do it themselves. When hewas finally done, he paused at the door. “Sir,” he said, “I know I shouldn’t ask.But. May I shake your hand, sir?”

Ender thrust out his hand and smiled warmly. “Thank you for helping us, Ensign Akbar.”

“It’s an honor to have you aboard this ship, sir.” Then Akbar saluted. Ender returnedthe salute and the ensign left and the door closed behind him.

Ender went to his bed and sat down on it. Valentine sat on hers, directly across fromhim. Ender looked at her and started to laugh. She joined in his laughter.

They laughed until Ender was forced to lie down and rub the tears out of his eyes.

“May I ask,” said Valentine, “if we’re both laughing at the same thing?”

“Why? What were you laughing at?”

“Everything,” said Valentine. “The whole picture-taking thing before we left, andMorgan greeting us so warmly, as if he weren’t preparing to stab you in the back, andEnsign Akbar’s hero worship despite your insistence that you were just ‘Mr.

Wiggin’—which is, of course, an affectation too. I was laughing at the whole of it.”

“I see that all of that is funny, if you look at it that way. I was too busy to beamused with it. I was just trying to stay awake and say all the right things.”

“So what were you laughing at?”

“It was pure delight. Delight and relief. I’m not in charge of anything now. For theduration of the voyage, it’s Morgan’s ship, and I’m a free man for the first time inmy life.”

“Man?” asked Valentine. “You’re still shorter than me.”

“But Val,” said Ender, “I have to shave every week now, or the whiskers show.”

They laughed again, just a little. Then Valentine spoke the command to bring down thebarrier between their beds. Ender stripped down to his underwear, crawled under a singlesheet—nothing more was needed in this climate-controlled environment—and in moments hewas asleep.


Ender in Exile


To: GovDes%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov/voy

From: MinCol@ColMin.gov

Fwd: Report on Planet Making

Dear Ender,

I was conflicted about whether to send you this. On the one hand, it is fascinating,even heartening; on the other hand, I know you have suffered greatly because of thedestruction of the formic home world and reminders might be painful. I risk the

pain—your pain, so it was not much risk to me, was it?—because if there is anyone whoshould be receiving these reports, it is you.


Forwarded Message:

To: MinCol@ColMin.gov

From: LPo%formcent@IFCom.gov/bda

Subj: Report on Planet Making

Dear Hyrum,

I’m not sure you’re in the need-to-know loop, since it will be a long time before thesubject planet will be ready for colonization, but since there is also no further enemypresence there, I thought you’d want to know something of the aftermath—our official“damage assessment” reports. (You’ll note that in my new assignment, I do NOT get tofollow normal military abbreviations and call my area “DamAss” or “AssDam.” We haveto use mere initials, BDA. As the kids say, kuso.)


I’ve set it so your full name is a nonce password for the next week.

In case you don’t have time to read the whole report at the above site, here’s thegist: The former formic home world, destroyed last year by molecular disruption, is re-forming. Our follow-up ship, instead of trying to salvage a losing battle, is findingthat its mission is astronomical: to watch the formation of a planet out of, quiteliterally, elemental dust.

Since the md field broke everything into its constituent atoms, it is coalescing withremarkable quickness. Our observer ship has recently been in a position to see the dustcloud with the star directly behind it, and during the passage sufficient spectrometryand mass measurements were taken to assure us that the vast majority of the atoms havere-formed into the common, expected molecules, and that the gravity of the cloud wassufficient to hold most of the material in place. There has been some loss from escapevelocity and further loss to solar gravity, solar wind, etc., but our best estimate isthat the new planet will be at no less than 80 percent of the original mass, and perhapsmore. At that size, there will still be atmosphere, potentially breathable. There willalso be molten core and mantle, ocean, and the probability of tectonic movement ofthicker areas of crust—i.e., continents.

In short, while no artifacts of the former civilization can possibly be found, theplanet itself will be back in a nice wad, in stellar orbit, within the next thousandyears, and perhaps cool enough to explore in ten thousand years. Colonizable in a

hundred thousand, if we seed it with oxygenating bacteria and other life as soon as theoceans are fully formed. We humans can be destructive, but the universe’s thirst forcreation goes on unslaked.


Public spaces were few on the “Good Ship Lollipop” (as Valentine called it), alsoknown as “IFcoltrans1″ (which was painted on its side and broadcast continuously fromits beacon), or “Mrs. Morgan” (as the ship’s officers and crew called it behind theircaptain’s back).

There was the mess hall, where no one could linger long, since one dining shift oranother started every hour. The library was for serious research by ship’s personnel;passengers had full access to the contents of the library on their own desks in theirstaterooms and so were not particularly welcome in the library itself.

The officers’ and crew’s lounges were open to passengers by invitation only, and suchinvitations were rare. The theater was good for viewing holos and vids, or for gatheringall the passengers for a meeting or announcement, but private conversations tended to beshushed, with some hostility.

For conviviality, this left the observation deck, whose walls offered a view only whenthe stardrive was off and the ship was maneuvering close to a planet; and the few openspaces in the cargo hold—which would increase in number and size as they used upsupplies during the voyage.

It was to the observation deck, then, that Ender betook himself every day after

breakfast. Valentine was surprised at his apparent sociability. On Eros, he had beenprivate, reluctant to converse, obsessed with his studies. Now he greeted everyone whoentered the observation deck and chatted amiably with anyone who wanted his time.

“Why do you let them interrupt you?” asked Valentine one night, after they returned totheir stateroom.

“They don’t interrupt me,” said Ender. “My purpose is to converse with them; I do myother work when no one wants me.”

“So you’re being their governor.”

“I am not,” said Ender. “I’m not governor of anything at the moment. This is AdmiralMorgan’s ship, and I have no authority here.”

It was Ender’s standard answer when anyone wanted him to solve a problem—to judge adispute, to question a rule, to ask for a change or a privilege. “I’m afraid that myauthority doesn’t begin until I set foot on the surface of the planet Shakespeare,”

he’d say. “But I’m sure that you’ll get satisfaction from whatever officer AdmiralMorgan has delegated to deal with us passengers.”

“But you’re an admiral, too,” several people mentioned. A few even knew that Enderhad a higher rank, among admirals, than Morgan. “You outrank him.”

“He’s captain of the ship,” said Ender, always smiling. “There is no higherauthority than that.”

Valentine wasn’t going to settle for such answers, not when they were alone. “Mierda,mi hermano,” said Valentine. “If you don’t have any official duties and you’re notbeing governor, then why are you spending so much time being—affable?”

“Presumably,” said Ender, “we will arrive at our destination someday. When that

happens, I need to know every person who will stay with the colony. I need to know themwell. I need to know how they fit together in their families, among the friendships theyform on the ship. I need to know who speaks Common well and who has trouble

communicating outside their native language. I must know who is belligerent, who isneedy of attention, who is creative and resourceful, what education they have, how theythink about unfamiliar ideas. For the passengers who are in cold storage, I had only ahalf hour meeting with each group. For those who are making the voyage awake, like us, Ihave much more time. Time enough, maybe, to find out why they chose not to sleep throughthe trip. Afraid of stasis? Hoping for some advantage when we get there? As you can see,Valentine, I’m working constantly out there. It makes me tired.”

“I’ve been thinking of teaching English,” said Valentine. “Offering a class.”

“Not English,” said Ender. “Common. It’s spelled better—no ughs and ighs—and

there’s some special vocabulary and there’s no subjunctive, no ‘whom,’ and the word‘of’ is spelled as the single letter ‘v.’ To name just a few of the differences.”

“So I’ll teach them Common,” said Valentine. “What do you think?”

“I think it’ll be harder than you think, but it would really help the people who tookthe class—if the ones who need it take it.”

“So I’ll see what language-teaching software there is in the library.”

“First, though, I hope you’ll check with Admiral Morgan.”


“It’s his ship. Offering a course can be done only with his permission.”

“Why would he care?”

“I don’t know that he does care. I just know that on his ship, we have to find out ifhe cares before we start something as formal and regular as a class.”

As it turned out, the passenger liaison officer, a colonel named Jarrko Kitunen, wasalready planning to organize Common classes and he accepted Valentine as an instructorthe moment she volunteered. He also flirted with her shamelessly in his Finnish accent,and she found that she rather enjoyed his company. With Ender always busy talking withsomebody or reading whatever he’d just received by ansible or downloaded from thelibrary, it was good to have a pleasant way to pass the time. She could only stand towork on her history of Battle School for a few hours at a time, so it was a relief tohave human company.

She had come on this voyage for Ender, but until he was willing to take her fully intohis confidence, she had no obligation to mope around wishing for more of Ender’s soulthan he was willing to share. And if it turned out that Ender never wished to take herinto his life, to restore their old bond, then she would need to make a life forherself, wouldn’t she?

Not that Jarrko would be that life. For one thing, he was at least ten years older thanshe was. For another, he was crew, which meant that when the ship was loaded up withwhatever artifacts and trade goods and supplies Shakespeare was able to supply themwith, it would be turning around and heading back to Earth, or at least to Eros. Shewould not be on it. So any relationship with Jarrko was going to end. He might be finewith that, but Valentine was not.

As Father always said, “Monogamy is what works best for any society in the long run.That’s why half of us are born male and half female—so we come out even.”

So Valentine wasn’t always with Ender; she was busy, she had things to do, she had alife of her own. Which was more than Peter had ever given her, so she rather enjoyed it.

It happened, though, that Valentine was with Ender in the observation deck, working onthe book, when an Italian woman and her teenage daughter walked up to Ender and stoodthere, saying nothing, waiting to be noticed. Valentine knew them because they were bothin her Common class.

Ender noticed them at once and smiled at them. “Dorabella and Alessandra Toscano,” hesaid. “What a pleasure to meet you at last.”

“We were not ready,” said Dorabella in her halting Italian accent. “On till yoursister could taught us English good enough.” Then she giggled. “I mean ‘Common.’ “

“I wish I spoke Italian,” said Ender. “It’s a beautiful language.”

“The language of love,” said Dorabella. “Not is French, nasty language of kissy lipsand spitting.”

“French is beautiful, too,” said Ender, laughing at the way she had imitated theFrench accent and attitude.

“To French and deaf peoples,” said Dorabella.

“Mother,” said Alessandra. She had very little Italian accent, but rather spoke likean educated Brit. “There are French speakers among the colonists, and he can’t offendany of them.”

“Why will they be any offended? They make the kissy mouth to talk, we pretend we not tonotice it?”

Valentine laughed aloud. Dorabella really was quite funny, full of attitude. Sassy, thatwas the word. Even though she was old enough to be Ender’s mother—considering herdaughter was Ender’s age—she could be seen as flirting with Ender. Maybe she was oneof those women who flirted with everybody because they knew of no other way to relate tothem.

“Now we are ready,” said Dorabella. “Your sister teaching us good, so we ready forour half hour with you.”

Ender blinked. “Oh, did you think—I took a half hour with all the colonists who weregoing to travel in stasis because that’s all the time I had before they became

unavailable. But the colonists on the ship—we have a year or two, plenty of time. Noneed to schedule a half hour. I’m here all the time.”

“But you are very important man, saving of the whole world.”

Ender shook his head. “That was my old job. Now I’m a kid with a job that’s too bigfor me. So sit down, let’s talk. You’re learning English very well—Valentine hasmentioned you, actually, and how hard you work—and your daughter has no accent at all,she’s fluent.”

“Very intelligent girl my Alessandra,” said Dorabella. “And pretty, too, yes? Youthink so? Nice figure for fourteen.”

“Mother!” Alessandra shrank down into a chair. “Am I a used car? Am I a streetvendor’s sandwich?”

“Street vendors,” sighed Dorabella. “I miss them yet.”

“Already,” Valentine corrected her.

“I am already miss them,” said Dorabella, proudly correcting herself. “So smallShakespeare planet will be. No city! What you said, Alessandra? Tell him.”

Alessandra looked flustered, but her mother pressed her. “I just said that there aremore characters in Shakespeare’s plays than there will be colonists on the planet namedafter him.”

Ender laughed. “What a thought! You’re right, we probably couldn’t put on all of hisplays without having to use several colonists for more than one part. Not that I haveany particular plan to put on a Shakespearean play. Though maybe we should. What do youthink? Would anyone want to be ready to put on a play for the colonists who are alreadythere?”

“We don’t know whether they like the new name,” said Valentine. She also thought:Does Ender have any idea how much work it is to put on a play?

“They know the name,” Ender assured her.

“But do they like it?” asked Valentine.

“It doesn’t matter,” said Alessandra. “Not enough women ruoli, parti—how do you sayit?” She turned to Valentine helplessly.

” ‘Role,’ ” said Valentine. “Or ‘part.’ “

“Oh.” Alessandra giggled. It was not an annoying giggle, it was a rather charming one.It didn’t make her sound stupid. “The same words! Of course.”

“She’s right,” said Valentine. “The colonists are about half and half, andShakespeare’s plays are what, five percent female parts?”

“Oh well,” said Ender. “It was a thought.”

“I wish we could put on a play,” said Alessandra. “But maybe we can read themtogether?”

“In theater,” said Dorabella. “The place for holografi. We all read. Me, I listen, myEnglish is not good enough.”

“It’s a good idea,” said Ender. “Why don’t you organize it, Signora Toscano?”

“Please call me of Dorabella.”

“There’s no ‘of’ in that sentence,” said Alessandra. “There isn’t in Italian,either.”

“English has so much ‘of,’ everywhere ‘of,’ except where I put it!” As Dorabellalaughed, she touched Ender’s arm. Probably Dorabella didn’t see how he suppressed hisinstinct to flinch—Ender didn’t like being touched by strangers, he never had. ButValentine saw it. He was still Ender.

“I’ve never seen a play,” said Ender. “I’ve read them, I’ve seen holos and vids ofthem, but I’ve never actually been in a room where people actually said the linesaloud. I could never put it together, but I’d love to be there and listen as ithappens.”

“Then you must!” said Dorabella. “You are governor, you make it happen!”

“I can’t,” said Ender. “Truly. You do it, please.”

“No, I cannot,” said Dorabella. “My English is too bad. Il teatro is for youngpersons. I will watch and listen. You and Alessandra do it. You are students, you arechildren. Romeo and Juliet!”

Could she possibly be any more obvious? thought Valentine.

“Mother thinks that if you and I are together a lot,” said Alessandra, “we’ll fallin love and get married.”

Valentine almost laughed aloud. So the daughter wasn’t a co-conspirator, she was adraftee.

Dorabella feigned shock. “I have no plan like such!”

“Oh, Mother, you’ve been planning it from the start. Even back in the town we camefrom—“

“Monopoli,” said Ender.

“She was calling you a ‘young man with prospects.’ A likely candidate for my husband.My personal opinion is that I’m very young, and so are you.”

Ender was busy mollifying the mother. “Dorabella, please, I’m not offended and ofcourse I know you weren’t planning anything. Alessandra is teasing me. Teasing usboth.”

“I’m not, but you can say whatever it takes to make Mother happy,” said Alessandra.“Our lives together are one long play. She makes me . . . not the star of my ownautobiography. But Mother always sees the happy ending, right from the start.”

Valentine wasn’t sure what to make of the relationship between these two. The wordswere biting, almost hostile. Yet as she said them, Alessandra gave her mother a hug andseemed to mean it. As if the words were part of a long ritual between them, but they nolonger were meant to sting.

Whatever was going on, between Ender and Alessandra, Dorabella seemed mollified. “Ilike the happy ending.”

“We should put on a Greek play,” said Alessandra. “Medea. The one where the motherkills her own children.”

Valentine was shocked at this—what a cruel thing to say in front of her mother. But no,from Dorabella’s reaction Alessandra wasn’t referring to her. For Dorabella laughedand nodded and said, “Yes, yes, Medea, spiteful mama!”

“Only we’ll rename her,” said Alessandra. “Isabella!”

“Isabella!” cried Dorabella at almost the same moment. The two of them laughed so hardthey almost cried, and Ender joined with them.

Then, to Valentine’s surprise, while the other two were still hiccuping through the endof their laughter, Ender turned to her and explained. “Isabella is Dorabella’s mother.They had a painful parting.”

Alessandra stopped laughing and looked at Ender searchingly—but if Dorabella was

surprised that Ender knew so much of their past, she didn’t show it. “We come on thiscolony to be free of my perfect mother. Santa Isabella, we will not pray to you!”

Then Dorabella leapt to her feet and began to do some kind of dance, a waltz perhaps,holding an imaginary full skirt in one hand, and with the other hand tracing arcanepatterns in the air as she danced. “Always I have a magic land where I can be happy,and I take my daughter there with me, always happy.” Then she stopped and faced Ender.“Shakespeare Colony is our magic land now. You are king of the . . . folletti?” Shelooked to her daughter.

“Elfs,” said Alessandra.

“Elves,” said Valentine.

“Gli elfi!” cried Dorabella in delight. “Again same word! Elfo, elve!”

“Elf,” said Valentine and Alessandra together.

“King of the elves,” said Ender. “I wonder what email address I’ll get for that one.ElfKing@Faerie.gov.” He turned to Valentine. “Or is that the title Peter aspires to?”

Valentine smiled. “He’s still torn between Hegemon and God,” she said.

Dorabella didn’t understand the reference to Peter. She returned to her dancing, andthis time she sang a wordless but haunting tune with it. And Alessandra shook her headbut still joined in the song, harmonizing with it. So she had heard it before and knewit and had sung with her mother. Their voices blended sweetly.

Valentine watched Dorabella’s dance, fascinated. At first it had seemed like a

childish, rather mad thing to do. Now, though, she could see that Dorabella knew she wasbeing silly, but still meant it from the heart. It gave the movement, and her facialexpression, a sort of irony that made it easy to forgive the silliness and affectationof it, while the sincerity turned it into something quite winning.

The woman isn’t old, thought Valentine. She’s still young and quite good looking.Beautiful, even, especially now, especially in this strange fairyish dance.

The song ended. Dorabella kept dancing in the silence.

“Mother, you can stop flying now,” said Alessandra gently.

“But I can’t,” said Dorabella, and now she was openly teasing. “In this starship wefly for fifty years!”

“Forty years,” said Ender.

“Two years,” said Alessandra.

Apparently Ender liked the idea of doing a play, because he brought them all back to thetopic. “Not Romeo and Juliet,” he said. “We need a comedy, not a tragedy.”

“The Merry Wives of Windsor,” said Valentine. “Lots of women’s parts.”

“The Taming of the Shrew!” cried Alessandra, and Dorabella almost collapsed withlaughter. Another reference, apparently, to Isabella. And when they stopped laughing,they insisted that Shrew was the perfect play. “I will read the part of the madwoman,”said Dorabella. Valentine noticed that Alessandra seemed to be biting back some kind ofcomment.

So it was that the plan was conceived for a play reading in the theater three dayslater—days by ship’s time, though the whole concept of time seemed rather absurd toValentine, on this voyage where forty years would pass in less than two. What would herbirthday be now? Would she count her age by ship’s time or the elapsed calendar whenshe arrived? And what did Earth’s calendar mean on Shakespeare?

Naturally, Dorabella and Alessandra came to Ender often during the days of preparation,asking him endless questions. Even though he made it clear that all the decisions wereup to them, that he was not in charge of the event, he was never impatient with them. Heseemed to enjoy their company—though Valentine suspected that it was not for the reasonDorabella had hoped. Ender wasn’t falling in love with Alessandra—if he was infatuatedwith anyone, it was likely to be the mother. No, what Ender was falling in love with wasthe family-ness of them. They were close in a way that Ender and Valentine had once beenclose. And they were including Ender in that closeness.

Why couldn’t I have done that for him? Valentine was quite jealous, but only because ofher own failure, not because she wished to deprive him of the pleasure he was gettingfrom the Toscanos.

It was inevitable, of course, that they enlisted Ender himself to read the part ofLucentio, the handsome young suitor of Bianca—played, of course, by Alessandra.

Dorabella herself read Kate the Shrew, while Valentine was relegated to the part of theWidow. Valentine didn’t even pretend not to want to read the part—this was the mostinteresting thing going on in the ship, and why not be at the heart of it? She wasEnder’s sister; let people hear her voice, especially in the ribald, exaggerated partof the Widow.

It was entertaining for Valentine to see how the men and boys who were cast in the manyother parts focused on Dorabella. The woman had an incredible laugh, rich and throatyand contagious. To earn a laugh from her in this comedy was a fine thing, and the menall vied to please her. It made Valentine wonder if getting Ender and Alessandra

together was really Dorabella’s agenda? Perhaps it’s what she thought she was doing,but in fact Dorabella held the center of the stage herself, and seemed to love havingall eyes on her. She flirted with them all, fell in love with them all, and yet alwaysseemed to be in a world of her own, too.

Has Kate the Shrew ever been played like this before?

Does every woman have what this Dorabella has? Valentine searched in her heart to findthat kind of ebullience. I know how to have fun, Valentine insisted to herself. I knowhow to be playful.

But she knew there was always irony in her wit, a kind of snottiness in her banter.

Alessandra’s timidity covered everything she did—she was bold in what she said, but itwas as if her own words surprised and embarrassed her after the fact. Dorabella,however, was neither ironic nor frightened. Here was a woman who had faced all her

dragons and slain them; now she was ready for the accolades of the admiring throng. Shecried out Kate’s dialogue from the heart, her rage, her passion, her petulance, herfrustration, and finally her love. The final monologue, in which she submits to herhusband’s will, was so beautiful it made Valentine cry a little, and she thought: Iwonder what it would be like to love and trust a man so much that I’d be willing toabase myself as Kate did. Is there something in women that makes us long to be humbled?Or is it something in human beings, that when we are overmastered, we rejoice in oursubjection? That would explain a lot of history.

Since everyone who was interested in the play was already in it, and attending therehearsals, it wasn’t as if the actual performance was going to surprise anyone.Valentine almost asked the whole group, at the last rehearsal, “Why bother to put iton? We just did it, and it was wonderful.”

But there was still a kind of excitement throughout the ship about the coming

performance, and Valentine realized that rehearsal was not performance, no matter howwell it went. And there would be others there after all, who had not been at the lastrehearsal: Dorabella was going around inviting members of the crew, many of whom

promised to come. And passengers who weren’t in the play seemed excited about coming,and some were openly rueful about having declined to take part. “Next time,” theysaid.

When they got to the theater at the appointed time, they found Jarrko standing at thedoor, a stiff, formal expression on his face. No, the theater would not be opened; byorder of the admiral, the play reading had been canceled.

“Ah, Governor Wiggin,” said Jarrko.

A bad sign, if the title was back, thought Valentine.

“Admiral Morgan would like to see you at once, if you please, sir.”

Ender nodded and smiled. “Of course,” he said.

So Ender had expected this? Or was he really that perfectly poised, so it seemed thatnothing surprised him?

Valentine started to go with him, but Jarrko touched her shoulder. “Please, Val,” hewhispered. “Alone.”

Ender grinned at her and took off with real bounce in his step, as if he was trulyexcited to be going to see the admiral.

“What’s this about?” Valentine asked Jarrko quietly.

“I can’t say,” he said. “Truly. Just have my orders. No play, theater closed for thenight, would the governor please come see the admiral immediately.”

So Valentine stayed with Jarrko, helping soothe the players and other colonists, whosereactions ranged from disappointment to outrage to revolutionary fervor. Some of themeven started reciting lines there in the corridor, until Valentine asked them not to.“Poor Colonel Kitunen will be in trouble if you keep this up, and he’s too nice tostop you himself.”

The result was that everyone was quite angry with Admiral Morgan for his arbitrarycancellation of a completely harmless event. And Valentine herself couldn’t help butwonder: What was the man thinking? Hadn’t he ever heard of morale? Maybe he’d heard ofit, but was against it.

Something was going on here, and Valentine began to wonder if somehow Ender was behindit. Could it be that in his own way, Ender was just as sneaky and snaky as Peter?

No. Not possible. Especially because Valentine could always see through Peter. Enderwasn’t devious at all. He always said what he meant and meant what he said.

What is the boy doing?


Ender in Exile


To: demosthenes@LastBestHopeOfEarth.pol

From: PeterWiggin@hegemony.gov/hegemon

Re: While you were out

I had one of my staff run a set of calculations about how long it has been for you sinceyou began your relativistic voyage into the future. At best he could give me only arange of possible subjective durations—a few weeks, anyway. For me, a couple of years.So I am fairly safe in saying that I miss you a great deal more than you miss me. Atpresent you probably still think that you will never miss me at all. The world is fullof people who are convinced of the same thing. They vaguely remember that I was electedto the office of Hegemon. They just can’t remember what that office does. They think myname is Locke when they think of me at all.

Yet I am at war. My force is tiny, commanded by—of all people—Ender’s old friendBean. The other children from Ender’s jeesh—Battle School slang for “army,” butit’s caught on here and that’s what they’re called—were all kidnapped by the

Russians, inspired by a conniving little bastard named Achilles, who was kicked out ofBattle School. It appears that Achilles chose his main enemy better than Bonito de

Madrid did—it was Bean who confronted him in a dark air vent, or so the story goes, andinstead of killing him, turned him over to the authorities. Have you ever heard thattale? Did Ender know about it when it happened? Achilles is Hitler with stealth, Stalinwith brains, Mao with energy, Pol Pot with subtlety—name your monster, and Achilles hasall the inconvenient virtues to make him very hard to stop and even harder to kill. Beanswears he will do it, but he had the chance before and blew it, so I’m skeptical.

I wish you were here.

More than that, I actually wish Ender were here. I’m waging war with the help of anarmy of a few hundred men—very loyal, brilliantly trained, but only two hundred ofthem! Bean is not the most reliable of commanders. He always wins, but he doesn’talways do what he’s told or go where I want him to. He picks and chooses among hisassignments. To his credit, he doesn’t argue with me in front of his (supposedly“my”) men.

The trouble is that these Battle School kids are all so cynical. They don’t believe inanything. Certainly they don’t believe in ME. Just because Achilles keeps trying toassassinate Bean and has all the Battle School kids terrified, they think they don’towe Ender Wiggin’s big brother their lifelong personal service. (That was a joke. Theyowe me nothing.)

Wars here and there around the world, shifting alliances—it’s what I predicted wouldhappen after the Battle School kids came home. They’re such excellent

weapons—potentially devastating, but no fallout, no mushroom clouds. Somehow, though, Ialways saw myself riding the crest of the wave. Now I find myself sucked down to thebottom of the wave so I can barely tell which way is up and I’m constantly running outof air. I get to the top, gasp, and then a new wave crashes me back down.

A few privileges inhere to this office, for the time being, anyway. Minister of

Colonization Graff tells me I have unlimited access to the ansible—I can talk to youwhenever I want. Congratulate me for not abusing it. I know you’re writing a history ofBattle School, and I thought you could use some information about the careers of themore prominent Battle School grads, for an epilogue, perhaps. Ender’s jeesh fought theformics and won; but all the others are now involved, one way or another, as captives orservants or leaders or figureheads or victims, in the military planning and action ofevery nation lucky enough to have a single graduate and strong enough to hold on to him.

So steel yourself for reams of information. Graff tells me that it will take weeks tosend it all from his office (in the old Battle School station now), but that at your endit will seem to arrive all at once. I hope it doesn’t annoy your ship’s captain toomuch—I understand it’s a nobody, not Mazer Rackham after all—but what I’m sendinggoes with hegemony priority, which means he won’t be able to read any of this and anymessages HE’S expecting will have to wait. Give him my apologies. Or not, as you seefit.

I have never been so alone in my life. I wish for you every day. Fortunately, Father andMother have turned out to be surprisingly useful. No, I should have said “helpful.”But I’ll leave the “useful” there so you can say, “He hasn’t changed.” They alsomiss you, and among the information you’re getting are letters from both Father andMother. Also letters from them to Ender. I hope the boy gets over the snit he’s in andwrites back to them. Missing you has given me some idea of how they feel about Ender(and now you): If he wrote to them it would mean the world. And what would it cost him?

No, I’m not going to write to him myself. I have no stock in that company. Mom and Dadare miserable, having only me as visible proof that they reproduced. Brighten theirlives, both of you. What ELSE do you have to do? I picture you gliding along at

lightspeed, with servants bringing you juleps and the fawning colonists begging Ender totell them once again about how the formic home world went boom.

Writing this sometimes feels as if I’m talking to you like old times. But at thismoment it’s a painful reminder that it’s nothing like talking to you at all.

As the official monster of the family, I hope you will compare me to a real monster likeAchilles and give me some points for not being as awful as it is possible to be. I alsohave to tell you that I’ve learned that when no one else can be trusted—and I mean noone—there is family. And somehow I managed to be complicit in driving away two of thefour people I could trust. Clumsy of me, n’est-ce pas?

I love you, Valentine. I wish I had treated you better from childhood on up. Ender too.Now, happy reading. The world is such a mess, you’re glad you aren’t here. But Ipromise you this: I will do all I can to put things back in order and bring peace.Without, I hope, waging too much war along the way.

With all my heart, your bratty brother,


Admiral Morgan kept Ender waiting outside his office for two full hours. It was exactlywhat Ender expected, however, so he closed his eyes and used the time to take a long,refreshing nap. He awoke to hear someone shouting from the other side of a door: “Well,wake him up and send him in, I’m ready!”

Ender sat up immediately, instantly aware of his surroundings. Even though he had neverknowingly been in combat, he had acquired the military habit of remaining alert evenwhen asleep. By the time the ensign whose duty was to waken him arrived, Ender wasalready standing up and smiling. “I understand it’s time for my meeting with AdmiralMorgan.”

“Yes sir, if you please sir.” The poor kid (well, six or seven years older than Ender,but still young to have an admiral yelling at him all day) was all over himself witheagerness to please Ender. So Ender made it a point to be visibly pleased. “He’s in atemper,” the ensign whispered.

“Let’s see if I can cheer him up a little,” said Ender.

“Not bloody likely,” whispered the ensign. Then he had the door open. “Admiral AndrewWiggin, sir.” Ender stepped in as he was announced; the ensign beat a hasty retreat andshut the door behind him.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” demanded Admiral Morgan, his face livid.Since Ender had been napping for two hours, that meant either that Morgan had maintainedhis lividity throughout the interim, or he was able to switch it on at will, for effect.Ender was betting on the latter.

“I’m meeting with the captain of the ship, at his request.”

“Sir,” said Admiral Morgan.

“Oh, you don’t need to call me sir,” said Ender. “Andrew will do. I don’t like toinsist on the privileges of rank.” Ender sat down in a comfortable chair besideMorgan’s desk, instead of the stiff chair directly in front of it.

“On my ship you have no rank,” said Morgan.

“I have no authority,” said Ender. “But my rank travels with me.”

“You are fomenting rebellion on my ship, coopting vital resources, subverting a missionwhose primary purpose is to deliver you to the colony that you purport to be ready togovern.”

“Rebellion? We’re reading Taming of the Shrew, not Richard II.”

“I’m still talking, boy! You may think you’re heroism personified because you andyour little chums played a videogame that turned out to be real, but I won’t put upwith this kind of subversion on my own ship! Whatever you did that made you famous andgot you that ridiculous rank is over. You’re in the real world now, and you’re just asnot-nosed boy with delusions of grandeur.”

Ender sat in silence, regarding him calmly.

“Now you can answer.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said Ender.

Whereupon Morgan let fly with such a string of obscenities and vulgarities that itsounded like he had collected the favorite sayings of the entire fleet. If he had beenred-faced before, he was purple now. And through it all, Ender struggled to figure outwhat it was about a play reading that had the man so insanely angry.

When Morgan paused for breath, leaning—no, slumping—on the desk, Ender rose to hisfeet. “I think you had better prepare the charges for my court martial, AdmiralMorgan.”

“Court martial! I’m not going to court-martial you, boy! I don’t have to! I can haveyou put in stasis for the duration of the voyage on the authority of my signaturealone!”

“Not a person of admiralty rank, I’m afraid,” said Ender. “And it seems that formalcharges in a court martial are the only way I’m going to get a coherent statement fromyou about what I have supposedly done to offend your dignity and cause such alarm.”

“Oh, you want a formal statement? How about this: Hijacking all ansible communicationsfor three hours so that we are effectively cut off from the rest of the known universe,how about that? Three hours means more than two days back in real time—for all I knowthere’s been a revolution, or my orders have changed, or any number of things might behappening and I can’t even send a message to inquire!”

“That’s a problem, certainly,” said Ender. “But why would you think I have anythingto do with it?”

“Because it’s got your name all over it,” said Morgan. “The message is addressed toyou. And it’s still coming in, coopting our entire ansible bandwidth.”

“Doesn’t it occur to you,” said Ender gently, “that the message is to me, not fromme?”

” From Wiggin, to Wiggin, eyes only, so deeply encrypted that none of the shipboardcomputers can crack it.”

“You tried to crack a secure communication addressed to a ranking officer, withoutfirst asking the permission of that officer?”

“It’s a subversive communication, boy, that’s why I tried to crack it!”

“You know it’s subversive because you can’t crack it, and you tried to crack itbecause you know it’s subversive,” said Ender. He kept his voice soft and cheerful.Not because he knew that it would drive Morgan crazy that Ender remained

unflappable—that was just a bonus. He simply assumed that the entire exchange was beingrecorded to be used as evidence later, and Ender was not going to say a word or revealan emotion that would not redound to his credit in some later court proceeding. So

Morgan could be as abusive as he pleased—Ender was not going to make a single statementthat could be excerpted and used to make him look subversive or angry.

“I don’t have to justify my actions to you,” said Morgan. “I brought you here andcanceled your supposed play reading so that you could open the transmission in front ofme.”

“Eyes only, secure communication—I’m not sure it’s proper for you to insist onwatching.”

“Either you open it right now, in front of me, or you go into stasis and you never getoff this ship until it returns to Eros for your court martial.”

Someone’s court martial, thought Ender, but probably not mine.

“Let me have a look at it,” said Ender. “Though I can’t promise to open it, since Ihave no idea what it is or who it’s from.”

“It’s from you,” said Morgan acidly. “You arranged this before you left.”

“I did not do so, Admiral Morgan,” said Ender. “I assume you have a secure accesspoint here in your office?”

“Come around here and open it now,” said Morgan.

“I suggest you rotate the terminal, Admiral Morgan,” said Ender.

“I said come sit here!”

“Respectfully, Admiral Morgan, there will be no vid of me sitting at your desk.”

Morgan stared at him, his face growing redder again. Then he reached down and rotatedthe holodisplay on his desk so it faced Ender.

Ender leaned forward and poked a couple of menu choices in the holodisplay as AdmiralMorgan came around behind him to watch. “Move slowly so I can see what you’re doing.”

“I’m doing nothing,” said Ender.

“Then you’re going into stasis, boy. You were never fit to be governor of anything.Just a child who’s been praised way too much and completely spoiled. Nobody on thatcolony is going to pay any attention to you! The only way you could ever survive asgovernor would be if I backed you up—and after this, you can be sure I’ll do no suchthing. You’re finished in this game of let’s pretend.”

“As you wish, Admiral,” said Ender. “But I’m doing nothing with this message becausethere’s nothing I can do. It isn’t addressed to me and I have no way of opening asecure comm that isn’t mine.”

“Do you think I’m a fool? Your name is all over it!”

“On the outside,” said Ender, “it specifies Admiral Wiggin, which is me, because itwas sent from IFCom through a secure military channel and the intended recipient has nostanding in the fleet. But as soon as you open it—and this is a level of opening thatyour techs did immediately, I’m sure—you’ll see that the Wiggin to whom the secureportion of the message is addressed is not A. Wiggin or E. Wiggin, which would be me,but V. Wiggin, which is my sister, Valentine.”

“Your sister?”

“Didn’t your techs tell you that? And while the actual authority for the message isthe Minister of Colonization himself, again, the real sender is P. Wiggin, and his titleis given as Hegemon. I find that interesting. The only P. Wiggin I’m personally

acquainted with is my older brother, Peter, and this would seem to imply that my brotheris now Hegemon. Did you know that? I certainly didn’t. He wasn’t when I left.”

A long silence came from Admiral Morgan behind him. Ender finally turned and looked athim—again, doing his best to keep any hint of triumph from showing in his face. “Ithink my brother, the Hegemon, is writing a private communication to my sister, withwhom he had a long collaborative relationship. Perhaps he seeks her counsel. But it hasnothing to do with me. You know that I haven’t seen my brother or communicated with himin any way since I first entered Battle School at the age of six. And I only enteredinto communication with my sister for a few weeks before our ship was launched. I’msorry that it tied up your communications, but as I said, I don’t know anything aboutit, and it has nothing to do with me.”

Morgan walked back and sat down behind his desk. “I am astonished,” said Morgan.

Ender waited.

“I am embarrassed,” said Morgan. “It seemed to me that my ship’s communications wereunder attack, and that the agent of this attack was Admiral Wiggin. In that light, yourrepeated meetings with a subset of the colonists, to which you have been invitingmembers of my crew, looked suspiciously like mutiny. So I treated it as mutiny. Now Ifind that my fundamental premise was incorrect.”

“Mutiny is a serious business,” said Ender. “Of course you were alarmed.”

“It happens that your brother is Hegemon. Word came to me a week ago. Two weeks ago. Ayear ago Earth time, anyway.”

“It’s perfectly all right that you didn’t tell me,” said Ender. “I’m sure youthought I would have found out by other means.”

“It did not cross my mind that this communication might be from him, and not to you.”

“It’s easy to overlook Valentine. She keeps to the background. It’s just the way sheis.”

Morgan looked at Ender gratefully. “So you understand.”

I understand you’re a paranoid, power-hungry idiot, said Ender silently. “Of course Ido,” said Ender.

“Do you mind if I send for your sister?”

Suddenly it was “do you mind”—but Ender had no interest in making Morgan squirm.“Please do. I’m as curious about this message as you are.”

Morgan sent an ensign to bring her, and then sat down and tried to make small talk whilethey waited. He told two ostensibly amusing stories from his own training days—he wasnever Battle School material, he came up “the hard way, through the ranks.” It wasclear that he resented Battle School and the implied inferiority of anyone who wasn’tinvited to attend.

Is that all this is? Ender wondered. The traditional rivalry between graduates of aservice academy and those who didn’t have such a head start?

Valentine came in to find Ender laughing at Morgan’s story. “Val,” said Ender, stillchuckling. “We need you to help us with something.” In a few moments he explainedabout the message that had preempted hours of ansible time, shutting everything elseout. “It caused a lot of consternation, and naturally, Admiral Morgan has been

concerned. It’ll put our minds at ease if you can open the message right here and giveus some idea of what it’s about.”

“I’ll need to watch you open it,” said Morgan.

“No you won’t,” said Valentine.

They looked at each other for a long moment.

“What Valentine meant to say,” said Ender, “is that she doesn’t want you to see heractual security procedures—on a message from the Hegemon, you can understand hercaution. But I’m sure that she’ll let us know the contents of the message in somereadily verifiable way.” Ender looked at Valentine and gave her a mockingly cute smileand shrug. “For me, Val?”

He knew she would recognize this as a mockery of their relationship, put on entirely forMorgan’s benefit; of course she played along. “For you, Mr. Potato Head. Where’s theaccess?”

In moments, Valentine was sitting at the end of the desk, poking her way through theholodisplay. “Oh, this is only semi-secure,” she said. “Just a fingerprint. Anybodycould have gotten into it just by cutting off my finger. I’ll have to tell Peter to usefull security—retina, DNA, heartbeat—so that they have to keep me alive in order toget in. He just doesn’t value me highly enough.”

She sat there reading for a little while, then sighed. “I can’t believe what an idiotPeter is. And Graff, for that matter. There’s nothing in here that couldn’t have beensent unsecured, and there’s no reason why it couldn’t have been sent piecemeal insteadof in a single uninterruptible top-priority flow. It’s just a bunch of articles andsummaries and so on about events on Earth for the past couple of years. It seems thatthere are wars and rumors of wars.” She glanced at Ender.

He got the King James Version reference—he had memorized long passages of it as part ofhis strategy for dealing with a minor crisis in Battle School several years back.“Well, transmitting it certainly took time, and times, and half a time,” he said.

“I’ll need to—I’d like to see some evidence that this is what you say,” said

Morgan. “You have to understand that anything that seemed to threaten the security ofmy ship and my mission must be verified.”

“Well, that’s the awkward thing,” said Valentine. “I’m perfectly happy to let yousee the entire infodump—in fact, I suggest that it be put into the library so everyonecan have access to it. It’s bound to be fascinating to people to have an idea of thethings that have been happening on Earth. I can’t wait to read it myself.”

“But?” asked Ender.

“It’s the cover letter itself.” She looked genuinely embarrassed. “My brother makesslighting references to you. I hope you understand that neither Ender nor I discussedyou with Peter in any way—anything he says is his own assumption. I can assure you thatEnder and I hold you in the highest respect.”

With that, she rotated the holodisplay and Ender and Valentine sat silently to watchMorgan read.

At the end, he sighed, then leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table, hisforehead on his fingertips. “Well, I am embarrassed indeed.”

“Not at all,” said Ender. “A perfectly understandable mistake. I’d rather fly with acaptain who takes every potential threat to his ship seriously than one who thinks thatlosing communications for three hours is no big deal.”

Morgan took the olive branch. “I’m glad you see it that way, Admiral Wiggin.”

“Ender,” Ender corrected him.

Valentine stood up, smiling. “So if you don’t mind, I’ll leave the whole thing

unencrypted here on your desk, as long as you assure me that every speck of it will bedownloaded into the library—except my brother’s personal letter.” She turned toEnder. “He says he loves me and misses me and he wants me to tell you to write to ourparents. They aren’t getting any younger, and they’re very hurt not to have heard from


“Yes,” said Ender. “I should have done that as soon as the ship left. But I didn’twant to take up ansible time on personal matters.” He smiled ruefully at Morgan. “Andthen we end up doing this, all because Peter and Graff have an inflated sense of theirown importance.”

“I’ll tell my egocentric brother to send future messages a different way,” saidValentine. “I assume you won’t mind my sending such a message by ansible.”

They were heading for the door, Morgan shepherding them, full of smiles and “I’m gladyou’re so understanding,” when Ender stopped.

“Oh, Admiral Morgan,” said Ender.

“Please call me Quincy.”

“Oh, I could never do that,” said Ender. “Our respective ranks allow it, but if

anybody heard me address you that way, there’d be no way to erase the visual image of ateenager speaking to the captain of the ship in a way that could only seem

disrespectful. I’m sure we agree on that. Nothing can undermine the authority of thecaptain.”

“Very wisely said,” Morgan replied. “You’re taking better care of my position than Iam myself. But you wanted to say something?”

“Yes. The play reading. It really is just that—we’re reading Taming of the Shrew.I’m playing Lucentio. Val has a small part, too. Everyone was looking forward to it.And now it’s been canceled without a word of explanation.”

Morgan looked puzzled. “If it’s just a play reading, then go ahead and do it.”

“Of course we will,” said Ender, “now that we have your permission. But you see, someof the participants invited crew members to attend. And the cancellation might leavesome bad feelings. Hard on morale, don’t you think? I wanted to suggest a sort ofgesture from you, to show that it really was a misunderstanding. To patch up any badfeelings.”

“What sort of gesture?” asked Morgan.

“Just—when we reschedule it, why don’t you come and watch? Let them see you laughingat the comedy.”

“He could play a part,” said Valentine. “I’m sure the man playing ChristopherSly—“

“My sister is joking,” said Ender. “This is a comedy, and every part in it is beneaththe dignity of the captain of the ship. I’m only suggesting that you attend. Perhapsjust for the first half. You can always plead urgent business at the break halfwaythrough. Everyone will understand. Meanwhile, though, they’ll all see that you reallydo care about them and what they do during this voyage. It will go a long way towardmaking them feel good about your leadership, during the voyage and after we arrive.”

“After we arrive?” asked Valentine.

Ender looked at her in wide-eyed innocence. “As Admiral Morgan pointed out to me duringour conversation, none of the colonists will be likely to follow the leadership of ateenage boy. They’ll need to be assured that Admiral Morgan’s authority is behindwhatever I do, officially, as governor. So I think that makes it all the more importantthat they see the admiral and get to know him, so they’ll trust him to provide strongleadership.”

Ender was afraid Valentine was going to lose control right there and either laugh orscream at him. But she did neither. “I see,” she said.

“That’s actually a good idea,” said Admiral Morgan. “Shall we go start it up?”

“Oh, no,” said Valentine. “Everybody’s too upset. Nobody will be at their best. Whynot let us go smooth things over, explain that it was all a mistake and completely myfault. And then we can announce that you’re going to attend, that you’re glad thereading can go on after all, and we get a chance to perform for you. Everyone will beexcited and happy. And if you can let off-duty crew come too, so much the better.”

“I don’t want anything that lessens ship’s discipline,” said Morgan.

Valentine’s answer was immediate. “If you’re right there with them, laughing at theplay and enjoying it, then I can’t see that it will cause any weakening of the crew. Itmight even help morale. We actually do a pretty good job with the play.”

“It would mean a lot to all of us,” said Ender.

“Of course,” said Morgan. “You do that, and I’ll be there tomorrow at 1900. That wasthe starting time today, wasn’t it?”

Ender and Valentine made their good-byes. The officers they passed looked amazed andrelieved to see them smiling and chatting comfortably as they left.

Not till they were back in the stateroom did they let down the fa?ade, and then onlylong enough for Valentine to say, “He’s planning for you to be a figurehead while herules behind the throne?”

“There’s no throne,” said Ender. “It solves a lot of problems for me, don’t youthink? It was going to be tough for a fifteen-year-old kid to lead a bunch of colonistswho’ve already been living and farming on Shakespeare for forty years by the time I getthere. But a man like Admiral Morgan is used to giving orders and being obeyed. They’llfall right in line under his authority.”

Valentine stared at him like he was insane. Then Ender gave that little twitch of hislower lip that had always been the giveaway that he was being ironic. He hoped she wouldleap to the correct conclusion—that Admiral Morgan certainly had the means of listeningin on all their conversations and was bound to be using it right now, so nothing theysaid could be regarded as private.

“All right,” said Valentine. “If you’re happy with it, I’m happy with it.”

Whereupon she did that momentary bug-eyed thing she did to let him know she was lying.

“I’m done with responsibility, Val,” said Ender. “I had quite enough in Battle

School and on Eros. I intend to spend the voyage making friends and reading everything Ican get my hands on.”

“And at the end, you can write an essay called ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation.’ “

“It’s always summer when your heart is full of joy,” said Ender.

“You are so full of crap,” said Valentine.


Ender in Exile


To: PeterWiggin@hegemony.gov/hegemon

From: vwiggin%Colony1@colmin.gov/citizen

Subj: you arrogant bastard

Do you have any idea how much trouble you caused, sending that package with such highpriority that it shut down all other ansible communications with our ship? Certain

persons thought it was some kind of attack on the ansible link and Ender was almost putinto stasis for the duration—and that would have meant there AND back again.

Once we sorted it all out, though, the package itself was very informative. Apparentlyyou were cursed by some pseudo-Confucian to live in interesting times. Please sendfollow-ups. But make them low enough priority, please, that regular ship’s

communications can continue. And don’t let Graff address it to Ender. It comes to me asa colonist, not to the governor-designate.

Seems to me that you’re doing all right. Though that all might have changed betweenyour sending and my reply. Ain’t space travel grand?

Has Ender written to the parents yet? I can’t ask him (well, I HAVE asked him, but Ican’t get answers) and I can’t ask THEM or they’ll know I’ve been trying to get himto write, which would hurt them all the more if he hasn’t written and discount theemotional value of his letters if he has.

Stay smart. They can’t take that away from you.

Your former puppet,


Alessandra was happy when word came that the play reading was back on again. Mother hadbeen devastated, though she showed it only to Alessandra in the privacy of their

stateroom. She made a great show of not weeping, which was good, but she stalked aroundthe tiny space, opening and closing things and slamming things and stomping her feet atevery opportunity, and now and then emitting some fierce but gnomic statement like:

“Why are we always in the backwash of somebody else’s boat?”

Then, in the midst of a game of backgammon: “In the wars of men, women always lose!”

And through the bathroom door: “There is no pleasure so simple that somebody won’ttake it away just to hurt you!”

In vain did Alessandra try to mollify her. “Mother, this wasn’t aimed at you, it wasclearly aimed at Ender.”

Such responses always triggered a long emotional diatribe in which no amount of logiccould cause Mother to change her mind—though moments later, she might have completelyadopted Alessandra’s point of view after all, acting as if that’s how she had felt allalong.

Yet if Alessandra didn’t answer her mother’s epigrammatic observations, the stormingabout got worse and worse—Mother needed a response the way other people needed air. Toignore her was to smother her. So Alessandra answered, took part in the meaningless butintense conversation, and then ignored her mother’s inability to admit that she hadchanged her mind even though she had.

It never seemed to occur to her mother that Alessandra herself was disappointed, thatplaying Bianca to Ender’s Lucentio had made her feel . . . what? Not love—she wasdefinitely not in love. Ender was nice enough, but he was exactly as nice to Alessandraas to everyone else, so it was plain she was nothing special to him, and she was notinterested in bestowing her affection on someone who had not first bestowed his on her.No, what Alessandra felt was glory. It was reflected, of course, from her mother’squite stunning performance of Kate and from Ender’s fame as savior of the human

race—and his notoriety as a child-killing monster, which Alessandra did not believe butwhich certainly added to the fascination.

All disappointment was forgotten the moment the message came through to everyone’sdesk: The reading was back on for the following night, and the admiral himself would


Alessandra immediately thought: The admiral? There are two admirals on this voyage, andone of them was part of the program from the start. Was this a calculated slight, thatthe message sounded as if only one officer held that lofty rank? The very fact thatEnder had been summoned so peremptorily to see Admiral Morgan was another sign—didEnder really warrant so little respect? It made her a little angry on his behalf.

Then she told herself: I have no bond with Ender Wiggin that should make me protectiveof his privileges. I’ve been infected with Mother’s disease, of acting as if her plansand dreams were already real. Ender is not in love with me, any more than I am with him.There will be girls on Shakespeare when we get there; by the time he’s old enough tomarry, what will I be to him?

What have I done, coming on this voyage to a place where there won’t be enough peoplemy age to fill a city bus?

Not for the first time, Alessandra envied her mother’s ability to make herself cheerfulby sheer force of will.

They dressed in their finest for the reading—not that there had been room for much inthe way of clothes during the voyage. But they had spent some of their signing bonusbuying clothing, before the rest got turned over to Grandmother. Most of the clothinghad to meet the description on the list from the Ministry of Colonization—warm clothesfor a chilly but not-too-cold winter, light-but-tough clothing for summer work, and atleast one long-lasting frock for special occasions. Tonight’s reading was such anoccasion—and here was where Mother had made sure that a bit of money was spent on

gewgaws and accessories. They were over the top, really, and obviously costume jewelry.Then there were Mother’s bedazzling scarves, which looked almost ironically extravaganton her, but would look pathetic and needy on Alessandra. Mother was dressed to kill;Alessandra could only strive not to disappear completely in Mother’s penumbra.

They arrived just at the moment when the event was supposed to begin. Alessandra

immediately rushed to her stool at the front, but Mother made a slow progress, greetingeveryone, touching everyone, bestowing her smiles on everyone. Except one.

Admiral Morgan was seated in the second row, with a few officers around him, insulatinghim from any contact with the public—it was so obvious he considered himself a breedapart and wanted no contact with mere colonists. That was the privilege of rank, andAlessandra did not begrudge it. She rather wished she had the power to create a cordonaround herself to keep unwanted persons from intruding into her privacy.

To Alessandra’s horror, once Mother got down front, she continued her grand progress bypassing along the front row of seats, greeting people there—and in the second row aswell. She was going to try to force Admiral Morgan to speak to her!

But no, Mother’s plan was even worse. She made a point of introducing herself to—andflirting with—the officers on either side of the admiral. But she did not so much aspause in front of Morgan himself; it was as if he didn’t exist. A snub! Of the mostpowerful man in their little world!

Alessandra could hardly bear to look at Morgan’s face, yet could not bring herself tolook away, either. At first, he had watched Mother’s approach with resignation—he wasgoing to have to speak to this woman. But when Mother passed right over him, his barelycontained sneer gave way to consternation and then to seething anger. Mother had indeedmade an enemy. What was she thinking? How could this help anything?

But it was time to begin. The leading actors were seated on stools; the rest were on thefront row, prepared to stand and face the audience when their parts came. Mother finallymade her way to the stool in the center of the stage. Before sitting, she looked out

over the audience beneficently and said, “Thank you so much for coming to our littleperformance. The play is set in Italy, where my daughter and I were born. But it iswritten in English, which comes to us only as a second language. My daughter is fluent,but I am not. So if I mispronounce, remember that Katharina was Italian, and in Englishshe too would have my same accent.”

It was all said with Mother’s trademark glow, her light-and-happy air. What had becomeso annoying to Alessandra that there were times she wanted to scream in rage when sheheard it now seemed absolutely charming, and her little speech was answered by the restof the colonists and crew with chuckles and some applause. And the actor playing

Petruchio—who had an obvious crush on Mother, despite his having brought along a wifeand four children—even said, “Brava! Brava!”

The play thus began with all eyes on Mother, even though she didn’t enter until thesecond act. Through sidelong glances, Alessandra could see that Mother was in a perfecttrance of self-absorption during the scenes in which the men did all the exposition andmade their bargain with Petruchio. As the other actors repeatedly mentioned beautifulBianca and monstrous Katharina, Alessandra could see how Mother’s pose was working—asher reputation grew, the audience would keep glancing at her and would find perfectstillness.

But that would not be right for Bianca, thought Alessandra. She remembered somethingEnder had said during their last rehearsal. “Bianca is perfectly aware of the effectshe has on men.” So where Katharina should be as still as Mother made her, Bianca’sjob was to be bright, happy, desirable. So Alessandra smiled and glanced away as the menspoke of beautiful Bianca, as if she were blushing and shy. It did not matter that

Alessandra was not beautiful—as Mother always taught her, the plainest of women becamemovie stars because of how they presented themselves, unashamed of their worst features.What Alessandra could never do in real life—greet the world with an open smile—shecould do as Bianca.

Then it dawned on her for the first time. Mother is not able to change her mood by

simply deciding to be happy. No, she’s an actress. She has always been an actress. Shemerely acts happy for the audience. I have been her audience all my life. And even whenI didn’t applaud her show, she put it on for me all the same; and now I see why.Because Mother knew that when she was in her fairy-dancing mode, it was impossible tolook at or think about anything else but her.

Now, though, the fairy queen was gone, and in her place just the queen: Mother, regaland still, letting the peons and courtiers talk, for she knew that when she wanted to,she could blow them all off the stage with a breath.

And so it was. It came time for act II, scene i, when Katharina is supposedly draggingBianca about, her hands tied. Alessandra made herself melting and sweet, pleading withher mother to let her go, swearing that she loved no one, while Mother railed at her, soon fire with inner rage that it really frightened Alessandra, for a moment at least.Even in rehearsal Mother had not been so vehement. Alessandra doubted that Mother hadbeen holding back before—Mother was not skilled at holding back. No, the special firecame because of the audience.

But not the whole audience, it became apparent as the scenes progressed. All ofKatharina’s lines about the unfairness of her father and the stupidity of men wereinvariably shot directly at Admiral Morgan! It wasn’t just Alessandra’s imagination.Everybody could see it, and the audience at first tittered, then laughed outright asbarb after barb was directed, not just at the characters in the play, but also at theman sitting in the middle of the second row.

Only Morgan himself seemed oblivious; apparently, with Mother’s eyes directly upon him,he merely thought that the performance, not the meaning of the words, was aimed at him.

The play went well. Oh, the Lucentio scenes were as boring as ever—not Ender’s fault,really, Lucentio was simply not one of the funny roles. It was a fate that Biancashared, so Alessandra and Ender were designed only to be a “sweet couple” while thefocus of attention—of laughter and of romance—was entirely on Katharina and Petruchio.Which meant, despite the best efforts of a pretty good Petruchio, that all eyes were onMother. He would be shouting, but it was her face, her reactions that got the laughs.Her hunger, her sleepiness, her despair, and finally her playful acquiescence whenKatharina finally understands and begins to play along with Petruchio’s mad game, allwere fully communicated by Mother’s face, her posture, her tone when she spoke.

Mother is brilliant, Alessandra realized. Absolutely brilliant. And she knows it. Nowonder she suggested a play reading!

And then another thought: If Mother could do this, why wasn’t she an actress? Whydidn’t she become a star of stage or screen and let us live in wealth?

The answer, she realized, was simple: It was Alessandra’s birth when Mother was onlyfifteen.

Mother conceived me when she was exactly the age I am now, Alessandra realized. She fellin love and gave herself to a man—a boy—and produced a child. It was unbelievable toAlessandra, since she herself had never felt any kind of passion for any of the boys atschool.

Father must have been remarkable.

Or Mother must have been desperate to get away from Grandmother. Which was far morelikely to be the truth. Instead of waiting a few more years and becoming a greatactress, Mother married and set up house-keeping and had this baby—not in that

order—and because she had me, she was never able to use this talent to make her way inthe world.

We could have been rich!

And now what? Off to a colony, a place of farmers and weavers and builders and

scientists, with no time for art. There’ll be no leisure in the colony, the way thereis on the ship during the voyage. When will Mother ever have a chance to show what shecan do?

The play neared the end. Valentine played the widow with surprising wit and verve—sheabsolutely understood the part, and not for the first time Alessandra wished she couldbe a genius and a beauty like Valentine. Yet something else overshadowed that wish—forthe first time in Alessandra’s life, she actually envied her mother, and wished shecould be more like her. Unthinkable, yet true.

Mother stepped away from her stool and delivered her soliloquy straight to the

front—straight to Admiral Morgan—speaking of the duty a woman owes to a man. Just asall her barbs had been aimed at Morgan, now this speech—this sweet, submissive,graceful, heartfelt, love-filled homily—was spoken straight into Morgan’s eyes.

And Morgan was riveted. His mouth was slightly open, his eyes never wavered from fullattention on Mother. And when she knelt and said “my hand is ready, may it do himease,” there were tears in Morgan’s eyes. Tears!

Petruchio roared his line: “Why there’s a wench! Come on and kiss me, Kate!”

Mother rose gracefully to her feet, not attempting to pantomime a kiss, but rather

showing the face that a woman shows to her lover when she is about to kiss him—and hereyes, yet again, were directly on Morgan’s.

Now Alessandra understood Mother’s game. She was making Morgan fall in love with her!

And it worked. When the last lines were spoken and the audience stood and cheered forthem all as the readers bowed and curtseyed, Morgan literally stepped onto the first rowof seats so that as the applause continued, he walked onto the stage and shook Mother’shand. Shook it? No, seized it and simply would not let it go, while talking to her abouthow wonderful she was.

Mother’s aloofness, her snub of him at the beginning, was all part of the plan. She wasthe shrew, punishing him for his presumption in canceling their reading; but by the end,she was tamed; she belonged to him completely.

All that evening, as Morgan invited everyone to the officers’ mess—where previously hehad absolutely forbidden the colonists to go—he hovered around Mother. It was soobvious he was smitten that several of the officers mentioned it, obliquely, to

Alessandra. “Your mother seems to have melted the great stone heart,” said one. Andshe overheard two officers speaking to each other, when one of them said, “Am Imistaken, or are his pants already coming off?”

If they thought that would happen, they didn’t know Mother. Alessandra had livedthrough years of Mother’s advice about men. Don’t let them this, don’t let them

that—tease, hint, promise, but they get nothing at all until they have made their vows.Mother had done it the other way in her youth, and paid for it the past fifteen years.Now she would surely follow her own sadder-but-wiser advice and seduce this man withwords and smiles only. She wanted him besotted, not satisfied.

Oh, Mother, what a game you’re playing.

Do you really . . . is it possible . . . are you really attracted to him? He’s a good-looking man, in military trim. And around you he is not cold at all, not aloof; or if heis, he includes you in his lofty place.

One telling moment: As he was talking to someone else—one of the few officers who hadbrought a wife along—Morgan’s hand came to rest on Mother’s shoulder, a light

embrace. But Mother instantly reached up, removed the hand, but then turned at the samemoment to speak to Morgan with a warm smile, making a little joke of some kind, becauseeveryone laughed. The message was mixed, yet clear: Touch me not, thou mortal, but yes,I will bestow this smile on you.

You are mine, but I am not yet yours.

This is what Mother meant for me to do with Ender Wiggin, my supposed “young man withprospects.” But I could no more come to own a man that way than I could fly. I willalways be the supplicant, never the seducer; always grateful, never gracious.

Ender came up to her. “Your mother was brilliant tonight,” he said.

Of course that’s what he said. That’s what everyone was saying.

“But I know something they don’t know,” he said.

“What’s that?” asked Alessandra.

“I know that the only reason my performance was good at all was because of you. All ofus who played the suitors of Bianca, all that comedy, everything rested on the audiencebelieving that we would yearn for you. And you were so lovely, no one doubted it for amoment.”

He smiled at her and then walked away to rejoin his sister.

Leaving Alessandra gasping.


Ender in Exile


To: vwiggin%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov/voy ==PosIDreq

From: GovDes%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov/voy

Subj: How clean is your desk?

My desk is completely tamper-proof—though the ship’s computer tries to install snoopsmany times a day. Also, I’m assuming every room, corridor, toilet, and cupboard on thisship is wired at least for sound. On a voyage like this, with no outsider force tobuttress the captain’s authority, the danger of mutiny is ever present, and it is notparanoia for Morgan to monitor all conversations of people he thinks pose a danger tothe ship’s internal security.

It is unfortunate but predictable that he would regard me as such a danger. I have

authority that does not depend in any way on him or his good wishes. His threat to haveme put in stasis and returned to Eros—eighty years from now—is one that he can, infact, carry out, and even though he might be censured it would not be regarded as acriminal act. There is a strong presumption that the captain of a ship is always to bebelieved when he makes a charge of mutiny or conspiracy. It is dangerous for me even toencrypt this message. However, there is no other safe way for us to talk. (You’llnotice that unlike Peter, I required proof that you be alive, not just your fingerinserted into holospace.)

I am doing things that are certainly driving Quincy crazy. I get almost daily (monthly)messages from Acting Governor Kolmogorov, keeping me abreast of events in ShakespeareColony as they transpire. Morgan has no idea what we say to each other; he simply has topass along the encrypted notes when they come through the ansible.

I also get all the scientific papers and reports filed by the chem and bio teams. XB SelMenach is the Linnaeus and Darwin of this planet. He is facing the ONLY non-formic-homeworld biota yet discovered (besides Earth’s, of course), and he has done a

brilliant job of making the genetic adaptations that create human-edible varieties ofnative plants and animals, and varieties of Earth species that can thrive on this world.Without him, we would probably be coming to a ragged and destitute colony; instead, theygenerate surpluses of food and will be able to resupply this ship for immediatedeparture (inshallah).

All of this scientific information is available to Admiral Morgan, if he’s interested.He seems not to be. I am the only person who is accessing the Shakespeare Colony XBpapers on this ship, since our XBs are in stasis and won’t wake up until we drop fromrelativistic speeds.

You can see why I chose not to go into stasis—I had visions of Admiral Morgan not

bothering to rouse me until he was firmly in control of the colony, say six months afterarrival. It wouldn’t have been within his rights, but it would certainly have been inhis power. And who is to contradict him, with his forty marines whose sole duty is tomake sure his will is uncontested, and a crew whose survival and freedom are tied to hispleasure?

Now, though, anything I do is a potential provocation—that’s what he made very clearwith his actions and threats. I don’t think that was his purpose—I think he reallybelieved he was facing some kind of attack. But he was too hasty to leap to the

conclusion that I was responsible for it, and he was paranoid enough to try to resolveit as if it were an attack on his authority, rather than on the ship itself. We are on

notice, and not a word can pass between us that mocks him, denigrates him, or questionshis decisions.

Nor can we trust anyone else. While Governor Kolmogorov is completely in my confidence(and vice versa), no one else on the planet can be trusted to agree that having afifteen-year-old boy as their governor is a good idea. Therefore I can take no

preemptive actions using my future authority as governor. So my only alternative is toappear as if I really look up to Quincy in a fatherly way, and intend to be guided byhim in every way. When you see me sucking up shamelessly, it is the moral equivalent ofwar. I am passing an army under his nose, masquerading as a bunch of simple farmers.That you and I are the entire army is not a problem for me—as long as you’re willingto pretend to be all innocence. You and Peter were doing that for years, weren’t you?

This letter is not going to be followed by many others—only in a real emergency. Idon’t want him wondering what we’re saying to each other. He has the right to seizeour desks and force us to disclose all contents. Therefore, you will eradicate thismessage, as will I. Of course, I AM taking the precaution of copying it, fully secure,to Graff. In case there is someday a court martial determining whether Morgan was rightto put me in stasis and take me back to Eros, I want this to be available as evidence ofmy state of mind after our little incident over Peter’s message.

There is always the chance, however, that Morgan’s plan is even more dire—that heplans to send the ship back rather than taking it, while he remains on Shakespeare asgovernor-for-life. By the time anyone from Eros can be sent to put down his rebellion,he will have finished out his lifespan or be so old as to be not worth prosecuting.

However, I do not believe that is in his character. He is a creature of bureaucracy—hewants supremacy, not autonomy. Also, my judgment of him so far is that he can only doperfidious acts that he can morally justify in his own mind. Thus he must work himselfinto a frenzy over my supposed sabotage of ansible communications in order to justifywhat would have amounted to a coup d’etat against me as governor.

This only refers to what he consciously plans, not what he unconsciously desires. Thatis, he will think that he is responding to events as they unfold, but in fact he will beinterpreting events to justify actions that he wants to take—even though he does notknow he wants to take them. Thus when we arrive on Shakespeare, there is always the

chance that he will find there’s an “emergency” that requires him to stay longer thanthe ship can stay, “forcing” him to send it back and remain behind.

The need to understand Quincy is why I am remaining so close to the Toscanos. The motheris clearly betting on Quincy rather than me as the future power, though in her mind sheis no doubt merely hedging her bets, to make sure that no matter who governs, either sheor her daughter will be married to the powerful figure.

But the mother has no intention of letting her daughter out from under her thumb, as shewould be if we married and I actually become governor in fact as well as name. So,

deliberately or not, the mother will be my enemy in this; however, at present she is mybest guide to Quincy’s state of mind, since she is with him as often as possible. Imust get to know this man. Our future depends on knowing what he is going to do beforehe does it.

Meanwhile, you have no idea what a relief it is to me that there is someone who sharesthis with me. In all my years in Battle School, the closest I came to having a confidantwas Bean. Yet I could only burden him up to a certain point; this letter is my firstexercise in genuine candor since I talked to you on the lake in North Carolina so longago.

Oh, wait. It was only three years. Less? Time is so confusing. Thank you for being withme, Valentine. I only hope that I can keep it from being a meaningless exercise thattakes us back to Eros in stasis, with eighty years of human history gone and absolutelynothing accomplished except my being defeated by a bureaucrat.


What Virlomi hadn’t counted on was the way it would affect her, returning to BattleSchool after all that she had been through, all that she had done.

She turned herself over to her enemies when she could see there was nothing left to thewar but slaughter. She knew with a sinking desperation in her heart that it was all herfault. She had been warned, by friends and would-be friends: This is too much. It wasenough to drive the Chinese out of India and liberate your homeland. Don’t seek topunish them.

She had been the same kind of fool that Napoleon and Hitler and Xerxes and Hannibal hadbeen: She thought that because she had never been defeated, she could not be. She hadbested enemies with far greater strength than hers; she thought she always would.

Worst of all, she told herself, I believed my own legend. I had deliberately cultivatedthe notion of myself as goddess, but at first I remembered that I was pretending.

In the end, it was the Free People of Earth—the FPE, Peter Wiggin’s Hegemony under anew name—that defeated her. It was Suriyawong, a Thai from Battle School who had onceloved her, who arranged her surrender. At first she refused—but she could see that theonly difference between surrendering now and waiting until all her men had died was herpride. And her pride was not worth the life of a single soldier.

“Satyagraha,” Suriyawong said to her. “Bear what must be born.”

Satyagraha was her final cry to her people. I command you to live and bear this.

So she saved the life of her armies and surrendered her own body to Suriyawong. And,through him, to Peter Wiggin.

Wiggin, who had shown mercy to her in his victory. That was more than his little

brother, the legendary Ender, had shown to the formics. Had they, too, seen in him thehand of death, repudiating them? Had they any gods, to pray to or resign themselves toor curse as they saw their destruction? Perhaps they had it easier, to be obliteratedfrom the universe.

Virlomi remained alive. They could not kill her—she was still worshiped throughoutIndia; if they executed her or imprisoned her, India would be a continuous revolution,impossible to govern. If she simply disappeared, she would become a legend of thegoddess who left and would someday return.

So she made the vids they asked her to make. She begged her people to vote to freelyjoin the Free People of Earth, to accept the rule of the Hegemon, to demobilize anddismantle their army, and in return, to have the freedom to govern themselves.

Han Tzu did the same for China, and Alai, once her husband until she betrayed him, didso for the Muslim world. More or less, it worked.

All of them accepted exile. But Virlomi knew that only she deserved it.

Their exile consisted of being made governors of colonies. Ah, if only I had been

appointed when Ender Wiggin was, and had never returned to Earth to shed so much blood!Yet it was only because she had so spectacularly won India’s freedom from an

overwhelming Chinese army, had united an ununitable country, that she was deemed capableof governing. Only because of the monstrous things I did, she thought, am I beingentrusted with the foundation of a new world.

In her captivity on Earth—months spent in Thai and then Brazilian custody, watched overbut never mistreated—she had begun to chafe and wish she could leave the planet andbegin her new life.

What she hadn’t counted on was that the new staging area was the space station thatonce was Battle School.

It was like waking up from a vivid dream and finding herself in the place of her

childhood. The corridors were unchanged; the color-coded lights along the walls stilldid their service, guiding colonists to their dormitories. The barracks had beenchanged, of course—the colonists were not going to put up with the crowding and

regimentation that the Battle School students had endured. Nor was there any nonsenseabout a game in zero gee. If the battleroom was being used for anything, they didn’ttell her.

But the mess halls were there, both the officers’ and soldiers’—though she ate now inthe one that she had never entered as a student, the teachers’ dining room. Her owncolonists were not allowed there; it was her place of refuge from them. In their place,she was surrounded by Graff’s people of the Ministry of Colonization. They were

discreet, leaving her alone, which she was grateful for; they were aloof, keeping awayfrom her, which she resented. Opposite responses, opposite assumptions about theirmotives; she knew they were being kind but it still hurt as if she were a leper, keptapart. If she wanted friendship, she could probably have it; they were probably waitingfor her to let them know whether she would welcome their conversation. She longed forhuman company. But she never crossed the short space between her table and anyoneelse’s. She ate alone. Because she did not believe she merited any human society.

What galled her was the worshipful way the colonists treated her. When she had been astudent in Battle School, she was merely ordinary. Being a girl made her different, andshe had to struggle to hold her own—but she was no Ender Wiggin, no legend. She wasn’tmuch of a leader. That would come later, when she was back in India, with people sheunderstood, blood of her blood.

The problem was that these colonists were overwhelmingly Indian. They had volunteeredfor the colonization program precisely because Virlomi would be the governor of thecolony—several of them told her that they had competed in a lottery for the chance tocome. When she went among them, to talk to them, get to know them, she found it nearlyfutile. They were in such awe of her they became tongue-tied, or when they managed tospeak, their words were so formal, their language so lofty, that there was no chance ofreal communication.

They all acted as if they thought they were talking to a goddess.

I did my work too well during the war, she told herself. To Indians, defeat was not asign of the disfavor of the gods. What mattered was how she bore it. And she could nothelp it—she kept her dignity, and to them she seemed godlike because of it.

Maybe this will make it easier to govern them. Or maybe it will make the day of theirdisillusionment a terrible thing to behold.

A group of colonists from Hyderabad came to her with a petition. “The planet has beennamed Ganges, for the holy river,” they said, “and that is right. But can we not alsoremember the many of us from the south? We speak Telugu, not Hindi or Urdu. Can we nothave a part of this new colony that belongs to us?”

Virlomi answered them in fluent Telugu—she had learned it because she could not havefully united India if she spoke only Hindi and English—and told them that she would dowhat the colonists allowed her to do.

It was the first test of her leadership. She went among the people and asked them,

dormitory by dormitory, whether they would accept naming the village they would build inthe new world “Andhra,” after the province whose capital was Hyderabad.

Everyone agreed with her proposal instantly. The world would be named Ganges, but thefirst village would be Andhra.

“Our language must be Common,” she said. “This breaks my heart, to submerge thebeautiful languages of India, but we must all be able to speak to each other with onevoice, one language. Your children must learn Common in their homes, as the firstlanguage. You may also teach them Hindi or Telugu or any other language, but Commonfirst.”

“The language of the Raj,” said one old man. Immediately the other colonists shoutedat him to be respectful to Virlomi.

But Virlomi only laughed. “Yes,” she said. “The language of the Raj. Conquered onceby the British, and again by the Hegemony. But it is the language we all have in common.We of India because the British ruled us for so long, and then we did so much businesswith America; the non-Indians because it is a requirement to speak Common or you cannotcome on this voyage.”

The old man laughed with her. “So you remember,” he said. “We have a longer historywith this so-called ‘Common’ than anyone but the English and the Americans


“We have always been able to learn the languages of our conquerors and then make themour own. Our literature becomes their literature, and theirs becomes ours. We speak itour own way, and think our own thoughts behind their words. We are who we are. Nothingchanges.”

This was how she spoke to the Indian colonists. But there were others, about a fifth ofthe colonists, who were not from India. Some had chosen her because she was famous, andher struggle for freedom had captured their imagination. She was the creator of theGreat Wall of India, after all, and so they thought of her as a celebrity and soughtafter her for that reason.

But there were others who were assigned to Ganges Colony by the luck of the draw. It wasGraff’s decision, to allow no more than four-fifths of the colonists to come from

India. His memo had been concise: “There may come a day when colonies can be founded byone group alone. But the law of these first colonies is that all humans are equalcitizens. We are taking a risk letting you have so many Indians. Only the politicalrealities in India made me bend from the normal policy of no more than one-fifth fromany one nation. As it is, we have now demands from Kenyans and Darfurians and Kurds andQuechua speakers and Mayans and other groups that feel the need for a homeland that isexclusively their own. Since we’re giving one to Virlomi’s Indians, why not to them?Do they need to fight a bloody war in order to . . . etc., etc. That is why I have to beable to point to the twenty percent who are not Indian, and why I need to know that youwill in fact make them equal citizens.”

Yes, yes, Colonel Graff, you will have it all your way. Even after we arrive on Gangesand you are lightyears away and can no longer influence what we do, I will keep my wordto you and encourage intermarriage and equal treatment and will insist on

English—pardon me, Common—as the language of all.

But despite my best efforts, the twenty percent will be swallowed up. In six

generations, five generations, three perhaps, visitors will come to Ganges and findblond and redheaded Indians, freckled white skins and ebony black skins, African facesand Chinese faces and yet they will all say, “I am Indian,” and treat you with scorn

if you insist that they are not.

Indian culture is too strong for anyone to control. I ruled India by bowing to Indianways, by fulfilling Indian dreams. Now I will lead Ganges Colony—the village of

Andhra—by teaching the Indians to pretend to be tolerant of the others, even as theybefriend them and bring them inside our ways. They will soon realize that on this

strange new world, we Indians will be the natives, and the others the interlopers, untilthey “go native” and become part of us. It can’t be helped. This is human naturecombined with Indian stubbornness and patience.

Still, Virlomi made it a point of reaching out to the non-Indians here in BattleSchool—here on the Way Station.

They accepted her well enough. Now her fluency in Battle School Common and its slangstood her in good stead. After the war, Battle School slang had caught on with childrenall over the world, and she was fluent in it. It intrigued the children and young

people, and amused the adults. It made her more approachable to them, not so much of acelebrity.

In the barracks—no, the dormitory—that used to be for newly arrived

students—launchies, as they were called—there was one woman with a babe in arms whoremained steadfastly aloof. Virlomi was content with that—she didn’t have to be

everyone’s favorite person—but soon it became clear, as she visited that barracks moreand more, that Nichelle Firth was not just shy or aloof, she was actively hostile.

Virlomi became fascinated by her and tried to find out more about her. But the biographyin her file was so sparse that it made Virlomi suspect it was bogus; there were severallike that, belonging to people who were joining the colony specifically to leave alltheir past, even their identity, behind them.

There was no talking to the woman directly, however. Her face became a pleasant blankand she answered succinctly or not at all; when she chose not to answer, she smiled witha set jaw, so that despite the toothy grin Virlomi was aware of the anger behind it. Shedid not push the matter further.

But she did watch for Nichelle’s reactions to things Virlomi and others said when

Nichelle was within earshot, but not part of the group. What seemed to set her off, whatmade her huffy in her body language, was any mention of the Hegemony or Peter Wiggin orthe wars on Earth or the Free People of Earth or the Ministry of Colonization. Also thenames of Ender Wiggin, Graff, Suriyawong, and, above all, Julian

Delphiki—“Bean”—seemed to make her hold tightly to her baby and start to whispersome sort of incantation to the child.

Virlomi introduced some of these names herself, as a test. Nichelle Firth was certainlynot someone who had taken part in the war in any way—her picture got no response fromPeter’s staff when she sent an inquiry. Yet she seemed to take the events of recenthistory quite personally.

Only toward the end of the preparation period did it occur to her to try one other name.She worked it into a conversation with a pair of Belgians, but made sure they were nearenough to Nichelle that she could hear them. “Achilles Flandres,” she said, referringto him as the most famous Belgian in recent history. Of course they were offended anddenied that he was really Belgian, but while she was smoothing things over with them,she was also watching Nichelle.

Her reaction was strong, yes, and at first glance seemed to be the same as always—holdthe baby close, nuzzle it, speak to it.

But then Virlomi realized: She was not stiff. She was not huffy. Instead she was tenderwith the child. She was gentle and seemed happy. She was smiling.

And she was whispering the name “Achilles Flandres” over and over.

This was so disturbing that Virlomi wanted to go over to her and scream at her: How dareyou venerate the name of that monster!

But she was too keenly aware of her own monstrous deeds. There were differences betweenher and Achilles, yes, but there were similarities, too, and it was not wise of her tocondemn him too vehemently. So the woman felt some affinity for him. What of that?

Virlomi left the barracks then and searched again. No record of Achilles ever being in aplace where he might have met this definitely American woman. Virlomi could not imagineher speaking French, not even badly. She didn’t seem educated enough—like most

Americans, she would have only the one language, spoken raggedly but loudly. The babycould not possibly be Achilles’.

But she had to check. The woman’s behavior pointed so clearly toward that possibility.

She did not allow Firth mother-and-child to go into stasis and be stowed on the shipuntil she got back the results of a comparison between the baby’s genetic print and therecords of Achilles Flandres’s genes.

No match. He could not possibly be the father.

All right then, thought Virlomi. The woman is strange. She’ll be a problem. But not onethat can’t be handled with time. Far away from Earth, whatever it was that made hersuch a devotee of the monster will fade. She will accept the pressure of the friendshipof others.

Or she won’t, and then her offense will be self-punishing, as she earns ostracism fromthose whose friendship she refused. Either way, Virlomi would deal with it. How muchtrouble can one woman be, out of thousands of colonists? It’s not as if Nichelle Firthwas any kind of leader. No one would follow her. She would amount to nothing.

Virlomi gave orders clearing the Firths for stasis. But because of the delay, they werestill there when Graff came in person to speak to those who were going to be awakeduring the voyage. It was only about a hundred colonists—most of them preferred thesleeping option—and Graff’s job was to make clear to them that it was the ship’scaptain who ruled absolutely, and to impress on them the captain’s almost unlimitedpowers of punishment. “You will do whatever you are asked to do by a crew member, andyou will do it instantly.”

“Or what?” asked someone.

Graff did not take umbrage—the voice sounded more frightened than challenging. “Thecaptain’s power extends to life and death. Depending on the seriousness of theinfraction. And he is the sole judge of how serious your offense is. There are noappeals. Am I clear?”

Everyone understood. A few of them even took the last-minute option to travel in

stasis—not because they intended to mutiny, but because they didn’t like the idea ofbeing cooped up for years with someone who had that kind of power over them.

When the meeting ended, there was a tremendous amount of noise and bustle, as someheaded for the table where last-minute stasis could be arranged, and others headed fortheir dormitories, and a few gathered around Graff—the celebrity hounds, of course,since he was almost as famous, in his own way, as Virlomi, and he hadn’t been availabletill now.

Virlomi was making her way to the stasis sign-up table when she heard a loud noise—manygasps and exclamations at once—from the people around Graff. She looked over but

couldn’t see what was going on. Graff was just standing there, smiling at somebody, andseemed perfectly normal. Only the glances—glares, really—of a few of the bystanders

drew her eye to the woman huffing her way out of the room, clearly coming from Graff’slittle crowd.

It was Nichelle Firth, of course, holding her dear little infant Randall.

Well, whatever she had done, apparently it didn’t bother Graff, though it botheredother people.

Still, it was a worry that Nichelle had sought out an opportunity to confront Graff. Herhostility led to action; bad news.

Why hasn’t she been openly hostile to me? I’m just as famous as . . .

Famous, but why? Because the Hegemony defeated me and took me into captivity. And theenemies arrayed against me? Suriyawong. Peter Wiggin. The whole civilized world alongwith them. Pretty much the same list that opposed and hated Achilles Flandres.

No wonder she volunteered for my colony, and not one of the others. She thinks that I’ma kindred soul, having been beaten by the same foes. She doesn’t understand—or at

least she didn’t when she signed up for my colony—that I agree with those who defeatedme, that I was wrong and needed to be stopped. I am not Achilles. I am not likeAchilles.

If the goddess wanted to punish Virlomi for having impersonated her to gain power andunite India, there would be no surer way than this: to have everyone think she was likeAchilles—and like her for it.

Fortunately, Nichelle Firth was only one person, and nobody liked her because she likednobody. Whatever her opinions were, they would not affect Virlomi.

I keep reassuring myself of that, thought Virlomi. Does that mean that in the deepestrecesses of my mind, this woman’s strange opinions are already affecting me?

Of course it does.

Satyagraha. This, too, I will bear.


Ender in Exile


To: GovDes%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov/voy

From: MinCol@ColMin.gov

Subj: Strange encounter

Dear Ender,

Yes, I’m still alive. I’ve been going into stasis for ten months out of each year sothat I can see this project through. This is only possible because I have a staff that Iliterally trust with my life. Actuarial tables suggest that I will still be alive whenyou reach Shakespeare.

I’m writing to you now, however, because you were close to Bean. I have attacheddocumentation concerning his genetic illness. We know now that Bean’s real name wasJulian Delphiki; he was kidnapped as a frozen embryo and was the sole survivor of anillegal genetic experiment. The alteration in his genes made him extraordinarilyintelligent. Alas, it also affected his growth pattern. Very small in childhood—theBean you knew. No growth spurt at puberty. Just a steady onward progress until deathfrom giantism. Bean, not wishing to be hospitalized and pathetic at the end of his life,has embarked on a lightspeed voyage of exploration. He will live as long as he lives,

but to all intents and purposes, he is gone from Earth and from the human race.

I don’t know if anyone has told you, but Bean and Petra married. Despite Bean’s fearthat any children he might have would inherit his condition, they fertilized nineeggs—because they were hoaxed, alas, by a doctor who claimed he could repair thegenetic malady in the children. Petra gave birth to one, but the other eight embryoswere kidnapped—echoing what happened to Bean himself as an embryo—and implanted insurrogates who did not know the source of their babies. After a search both deep andwide, we found seven of the lost babies. The last was never found. Till now.

I say this because of a strange encounter earlier today. I’m at Ellis Island—ournickname for what used to be Battle School. All the colonists pass through here to besorted out and sent on to wherever their ship is being sorted out—Eros is too far awayin its orbit right now to be convenient, so we’re refitting and launching the shipsfrom closer in.

I was giving an orientation lecture, full of my usual wit and wisdom, to a group thatwas going to Ganges Colony. Afterward, a woman came up to me—American, by heraccent—carrying a baby. She said nothing. She just spat on my shoe and walked on.

Naturally, this piqued my interest—I’m a sucker for a flirtatious woman. I looked herup. Which is to say, I had one of my friends on Earth do a thorough background check onher. It turns out that her colony name is a phony—not that unusual, and we don’t care,you can be whoever you want to be, as long as you’re not a child molester or serialkiller. In her previous life, she was married to a grocery store assistant manager whowas completely sterile. So the boy she has with her is not her ex-husband’s—again, notthat unusual. What’s unusual is that it also isn’t hers.

I am about to confess something that I’m somewhat ashamed of. I promised Bean and Petrathat no record of their children’s genetic prints would remain anywhere. But I kept acopy of the record we used in the search for the children, on the chance that someday Imight run into the last missing child.

Somehow, this woman, Randi Johnson (nee Alba), now known as Nichelle Firth, was

implanted with Bean’s and Petra’s missing child. This child is afflicted with Bean’sgenetic giantism. He will be brilliant, but he will die in his twenties (or earlier) ofgrowth that simply does not stop.

And he is being raised by a woman who, for some reason, thinks it is important to spiton me. I am not personally offended by this, but I am interested, because this actionmakes me suspect that, unlike the other surrogates, she may have some knowledge of whosechild she bore. Or, more likely, she might have been told false stories. In any event, Icannot quiz her on this because by the time I secured this information, she was gone.

She is going to Ganges Colony, which, like yours, is headed by a young Battle Schoolgraduate. Virlomi was not as young as you when she left—she had had enough years onEarth post–Battle School to become the savior of India under Chinese occupation, andthen the instigator of an ill-fated (and ill-planned) invasion of China. She becamequite the self-destructive fanatic by the end of her rise to power, believing her ownpropaganda. She is back to sanity now, and instead of trying to decide whether to honorher for the liberation of her own people or condemn her for the invasion of the nationof their oppressors, she has been made the head of a colony that, for the first time,takes into account the culture of origin on Earth. Most of the colonists are Indians ofthe Hindu persuasion—but not all.

Bean’s son will be brilliant—like his father, plus his mother. And Randi may befeeding him with stories that will bend his character in awkward ways.

Why am I telling you all this? Because Ganges Colony is our first effort at colonizing aworld that was NOT originally a formic possession. They are traveling at a slightlysmaller fraction of lightspeed, so they will not arrive until the XBs have a chance todo their work and have the planet ready for colonization.

If you are happy governing Shakespeare and wish to spend the rest of your life there,then this information will not be of any particular interest to you. But if, after a fewyears, you decide that government is not your metier, I would ask you to travel bycourier to Ganges. Of course, the colony will not even be established by the time youhave spent five (or even ten) years on Shakespeare. And the voyage to Ganges will be ofsuch a distance that you can leave Shakespeare and reach Ganges within fourteen (ornineteen) years of its founding. At that point, the boy (named Randall Firth) will beadult size—no, larger—and may be so shockingly brilliant that Virlomi has no chance ofkeeping him from being a danger to the peace and safety of the colony. Or he may alreadybe the dictator. Or the freely elected governor that saved them from Virlomi’s madness.Or he might already be dead. Or a complete nonentity. Who knows?

Again: The choice is yours. I have no claim upon you; Bean and Petra have no claim uponyou. But if it should be interesting to you, more interesting than remaining on

Shakespeare, this would be a place where you could go and perhaps help a young governor,Virlomi, who is brilliant but also prone to the occasional very poor decision.

Alas, it’s all a pig in a poke. By the time you would have to leave Shakespeare withtime enough to be effective on Ganges, the Ganges colonists won’t even have debarkedfrom their ship! We might be sending you to a colony with no problems at all andtherefore nothing for you to do.

Thus you see how I plan for things that can’t be planned for. But sometimes I’m oh soglad that I did. But if you decide you want no part of my plans from now on, I willunderstand better than anyone!

Your friend,

Hyrum Graff

PS: On the chance that your captain has not informed you, five years after you left, theI.F. agreed with my urgent request and launched a series of couriers, one departingevery five years, to each of the colonies. These ships are not the huge behemoths thatcarry colonists, but they have room for some serious cargo and we are hoping they becomethe instrument of trade among the colonies. Our endeavor will be to have a ship call oneach colony world every five years—but then they will travel colony to colony andreturn to Earth only after making a full circuit. The crews will have the option ofcompleting the whole voyage, or training their replacements on any colony world and

remaining behind while someone else completes their mission. Thus no one will be trappedon any one world for their whole life, and no one will be trapped in the same spaceshipfor the rest of their life. As you can guess, we did not lack for volunteers.

Vitaly Kolmogorov lay in bed, waiting to die and getting rather impatient about it.

“Don’t hurry things,” said Sel Menach. “It sets a bad example.”

“I’m not hurrying anything. I’m just feeling impatient. I have a right to feel what Ifeel, I think!”

“And a right to think what you think, I feel,” said Sel.

“Oh, now he develops a sense of humor.”

“You’re the one who decided this was your deathbed, not me,” said Sel. “Black humorseems appropriate, though.”

“Sel, I asked you to visit me for a reason.”

“To depress me.”

“When I’m dead, the colony will need a governor.”

“There’s a governor coming from Earth, isn’t there?”

“Technically, from Eros.”

“Ah, Vitaly, we all come from Eros.”

“Very funny, and very classical. I wonder how much longer there’ll be anybody capableof being amused by puns based on Earth-system asteroids and Greek gods.”

“Anyway, Vitaly, please don’t tell me you’re appointing me governor.”

“Nothing of the kind,” said Vitaly. “I’m giving you an errand.”

“And no one but an aging xenobiologist will do.”

“Exactly,” said Vitaly. “There is a message—encrypted, and no, I won’t give you thekey—a message waiting in the ansible queue. I ask only this: When I’m well and

thoroughly dead, but before they’ve chosen a new governor, please send the message.”

“To whom?”

“The message already knows where it’s going.”

“Very clever message. Why doesn’t it figure out when you’re dead, and go by itself?”


“Yes, of course.”

“And promise me something else.”

“I’m getting old. Don’t count on my remembering too many promises all at once.”

“When they elect you governor, do it.”

“They will not.”

“If they don’t, then fine,” said Vitaly. “But when they do elect you, as everyonebut you fully expects they will, do it.”


“And here’s why you must,” said Vitaly. “You are best qualified for the job becauseyou don’t want it.”

“Nobody in their right mind wants it.”

“Too many men crave it, not because they want to do it, but because they fancy the

honor of it. The prestige. The rank.” Vitaly laughed, and the laugh turned into an uglycoughing jag till he was able to get a drink of water and calm the spasms in his chest.“I won’t miss that sort of thing when I’m dead.”


“I was speaking of my cough. That constant tickling deep in my chest. Wheezing.Flatulence. Blurred vision no matter how good my glasses are and no matter how muchlight I have. All the nasty decay of old age.”

“What about your bad breath?”

“That is designed to make you glad I’m dead. Sel, I’m serious about this. If someoneelse is elected governor, it will be someone who wants the job and won’t be happy togive it up when the new governor comes.”

“That’s what they get for deciding, clear off in Eros, that along with supplies,equipment, and expertise, they’ll also send us a dictator.”

“I was a dictator at first,” said Vitaly.

“When we were starting and survival looked impossible, yes, you kept things calm tillwe could find a way to handle the things this planet came up with to kill us off. Butthose days are over.”

“No they’re not,” said Vitaly. “Let me lay it out plainly. The ship that is comingto us contains two admirals. One is our future governor. And one is the captain of theship. Guess which one believes he should be our governor.”

“The captain of the ship, of course, or you wouldn’t have said it that way.”

“A bureaucrat. A climber. I didn’t know him before we set out on our own voyage, but Iknow the type.”

“So the ship is bringing us everything we need, plus a power struggle.”

“I don’t want war here. I don’t want bloodshed. I don’t want the newcomers to haveto conquer an upstart acting governor here on Shakespeare. I want our colony to be readyto welcome the new colonists and all they bring with them—and to unify behind thegovernor that was appointed for us back on Eros. They knew what they were doing whenthey appointed him.”

“You know who it is,” said Sel. “You know, and you haven’t told a soul.”

“Of course I know,” said Vitaly. “I’ve been corresponding with him for the pastthirty-five years. Ever since the colony ship launched.”

“And didn’t breathe a word. Who is it? Anyone I’d have heard of?”

“How do I know what you’ve heard and haven’t heard?” said Vitaly. “I’m a dyingman, don’t bother me.”

“So you still aren’t telling.”

“When he comes out of lightspeed, he’ll make contact with you. Then you can deal withtelling the colonists about him—whatever he tells you, you can tell them.”

“But you don’t trust me to keep the secret.”

“Sel, you don’t keep secrets. You say whatever’s on your mind. Deception isn’t inyou. That’s why you’ll be such a splendid governor, and why I’m not telling you asingle thing that you can’t tell everybody as soon as you know it.”

“I can’t lie? Well, then, I won’t bother promising you to accept the governorship,because I won’t do it. I won’t have to. They’ll choose somebody else. Nobody likes mebut you, Vitaly. I’m a grumpy old man who bosses people around and makes clumsyassistants cry. Whatever I did for this colony is long in the past.”

“Oh shut up,” said Vitaly. “You’ll do what you do and I’ll do what I do. Which inmy case is die.”

“I’m going to do that too, you know. Probably before you.”

“Then you’ll have to get a move on.”

“This new governor—has he any idea of what it will take for these new people to livehere? The injections? The regular diet of modified pig, so they can get the proteinsthat starve the worms? I hope they haven’t sent us any vegetarians. It really stinksthat these new people will outnumber us from the moment they get off the ship.”

“We need them,” said Vitaly.

“I know. The gene pool needs them, the farms and factories need them.”


“We’re tinkering with one of the old formic solar power generators. We think we canget it to run a loom.”

“The industrial revolution! Only thirty-six years after we got this planet! And you sayyou haven’t done anything for the people lately.”

“I’m not doing it,” said Sel. “I just talked Lee Tee into giving it a look.”

“Oh, well, if that’s all.”

“Say it.”

“Say what? I said what I was going to say.”

“Say that persuading somebody to try something is exactly the way you’ve governed forthe past three-and-a-half decades.”

“I don’t have to say what you already know.”

“Don’t die,” said Sel.

“I’m so touched,” said Vitaly. “But don’t you see? I want to. I’m done. Used up. Iwent off to war and we fought it and won it and then Ender Wiggin won the battle of thehome world and all the buggers down here died. Suddenly I’m not a soldier anymore. AndI was a soldier, Sel. Not a bureaucrat. Definitely not a governor. But I was admiral, Iwas in command, it was my duty, and I did it.”

“I’m not as dutiful as you.”

“I’m not talking about you now, dammit, you’ll do whatever you want. I’m talkingabout me. I’m telling you what to say at my damn funeral!”


“I didn’t want to be governor. I fully expected to die in the war, but the truth is, Ino more thought about the future than you did. We were coming to this place, we weretrained to be ready to survive on this formic colony world, but I thought that would allbe your job, you and the other techs, while I commanded the fighting, the struggle

against the hordes of formics coming over the hill, burrowing up underneath us—you haveno idea the nightmares I had about the occupation, the clearing, the holding. I wasafraid there wouldn’t be enough bullets in the world. I thought we’d die.”

“Then Ender Wiggin disappointed you.”

“Yes. Selfish little brat. I’m a soldier, and he took my war out from under me.”

“And you loved him for it.”

“I did my duty, Sel. I did my duty.”

“So have I,” said Sel. “But I won’t do yours.”

“You will when I’m gone.”

“You won’t be alive to see.”

“I have hopes of an afterlife,” said Vitaly. “I’m not a scientist, I’m allowed tosay so.”

“Most scientists believe in God,” said Sel. “Certainly most of us here.”

“But you don’t believe I’ll be alive to see what you’re doing.”

“I’d like to think that God has better things for you to do. Besides, the heavenaround here is a formic heaven. I hope God will let whatever part of you lives on goback to the heaven where all the humans are.”

“Or the hell,” said Vitaly.

“I forgot what pessimists you Russians are.”

“It’s not pessimism. I just want to be where all my friends are. Where my father is,the old bastard.”

“You didn’t like him? But you want to be with him?”

“I want to beat up the old drunkard! Then we’ll go fishing.”

“So it won’t be heaven for the fish.”

“It’ll be hell for everybody. But with good moments.”

“Just like our lives right now,” said Sel.

Vitaly laughed. “Soldiers shouldn’t do theology.”

“Xenobiologists shouldn’t do government.”

“Thank you for making my deathbed so full of uncertainty.”

“Anything to keep you entertained. And now, if you don’t mind, I have to feed thepigs.”

Sel left and Vitaly lay there, wondering if he should get out of bed and just send themessage himself.

No, his decision was right. He didn’t want to have any sort of conversation with Ender.Let him get the letter when it’s too late to answer it, that was the plan and it was agood one. He’s a smart kid, a good boy. He’ll do what he needs to do. I don’t wanthim asking my advice because he doesn’t need it and he might follow it.


Ender in Exile


To: GovDes%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov/voy

From: GovAct%ShakespeareCol@colmin.gov

Re: You will get this when I’m dead

Dear Ender,

I put it bluntly in the subject line. No beating around the bush. I’m writing this as Ifeel the seeds of death in me. I will arrange for it to be sent after they have donewith me.

I expect my successor to be Sel Menach. He doesn’t want the job, but he is widely likedand universally trusted, which is vital. He will not try to cling to his office when youarrive. But if it is not him, you’ll be on your own and I wish you luck.

You know how hard it will be for my little community. For thirty-six years, we’ve beenliving and giving in marriage. The new generation has already restored the genderbalance; there are grandchildren nearly of marrying age. Then your ship will come andsuddenly we will be five times the population, and only one in five will be of ouroriginal group. It will be hard. It will change everything. But I believe that I knowyou now, and if I’m right, then my people have nothing to fear. You will help the newcolonists adapt to our ways, wherever our ways make sense for this place. You will helpmy people adapt to the new colonists, wherever they must because the ways of Earth makesense.

In a way, Ender, we are the same age, or at least in the same stage of life. We longsince left our families behind. As far as the world is concerned, we stepped into anopen grave and disappeared. This has been the afterlife for me, the career after mycareer ended, the life after my life ended. And it has been a good one. It has been

heaven. Busy, frightening, triumphant, and finally peaceful. May it be the same for you,my friend. However long it is, may you be glad of each day of it.

I have never forgotten that I owe our victory, and therefore this second life, to youand the other children who led us in the war. I thank you again from this grave of mine.

With love and respect,

Vitaly Denisovitch Kolmogorov

“I don’t like what you’re doing to Alessandra,” said Valentine.

Ender looked up from what he was reading. “And what would that be?”

“You know perfectly well that you’ve made her fall in love with you.”

“Have I?”

“Don’t pretend to be oblivious to it! She looks at you like a hungry puppy.”

“I’ve never owned a dog. They didn’t allow team mascots in Battle School, and thereweren’t any strays.”

“And you deliberately made her do it.”

“If I can make a woman fall in love with me at will, I should have bottled it and soldit and gotten rich on Earth.”

“You didn’t make a woman fall in love with you, you made an emotionally dependent,shy, sheltered girl fall in love with you, and that’s pathetically easy. All it tookwas being extraordinarily nice to her.”

“You’re right. If I hadn’t been so selfish, I would have slapped her.”

“Ender, it’s me you’re talking to. Do you think I haven’t been watching? You seekout opportunities to praise her. To ask her advice on the most meaningless things. Tothank her all the time for nothing at all. And you smile at her. Has anyone evermentioned that when you smile, it would melt steel?”

“Inconvenient, in a spaceship. I’ll smile less.”

“You switch it on like . . . like the stardrive! That smile—with your whole face, asif you were taking your soul out and putting it into her hands.”

“Val,” said Ender. “This is kind of an important letter. What is your point?”

“What are you planning to do with her, now that you own her?”

“I don’t own anybody,” said Ender. “I haven’t laid a hand on her—literally. Notshaking hands, not a pat on the shoulder, nothing. No physical contact. I also haven’tflirted with her. No sexual innuendoes. No inside jokes. And I haven’t gone off alonewith her, either. Month after month, as her mother conspires to leave us alone, I’vesimply not done it. Even if it took walking out of a room quite rudely. What part ofthat is making her fall in love with me, exactly?”

“Ender, I don’t like it when you lie to me.”

“Valentine, if you want an honest answer, write me an honest letter.”

She sighed and sat down on her bed. “I can’t wait for this voyage to end.”

“A bit more than two months to go. Almost over. And you did finish your book.”

“Yes, and it’s very good,” said Valentine. “Especially when you consider I barelymet any of them and you were almost no help to me.”

“I answered every question you asked.”

“Except to evaluate the people, to evaluate the school, to—“

“My opinions aren’t history. It wasn’t supposed to be ‘Ender Wiggin’s School Daysas told to his sister, Valentine.’ “

“I didn’t come on this voyage to quarrel with you.”

Ender looked at her with such overdone astonishment that she threw a pillow at him.

“For what it’s worth,” she said, “I’ve never been as mean to you as I was to Peterall the time.”

“Then all’s right with the world.”

“But I’m angry at you, Ender. You shouldn’t toy with a girl’s feelings. Unless youreally plan to marry her—“

“I do not,” said Ender.

“Then you shouldn’t lead her on.”

“I have not,” said Ender.

“And I say you have.”

“No, Valentine,” said Ender. “What I have done is exactly what is needed for her tohave the thing she wants most.”

“Which is you.”

“Which is definitely not me.” Ender sat beside her on her bed, leaned close to her.“You will help me most by scrutinizing someone else.”

“I scrutinize everybody,” said Val. “I judge everybody. But you’re my brother. I getto boss you around.”

“And you’re my sister. I have to tickle you until you pee or cry. Or both.” Which heproceeded to attempt, though he didn’t really go quite that far. Or at least, she onlypeed a little. And then punched him hard in the arm and made him say, “Ow,” in areally snotty, sarcastic way, so she knew he was pretending it didn’t hurt, but itreally did. Which he deserved. He really was being rotten to Alessandra, and he didn’teven care, and worse yet, he thought he could deny it. Just pitiful.

All that afternoon, Ender thought about what Valentine said. He knew what he was

planning, and it really was for Alessandra’s good, but he had miscalculated if the girlwas actually falling in love with him. It was supposed to be friendship, trust,

gratitude maybe. Brother-and-sister. Only Alessandra wasn’t Valentine. She couldn’tkeep up. She didn’t leap to conclusions as quickly as Val—or at least not to the sameconclusions. She couldn’t really hold up her end.

Where am I going to find anyone I can marry? Ender wondered. Nowhere and never, if Icompare them all to Valentine.

All right, yes, I knew I was causing Alessandra to have feelings. I like it when shelooks at me like that. Petra never looked at me that way. Nobody did. It feels good. Thehormones wake up and get excited. It’s fun. I’m fifteen. I haven’t said anything tomislead her about my intentions, and I haven’t done anything, not ever, to signal anykind of physical attraction. So shoot me for liking that she likes me and doing the

things that make her feel that way. What’s the rule here? Either totally ignore her andgrind her face in her nothingness, or marry her on the spot? Are those the only choices?

But gnawing at the back of his mind was this question: Am I Peter? Am I using otherpeople for whatever plan I have? Does it make a difference that my intention is to havea result that will give her a chance at happiness? I’m not asking her, I’m not givingher a choice, I’m manipulating her. Shaping her world so she makes certain choices andtakes certain actions that make other people do what I want them to do and . . .

And what? What’s the other choice? To passively let things happen and then say, “Tut-tut, what a botch that was”? Don’t we all manipulate people? Even if we openly askthem to make a choice, don’t we try to frame it so they’ll choose as we think theyshould?

If I tell her what I’m up to, she’ll probably go along with me. Do it voluntarily.

But is she a good enough actor to keep her mother from knowing something’s going on?Forcing it out of her? Alessandra was still so much her mother’s creature that Enderdidn’t believe she could keep a secret from her mother, not for long. And if she doesgive away the game, then it will cost Alessandra nothing—she’ll be right where shealready is—while I will lose everything. Don’t I have a right to count myself in thebalance here, my own happiness, my own future? And on the off chance that I’d be abetter governor than Admiral Morgan, don’t I owe it to the colonists to make surethings work out to put me in as governor, rather than him?

It’s still war, even if there are no weapons but smiles and words. I have to take theforces I have, the advantages of the terrain, and try to face a more powerful enemyunder circumstances that neutralize his advantages. Alessandra is a person, yes—so isevery soldier, every pawn in the great game. I was used to win a war. Now I’ll usesomeone else. All for the “good of the whole.”

But underneath all his moral reasoning, there was something else. He could feel it. Anitch, a hunger, a yearning. It was his inner chimp, as he and Valentine called it. Theanimal that smelled womanhood on Alessandra. Did I choose this plan, these tools,because they were best? Or because they would put me near a girl who is pretty, whodesires my affection?

So maybe Valentine was completely right.

But if she was . . . what then? I can’t undo all the attention I’ve paid to

Alessandra. Do I suddenly turn cold to her, for no reason at all? Is that any lessmanipulative?

Sometimes can’t I switch off my brain and be the hairless chimp with an eye for anavailable female?


“How long are you going to play this little game with Ender Wiggin?” asked Dorabella.

“Game?” asked Alessandra.

“He’s obviously interested in you,” said Dorabella. “He always homes in on you,I’ve seen how he smiles at you. He likes you.”

“Like a sister,” sighed Alessandra.

“He’s shy,” said Dorabella.

Alessandra sighed.

“Don’t sigh at me,” said Dorabella.

“Oh, when I’m around you, I’m not allowed to exhale?”

“Don’t make me pinch your nose and stuff cookies in your mouth.”

“Mother, I can’t control what he does.”

“But you can control what you do.”

“Ender isn’t Admiral Morgan.”

“No, he isn’t. He’s a boy. With no experience at all. A boy who can be led and helpedand shown.”

“Shown what, Mother? Are you suggesting that I do something physical?”

“Darling sweet fairy daughter of mine,” said Dorabella, “it’s not for you and it’snot for me. It’s for Ender Wiggin’s own good.”

Alessandra rolled her eyes. She was such a teenager.

“Eye-rolling is not an answer, darling sweet fairy daughter.”

“Mother, people who are doing the most awful things always say it’s for the otherperson’s own good.”

“But in this case, I’m quite right. You see, Admiral Morgan and I have become veryclose. Very very close.”

“Are you sleeping with him?”

Dorabella’s hand flew up, prepared to strike, before she even knew what she was doing.But she caught herself in time. “Oh, look,” she said. “My hand thinks it belongs toyour grandmother.”

Alessandra’s voice shook a little. “When you said you were very very close I wonderedif you were implying—“

“Quincy Morgan and I have an adult relationship,” said Dorabella. “We understand eachother. I bring a brightness to his life that he has never had before, and he brings amanly stability that your father, bless his heart, never had. There is also physicalattraction, but we are mature adults, masters of our libido, and no, I haven’t let himlay a hand on me.”

“Then what are we talking about here?” asked Alessandra.

“What I did not know, as a girl your age,” said Dorabella, “was that between coldchastity and doing that which produces babies, there is a wide range of steps and stagesthat can signal to a young man that his advances are welcome, to a point.”

“I’m quite aware of that, Mother. I saw other girls at school dressing like whores andputting it all on display. I saw the fondling and grabbing and pinching. We’re

Italians, I was in an Italian school, and all the boys planned to grow up to be Italianmen.”

“Don’t try to distract me by making me angry at your ethnic stereotypes,” saidDorabella. “We have only a few weeks left before we arrive—“

“Two months is not ‘a few weeks.’ “

“Eight is a few. When we reach Shakespeare, one thing is certain. Admiral Morgan is notgoing to turn the colony over to a fifteen-year-old boy. That would be irresponsible. Helikes Ender—everyone does—but in Battle School all they did was play games all day. Ittakes someone with experience in leadership to govern a colony. This has never been saidoutright, mind you. But I have gleaned this from things that were hinted at or almostsaid or . . . overheard.”

“You’ve been eavesdropping.”

“I’ve been present and human ears don’t close. My point is that the very best way itcould all turn out is if Ender Wiggin is governor, but taking the advice of AdmiralMorgan.”

“On everything.”

“That’s better than Ender being put in stasis and sent home.”

“No! He wouldn’t do that!”

“It has already been threatened, and there have been hints that it might be necessary.Now, look at this picture: Ender and a beautiful colonist girl fall in love. They pledge

to marry. Now he’s affianced. It happens that his mother-in-law-to-be—“

“Who happens to be a deranged woman who thinks she’s a fairy and the mother of afairy.”

“In-law-to-be is married or about to be married to the admiral who is most definitelygoing to be the power behind the throne, so to speak. Unless Ender gives him trouble, inwhich case he’ll take the throne, so to speak, quite openly. But Ender will not givehim trouble, because he won’t need to. His beautiful young wife will look out for hisinterests by talking things over with her mother, who will then talk things over withher husband, and everything will work smoothly for everyone.”

“In other words, I would marry him in order to be a spy.”

“There would be a pair of loving and beloved go-betweens who would make sure there wasnever any conflict between the admirals on this ship.”

“By suppressing Ender and making him dance to Quincy’s tune.”

“Until he becomes old enough and experienced enough himself,” said Dorabella.

“Which would happen exactly never, at least not in Quincy’s eyes,” said Alessandra.“Mother, I’m not stupid and neither is anyone else involved in this. You’re bettingthat Admiral Morgan will seize power, and so by marrying him, you’ll be the wife of thegovernor of the colony. But because you can’t be sure that Ender Wiggin won’t prevail,you want me to marry him. That way, no matter who wins this little power struggle,we’ll be able to cash in. Am I correct?”

Alessandra had spoken the phrase “cash in” in English. Dorabella seized on that.

“Shakespeare Colony has no cash yet, darling,” said Dorabella. “It’s all barter andallotment so far. You haven’t been studying the lessons on our colony-to-be.”

“Mother,” said Alessandra. “That is your plan, isn’t it?”

“Hardly,” said Dorabella. “I’m a woman in love. So are you. Don’t deny it!”

“I think about him all the time,” said Alessandra. “I dream of him every night. Ifthat’s being in love, they need a pill to cure it.”

“You only feel that way because the boy you love is not aware enough of his own

feelings to make things clear to you or even to himself. That’s what I’ve been tryingto tell you all along.”

“No, Mother,” said Alessandra. “You’ve been trying to do everything but tell me.What you want me to do, but refuse to say out loud, is seduce him.”

“I do not.”


“I’ve already said this. There’s a lot of road between pining for him and seducinghim. There’s little touches.”

“He doesn’t like being touched.”

“He thinks he doesn’t like being touched because he doesn’t yet understand that he’sin love with you.”

“Wow,” said Alessandra. “And all of this without a degree in psychology.”

“A fairy woman doesn’t need to study psychology, she’s born with it.”


“You keep saying that. As if you weren’t sure I know my title. Yes, dear, I am indeedyour mother.”

“For once in your life, can’t you just say what you mean?”

Dorabella closed her eyes. Saying things plainly had never worked out well for her. YetAlessandra was right. The girl was so naive she really didn’t know what Dorabella wastalking about. She didn’t understand the need, the urgency—and she didn’t understandwhat she had to do about it.

Candor was probably unavoidable. Might as well get it over with.

“Sit down, darling,” said Dorabella.

“So it’s going to be a more complicated self-deception,” said Alessandra. “One thatrequires rest.”

“I’m cutting you out of my will if you keep that up.”

“That threat won’t work until you have something to leave me that I want to have.”

“Sit down, bratty bad girl,” said Dorabella, using her playfully stern voice.

Alessandra lay down on her bed. “I’m listening.”

“You can never just do what I ask, can you.”

“I’m listening, and you didn’t ask, you commanded.”

Dorabella took a deep breath and laid it on the line. “If you don’t have Ender Wigginlocked down and tied up in a relationship with you within these next four weeks, healmost certainly will be left behind on this ship, under guard or in stasis, when

Admiral Morgan goes down to see how the colony is getting along. But if Ender Wiggin isAdmiral Morgan’s son-in-law-to-be, then he will most definitely be presented to theShakespearians as their new governor. So either you will be affianced to the titulargovernor and hero of the human race, or you’ll be permanently separated from him andwill have to pick one of the local clowns when it comes time for you to marry.”

Alessandra closed her eyes for long enough that Dorabella was thinking about throwing acup of water on her to wake her back up.

“Thank you,” said Alessandra.

“For what?”

“For telling me what you actually meant,” said Alessandra. “What the plan is. I cansee that whatever I do will be for Ender’s own good. But I’m fifteen, Mother, and theonly thing I know is the way the worst girls in school behaved. I don’t think that willhave any good results with Ender Wiggin. So even though I would like to do what you say,I have no idea how to do it.”

Dorabella went to Alessandra’s bed and knelt beside it and kissed her daughter’scheek. “My darling girl, all you had to do was ask.”


Ender in Exile


To: smenach%ShakespeareCol@colmin.gov

From: GovDes%ShakespeareCol@colmin.gov/voy

Subj: As we approach

Dear Dr. Menach,

I have admired—and been grateful for—your work as I’ve studied it during the voyage.Vitaly Kolmogorov spoke of you with feelings beyond admiration—awe and deep friendship

are also inadequate words—and while I have not known you as he did, I have seen youraccomplishments. The fact that I and the thousands of new colonists with me will arriveto find Shakespeare Colony a going concern, instead of coming here as rescuers of afailing colony, is owed to all the colonists, of course, but without your solutions forthe diseases and protein incompatibilities, it is quite likely we would have come tofind no one here at all.

Vitaly told me that you were reluctant to consider accepting the governorship, but I seethat you have done so, and governed effectively for nearly five years. Thank you forbending your principles and accepting a political job. I can assure you that I wasnearly as reluctant to take the job myself; in my case, I had nowhere else to go.

I am young and inexperienced as a governor, though like you I have served my time as asoldier. I hope to find you in place when I arrive, so I can learn from you and workwith you in helping assimilate four thousand “new colonists” and one thousand “oldcolonists” so that, within a reasonable period of time, they will simply be . . .citizens of Shakespeare.

My name is Andrew Wiggin, but I have usually been called by my childhood nickname,

Ender. Since you served as a pilot during the battle within the system where now you area colonist, it is quite possible that you heard my voice; certainly you heard the voiceof at least one of my fellow commanders. I grieve for those pilots whom we lost duringthat action; we may not have known that our mistakes would cost real lives, but thatdoes not remove our responsibility. I realize that for you, more than forty years havepassed; for me, that battle was only three years ago, and has never been far from mythoughts. I am about to face the soldiers who actually fought that battle, and whoremember those whose lives were lost because of my mistakes.

I look forward to meeting the children and grandchildren who have been born to yourcompatriots. They, of course, will have no memory of battles that to them are ancienthistory. They will have no idea who I am, or why they would be insulted by having afifteen-year-old boy placed over them as governor.

Fortunately, I have with me the very experienced Admiral Quincy Morgan, who has kindlyoffered to extend his leadership over the colony as well as the ship, for as long as heremains here. Vitaly and I discussed the nature of leadership and command, and we cameto think of Quincy Morgan as a man of peace and authority; you will know better than Iwhat that can mean for the colony.

I am sorry for the burdens that our coming will impose on you, and grateful in advance.



To: GovDes%ShakespeareCol@colmin.gov/voy

From: smenach%ShakespeareCol@colmin.gov

Subj: Poor scheduling

Dear Ender,

Thank you for your thoughtful letter. I do understand exactly what you meant aboutAdmiral Morgan being a man of peace and authority, and I wish I were equipped to givehim the appropriate greeting. But the only soldiers among us are as old as me; our

youngsters have had no reason to learn military discipline or skills of any kind. I fearyou would find our attempts at maneuvers an embarrassment. Whatever ceremonies are totake place upon your arrival must be planned entirely from your end. Having seen YOURwork, observing it at least as closely as you have observed mine, I have everyconfidence that you will handle everything with perfect aplomb.

Not since Vitaly died have I had the opportunity to use “aplomb” in a sentence.

Perhaps, since you are to be governor (to my great relief), I have simply transferred toyou the style of discourse I always used with him.

It is unfortunate that your arrival coincides with an urgent and long-scheduled trip Imust take. I am no longer lead xenobiologist, but my duties in that area have not simplydisappeared. Now that you are coming, I can at least make that journey into the broadstretch of land to the south of us, which remains almost completely unexplored. We

settled in a semitropical climate, so we wouldn’t freeze to death if we could not findadequate fuel and shelter when we first arrived. Now you are bringing Earth vegetationwhich needs cooler climes to thrive, and I must see if there are appropriate

environments for them. I also need to see if there are indigenous fruits, vegetables,and grasses that we might be able to make use of, now that you’re bringing means oftransportation that could make it practical for us to grow crops in one climate andconsume them in another.

For reasons that should be obvious to you, I also believe that having an old manunderfoot will not be as helpful to you as you imagine. When two men who have been

called “governor” are together, people will turn to the one they have more experiencewith. And the new people, having been in stasis, will probably follow the practice ofthe old. My absence will be your greatest asset. Ix Tolo, the head xenobiologist, canacquaint you with ongoing projects.

I’m sure you will understand that my taking this journey does not reflect any wish onmy part not to meet you or help you. If I thought my presence would be better for thecolony than my absence, one of my greatest pleasures would be to shake the hand of thecommander who led us to victory. Among the old coots of the colony, you’ll find manywho are still in awe of you. Please be patient with them if they’re a bit tongue-tied.



Sel began quietly to prepare for an expedition southward. It would be on foot—there hadbeen no beasts of burden in the original expedition, and he was not going to deprive thecolony of any of its vehicles. And even though many of the new edible hybrids had spreadwidely, he meant to pass out of their optimum climate, which meant he would have tocarry his food with him. Fortunately, he didn’t eat much, and he would bring along sixof the new dogs he had genetically altered to be able to metabolize the local proteins.The dogs would hunt, and then he would harvest two of them—and turn the other fourloose, two breeding pairs that could live off the land.

New predators turned loose in the wild—Sel knew exactly how dangerous this could be tothe local ecology. But they could not eat all the native species and would not interferewith the vegetation. It would be important during later exploration and colonization tofind edible and tamable creatures loose in the wild.

We aren’t here to preserve the local ecology like a museum. We’re here to colonize, tosuit the world for ourselves.

Which is precisely what the formics had started to do to Earth. Only their approach wasmuch more drastic—burn all, and then plant vegetation from the formics’ native planet.

Yet for some reason they had not done so here. He had found none of the species the

formics had planted on Earth during the Scouring of China nearly a century ago. This wasone of the formics’ oldest colonies, and its flora and fauna seemed to be too distant,genetically, to have shared common ancestors with the formic varieties. It must havebeen settled before they developed the formification strategy they had begun to use onEarth.

In all the years till now, Sel had had to devote himself entirely to the geneticresearch required to keep the colony viable, and then, for the past five years, togoverning the colony. Now he could go into unexplored lands and learn what he could.

He could not go any great distance—he supposed a few hundred kilometers would be hislimit—for it would do no good to range so far that he could not return and report hisfindings.

Ix Tolo helped him pack, griping about this and that—his normal behavior. Not takingenough equipment, taking too much, not enough food, too much water, why this, why notthat . . . it was his constant attention to detail that made him effective in his joband Sel bore it with good humor.

And, of course, Ix had a mind of his own.

“You can unpack that other bag,” Sel told him, “because you’re not going with me.”

“Other bag?”

“I’m not an idiot. Half the equipment I decided not to take, you’ve put into anotherpack, along with more food and an extra bedroll.”

“I never thought you were an idiot. But I’m not so stupid I’d endanger the colony bysending both our lead xenobiologists on the same journey.”

“So who’s the pack for?”

“My son Po.”

“I’ve always been bothered that you named him for an insanely romantic Chinese poet.Why nobody from Mayan history?”

“All the characters in the Popol Vuh have numbers instead of names. He’s a sensiblekid. Strong. If he had to, he could carry you back home.”

“I’m not that old and wizened.”

“He could do it,” said Ix. “But only if you’re alive. Otherwise, he’ll watch andrecord the process of decomposition, and then sample the microbes and worms that manageto feed on your old Earthborn corpse.”

“Glad to see you still think like a scientist and not a sentimental fool.”

“Po is good company.”

“And he’ll allow me to carry enough equipment for the trip to be useful. While youstay here and play with the new stuff from the colony ship.”

“And train the xenobiologists they’ve sent along,” said Ix. “No doubt you’ve toldWiggin that I’ll help him. That will not happen. I’ll have plenty of work to do in myown field without babysitting the new governor.”

Sel ignored his kvetching. He knew Ix would help in whatever way Wiggin needed him to.“And Po’s mother is happy about his going with me?”

“No,” said Ix. “But she knows he’d never speak to her again if she barred him fromit. So we have her blessing. More or less.”

“Then first thing in the morning, we’re off.”

“Unless the new governor forbids you.”

“His authority doesn’t begin until he sets foot on this planet. He isn’t even inorbit yet.”

“Haven’t you looked at their manifest? They have four skimmers.”

“If we need one, we’ll radio back for it. Otherwise, don’t tell them where we went.”

“Good thing the formics got rid of all the major predators on this planet.”

“There’s no self-respecting predator would eat an old wad of gristle like me.”

“I was thinking of my son.”

“He won’t want to eat me either, even if we run out of food.”

That night, Sel went to bed early and then, as usual, got up to pee after only a fewhours of sleep. He noticed that the ansible was blinking. Message.

Not my problem.

Well, that wasn’t true, was it? If Wiggin’s authority didn’t begin until he set footon the planet, then Sel was still acting governor. So any messages from Earth, he had toreceive.

He sat down and signaled that he was ready to receive.

There were two messages recorded. He played the first one. It consisted of the face ofthe Minister of Colonization, Graff, and his message was brief.

“I know you’re planning to skip town before Wiggin gets there. Talk to Wiggin beforeyou go. He won’t try to stop you, so relax.”

That was it.

The other message was from Wiggin. He looked his age, but his adult height was coming onhim. In the colony, teenagers his size were expected to do a man’s work, and got aman’s vote in the meetings. So maybe his position wouldn’t be as awkward as Selexpected.

“Please contact me by ansible as soon as you get this,” said Ender. “We’re in radiodistance, but I don’t want anyone else to be able to intercept the signal.”

Sel toyed with the idea of turning the message over to Ix to answer, but decided againstit. The point wasn’t to hide from Wiggin, was it? Only to leave the field clear forhim.

So he signaled his intention to make a connection. It took only a few minutes for Wigginto appear. Now that the colony ship wasn’t traveling at a relativistic speed, there wasno time differential, and therefore the ansible transmitted instantly. Not even the timelag of radio.

“Governor Menach,” said Ender Wiggin. He smiled.

“Sir,” Sel replied. He tried to smile back, but . . . this was Ender Wiggin he wastalking to.

“When we got word that you were leaving, my first thought was to beg you to stay.”

Sel ignored him. “I was glad to see on the manifest a full range of beasts of burden aswell as milk, wool, egg, and meat beasts. Are they Earth-natural, or have they beengenetically altered to digest the local vegetation?”

“Your methods were very promising at the time we left, but did not prove out until wewere well under way. So all the animals and plants we brought with us are Earth-natural.They’re all in stasis, and can be maintained in that condition on the surface for sometime, even after the ship leaves. So there’ll be time to make the alterations on thenext generation.”

“Ix Tolo has ongoing projects of his own, but I believe he’ll be able to train yournew xenos in the techniques.”

“Ix Tolo will remain the head xenobiologist, in your absence,” said Wiggin. “I’veseen his work in recent weeks—years, to you. You’ve trained him to an exacting

standard, and the xenos on this ship intend to learn from him. Though they’re hoping

you’ll return soon. They want to meet you. You’re something of a hero to them. This isthe only world that has non-formiform flora and fauna. The other colonies have beenworking with the same genetic groups—this is the only world that posed uniquechallenges, so you had to do, alone, what all the other colonies were able to docooperatively.”

“Me and Darwin.”

“Darwin had more help than you,” said Wiggin. “I hope you’ll keep your radio dormantinstead of off. Because I want to be able to ask for your counsel, if I need it.”

“You won’t. I’m going back to bed now. I have a lot of walking to do tomorrow.”

“I can send a skimmer after you. So you don’t have to carry your supplies. It wouldincrease your range.”

“But then the old settlers will expect me to come back soon. They’ll be waiting for meinstead of relying on you.”

“I can’t pretend that we’re not able to track you and find you.”

“But you can tell them that you’re showing me the respect of not trying. At myrequest.”

“Yes,” said Ender. “I’ll do that.”

There was little more to say. They signed off and Sel went back to bed. He slept easily.And, as usual, woke just when he wanted to—an hour before dawn.

Po was waiting for him.

“I already said good-bye to Mom and Dad,” he said.

“Good,” said Sel.

“Thanks for letting me come.”

“Could I have stopped you?”

“Yes,” said Po. “I won’t disobey you, Uncle Sel.” All the grandchildren generationcalled him that.

Sel nodded. “Good. Have you eaten?”


“Then let’s go. I won’t need to eat till noon.”

You take a step, then another. That’s the journey. But to take a step with your eyesopen is not a journey at all, it’s a remaking of your own mind. You see things that younever saw before. Things never seen by the eyes of human beings. And you see with yourparticular eyes, which were trained to see not just a plant, but this plant, fillingthis ecological niche, but with this and that difference.

And when your eyes have been trained for forty years to be familiar with the patterns ofa new world, then you are Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, who first saw the world of

animalcules through a microscope; you are Carl Linnaeus, first sorting creatures intofamilies, genera, species; you are Darwin, sorting lines of evolutionary passage fromone species to another.

So it was not a rapid journey. Sel had to force himself to move with any kind of haste.

“Don’t let me linger so long over every new thing I see,” he told Po. “It would betoo humiliating for my great expedition to take me only ten kilometers south of thecolony. I must cross the first range of mountains, at least.”

“And how will I keep you from lingering, when you have me photographing and samplingand storing and recording notes?”

“Refuse to do it. Tell me to get my bony knees up off the ground and start walking.”

“All my life I’m taught to obey my elders and watch and learn. I’m your assistant.Your apprentice.”

“You’re just hoping we don’t travel very far so when I die you don’t have so long tocarry the corpse.”

“I thought my father told you—if you actually die, I’m supposed to call for help andobserve your decomposition process.”

“That’s right. You only carry me if I’m breathing.”

“Or do you want me to start now? Hoist you onto my shoulders so you can’t discoveranother whole family of plants every fifty meters?”

“For a respectful, obedient young man, you can be very sarcastic.”

“I was only slightly sarcastic. I can do better if you want.”

“This is good. I’ve been so busy arguing with you, we’ve gone this far without mynoticing anything.”

“Except the dogs have found something.”

It turned out to be a small family of the horned reptile that seemed to fill the bunnyrabbit niche—a big-toothed leaf-eater that hopped, and would only fight if cornered.The horns did not seem to Sel to be weapons—too blunt—and when he imagined a matingritual in which these creatures leapt into the air to butt their heads together, hecould not see how it could help but scramble their brains, since their skulls were solight.

“Probably for a display of health,” said Sel.

“The antlers?”

“Horns,” said Sel.

“I think they’re shed and then regrown,” said Po. “Don’t these animals look likeskin-shedders?”


“I’ll look for a shed skin somewhere.”

“You’ll have a long look,” said Sel.

“Why, because they eat the skins?”

“Because they don’t shed.”

“How can you be sure?”

“I’m not sure,” said Sel. “But this is not a formic import, it’s a native species,and we haven’t seen any skin shedding from natives.”

So went the conversation as they traveled—but they did cover the ground. They took

pictures, yes. And now and then, when it was something really new, they stopped and tooksamples. But always they walked. Sel might be old and need to lean on his walking sticknow and then, but he could still keep up a steady pace. Po was likely to move ahead ofhim more often than not, but it was Po who groaned when Sel said it was time to move onafter a brief rest.

“I don’t know why you have that stick,” said Po.

“To lean on when I rest.”

“But you have to carry it the whole time you’re walking.”

“It’s not that heavy.” “It looks heavy.”

“It’s from the balsa tree—well, the one I call ‘balsa,’ since the wood is solight.”

Po tried it. Only about a pound, though it was thick and gnarled and widened out at thetop like a pitcher. “I’d still get tired of carrying it.”

“Only because you put more weight in your backpack than I did.”

Po didn’t bother arguing the point.

“The first human voyagers to Earth’s moon and the other planets had an easy time ofit,” said Po, as they crested a high ridge. “Nothing but empty space between them andtheir destination. No temptation to stop and explore.”

“Like the first sea voyagers. Going from land to land, ignoring the sea because theyhad no tools that would let them explore to any depth.”

“We’re the conquistadores,” said Po. “Only we killed them all before we ever setfoot on land.”

“Is that a difference or a similarity?” asked Sel. “Smallpox and other diseases racedahead of the conquistadores.”

“If only we could have talked to them,” said Po. “I read about the conquistadores—weMayans have good reason to try to understand them. Columbus wrote that the natives hefound ‘had no language,’ merely because they didn’t understand any of the languageshis interpreters knew.”

“But the formics had no language at all.”

“Or so we think.”

“No communication devices in their ships. Nothing to transmit voice or images. Becausethere was no need of them. Exchange of memory. Direct transfer of the senses. Whatevertheir mechanism was, it was better than language, but worse, because they had no way totalk to us.”

“So who were the mutes?” asked Po. “Us, or them?”

“Both of us mutes,” said Sel, “and all of us deaf.”

“What I wouldn’t give to have just one of them alive.”

“But there couldn’t be just one,” said Sel. “They hived. They needed hundreds,perhaps thousands to reach the critical mass to achieve intelligence.”

“Or not,” said Po. “It could also be that only the queen was sentient. Why else wouldthey all have died when the queens died?”

“Unless the queen was the nexus, the center of a neural network, so they all collapsedwhen she did. But until then, all of them individuals.”

“As I said, I wish we had one alive,” said Po, “so we could know something instead ofguessing from a few desiccated corpses.”

Sel silently rejoiced that yet another generation of this colony had produced at leastone who thought like a scientist. “We have more of them preserved than any of the othercolonies. Here, there are so few scavengers that can eat them, the corpses lasted longenough for us to get to the planet’s surface and freeze some of them. We actually gotto study structure.”

“But no queens.”

“The sorrow of my life,” said Sel.

“Really? That’s your greatest regret?”

Sel fell silent.

“Sorry,” said Po.

“It’s all right. I was just considering your question. My greatest regret. What aquestion. How can I regret leaving everything behind on Earth, when I left it in orderto help save it? And coming here allowed me to do things that other scientists couldonly dream of. I have been able to name more than five thousand species already and comeup with a rudimentary classification system for an entire native biota. More than on anyof the other formic worlds.”


“Because the formics stripped those worlds and then established only a limited subsetof their own flora and fauna. This is the only world where most of the species evolvedhere. The only place that’s messy. The formics brought fewer than a thousand species totheir colonies. And their home world, which might have had vastly more diversity, isgone.”

“So you don’t regret coming here?”

“Of course I do,” said Sel. “And I’m also glad to be here. I regret being an oldwreck of a man. I’m glad I’m not dead. It seems to me that all my regrets are balancedby something I’m glad of. On average, then, I have no regrets at all. But I’m also nota bit happy. Perfect balance. On average, I don’t feel anything at all. I think Idon’t exist.”

“Father says that if you get absurd results, you’re not a scientist, you’re aphilosopher.”

“But my results are not absurd.”

“You do exist. I can see you and hear you.”

“Genetically speaking, Po, I do not exist. I am off the web of life.”

“So you choose to measure by the only standard that allows your life to be


Sel laughed. “You are your mother’s son.”

“Not father’s?”

“Both, of course. But it’s your mother who won’t put up with any bullshit.”

“Speaking of which, I can hardly wait to see a bull.”

Now that the ship was rapidly decelerating as they approached Shakespeare, the crew werefar busier than usual. The first order of business would be docking with the transportship that had brought the war fleet here to this world forty years before. Withoutsupplies for a return journey, the ship was left as a huge satellite in geosynchronousorbit directly over the colony site. Solar power was enough to keep its computers andcommunications running for these past decades.

The original crew, colonists now, had used their fighters as landing vehicles; theirsupplies and equipment for the first years of the colony had been designed to fit in oron the fighters. And all of them were equipped with ansibles. But the fighters wereland-once vehicles, and had no ability to leave the surface of the planet.

Admiral Morgan’s crew would service and refit the transport. They had brought newcommunications and weather satellites with them, which they would place in geosync atintervals all the way around the planet. Then the old transport would be given a captainand crew, and would voyage, not back to Eros, but on to another colony.

Despite all this business, Ender had no illusion that Admiral Morgan himself was at alldistracted from watching over Ender’s activities. The man was a planner, a plotter, andwhile a “man of peace” like him might seem to plod along, never doing much, he wasalways poised to strike.

So as they approached the key moment—the arrival on Shakespeare—Ender had to give

Morgan no reason at all for suspecting that Ender was plotting anything. Morgan expectedEnder to be a bright, eager boy of fifteen, and those expectations had to be fulfilled;yet Morgan was also wary of Ender’s unassailable claim to the governorship. He had tobe confident that Ender was content to let him be the power behind the throne.

That’s why Ender went to Morgan for permission to use the ansible to communicate withthe Shakespeare xenobiologists. “You know I’ve been studying the formics’ biologicalsystems, and now I can communicate with them in real time. I have a lot of questions.”

“I don’t want you bothering them,” said Morgan. “There’s too much to do already,working out the landing.”

Ender knew that there was nothing whatsoever for the landside colony to do except standout of the way. Morgan would land and then decide what supplies to requisition for thereturn trip. Whether Morgan was on it or not, the ship would return to Earth.

“Sir, the XBs need to know what grazing species we have so they can prepare to adaptthem to use the alien proteins. It’s a massive project, and until we have a newgeneration of adapted animals, there’ll be no meat. You have no idea how eager theyare. And I’m fully up to speed, since I worked on the manifest when we left Eros.”

“I’ve already sent them the manifest.”

Actually, Ender had sent the manifest before the ship departed. But why quibble? “Thelist says things like ‘cows’ and ‘pigs.’ They need way more information than that. Ihave it; I can send it; and nobody’s using the ansible, sir. This is really

important.” Ender almost said “really really really” but decided that would be tooover-the-top boyish and Morgan might suspect something.

Morgan sighed. “This is why children should not be given adult assignments. You don’trespect priorities the way adults do. But . . . as long as you drop whatever you’redoing whenever the crew needs to use the ansible, go ahead. Now, if you don’t mind, Ihave real work to do.”

Ender knew that Morgan’s “real” work had more to do with preparing to have a

shipboard wedding than anything to do with the landing. Dora-bella Toscano had him sofrantic with lust—no, it was affection, the deep bonds of permanent companionship—thathe had agreed that she would arrive on Shakespeare as the admiral’s wife, not just asan ordinary colonist.

And that was fine with Ender. He would not interfere with that in any way.

Ender went to the ansible room to send his messages directly. If he had linked from hisdesk, the message would certainly have been intercepted and stored, to be puzzled overat leisure. Ender toyed with the idea of switching off the observation system so thatnothing he said to Sel Menach could be overheard, but decided against it. Though thesecurity was I.F. standard, which meant that a significant number of kids in BattleSchool had been able to tweak it or hack it or, like Ender, get inside it and spoof itcompletely, he still couldn’t risk having Morgan ask to see the vid of Ender in theansible room and have the report come back that there was no vid for that timeframe.

Apart from that, he had only one short message to send to Graff, asking for a bit ofhelp with his present situation, and then he could have a few moments of blissfulprivacy before doing the work he had told Morgan he was coming here to do.

He did what he always did when he had a chance to be completely alone. He rested hishead on his arms and closed his eyes, hoping for a few moments of sleep to refresh hismind.

He awoke because somebody was gently rubbing his shoulders. “You poor thing,” saidAlessandra. “Fell asleep in the middle of your work.”

Ender sat up, as she kept kneading the muscles of his shoulders and back and neck. Theyreally were tight, and what she was doing felt good. If she had asked him, he would haverefused—he didn’t want physical contact between them—and if she had come upon himwhen he was awake and simply started doing it, he would have recoiled because he hatedit when anyone thought they had the right to touch him without his consent.

But waking up to it, it felt too good to stop. “I’m not doing much,” he said.

“Busywork, mostly. Let the adults do the hard stuff. I’ve put in my time.” By now, helied to Alessandra by reflex.

“You don’t fool me,” she said. “I’m not as dumb as you think.”

“I don’t think you’re dumb,” said Ender. And he didn’t. She wasn’t Battle Schoolmaterial, but she wasn’t stupid, either.

“I know you don’t like it that Mother and Admiral Morgan are getting married.”

Why would I care about that? “No, it’s fine,” said Ender. “I suppose you take lovewhere you find it, and your mother’s still young. And beautiful.”

“She is, isn’t she,” said Alessandra. “I hope my body turns out like hers. The womenin my father’s family were all scrawny. No curves.”

Ender knew at once what she was there for. Talking about “curves” while she massagedhim was too obvious to miss. But he wanted to see where this was heading, and why. Morespecifically, why now.

“Scrawny or curvy, everybody’s attractive under the right circumstances.”

“What are those circumstances for you, Ender? When will anyone be attractive to you?”

He knew what was expected. “You’re attractive, Alessandra. But you’re too young.”

“I’m the same age as you.”

“I’m too young, too,” said Ender. They had had this discussion before—but in theabstract. As they congratulated each other on being such good friends without any kindof sexual interest in each other. Clearly, there had been a change of program.

“I don’t know,” said Alessandra. “Back on Earth, people married later and later. Andhad sex earlier and earlier. It was wrong to divide them, I know, but who can say whichdirection was wrong? Maybe the biology of our bodies is wiser than all the reasons forwaiting to marry. Maybe our bodies want to raise children when we’re still young enoughto keep up with them.”

Ender wondered how much of this had been scripted by her mother. Probably not much.Alessandra really did think about things like this—they’d had enough conversations onsocio-political topics that this didn’t seem out of line for her.

The problem was that even though Ender understood perfectly well what was going on, hewas enjoying it. He didn’t want it to stop.

But it had to stop. Stop or change. The back-rubbing thing couldn’t go on forever.

And he couldn’t stop it abruptly. He had a role to play. Morgan had to believe thatEnder was devoted to Alessandra, so that by marrying Dora-bella, he would becomeEnder’s future father-in-law. One more set of levers to control him by. Ender hadplanned to do it platonically. The time he spent with Alessandra, the attention he

devoted to her, that would do the job.

Until now. Now they were pushing him. Through Alessandra—for Ender did not believe shehad thought of this little encounter herself. “Thinking about your mother and AdmiralMorgan?” said Ender. “Getting jealous?”

That got her to pull her hands away. “No,” she said. “Not at all. What does rubbingyour shoulders have to do with them getting married?”

Now, with her no longer touching him, Ender could swivel the chair around to face her.She was dressed . . . differently. Nothing obvious, not like the vids he’d seen ofsupposedly sexy fashions on Earth. She was wearing clothing he’d seen before. But abutton less was fastened. Was that the only difference? Perhaps, because she had beentouching him until a moment before, he was seeing her through new eyes.

“Alessandra,” he said, “let’s not pretend we don’t know what’s happening here.”

“What do you think is happening?” she said.

“I was asleep, and you did what you’ve never done before.”

“I never felt like that before,” she said. “I saw how heavy a weight you carry. Notjust the governorship and all that, I mean . . . all that came before. The weight ofbeing Ender Wiggin. I know you don’t like to be touched, but that doesn’t mean otherpeople can’t want to touch you.”

Ender reached out and touched her hand, hooked it lightly in his fingers. He knew evenas he did it that he shouldn’t. Yet the desire to do it was almost overwhelming, and apart of him said, There’s no danger in this. Touching hands? People do it all the time.

Yes, and they do other things all the time, another part of his mind said.

Shut up, said the part that liked touching Alessandra.

What if this did go according to Alessandra’s script—or her mother’s. Were thereworse fates? He was coming to a colony world. Colonies were all about reproduction. Heliked this girl. There wasn’t going to be a huge pool of girls to choose from in thecolony; there were few his age among the passengers in stasis, so it would be mostly thegirls born on Shakespeare that he would have to choose from, and they would be—not fromEarth.

While he argued with himself, she held his hand more tightly and moved closer to him.Beside him. Now he could feel her warmth—or imagined he could. Now her body touched hisupper arm; now her other hand, the one he was not holding, stroked his hair. Now shebrought his hand up to her chest. Pressed the back of his hand, not to her breast—thatwould be too obvious—but to her chest, where her heart was beating. Or was that his ownpulse he felt pounding in his hand?

“On this voyage I’ve come to know you,” she whispered. “Not the famous boy who savedthe world, but this teenager, this young man of about my own age, so careful, so

thoughtful of other people, so patient with them. With me, with my mother. You think Ihaven’t seen that? Never wanting to hurt anyone, never wanting to offend, but neverletting anyone come close, either, except your sister. Is that your future, Ender? Youand your sister, in a circle that lets no one else inside?”

Yes, thought Ender. That’s what I decided. When Valentine showed up, I thought: Yes, Ican let her in. I can trust this one person.

I can’t trust you, Alessandra, thought Ender. You’re here in service of someoneelse’s plans. Maybe you mean what you’re saying, maybe you’re sincere. But you’realso being used. You are a weapon aimed at my heart. Someone dressed you today. Someonetold you what to do, and how to do it. Or if you really know all this yourself, then

you’re too much for me. I’m too caught up in this. I want too much for it to goforward as you seem to be offering.

I will not let this go on, thought Ender.

But even with that decision, he couldn’t just leap to his feet and say, Get thee hence,temptress, like Joseph did with Potiphar’s wife. He would have to make her want tostop, so that it would never seem to Admiral Morgan that he refused her. Morgan wouldcertainly watch the playback of this. On the eve of his own marriage, Morgan could notsee Ender absolutely refuse Alessandra.

“Alessandra,” said Ender, speaking just as softly as she was. “Do you really want tolive your mother’s life?”

For the first time, Alessandra hesitated, uncertain.

Ender took his hand back, leaned on the chair’s armrests, rose to his feet. He reachedfor her, gathered her into an embrace, and decided that for this to work, he would needto kiss her.

So he did. He was not good at it. To his relief, neither was she. It was awkward, theymissed each other a little and had to re-center, and neither of them knew what they wereactually supposed to do. Oddly enough, this kiss broke the mood and when they were donewith it, they both laughed. “There,” said Ender. “We’ve done it. Our first kiss. Myfirst kiss, of anyone, ever.”

“Mine too,” she said. “The first one I’ve even wanted.”

“We could go farther,” said Ender. “We’re both equipped for it—we make a completematching set, I’m sure.”

She laughed again. That’s right, thought Ender. Laughing is the right mood, not theother.

“I meant what I said, about your mother,” said Ender. “She did this, right at yourage. Conceived you when she was fourteen, you were born when she was fifteen. The ageyou are now. And she married the boy, yes?”

“And it was wonderful,” said Alessandra. “Mother told me, so many times, how happyshe was with him. How good it was. How much they both loved me.”

Of course your mother said that, thought Ender. She’s a good person, she wouldn’t wantto tell you what a nightmare it was, being fifteen and having so much responsibility.

But maybe it was good, said another part of his mind. The part that was keenly awarethat their bodies were still pressed together, that his fingers were pressing gentlyagainst the back of her shirt, moving slightly, caressing the skin and body under thecloth.

“Your mother was under the domination of someone stronger than her,” said Ender.“Your grandmother. She wanted to get free.”

That did it. Alessandra pulled away from him. “What are you saying? What do you knowabout my grandmother?”

“Only what your mother told me herself,” said Ender. “In front of you.”

He could see on her face that she remembered, and the flash of anger subsided. But shedid not come back into his embrace. Nor did he invite her to. He thought more clearlywhen she was standing a half-meter away. A meter would be even better.

“My mother isn’t anything like my grandmother,” said Alessandra.

“Of course not,” said Ender. “But the two of you have lived together your whole life.Very close all the time.”

“I’m not trying to get away from her,” said Alessandra. “I wouldn’t use you likethat.” But her face showed something else. A recognition, perhaps, that she had beenusing him—that her whole visit to him was prompted by her mother.

“I was just thinking,” said Ender, “that even the cheerful fairyland she likes topretend she lives in—“

“When did you—” she began, and then stopped herself, because of course Dorabella haddone her queen-of-the-fairies bit several times, to the delight of the other colonists.

“I was thinking,” said Ender, “that after such a long while, you might not want tospend the rest of your life in her fairyland. Maybe your world is better for you thanher imaginary places. That’s all I was thinking. She’s made a lovely cocoon for you,but maybe you still want to break out of it and fly.”

Alessandra stood there, her hand to her mouth. Then tears came to her eyes. “Per tuttesante,” she said. “I was . . . doing what she wanted. I thought it was my own idea,but it was hers, it was . . . I wanted you to like me, I really did, that wasn’t madeup, but the idea of coming here . . . I wasn’t getting away from her, I was obeyingher.”

“You were?” Ender said, trying to act as if he hadn’t already guessed.

“She told me just what to do, how far to . . .” Alessandra started unbuttoning herblouse, tears flowing. She was wearing nothing under it. “What you were going to see,what you could touch, but no more . . .”

Ender stepped to her, embraced her again, to stop her from unbuttoning any more. Becauseeven in this emotional moment, there was a part of him that only cared about the blouseand what would be revealed, not about the girl who was doing it.

“You do care about me,” she said.

“Of course I do,” said Ender.

“More than she does,” she said. Her tears were dampening his shirt.

“Probably not,” said Ender.

“I wonder if she cares for me at all,” said Alessandra into his chest. “I wonder ifI’ve ever been anything more than her puppet, just the way she was Grandmother’s.Maybe if Mother had stayed home and hadn’t married and hadn’t had me, Grandmotherwould have been full of fairyland and beauty—because she was getting her way.”

Perfect, thought Ender. Despite my own impulses, my biological distractibility, this hasgone exactly right. Admiral Morgan would see that even though the sex angle didn’t playaccording to script, Ender and Alessandra were still close, still bonding—whatever hewanted to read into it. The game was still on. Even if the romance was definitely onhold.

“The door to this room can’t lock,” said Ender.

“I know,” she said.

“Someone might come in at any time.” He thought it was best not to point out thatsurveillance cameras were in every room, including most particularly this one, andsomeone could be watching them right now.

She took the hint, pulled away from him, rebuttoned her blouse. This time all the way upto where she usually buttoned it. “You saw through me,” she said.

“No,” said Ender. “I saw you. Maybe your mother doesn’t.”

“I know she doesn’t,” said Alessandra. “I know it. I’m just—it’s just—AdmiralMorgan, that’s what it is, she said she was bringing me here to find a young man with

prospects, but she found an old man with even better prospects, that’s what it is, andI just fit into her plans, that’s all, I—“

“Don’t do this,” said Ender. “Your mother loves you, this wasn’t cynical, shethought she was helping you get what you wanted.”

“Maybe,” said Alessandra. Then she laughed bitterly. “Or is this just your version offairyland? Everybody wants me to be happy, so they construct a fake reality around me.Yes, I want to be happy, but not with a lie!”

“I’m not lying to you,” said Ender.

She looked at him fiercely. “Did you desire me? At all?”

Ender closed his eyes and nodded.

“Look at me and say it.”

“I wanted you,” said Ender.

“And now?”

“There are lots of things I want that aren’t right for me to have.”

“You sound as if your mother taught you to say that.”

“If I’d been raised by my mother, maybe she would have,” said Ender. “But as it is,I learned that when I decided to go to Battle School, when I decided to live by the

rules of that place. There are rules to everything, even if nobody made them up, even ifnobody calls it a game. And if you want things to work out well, it’s best to know therules and only break them if you’re playing a different game and following thoserules.”

“Do you think that made sense of some kind?”

“To me it did,” said Ender. “I want you. You wanted me. That’s a nice thing to know.I had my first kiss.”

“It wasn’t bad, was it? I wasn’t awful?”

“Let’s put it this way,” said Ender. “I haven’t ruled out doing it again. Sometimein the future.”

She giggled. The crying had stopped.

“I really do have work to do,” said Ender. “And believe me, you woke me right up. Notsleepy at all. Very helpful.”

She laughed. “I get it. Time for me to go.”

“I think so,” he said. “But I’ll see you later. As we always do.”

“Yes,” said Alessandra. “I’ll try not to act too giggly and strange.”

“Act like yourself,” said Ender. “You can’t be happy if you’re pretending all thetime.”

“Mother is.”

“Which? Pretending? Or happy?”

“Pretending to be happy.”

“So maybe you can grow up to be happy without having to pretend.”

“Maybe,” she said. And then she was gone.

Ender closed the door and sat down. He wanted to scream in frustration at thwarteddesire, in rage at a mother who would send her daughter on such an errand, at AdmiralMorgan for making all this necessary, at himself for being such a liar. “You can’t behappy if you’re pretending all the time.” Well, his life certainly didn’t contradict

that statement. He was pretending all the time, and he certainly was not happy.


Ender in Exile


To: GovDes%ShakespeareCol@colmin.gov/voy

From: vwiggin%ShakespeareCol@colmin.gov/voy

Subj: relax about it, kid


Nothing about your behavior with A should either surprise or embarrass you. If desiredid not dim the brain, nobody would ever get married, drunk, or fat.


By the time Sel and Po had been a fortnight gone, with almost two hundred kilometersbehind them, they had talked about every conceivable subject at least twice, and finallywalked along in companionable silence most of the time, except when the exigencies oftheir journey forced them to speak.

One-sentence warnings: “Don’t grab that vine, it’s not secure.”

Scientific speculations: “I wonder if that bright-colored froglike thing is venomous?”

“I doubt it, considering that it’s a rock.”

“Oh. It was so vivid I thought—“

“A good guess. And you’re not a geologist, so how could you be expected to recognize arock?”

Mostly there was nothing but their breathing, their footfalls, and the sounds and smellsand sights of a new world revealing itself to the first of the human species to passthrough this portion of it.

At two hundred clicks, though, it was time to stop. They had rationed carefully, buttheir food was half gone. They pitched a more permanent camp by a clear water source,chose a safe spot and dug a latrine, and pitched the tent with the stakes deeper and theground more padded under the floor of it. They would be here for a week.

A week, because that’s about how long they expected to be able to live on the meat ofthe two dogs they slaughtered that afternoon.

Sel was sorry that only two of the dogs were smart enough to extrapolate from the skinsand carcasses that their human masters were no longer reliable companions. Those twoleft—they had to drive the other pair away with stones.

By now, like everyone else in the colony, both Sel and Po knew how to preserve meat bysmoking it; they cooked only a little of the meat fresh, but kept the fire going tosmoke the rest as it hung from the bending limbs of a fernlike tree . . . or treelikefern.

They marked out a rough circle on the satellite map they carried with them and eachmorning they set out in a different direction to see what they might find. Now theycollected samples in earnest, and took photographs that they bounced to the orbitingtransport ship for storage on the big computer there. The pictures they sent up, thetest results, those were secure—they would not be lost, no matter what happened to Seland Po.

The physical samples, though, were by far the most valuable items. Once they broughtthem back, they could be studied at great length using far more sophisticated

equipment—the new equipment the xenos on the new colony ship would bring.

At night, Sel lay awake for long hours, thinking of what he and Po had seen, classifyingit in his mind, trying to make sense of the biology of this world.

But when he woke up, he could not remember having had any great insights the nightbefore, and certainly had none by morning light. No great breakthroughs; just acontinuation of the work he had already done.

I should have gone north, into the jungles.

But jungles are far more dangerous to explore. I’m an old man. Jungles could kill me.This temperate plateau, colder than the colony because it’s a little closer to thepoles and higher in elevation, is also safer—at least in summer—for an old man whoneeds open country to hike through and nothing unusually dangerous to snag or snap athim.

On the fifth day, they crossed a path.

There was no mistaking it. It was not a road, certainly not, but that was no surprise,the formics had built few roads. What they made were paths, and those inadvertent, thenatural result of thousands of feet treading the same route.

Those feet had trodden here, though it was forty years before. Trodden so long and oftenthat after all these years, and overgrown as it was, the naked eye could trace the pathof it through the pebbly soil of a narrow alluvial valley.

There was no question now of pursuing any more flora and fauna. The formics had foundsomething of value here, and archaeology took precedence, at least for a few hours, overxenobiology.

The path wound upward into the hills, but not terribly far before it led to a number ofcave entrances.

“These aren’t caves,” said Po.


“They’re tunnels. These are too new, and the land hasn’t shaped itself around themthe way that it does with real caves. These were dug as doorways. All the same height,do you see?”

“That damnably inconvenient height that makes it such a pain for humans to go inside.”

“It’s not our purpose here, sir,” said Po. “We’ve found the spot. Let’s call forothers to explore the tunnels. We’re here for the living, not the dead.”

“I have to know what they were doing here. Certainly not farming—there’s no trace oftheir crops gone wild here. No orchards. No middens, either—this wasn’t a greatsettlement. And yet there was so much traffic, along that single path.”

“Mining?” asked Po.

“Can you think of any other purpose? There’s something in those tunnels that theformics thought was worth the trouble of digging out. In large quantities. For a longtime.”

“Not such large quantities,” said Po.

“No?” said Sel.

“It’s like steel-making back on Earth. Even though the purpose was smelting iron tomake steel, and they mined coal only to fire their smelters and foundries, they didn’tcarry the coal to the iron, they carried the iron to the coal—because it took far more

coal than iron to make steel.”

“You must have gotten very good marks in geography.”

“My parents and I were born here, but I’m human. Earth is still my home.”

“So you’re saying that whatever they took out of these tunnels, it wasn’t in suchlarge quantities that it was worth building a city here.”

“They put their cities where the food was, or the fuel. Whatever they got here, theytook little enough of it that it was more economical to carry it to their cities,instead of building a city here to process it.”

“You may grow up to amount to something, Po.”

“I’m already grown up, sir,” said Po. “And I already amount to something. Just notenough to get any girl to marry me.”

“And knowing the principles of Earth’s economic history will attract a mate?”

“As surely as that bunny-toad’s antlers, sir.”

“Horns,” said Sel.

“So we’re going in?”

Sel mounted one of the little oil lamps into the flared top of his walking stick.

“And here I thought that opening at the top of your stick was decoration,” said Po.

“It was decorative,” said Sel. “It was also the way the tree grew out of theground.”

Sel rolled up his blankets and put half the remaining food into his pack, along withtheir testing equipment.

“Are you planning to spend the night down there?”

“What if we find something wonderful, and then have to climb back out of the tunnelsbefore we get a chance to explore?”

Dutifully, Po packed up. “I don’t think we’ll need the tent in there.”

“I doubt there’ll be much rain,” Sel agreed.

“Then again, caves can be drippy.”

“We’ll pick a dry spot.”

“What can live in there? It’s not a natural cave. I don’t think we’ll find fish.”

“There are birds and other creatures that like the dark. Or that find it safer andwarmer indoors. And maybe a species of some chordate or insect or worm or fungus wehaven’t seen yet.”

At the entrance, Po sighed. “If only the tunnels were higher.”

“It’s not my fault you grew so tall.” Sel lit the lamp, fueled by the oils of a fruitSel had found in the wild. He called it “olive” after the oily fruit on Earth, thoughin no other attribute were they alike. Certainly not flavor or nutrition.

The colonists grew it in orchards now, and pressed and filtered it in three harvests ayear. Except for the oil the fruit was good for nothing except fertilizer. It was goodto have clean-burning fuel for light, instead of wiring every building with electricity,especially in the outlying settlements. It was one of Sel’s favorite

discoveries—particularly since there was no sign the formics had ever discovered itsusefulness. Of course, the formics were at home in the dark. Sel could imagine themscuttling along in these tunnels, content with smell and hearing to guide them.

Humans had evolved from creatures that took refuge in trees, not caves, thought Sel, andthough humans had used caves many times in the past, they were always suspicious of

them. Deep dark places were at once attractive and terrifying. There was no chance theformics would have allowed any large predators to remain at large on this planet,particularly in caves, since the formics themselves were tunnel makers and cavedwellers.

If only the formic home world had not been obliterated in the war. What we could havelearned, tracing an alien evolution that led to intelligence!

Then again, if Ender Wiggin had not blown the whole thing up, we would have lost thewar. Then we wouldn’t have even this world to study. Evolution here did not lead tointelligence—or if it did, the formics already wiped it out, along with any traces theoriginal sentient natives might have left behind.

Sel bent over and squat-walked into the tunnel. But it was hard to keep going that

way—his back was too old. He couldn’t even lean on his stick, because it was too tallfor the space, and he had to drag it along, keeping it as close to vertical as possibleso the oil didn’t spill out of the canister at the top.

After a while he simply could not continue in that position. Sel sat down and so did Po.

“This is not working,” said Sel.

“My back hurts,” said Po.

“A little dynamite would be useful.”

“As if you’d ever use it,” said Po.

“I didn’t say it would be morally defensible,” said Sel. “Just convenient.” Selhanded his stick, with the lamp atop it, to Po. “You’re young. You’ll recover fromthis. I’ve got to try a new position.”

Sel tried to crawl but instantly gave up on that—it hurt his knees too much to restthem directly on the rocky floor. He finally settled for sitting, leaning his arms

forward, putting weight on them, and then scrabbling his legs and hips after him. It wasslow going.

Po also tried crawling and soon gave up on it. But because he was holding the stick withthe light, he was forced to return to walking bent over, knees in a squat.

“I’m going to end up a cripple,” said Po.

“At least I won’t have to hear your mother and father complain about what I did toyou, since I don’t expect to get out of here alive.”

And then, suddenly, the light went dim. For a moment Sel thought it had gone out, butno—Po had stood up and lifted the stick to a vertical position, so that the tunnelwhere Sel was creeping along was now in shadow.

It didn’t matter. Sel could see the chamber ahead. It was a natural cavern, withstalactites and stalagmites forming columns that supported the ceiling.

But they weren’t the straight-up-and-down columns that normally formed when lime-ladenwater dripped straight down, leaving sediment behind. These columns twisted crazily.Writhed, really.

“Not natural deposits,” said Po.

“No. These were made. But the twisting doesn’t seem designed, either.”

“Fractal randomness?” asked Po.

“I don’t think so,” said Sel. “Random, yes, but genuinely so, not fractal. Notmathematical.”

“Like dog turds,” said Po.

Sel stood looking at the columns. They did indeed have the kind of curling pattern thata long dog turd got as it was laid down from above. Solid yet flexible. Extrusions fromabove, only still connected to the ceiling.

Sel looked up, then took the stick from Po and raised it.

The chamber seemed to go on forever, supported by the writhing stone pillars. Archeslike an ancient temple, but half melted.

“It’s composite rock,” said Po.

Sel looked down at the boy and saw him with a self-lighting microscope, examining therock of a column.

“Seems like the same mineral composition as the floor,” said Po. “But grainy. As ifit had been ground up and then glued back together.”

“But not glued,” said Sel. “Bonded? Cement?”

“I think it’s been glued,” said Po. “I think it’s organic.”

Po took the stick back and held the flame of the lamp under an elbow of one of the

twistiest columns. The substance did not catch fire, but it did begin to sweat and drip.

“Stop,” said Sel. “Let’s not bring the thing down on us!”

Now that they could walk upright, they moved forward into the cavern. It was Po whothought of marking their path by cutting off bits of his blanket and dropping them. Helooked back from time to time to make sure they were following a straight line. Sellooked back, too, and saw how impossible it would be to find the entrance they had comethrough, if the path were not marked.

“So tell me how this was made,” said Sel. “No toolmarks on the ceiling or floor.These columns, made from ground-up stone with added glue. A kind of paste, yet strongenough to support the roof of a chamber this size. Yet no grinding equipment leftbehind, no buckets to carry the glue.”

“Giant rock-eating worms,” said Po.

“That’s what I was thinking, too,” said Sel.

Po laughed. “I was joking.”

“I wasn’t,” said Sel.

“How could worms eat rock?”

“Very sharp teeth that regrow quickly. Grinding their way through. The fine gravelbonds with some kind of gluey mucus and they extrude these columns, then bind them tothe ceiling.”

“But how could such a creature evolve?” said Po. “There’s no nutrition in the rock.And it would take enormous energy to do all this. Not to mention whatever their teethwere made of.”

“Maybe they didn’t evolve,” said Sel. “Look—what’s that?”

There was something shiny ahead. Reflecting the lamplight.

As they got closer, they saw reflections from spots on the columns, too. Even theceiling.

But nothing else was as bright as the thing lying on the floor.

“A glue bucket?” asked Po.

“No,” said Sel. “It’s a giant bug. Beetle. Ant. Something like—look at this, Po.”

They were close enough now to see that it was six-legged, though the middle pair oflimbs seemed more designed for clinging than walking or grasping. The front ones were

for grasping and tearing. The hind ones, for digging and running.

“What do you think? Bipedal?” asked Sel.

“Six or four, and bipedal at need.” Po nudged it with his foot. No response. The thingwas definitely dead. He bent over and flexed and rotated the hind limbs. Then the frontones. “Climb, crawl, walk, run, all equally well, I think.”

“Not a likely evolutionary path,” said Sel. “Anatomy tends to commit one way or theother.”

“Like you said. Not evolved, bred.”

“For what?”

“For mining,” said Po. He rolled the thing over onto its belly. It was very heavy; ittook several tries. But now they could see much better what it was that caught thelight. The thing’s back was a solid sheet of gold. As smooth as a beetle’s carapace,but so thick with gold that the thing must weigh ten kilos at least.

Twenty-five, maybe thirty centimeters long, thick and stubby. And its entire exoskeletonthinly gilt, with the back heavily armored in gold.

“Do you think these things were mining for gold?” asked Po.

“Not with that mouth,” said Sel. “Not with those hands.”

“But the gold got inside it somehow. To be deposited in the shell.”

“I think you’re right,” said Sel. “But this is the adult. The harvest. I think theformics carried these things out of the mine and took them off to be purified. Burn offthe organics and leave the pure metal behind.”

“So they ingested the gold as larvae . . .”

“Went into a cocoon . . .”

“And when they emerged, their bodies were encased in gold.”

“And there they are,” said Sel, holding up the light again. Only now he went closer tothe columns, where they could now see that the glints of reflection were from the bodiesof half-formed creatures, their backs embedded in the pillars, their foreheads andbellies shiny with a layer of thin gold.

“The columns are the cocoons,” said Po.

“Organic mining,” said Sel. “The formics bred these things specifically to extractgold.”

“But what for? It’s not like the formics used money. Gold is just a soft metal tothem.”

“A useful one. What’s to say they didn’t have bugs just like these, only bred toextract iron, platinum, aluminum, copper, whatever they wanted?”

“So they didn’t need tools to mine.”

“No, Po—these are the tools. And the refineries.” Sel knelt down. “Let’s see if wecan get any kind of DNA sample from these.”

“Dead all this time?”

“There’s no way these are native to this planet. The formics brought them here. Sothey’re native to the formic home world. Or bred from something native there.”

“Not necessarily,” said Po, “or other colonies would have found them long beforenow.”

“It took us forty years, didn’t it?”

“What if this is a hybrid?” asked Po. “So it exists only on this world?”

By now, Sel was sampling DNA and finding it far easier than he thought. “Po, there’sno way this has been dead for forty years.”

Then it twitched reflexively under his hand.

“Or twenty minutes,” said Sel. “It still has reflexes. It isn’t dead.”

“Then it’s dying,” said Po. “It has no strength.”

“Starving to death, I bet,” said Sel. “Maybe it just finished its metamorphosis andwas trying to get to the tunnel entrance and stopped here to die.”

Po took the samples from him and stowed them in Sel’s pack.

“So these gold bugs are still alive, forty years after the formics stopped bringingthem food? How long is the metamorphosis?”

“Not forty years,” said Sel. He stood up, then bent over again to look at the goldbug. “I think these cocooned-up bugs embedded in the columns are young. Fresh.” Hestood up and started striding deeper into the cavern.

There were more gold bugs now, many of them lying on the ground—but unlike the firstone they found, many of these were destroyed, hollowed out. Nothing but the thick goldenshells of their backs, with legs discarded as if they had been . . .

“Spat out,” said Sel. “These were eaten.”

“By what?”

“Larvae,” said Sel. “Cannibalizing the adults because otherwise there’s nothing toeat here. Each generation getting smaller—look how large this one is? Each one smallerbecause they only eat the bodies of the adults.”

“And they’re working their way back toward the door,” said Po. “To get outside wherethe nutrients are.”

“When the formics stopped coming . . .”

“Their shells are too heavy to make much progress,” said Po. “So they get as far asthey can, then the larvae feed on the corpse of the adult, then they crawl toward thelight of the entrance as far as they can, cocoon up, and the next generation emerges,smaller than the last one.”

Now they were among much larger shells. “These things are supposed to be more than ameter in length,” said Sel. “The closer to the entrance, the smaller.”

Po stopped, pointed at the lamp. “They’re heading toward the light?”

“Maybe we’ll be able to see one.”

“Rock-devouring larvae that grind up solid rock and poop out bonded stone columns.”

“I didn’t say I wanted to see it up close.”

“But you do.”

“Well. Yes.”

Now they were both looking around them, squinting to try to see movement somewhere inthe cavern.

“What if there’s something it likes much better than light?” asked Po.

“Soft-bodied food?” asked Sel. “Don’t think I haven’t thought of it. The formicsbrought them food. Now maybe we have, too.”

At that moment, Po suddenly rose straight up into the air.

Sel held up the stick. Directly above him, a huge sluglike larva clung to the ceiling.Its mouth end was tightly fastened on Po’s back.

“Unstrap and drop down here!” called Sel.

“All our samples!”

“We can always get more samples! I don’t want to have to extract bits of you from oneof these pillars!”

Po got the straps open and dropped to the floor.

The pack disappeared into the larva’s maw. They could hear hard metal squeaking andscraping as the larva’s teeth tried to grind up the metal instruments. They didn’twait to watch. They started toward the entrance. Once they passed the first gold bug’sbody, they looked for the bits of blanket to mark the path.

“Take my pack,” said Sel, shrugging it off as he walked. “It’s got the radio and theDNA samples in it—get out the entrance and radio for help.”

“I’m not leaving you,” said Po. But he was obeying.

“You’re the only one who can get out the entrance faster than that thing can crawl.”

“We haven’t seen how fast it can go.”

“Yes we have,” said Sel. He walked backward for a moment, holding up the lamp.

The larva was about thirty meters behind them and coming on faster than they had beenwalking.

“Is it following the light or our body heat?” asked Po as they turned again and beganto jog.

“Or the carbon dioxide of our breath? Or the vibrations of our footfalls? Or ourheartbeats?” Sel held out the stick toward him. “Take it and run.”

“What are you going to do?” said Po, not taking the stick.

“If it’s following the light, you can stay ahead of it by running.”

“And if it’s not?”

“Then you can get out and call for help.”

“While it has you for lunch.”

“I’m tough and gristly.”

“The thing eats stone.”

“Take the light,” said Sel, “and get out of here.”

Po hesitated a moment longer, then took it. Sel was relieved that the boy would keep hispromise of obedience.

Either that, or Po was convinced the larva would follow the light.

It was the right guess—as Sel slowed down and watched the larva approach, he could seethat it was not heading directly toward him, but rather listed off to the side, headingfor Po. And as Po ran, the larva began speeding up.

It went right past Sel. It was more than a half-meter thick. It moved like a snake, witha back-and-forth movement, writhing along the floor, shaping itself exactly like thecolumns, only horizontally and, of course, moving.

It was going to reach Po while he was scrambling through the tunnel.

“Leave the light!” shouted Sel. “Leave it!”

In a few moments, Sel could see the light leaning against the wall of the cavern, besidewhere the low tunnel began, leading toward the outside world. Po must already be inside

the tunnel.

The larva was ignoring the light and heading into the tunnel behind Po. The larvadidn’t have to crawl or walk bent over—it would catch Po easily.

“No. No, stop!” But then he thought: What if Po hears me? “Keep going, Po! Run!”

And then, wordlessly, Sel shouted inside his mind: Stop and come back here! Come back tothe cavern! Come back to your children!

Sel knew it was insane, but it was all he could think of to do. The formics communicatedmind to mind. This was also a large insectoid life form from the formics’ home world.Maybe he could speak to it the way the hive queens spoke to the individual worker andsoldier formics.

Speak? That was asinine. They had no language. They wouldn’t speak.

Sel stopped and formed in his mind a clear picture of the gold bug lying on the cavernfloor. Only the legs were writhing. And as he pictured it, Sel tried to feel hungry, orat least remember how it felt to be hungry. Or to find hunger within himself—after all,he hadn’t eaten for a few hours.

Then he pictured the larva coming to the gold bug. Circling it.

The larva reemerged from the tunnel. There had been no screaming from Po—it hadn’tcaught him. Maybe it got too near the sunlight and it blinded the larva and it couldn’tgo on. Or maybe it had responded to the images and feelings in Sel’s mind. Either way,Po was safely outside.

Of course, maybe the larva had simply decided not to bother with the prey that wasrunning, and had come back for the prey that was standing very still, pressing himselfagainst a column.


Ender in Exile


To: GovDes%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov/voy

From: MinCol@ColMin.gob

Subj: As requested

Handshake key: 3390ac8d9afff9121001

Dear Ender,

As you have requested, I have sent a holographic message from me and Pole-march BakossiWuri to the ship’s system, using the hook you inserted into the ship’s ansiblesoftware. If your program runs as advertised, it will take over all the ship’s

communications. In addition, I have attached the official notification to Admiral Morganfor you to print out and hand to him.

I hope you have won his trust well enough that he will let you have the access you needto use any of this.

This message will leave no trace of its existence, once you delete it.

Good luck,


Admiral Morgan had been in communication with the acting acting governor, Ix

Tolo—ridiculous name—because the official acting governor had had the bad manners to

take off on a completely meaningless trip right when he was needed for the officialpublic transfer of power. The man probably couldn’t stand being displaced from hisoffice. The vanity of some people.

Morgan’s executive officer, Commodore das Lagrimas, confirmed that, as far as could beascertained from orbit, the runway the colonists had constructed for the shuttle met thespecifications. Thank heaven they didn’t have to pave these things anymore—it musthave been tedious in the days when flying vehicles had to land on wheels.

The only thing that worried him was bringing the Wiggin boy down with him for the firstlanding. It would be easy enough to tell the old settlers that Morgan had come ahead ofWiggin to prepare the way. That would give him plenty of chance to make sure they wereaware that Wiggin was a teenage boy and hardly likely to be the real governor.

Dorabella agreed with him. But then she pointed out, “Of course, all the older peoplein this colony are the pilots and soldiers who fought under Ender’s command. They mightbe disappointed not to see him. But no, it will make it all the more special when hecomes down later.”

Morgan thought about it and decided that having Wiggin with him might be more of anasset than not. Let them see the legendary boy. Which was why he called the Wiggin boyto his quarters.

“I don’t know that you need to say anything to the colonists on this first occasion,”said Admiral Morgan. This was the test—would Wiggin be miffed at being held in silence?

“Fine with me,” said Wiggin instantly. “Because I’m not good at speeches.”

“Excellent,” said Morgan. “We’ll have marines there in case these people are

planning some sort of resistance—you never know, all their cooperation might be a ruse.Four decades on their own here—they might resent the imposition of authority from fortylightyears away.”

Wiggin looked serious. “I never thought of that. Do you really think they mightrebel?”

“No, I don’t,” said Morgan. “But a good commander prepares for everything. You’llacquire habits like that in time, I’m sure.”

Wiggin sighed. “There’s so much stuff to learn.”

“When we get there, we’ll put the ramp down at once and the marines will secure theimmediate perimeter. When the people have assembled around the base of the ramp, thenwe’ll come out. I’ll introduce you, I’ll say a few words, then you’ll go back insidethe shuttle until I can secure appropriate quarters for you in the settlement.”

“Toguro,” said Wiggin.


“Sorry. Battle School slang.”

“Oh, yes. Never went to Battle School myself.” Of course the little brat had to givehis little reminder that he had gone to Battle School and Morgan had not. But his use ofslang was encouraging. The more childish Wiggin appeared, the easier it would be tomarginalize him.

“When can Valentine come down?”

“We won’t start bringing down the new colonists for several days. We have to make surewe do this in an orderly way—we don’t want to swamp the old settlers with too many newones before there’s housing and food for them all. The same thing with supplies.”

“We’re going down empty-handed?” asked Wiggin, sounding surprised.

“Well, no, of course not,” said Morgan. He hadn’t thought of it that way. It would bea nice gesture to have some key supplies with them. “What do you think, some food?Chocolates?”

“They have better food than we do,” said Ender. “Fresh fruits and vegetables—that’sgoing to be their gift to us. I bet they’d go boky over the skimmers, though.”

“Skimmers! That’s serious technology.”

“Well, it’s not like they’re any use up here in the ship,” said Ender, laughing.“But some of the xeno equipment, then. Something to show them how much it’s going tohelp them, now that we’re here. I mean, if you’re worried they’ll resent us, givingthem some really useful tech will make us heroes.”

“Of course—that’s what I was planning. I just didn’t think of the skimmers on ourfirst landing.”

“Well, it’d sure help with carrying cargo to wherever it’s going to be warehoused. Iknow they’d appreciate not having to lug stuff by hand or in carts or whatever they usefor transportation.”

“Excellent,” said Morgan. “You’re catching on to this leadership thing already.”The kid really was clever. And Morgan would be the one to reap the good will that

bringing the skimmers and other high-tech equipment would create. He would have thoughtof all this himself if he ever had a chance to stop and think about things. The boycould sit around and think about things, but Morgan couldn’t afford the time. He wasconstantly on call, and though das Lagrimas handled most things well, Morgan also had todeal with Dorabella.

Not that she was demanding. In fact, she was amazingly supportive. Never interfered withanything, didn’t try to butt in when it was none of her business. She never complainedabout anything, always fit in with his plans, always smiled and encouraged andsympathized but never tried to advise or suggest.

But she distracted him. In a good way. Whenever he wasn’t actually busy with a meeting,he would find himself thinking about her. The woman was simply amazing. So willing. Soeager to please. It was as if Morgan only had to think of something and she was doingit. Morgan found himself looking for excuses to go back to his quarters, and she wasalways there, always happy to see him, always eager to listen, and her hands, touchinghim, making it impossible for him to ignore her or leave as quickly as he should.

He’d heard from other people that marriage was hellish. The honeymoon lasts a day, theysaid, and then she starts demanding, insisting, complaining. All lies.

Maybe it was only like this with Dorabella. But if so, he was glad he had waited, so hecould marry the one in a million who could make a man truly happy.

For he was besotted. He knew the men joked about it behind his back—he caught theirsmirks whenever he came back from a rendezvous with Dorabella for an hour or two in themiddle of the working day. Let them have their laughs! It was all about envy.

“Sir?” asked Wiggin.

“Oh, yes,” said Morgan. It had happened again—in the middle of a conversation, he haddrifted off into thinking about Dorabella. “I have a lot on my mind, and I think we’rethrough here. Just be in the shuttle at 0800—that’s when we’re closing the doors,everything loaded by the dawn watch. The descent will take several hours, the shuttlepilot tells me, but nobody will be able to sleep—you’ll want to get to bed early to-night so you’re well rested. And it’s better to enter the atmosphere on an emptystomach, if you know what I mean.”

“Yes sir,” said Wiggin.

“Dismissed, then,” said Morgan.

Wiggin saluted and left. Morgan almost laughed out loud. The kid didn’t realize thateven on Morgan’s ship, Wiggin’s seniority as a rear admiral entitled him to

courtesies, including the right to leave when he felt like it instead of being dismissedlike a subordinate. But it was good to keep the boy in his place. Just because he hadthe office of admiral bestowed on him before Morgan actually earned his didn’t meanMorgan had to pretend to show respect to an ignorant teenager.

Wiggin was in his place before Morgan got there, dressed in civilian clothes instead ofmilitary uniform—which was all to the good, since it would not be helpful for people tosee that they had identical dress uniforms and rank insignias, while Ender had markedlymore battle decorations. Morgan merely nodded to Wiggin and went to his own seat, in thefront of the shuttle with a communications array at his disposal.

At first the shuttle flight was normal space travel—smooth, perfectly controlled. Butas they orbited the planet and then dipped down into their point of entry, the shuttlereoriented itself to have the shield meet and dissipate the heat, which is when thebouncing and yawing and rolling began. As the pilot told him beforehand, “Roll and yawmean nothing. If we start to pitch, then we’ve got problems.”

Morgan found himself quite nauseated by the time they steadied out into smooth flight atten thousand meters. But poor Wiggin—the boy practically flew back to the head, wherehe was no doubt retching his poor head off. Unless the kid had forgotten not to eat andreally had something to puke up.

The landing went smoothly, but Wiggin hadn’t returned to his seat—he took the landingin the head. And when the marines reported that the people were gathering, Wiggin wasstill inside.

Morgan went to the door of the head himself and rapped on it. “Wiggin,” he said,“it’s time.”

“Just a few more minutes, sir,” said Wiggin. His voice sounded weak and shaky.“Really. Looking at the skimmers will keep them busy for a few minutes, and thenthey’ll meet us with a cheer.”

It hadn’t crossed Morgan’s mind to send the skimmers out ahead of his own entrance,but Wiggin was right. If the people had already seen something wonderful from Earthtechnology, it would make them all the more enthusiastic when he came out himself.

“They can’t watch the skimmers forever, Wiggin,” said Morgan. “When it’s time to goout, I hope you’re ready to join me.”

“I will,” said Wiggin. But then another retching sound gave the lie to that statement.

Of course, retching sounds could be made with or without nausea. Morgan had a momentarysuspicion and so he acted on it, opening the door without any warning.

There was Wiggin, kneeling in front of the john, his belly convulsing as his body archedwith another retch. He had his jacket and shirt off, tossed on the floor near thedoor—at least the kid had thought ahead and arranged not to get vomit on his suit.“Anything I can do to help?” asked Morgan.

Wiggin looked at him, his face a mask of barely controlled nausea. “I can’t keep thisup forever,” he said weakly, managing a faint smile. “I’ll be fine in a minute.”

And then he turned his face toward the bowl again. Morgan closed the door and suppresseda smile. So much for any worries that the kid might not cooperate. Wiggin was going tomiss his own grand entrance, and it wasn’t even going to be Morgan’s fault.

Sure enough, the midshipman he sent for Wiggin returned with a message, not the boy.“He says he’ll come out as soon as he can.”

Morgan toyed with sending back word that he was not going to have Wiggin’s late arrivaldistract from his own speech. But no, he could afford to be magnanimous. Besides, itdidn’t look as if Wiggin would be ready any time soon.

The air of Shakespeare was pleasant but strange; there was a light breeze, and itcarried some kind of pollen on it. Morgan was quite aware that just by breathing, hemight be poisoning himself with the blood-sucking worm that almost killed this colony atthe start, but they had treatments for it, and they’d get their first dose in plenty oftime. So he savored the smell of planetside air for the first time in ages—he had lastbeen on Earth six years before this voyage began.

In the middle distance, the scenery was savannah-like—trees dotting the landscape hereand there, lots of bushes. But on either side of the runway, there were crops growing,and he realized that the only way they could accommodate the runway was in the midst oftheir fields. They had to resent that—it was a good thing he had thought of sending outthe skimmers first, to take their minds off the damage their landing had done to thecrops.

The people were surprisingly numerous. He vaguely remembered that the hundreds in theoriginal invasion force would now be more than two thousand, since they’d beenreproducing like rabbits, even with the relatively few women in the original force.

What mattered most was that they were applauding when he came out. Their applause mightbe more for the skimmers than for him, but he was content with that, as long as therewas no resistance.

His aides had set up a public address system, but Morgan didn’t think they’d need it.The crowd was numerous, but many of them were children, and were so crowded togetherthat from the top of the ramp they were all within easy hailing distance. Still, nowthat the lectern had been set up, it would look foolish of Morgan not to use it. So hestrode to it and gripped it with both hands.

“Men and women of Shakespeare Colony, I bring the greetings of the International Fleetand the Ministry of Colonization.”

He had expected applause for that, but . . . nothing.

“I am Rear Admiral Quincy Morgan, the captain of the ship that brought the newcolonists, and new equipment and supplies, to your settlement.”

Again, nothing. Oh, they were attentive, and not at all hostile, but they only nodded,and only a few of them. As if they were waiting. Waiting for what?

Waiting for Wiggin. The thought came to him like bile into his throat. They know thatWiggin is supposed to be their governor, and they’re waiting for him.

Well, they’ll find out soon enough just what Wiggin is—and isn’t.

Then Morgan heard the sound of running footfalls from inside the shuttle and coming outonto the ramp. Wiggin couldn’t have timed it better. This really would go more smoothlywith him for the crowd to look at.

The crowd’s attention shifted toward Wiggin, and Morgan smiled. “I give you . . .”

But they didn’t hear his answer. They knew who it was. The applause and shoutingoverpowered Morgan’s voice, even with the amplification, and he did not need to sayWiggin’s name, because the crowd was shouting it.

Morgan turned to give a welcoming gesture to the boy, and was shocked to see that Wigginwas in full dress uniform. His decorations were almost obscenely vast—dwarfing anything

on Morgan’s chest. It was so ridiculous—Wiggin had been playing videogames, for all heknew, and here he was wearing decorations for every battle in the war, along with allthe other medals he was given after his victory.

And the little bastard had deliberately deceived him. Wearing civilian clothes, and thenchanging in the bathroom, just so he could upstage him. Was the nausea all faked, too,so that he could make this grand entrance? Well, Morgan would wear a phony smile andthen he’d make the kid pay for this later. Maybe he wouldn’t keep Wiggin as afigurehead after all.

But Wiggin didn’t go to the place that Morgan was gesturing him to take at his side,behind the lectern. Instead, Wiggin handed a folded piece of paper to Morgan and thenjogged on down the ramp to the ground—where he was immediately surrounded by the crowd,their shouts of “Ender Wiggin!” now giving way to chatter and laughter.

Morgan looked at the paper. On the outside, in pencil, Wiggin had written: “Your

supremacy ended when this shuttle touched ground. Your authority ends at the bottom ofthis ramp.” And he signed it, “Admiral Wiggin”—reminding him that in port, Wigginwas senior to him.

The gall of the boy. Did he think such claims would hold up here, forty years away fromany higher authority? And when it was Morgan who commanded a contingent of highlytrained marines?

Morgan unfolded the paper. It was a letter. From Polemarch Bakossi Wuri and Minister ofColonization Hyrum Graff.

Ender recognized Ix Tolo immediately, from Vitaly’s description of him, and ran rightup to him. “Ix Tolo,” he shouted as he came. “I’m glad to meet you!”

But even before he reached Tolo and shook his hand, Ender was looking for old men andwomen. Most of them were surrounded by younger people, but Ender sought them out andtried to recognize the younger faces he had studied and memorized before this voyageeven launched.

Fortunately, he guessed right about the first one, and the second one, calling them byrank and name. He made it solemn, that first meeting with the pilots who had actuallyfought in the war. “I’m proud to meet you at last,” he said. “It’s been a longwait.”

At once the crowd caught on to what he was doing, and backed away, thrusting the oldpeople forward so Ender could find them all. Many of them wept as they shook Ender’shands; some of the old women insisted on hugging him. They tried to speak to him, totell him things, but he smiled and held up a hand, signaling, Wait a minute, there aremore to greet.

He shook every soldier’s hand, and when he occasionally guessed at the wrong name, theylaughingly corrected him.

Behind him, there was still silence from the loudspeakers. Ender had no idea what Morganwould do about the letter, but he had to keep things moving forward here on the ground,so there was never a gap in which Morgan could insert himself.

The moment he had shaken the last old man’s hand, Ender raised that hand up and thenturned around, signaling for the people to gather around him. They did—in fact, theyalready had, so he was now completely surrounded by the crowd. “There are names Ididn’t get to call,” he said. “Men and women I didn’t get to meet.” Then, frommemory, he spoke the names of all those who had died in the battle. “Too many lost. Ifonly I had known what price was being paid for my mistakes, maybe I could have madefewer of them.”

Oh, they wept at that, even as some of them called out, “What mistakes!”

And then Ender reeled off another list of names—the colonists who had died in thosefirst weeks of the settlement. “By their deaths, by your heroic efforts, this colonywas established. Governor Kolmogorov told me about how you lived, what you accomplished.I was still a twelve-year-old boy on Eros when you were fighting the war against thediseases of this land, and you triumphed without any help from me.”

Ender raised his hands to face level and clapped them, loudly and solemnly. “I honorthose who died in space, and those who died here.”

They cheered.

“I honor Vitaly Kolmogorov, who led you for thirty-six years of war and peace!”

Another cheer. “And Sel Menach, a man so modest he could not bear to face the attentionhe knew would be paid to him today!” Cheers and laughter. “Sel Menach, who will teachme everything I need to know in order to serve you. Because I’m here, he will now havetime to get back to his real work.” A roar of laughter, and a cheer.

And now, from the back of the crowd, from the loudspeakers, came the sound of Morgan’svoice. “Men and women of Shakespeare Colony, please forgive the interruption. This wasnot how the program for today was supposed to go.”

The people around Ender glanced in puzzlement toward the top of the ramp. Morgan wasspeaking in a pleasant, perhaps jocular tone. But he was irrelevant to what had justbeen happening. He was an intruder in this ceremony. Didn’t he see that Ender Wigginwas a victorious commander meeting with his veterans? What did Quincy Morgan have to dowith that?

Hadn’t he read the letter?

Morgan could only spare half his attention for the letter, he was so furious at Wigginfor heading straight into the crowd. What was he doing? Did he actually know thesepeople’s names?

But then the letter began to register with him and he read it with his full attention.

Dear Rear Admiral Morgan,

Former Polemarch Chamrajnagar, before his retirement, warned us that there was some riskthat you would misunderstand the limited nature of your responsibilities upon reachingShakespeare Colony. He takes full responsibility for any such misunderstanding, and ifhe was mistaken, we apologize for the actions we have taken. But you must understandthat we were compelled to take preventive measures in case you had been misled intothinking that you were to exercise even momentary authority on the surface of the

planet. We have been careful to make sure that if you behave with exact correctness, noone but you and Vice-Admiral Andrew Wiggin will ever know how we were prepared to dealwith the situation if you acted inappropriately.

Correct action is this: You will recognize that upon setting foot on Shakespeare, Vice-Admiral Wiggin becomes Governor Wiggin, with absolute authority over all matters

concerning the colony and all transfers of persons and material to and from the colony.He retains his rank of Vice-Admiral, so that outside your actual ship, he is yoursuperior officer and you are subject to his authority.

You will return to your ship without setting foot on the planet. You will not meet withany persons from the colony. You will provide a full and orderly transfer of all cargosand persons from your ship to the colony, exactly as Governor Wiggin specifies. You willmake all your actions transparent to IFCom and ColMin by reporting hourly by ansible onall actions taken in compliance with Governor Wiggin’s orders.

We assume that this is what you intended to do all along. However, because of PolemarchChamrajnagar’s warning, we anticipate the possibility that you had different plans, andthat you might consider acting on them. The forty-year voyage between us and you made itnecessary for us to take actions which we can and will reverse upon your successfulcompletion of this mission and your return to lightspeed.

Every twelve hours, Governor Wiggin will report to us by holographic ansible, assuringus of your compliance. If he fails to report, or seems to us to be under duress of anykind, we will activate a program now embedded in your ship’s computer. The program willalso be activated by any attempt to rewrite the program itself or restore an earlierstate of the software.

This program will consist of the vocal and holographic transmission to the an-siblesaboard your ship and shuttles, through every speaker and computer display on your shipand shuttles, and to every ansible in Shakespeare Colony, stating that you are chargedwith mutiny, ordering that no one obey you, and that you be arrested and placed instasis for the return voyage to Eros, where you will be tried for mutiny.

We regret that the existence of this message will certainly cause offense to you if youdid not plan to behave any way other than correctly. But in that case, your correctactions will ensure that no one sees this message, and when you have returned tolightspeed flight after successfully carrying out your mission, the message will beeliminated from your ship’s computer and there will be no record whatsoever of thisaction. You will return with full honors and your career will continue without blemish.

A copy of this letter has been sent to your executive officer, Commodore Vlad dasLagrimas, but he cannot open it as long as Governor Wiggin continues to certify to usthat you are taking correct actions.

Since yours is the first colony ship to arrive at its destination, your actions willestablish the precedent for the entire I.F. We look forward to reporting on yourexcellent actions to the entire fleet.


Polemarch Bakossi Wuri

Minister of Colonization Hyrum Graff

Morgan read the letter, filled with rage and dread at first, but gradually taking a verydifferent attitude. How could they imagine that he planned anything other than to

oversee Wiggin’s orderly assumption of power? How dare Chamrajnagar tell them anythingthat would lead them to think he intended anything else?

He would have to send them a very stiff letter informing them of his disappointment thatthey would treat him in this high-handed and completely unnecessary way.

No, if he sent a letter it would go into the record. He had to keep his record clean.And they were going to make a lot of hoopla about his being the first captain of acolony ship to complete his mission—that would be a huge plus for his career.

He had to act as if this letter didn’t exist.

The crowd was cheering. They had been cheering and clapping over and over again whileMorgan read the letter. He looked out to see that they were now completely surroundingWiggin, none of them even glancing at the shuttle, at the ramp, at Admiral Morgan. Nowthat he was looking at them, he could see that everyone was gazing intently at EnderWiggin, devotedly, eagerly. Every word he said, they cheered at, or laughed, or wept.

Incredibly, they loved him.

Even without this letter, even without any intervention from IFCom or ColMin, Morganlost this power struggle from the moment Ender Wiggin appeared in full uniform andcalled the veterans by name and invoked their memories of the dead. Wiggin knew how towin their hearts, and he did it without deception or coercion. All he did was careenough to learn their names and faces and remember them. All he did was lead them invictory forty-one years ago. When Morgan was in charge of a supply operation in theasteroid belt.

For all I know, this letter is a complete bluff. Wiggin wrote it himself. Just to keepme distracted while he carried out his public relations coup. If I decided to be

obstructive, if I decided to work behind his back to undermine their confidence in him,to destroy him as governor so that I would have to step in and . . .

The people cheered again, as Wiggin invoked the name of the acting governor.

No, Morgan would never be able to undermine their confidence in Wiggin. They wanted himto be their governor. While to them, Morgan was nothing. A stranger. An interloper. Theyweren’t in the I.F. anymore. They didn’t care about authority or rank. They were

citizens of this colony now, but they had the legend of how they were founded. The greatEnder Wiggin, by his victory, slew all the formics on the surface of this world, openingthe land to these humans so they could come and dwell here. And now Wiggin had comeamong them in person. It was like the second coming of Christ. Morgan had zero chancenow.

His aides were watching him intently. They had no idea what was in the letter, but hewas afraid that his face might not have been as impassive as he’d meant, while he wasreading it; in fact, his impassivity would be a strong message in itself. So now Morgansmiled at them. “Well, so much for our script. It seems Governor Wiggin had his ownplans for how this day would go. It would have been nice of him to inform us, but . . .there’s no accounting for the pranks that boys will play.”

His aides chuckled, because they knew he expected them to. Morgan knew perfectly wellthat they understood exactly what had happened here. Not the threats in the letter, butWiggin’s complete triumph. Nevertheless, Morgan would act as if this was exactly howthings were always meant to turn out, and they would join him in acting that way, andship’s discipline would be maintained.

Morgan turned to the microphone. In a lull in the cheering and shouting of the crowd, hespoke, taking a friendly, joking tone. “Men and women of Shakespeare Colony, pleaseforgive the interruption. This was not how the program for today was supposed to go.”

The crowd turned toward him, distractedly, even annoyed. They immediately turned back toWiggin, who faced Morgan, not with the jaunty smile of victory, but with the same solemnface that he always presented on the ship. The little bastard. He’d been plotting thisthe whole time, and never showed a sign of it. Even when Morgan looked over the vids ofhim in his quarters, even when he watched Wiggin with Dorabella’s daughter, the boynever let his pretense lapse, not for a second.

Thank the stars he’ll be staying on this world, and not returning to be my rival forpreeminence in the I.F.

“I won’t take but a moment more of your time,” said Morgan. “My men will immediatelyunload all the equipment we brought with us, and the marines will stay behind to assistGovernor Wiggin however he might desire. I will return to the ship and will follow

Governor Wiggin’s instructions as to the order and timing of the transfer of materialsand persons from the ship to the ground. My work here is done. I commend you for yourachievements here, and thank you for your attention.”

There was scattered applause, but he knew that most of them had tuned him out and weremerely waiting for him to be done in order to get back to lionizing Andrew Wiggin.

Ah well. When he got back to the ship, Dorabella would be there. It was the best thinghe had ever done, marrying that woman.

Of course, he had no idea how she would take the news that she and her daughter wouldnot be colonists after all—that they would be staying with him on his voyage back toEarth. But how could they complain? Life in this colony would be primitive and hard.Life as the wife of an admiral—the very admiral who was first to bring new settlers andsupplies to a colony world—would be a pleasant one, and Dorabella would thrive in suchsocial settings; the woman really was brilliant at it. And the daughter—well, she couldgo to university and have a normal life. No, not normal, exceptional—because Morgan’sposition would be such that he could guarantee her the finest opportunities.

Morgan had already turned to go back inside the shuttle when he heard Wiggin’s voicecalling to him. “Admiral Morgan! I don’t think the people here have understood whatyou have done for us all, and they need to hear it.”

Since Morgan had the words of Graff’s and Wuri’s letter fresh in his mind, he couldnot help but hear irony and bad intent in Wiggin’s words. He almost decided to keepmoving back into the shuttle, as if he hadn’t heard the boy.

But the boy was the governor, and Morgan had his own command to think about. If he

ignored the boy now, it would look to his own men like an acknowledgment of defeat—anda rather cowardly one at that. So, to preserve his own position of respect, he turned tohear what the boy had to say.

“Thank you, sir, for bringing us all safely here. Not just me, but the colonists whowill join with the original settlers and native-born of this world. You have retied thelinks between the home of the human race and these far-flung children of the species.”

Then Wiggin turned back to the colonists. “Admiral Morgan and his crew and thesemarines you see here did not come to fight a war and save the human race, and none ofthem will die at the hands of our enemies. But they made one great sacrifice that isidentical to one made by the original settlers here. They cut themselves loose from allthat they knew and all that they loved and cast themselves out into space and time tofind a new life among the stars. And every new colonist on that ship has given upeverything they had, betting on their new life here among you.”

The colonists spontaneously began applauding, a few at first, but soon all of them, andthen cheering—for Admiral Morgan, for the marines, for the unmet colonists still on theship.

And the Wiggin boy, damn him, was saluting. Morgan had no choice but to return thesalute and accept the gratitude and respect of the colonists as a gift from him.

Then Wiggin strode toward the shuttle—but not to say anything more to Morgan. Instead,he walked toward the commander of the marine squad and called out to him by name. Hadthe boy learned the names of all of Morgan’s crew and marines as well?

“I want you to meet your counterpart,” Wiggin said loudly. “The man who commanded themarines with the original expedition.” He led him to an old man, and they saluted eachother, and in a few moments the whole place was chaotic with marines being swarmed byold men and women and young ones as well.

Morgan knew now that little of what Wiggin had done was really about him. Yes, he had tomake sure Morgan knew his place. He accomplished that in the first minute, when he

distracted Morgan with the letter while he showed that he knew all the original settlersby name, and acted—with justification—as the commander of veterans meeting with them

forty-one years after their great victory.

But Wiggin’s main purpose was to shape the attitude that this community would havetoward Morgan, toward the marines, toward the star-ship’s crew, and, most important,toward the new colonists. He brought them together with a knowledge of their commonsacrifice.

And the kid claimed that he didn’t like making speeches. What a liar. He said exactlywhat needed saying. Next to him, Morgan was a novice. No, a fumbling incompetent.

Morgan made his way back inside the shuttle, pausing only to tell the waiting officersthat Governor Wiggin would be giving them their orders about unloading the cargo.

Then he went to the bathroom, tore the letter into tiny pieces, chewed them into pulp,and spat the wad into the toilet. The taste of paper and ink nauseated him, and heretched a couple of times before he got control of himself.

Then he went into his communications center and had lunch. He was still eating it when alieutenant commander supervised a couple of the natives in bringing in a fine mess offresh fruits and vegetables, just as Wiggin had predicted. It was delicious, and

afterward, Morgan napped until one of his aides woke him to tell him the unloading wasfinished, they had taken aboard a vast supply of excellent foodstuffs and fresh water,and they were about to take off to return to the ship.

“The Wiggin boy will make a fine governor, don’t you think?” Morgan said.

“Yes, sir, I believe so, sir,” said the aide.

“And to think I imagined that he might need help from me to get started.” Morganlaughed. “Well, I have a ship to run. Let’s get back to it!”

Sel watched warily as the larva made its way back into the cavern. Was it heading forhim, or just returning the way he came? He might test it by moving, but then his verymotion might draw its attention to him.

“Nice larva,” whispered Sel. “How about some nice dried dog?”

When he reached for his pack, to extract the food, it wasn’t there. Po had his pack.

But Sel had the little bag at his waist where he carried his own food for each day’shike. He opened it, took out the dried dog meat and the vegetables that he carriedthere, and tossed them toward the larva.

It stopped. It nudged the food lying on the ground. Just in case sending mental imageshad actually worked, Sel created a mental image of the food as being part of the bellyof a dying gold bug. This is magical thinking, he told himself, to believe that what Iform in my mind will affect the behavior of this beast. But at least it occupied hismind while he waited to see whether the larva liked its food in small batches, or largeand on the hoof.

The larva rose up and plunged its gaping mouth down on the food like a remora attachingitself to a shark.

Sel could imagine a smaller version of the larva being exactly that—a remora, attachingitself to larger creatures to suck the blood out of them. Or to burrow into them?

He remembered the tiny parasites that had killed people when the colony was firstformed. The ones Sel had invented blood additives to repel.

This creature is a hybrid. Half native to this world. Half derived from organisms of theformic world.

No, not “organisms.” Derived from the formics themselves. The body structure wasbasically formicoid. It would take very creative and knowledgeable gene-splicing toconstruct a viable creature that combined attributes of two species growing out of such

disparate genetic heritages. The result would be a species that was half formic, so thatperhaps the hive queens could communicate with them mentally, control them like anyother formics. Only they were still different enough that they didn’t completely bondwith the queen—so when this world’s hive queen died, the gold bugs didn’t.

Or maybe they already had a species they used for menial tasks, one that had a weakmental bond with the hive queens, and that’s what they interbred with the parasiticworms. Those incredible teeth that could burrow right through leather, cloth, skin, andbone. But sentient, or nearly so. It could still be ruled by the hive queen’s mind.

Or my mind. Did it come back at my summoning? Or was it simply taking the easy foodfirst?

By now the larva had plunged down onto each of the bits of food and devoured them—alongwith a thin layer of the stone floor at each spot. The thing was hungry.

Sel formed a picture in his mind—a complicated one now. A picture of Sel and Po

bringing food into the tunnel. Feeding the larva. He pictured himself and Po going inand out of the cave, bringing food. Lots of food. Leaves. Grain. Fruit. Small animals.

The larva came toward him, but then circled around him. Writhed around his legs. Like aconstrictor? Did it have that snakelike pattern, too?

No. It didn’t get tighter. It was more like a cat.

Then it pushed from behind. Nudging him toward the tunnel.

Sel obeyed. The thing understood. There was rudimentary communication going on.

Sel hurried to the tunnel, then knelt and sat and started to try to slide along as hehad coming in.

The larve slid past him in the tunnel and then stopped. Waiting.

The image came into his mind, just a flash of it: Sel holding on to the larva.

Sel took hold of the creature’s dry, articulated surface, and it began moving forwardagain. It was carefully not thrashing him against the wall, though he scraped now andthen. It hurt and probably drew blood, but none of his bones broke and none of the

lacerations were deep. Perhaps it was bred to give rides like this to formics when theywere still alive. It wouldn’t have bothered a formic to bash against the walls alittle.

The larva stopped. But now Sel could see the light of day. So could the larva. Itdidn’t go out there; it shied from the light and backed down the tunnel past Sel.

When Sel emerged into the daylight and stood up, Po ran to him and hugged him. “Itdidn’t eat you!”

“No, it gave me a ride,” he said.

Po wasn’t sure how to make sense of this.

“All our food,” said Sel. “I promised we’d feed it.”

Po didn’t argue. He ran to the pack and started handing food to Sel, who gathered itinto a basket made by holding his shirt out in front of him. “Enough for the moment,”said Sel.

In a few moments, he had his shirt off and stuffed with food. Then he started

laboriously down the tunnel again. In moments the larva was there again, coiling aroundhim. Sel opened the shirt and dropped the food. The larva began eating ravenously. Selwas still close enough to the entrance that he could squat-walk out again.

“We’ll need more food,” said Sel.

“What’s food to the larva?” asked Po. “Grass? Bushes?”

“It ate the vegetables from my lunch pack.”

“There’s not going to be anything edible growing around here.”

“Not edible to us,” said Sel. “But if I’m right, this thing is half native to thisworld, and it can probably metabolize the local vegetation.”

If there was one thing they knew how to do, it was identify the local flora. Soon theywere shuttling shirtfuls of tuberous vegetables down the tunnel. They took turnscarrying food to the larva.

* * * * *

Morgan had gone inside the shuttle; Ender had given his orders and the ship’s crew wasunloading the shuttle while the locals loaded up the skimmers and transported the cargoto the right places. Other people knew better than Ender how to direct and carry outthese tasks, so he left them to it while Ix took him to the xeno station where Sel’sansible was waiting, amid the other communications equipment. “I just need to transmita quick message back to Eros,” Ender said.

While he was still composing it, the voice of young Po Tolo came in on the radio.

“No, I’m not your father,” said Ender. “I’ll call him.”

He didn’t have to—Ix had heard his voice, probably heard Po’s voice on the radio, andhe was there in a moment. Ender quickly finished his message while catching the gist ofIx’s conversation with his son. Ender transmitted to Graff and Wuri just as Ix said,“We’ll be there quicker than you can guess.”

Ix turned to Ender. “We need to take a skimmer to Sel and Po. They’re out ofsupplies.”

Ender couldn’t believe Sel would plan so badly that he could do anything as foolish asthat. But before he could say anything, Ix went on.

“They’ve found a creature,” said Ix. “At least a hybrid. Cave dweller. Six legs inthe adult form. Huge wormlike larva. It can chew rock, but it doesn’t metabolize it. Itwas starving, so they gave it all their food.”

“He’s such a generous man,” said Ender.

“The skimmer can travel that far? Two hundred clicks, over uneven terrain?”

“Easily,” said Ender. “It charges by solar, but the normal range is five hundredkilometers without a pause for recharge.”

“I’m very glad you got here when you did.”

“Not a coincidence,” said Ender. “Sel left because I was coming, remember?”

“But he didn’t need to,” said Ix.

“I know. But as I said, he’s a generous man.”

They had two of the skimmers loaded with food in about twenty minutes, and along withexperienced marines to pilot the things, Ender brought along Ix himself. They rodetogether on the more lightly loaded of the two.

Too bad none of the new xenos had been wakened yet—they would have killed for a chanceto be along for the ride. But all in good time.

On the way, Ix explained to Ender as much as he had gleaned from talking to his son.“Po didn’t want to leap to conclusions—he’s a cautious boy—but from what he says,Sel thinks it’s some kind of genetic merge between a formicoid species and a localworm—conceivably even the bloodworm that tried to wipe out our first generation.”

“The one you take injections to control?”

“We have better methods now,” said Ix. “Preventive rather than maintenance. Theycan’t take hold. The original problem was that we were already deeply infected beforewe knew the problem existed—they had to be rooted out. But my generation never got theinfection. You won’t either. You’ll see.”

“Define ‘formicoid,’ ” said Ender.

“Look, I’m not sure myself, Po and I didn’t talk long. But . . . my guess is that hemeant ‘formicoid’ the way we’d say ‘mammalian’ or even ‘chordate,’ rather than‘humanoid.’ “

Ender looked a little disappointed. “You’ve got to understand, I’m a little obsessedwith the formics. My old enemy, you know? Anything that might bring me closer tounderstanding them . . .”

Ix said nothing. Either he understood or he didn’t. Either way, what he cared about wasthat both his son and his mentor were out there, without food and with a vastly

important scientific discovery that would make waves on Earth and in all the colonies.

With only one satellite in the sky so far—the original transport ship—there was no wayto triangulate a global positioning system. That would come later, when Morgan’s peopleplaced their network of geosyncs into orbit. For now, they depended entirely on the mapsthat had been generated before they landed, and Po’s description of the route they

would need to follow. Ender was impressed that the kid’s instructions were perfect. Nota missed landmark, not a wrong turn. No delays at all.

Even proceeding cautiously, they made good time. They were there five hours after thecall from Po, and it was still daylight, though it wouldn’t be for much longer. As theyskimmed into the valley with all its cave entrances, Ender saw with some amusement thatthe young man waving to them was no more than a year or two older than he was. Why hadhe been surprised that Po could do a good, reliable job? Hadn’t Ender himself beendoing a man’s job for years?

Ix was off the skimmer almost before it stopped, and ran to his son and embraced him.Ender might be governor, but Ix was in charge here, giving instructions to the marinesabout where to park and unload. Ender authorized the instructions with a wink, and thenset to work helping the men with their work. He was tall enough now that he could do adecent share of it, though not as much as two adult men with marine training. They foundthings to chat about while they worked, and Ender broached a subject that he’d beenthinking about through most of the voyage.

“A world like this,” said Ender, “almost makes you sorry to leave again, doesn’tit?”

“Not me,” said one of them. “Everything’s so dirty. Give me shipboard life andcrappy food!”

But the other one said nothing, just glanced at Ender and then looked away. So he wasconsidering it. Staying. That was something Ender would have to negotiate with Morgan.He would be sorry if the way he thwarted Morgan’s plans made it impossible to work outa way for some of the crew to stay. Still, there’d be time to figure it out. Work out atrade—because there had to be at least a few of the younger generation born here onShakespeare who were longing to get out of this place, this tiny village, and see awider world. It was the old tradition of the sea. And of the circus. Lose a few crewmembers in every port or town, but pick up a few others who have an itchy foot or adreamy eye.

Out of the cavern emerged an old man, who took more than a few moments to straighten upfrom being inside the cave. He spoke for a few moments to Po and Ix, and then, as theyheaded inside the cavern, dragging a sledge filled with roots and fruits—a sledge thatIx had made sure they loaded onto a skimmer—Sel Menach turned to look at Ender for thefirst time.

“Ender Wiggin,” he said.

“Sel Menach,” said Ender. “Po said you had a giant worm situation going on here.”

Sel looked at the marines, who had their hands on their sidearms. “No weapons needed.We’re not exactly talking with the things, but they understand rudimentary images.”

“Things?” asked Ender.

“While we were feeding the one, two others came up. I don’t know if it’s enough tosustain a breeding population, but it’s better than coming upon a species when only onespecimen is left alive. Or none.”

“‘Formicoid’ is a word that’s been bandied about,” said Ender.

“Can’t be sure till we get the genetic material scoped and scanned,” said Sel. “Ifthey were really formics, they’d be dead. The adult bodies have carapaces; they’re notfurred, with an endoskeleton. Might not even be as close to formics as lemurs are tous—or they might be as close as chimps. But Ender,” said Sel, his eyes glistening. “Italked to it. No, I thought to it. I gave it an image and it responded. And it gave meone back. Showed me how to hitch a ride on it through the tunnel.”

Ender looked at Sel’s scraped and torn clothing. “Rough ride.”

“Rough road,” said Sel. “The ride was fine.”

“You know I came here for the formics,” said Ender.

“Me too,” said Sel, grinning. “To kill them.”

“But now to understand them,” said Ender.

“I think we’ve found a key here. Maybe not to every last door, but it’ll opensomething.” Then he put an arm across Ender’s shoulder and led him away from theothers. Ender usually disliked the arm-across-the-shoulder move—it was how one manasserted superiority over another. But there was no hint of that in Sel. It was morelike an assertion of camaraderie. Even conspiracy. “I know we can’t talk openly,”said Sel, “but give it to me straight. Are you governor or not?”

“In fact as well as name,” said Ender. “The threat was averted and he’s back on theship, cooperating as if that’s all he ever intended.”

“Maybe it was,” said Sel.

Ender laughed. “And maybe this larva you’ve found will teach us calculus before theday is out.”

“I’ll be happy if it knows how to count to five.”

Later, after night fell and the men sat around a fire eating the fresh, easily spoiledfood Po’s mother had sent for tonight’s supper, Sel was expansive, full of

speculation, full of hope. “These creatures metabolize gold and extrude it in theircarapaces. Maybe they do it with whatever metal is in the ore, or maybe they bredseparate subspecies for each metal they needed. Maybe this isn’t the only populationwith survivors. Maybe we can locate iron miners, copper miners, tin, silver, aluminum,anything we need. But if this group is average, then we’ll find some groups that areall dead, and some that have larger populations. It would be too freakish for this to bethe last surviving group in the world.”

“We’ll get on it right away,” said Ender. “While we still have marines from the shipto help in the search. And they can take . . . locals with them to learn how to fly theskimmers like experts before the ship goes away.”

Ix laughed. “You almost said ‘natives’ instead of ‘locals.’ “

“Yes,” Ender admitted freely. “I did.”

“It’s all right,” said Ix. “The formics didn’t evolve here either. So ‘native’just means ‘born here,’ and that describes me and Po—everybody except the ancientones of Sel’s generation. Natives and newcomers, but in the next generation, we’ll allbe natives.”

“Then you think that’s the term we should use?”

“Native Shakespearians,” said Ix. “That’s what we are.”

“I hope we don’t have to do some kind of blood ceremony or initiation to be acceptedinto the tribe.”

“No,” said Ix. “White man bringing skimmer is always welcome.”

“Just because I’m white doesn’t mean—” Then Ender saw the laughter in Ix’s eyesand smiled. “I’m too eager not to give offense,” said Ender. “So eager I was tooquick to take offense.”

“You’ll get used to our Mayan sense of humor eventually,” said Ix.

“No he won’t,” said Sel. “Nobody else has gotten used to it, anyway.”

“Everybody but you, old man,” said Ix.

Sel laughed along with the others, and then the conversation took another turn, with themarines describing their training, and talking about what life was like on Earth and inthe high-tech society that moved throughout the solar system.

Ender noticed Sel getting a faraway look in his eyes, and misunderstood what it meant.As they prepared for sleep, Ender took a moment to ask Sel, “Do you ever give anythought to going back? Home? To Earth?”

Sel visibly shuddered. “No! What would I do there? Here’s where everyone and

everything I love and care about are.” Then he got that wistful look again. “No, Ijust can’t help but think that it’s just a damn shame that I didn’t find this placethirty or twenty or even ten years ago. So busy, so much work right around the

settlement, always meant to make this trip, and if I’d only done it back then, there’dhave been more of them alive, and I’d have had more years to take part in the work.Missed opportunity, my young friend! There is no life without regret.”

“But you’re glad that you found them now.”

“Yes I am,” said Sel. “Everybody misses some things, finds others. This is somethingI helped to find. With not a minute to spare.” Then he smiled. “One thing I noticed. Idon’t know if it matters, but . . . the larva hadn’t eaten the gold bug we found, theone that was still alive. And those larvae, they’re voracious.”

“They only eat carrion?” asked Ender.

“No, no, they went down on the turtles just fine. Not Earth turtles, but we call themthat. They like living meat. But eating the gold bugs, that was cannibalism, you

understand? That was their parents’ generation. Eating them because there was nothingelse. But they waited until they were dead. You see?”

Ender nodded. He saw perfectly. A rudimentary sense of respect for the living. For therights of others. Whatever these gold bugs were, they were not mere animals. Theyweren’t formics, but maybe they would give Ender his chance to get inside the formic

mind, at least at one remove.


Ender in Exile


To: MinCol@ColMin.gov

From: Gov%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov

Subj: Let’s have a very quiet revolution

Dear Hyrum,

I have been warmly received as governor here, in no small part due to your long-distanceintervention, as well as the enthusiasm of the natives.

We are still bringing colonists down from the ship as quickly as housing can be

constructed for them. We are branching out into four settlements—the original, Miranda;and Falstaff, Polonius, and Mercutio. There was some enthusiasm for a Caliban village,but it quickly dissipated when people contemplated a future village school and what themascot might look like.

You do understand, don’t you, that local self-government is inevitable in the colonies,and the sooner the better. Well-intentioned as you are, and vital as it is that Earthcontinue to pay the astronomical (pun intended) expenses of starflight in the faint hopethat it will eventually pay for itself, there is no way that the I.F. can force anunwanted governor on an unwilling populace—not for long.

Far better that I.F. ships come with ambassadorial status, to promote trade and goodrelations and deliver colonists and supplies to compensate for the burden they place onthe local economy.

In token of which good counsel, I intend to serve for two years as governor, duringwhich time I will sponsor the writing of a constitution. We will submit it to ColMin,not for approval—if we like it, it’s our constitution—but for your judgment as towhether ColMin can recommend Shakespeare as a destination for colonists. That’s whereyour power comes from—your ability to decide whether colonists can join an existingcolony or not.

And perhaps some regulatory commission can meet by ansible, with a representative andsingle vote from every colony, to certify each other as worthy trading partners. In thisway, a colony that sets up an intolerable government can be ostracized and cut off fromtrade and new colonists—but no one will commit the absurdity of trying to wage war(another word for enforcing policy) against a settlement that it takes half a lifetimeto reach.

Does this letter constitute a declaration of independence? Not a very principled one.It’s more a simple recognition that we’re independent whether we make it official ornot. These people survived for forty-one years completely on their own. They’re glad tohave received the supplies and the new breeding stock (plant, animal, human), but theydid not have to have them.

In a way, each of these colonies is a hybrid—human by gene and cultural forebear, butformic by infrastructure. The formics built well; we don’t have to clear land or searchfor water or process it, and their sewage systems seem to have been built for the ages.

A fine monument! They still serve us by carrying away our poo. Because of what the

formics prepared and what good scientists like Sel Menach accomplished in the colonies,

the I.F. and ColMin don’t have the clout that they might have had.

I say all this along with the sincere hope that we can eventually reach a point whereevery colony is visited every single year. Not in your lifetime or mine, probably, butthat should be the goal.

Though if history is any guide, that ambition will seem absurdly modest within fiftyyears, as ships may very well come and go every six months, or every month, or everyweek of the year. May we both live to see it.


There is no accounting for the whims of children. When Alessandra was a toddler,

Dorabella merely chuckled at the strange things she tried to do. When Alessandra was oldenough to speak, her questions seemed to come from thought processes so random that itmade Dorabella half believe that her child really was sent to her by fairies.

But by school age, children tended to become more reasonable. It was not teachers orparents who did it to them, but the other children, who either ridiculed or shunned achild whose actions and utterances did not conform with their standard of ordinariness.

Still, Alessandra never ceased to be able to come up with complete surprises, and of alltimes, with poor Quincy so frustrated at the way Ender had bested him in bureaucraticmaneuvering, she picked this one to be completely unreasonable.

“Mother,” said Alessandra, “most of the sleepers have woken now and gone down toShakespeare, and I’ve been packed for days. When are we going?”

“Packed?” said Dorabella. “I thought you had been seized by a fit of tidiness. I wasgoing to ask the doctors to test you for some odd disease.”

“I’m not joking, Mother. We signed on to go to the colony. We’re at the colony. Justone shuttle trip away. We have a contract.”

Dorabella laughed. But the girl really wasn’t going to be teased out of this. “Darlingdaughter of mine,” said Dorabella. “I’m married now. To the admiral who captains thisship. Where the ship goes, he goes. Where he goes, I go. Where I go, you go.”

Alessandra stood there in utter silence. She seemed poised to argue.

And then she didn’t argue at all. “All right, Mother. So it’s clean indoor living foranother few years.”

“My dear Quincy tells me that our next destination is another colony, nowhere near sofar from us as Earth. Only a few months of flying time.”

“But very tedious for me,” said Alessandra. “With all the interesting people gone.”

“Meaning Ender Wiggin, of course,” said Dorabella. “I did so hope that you mightmanage to attract that fine young man with prospects. But he seems to have chosen tocast us aside.”

Alessandra looked puzzled. “Us?” she said.

“He’s a very smart boy. He knew that by forcing my dear Quincy to leave Shakespeare,he was sending you and me away, too.”

“I never thought of that,” said Alessandra. “Why, I’m very cross with him, then.”

Dorabella felt a sudden tingling of awareness. Alessandra was taking things too well.This was not like her. And this hint of childish petulance directed against Ender Wigginseemed to be almost a parody of Dora-bella’s deliberately childish fairy talk.

“What are you planning?” asked Dorabella.

“Planning? How can I plan anything when the crew are all so busy and the marines aredown on the planet?”

“You’re planning to sneak onto the shuttle without permission and go down to theplanet’s surface without my knowing it.”

Alessandra looked at Dorabella as if she were crazy. But since that was her normal

expression, Dorabella fully expected to be lied to, and her daughter did not disappoint.“Of course I wasn’t,” said Alessandra. “I fully expect to have your permission.”

“Well, you don’t.”

“We came all this way, Mother.” Now she sounded like her petulant self, so that herarguments might be sincere. “I at least want to visit. I want to say good-bye to allour friends from the voyage. I want to see the sky. I haven’t seen sky for two years!”

“You’ve been in the sky,” said Dorabella.

“Oh, that was a smart answer,” said Alessandra. “That makes my longing to be outdoorsgo away . . . just. Like. That.”

Now that Alessandra mentioned it, Dorabella realized that she, too, longed for a bit ofa walk outdoors. The gym on the ship was always full of marines and crew members, andeven though they were required to walk for a certain number of minutes a day on thetreadmill, it was not as if that ever felt like you had truly gone somewhere.

“That’s not unreasonable,” said Dorabella.

“You’re joking,” said Alessandra.

“What, do you think it is unreasonable?”

“I didn’t think you would ever think it was reasonable.”

“I’m hurt,” said Dorabella. “I’m a human being, too. I long for the sight of cloudsin the sky. They do have clouds here, don’t they?”

“How would I know, Mother?”

“We’ll go together,” said Dorabella. “Mother and daughter, saying good-bye to ourfriends. We never got to do that when we left Monopoli.”

“We didn’t have any friends,” said Alessandra.

“We certainly did too, and they must have thought we were so rude to leave withoutthem.”

“I bet they brood about it every day. ‘What ever happened to that rude girl

Alessandra, who left us without saying good-bye—forty years ago.’ “

Dorabella laughed. Alessandra did have such biting wit. “That’s my smart little fairydaughter. Titania had nothing on you when it came to bitchiness.”

“I wish you had stopped reading Shakespeare with Taming of the Shrew.”

“I’ve been living inside A Midsummer Night’s Dream my whole life and I never knewit,” said Dorabella. “That was what felt like coming home to me, not reaching somestrange planet.”

“Well, I live inside The Tempest,” said Alessandra. “Trapped on an island anddesperate to get off.”

Dorabella laughed again. “I’ll ask your father to let us ride down with one of theshuttles and come back up with another. How’s that?”

“Excellent. Thank you, Mother.”

“Wait a minute,” said Dorabella.

“What do you mean?”

“You agreed too quickly. What are you planning? Do you think you can sneak away intothe woods and hide till I go off and leave without you? That will never happen, my dear.

I will not go without you, and Quincy will not go without me. If you try to run away,marines will track you down and find you and drag you back to me. Do you understand?”

“Mother,” said Alessandra, “the last time I ran away was when I was six.”

“My dear, you ran away only a few weeks before we left Monopoli. When you skippedschool and went to visit your grandmother.”

“That wasn’t running away,” said Alessandra. “I came back.”

“Only after you found out that your grandmother was Satan’s widow.”

“I didn’t know the devil was dead.”

“Married to her, can you imagine he wouldn’t kill himself?”

Alessandra laughed. That’s how it was done—you lay down the law, but then you makethem laugh and be happy about obeying you.

“We’ll visit Shakespeare, and then we’ll come back home to the ship. The ship is homenow. Don’t forget that.”

“Of course not,” said Alessandra. “But Mama.”

“Yes, darling fairy girl?”

“He’s not my father.”

Dorabella took a moment to figure out what she was talking about. “Who’s not yourwhat?”

“Admiral Morgan,” said Alessandra. “Not my father.”

“I’m your mother. He’s my husband. What do you think that makes him, your nephew?”

“Not. My. Father.”

“Oh, I’m so sad,” said Dorabella. “Here I thought you were happy for me.”

“I’m very happy for you,” said Alessandra. “But my father was a real man, not theking of the fairies, and he didn’t prance off into the woods, he died. Anyone you marrynow will be your husband, but not my father.”

“I didn’t marry anyone, I married a wonderful man with whom I am bound to have morechildren, so that if you reject him as your father, he will have no shortage of otherheirs on whom to bestow his estate.”

“I don’t want his estate.”

“Then you’d better marry well,” said Dorabella, “because you don’t want to raiseyour own children in poverty the way I did.”

“Just don’t call him my father,” said Alessandra.

“You have to call him something, and so do I. Be reasonable, darling.”

“Then I’ll call him Prospero,” said Alessandra, “because that’s what he is.”

“What? Why?”

“A powerful stranger who has us completely under his control. You’re Ariel, the sweetone who loves your master. I’m Caliban. I just want to be set free.”

“You’re a teenager. You’ll grow out of it.”


“There is no such thing as freedom,” said Dorabella, getting impatient. “Sometimes,though, there’s a chance to choose your master.”

“Very well, Mother. You chose your master. But I haven’t chosen mine.”

“You still think the Wiggin boy even notices you.”

“I know that he does, but I’m not pinning my hopes on him.”

“You offered yourself to him, my dear, and he turned you down flat. It was quitehumiliating, even if you didn’t realize it.”

Alessandra’s face turned a bit red and she stalked to the door of their quarters. Thenshe whirled around, real pain and fury on her face. “You watched,” she said. “Quincyrecorded it and you watched!”

“Of course I did,” said Dorabella. “If I hadn’t, he or some crewman would havewatched. Do you think I wanted them ogling your body?”

“You sent me to Ender expecting me to get naked with him, and you knew they wererecording it, and you watched it. You watched me.”

“You didn’t get naked, did you? And so what if you had? I saw your naked body fromangles you’ve never even thought of during the butt-wiping years.”

“I hate you, Mother.”

“You love me, because I always watch out for you.”

“And Ender didn’t humiliate me. Or reject me. He rejected you. He rejected the way youmade me act!”

“What happened to, ‘Oh thank you, Mother! Now I shall have the man I love’?”

“I never said that.”

“You thanked me and giggled and thanked me again. You stood there and let me make youup like a whore to entice him. At what point did I force you to do something againstyour will?”

“You told me what I had to do if I wanted Ender to love me. Only a man like Enderdoesn’t fall for tricks like yours!”

“A man? A boy is what you mean. The only reason he didn’t fall for that ‘trick’ wasbecause he probably hasn’t reached sexual maturity. If he’s even a heterosexual.”

“Listen to yourself, Mother,” said Alessandra. “One minute Ender is the beginning andend of the world, the best chance for a great man that I’ll ever have a chance to find.The next minute, he’s a gay little boy who shamed me. You judge him according towhether he’s useful to you.”

“No, my pet. Whether he’s useful to my little girl.”

“Well, he isn’t,” said Alessandra.

“That was my point,” said Dorabella. “And yet you gave me a tongue-lashing for sayingso. Do make up your mind, my little Caliban.” Then Dorabella burst into laughter, and,completely against her will, so did Alessandra. The girl was so angry at herself forlaughing, or at Dorabella for making her laugh, that she fled from the room, slammingthe door behind her. Or trying to—the pneumatics caught it and it closed quite gently.

Poor Alessandra. Nothing went the way she wanted.

Welcome to the real world, my child. Someday you’ll see that my getting dear Quincy tofall in love with me was the best thing I ever did for you. Because I do everything foryou. And all I ask in return is that you hold up your end and take the opportunities Iget for you.

* * * * *

Valentine tried to walk normally into the room, to remain perfectly calm. But she was sodisgusted with Ender that she could hardly contain herself. The boy was so busy makinghimself “available” to all the new colonists and old settlers, answering questions,chatting about things that he could not possibly remember from half-hour interviews two

years ago, when he was so tired he could hardly speak. Yet when someone with whom he hada genuine personal relationship was looking for him, he was nowhere to be found.

It was just like the way he had refused to write to their parents. Well, he hadn’trefused. He had always promised to do it. Then he simply never did.

For the past two years, he had promised—by implication, if not by word—that if thepoor Toscano girl fell in love with him, it would not be unwelcome. Now she and hermother had come down to the planet’s surface, to do some “sightseeing.” The girl wasobviously looking for only one sight: Ender Wiggin. And he was nowhere.

Valentine was fed up. The boy could be bold and brave indeed, except when there was

something emotionally demanding that he didn’t actually have to do. He could evade thisgirl, and maybe he thought that was some kind of clear message, but he owed her words.He owed her at least a good-bye. It didn’t have to be a fond one, it just had tohappen.

She finally found him in the XB’s ansible room, writing something—probably a letter toGraff or someone equally irrelevant to their life on this new world.

“The fact that you’re here,” said Valentine, “leaves you without any excuse atall.”

Ender looked up at her, seeming to be genuinely puzzled. Well, he probably wasn’tfaking it—he probably blocked the girl out of his mind so thoroughly that he had noclue what Valentine was talking about.

“You’re looking through your mail. That means you got the passenger log for thisshuttle trip.”

“I already met the new colonists.”

“Except one.”

Ender raised an eyebrow. “Alessandra isn’t a colonist anymore.”

“She’s looking for you.”

“She could ask anybody where I am and they’ll tell her. It’s no secret.”

“She can’t ask.”

“Well, then, how does she expect to find me?”

“Don’t put on this stupid act. I’m not so stupid as to believe you’re stupid, evenif you’re acting as stupid as can be.”

“OK, I’ve got the stupid part. Can you be more specific?”

“Extremely stupid.”

“Not the degree, dear sister.”

“Emotionally insensitive.”

“Valentine,” said Ender, “doesn’t it occur to you that I actually know what I’mdoing? Can’t you have a little faith in me?”

“I think you’re evading an emotionally difficult confrontation.”

“Then why don’t I hide from you?”

She wasn’t sure whether to be even more annoyed at him for turning the tables on her,or to be a bit relieved that he considered a confrontation with her to be emotional. Shewasn’t actually sure she had enough of a hold on him for their confrontations to beemotional—on his side, anyway.

Ender glanced at the time in the computer display and sighed. “Well, your timing, asusual, is impeccable, even if you don’t have a clue.”

“I’d have a clue if you gave me one,” said Valentine.

Ender was standing now, and to her surprise, he really was taller than her. She had

noticed he was getting tall, but hadn’t realized that he had passed her. And it wasn’tthick shoes—he wasn’t wearing any.

“Val,” he said softly. “If you looked at what I say and do, it would be obvious toyou what’s going on. But you don’t analyze. You see something that doesn’t lookright, and you leap past all the thinking part and go straight to ‘Ender is doingsomething wrong and I must put a stop to it.’ “

“I think! I analyze!”

“You analyze everything and everybody. That’s what makes your history of Battle Schoolso wonderful and truthful.”

“You’ve read it?”

“You gave it to me three days ago. Of course I’ve read it.”

“You didn’t say anything.”

“This is the first time I’ve seen you since I finished it. Val, think, please.”

“Don’t patronize me!”

“Feeling patronized isn’t thinking,” he said, sounding irritated at last. That madeher feel a little better. “Don’t judge me until you understand me. You can’t

understand me if you’ve already judged me. You think I’ve treated Alessandra badly,but I haven’t. I’ve treated her extremely well. I’m about to save her life. But youcan’t trust me to do the right thing. You don’t even bother to think what the rightthing is before you decide that I’m not doing it.”

“What is it that I think you’re not doing that you are doing? That girl is pining foryou—“

“Her feelings. Not her needs. Not what’s actually good for her. You think the worstdanger she faces is having her feelings hurt.”

Valentine felt the righteous anger bleed out of her. What danger was he talking about?What need did Alessandra have, beyond her need for Ender? What was Valentine missing?

Ender put his arms around her, hugged her, and then moved past her, out of the room,then out of the building. Valentine had no choice but to follow.

He moved briskly across the grassy square in the middle of the science complex—really,just four one-story structures where the handful of scientists worked on the biology andtechnology that kept the colonists and the colony running. Now, though, with thenewcomers from the ship, the houses were teeming with people, and Ender had alreadyasked the foremen of the crews to shift their priorities and get additional sciencebuildings. The noise of building wasn’t deafening, because there were few power tools.But the calling out of instructions, the shouted warnings, the pounding of axes andhammers, it was a vigorous sound, taken all together. The sound of deliberate, welcomechange.

Did Ender really know exactly where the Toscanos would be? He certainly walked straighttoward the place. And now that Valentine thought about it—analyzed, yes, Ender—sherealized that Ender must have been waiting till the end of their visit, until theshuttle was loading up for the return trip. Not quite the last one, but the last thatwouldn’t be full of marines and crew. The last shuttle with room for nonessentialpassengers.

He cut it rather close, even so. Alessandra was standing forlorn at the bottom of theramp, with her mother tugging at her sleeve, urging her to move on into the shuttle.

Then she saw Ender coming toward her and broke away from her mother, running to Ender.Could the poor girl be any more obvious?

She flung her arms around Ender, and to his credit, he embraced her willingly. In fact,Valentine was surprised at the way he held her, nuzzling her shoulder with real

affection. What did he mean by that? What was the girl going to think he meant? Ender,are you really that insensitive?

* * * * *

When she practically jumped into his arms, Ender took a step back to bear the suddenmomentum; but he made sure to get his face down close to her ear.

“Sixteen is old enough to join a colony without parental permission,” he said softly.

Alessandra pulled away from him, looked searchingly in his eyes.

“No,” said Ender. “Nothing will happen between us. I’m not asking you to stay forme.”

“Then why would you ask me to stay at all?”

“I’m not,” said Ender. “I’m telling you how. Right now, right here, I can set youfree from your mother. Not to take her place, not to take control of your life, but tolet you take control of it. The question is, do you want it?”

Alessandra’s eyes filled with sudden tears. “You don’t love me?”

“I care about you,” said Ender. “You’re a good person who has never had a moment’sfreedom. Your mother controls your coming and going. She spins stories around you andeventually you always believe them and do what she wants. You barely know what you want.Here in Shakespeare, you’ll find out. Up there, with your mother and Admiral Morgan, Iwonder if you’ll ever know.”

She nodded, understanding. “I know what I want. I want to stay.”

“Then stay,” said Ender.

“Tell her,” said Alessandra. “Please.”


“If I talk to her, she’ll find some reason why I’m being stupid.”

“Don’t believe her.”

“She’ll make me feel guilty. Like I’m doing something really awful to her.”

“You’re not. In a way, you’re setting her free, too. She can have Morgan’s childrenand not worry about you.”

“You know about that? You know she’s going to have children with him?”

Ender sighed. “We don’t have time for this conversation now. Your mother’s comingbecause the shuttle has to leave and she expects you to be on it. If you decide to stay,I’ll back you up. If you go with her willingly, I won’t lift a hand to stop you.”

Then Ender stepped away from her, just as Dorabella arrived.

* * * * *

“I can see what he’s doing,” said Mother. “Promising you anything you want, just toget you to stay and become his plaything.”

“Mother,” said Alessandra, “you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I know that whatever he promised you is a lie. He doesn’t love you.”

“I know he doesn’t,” said Alessandra. “He told me he doesn’t.”

It was rather satisfying to see how surprised Mother looked. “Then what was all thathugging about? The way he nuzzled you?”

“He was whispering in my ear.”

“What did he say?”

“He only reminded me of something I already knew,” said Alessandra.

“Tell me on the shuttle, my dear little fairy princess, because they’re getting quiteimpatient. They don’t want to make your father angry by arriving late.”

It hadn’t been a whole day since Alessandra told her mother never to call Quincy her“father,” and she was already doing it again. That’s how it always was—Motherdecided how things should be, and nothing Alessandra did could change her. Instead

Alessandra always had to change. Whatever Mother wanted, eventually Alessandra would goalong with because it was easier. Mother made sure that doing things her way was alwayseasier.

The only time I ever defied her was behind her back. When she wasn’t looking, when Icould pretend she wouldn’t know. I walk in fear of her, even though she’s not a

monster like my grandmother. Or . . . or maybe she is, but I never defied her enough tofind out.

I don’t have to go with her. I can stay here.

But Ender doesn’t love me. Who do I have here? No friends, really. People I know fromthe voyage, but they all related to Mother, not to me. They talked about me, right infront of me, because Mother did. When they did speak to me, it was to say the thingsthat Mother had virtually commanded them to say. I have no friends.

Ender and Valentine were the only ones who treated me like a person in my own right. AndEnder doesn’t love me.

Why doesn’t he love me? What’s wrong with me? I’m pretty, I’m smart. Not as smart ashe is, or Valentine is, but nobody’s that smart, not even on Earth. He said he desiredme, that time back on the ship. He wants me, but he doesn’t love me. I’m just a bodyto him, just a big nothing, and if I stay here, I’ll be reminded of that all the time.

“My fairy darling,” said Mother, tugging at her sleeve again. “Come with me. We’regoing to be so happy together, voyaging among the stars! You’ll get a superb educationwith the midshipmen—your father already promised me that—and by the time you’re theright age, we’ll certainly be back near Earth, so you can go to a real university andyou can find a man instead of this obnoxious, self-centered boy.”

By now Mother was almost dragging her toward the shuttle. It was how things always went.Mother made it seem so inevitable to go along with her plans. And the alternatives werealways so awful. Other people never understood Alessandra the way Mother did.

But Mother doesn’t, thought Alessandra. She doesn’t understand me. She just

understands the insane picture she has of me. Her fairy changeling daughter.

Alessandra looked back over her shoulder, looking for Ender. There he was, showingnothing on his face at all. How can he do that? Has he no feelings? Won’t he miss me?Won’t he call me back? Won’t he plead for me?

No. He said he wouldn’t. He told me . . . my own choice . . . willingly . . .

Am I going with her willingly?

She’s dragging at me, but not with very much force at all. She’s talking me into itwith every step, and I’m going. Like the rats following the pied piper of Hamelin. Themusic of her voice entrances me, and I follow, and then I find myself . . . here, on theramp, heading to the shuttle.

Going back to where I’ll be under her thumb all the time. A rival to the children sheand Quincy have together. A nuisance, ultimately. What will happen then, when she turnson me? And even if she doesn’t, it will only be because I’m complying completely withwhat she wants for me.

Alessandra stopped.

Mother’s hand slipped away from her arm—she really hadn’t been gripping her, or justbarely.

“Alessandra,” said Mother. “I saw you look back at him, but you see? He doesn’t wantyou. He isn’t calling for you. There’s nothing for you here. But up there, in thestars, there’s my love for you. There’s the magic of our wonderful world together.”

But their wonderful world together wasn’t magic, it was a nightmare that Mother onlycalled magic. And now there was someone else in that “wonderful world,” someone thatMother was sleeping with and going to have babies with.

Mother isn’t just lying to me, she’s lying to herself. She doesn’t really want methere. She has found her own new life, and she’s only pretending that nothing will bechanged by it. The fact is that Mother desperately needs to be rid of me, so she can geton with her happiness. For sixteen years I’ve been the weight dragging her down,

holding her to the ground, keeping her from doing any of the things she dreamed of. Nowshe has the man of her dreams—well, a man who can give her the life of her dreams. AndI am in the way.

“Mother,” said Alessandra. “I’m not going with you.”

“Yes you are.”

“I’m sixteen,” said Alessandra. “The law says I can decide for myself whether tojoin a colony.”


“It’s true. Valentine Wiggin joined this colony when she was only fifteen. Her parentsdidn’t want her to, but she did it.”

“Is that the lie she told you? It may seem romantic and brave, but you’ll just belonely all the time.”

“Mother,” said Alessandra. “I’m lonely all the time anyway.”

Mother recoiled from her words. “How can you say that, you ungrateful little brat,”she said. “I’m with you. You’re never lonely.”

“I’m always lonely,” said Alessandra. “And you’re never with me. You’re with yourdarling angel fairy changeling child. And that’s not me.”

Alessandra turned away and headed back down the ramp.

She heard Mother’s footsteps. No, she felt them, as the ramp bounced slightly under theimpact of her feet.

Then she felt Mother shove her from behind, a brutal shove that threw her completely offbalance. “Go, then, you little bitch!” Mother screamed.

Alessandra struggled to get her feet under her, but her upper body was moving far fasterthan her feet could match, and she felt herself falling forward, the ramp looking sosteep, she was going to hit so hard and her hands wouldn’t be able to hold her up—

All of those thoughts in a split second, and then she felt her arm grabbed from behindand instead of hitting the ramp she swung down and then up again and it wasn’t Motherwho caught her, Mother was still a few steps away, where she had been when she shovedher. This was Ensign Akbar, and his face looked so concerned, so kind.

“Are you all right?” he said, once he had her standing up.

“That’s right!” Mother shouted. “Bring that ungrateful little brat right insidehere.”

“Do you want to go back to the ship with us?” asked Ensign Akbar.

“Of course she does,” said Mother, who was now at Akbar’s elbow. Alessandra could seethe transformation in Mother’s face as she switched from the screamer who called

Alessandra a bitch and a brat to the sweet fairy queen. “My darling fairy child is onlyhappy when she’s with her mother.”

“I think I want to stay here,” said Alessandra softly. “Will you let me go?”

Ensign Akbar leaned over to her and whispered in her ear, exactly as Ender had done. “Iwish I could stay here with you,” he said. Then he stood up to military attention.“Good-bye, Alessandra Toscano. Have a happy life here in this good world.”

“What are you saying! My husband will court-martial you for this!” The Mother movedpast him, heading for Alessandra, a hand reaching out for her like the bony hand ofdeath.

Ensign Akbar caught her by the wrist.

“How dare you,” she hissed directly into his face. “You’ve signed your death warrantfor mutiny.”

“Admiral Morgan will approve of my preventing his wife from breaking the law,” saidEnsign Akbar. “He will approve of my allowing this free colonist to exercise her rightto fulfil her contract and stay in this colony.”

Mother put her face right up into his, and Alessandra could see how flecks of herspittle sprayed right into his mouth, his nose, and onto his chin and cheeks. Yet hedidn’t budge. “It won’t be about this, you fool,” she said. “It will be about thetime you tried to rape me in a darkened room on the ship.”

For a moment, Alessandra found herself wondering when such a thing might have happened,and why Mother didn’t mention it at the time.

Then she realized: It hadn’t happened. Mother only intended to say it had. She was

threatening Ensign Akbar with a lie. And there was one thing for sure—Mother was a goodliar. Because she believed her own lies.

But Akbar only smiled. “The lady Dorabella Morgan has forgotten something.”

“What is that?”

“Everything is recorded.” Then Akbar let go of Mother’s wrist, turned her around, andgave her a gentle nudge up the ramp.

Alessandra couldn’t help herself. She gave one short, sharp laugh.

Mother whirled around, her face full of rage. Looking so much like Grandmother.

“Grandmother,” Alessandra said aloud. “I thought we left her behind, but look, webrought her with us.”

It was the cruelest thing Alessandra could have said, that was plain. Mother was

dumbstruck with the pain of it. Yet it was also the simple truth, and Alessandra hadn’tsaid it to hurt her mother, it had simply spilled out of her mouth the moment sherealized it was so.

“Good-bye, Mother,” said Alessandra. “Have lots of babies with Admiral Morgan. Behappy all the time. I wish you would. I hope you will.” Then she let Ensign Akbar takeher down the ramp.

Ender was there—he had come closer while Mother was distracting her, and Alessandrahadn’t realized it. He had come for her after all.

She and Akbar reached the base of the ramp; she noticed that Ender did not set foot onit.

“Ensign Akbar,” said Ender, “you’re mistaken about Admiral Morgan. He will believeher, if only to have peace with her.”

“I’m afraid you’re right,” he said. “But what can I do?”

“You can resign your commission. Both by real time and relativistic time, your term ofenlistment has expired.”

“I can’t resign in mid-voyage,” said Akbar.

“But you’re not in mid-voyage,” said Ender. “You’re in a port that is under theauthority of the Hegemony, in the person of myself, the governor.”

“He won’t let it happen,” said Akbar.

“Yes he will,” said Ender. “He will obey the law, because it’s the same law thatgives him his absolute authority during a voyage. If he breaks it against you, then itcan be broken against him. He knows that.”

“And if he didn’t,” said Akbar, “you’re telling him right now.”

Only then did Alessandra realize that their words were still being recorded.

“I am,” said Ender. “So you don’t have to face the consequences of defying Mrs.Morgan. You acted with complete propriety. Here in the town of Miranda, you’ll be

treated with the respect that a man of your integrity deserves.” Ender turned and witha sweep of his hand indicated the whole settlement. “The town is very small. Butlook—it’s so much larger than the ship.”

It was true. Alessandra could see that now for the first time. That this place was huge.There was room to get away from people if you didn’t like them. Room to carve out aspace for yourself, to say things that nobody else could hear, to think your ownthoughts.

I’ve made the right choice.

Ensign Akbar stepped off the end of the ramp. So did Alessandra. Back on the ramp,Mother howled something. But Alessandra did not make any sense of the sound. She couldhear no words in it, though surely words were being said.

She didn’t have to hear it. She didn’t have to understand it. She no longer lived inMother’s world.


Ender in Exile


From: MinCol@ColMin.gov

To: Gov%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov

Subj: Unexpected colonists

Dear Ender,

I’m glad to hear that things are going so well in Shakespeare Colony. The successfulassimilation of the new colonists is not being matched everywhere, and we have grantedthe petition of the governor of Colony IX that we not send them colonists—or a new

governor—after all. In short, they have declared themselves even more independent thanyou have. (Your declaration that Shakespeare would accept no more offworld governors wascited as having prompted them to decide whether they wanted new colonists, so in a waythis is all your fault, don’t you think?)

Unfortunately, their declaration came when I already had a ship with several thousandcolonists, a new governor, and a huge amount of supplies most of the way toward theirplanet. They left not very long after your ship. Now they’re thirty-nine lightyearsfrom home, and the party they were invited to has been canceled.

However, Shakespeare is close to the route they were taking, and at this moment, theyare in such a position that we can bring them out of lightspeed, start turning them assoon as that becomes feasible, and get them to your planet in about a year.

These colonists will all be strangers to you. They have their own governor—again,someone you do not know or even know of. It would almost certainly work best if theyestablish their own settlement, accepting guidance and medical help and supplies fromyou, but governing themselves.

Since you have already divided your colony into four villages, the settlement they formwill be larger than any of yours. It will be a far more difficult assimilation than whenyour ship arrived, and I suggest a federation of two colonies rather than incorporatingthem in your colony. Or, if you prefer, a federation of five cities, though having thenew colonists outnumbered four-to-one in such a federation will cause its own tensions.

If you tell me not to send them, I will follow your wishes; I can keep them on a holdingpattern, even putting most of the crew in stasis, until one of the planets we’reterraforming is ready for them.

But if anyone can adapt to this situation, and induce his colony to accept thenewcomers, it is you.

I am attaching full information, including bios and manifest.


From: Gov%ShakespeareCol@ColMin.gov

To: MinCol@ColMin.gov

Subj: Re: Unexpected colonists

Dear Hyrum,

We’ll find a site for them and have habitations prepared when they arrive. We will putthem near a formic city, so they can mine their technology and farm their fields, as wedid; and because you’ve given us a year’s notice, we’ll have time to plant fields andorchards for them with human-adapted local crops and genetically altered Earth crops.The people of Shakespeare voted on this and are embracing the project with enthusiasm. Iwill leave shortly to choose an appropriate site.


In all eleven years of Abra’s life, only one thing had ever happened that mattered: thearrival of Ender Wiggin.

Until then, it was all work. Children were expected to do whatever was within theirability, and Abra had the misfortune to be clever with his hands. He could untie knotsand tie them before he could make sentences. He could see how machinery worked and whenhe became strong enough to use adult tools, he could fix it or adapt it. He understoodthe flow of power through the metal parts. And so there were jobs for him to do evenwhen other children were playing.

His father, Ix, was proud of his son, and so Abra was proud of himself. He was glad tobe a child who was needed for grownup tasks. He was much smaller than his older brotherPo, who had gone along with Uncle Sel to find the gold bugs; but he was sent to help rigthe low trolley that people rode into and out of the cave, and on which food was takento the colony of bugs, and gold carcasses removed.

Yet Abra also looked wistfully as the children his age (he couldn’t call them friends,because he spent so little time with them) headed for the swimming hole, or climbedtrees in the orchard, or shot at each other with wooden weapons.

Only his mother, Hannah, saw him. She urged him sometimes to go with the others, toleave whatever job he was doing. But it was too late. Like a baby bird that a child hashandled, so it has the scent of man on it, Abra was marked by his work with adults.

There was no resentment on their part. They just didn’t think of him as one of them. Ifhe had tried to come along, it would have seemed to all of them as inappropriate as ifsome adult had insisted on playing their games with them. It would ruin things.

Especially because Abra was secretly convinced that he would be very bad at children’sgames. When he was little, and tried to build with blocks, he would weep when otherchildren knocked down his structures. But the other children couldn’t seem tounderstand why he would build, if not to see things get knocked down.

Here is what Ender’s coming meant to Abra: Ender Wiggin was the governor, and yet hewas young, the same age as Po. Adults talked to Ender as if he were one of them. No, asif he were their superior. They brought problems to him for solutions. They laid theirdisputes before him and abided by his decisions, listening to his explanations, askinghim questions, coming to accept his understanding.

I am like him, thought Abra. Adults consult me about their machines the way they consultEnder about their other problems. They stand and listen to my explanations. They do whatI tell them they should do to fix the problem. He and I live the same life—we are notreally children. We have no friends.

Well, Ender had his sister, of course, but she was a strange recluse, who would stayindoors all day, except for her morning walk in summer, her afternoon walk in winter.They said she was writing books. All the adult scientists wrote things and sent them offto the other worlds, and then read the papers and books that were sent back. But whatshe was writing wasn’t science at all. It was history. The past. Why would that matter,when there was so much to do and discover in the present? Ender could not possibly beinterested in such things. Abra could not even imagine what they would talk about.“Today I gave Lo and Amato permission to divorce.” “Did it happen a hundred yearsago?” “No.” “Then I don’t care.”

Abra also had siblings. Po treated him well. They all did. But they did not play withhim. They played with each other.

Which was fine. Abra didn’t want to “play.” He wanted to do things that were real,things that mattered. He took as much pleasure from fixing machines and building thingsas they ever did from their games and mock fights and knocking-down. And now that Mothersaid he didn’t have to go to school anymore, so there wouldn’t be the constant

humiliation of being unable to read and write, Abra spent his free time following EnderWiggin everywhere.

Governor Wiggin noticed him, because he spoke to Abra from time to time—explainingthings sometimes; just as often asking him questions. But mostly he let Abra tag along,and if other adults who were talking about serious matters sometimes glanced at Abra asif to ask Ender why he had this child with him, Ender simply ignored their silentquestion and soon they all carried on as if Abra were not there.

So when Ender left on his expedition to search for an appropriate site for the newstarship to land and found another colony, no one even questioned the fact that Abrawould be going with him. Father did take Abra aside and talk to him, though. “This is aheavy responsibility,” he said. “You are not to do anything dangerous. If somethinghappens to the governor, your first responsibility is to report it to me by satfone.Your location will already be tracked and we’ll send help at once. Don’t try to dealwith it yourself until we have been notified. Do you understand?”

Of course Abra understood. To Father, Abra was merely going along as backup. Mother’sadvice was a bit less pessimistic about Abra’s value. “Don’t argue with him,” shesaid. “Listen first, argue after.”

“Of course, Mom.”

“You say ‘of course,’ but you aren’t good at listening, Abra, you always think youknow what people are going to say, and you have to let them say it because sometimesyou’re wrong.”

Abra nodded. “I’ll listen to Ender, Mother.”

She rolled her eyes—even though she yelled at the other children when they did that toher. “Yes, I suppose you will. Only Ender is wise enough to know more than my Abra!”

“I don’t think I know everything, Mom.” How could he get her to see that he only gotimpatient with adults when they thought they understood machinery and didn’t? The restof the time, he didn’t speak at all. But since most of the time adults thought theyknew what had gone wrong with a broken machine, and most of the time they were mistaken,most of his conversation with adults consisted of correcting them—or ignoring them.What else would they talk about except machinery, and Abra knew it better than they did.With Ender, though, it was almost never about machines. It was about everything, andAbra drank it all in.

“I’ll try to keep Po from marrying Alessandra before you get home,” said Mom.

“I don’t care,” said Abra. “They don’t have to wait for me. It’s not like they’llneed me for the wedding night.”

“Sometimes your face just needs slapping, Abra,” said Mom. “But Ender puts up withyou. The boy’s a saint. Santo André.”

“San énder,” said Abra.

“His Christian name is Andrew,” said Mom.

“But the name that makes him holy is Ender,” said Abra.

“My son the theologian. And you say you don’t think you know everything!” Mothershook her heads, apparently disgusted with him.

Abra never understood how such arguments began, or why they usually ended with adultsshaking their heads and turning away from him. He took their ideas seriously (except fortheir ideas about machinery); why couldn’t they do the same for him?

Ender did. And he was going to spend days—weeks, maybe—with Ender Wiggin. Just the twoof them.

They loaded the skimmer with supplies for three weeks, though Ender said he didn’tthink they’d be gone that long. Po came along to see them off, Alessandra clinging tohim like a fungus, and he said, “Try not to be a nuisance, Abra.”

“You’re jealous that he’s taking me and not you,” said Abra.

Alessandra spoke up. A talking fungus, apparently. “Po doesn’t want to go anywhere.”Meaning, of course, that he couldn’t bear to be away from her for a single second.

Po’s face stayed blank, however, so that Abra knew perfectly well that while he mightbe completely imasen over the girl, he would still rather go on the trip with Ender thanstay behind with her. Contrary to Mother’s opinion of him, however, Abra said nothingat all. He didn’t even wink at Po. He just kept his face exactly as blank as Po’s. Itwas the Mayan way of laughing at somebody right in front of them, without being rude orstarting a fight.

The journey was a strange experience for Abra. At first, of course, they simply skimmedalong above the fields of home. Familiar ground. Then they followed the road to

Falstaff, which was due west of Miranda; this was also familiar, since Abra’s marriedsister Alma lived there with her husband, that big stupid eemo Simon, who always tickledyounger children until they wet themselves and then made fun of them for peeing

themselves like babies. Abra was relieved that Ender only paused to greet the mayor ofthe village and then moved on without any further delay.

They camped the first night in a grassy glen, sheltered from the wind that was comingup. It brought a storm in the night, but they were snug inside a tent, and without Abraeven asking, Ender told him stories about Battle School and what the game was like, inthe battleroom, and how it wasn’t really a game at all, it was training and testingthem for command. “Some people are born to lead,” said Ender. “They just think thatway, whether they want to lead or not. While others are born craving authority, but theyhave no ability to lead. It’s very sad.”

“Why would people want to do something they’re not good at?” Abra tried to imaginehimself wanting to be a scholar, in spite of his reading problem. It was just absurd.

“Leading is a strange thing,” said Ender. “People see it happening, but they don’thave a clue how it works.”

“I know,” said Abra. “Most people are like that with machines. But they try to fixthem anyway and make everything worse.”

“So you understand exactly,” said Ender. “They don’t see what a leader does, theyjust see how everybody respects a good leader, and they want to have the attention andrespect without understanding what you actually have to do to earn it.”

“Everybody respects you,” said Abra.

“And yet I do almost nothing,” said Ender. “I have to learn other people’s jobs wellenough to help them at their work, because I just don’t have enough work of my own todo. Leading this colony is too easy to be a fulltime job.”

“Easy for you,” said Abra.

“I suppose,” said Ender. “But then, even when I’m doing other jobs, I’m still doingmy job as governor. Because I’m always getting to know people. You can’t lead peopleyou don’t know or at least understand. In war, for instance, if you don’t know whatyour soldiers can do, how can you lead them into battle and hope to succeed? The enemy,too. You have to know the enemy.”

Abra thought about that as they lay there in the darkness inside the tent. He thoughtabout it so long that maybe he even dreamed for a while, about Ender sitting down andtalking to the buggers—only the newcomers called them formics—and then exchangingChristmas gifts with them. But maybe he only imagined it while awake, because he wasawake when he whispered, “Is that why you spend so much time with the gold bugs?”

It was as if Ender had been thinking about the same thing, because he didn’t give oneof those impatient adult answers, like, What are you talking about? He knew that Abrawas still holding to the thread of their prior conversation. In fact, Ender soundedsleepy, and Abra wondered if he had been dozing and Abra’s voice had woken him and

still Ender knew what he was talking about.

“Yes,” said Ender. “I understood the hive queens well enough to defeat them. But notwell enough to understand why they let me.”

“They let you?”

“No, they fought hard against me, to prevent my victory. But they also brought

themselves together where I could kill them all in a single battle. And they knew I hadthe weapon that could do it. A weapon they understood better than we did, because we gotit from them. We still don’t fully understand the science of it. But they must have.And yet they gathered together and waited for me. I don’t understand it. So . . . I trycommunicating with the gold bug larvae. To get some idea of how the hive queensthought.”

“Po says nobody’s better at it than you.”

“Does he?”

“He says everybody else has to work and work to get a glimmer of an image into or outof the gold bugs’ heads, but you could do it the very first time.”

“I didn’t realize I was all that unusual,” said Ender.

“They talk about it when you’re not there. Po talks about it with Papa.”

“Interesting,” said Ender. He didn’t sound like he felt flattered, or like he wasacting modest—Ender truly sounded like he thought of his unusual talent for talkingwith the gold bugs as a simple fact.

When he thought about it, this made sense to Abra. You shouldn’t be proud of being goodat something, if you were born with it. That would be as dumb as being proud of havingtwo legs, or speaking a language, or pooping.

Because he was with Ender, Abra felt free to say what he had just thought of, and Enderlaughed. “That’s right, Abra. Something you work to achieve, that’s one thing. Whynot be proud of it? Why not feel good about it? But something you were born with,that’s just the way you are. Do you mind if I quote you?”

Abra wasn’t sure what he meant by quoting. Was he going to write a scholarly paper? Aletter to somebody? “Go ahead,” said Abra.

“So . . . I’m unusually good at talking to the gold bugs,” said Ender. “I had noidea. It’s not talking, though. It’s more like they show you what they remember, andput a feeling with it. Like, here’s my memory of food, and they put hunger with it. Orthe same image of food, plus a feeling of revulsion or fear, meaning, this is poisonousor I don’t like the taste or . . . you get the idea.”

“No words,” said Abra.


“The way I see machinery,” said Abra. “I have to find words to explain it to people,but when I see it, I just know. I don’t think the machinery is talking to me, though.No feelings.”

“It may not be talking,” said Ender, “but that doesn’t mean you can’t hear.”

“Exactly! Yes! That’s right!” Abra almost shouted the words, and his eyes filled withtears, and he didn’t even know why. Or . . . yes he did. No adult had ever known whatit felt like before.

“I had a friend once, and I think he saw battles that way. I had to think thingsthrough, the way the forces were arranged, but Bean just saw. He didn’t even realizethat other people took longer to understand—or never did at all. To him it was simply


“Bean? Is that a name?”

“He was an orphan. It was a street name. He didn’t find out his real name until later,when people who cared about him did enough research to find out that he had beenkidnapped as an embryo and genetically altered to make him such a genius.”

“Oh,” said Abra. “So that’s not what he really was.”

“No, Abra,” said Ender. “We really are what our genes make us. We really havewhatever abilities they give. It’s what we start with. Just because his genes wereshaped deliberately, by a criminal scientist, doesn’t mean they’re any less his thanour genes, which are shaped by random selection between the genes of our father and thegenes of our mother. I was shaped deliberately, too. Not by illegal science, but myparents chose each other partly because they were each so brilliant, and then the

International Fleet asked them to have a third child because my older brother and sisterwere so brilliant but still were not quite what the I.F. wanted. Does that mean thatI’m not really me? Who would I be, if my parents hadn’t given birth to me?”

Abra was having a hard time following the conversation. It made him sleepy. He yawned.

Then Ender came up with a comparison Abra understood. “It’s like saying, What wouldthis pump be, if it weren’t a pump?”

“That’s just dumb. It is a pump. If it weren’t a pump, it wouldn’t be anything atall.”

“So now you understand.”

Abra whispered the next question. “So you’re like my father, and you don’t believepeople have souls?”

“No,” said Ender. “I don’t know about souls. I just know that while we’re alive, inthese bodies, we can only do what our body can do. My parents believe in souls. I’veknown people who were absolutely sure. Smart people. Good people. So just because Idon’t understand it doesn’t mean I’m sure it can’t be true.”

“That’s like what Papa says.”

“See? He doesn’t disbelieve in souls.”

“But Mom talks like . . . she says that she can look in my eyes and see into my soul.”

“Maybe she can.”

“Like you can look into a gold bug larva and see what it’s thinking?”

“Maybe,” said Ender. “I can’t see what it’s thinking, though. I can only see whatit pushes into my mind. I try to push thoughts into its mind, but I don’t think I’mactually pushing. I think the ability to communicate by thoughts belongs completely tothe larva. It pushes things into my mind, and then takes from my mind whatever I showit. But I’m not doing anything.”

“Then how can you be better at it than other people, if you’re not doing anything?”

“If I’m really better—and remember, your father and Po can’t really know whether Iam or not—then maybe it’s because I have a mind that it’s easier for a gold bug toget inside of.”

“Why?” asked Abra. “Why would a human being born on Earth have a brain that waseasier for a gold bug to get inside of?”

“I don’t know,” said Ender. “That’s one of the things I came to this world to findout.”

“That’s not even true,” said Abra. “You couldn’t have come here to find out whyyour brain was easier for the buggers to understand because you didn’t know your braincould do that until you got here!”

Ender laughed. “You just don’t have any tolerance for kuso, do you?”

“What’s kuso?”

“Mierda,” said Ender. “Bullshit.”

“Were you lying to me?”

“No,” said Ender. “Here’s the thing. I had dreams when I was fighting the war onEros. I didn’t know I was fighting the war, but I was. I had one dream where a bunch offormics were vivisecting me. Only instead of cutting open my body, they were cutting upmy memories and displaying them like holographs and trying to make sense of them. Whydid I have that dream, Abra? After I won the war and found out that I had really beenfighting the hive queens and not just a computer simulation, or my teacher, I thoughtback to some of my dreams and I wondered. Were they trying just as hard to understand meas I was trying to understand them? Was that dream because on some level I was awarethat they were getting inside my head, and it frightened me?”

“Wow,” said Abra. “But if they could read your mind, why couldn’t they beat you?”

“Because my victories weren’t in my mind,” said Ender. “That’s the weird thing. Ithought through the battles, yes, but I didn’t see them like Bean did. Instead, I sawthe people. The soldiers under me. I knew what those kids were capable of. So I put themin a situation where their decisions would be crucial, told them what I wanted them todo, and then I trusted them to make the decisions that would achieve my objective. Ididn’t actually know what they’d do. So being inside my head would never show the hivequeens what I was planning, because I had no plan, not of a kind they could use againstme.”

“Is that why you thought that way? So they couldn’t read your plans?”

“I didn’t know the game was real. I’ve only thought of these things afterward. Tryingto understand.”

“But if that’s true, then you were communicating with the buggers—formics—hivequeens all along.”

“I don’t know. Maybe they were trying, but they couldn’t make sense of it. I’m surethey didn’t push anything into my head, or at least not clearly enough for me tounderstand it. And what could they take from my thoughts? I don’t know. Maybe itdidn’t happen at all. Maybe I only dreamed about them because I kept thinking aboutthem. What will I do when I face real hive queens? If this simulation were a realbattle, how would a hive queen think? That sort of thing.”

“What does Papa think?” asked Abra. “He’s really smart and he knows more thananybody about the gold bugs now.”

“I haven’t discussed this with your father.”

“Oh.” Abra digested that thought in silence.

“Abra,” said Ender. “I haven’t talked about this with anybody.”

“Oh.” Abra felt overwhelmed by Ender’s trust. He could not speak.

“Let’s go to sleep,” said Ender. “I want us to be wide awake and on our way at firstlight. This new colony needs to be several days’ journey away, even by skimmer. Andonce we find the general area, I have to mark out specific places for buildings andfields and a landing strip for the shuttle and all that.”

“Maybe we’ll find another gold bug cave.”

“Maybe,” said Ender. “Or some other metal. Like the bauxite cave you found.”

“Just because the aluminum bugs were all dead doesn’t mean we won’t find another cavethat has living bugs, right?” said Abra.

“We might have found the only survivors,” said Ender.

“But Papa says the odds are against that. He says it would be too co-incidental if thelongest-surviving gold bugs just happened to be the ones that Uncle Sel and Po happenedto discover.”

“Your father’s not a mathematician,” said Ender. “He doesn’t understand


“What do you mean?”

“Sel and Po did find the cave with living gold bug larvae in it. Therefore the chanceof their finding it, in this causal universe, is one hundred percent. Because ithappened.”


“But since we don’t know how many other bug caves there are, or where they’resituated, any guess at how likely we are to find one isn’t about probability—it’sjust a guess. There’s not enough data for mathematical probabilities.”

“We know there was a second one,” said Abra. “So it’s not like we know nothing.”

“But from the data we actually have, one cave with living gold bugs and one with deadaluminum ones, what would you conclude?”

“That we have as much chance of finding live ones as dead. That’s what Father says.”

“But that isn’t really true,” said Ender. “Because in the cave Sel and Po found, thebugs weren’t thriving. They had almost died out. And in the other cave, they had diedout. So now what are the odds?”

Abra thought hard about it. “I don’t know,” he said. “It depends on how big eachcolony was, and whether they would think of eating their own parents’ bodies like thesebugs did, and maybe other stuff I don’t even know about.”

“Now you’re thinking like a scientist,” said Ender. “Now, please think like asleeping person. We have a long day tomorrow.”

* * * * *

They traveled all day the next day, and it all began to look the same to Abra. “What’swrong with any of these places?” said Abra. “The . . . formics farmed there, and theydid fine. And a landing strip could go there.”

“Too close,” said Ender. “Not enough room for the newcomers to develop their ownculture. So close that if they became envious of Falstaff village, they might try totake it over.”

“Why would they do that?”

“Because they’re human,” said Ender. “And, specifically, because then they’d havepeople who knew everything that we know and can do everything we do.”

“But they’d still be our people,” said Abra.

“Not for long,” said Ender. “Now that the villages are separate, the Falstaffianswill start thinking about what’s good for Falstaff. They might resent Miranda forthinking we should be their boss, and maybe they’d want to join these new peoplevoluntarily.”

Abra thought about that for about ten clicks. “What would be wrong with that?” hesaid.

This time it took Ender a moment of thought before he was able to answer. “Ah, Falstaffjoining the new people voluntarily. Well, I don’t know if anything would be wrong withit. I just know that what I want to happen is for all the villages—including the newone—to be separate enough to develop their own traditions and cultures, and far enoughapart that they won’t fight over the same resources, yet close enough to intermarry andtrade. I’m hoping that there’s some perfect distance apart that will make it so theydon’t start fighting each other, or at least not for a long time.”

“As long as we have you as governor, we’ll just win anyway,” said Abra.

“I don’t care who wins,” said Ender. “It’s having a war at all that would beterrible.”

“That’s not how you felt when you beat the formics!”

“No,” said Ender. “When the survival of the human race is at stake, you can’t helpbut care who wins. But in a war between colonists on this planet, why would I care whichside won? Either way, there’d be killing and loss and grief and hate and bittermemories and the seeds of wars to come. And both sides would be human, so no matter

what, humans would lose. And lose and keep on losing. Abra, I sometimes say prayers, didyou know that? Because my parents prayed. I sometimes talk to God even though I don’tknow anything about him. I ask him: Let the wars end.”

“They have ended,” said Abra. “On earth. The Hegemon united the whole world andnobody’s at war anywhere.”

“Yes,” said Ender. “Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if they finally got peace on Earth andwe just started up the whole warfare thing again here on Shakespeare?”

“The Hegemon is your brother, right?” asked Abra.

“He’s Valentine’s brother,” said Ender.

“But she’s your sister,” said Abra.

“He’s Valentine’s brother,” said Ender, and his face looked sort of dark and Abradidn’t ask him what in the world he was talking about.

* * * * *

On the third day of their trip, as the sun got to about two hands above the westernhorizon—time on clocks and watches meant nothing here, since they had all been made onEarth for Earth days, and nobody liked any of the schemes for dividing up the

Shakespearian day into hours and minutes—Ender finally stopped the skimmer on the crestof a hill overlooking a broad valley with overgrown orchards and fields with forty

years’ growth of trees in them. There were tunnel entrances in some of the surroundinghills, and chimneys that showed there had been manufacturing here.

“This place looks as likely as any,” said Ender. So, just like that, the site of thenew colony was chosen.

They pitched the tent and Ender fixed dinner and he and Abra walked down into the valleytogether and looked inside a couple of the caves. No bugs, of course, since this wasn’tthat kind of settlement, but there was machinery of a kind that they hadn’t seen beforeand Abra wanted to plunge right in and figure it all out but Ender said, “I promiseyou’ll be the first one to get a look at these machines, but not now. Not tonight.That’s not our mission. We have to lay out a colony. I have to determine where thefields will be, the water source—we have to find the formic sewer system, we have tosee if we can wake up their generating equipment. All the things that Sel Menach’s

generation did, long before you were born. But before too long, we’ll have time for theformic machines. And then, believe me, they’ll let you spend days and weeks on them.”

Abra wanted to wheedle like a little kid, but he knew Ender was right. And so heaccepted Ender’s promise and stayed with him for the rest of that night’s walk.

The sun had set before they got back to camp—they had only a faint light in the skywhen they turned in to sleep. This time their conversation consisted of Ender askingAbra to tell stories that his parents had told him, his father’s Mayan stories and hismother’s Chinese stories and the Catholic stories they both had in common, and thattook until Abra could hardly keep his eyes open, and then they slept.

The next day, Ender and Abra marked out fields and laid out streets, recording

everything on the holomaps in Ender’s field desk, which were automatically transmittedto the orbiting computer. No need even to call Papa on the satfone, because he would getall this information automatically and he could see the work they were doing.

Late in the afternoon, Ender sighed and said, “You know, this is actually kind ofboring.”

“Really?” said Abra sarcastically.

“Even slaves get time off now and then.”

“Who?” Abra was afraid this was some school-learning thing that he didn’t knowbecause he couldn’t read and stopped going to school.

“You have no idea how happy it makes me that you don’t know what I’m talking about.”

Well, if Ender was happy, Abra was happy.

“For the next hour, I say we do whatever we want,” said Ender.

“Like what?” asked Abra.

“What, you mean I have to decide for you what you think would be fun?”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to see if the river’s good for swimming.”

“That’s dangerous and you shouldn’t do it alone.”

“If I drown, call your father to come get you.”

“I could drive the skimmer home, you know.”

“But you couldn’t get my corpse up onto it,” said Ender.

“Don’t talk about dying!” Abra said. He meant to sound angry. Instead his voice shookand he sounded scared.

“I’m a good swimmer,” said Ender. “I’m going to test the water to make sure itwon’t make me sick, and I’ll only swim where there’s no current, all right? Andyou’re free to swim with me, if you want.”

“I don’t like to swim.” He’d never really learned, not well.

“So—don’t go climbing into any caves or fiddling with machinery, all right?” saidEnder. “Because machinery really is scary.”

“Only because you don’t understand it.”

“Right,” said Ender. “But what if something went wrong? What if I had to take yourmangled or incinerated body back to your parents?”

Abra laughed. “So I can let the governor die, but you can’t let one dumb kid getkilled.”

“Exactly right,” said Ender. “Because I’m responsible for you, but you’re onlyresponsible for reporting my death if it happens.”

So Ender went back to the skimmer and got the water testing equipment. And since Abraknew perfectly well Ender was going to have to test the river anyway, he realized thatEnder wasn’t really taking a break, he was giving Abra a break. Well, two could playthis game. Abra would use the time to scout out the crest of the far ridge and see whatlay on the other side. That was useful. That was a real job that would have to be done.So while Ender swam around in the river, Abra would be adding to the map.

It was a longer walk than Abra thought it would be. The far hills looked deceptivelyclose. The higher he got, though, the easier it was to spot the place where Ender was,in fact, swimming. He wondered if Ender could also see him. He turned and waved a coupleof times, but Ender didn’t wave back, probably because he would look like a speck toEnder, just as Ender looked like a speck to him. Or else Ender wasn’t looking, and thatwas fine, too. It meant Ender trusted him not to screw up and get hurt or lost.

At the top of the hill, Abra could see why the river in the valley behind him

widened—there was an irrigation dam between the hills so the widening of the river wasreally a pond behind the dam. The drop wasn’t very severe, though, and certain sluiceswere permanently open so that the river flowed permanently into three channels. One wasthe original riverbed, and the other two carried water through slightly higher canalsskirting the north side of the valley. Here on the south side of the river, the canalswere permanently empty, and so Abra could easily see the difference that the irrigationmade. Both sides of the lower valley were lush with life, but on the wet side, treeswere growing, and on the drier side, it was grass and low shrubs.

But as he gazed at the south side—the grassy side—he realized that there was somethingwrong with the landscape. Instead of being a smooth flood plain, like the upper valleybehind him where Ender was, there were several mounds in the plain below him. And therewas nothing natural about the way they were laid out.

The formics had to have built them. But what were they for?

And now that he looked closely, he could see that there were even-more-artificial-looking structures here and there. They didn’t look like normal formic buildings,either. This was something new and strange, and even though they were overgrown withgrass and vines, they were still plainly visible.

Abra scrambled down the slope—not running, because it was unfamiliar ground, and thelast thing he wanted was to sprain an ankle and become a burden on Ender. He came to thelargest of the artificial mounds. It was steep-sided but covered with grass, so climbingit wasn’t very hard. He reached the top and realized that it was hollow inside, andthere was water gathered in it.

Abra walked the ridge line and found that at one end, two ridges extended out like legs,making a widening vale between them. And when he turned around, he realized that therewere also low ridges that could be arms, and where a head would be, a large white rockglistened in the sunlight, looking for all the world like a skull.

It was shaped like a man. Not like a formic—a man.

He felt a thrill go through him—of fear, of dread, of excitement. Such a place as thiscould not exist. And yet it did.

He heard a voice calling his name. He looked up and saw that Ender had driven theskimmer over the ridge from the other valley and was looking for him. Abra waved andcalled out, “Ho, Ender!”

Ender saw him and skimmed over to the base of the steep hill where Abra had climbed.“Come up,” said Abra.

When Ender had scrambled up the slope—displacing a few turves in the process, since hewas bigger than Abra and weighed more—Abra gestured to the body-like structure of theartificial hills. “Can you believe this?”

Apparently Ender didn’t see it the way Abra did. He simply looked, and said nothing.

“It’s like a giant died here,” said Abra, “and the earth grew up to cover hiscarcass.”

Abra heard a sharp intake of breath from Ender, so he knew now that he had seen.

Ender looked around and pointed wordlessly at some of the smaller, vine-covered

structures. He pulled out his binoculars and looked for a long time. “Impossible,” hemuttered.

“What? What are they?”

Ender didn’t answer. Instead he walked the length of the hill, toward the “head.”Abra scrambled down onto the neck and up the chin. “Somebody had to build this,” Abrasaid. He scratched at the white surface. “Look, this skull place, it’s not rock, lookat it. This is concrete.”

“I know,” said Ender. “They built it for me.”


“I know this place, Abra. The buggers built it for me.”

“They were all dead before Grandpa and Grandma even got here,” said Abra.

“You’re right, it’s impossible, but I know what I know.” Ender put a hand on Abra’sshoulder. “Abra, I shouldn’t take you with me.”


“Over there.” Ender pointed. “It might be dangerous. If they knew me well enough tobuild this place, they might be planning to—“

“To get even with you,” said Abra.

“For killing them,” said Ender.

“So don’t go, Ender. Don’t do what they want you to do.”

“If they want to get revenge, Abra, I don’t mind. But perhaps they don’t. Perhapsthis is the closest they could come to talking. To writing me a note.”

“They didn’t know how to read and write.” They didn’t even know the idea of readingand writing—that’s what Father said. So how would they know about leaving notes?

“Maybe they were learning when they died,” said Ender.

“Well I’m sure as hell not sticking around here if you’re taking off somewhere. I’mgoing with you.”

Ender looked amused when Abra said “hell.” He shook his head, smiling. “No. You’retoo young to take the risk of—“

“Come on!” said Abra with disgust. “You’re Ender Wiggin. Don’t tell me what eleven-year-old kids can do!”

So they rode in the skimmer together until they got to the first set of structures.Ender stopped and they got off. The shape of the structures came from metal frameworksunderlying and supporting the vines. Now Abra realized they were swings and slides, justlike those in the town park in Miranda. The ones in Miranda were smaller, because theywere just for the little kids. But there was no mistaking what they were.

But formics didn’t have babies, they had larvae. Worms would hardly needs swings andslides.

“They made human stuff,” said Abra.

Ender only nodded.

“They really were taking stuff out of your head,” said Abra.

“That’s one explanation,” said Ender. Then they got on the skimmer and went on. Enderseemed to know the way.

They neared the farthest structure. It was a thick tower and some lower walls, allcovered with ivy. There was a window near the top of the tower.

“You knew this would be here,” said Abra.

“It was my nightmare,” said Ender. “My memory of the fantasy game.”

Abra had no idea what “the fantasy game” was, but he understood that this placerepresented one of those dreams that the formics were taking out of Ender when theyvivisected him in that nightmare he had talked about.

Ender got out of the skimmer. “Don’t come after me,” he said. “If I’m not back inan hour, it means it’s dangerous here, and you must go home at once and tell themeverything.”

“Eat it, Ender, I’m coming with you,” said Abra.

Ender looked at him coldly. “Eat it yourself, Abra, or I’ll stuff you with mud.”

His words were jocular, and so was his tone. But his eyes were not joking, and Abra knewthat he meant it.

So Abra stayed with the skimmer and watched Ender jog over to the castle—for that’swhat it was. And then Ender climbed up the outside of the tower and went in through thewindow.

Abra stayed, watching the tower, for a long time. He checked the skimmer’s clock nowand then. And finally his gaze began to wander. He watched birds and insects, smallanimals in the grass, clouds moving across the sky.

That’s why he didn’t see Ender come out of the tower. He only saw him walking towardthe skimmer, carrying his jacket in a wad under his arm.

Only it wasn’t a wad. There was something inside the jacket. But Abra didn’t ask whatEnder had found. He figured that if Ender wanted him to know, he’d tell him.

“We aren’t building the new colony here,” said Ender.

“OK,” said Abra.

“Let’s go back and strike camp,” said Ender.

They searched for five more days, well to the east and south of the place they had firstfound, until they had another colony site. It was a bigger formic settlement, with amuch larger area of fields and all the signs of a much larger annual rainfall. “This isthe right place,” said Ender. “Better climate, warmer. Good, rich soil.”

They spent a week laying out the new site.

Then it was time to go home. The night before they left, lying out on the open

ground—it was too hot at night inside the tent—Abra finally asked. Not what it wasthat Ender brought back from the tower—he would never ask that—but the deeperquestion.

“Ender, what did they mean? Building this for you?”

Ender was silent for a long time. “I’m not going to tell you the whole truth, Abra.Because I don’t want anyone to know. I don’t even want them to know what we foundthere. I hope it’s all decayed and crumbled away before people go back there. But even

if it’s not, nobody else will understand it. And in the far future, nobody will believethat the formics made that place. They’ll think it’s something that human colonistsdid.”

“You don’t have to tell me everything,” said Abra. “And I won’t tell anybody elsewhat we found.”

“I know you won’t,” said Ender. He hesitated again. “I don’t want to lie to you. SoI’ll only tell you true things. I found the answer, Abra.”

“To what?”

“My question.”

“Can’t you tell me any of it?”

“You’ve never asked the question. I hope to God you never know what it is.”

“But the message really was for you.”

“Yes, Abra. They left a message that told me why they died.”


“No, Abra. It’s my burden, truly. Mine alone.” Ender reached out a hand, gripped Abraby the arm. “Let there be no rumors of what Ender Wiggin found when he came to thisplace.”

“There never will be,” said Abra.

“You mean that at the age of eleven, you’re prepared to take a secret to your grave?”

“Yes,” said Abra without hesitation. “But I hope I don’t have to do that verysoon.”

Ender laughed. “I hope the same. I hope you live a long, long time.”

“I’ll keep the secret all my life. Even though I don’t actually know what it is.”

* * * * *

Ender came into the house where Valentine was working on the next-to-last volume of herhistory of the Formic Wars. He set his own desk on the table across from her. She lookedup at him. He smiled—a jokey, mechanical smile—and started typing.

She wasn’t fooled. The smile was fake, but the happiness behind it was real.

Ender was actually happy.

What happened on that trip to lay out the new colony?

He didn’t say. She didn’t ask. It was enough for her that he was happy.


Ender in Exile


To: jpwiggin%ret@gso.nc.pub, twiggin%em@uncg.edu

From: Gov%ShakespeareCol@MinCol.gov

Subj: Third

Dear Mother and Father,

Some things cannot be helped. For you, it has been 47 years of silence from your thirdand youngest child. For me, it has been my six years in Battle School, where I lived forone reason only, to destroy the formics; the year after our victory, in which I learnedthat I had twice killed other children, that I destroyed an entire sentient species that

I don’t believe I ever understood, and that every mistake I made caused the deaths ofmen and women in places lightyears away; and then two years of a voyage in which I couldnever for a moment speak or show my true feelings about anything.

Through all of this, I have been trying to sort out what it meant that you gave life tome. To have a child, knowing that you have signed a contract to give him up to thegovernment upon demand—isn’t there a bit of the story of Rumpelstiltskin in this? Inthe fairy tale, someone happens to overhear the secret name that will free them fromtheir pledge to give their child to the dwarf. In our case, the universe did not

conspire in our favor, and when Rumpelstilt-skin showed up, you handed over the boy. Me.

I made a choice myself—though what I really understood at six years of age is hard tofathom. I thought I was already myself; I was aware of no deficiencies of judgment. Butnow, looking back, I wonder why I chose. It was partly a desire to flee from Peter’sthreats and oppression, since Valentine really couldn’t stop him and the two of you hadno idea what was going on among us children. It was partly a desire to save the people Iknew, most particularly my own protector, Valentine, from the predations of the formics.

It was partly a hope that I might turn out to be a very important boy. It was partly thechallenge of it, the hope of victory over the other children competing to be greatcommanders. It was partly a wish to leave a world where every day I was reminded thatThirds are illegal, unwanted, despised, taking more than their family’s share of theworld’s resources.

It was partly my sense that while you cried (Mother) and you blustered (Father) it wouldmake a positive difference in our family’s life for me to go. No longer would you bethe ones who had an extra child and yet were not suffering the penalties of law. Withthat monitor gone, there’d be no more visible excuse. I could hear you telling people,“The government authorized his birth so he could enter military training, only when thetime came, he refused to go.”

I existed for one reason only. When the time came, I believed I had no decent choice butto fulfil the purpose of my creation.

I did it, didn’t I? I dominated the other children in Battle School, though I was notthe best strategist (that was Bean). I led my jeesh and, unwittingly, many pilots tocomplete victory in the war—though again at a crucial moment it was Bean who helped mesee my way through. I am not ashamed of having needed help. The task was too great forme, too great for Bean, and too great for any of the other children, but my role was tolead by getting the best from everyone.

But when the victory was won, I could not go home. There was Graff’s court martial.There was the international situation, with nations fearing what might happen if Americahad the great war hero to command their Earthbound troops.

But I confess that there was something else. I became aware that both my brother and mysister were writing essays whose deliberate effect was to keep me from coming home toEarth again. Peter’s reasons I could guess at; they were an outgrowth of our

relationship as young children. Peter cannot live in the same world with me. Or at leasthe could not then.

Here was the mystery to me. I was a twelve-year-old boy during most of my year on Eros.I was barred from returning to Earth. My siblings were siding with those who wanted mekept away. And not once on any of the newsvids did I see a quotation or a statement frommy parents, pleading with the powers-that-be to let their boy come home. Nor did I hearof any effort on your part to come and see me, since I could not go to you.

Instead, once Valentine showed up, I got hints, ranging from the blunt to the oblique,that for some reason it was my obligation to write to YOU. Through the two years of our

voyage—forty years to you—Valentine reported to me on her correspondence with you, andtold me that I should write, I must write. And through all of this, knowing that youcould easily obtain my address and that your letters would get through to me as easilyas they got through to Valentine, I never heard from you.

I have waited.

Now you are getting rather old. Peter is nearly sixty years of age and he rules theworld—all his dreams have come true, though there seem to have been many nightmaresalong the way. From news reports I gather that you have been at his side almost

continuously, working for him and his cause. You have made statements to the press insupport of him, and at times of crisis you stood by him quite bravely. You have beenadmirable parents. You know how the job is done.

And still I waited.

Recently, having learned the answers to a set of questions unrelated to you, I

determined that because half of this silence between us has been mine, I would wait nolonger to write to you. Still, I do not understand how it became my obligation to openthis door. How did I skip directly from the irresponsibility of a six-year-old to thecomplete responsibility that seemed to devolve on me to reestablish our relationshipafter it became possible again?

I thought: You were ashamed of me. My “victory” came along with the scandal of mykillings; you wanted to put me from your mind. Who am I, then, to insist that yourecognize me? Yet I killed Stilson when I was still a child living in your house. Youcannot blame the Battle School for that. Why didn’t you stand up and take

responsibility for creating me, and for raising me those first six years?

I thought: You were so in awe of my great achievement that you felt unworthy to insiston a relationship, and as with royalty, you waited for me to invite you. Here, though,the fact that you are not too much in awe of Peter to be with him, though his

achievements are arguably greater—peace on Earth, after all!—tells me that awe is nota powerful motive in your lives.

Then I thought: They have divided the family. Valentine is their co-parent, and she hasbeen assigned to me, while they assigned themselves to Peter. Other people had takencare of training me to save the world; but who would train Peter, who would watch outfor him, who would pull him up short if he overreached or became a tyrant? That waswhere you were needed; that was your life’s work. Valentine would give her life to me,and you would give yours to Peter.

But if that was your thinking, then I think you made a poor choice. Valentine is as goodas I remembered her to be, and as smart. But she cannot understand me or what I need,she does not know me well enough to trust me, and it drives her crazy. She is not mymother or father, she is only my sister, and yet she has been assigned—or assignedherself—to take on a motherly role. She does her best. I hope she is not too unhappywith the bargain she made, to come along on this voyage. The sacrifice she made in orderto come with me was far too great. I fear she thinks the results in me have amounted tolittle of worth.

I do not know you, a man and a woman in their eighties. I knew a young man and woman intheir early thirties, busy with their own extraordinary careers, raising extraordinarychildren who, for a time, each wore the monitor of the I.F. at the base of their skulls.There was always someone else watching over me. I always belonged to someone else. Younever felt that I was fully your son.

Yet I am your son. There is in me, in the abilities I have, in the choices that I makewithout realizing that I’ve chosen, in my deep feelings about the religions that you

believed in secretly, which I have studied when I could, there is in all these things atrace of you. You are the explanation of much that is un-explainable.

And my ability to shut certain things completely from my mind—to set them aside so Ican work on other projects—that also comes from you, for I think that is what you havedone with me. You have set me aside, and only by directly asking for it can I win yourattention once again.

I have watched painful relationships between parents and children. I have seen parentswho control and parents who neglect, parents who make terrible mistakes that hurt theirchildren deeply, and parents who forgive children who have done awful things. I haveseen nobility and courage; I have seen dreadful selfishness and utter blindness; and Ihave seen all these things in the SAME parents, raising the same children.

What I understand now is this: There is no harder job than parenting. There is no humanrelationship with such potential for great achievement and awful destructiveness, anddespite all the experts who write about it, no one has the slightest idea whether anydecision will be right or best or even not-horrible for any particular child. It is ajob that simply cannot be done right.

For reasons truly out of your control, I became a stranger to you; for reasons I do notunderstand, you made no effort to come to my defense and bring me home, or to explain tome why you did not or could not or should not. But you let my sister come to me, givingher up from your own lives. That was a great gift, jointly offered by her and you. Evenif she now regrets it, that does not reduce the nobility of the sacrifice.

Here is why I am writing. No matter how hard I try to be self-sufficient, I am not. Ihave read enough psychology and sociology, and I have observed enough families over thepast two years, to realize that there is no replacement for parents in a person’s life,and no going on without them. I have achieved, at the age of fifteen, more than any buta handful of the greatest men in history. I can look at the records of what I did andsee, clearly, that it is so.

But I do not believe it. I look into myself and all I see is the destroyer of lives.Even as I prevented a tyrant from usurping the control of this colony, even as I helpeda young girl liberate herself from a domineering mother, I heard a voice in the back ofmy mind, saying, “What is this, compared to the pilots who died because of yourclumsiness in command? What is this, compared to the death at your hands of two

admittedly unpleasant but nevertheless young children? What is this, compared to theslaughter of a species that you killed without first understanding whether they neededkilling?”

There is something that only parents can provide, and I need it, and I am not ashamed toask it from you.

From my mother, I need to know that I still belong, that I am part of you, that I do notstand alone.

From my father, I need to know that I, as a separate being, have earned my place in thisworld.

Let me resort to the scriptures that I know have meant much to you in your lives. Frommy mother, I need to know that she has watched my life and “kept all these sayings inher heart.” From my father, I need to hear these words: “Well done, thou good andfaithful servant. . . . Enter into the joy of the Lord.”

No, I don’t think I’m Jesus and I don’t think you’re God. I just happen to believethat every child needs to have what Mary gave; and the God of the New Testament shows uswhat a father must be in his children’s lives.

Here is the irony: Because I had to ask for these things, I will be suspicious of yourreplies. So I ask you not only to give me these gifts, but also to help me believe thatyou mean them.

In return, I give you this: I understand the impossibility of having me for a child. Ibelieve that in every case, you chose to do what you believed would be best for me. Evenif I disagree with your choices—and the more I think, the less I disagree—I believethat no one who knew no more than you did could have chosen better.

Look at your children: Peter rules the world, and seems to be doing it with a minimalamount of blood and horror. I destroyed the enemy that terrified us most of all, and nowI’m a not-bad governor of a little colony. Valentine is a paragon of selflessness andlove—and has written and is writing brilliant histories that will shape the way thehuman race thinks about its own past.

We’re an extraordinary crop of children. Having given us our genes, you then had theterrible problem of trying to raise us. From what I see of Valentine and what she tellsme of Peter, you did very well, without your hand ever being heavy in their lives.

And as for me, the absent one, the prodigal who never did come home, I still feel yourfingerprints in my life and soul, and where I find those traces of your parenthood I amglad of them. Glad to have been your son.

For me, there have been only three years in which I COULD have written you; I’m sorrythat it took me all this time to sort out my heart and mind well enough to have anythingcoherent to say. For you, there have been forty-one years in which I believe you took mysilence as a request for silence.

I am far away from you now, but at least we move through time at the same pace oncemore, day for day, year for year. As governor of the colony I have constant access tothe ansible; as parents of the Hegemon, I believe you have a similar opportunity. When Iwas on the voyage, you might have taken weeks to compose your reply, and to me it wouldhave seemed that only a day had passed. But now, however long it takes you, that is howlong I will wait.

With love and regret and hope,

your son Andrew

Valentine came to Ender, carrying the printed-out pages of his little book. “What areyou calling this?” she asked, and there was a quaver in her voice.

“I don’t know,” said Ender.

“To imagine the life of the hive queens, to see our war from their perspective, to dareto invent an entire history for them, and tell it as if a hive queen herself werespeaking—“

“I didn’t invent it,” said Ender.

Valentine sat down on the edge of the table. “Out there with Abra, searching for thenew colony site. What did you find?”

“You’re holding it in your hand,” said Ender. “I found what I’ve been searching forever since the hive queens let me kill them.”

“You’re telling me that you found living formics on this planet?”

“No,” said Ender, and technically it was true—he had found only one formic. And was adormant pupa truly describable as “living”? If you found only one chrysalis, would yousay that you had found “living butterflies”?

Probably. But I have no choice except to lie to everyone. Because if it was known that asingle hive queen still lived in this world, a cocoon from which she would emerge with

several million fertilized eggs inside her, and the knowledge of all the hive queensbefore her in her phenomenally capacious mind, the seeds of the technology that nearlydestroyed us and the knowledge to create even more terrible weapons if she wanted to—ifthat became known, how long would that cocoon survive? How long would be the life ofanyone who tried to protect it?

“But you found something,” said Valentine, “that makes you certain that this storyyou wrote is not just beautiful, but true.”

“If I could tell you more than that, I would.”

“Ender, have we ever told each other everything?”

“Does anyone?”

Valentine reached out and took his hand. “I want everyone on Earth to read this.”

“Will they care?” Ender hoped and despaired. He wanted his book to change everything.He knew it would change nothing.

“Some will,” said Valentine. “Enough.”

Ender chuckled. “So I send it to a publisher and they publish it and then what? I getroyalty checks here, which I can redeem for—what exactly can we buy here?”

“Everything we need,” said Valentine, and they both laughed. Then, more seriously,Valentine said, “Don’t sign it.”

“I was wondering if I should.”

“If it’s known that this comes from you, from Ender Wiggin, then the reviewers willspend all their time psychoanalyzing you and say almost nothing about the book itself.The received wisdom will be that it’s nothing more than your conscience trying to dealwith your various sins.”

“I expect no better.”

“But if it’s published with real anonymity, then it’ll get read on its own merits.”

“People will think it’s fiction. That I made it up.”

“They will anyway,” said Valentine. “But it doesn’t sound like fiction. It soundslike truth. And some will take it that way.”

“So I don’t sign it.”

“Oh, you do,” said Valentine, “because you want to give them some name to refer toyou by. The way I’m still using Demosthenes.”

“But nobody thinks it’s the same Demosthenes who was such a rabble-rouser back beforePeter took over the world.”

“Come up with a name.”

“How about ‘Locke’?”

Valentine laughed. “There are still people who call him that.”

“What if I call it ‘Obituary’ and sign it . . . what, Mortician?”

“How about ‘Eulogy’ and you sign it ‘Speaker at the Funeral’?”

In the end, he called it simply The Hive Queen and he signed it “Speaker for the

Dead.” And in his anonymous, untraceable correspondence with his publisher, he insistedthat it be printed without any kind of copyright notice. The publisher almost didn’t gothrough with it, but Ender became even more insistent. “Put a notice on the cover thatpeople are free to make as many copies of this book as they want, but that your editionis especially nice, so that people can carry it with them and write in it and underlineit.”

Valentine was amused. “You realize what you’re doing?” she said.


“You’re having them treat it like scripture. You really think that people will read itlike that?”

“I don’t know what people will do,” said Ender, “but yes, I think of it as somethingholy. I don’t want to make money from it. What would I use money for? I want everyoneto read it. I want everyone to know who the hive queens were. What we lost when we tookthem out of existence.”

“We saved our lives, Ender.”

“No,” said Ender. “That’s what we thought we were doing, and that’s what we shouldbe judged for—but what we really did was slaughter a species that wanted desperately tomake peace with us, to try to understand us—but they never understood what speech andlanguage were. This is the first time they’ve had a chance to find a voice.”

“Too late,” said Valentine.

“Tragedies are like that,” said Ender.

“And their tragic flaw was . . . muteness?”

“Their tragic flaw was arrogance—they thought they could terraform any world thatdidn’t have intelligence of the kind they knew how to recognize—beings that spoke toeach other mind to mind.”

“The way the gold bugs speak to us.”

“The gold bugs are grunting—mentally,” said Ender.

“You found one,” said Valentine. “I asked you if you found ‘formics’ and you saidno, but you found one.”

Ender said nothing.

“I will never ask again,” said Valentine.

“Good,” said Ender.

“And that one—it’s alone.”

Ender shrugged.

“You didn’t kill it. It didn’t kill you. It told you—no, showed you—all thememories that you put into your book.”

“For someone who was never going to ask again, you sure have a lot of questions,missy,” said Ender.

“Don’t you dare talk down to me.”

“I’m a fifty-four-year-old man,” said Ender.

“You may have been born fifty-four years ago,” said Valentine, “but you’re onlysixteen, and no matter how old you are, I’m two years older.”

“When the colony ship arrives, I’m getting on it,” said Ender.

“I think I knew that,” said Valentine.

“I can’t stay here. I have to take a long journey. To get away from every livinghuman.”

“The ships only go from world to world, with people on all of them.”

“But they take time doing it,” said Ender. “If I take voyage after voyage, eventuallyI’ll leave behind the human race as it now is.”

“That’s a long, lonely journey.”

“Only if I go alone.”

“Is that an invitation?”

“To come with me as long as you find it interesting,” said Ender.

“Fair enough,” said Valentine. “My guess is that you’ll be better company now thatyou aren’t in a perpetual funk.”

“I don’t think so,” said Ender. “I intend to remain in stasis through everyvoyage.”

“And miss the play readings on the way?”

“Can you finish your book before it’s time to leave?” asked Ender.

“Probably,” she said. “Certainly this volume.”

“I thought this was the last one.”

“Last but one,” said Valentine.

“You’ve covered every aspect of the Formic Wars and you’re writing the last battlenow.”

“There are two great knots to unravel.”

Ender closed his eyes. “I think my book unravels one of them,” he said.

“Yes,” said Valentine. “I’d like to include it at the end of my last volume.”

“It’s not copyrighted,” said Ender. “You can do what you want.”

“Do you want to know what the other knot is?” asked Valentine.

“I assume it’s Peter bringing the whole world together after the war was over,” saidEnder.

“What does that have to do with a history of the Formic Wars?” she said. “The lastknot is you.”

“I’m a Gordian knot. Don’t unravel, just slice.”

“I’m going to write about you.”

“I won’t read it.”

“Fine,” said Valentine. “I won’t show it to you.”

“Can’t you please wait?” He wanted to say: Until I’m dead. But he didn’t get thatspecific.

“Maybe a while,” said Valentine. “We’ll see.”

Ender filled his days now with the business of the new colony, laying the groundwork fortheir arrival, making sure there were plenty of surplus crops being grown at all four ofthe villages as well as the new colony site, so that the newcomers could have failedharvests for two, even three years, and there’d still be no hunger. “And we’ll needmoney,” said Ender. “Here where we all know each other, this sort of ad hoc communismwe’ve been using has worked out. But for trade to work well, we need a medium ofexchange.”

“Po and I found you the gold bugs,” said Sel Menach. “So you’ve got the gold. Makecoins.”

Abra figured out how to adapt an oil press to make a coin stamper, and one of the

chemists came up with an alloy that wouldn’t constantly be shedding gold as the coinspassed from hand to hand. One of the talented youngsters drew a picture of Sel Menachand one of the old women drew, from memory, the face of Vitaly Kolmogorov. Sel insisted

that Kolmogorov get the cheaper coin, “Because that’s the face they’ll see the most.You always give the greatest man the smallest denomination.”

They practiced using the money, so the prices would be set before the new colonistsarrived. It was a joke at first. “Five chickens don’t make a cow.” And instead ofcalling the coins “fives” and “ones,” they became “sels” and “vits.” “Renderunto Sel that which is Sel’s, but hang on to Vit.” “Sel wise, Vit foolish.”

Ender wrestled with trying to set a value for the coins relative to the internationaldollar of the Hegemony, but Valentine stopped him. “Let it find its own value, tied towhatever people eventually pay for whatever it is we eventually export to otherworlds.” So the currency floated within their own private universe.

The first edition of The Hive Queen sold slowly at first, but then faster and faster. Itwas translated into many languages, even though almost everyone on Earth had a workingknowledge of Common, since that was the official language of Peter’s “Free People ofEarth”—the propagandistic name he had chosen for his new international government.

Meanwhile, free copies circulated on the nets, and one day it was included in a messageone of the xenobotanists received. She started telling everyone in Miranda about it, andcopies were printed out and handed around. Ender and Valentine made no comment; whenAlessandra pressed a copy on Ender, he accepted it, waited a while, and returned it.“Isn’t it wonderful?” Alessandra asked.

“I think it is, yes,” said Ender.

“Oh, yes, that analytical voice, that dispassionate attitude.”

“What can I say?” said Ender. “I am who I am.”

“I think this book has changed my life,” said Alessandra.

“For the better, I hope,” said Ender. And then, glancing at her swollen belly, heasked, “Changed your life more than that?”

Alessandra smiled. “I don’t know yet. I’ll tell you in a year.”

Ender did not say: In a year I’ll be on a starship and far away.

Valentine finished her penultimate volume and when it was published, she included thefull text of The Hive Queen at the end, with an introductory note:

“We know so little of the formics that it is impossible for me, as a historian, to tellof this war from their point of view. So I will include an artistic imagining of thehistory, because even if it can’t be proved, I believe this is the true story.”

Not long after, Valentine came to Ender. “Peter read my book,” she said.

“I’m glad someone did,” said Ender.

“He sent me a message about the last chapter. He said, ‘I know who wrote it.’”

“And was he right?”

“He was.”

“Isn’t he the clever one.”

“He was moved, Ender.”

“People seem to be liking it.”

“More than liking, and you know it. Let me read what Peter said: ‘If he can speak forthe buggers, surely he can speak for me.’ “

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“He wants you to write about him. About his life.”

“When I last saw Peter I was six and he had threatened to kill me just a few hoursbefore.”

“So you’re saying no.”

“I’m saying that I’ll talk to him and we’ll see what happens.”

On the ansible, they talked for an hour at a time, Peter in his late fifties, with aweak heart that had the doctors worried, Ender still a boy of sixteen. But Peter wasstill himself, and so was Ender, only now there was no anger between them. Maybe becausePeter had achieved everything he dreamed of, and Ender hadn’t stood in his way or even,at least in Peter’s mind, surpassed him.

In Ender’s mind, too. “What you did,” said Ender, “you knew you were doing.”

“Is that good or bad?”

“Nobody had to trick Alexander into conquering Persia,” said Ender. “If they had,would we call him ‘the Great’?”

When Peter had told of his whole life, everything he did that mattered enough to come upin these conversations, Ender spent only five days writing a slim volume called “TheHegemon.”

He sent a copy to Peter with a note: “Since the author will be ‘Speaker for theDead,’ this can’t be published until after you die.”

Peter wrote back: “It can’t happen a moment too soon for me.” But in a letter toValentine, he poured out his heart about what it meant to him to feel so completelyunderstood. “He didn’t conceal any of the bad things I did. But he kept them inbalance. In perspective.”

Valentine showed the letter to Ender and he laughed. “Balance! How can anybody know therelative weight of sins and great achievements? Five chickens do not make a cow.”


Ender in Exile


To: MinCol@ColMin.gov

From: Gov%ShakespeareCol@MinCol.gov

Subj: Is that job still open?

Dear Hyrum,

I have reasons of my own that I won’t go into, but I also believe that Shakespeare willbe well served if, when this colony ship leaves, I am on it. I will be here throughoutthe arrival and establishment of the new colonists. The present settlers have alreadypassed through a profound change: The colonists who arrived with me are now included inthe term “old settlers” in anticipation of the arrival of the ship. The old folks whofought the formics are now called “originals” but there is no common term todistinguish between their descendants and the people who arrived with me.

If I remained, then both the governor of the new settlement and I would be appointeesfrom ColMin. If I leave, replaced by an elected council of the four settlements, with anelected president and elected mayors, it will create almost irresistible pressure on thenew governor to limit himself to a single two-year term, as I did, and allow himself tobe replaced by an elected mayor.

Meanwhile, the “old settlers” have planted their crops for them, but have built onlyhalf enough houses. That is at my suggestion, so that the new colonists can join withthem in building the rest. They need to experience how much work it takes, so they’llappreciate better just how much work was done for them by the old settlers. And workingside by side will help keep the two groups from being strangers—even though I havelocated them far enough away that your goal of separate development will also have achance of being met. They can’t be completely separated, however, or exogamy would beimpractical and genes are more important than culture at this moment for the futurehealth of this world’s human stock.

Human stock . . . but we ARE having to concern ourselves with the physical bodies injust the way herders always have. Uncle Sel would be the first to laugh and say thatthis is exactly right. We’re mammals before we’re humans, and if we ever forget themammal, then all that makes us human will be overwhelmed by the hungry beast.

I’ve been studying everything I can about Virlomi and the wars she fought. What anastonishing woman! Her Battle School records show only an ordinary student (in anadmittedly extraordinary group). But Battle School is about war, not revolution ornational survival; nor did your tests measure anyone’s propensity for becoming ademigod. If you had such a test, I wonder what you would have found out about Peter,back when he was a child and not ruler of the world.

Speaking of Peter, he and I are in conversation; perhaps you knew. We’re not messaging,we’re using ansible bandwidth for conversation. It’s bittersweet to see him at nearlysixty years of age. Hair turning steely grey, face lined, carrying a little weight (butstill fit), and the lines of responsibility etched on his face. He’s not the boy I knewand hated. But the existence of this man does not erase that boy from my memory. Theyare simply two separate people in my mind, who happen to have the same name.

I find myself admiring the man; even loving him. He has faced choices every bit as

terrible as mine ever were—and he dealt with them with his eyes open. He knew before hemade his decisions that people would die from them. And yet he has more compassion thanhe—or I, or Valentine for that matter—ever expected of him.

He tells me that in his childhood, after I was in Battle School, he decided that theonly way to succeed in his work was to deceive people into thinking he was as lovable asme. (I thought he was joking, but he was not; I don’t believe my reputation in BattleSchool was “lovable” but Peter was dealing with the way I was remembered at home.) Sofrom then on, he looked at all his choices and said, What would a good person do, andthen did it. But he has now learned something very important about human nature. If youspend your whole life pretending to be good, then you are indistinguishable from a goodperson. Relentless hypocrisy eventually becomes the truth. Peter has made himself into agood man, even if he set out on that road for reasons that were far from pure.

This gives me great hope for myself. All I have to do now is find some work to do thatwill lay to rest the burden that I carry. Governing a colony has been interesting andvaluable work, but it does not do for me what I hoped it would. I still wake up withdead formics and dead soldiers and dead children in my head. I still wake up withmemories that tell me that I am what Peter used to be. When those go away, I can bemyself again.

I know that it troubles you that I have this mindset. Well, that’s your burden, isn’tit? Let me assure you, however, that my burden is half of my own making. You and Mazerand the rest of the officers training and using me and the other children did what youdid in a righteous cause—and it worked. Toward me you have the same responsibility thatcommanders always have for those soldiers who survive, but maimed. The soldiers arestill responsible for the lives they make for themselves after the fact; it’s bitterly

ironic that your true answer to them is: It’s not my fault that you lived. If you hadbeen killed you would not have to deal with all these wounds. This is the portion oflife that was given back to you; it was the enemy who took from you the wholeness thatyou do not have. My job was to make it so that your death or injuries meant something,and I have done that.

That is what I have learned from the soldiers here. They still remember their comradeswho fell; they still miss the life they left behind on Earth, the families they neversaw again, the places they can revisit only in their dreams and memories. Yet they donot blame me. They’re proud of what we did together. Almost every one of them has saidto me, at one time or another, “It was worth it.” Because we won.

So I say that to you. Whatever burden I’m carrying, it was worth it because we won.

So I appreciate your warning about this little book that’s going around, The HiveQueen. Unlike you, I don’t believe it’s nonsense; I think this “Speaker for theDead” has said something truthful, whether it’s factual or not. Suppose the hive

queens were every bit as beautiful and well-meaning as they are in this Speaker for theDead’s imagination. That does not change the fact that during the war they could nottell us that their intentions had changed and they regretted what they had done. It doesnot change our blamelessness (though blamelessness does not relieve us of


I have a suspicion that I cannot verify: I think that even though the individual formicswere so dependent on the hive queens that when the queens died, so did the soldiers andworkers, that does not mean that they were a single organism, or that the hive queensdid not have to take the deep needs, the will of the individuals, into account. Andbecause the formics were individually so very stupid, the hive queens could not explainsubtleties to them. Isn’t it possible that if the hive queens had refused to fightthose initial battles, letting us slaughter them like true pacifists, the survivalinstinct of the individual formics would have asserted itself with so much strength asto overwhelm the power of their mistresses? We would have had the battles anyway—onlythe formics would have fought without coherence or real intelligence. This in turn mighthave caused formics everywhere to rebel against their queens. Even a dictator has torespect the will of the pawns, for without their obedience, he has no power. Those aremy thoughts about The Hive Queen, since you asked. And about everything else, becauseyou need to hear my thoughts as much as I need to say them. You were my hive queen, andI was your formic, during this war. Twice I wanted to reject your overlordship; twice,Bean stepped in and put me back under the yoke. But all that I did, I did of my own freewill, like any good soldier or servant or slave. The task of the tyrant is not to

compel, but to persuade even the unwilling that compliance better serves their interestthan resistance.

So if you wish to send this arriving ship to Ganges Colony, I will go and see what I cando to help Virlomi deal with Bean’s kidnapped son and his very strange mother (thoughit is not her spitting on you that proves her to be strange; there are—or

were—hundreds who would have stood in line for the privilege). I have a feeling thatVirlomi will indeed find herself over her head, because her colony is so overwhelminglyIndian. It will make all her decisions seem unjust to the non-Indians, and if this

Randall Firth is anything like as smart as his father, and if his mother has raised himto hate any who ever stood in Achilles Flandres’s way, which certainly includes

Virlomi, then this is the wedge that Randall will exploit to try to destroy her and gainpower.

And while there are those in the I.F. and even in ColMin who believe that nothing thathappens in the colonies can threaten Earth, I’m glad you recognize that this is not so.

A warrior-rebel in a colony world can capture the imagination of millions on Earth.Billions, perhaps. And The Hive Queen may turn out to be part of this. A clever

demagogue from the colonies can wrap himself in the mantle of the vanished hive queens,playing upon the powerful sentiment that the colony worlds were somehow “wronged” byEarth and are owed something. It is irrational, but there are precedents for even moreillogical leaps of judgment.

Even if you cannot or no longer wish to send me to Ganges, however, I will be aboardthat ship, so I hope our flight plan will send me somewhere interesting. Valentine hasnot yet decided whether to come with me, but since, because of working on her histories,she has remained completely detached from this colony, emotionally and socially, I thinkshe’ll come with me, having no incentive to remain here without me.

Your lifelong worker bee,


Achilles came to the hut where Governor Virlomi lived in her lofty poverty. She madesuch a show of having the simplest of habitations—but it was completely unnecessary tobuild adobe walls and a thatched roof, with so much fine lumber nearby. Virlomi’s everyaction was calculated to enhance her prestige among the Indian colonists. But the wholedisplay filled Achilles with contempt.

“Randall Firth,” he said to the “friend” standing outside. Virlomi had said, “Myfriends stand watch to protect my time,” she said, “so I can meditate sometimes.” Buther “friends” ate at the common table and drew their full share at harvest, so thattheir service to her was, in effect, paid. They were cops or guards, and everyone knewit. But no, the Indians all said, they really are volunteers, they really do a fullday’s labor besides.

A full day’s labor . . . for an Indian. It gets a little hot and they go lie down whenregular fullsize people have to take up the slack for them.

No wonder my father, Achilles the Great, led the Chinese to conquer the Indians. Someonehad to teach them how to work. Nothing, though, could teach them how to think.

Inside the hut, Virlomi was spinning yarn by hand. Why? Because Gandhi did it. They hadfour spinning jennies and two power looms, and spare parts to keep them running for ahundred years, by which time they should have the ability to manufacture new ones. Therewas no need for homespun. Even Gandhi only did it because he was protesting against theway English power looms were putting Indians out of work. What was Virlomi trying toaccomplish?

“Randall,” she said.

“Virlomi,” he answered.

“Thank you for coming.”

“No one can resist a command from our beloved governor.”

Virlomi lifted weary eyes to him. “And yet you always find a way.”

“Only because your power here is illegitimate,” said Achilles. “Even before we

founded our colony, Shakespeare declared its independence and started electing governorsto two-year terms.”

“And we did the same,” said Virlomi.

“They always elect you,” said Achilles. “The person appointed by ColMin.”

“That’s democracy.”

“Democracy only because the deck was stacked. Literally. With Indians. And you playthis holy-woman game to keep them in your thrall.”

“You have far too much time to read,” said Virlomi, “if you know words like‘thrall.’ “

Such an easy opening. “Why do you feel the need to discourage citizens from educatingthemselves?” asked Achilles.

Virlomi’s pleasant expression didn’t crack. “Why must everything be political withyou?”

“Wouldn’t it be nice if other people ignored politics, so you could have it all toyourself?”

“Randall,” said Virlomi, “I didn’t bring you here because of your agitation amongthe non-Indian colonists.”

“And yet that’s why I came.”

“I have an opportunity for you.”

Achilles had to give her credit: Virlomi kept on plugging away. Maybe that’s one of theattributes of Indian goddesshood. “Are you going to offer me another placeholder job toassuage my ego?”

“You keep saying that you’re trapped on this world, that you’ve never been anywhereelse, so your entire life will be lived under the dominion of Indians, surrounded byIndian culture.”

“Your spies have reported accurately.”

He expected her to get sidetracked on whether her informants were spies or not, sincethey were ordinary citizens who freely attended public events and then talked about themafterward. But apparently she was as weary of that topic as he was. And besides, sheclearly had an urgent agenda.

“A starship is arriving here in about a month,” said Virlomi. “It comes from

Shakespeare Colony, and it’s bringing us several of their highly successful hybrids andgenetic alterations to augment our agricultural resources. A very important visit.”

“I’m not a farmer,” said Achilles.

“When starships come here,” said Virlomi, “it’s never permanent. They come, and thenthey go.”

Now Achilles understood exactly what she was offering him. If it was an offer, and notan involuntary exile. “Go where?” he asked.

“In this case, I am assured that the pilot is taking his starship back to Earth—well,near to Earth—so that the samples from Shakespeare, along with our own poor offerings,can be examined, propagated, studied, and shared with all the colonies. Some may even becultivated on Earth itself, because the high yields and climatic adaptations are sofavorable.”

“Are they naming one of the species after you?” asked Achilles.

“I’m offering you a chance to go to that big wide world and see it for yourself.Indians are only about a quarter of Earth’s population at the moment, and there aremany places you can go where you’ll almost never see an Indian.”

“It’s not Indians that I don’t like,” said Achilles blandly.


“It’s smug authoritarian government pretending to be democratic.”

“Indians are in the majority here. By definition democratic, even if smug,” saidVirlomi.

“Earth is ruled by an evil dictatorship.”

“Earth is ruled by an elected Congress, and presided over by an elected hegemon.”

“A hegemony established through the murder of—“

“Of the man you mistakenly believe to be your father,” said Virlomi.

That sentence struck Achilles like a blow with a sledgehammer. In all his life, he andhis mother had kept his parentage a secret, just as no one had ever heard him called byhis secret—but true—name, Achilles. It was always Randall this and Randall that; onlyin moments of tender privacy did Mother ever speak to him as Achilles. Only in his ownmind did he call himself that name.

But Virlomi knew. How?

“I watched your supposed father murder children in cold blood,” said Virlomi. “Hemurdered a good friend of mine. There was no provocation.”

“That’s a lie,” said Achilles.

“Ah. You have a witness who will contradict me?”

“There was provocation. He was trying to unite the world and establish peace.”

“He was a psychotic who murdered everyone who ever helped him—or saw him helpless.”

“Not everyone,” said Achilles. “He let you live.”

“I didn’t help him. I didn’t thwart him. I stayed invisible, until at last I was ableto escape from him. Then I set out to liberate my country from the cruel oppression hehad unleashed upon us.”

“Achilles Flandres was establishing world peace, and you brought war back to a countrythat he had pacified.”

“But you have no problem with admitting that you believe the fantasy that he is yourfather.”

“I think my mother knows more than anyone else about that.”

“Your mother knows only what she was told. Because she’s a surrogate—not your geneticmother. Your embryo was implanted in her. She was lied to. She has passed that lie downto you. You are nothing but another of Achilles’ kidnap victims. And your imprisonmentby him continues to this day. You are his last and most pathetic victim.”

Achilles’ hand lashed out before he could stop himself. The blow he struck was nothard—not as hard as his height and strength could have made it.

“I have been assaulted,” said Virlomi quietly.

Two of her “friends” came into the hut. They took Achilles by the arms.

“I charge Randall Firth with assault on the governor. Under penalty of perjury,Randall, do you admit that you struck me?”

“What an absurd lie,” said Achilles.

“I thought you’d say that,” said Virlomi. “Three vids from different angles shouldsubstantiate the charge and the perjury. When you’re convicted, Randall, I will

recommend that your sentence be exile. To Earth—the place you seem to think would beinfinitely preferable to Ganges. Your mother can go with you or not, as she chooses.”

She played me like a fish, thought Achilles. My father would never have stood for this.Humiliation—the unbearable offense. That’s how my father lived, and that’s how I willlive.

“The whole recording,” said Achilles. “That’s what they’ll see—how you goadedme.”

Virlomi rose smoothly to her feet and came close to him, putting her mouth close to hisear. “The whole recording,” said Virlomi, “will show who you think your father is,and your approval of his actions, which still are seen as the epitome of evil by theentire human race.”

She stepped back from him. “You can decide for yourself whether the whole record or anedited portion will be shown.”

Achilles knew that this was the point where he was expected to make threats, to blusterpathetically. But the recording was still running.

“I see that you know how to manipulate a child,” said Achilles. “I’m only sixteen,and you provoked me to anger.”

“Ah, yes, sixteen. Big for your age, aren’t you?”

“In heart and mind, as well as skin and bone,” said Achilles—his standard answer.“Remember, Your Excellency the Governor, that setting me up is one thing, and knockingme out is another.”

He turned—and then waited as the men clinging to his arms scrambled to move aroundagain to be beside him. They left the hut together. Then Achilles stopped abruptly.“You do know that I can shake you off like houseflies if I feel like it.”

“Oh, yes, Mr. Firth. Our presence was as witnesses. Otherwise our taking hold of youwas merely symbolic.”

“And you hoped I’d knock one of you down on camera.”

“We hope that all men and women can live together without violence.”

“But you don’t mind being the victim of violence, if you can use it to discredit ordestroy your enemy.”

“Are you our enemy, Mr. Firth?”

“I hope not,” said Achilles. “But your goddess wants me to be.”

“Oh, she is not a goddess, Mr. Firth.” They laughed as if the idea were absurd.

As Achilles walked away, he was already formulating his next move. She was going to usehis father’s reputation against him—and he did not believe she would keep it a secret,since she was right and any link between him and Achilles the Great would permanentlybesmirch him.

If my father is widely believed to be the worst man in human history, then I must find aworse one to link her with.

As for the claim that Mother was only a surrogate, Randall would not let Virlomi’s liecome between him and his mother. It would break her heart for him even to question hermotherhood of him. No, Virlomi, I will not let you turn me into a weapon to hurt mymother.


Ender in Exile


To: AWiggin%Ganges@ColLeague.adm

From: hgraff%retlist@IFCom.adm

Subj: Welcome back to the human universe

Of course my condolences on the passing of your parents. But I understand from them thatyou and they corresponded to great mutual satisfaction before they died. The passing ofyour brother must have come as more of a surprise. He was young, but his heart gave out.Pay no attention to the foolish rumors that always attend the death of the great. I sawthe autopsy, and Peter had a weak heart, despite his healthy lifestyle. It was quick, aclot that stopped his life while he slept. He died at the peak of his power and his

powers. Not a bad way to go. I hope you’ll read the excellent essay on his life writtenby supposedly the same author as The Hive Queen. It’s called The Hegemon, and I’veattached it here.

An interesting thing happened to me while you were in stasis, sailing from Shakespeareto Ganges. I was fired.

Here is something I hadn’t foreseen (believe it; I have foreseen very little in my longlife; I survived and accomplished things because I adapted quickly), though I shouldhave: When you spend ten months of every year in stasis, there is a side effect: Yourunderlings and superiors begin to regard your awakenings as intrusions. The ones whowere fiercely loyal to you retire, pursue their careers into other avenues, or aremaneuvered out of office. Soon, everyone around you is loyal to themselves, theircareers, or someone who wants your job.

Everyone put on such a show of deference to me whenever I awoke. They reported on howall my decisions from my last awakening had been carried out—or had explanations as towhy they had not.

For three awakenings, I should have noticed how unconvincing those explanations hadbecome, and how ineffectively my orders had been carried out. I should have seen thatthe bureaucratic soup through which I had navigated for so many years had begun tocongeal around me; I should have seen that my long absences were making me powerless.

Just because I wasn’t having any fun, I didn’t realize that my months in stasis were,in effect, vacations. It was an attempt to prolong my tenure in office by not attendingto business. When has this ever been a good idea?

It was pure vanity, Ender. It could not work; it could not last. I awoke to find that myname was no longer on my office door. I was on the retired list of IFCom—and at acolonel’s pay, to add insult to injury. As for any kind of pension from ColMin, thatwas out of the question, since I had not been retired, I had been dismissed for

nonperformance of my duties. They cited years of missed meetings when I was in stasis;they cited my failure to seek any kind of leave; they even harked back to that ancientcourt martial to show a “pattern of negligent behavior.” So . . . dismissed withcause, to live on a colonel’s half pay.

I think they actually assumed that I had managed to enrich myself during my tenure inoffice. But I was never that kind of politician.

However, I also care little for material things. I am returning to Earth, where I stillown a little property—I did make sure the taxes were kept up. I will be able to live inpeaceful retirement on a lovely piece of land in Ireland that I fell in love with andbought during the years when I traveled the world in search of children to exploit andquite possibly destroy in Battle School. No one there will have any idea of who Iam—or, rather, who I was. I have outlived my infamy.

One thing about retirement, however: I will have no more ansible privileges. Even thisletter is going to you with such a low priority that it will be years before it’s

transmitted. But the computers do not forget and cannot be misused by anyone vindictiveenough to want to prevent my saying good-bye to old friends. I saw to the security ofthe system, and the leaders of the I.F. and the FPE understand the importance of

maintaining the independence of the nets. You will see this message when you come out ofstasis yourself upon arriving at Ganges four years from now.

I write with two purposes. First, I want you to know that I understand and remember thegreat debt that I and all the world owe to you. Fifty-seven years ago, before you wentto Shakespeare, I assembled your pay during the war (which was all retroactively atadmiral rank), the cash bonuses voted for you and your jeesh during the first flush ofgratitude, and your salary as governor of Shakespeare, and piggybacked them onto sixdifferent mutual funds of impeccable reputation.

They will be audited continuously by the best software I could find, which, it may amuseyou to know, is based on the kernel of the Fantasy Game (or “mind game,” as it wasalso called in Battle School). The program’s ability to constantly monitor itself andall data sources and inputs, and to reprogram itself in response to new information,made it seem the best choice to make sure your best interests, financially, were wellwatched out for. Human financial managers can be incompetent, or tempted to embezzle, ordie, only to be replaced by a worse one.

You may draw freely from the accruing interest, without paying taxes of any kind untilyou come of age—which, since so many children are voyaging, is now legally accountedusing the sum of ship’s time during voyages added to the days spent in real timebetween voyages, with stasis time counting zero. I have done my best to shore up yourfuture against the vicissitudes of time.

Which brings me to my second purpose. I am an old man who thought he could manipulatetime and live to see all his plans come to fruition. In a way, I suppose I have. I havepulled many strings, and most of my puppets have finished their dance. I have outlivedmost of the people I knew, and all of my friends.

Unless you are my friend. I have come to think of you that way; I hope that I do notoverstep my bounds, because what I offer you now is a friend’s advice.

In rereading the message in which you asked me to send you to Ganges, I have seen in thephrase “reasons of my own” the possibility that you are using starflight the way I wasusing stasis—as a way to live longer. In your case, though, you are not seeking to seeall your plans to fruition—I’m not sure you even have plans. I think instead that youare seeking to put decades, perhaps centuries, between you and your past.

I think the plan is rather clever, if you mean to outlast your fame and live in quietanonymity somewhere, to marry and have children and rejoin the human race, but amongpeople who cannot even conceive of the idea that their neighbor, Andrew Wiggin, couldpossibly have anything to do with the great Ender Wiggin who saved the world.

But I fear that you are trying to distance yourself from something else. I fear that youthink you can hide from what you (all unwittingly) did, the matters that were exploitedin my unfortunate court martial. I fear that you are trying to outrun the deaths ofStilson, of Bonzo Madrid, of thousands of humans and billions of formics in the war youso brilliantly and impossibly won for us all.

You cannot do it, Ender. You carry them with you. They will be freshly in your mind longafter all the rest of the world has forgotten. You defended yourself against childrenwho meant to destroy you, and you did it effectively; if you had not done so, would youhave been capable of your great victories? You defended the human race against a

nonverbal enemy who destroyed human lives carelessly in the process of taking what itwanted—our world, our home, our achievements, the future of planet Earth. What youblame yourself for, I honor you for. Please hear my voice in your head, as well as yourown self-condemnation. Try to balance them.

You are the man you have always been: one who takes responsibility, one who foreseesconsequences and acts to protect others and, yes, yourself. That man will not easilysurrender a burden.

But do not use starflight like a drug, using it to seek oblivion. I can tell you fromexperience that a life lived in short visits to the human race is not a life. We areonly human when we are part of a community. When you first came to Battle School, Itried to isolate you, but it could not be done. I surrounded you with hostility; youtook most of your enemies and rivals and made friends of them. You freely taught

everything you knew, and nurtured students that we teachers had, frankly, given up on;some of them ended up finding greatness in themselves, and achieved much. You were apart of them; they carried you inside them all their lives. You were better at our jobthan we were.

Your jeesh loved you, Ender, with a devotion I could only envy—I have had many friends,but never the kind of passion that those children had for you. They would have died foryou, every one of them. Because they knew you would have died for them. And the reportsI had from Shakespeare Colony—from Sel Menach, from Ix Tolo and his sons Po and Abra,and from the colonists who never even knew you, but found the place you had prepared forthem—I can tell you that you were universally loved and respected, and all of themregarded you as the best member of their communities, their benefactor and friend.

I tell you this because I fear that the lesson I taught you first was the one youlearned the best: that you are always alone, that no one will ever help you, thatwhatever must be done, only you can do. I cannot speak to the deep recesses of yourmind, but only to the uppermost part, the conscious mind that has spoken and written tome so eloquently all these years. So I hope you can hear my message and pass it along tothe part of you that will not at first believe it:

You are the least-alone person I have ever known. Your heart has always included withinit everyone who let you love them, and many who did not. The meetingplace of all thesecommunities you formed was your own heart; they knew you held them there, and it madethem one with each other. Yet the gift you gave them, none was able to give you, and Ifear this is because I did my evil work too well, and built a wall in your mind thatcannot let you receive the knowledge of what and who you are.

It galls me to see how this “Speaker for the Dead” with his silly little books hasachieved the influence that YOU deserved. People are actually turning it into areligion—there are self-styled “speakers for the dead” who presume to talk at

funerals and tell “the truth” about the dead person, an appalling desecration—who canknow the truth about anyone? I have left instructions in my will that none of theseposeurs is to be allowed anywhere near my funeral, if anyone even bothers to have one.You saved the world and were never allowed to come home. This mountebank makes up a fakehistory of the formics and then writes an apologia for your brother Peter and peoplemake a religion out of it. There’s no accounting for the human race.

You have Valentine with you. Show her this letter, and see if she does not affirm thatevery word I’ve said about you is true. I may not be alive when you read this, but manywho knew you as students in Battle School are still alive, including most of your jeesh.They are old, but not one of them has forgotten you. (I still write to Petra now andthen; she has been widowed twice, and yet remains an astonishingly happy and optimisticsoul. She keeps in touch with all the others.) They and I and Valentine can all attestto the fact that you have belonged to the human race more deeply and fully than mostpeople could even imagine.

Find a way to believe that, and don’t hide from life in the unfathomable, lightlessdepths of relativistic space.

I have achieved much in my life, but the greatest of my achievements was finding you,recognizing what you were, and somehow managing not to ruin you before you could savethe world. I only wish I could then have healed you. But that will have to be your ownachievement—or perhaps Valentine’s. Or perhaps it will come from the children that youmust, you must have someday.

For that is my greatest personal regret. I never married and had children of my own.Instead I stole other people’s children and trained them—not raised them. It is easyto say that you can adopt the whole human race as your children, but it is not the sameas living in a home with a child and shaping all you do to help him learn to be happyand whole and good. Don’t live your life without ever holding a child in your arms, onyour lap, in your home, and feeling a child’s arms around you and hearing his voice inyour ear and seeing his smile, given to you because you put it into his heart.

I had no such moments, because I did not treat my kidnapped Battle School children thatway. I was no one’s father, by birth or adoption. Marry, Ender. Have children, or adoptthem, or borrow them—whatever it takes. But do not live a life like mine.

I have done great things, but now, in the end, I am not happy. I wish I had let thefuture take care of itself, and instead of skipping forward through time, had stopped,made a family, and died in my proper time, surrounded by children.

See how I pour out my heart to you? Somehow, you took me into your jeesh as well.

Forgive the maudlinness of old men; when you are my age, you will understand.

I never treated you like a son when I had you in my power, but I have loved you like ason; and in this letter I have spoken to you as I’d like to think I might have spokento the sons I never had. I say to you: Well done, Ender. Now be happy.

Hyrum Graff

I.F. Col. Ret.

Ender was shocked at the difference in Valentine when he emerged from stasis at the endof the voyage. “I told you I wasn’t going into stasis until my book was finished,”she said when she saw his expression.

“You didn’t stay awake for the whole voyage.”

“I did,” she said. “This wasn’t a forty-year voyage in two years like our first one,it was only an eighteen-year voyage in a bit over fourteen months.” Ender did the

arithmetic quickly and saw that she was right. Acceleration and deceleration always tookabout the same amount of time, while the length of the voyage in between determined thedifference in subjective time.

“Still,” he said. “You’re a woman.”

“How flattering that you noticed. I was disappointed that I didn’t have any ship’scaptains falling in love with me.”

“Perhaps the fact that Captain Hong brought his wife and family with him had an effecton that.”

“Bit by bit, they’re learning that you don’t have to sacrifice everything to be astar voyager,” said Valentine.

“Arithmetic—I’m still seventeen, and you’re nearly twenty-one.”

“I am twenty-one,” she said. “Think of me as your Auntie Val.”

“I will not,” he said. “You finished your book?”

“I wrote a history of Shakespeare Colony, up to the time of your arrival. I couldn’thave done it if you had been awake.”

“Because I would have insisted on accuracy?”

“Because you wouldn’t have let me have complete access to your correspondence withKolmogorov.”

“My correspondence is double-password encrypted.”

“Oh, Ender, you’re talking to me,” said Valentine. “Do you think I wouldn’t be ableto guess ‘Stilson’ and ‘Bonzo’?”

“I didn’t use their names just like that, naked.”

“To me they were naked, Ender. You think nobody really understands you, but I can guessyour passwords. That makes me your password buddy.”

“That makes you a snoop,” said Ender. “I can’t wait to read the book.”

“Don’t worry. I didn’t mention your name. His emails are cited as ‘letter to afriend’ with the date.”

“Aren’t you considerate.”

“Don’t be testy. I haven’t seen you in fourteen months and I missed you. Don’t makeme change my mind.”

“I saw you yesterday, and you’ve snooped my files since then. Don’t expect me toignore that. What else did you snoop?”

“Nothing,” said Valentine. “You have your luggage locked. I’m not a yegg.”

“When can I read the book?”

“When you buy it and download it. You can afford to pay.”

“I don’t have any money.”

“You haven’t read Hyrum Graff’s letter yet,” said Valentine. “He got you a nicepension and you can draw on it without paying any taxes until you come of age.”

“So you didn’t confine yourself to your research topic.”

“I can never know whether a letter contains useful data until I read it, can I?”

“So you read all the letters ever written in the history of the human race, in order towrite this book?”

“Only the ones written since the founding of Colony One after the Third Formic War.”She kissed his cheek. “Good morning, Ender. Welcome back to the world.”

Ender shook his head. “Not Ender,” he said. “Not here. I’m Andrew.”

“Ah,” she said. “Why not ‘Andy,’ then? Or ‘Drew’?”

“Andrew,” Ender repeated.

“Well, you should have told the governor that, because her letter of invitation isaddressed to ‘Ender Wiggin.’ “

Ender frowned. “We never knew each other in Battle School.”

“I imagine she thinks she knows you, having been so intimately involved with half yourjeesh.”

“Having had her army beaten into the ground by them,” said Ender.

“That’s a kind of intimacy, isn’t it? A sort of Grant-and-Lee thing?”

“I suppose Graff had to warn her that I was coming.”

“Your name was also on the manifest, and it included the fact that you were governor ofShakespeare until your two-year term ended. That narrows you down among all the possibleAndrew Wiggins in the human race.”

“Have you been down to the surface?”

“No one has. I asked the captain to let me wake you so you could be on the firstshuttle. Of course he was pleased to do anything for the great Ender Wiggin. He’s ofthat generation—he was on Eros when you won that final victory. He says he saw you inthe corridors there, more than once.”

Ender thought back to his brief meeting with the captain before going into stasis. “Ididn’t recognize him.”

“He didn’t expect you to. He really is a nice man. Much better at his job than oldwhat’s-his-name.”

“Quincy Morgan.”

“I remembered his name, Ender, I just didn’t want to say it or hear it.”

Ender cleaned himself up. Stasis left him with a sort of scum all over his body; hisskin seemed to crackle just a little when he moved. This can’t be good for you, hethought as he scrubbed it off and the skin protested by giving him little stabbingpains. But Graff does stasis ten months of the year and he’s still going strong.

And he got me a pension. Isn’t that nice. I can’t imagine Ganges is using Hegemonymoney any more than Shakespeare was, but once interstellar trade starts up, maybethere’ll start being some buying power in the FPE dollar.

Dried and dressed, Ender got his luggage out of storage and, in the privacy of

Valentine’s locked stateroom, from which she had discreetly absented herself, Enderopened the case containing the cocoon of the last hive queen in the universe.

He was afraid, for a moment, that she had died during the voyage. But no. After he hadheld the cocoon in his bare hands for a few minutes, an image flickered into his mind.Or rather a rapid series of images—the faces of hundreds of hive queens, a thousand ofthem, in such rapid succession that he couldn’t register any of them. It was as if,upon waking—upon rebooting—all the ancestors in this hive queen’s memory had to makean appearance in her mind before settling back and letting her have control of her ownbrain.

What ensued was not a conversation—it could not be. But when Ender thought back on it,it seemed to him like a conversation, complete with dialogue. It was as if his brain wasnot designed to remember what had passed between them—the direct transfer of shapedmemory. Instead, it translated the exchange into the normal human mode of

interresponsive language.

“Is this my new home? Will you let me come out?” she asked him—or rather, she showedherself emerging from the cocoon into the cool air of a cave, and the feeling of aquestion—or a demand?—came along with the image.

“Too soon,” he said—and in his mind there really were words, or at least ideasshapable into language. “Nobody’s forgotten anything yet. They would be terrified.They’d kill you as soon as they discovered you or any of your children.”

“More waiting,” she said. “Wait forever.”

“Yes,” he said. “I will voyage as often as I can, as far as I can. Five hundred

years. A thousand years. I don’t know how long it will be before I can safely bring youout, or where we’ll be.”

She reminded him that she was not affected by the relativistic effects of time travel.“Our minds work on the principle of your ansible. We are always connected to the realtime of the universe.” For this she used images of clocks that she drew from his ownmemory. Her own metaphor for time was the sweep of sun across sky for days, and its

drift northward and south again to show years. Hive queens never needed to subdividetime into hours and minutes and seconds, because with her own children—the

formics—everything was infinitely now.

“I’m sorry that you have to experience all the time of the voyage,” said Ender. “Butyou want me in stasis during the voyage, so I’ll stay young long enough to find you ahome.”

Stasis—she compared his hibernation with her own pupation. “But you come out the same.No change.”

“We humans don’t change in cocoons. We stay awake through our maturation process.”

“So for you, this sleep isn’t birth.”

“No,” said Ender. “It’s temporary death. Extinguishment, but with a spark leftglowing in the ash. I didn’t even dream.”

“All I do is dream,” she said. “I dream the whole history of my people. They are mymothers, but now they are also my sisters, because I remember doing all the things theydo.”

For this, she had drawn on the images of Valentine and Peter to say “sisters.” Andwhen Peter’s face appeared, there was fear and pain in the memory.

“I don’t fear him anymore,” said Ender. “Or hate him. He turned out to be a greatman.”

But the hive queen didn’t believe him. She drew from his mind the image of the old manfrom their ansible conversations, and compared it with the child Peter in Ender’sdeepest memory. They were too different to be the same.

And Ender could not argue the point. Peter the Hegemon was not Peter the monster. Maybehe never was. Maybe both were an illusion. But Peter the monster was the one buried deepin Ender’s memory, and he was unlikely to expunge him from it.

He put the cocoon back in its hiding place, locked it, and then left it on the cart ofluggage being taken down to the surface.

* * * * *

Virlomi actually came to meet the shuttle; and in moments she made it clear she wasextending this courtesy only for Ender’s sake. She came aboard the shuttle to talk tohim.

Ender did not take this as a good sign. While they waited for her to come aboard, Endersaid to Valentine, “She doesn’t want me here. She wants me to go back onto the ship.”

“Wait and see what she wants,” said Valentine. “Maybe she just wants to know what youintend.”

When she came in, Virlomi looked so much older than the girl whose face Ender had seenon the vids of the Sino-Indian War. A year or two of brooding over defeat, and thensixteen years of governing a colony—they were bound to take their toll.

“Thank you for letting me visit you so early,” she said.

“You have flattered us beyond measure,” said Ender. “To come out and receive usyourself.”

“I had to see you,” she said, “before you emerged into the colony. I swear to youthat I told no one of your coming.”

“I believe you,” said Ender. “But your remark seems to imply that people know I’mhere.”

“No,” she said. “No, there’s no rumor of that, thank God.”

Which God, Ender wondered. Or, being reputed a goddess, did she thank herself?

“When Colonel Graff—oh, whatever his title was then—he’ll always be Colonel Graff tome—when he told me he had asked you to come, it was because he anticipated problemswith a particular mother and son.”

“Nichelle and Randall Firth,” said Ender.

“Yes,” she said. “It happens that I had also noticed them as a potential problemduring setup back in Battle School—Ellis Island—whatever the name of the place was bythen. So I understood his concern. What I didn’t know was why he thought you couldhandle them better than I could.”

“I’m not sure he thought I could. Perhaps he only wanted you to have a resource todraw on, in case I had some ideas. Have they been a problem?”

“The mother was your ordinary reclusive paranoid,” said Virlomi. “But she workedhard, and if she seemed obsessively protective of her son, there was nothing perverseabout their relationship—she never tried to keep him in her bed, for instance, and shenever bathed him after infancy—none of the danger signs. He was such a tiny baby.Almost like a toy. But he walked and talked incredibly young. Shockingly young.”

“And he stayed small,” said Ender, “until he was in his teens. Just kept growing atan ordinary pace and then didn’t stop. I imagine he’s something of a giant now.”

“Two full meters in height with no sign of stopping,” said Virlomi. “How did you knowthis?”

“Because of who his parents are.”

Virlomi gasped. “Graff knows who the real father is. And he didn’t tell me. How was Isupposed to deal with this situation if he didn’t give me all the information?”

“Forgive me for reminding you,” said Ender, “but you were not widely trusted at thetime.”

“No,” she said. “But I thought if he made me governor, he’d give me . . . butthat’s past and gone.”

Ender wondered if, indeed, Graff was gone. He wasn’t on any of the registries he couldaccess—but he didn’t have ansible privileges like those he’d had before, as a newgovernor coming to his colony. There were deep searches he simply wasn’t given time topursue.

“Graff didn’t want to leave you without knowledge. But he gave it to me, and left itto me to judge how much to tell you.”

“So you don’t trust me either?” Her voice sounded jocular, but there was pain underit.

“I don’t know you,” said Ender. “You made war against my friends. You liberated yourcountry from the invaders. But then you became a vengeful invader yourself. I don’tknow what to do with this information. Let me make up my mind as I come to know you.”

Valentine spoke up for the first time since their initial greetings. “What is it thathas happened that made you assure us that you told no one Ender was coming?”

Virlomi turned to her respectfully. “It’s part of the longstanding struggle between meand Randall Firth.”

“Isn’t he still a child?”

Virlomi laughed bitterly. “Do Battle School graduates really say such things to eachother?”

Ender chuckled. “Apparently so. How long has this struggle gone on?”

“By the time he was twelve, he was such a precocious . . . orator . . . that he had theold settlers and the non-Indian colonists who came with me eating out of his hand. Atfirst he was their clever mascot. Now he is something closer to a spiritual leader, a .. .”

“A Virlomi,” said Ender.

“He has made himself into their equivalent of the way the Indian colonists regard me,yes,” she said. “I never claimed to be a goddess.”

“Let’s not argue such old issues.”

“I just want you to know the truth.”

“No, Virlomi,” said Valentine, intruding again, or so Virlomi’s expression seemed tosay. “You deliberately constructed the goddess image, and when people asked you, yougave nondenial denials: ‘Since when do goddesses walk the earth?’ ‘Would a goddessfail so often?’ And the most loathsomely deceptive of them all: “What do you think?’“

Virlomi sighed. “You have no mercy,” she said.

“No,” said Valentine. “I have a lot of mercy. I just don’t have any manners.”

“Yes,” said Virlomi. “He has learned from watching me, how I handle the Indians, howthey worship me. His group has no shared religion, no traditions in common. But heconstructed one, especially because everyone knew that evil book The Hive Queen.”

“How is it evil?” asked Ender.

“Because it’s a pack of lies. Who could know what the hive queens thought or felt orremembered or tried to do? But it has turned the formics into tragic figures in theminds of the impressionable fools who memorize that damnable book.”

Ender chuckled. “Smart boy.”

“What?” Virlomi asked him, looking suspicious.

“I assume you’re telling me this because he somehow claims that he is the heir of thehive queens.”

“Which is absolutely absurd because ours is the first colony that was not founded onthe ruins of formic civilization.”

“So how does he manage it?” asked Ender.

“He claims that the Indian population—eighty percent of the total—are merely tryingto reestablish here the exact culture they had on Earth. While he and the others are theones who are trying to create something new. He really does have the gall to call hislittle movement the ‘Natives of Ganges.’ And he says we Indians are like the jackalswho have settled other worlds—destroying the natives and then stealing all that theyaccomplished.”

“And people buy this?”

“Oddly enough,” she said, “not that many do. Most of the non-Indian colonists aretrying to get along.”

“But some believe him,” said Ender.


“There aren’t that many colonists,” said Valentine.

“He isn’t just playing to the local crowd,” said Virlomi. “He sends his writings outby ansible. There are chapters of the Natives of Ganges in most of the major cities of

Earth. Even in India. Millions, as I told you.”

Valentine sighed. “I saw them referred to only as ‘the Natives’ on the nets and Iwasn’t interested. That originated here?”

“They regard The Hive Queen as their scripture, and the formics as their spiritualforebears,” said Virlomi. “On Earth, their doctrine is almost the opposite of whatRandall preaches here. They claim that the FPE should be abolished because it erases allthe ‘genuine,’ ‘native’ cultures of Earth. They refuse to speak Common. They make abig show of following native religions.”

“While here, Randall condemns your people for doing exactly that,” said Ender.“Preserving your culture from Earth.”

“Yes,” said Virlomi. “But he claims it isn’t inconsistent—this is not where Indianculture originated. It’s a new place, and so he and his ‘Natives of Ganges’ are

creating the real native culture of this world, instead of a warmed-over copy of an oldone from Earth.”

Ender chuckled.

“It’s funny to you,” Virlomi said.

“Not at all,” said Ender. “I’m just thinking that Graff really was such a genius.Not as smart as the kids he trained in Battle School, but . . . with Randall just aninfant in his mother’s arms, he knew that they would cause trouble.”

“And sent you to save me,” she said.

“I doubt you need saving,” said Ender.

“No, I don’t,” she said. “I’ve already dealt with it. I provoked him into

assaulting me in my house. It’s on vid and we’ve already held the trial and sentencedhim to be exiled. He’s going back to Earth—along with any of his malcontents who wantto go with him.”

Ender shook his head. “And it doesn’t occur to you that that’s exactly what he wantsyou to do?”

“Of course it did. But I also don’t care, as long as I don’t have to deal with him.”

Ender sighed. “Of course you care, Virlomi. If he already has a following there, andthen he returns to Earth as an exile from what he calls his ‘native world,’ then youhave just sown the seed that can bring down the FPE and restore the Earth to themiserable chaos of war and hatred that Peter Wiggin ended such a short time ago.”

“That’s not my problem,” said Virlomi.

“Our generation is gone from power, Virlomi,” said Ender, “except in a few remotecolonies. Peter is dead. His successors are lackluster placeholders. Do you thinkthey’ll be competent to deal with this Randall Firth?”

Virlomi hesitated. “No.”

“So if you knowingly infect someone with a virus that you know their body can’t fightoff, have you not murdered them?”

Virlomi buried her face in her hands. “I know,” she said. “I tried not to know, but Iknow.”

“What I can’t yet determine,” said Valentine, “is why your first words to us were aprotest that you hadn’t told anyone that Ender was coming. Why would that matter?”

Virlomi raised her face. “Because at the trial and ever since then, he has been usingyou. And linking himself to his monster of a father. Who he thinks his father is.”

“Specifically,” prompted Valentine.

“He calls you ‘Ender the Xenocide,’ ” said Virlomi. “He says you’re the worst warcriminal in all of history, because you were the one who slaughtered the native peopleof all these worlds so that the robbers could come in and steal their houses andlands.”

“Predictable,” said Ender.

“And Peter is called the ‘Brother of the Xenocide,’ who tried to extinguish all thenative cultures of Earth.”

“Oh my,” said Ender.

“While Achilles Flandres was not a monster—that’s just propaganda from the pro-

xenocide party. He was the only one who stood against Peter’s and Ender’s evil plans.He tried to stop you in Battle School, so your friends got him sent back to be

imprisoned in an insane asylum on Earth. Then, when he escaped and began his work ofopposing the threat of the Hegemon becoming dictator of the world, Peter’s propagandamill went to work, slandering him.” Virlomi sighed. “Here’s the irony. Through all ofthis, he pretends to honor me greatly. As a hero who stood against the jeesh of thexenocides—Han Tzu, Alai, Petra, all who served with you.”

“And yet he struck you.”

“He states that he was provoked. That it was all a setup. That a man of his size—if hehad meant to hurt me, I’d be dead. He was merely trying to wake me up to the enormityof the lies I was telling and believing. His followers accept this explanationcompletely. Or don’t care whether it’s true or not.”

“Well, it’s nice that even while I’m in stasis, somebody found me useful,” saidEnder.

“It’s not a joke,” said Virlomi. “All over the nets, his revisionist view is gainingmore and more acceptance. All the nonsense from Graff’s court martial came into evenmore prominence. Pictures of the dead bodies of . . . those bullies . . .”

“Oh, I can guess,” said Ender.

“You had to know before you got off the shuttle,” said Virlomi. “He can’t have knownyou were coming. He just chose this time to invoke your name. I think it’s because Iwas using Achilles’ name as the symbol of a monster. So he decided to use your name tooutmonster Achilles. If it weren’t for that horrible pack of lies called The HiveQueen, he wouldn’t have found so much fertile ground for his nonsense.”

“I did everything he accuses me of,” said Ender. “Those boys died. So did all theformics.”

“But you’re not a murderer. I read those trial transcripts too, you know. I

understood—I was in Battle School, I talked to people who knew you, we all knew how theadults shaped our lives and controlled us. And we all recognized that your devastatingself-defense was perfect military doctrine.”

Ender did what he always did when somebody tried to exonerate him—he shunted her wordsaside without comment. “Well, Virlomi, I’m not sure what you think I should do aboutthis.”

“You could get back on the ship and go.”

“Is that what you’re asking me to do?” asked Ender.

“He’s not here to take over your job,” said Valentine. “He’s not a threat to you.”

Virlomi laughed. “I’m not trying to get rid of your brother, Valentine. He’s welcometo stay. If he does, then I will definitely need and take his help and advice. For my

own sake, I’m happy he’s here. Randall will have no choice but to turn all his hatredonto you. Please, stay.”

“I’m glad you asked,” said Ender. “I accept.”

“No,” said Valentine. “This is the kind of situation that leads to violence.”

“I promise not to kill anybody, Valentine,” said Ender.

“I’m talking about violence against you,” she said.

“So am I,” said Ender.

“If he chooses to whip a mob into a frenzy—“

“No,” said Virlomi. “You have nothing to fear on that score. We will protect youfully.”

“Nobody can protect anybody fully,” said Valentine.

“Oh, I’m sure Virlomi’s people will do a splendid job,” said Ender. “As I said, Iaccept your kind invitation. Now, let’s leave this boat and go ashore, neh?”

“As you wish,” said Virlomi. “I’ll be glad to have you. But I also warned you, andas long as this ship is still here, you’re free to move on. You won’t like it whenRandall turns his wrath on you. He has a way with words.”

“Just words?” said Ender. “So he’s nonviolent?”

“So far,” said Virlomi.

“Then I’m safe,” said Ender. “Thank you for the great honor you paid me. Please letit be known that I’m here. And that I really am that Andrew Wiggin.”

“Are you sure?” asked Virlomi.

“Insane people are always sure,” said Valentine.

Ender laughed, and so Virlomi did, too—a nervous chuckle.

“I’d invite you to join me for supper tonight,” said Virlomi, “only one of my

affectations is to eat little, and of course, as a Hindu, I eat an entirely vegetariancuisine.”

“Sounds excellent,” said Valentine.

“Tell us when and where, and we’ll be there,” said Ender.

With a few more parting words, Virlomi left.

Valentine turned on Ender, angry and sad, both at once. “Did you bring me here to watchyou die?”

“I didn’t bring you anywhere,” said Ender. “You just came.”

“That doesn’t answer my question.”

“Everyone dies, Valentine. Mother and Father are dead. Peter is dead. Graff is probablydead by now.”

“You forget that I know you, Ender,” said Valentine. “You have decided to die.You’ve decided to provoke this boy into killing you.”

“Why would you think that?”

“Look at the names you chose for passwords, Ender! You can’t live with the guilt.”

“Not guilt, Val,” said Ender. “Responsibility.”

“Don’t make this boy kill you,” said Valentine.

“I won’t make anybody do anything. How about that?”

“I should have stayed home and watched Peter conquer the world.”

“Oh, no, Valentine. We’re on a much more interesting trajectory through space-time.”

“I’m not going to sleep through my life like you are, Ender. I have work to do. I’mgoing to write my histories. I’m not burdened with a death wish.”

“If I wished to be dead,” said Ender, “I would have let Bonzo Madrid and his friendsbeat my brains out in a bathroom in Battle School.”

“I know you,” said Valentine.

“I know you think you do,” said Ender. “And if I die, you’ll think I chose to. Thetruth is much more complicated. I don’t intend to die. But I’m not afraid of the riskof death. Sometimes a soldier has to put himself in harm’s way in order to achievevictory.”

“It’s not your war,” said Valentine.

Ender laughed. “It’s always my war.”


Ender in Exile


To: VWiggin%Ganges@ColLeague.Adm/voy

From: AWiggin%Ganges@ColLeague.Adm/voy

Subj: If I am dead

Dear Val,

I don’t expect to be dead. I expect to be alive, in which case, you won’t receivethis, because I will keep sending the do-not-deliver code until after the comingconfrontation.

This is about the case. The code to unlock it is the name of your favorite stuffed

animal when you were six. When you open it, hold what you find in your hands for a goodlong time. If you come up with some good ideas, then act on them; otherwise, pleaserepack the item exactly as you found it, and arrange to ship it to Abra Tolo on

Shakespeare with a message: “This is what I found that day. Please don’t let it bedestroyed.”

But you won’t need this, because, as is my fashion, I expect to win.


your demanding and mysterious little brother,


or, I suppose I should now say: Ended

Since the starship had not arrived full of new colonists, it was almost inconsequentialto most of the people of the city of Andhra. Of course everyone turned out to watch theshuttle land. And there was some commotion as a few trade goods were loaded off and manysupplies were loaded on. But the tasks being carried out were repetitive and peoplequickly lost interest and went back to their work. Governor Virlomi’s visit to theshuttle was taken as good manners by those who heard about it—few knew or cared whatthe ordinary protocol would be, and so didn’t realize that it had been altered. Andthose who did know simply took it as part of Virlomi’s character—or her pose—that shedid not make the visitors come to her.

Only when that evening’s supper saw strangers come to Virlomi’s house—which Achillesand his fellow “Natives of Ganges” liked to refer to as “the governor’s

mansion”—did anyone’s curiosity get aroused. A teenage boy; a young woman of abouttwenty. Why were they the only passengers on the starship? Why was Virlomi giving themspecial honors? Were they new colonists or government officials or . . . what?

Since this was the ship that was supposed to take Achilles into exile for his “crime”of striking the governor, he was, quite naturally, anxious to find out anything he couldto derail the plan. These guests were unusual, unexpected, unannounced, unexplained.That had to mean they presented an opportunity to embarrass Virlomi, at the veryleast—to stymie her or destroy her, if things went well.

It took two days of having his supporters consort with the crew before someone finallygot their hands on the manifest and discovered the names of the passengers. ValentineWiggin, student. Andrew Wiggin, student.


Achilles didn’t even have to look anything up. The ship’s last call had been to

Shakespeare Colony. Up to the time of that ship’s arrival, the governor of Shakespearehad been Andrew Wiggin, retired admiral of the I.F. and much-cited commander of the I.F.forces in the Third Formic War. Two starflights at relativistic speed explained theboy’s age. Boy? One year older than Achilles.

Wiggin was tall, but Achilles was taller; strong, but Achilles was stronger. Wiggin waschosen for Battle School because he was smart, but Achilles had never encountered anyonein his life who was as intelligent as he. Virlomi was Battle School bright—but sheforgot things that he remembered, overlooked things that he noticed, thought two movesahead instead of ten. And she was the closest to being in his league.

Achilles had learned to conceal just how intelligent he was, and to treat others as ifhe thought them his equal. But he knew the truth and counted on it: He was quicker,

smarter, deeper, subtler than anyone else. Hadn’t he, as a mere boy on a faraway colonyworld, using only the lowest-priority ansible messaging, created a significant politicalmovement on Earth?

Even intelligent people are sometimes just plain lucky. Wiggin’s arrival just at thistime clearly fell into that category. Wiggin couldn’t have known that he was coming tothe colony where dwelt the son of Achilles the Great, whom Ender’s brother had arrangedto murder. And when Achilles-who-was-called-Randall launched his attack on the

reputation of Ender Wiggin, labeling him as Ender the Xenocide, he had no idea thatwithin the month that very Andrew Wiggin would be having supper at Virlomi’s house.

It was an easy thing to get pictures of Virlomi and Wiggin together. It was just as easyto get, from the nets, pictures of Peter the Hegemon at roughly the same age as Enderwas now. Juxtaposing their pictures made it easy to see they were brothers, theresemblance was so strong. Achilles then put pictures of Ender and Virlomi, so thatanyone could see that Peter’s brother was consorting with the anti-native governor ofGanges.

Never mind that it was Peter who had sent Virlomi into exile. Achilles dismissed that asan obvious fraud—Virlomi had been part of Peter’s conspiracy all along. Her consortingwith Ender Wiggin proved it, if anyone had doubts.

Now Achilles could paint his exile as the result of an obvious conspiracy betweenVirlomi and her Wiggin masters—Ender’s sister was along for the ride. They wereexiling him so that Wiggin’s xenocidal, anti-native plots could proceed on Gangeswithout opposition.

It would take a week for any of this story to reach Earth, but the computers workedimpartially, and Virlomi couldn’t stop him from sending them. And locally, the storyand pictures went up immediately.

Achilles watched with delight as people began watching the Wiggins’ every move.

Everything he did or said was seen through the lens of Achilles’ accusations. Even theIndians, who regarded Achilles with suspicion or hostility, were convinced by thepictures that Achilles was not lying. What was going on?

It’s costing you, Virlomi. You attacked my father, and through him, me. You tried toexile me—hoping my troublesome mother would disappear along with me. Well, I haveattacked Ender Wiggin, and through him, you—and you very kindly have taken him in asyour honored guest at precisely the moment when it was most useful to me.

Three days after his public tagging of Ender Wiggin, Achilles made his next move. Thistime, he used a surrogate writer—one of his brighter supporters, who could actually putsentences together coherently—to put out the allegation, disguised as a denial, thatVirlomi’s plan was to have Ender Wiggin himself murder Randall Firth on the trip toEarth. He would be sent into exile, supposedly, but he would never be seen again.

Randall Firth has offended, not just the Wiggin stooge Virlomi, but the whole

hegemonistic conspiracy. He has to be eliminated, or so the story goes. But we havefound no evidence to corroborate this account, and therefore we must dismiss it as

nothing but a rumor, a mere suspicion. How else can we explain Wiggin’s multiple secretmeetings with Virlomi?

Randall Firth himself, when questioned, asserted that Virlomi is too intelligent toconsort openly with Wiggin if she were planning any violent action against Firth.Therefore he fears nothing.

But we wonder: Does Virlomi count on Firth making that assumption, so that his guardwill be down? Will she insist that he goes into stasis, from which Wiggin, aboard theship, will make sure he never wakes up? It would be so easy to call it an accident.

Firth is too brave for his own good. His friends are more worried about him than he isabout himself.

This time Achilles’ foray brought a response from Virlomi—which was, after all, whathe wanted. “Andrew Wiggin’s visit here is an obvious coincidence—he set out on hisvoyage when Randall Firth was still an infant on a starship and Ganges Colony had noteven been founded.”

“This is an obvious nondenial denial,” wrote Achilles’ surrogate. “Virlomi says thatit is a coincidence that Wiggin is here. She does not say that Randall Firth will not beat Wiggin’s mercy on his voyage of ‘exile’—or, as some assert, ‘death.’ “

The colony was now riven with heated arguments, and Achilles noted with delight thatthere were even Indians now on the side that said, “You can’t send Randall out on thesame ship with Wiggin.” “Isn’t Wiggin the one who already murdered two children?”“Randall Firth’s crime is not worthy of the death penalty.”

There was a groundswell building to commute Randall Firth’s sentence and keep him onGanges. Meanwhile, there was even talk of arresting Ender Wiggin for his crimes againsthumanity. Achilles publicized these proposals by making statements opposing them. “Thestatute of limitations has surely passed, even for the monstrous crime of xenocide,” hewrote. “It has been sixty-one years since Ender Wiggin wiped out the hive queens. Whatcourt has jurisdiction now?”

By now the demand from Earth was so great that any writings of Achilles or his

surrogates were being moved up to a higher priority in the queue. On Earth, there were

open demands that the I.F. arrest Andrew Wiggin and bring him back to Earth for trial,and polls showing that a small but growing minority was demanding justice for the murderof the hive queens.

It was time for Randall Firth to meet Ender Wiggin face to face.

It was easy enough to arrange. Achilles’ supporters kept watch on Wiggin, and when he,his sister, and the governor passed along the banks of the great river one morning,Achilles was there—alone.

Virlomi stiffened when she saw him, and tried to draw Ender away, but Wiggin strode

forward to meet Achilles and held out his hand. “I’ve wanted to meet you, Mr. Firth,”he said. “I’m Andrew Wiggin.”

“I know who you are,” said Achilles, letting scorn and amusement into his voice.

“Oh, I doubt that,” said Ender, his apparent amusement even greater. “But I’ve beenwanting to see you, and I think the governor has been trying to keep us apart. I knowyou have been aching for this moment.”

Achilles wanted to say, What do you know about me? But he knew that’s what Wigginwanted him to say—that Wiggin wanted to determine the course of the conversation. Soinstead he asked, “Why would you want to see me? You’re the celebrity, I think.”

“Oh, we’re both quite famous enough,” said Ender, now chuckling outright. “Me forwhat I’ve done. You for what you’ve said.”

And with that, Ender smiled. Mockingly?

“Are you trying to goad me into some ill-considered action, Mr. Wiggin?”

“Please,” said Ender. “Call me Andrew.”

“The name of a Christian saint,” said Achilles. “I prefer to call you by the name ofa monstrous war criminal . . . Ender.”

“If there were some way to bring back the hive queens,” said Ender, “and restore themto their former glory and power, would you do it, Mr. Firth?”

Achilles recognized the trap at once. It was one thing to read The Hive Queen and shed atear for a vanished race. It was quite another to wish for them to return—it was aninvitation for headlines saying, “Leader of Natives Movement would bring backformics,” along with grisly pictures from the Scouring of China.

“I don’t indulge in hypotheticals,” said Achilles.

“Except the hypothetical charge that I plan to kill you in your sleep during the voyageback to Earth.”

“Not my accusation,” said Achilles. “I was quoted in your defense.”

“Your ‘defense’ is the only reason anyone heard of the accusation,” said Ender.“Please don’t think that I’m fooled.”

“Who would hope to fool a genius like you?”

“Well, we’ve sparred long enough. I just wanted to look at you.”

Achilles made a flamboyant turn, so Ender could inspect him from all sides. “Is thatenough?”

Suddenly tears came into Ender’s eyes.

What game was he playing now?

“Thank you,” Ender said. Then he turned away to rejoin his sister and the governor.

“Wait,” said Achilles. He didn’t understand what that teary-eyed thing meant, and itdisconcerted him.

But Wiggin didn’t wait, or turn back. He simply walked to the others and they turnedaway from the river, walking back into the city.

Achilles had meant this confrontation—which was being recorded by zoom lens andmicrophone—for a propaganda vid. He had expected to be able to goad Ender into somerash statement or absurd denial. Even a clip of Ender angry would have done the job. Buthe was unflappable, he had fallen into no traps, and with that last bit of maudlin

emotion he may well have set or sprung one, though Achilles could not think of what thetrap might be.

An unsatisfactory encounter in every way. And yet he could not explain to his followerswhy he didn’t want to use the vid they had so painstakingly created. So he allowed themto post it, then waited for the other shoe to drop.

No one on Earth knew what to make of it, either. Commentators noticed the tears inEnder’s eyes, of course, and speculated about it. Some Nativists proclaimed it to becrocodile tears—the weeping of the predator at the coming fate of his victim. But somesaw something else. “Ender Wiggin did not look the part he’s been cast in—the killer,the monster. Instead, he seemed to be a gentle young man, bemused at the obviouslyplanned confrontation. At the end, those infamous tears seemed to me to be a kind ofcompassion. Perhaps even love for his challenger. Who is trying to pick the fighthere?”

That was terrible—but it was only one voice among many. And Achilles’ supporters onEarth quickly replied: Who would dare to pick a fight with Ender the Xenocide? It alwaysturns out so badly for those who do.

All his life, Achilles had been able to control things. Even when unexpected things

happened, he had adapted, analyzed, and learned. This time he had no idea what to learn.

“I don’t know what he’s doing, Mother,” said Achilles.

She stroked his head. “Oh, my poor darling,” she said. “Of course you don’t, you’resuch an innocent. Just like your father. He never saw their plots. He trusted thatSuriyawong monster.”

Achilles didn’t actually like it when she talked that way. “It’s not our place topity him, Mother.”

“But I do. He had such great gifts, but in the end, his trusting nature betrayed him.It was his tragic flaw, that he was too kind and good.”

Achilles had studied his father’s life and had seen strength and hardness, thewillingness to do whatever was necessary. Compassion and a trusting nature were notobvious attributes of Achilles the Great, however.

Let Mother sentimentalize him as she wished. After all, didn’t she now “remember”that Achilles the Great had actually visited her and slept with her in order to conceivea son? Yet when he was little she had made no such claim, and had talked of the

messenger who arranged to have her ova fertilized with Achilles’ precious sperm. Fromthat—and many other examples of shifting memory—he knew that she was no longer areliable witness.

Yet she was the only one who knew his true name. And she loved him with perfectdevotion. He could talk to her without fear of censure.

“This Ender Wiggin,” he said. “I can’t read him.”

“I’m glad you can’t understand the mind of a devil.”

But she had not called him a devil until Achilles’ own propaganda campaign against him.She had ignored Ender Wiggin, because he had never actually fought against her precious

Achilles Flandres, even if his brother had.

“I don’t know what to do with him now, Mother.”

“Well, you’ll avenge your father, of course.”

“Ender didn’t kill him.”

“He’s a killer. He deserves to die.”

“Not at my hands, Mother.”

“The son of Achilles the Great slays the monster,” said Mother. “No better hands thanyours.”

“They would call me a murderer.”

“They called your father by that name as well,” she said. “Are you better than him?”

“No, Mother.”

She seemed to think that closed the discussion. He was disconcerted. Was she saying shewanted him to murder a man?

“Let the Hegemon’s nearest blood pay for the murder of my Achilles,” she said. “Letall the Wiggins be extinguished. All that vicious tribe.”

Oh, no, she was in her bloody vengeance mood. Well, he had brought it on, hadn’t he? Heknew better. Now he’d have to hear her out.

On and on she went, about how great crimes could only be expunged by the shedding ofblood. “Peter Wiggin outsmarted us by dying of his heart attack while we were on thevoyage,” she said. “But now his brother and sister have come to us. How can you passup what fate has brought into your hands?”

“I’m not a murderer, Mother.”

“Vengeance for your father’s death is not murder. Who do you think you are, Hamlet?”

And on and on she went.

Usually when she went off like this, Achilles only half-listened. But now the words dugat him. It really did feel like some kind of portentous fate that brought Wiggin to himat this very time. It was irrational—but only mathematics was rational, and not alwaysat that. In the real world, irrational things happened, impossible coincidences

happened, because probability required that coincidences rarely, but not never, occur.

So instead of ignoring her, he found himself wondering: How could I arrange for EnderWiggin to die without having to kill him myself?

And from there, he went on to a more subtle plan: I have already half destroyed EnderWiggin—how could I complete the process?

To murder him would make a martyr of him. But if Wiggin could be provoked into killingagain—killing another child—he would be destroyed forever. It was his pattern. He

sensed a rival; he goaded him into making an attack; then he killed him in self-defense.Twice he had done it and been exonerated. But his protectors weren’t here—they werealmost certainly all dead. Only the facts remained.

Could I get him to follow the pattern again?

He told his idea to his mother.

“What are you talking about?” she said.

“If he murders again—this time a sixteen-year-old, but still a child, no matter howtall—then his reputation will be destroyed forever. They’ll put him on trial, they’llconvict him this time—they can’t believe he just happened to kill in ’self-defense’three times!—and that will be a far more thorough destruction than a merely ending the

life of his body. I’ll destroy his name forever.”

“You’re talking about letting him kill you?”

“Mother, people don’t have to let Ender Wiggin kill them. They just have to providehim with the pretext, and he does the rest quite nicely by himself.”

“But—you? Die?”

“As you said, Mother. To destroy Father’s enemies is worth any sacrifice.”

She leapt to her feet. “I didn’t give birth to you just so you could throw your lifeaway! You’re half a head taller than him—he’s a dwarf compared to you. How could hepossibly kill you?”

“He was trained as a soldier. And not that long ago, Mother. What have I been trainedas? A farmer. A mechanic. Whatever odd jobs have been required of a teenager who happensto be preternaturally large and clever and strong. Not war. Not fighting. I haven’tfought anyone since I was so tiny and had to battle constantly to keep them from pickingon me.”

“Your father and I did not conceive you so that you could die at the hands of a Wiggin,like your father did!”

“Technically, Father died at the hands of a Delphiki. Julian to be precise.”

“Delphiki, Wiggin—sides of the same coin. I forbid you to let him kill you.”

“I told you, Mother. He’ll find a way. It’s what he does. He’s a warrior.”


It took two hours to calm her down, and before that he had to put up with crying andscreaming—he knew the neighbors had to be listening and trying to make sense of it. Butfinally she was asleep.

He went to the stock control office and used the computer there to send Wiggin amessage:

I believe that I’ve misjudged you. How can we end this?

He did not expect an answer until the next day. But it came before he could log off.

When and where would you like to meet?

Was it really going to be this easy?

The time and place didn’t matter much. It had to be a time and place where theycouldn’t be stopped by Virlomi and her minions; but there had to be enough light tomake a vid. What good would it be to die for his father’s sake, only to have the deedunrecorded, so that Wiggin could spin it however he wanted, and thus get away with yetanother murder?

They made the appointment. Achilles logged off.

And then he sat there, trembling. What have I done? This really is Ender Wiggin. Ireally have set up my own death. I’m bigger and stronger than he is—but so were thetwo boys he already killed. The hive queens were stronger, too, and look what that gotthem. Ender Wiggin did not lose.

This is what I was born for. This is what Mother has instilled in me from infancy. Iexist to vindicate my father. To destroy the Hegemony, to bring down all the works ofPeter Wiggin. Well, maybe that’s not possible. But bringing down Ender Wiggin—I can dothat merely by getting him to kill me and letting the world see how it happened. Motherwill grieve—but grief is her lifeblood anyway.

If he’s so smart, he must know what I’m planning. He can’t believe that I’d suddenlychange my mind. How could I fool Ender Wiggin with such an obvious plan? He must guess

that I’ll be having everything recorded.

But maybe he doesn’t think he’ll have to kill me. Maybe he thinks I’m such an easyopponent that he can defeat me without killing me. Maybe he thinks I’m such a giant oafthat I’ll never even land a blow.

Or maybe I’m overestimating his cleverness. After all, he went through a whole waragainst an alien enemy and never once suspected that it wasn’t a computer or histeachers playing a simulation with him. How dumb is that?

I’ll go. I’ll see what happens. I’m ready to die, but only if it will bring him down.

* * * * *

They met two days later, at first light, behind the composting bins. No one would comehere—the smell made people avoid it when they didn’t have to go there, and vegetativewaste was dumped only at the end of a day’s work.

His friends had rigged the cameras to cover the whole area. Every word would be

recorded. Ender probably guessed that this would be the case—hadn’t Achilles done allhis work with propaganda on the nets?—but even if Ender walked away, the confrontationwould probably be rancorous and work against him. And if he didn’t, Achilles simplywouldn’t use it.

Several times during the previous day, Achilles had thought of the possibility of dyingand each time it was like a different person was hearing the news. Sometimes it seemedalmost funny—Achilles was so strong, so much taller, with so much greater a mass andreach. Other times it seemed inevitable but pointless, and he thought: How stupid am I,to throw my life away on an empty gesture toward the dead.

But by the end of the day, he realized: I’m not doing this for my father. I’m notdoing it because my mother raised me for vengeance. I’m doing it for the sake of thehuman race as a whole. The great monsters of history were almost never held accountable.They died of old age, or lived out their lives in pampered exile, or—faced withdefeat—they killed themselves.

Being Ender Wiggin’s last victim is worth it, not for some private family quarrel, butbecause the world must see that great criminals like Ender Wiggin did not go unpunished.Eventually they committed one crime too many and they were brought to account.

And I will be the last victim, the one whose death brought down Ender the Xenocide.

Another part of him said, Don’t believe your own propaganda.

Another part of him said, Live!

But he answered them: If there’s one true thing about Ender Wiggin, it’s that hecannot bear to lose. That’s how I will tempt him—I will make him stare defeat in theface, and he will lash out to avoid it—and when he kills me, then he really will bedefeated. It is his fatal flaw—that he can be manipulated by facing him with defeat.

Deep inside him, a question tried to surface where he would have to deal with it:Doesn’t this mean that it’s not his fault, because he really had no choice but todestroy his enemies?

But Achilles immediately tamped down that quibble. We’re all just the product of ourgenes and upbringing, combined with the random events of our lifetime. “Fault” and“blame” are childish concepts. What matters is that Ender’s actions have been

monstrous, and will continue to be monstrous unless he is stopped. As it is, he mightlive forever, surfacing here and there to stir up trouble. But I will put an end to it.Not vengeance, but prevention. And because he will be an example, perhaps other monsterswill be stopped before they have killed so often, and so many.

Ender stepped out of the shadows. “Ho, Achilles.”

It took half a second—half a step—for Achilles to realize what name Ender hadaddressed him by.

“The name you call yourself in private,” said Ender. “In your dreams.”

How could he know? What was he?

“You have no access to my dreams,” said Achilles.

“I want you to know,” said Ender, “that I’ve been pleading with Virlomi to commuteyour sentence. Because I have to leave on this ship, when it goes, and I don’t want togo back to Earth.”

“I would think not,” said Achilles. “They’re howling for your blood there.”

“For the moment,” said Ender. “These things come and go.”

No apparent recognition that Achilles was the one who had made all this happen.

“I have an errand to run, and taking you back to Earth as an exile will waste my time.I think I’ve almost got her persuaded that the Free People of Earth never gavegovernors the right to throw back colonists they don’t want.”

“I’m not afraid to return to Earth.”

“That’s what I was afraid of—that you did all this in hopes of being sent there.‘Please don’t throw me in the briar patch!’ “

“They read you Uncle Remus stories at bedtime in Battle School?” asked Achilles.

“Before I went there. Did your mother read those tales to you?”

Achilles realized that he was being led off on a tangent. He resolutely returned to thesubject.

“I said I’m not afraid to return to Earth,” said Achilles. “Nor do I think you’vebeen pleading for me with Virlomi.”

“Believe what you want,” said Ender. “You’ve been surrounded by lies all yourlife—who could expect you to notice when a true thing finally came along?”

Here it came—the beginning of the taunts that would goad Achilles into action. WhatEnder could not understand was that Achilles came here precisely so that he could begoaded, so that Ender could then kill him in “self-defense.”

“Are you calling my mother a liar?”

“Haven’t you wondered why you’re so tall? Your mother isn’t tall. Achilles Flandreswasn’t tall.”

“We’ll never know how tall he might have grown,” said Achilles.

“I know why you’re as big as you are,” said Ender. “It’s a genetic condition. Yougrow at a single, steady rate all your life. Small as a child, then about normal sizewhen suddenly all the other kids shoot up with the puberty growth spurt and you fallbehind again. But they stop growing; you don’t. On and on. Eventually you’ll die ofit. You’re sixteen now; probably by twenty-one or twenty-two your heart will give outfrom trying to supply blood to a body that’s far too large.”

Achilles didn’t know how to process this. What was he talking about? Telling him thathe was going to die in his twenties? Was this some kind of voodoo to unnerve hisopponent?

But Ender wasn’t through. “Some of your brothers and sisters had the condition; somedidn’t. We didn’t know about you, not with certainty. Not until I saw you and realizedthat you were becoming a giant, like your father.”

“Don’t talk about my father,” said Achilles. Meanwhile, he thought: Why am I afraidof what you’re saying? Why am I so angry?

“But I was so glad to see you, anyway. Even though your life will be tragically short,I looked at you—when you turned around like that, mocking me—I saw your father, I sawyour mother in you.”

“My mother? I don’t look anything like my mother.”

“I don’t mean the surrogate mother who raised you.”

“So you’re trying to get me to attack you by goading me exactly the way Virlomi did,”said Achilles. “Well it won’t work.” Yet as he said it, it was working; and he waswilling to have the wrath rise within him. Because he had to make it believable, thatEnder goaded him into attacking, so that when Ender killed him everyone who saw the vidswould know that it wasn’t really self-defense at all. They’d realize it had never beenself-defense.

“I knew your father best of all the kids in Battle School. He was better than Iwas—did you know that? All of the jeesh knew it—he was quicker and smarter. But healways was loyal to me. At the last moment, when it all looked so hopeless, he knew whatto do. He virtually told me what to do. And yet he left it to me. He was generous. Hewas truly great. It broke my heart to learn how his body betrayed him. The way it’sbetraying you.”

“Suriyawong betrayed him,” said Achilles. “Julian Delphiki killed him.”

“And your mother,” said Ender. “She was my protector. When I got put into an armywhose commander hated me, she was the one who took me under her wing. I relied on her, Itrusted her, and within the limitations of a human body, she never let me down. When Iheard that she and your father had married, it made me so happy. But then your fatherdied, and eventually she married my brother.”

Comprehension almost blinded him with fury. “Petra Arkanian? You’re saying PetraArkanian is my mother? Are you insane? She was the one that first set the traps for myfather, luring him—“

“Come now, Achilles,” said Ender. “Surely by the age of sixteen you’ve recognizedthat your surrogate mother is insane.”

“She’s my mother!” cried Achilles. And then, only as an afterthought, and weakly, hesaid, “And she’s not insane.”

This is not going right. What is he saying? What kind of game is this?

“You look exactly like them. More like your father than like your mother. When I seeyou, I see my dear friend Bean.”

“Julian Delphiki is not my father!” Achilles could hardly see for rage. His heart waspounding. This was exactly how it was supposed to go.

Except for one thing. His feet were rooted to the ground. He wasn’t attacking EnderWiggin. He was just standing there and taking it.

It was in that moment that Valentine Wiggin jogged into the clearing behind the compostbins. “What are you doing? Are you insane?”

“There’s a lot of that going around,” said Ender.

“Get away from here,” she said. “He’s not worth it.”

“Valentine,” he said, “you don’t know what you’re doing. If you interfere in anyway, you’ll destroy me. Do you understand me? Have I ever lied to you?”


“Neglecting to tell you things is not lying,” said Ender.

“I’m not going to let this happen. I know what you’re planning.”

“With all due respect, Val, you don’t know anything.”

“I know you, Ender, better than you know yourself.”

“But you don’t know this boy who calls himself by the name of a monster because hethinks the madman was his father.”

For a few moments Achilles’ anger had dissipated, but now it was coming back. “Myfather was a genius.”

“Not incompatible concepts,” said Valentine dismissively. To Ender, she said, “Itwon’t bring them back.”

“Right now,” said Ender, “if you love me, you’ll stop talking.”

His voice was like a lash—not loud, but sharp and with true aim. She recoiled as if hehad struck her. Yet she opened her mouth to answer.

“If you love me,” he said.

“I think what your brother is trying to tell you,” said Achilles, “is that he has aplan.”

“My plan,” said Ender, “is to tell you who you are. Julian Delphiki and Petra

Arkanian lived in hiding because Achilles Flandres had agents seeking them, wanting tokill them—especially because he had once desired Petra, after his sick fashion.”

The rage was rising in Achilles again. And he welcomed it. Valentine’s coming hadalmost ruined everything.

“They had nine fertilized eggs that they entrusted to a doctor who promised he couldpurge them of the genetic condition that you have—the giantism. But he was a fraud—asyour present condition indicates. He was really working for Achilles, and he stole theembryos. Your mother gave birth to one; we found seven others that were implanted insurrogate mothers. But Hyrum Graff always suspected that they found those seven becauseAchilles meant them to be found, so that the searchers would think their methods wereworking. Knowing Achilles, Graff was sure the ninth baby would not be found by the samemethods. Then your mother spat on Hyrum Graff and he began to look into her past andfound out that her name wasn’t Nichelle Firth, it was Randi. And when he looked at theDNA records, he found that you had no genes in common with your supposed mother. Youwere not in any way her genetic child.”

“That’s a lie,” said Achilles. “You’re saying it only to provoke me.”

“I’m saying it because it’s true, in the hope that it will liberate you. The otherchildren were found and returned to their parents. Five of them didn’t have your

genetic disorder, your giantism, and all five of them are still alive on Earth. Bella,Andrew—named for me, I must point out—Julian the Third, Petra, and Ramon. Three ofyour siblings were giants, and of course they’re gone now—Ender, Cincinnatus,

Carlotta. You’re the extra one, the missing one that they gave up looking for. The onethey never got to name. But your last name is Delphiki. I knew your parents and I lovedthem dearly. You are not the child of a monster, you’re the child of two of the bestpeople who ever lived.”

“Julian Delphiki is the monster!” cried Achilles, and he lunged at Ender.

To his surprise, Ender made no evasive maneuver. Achilles’ blow landed squarely andsent Ender sprawling onto the ground.

“No!” cried Valentine.

Ender picked himself up calmly and rose to face him again. “You know that I’m tellingyou the truth,” said Ender. “That’s why you’re so angry.”

“I’m angry because you say I’m the son of the killer of my father!”

“Achilles Flandres murdered everyone who showed him kindness. A nun who arranged forhis crippled leg to be restored. The surgeon who fixed the leg. A girl who took him inwhen he was the least successful street bully in Rotterdam—he pretended to love her,but then he strangled her and threw her body in the Rhine. He blew up the house whereyour father was living, in the effort to kill him and his whole family. He kidnappedPetra and tried to seduce her but she despised him. It was Julian Delphiki that sheloved. You are their child, born of their love and hope.”

Achilles rushed at him again—but deliberately made it a clumsy move, so that Enderwould have plenty of time to block him, to strike at him.

But again Ender made no move to step away. He took the blow, this time a deep punch inthe stomach, and fell to the ground, gasping, retching.

And then rose up again. “I know you better than you know yourself,” said Ender.

“You’re the father of lies,” said Achilles.

“Never call yourself by that vile name again. You’re not Achilles. Your father is thehero who rid the world of that monster.”

Again Achilles struck at him—this time walking up slowly and bringing his fist hugelyinto Ender’s nose, breaking it. Blood spurted from his nostrils and covered the frontof his shirt almost instantly.

Valentine cried out as Ender staggered and then fell to his knees.

“Fight me,” hissed Achilles.

“Don’t you get it?” said Ender. “I will never raise my hand against the son of myfriends.”

Achilles kicked him in the jaw so hard it flung him over backward. This was no stagedfight like in the silly vids, where the hero and the villain delivered killing blows,yet their opponent got up to fight again. The damage to Ender’s body was deep and real.It made him clumsy and unbalanced. An easy target.

He’s not going to kill me, thought Achilles.

It came to him as such a relief that he laughed aloud.

And then he thought: It’s Mother’s plan after all. Why did I ever imagine I should lethim kill me? I’m the son of Achilles Flandres. His true son. I can kill the ones whoneed killing. I can end this pernicious life, once and for all, avenging my father andthe hive queens and those two boys that Ender killed.

Achilles kicked Ender in the ribs as he lay on his back in the grass. The ribs broke soloudly that even Valentine could hear them; she screamed.

“Hush,” said Ender. “This is how it goes.”

Then Ender rolled over—wincing, then crying out softly with the pain. Yet he managed,somehow, to rise to his feet.

Whereupon he put his hands in his pockets.

“You can destroy the vids you’re recording,” said Ender. “No one will know that youmurdered me. They won’t believe Valentine. So you can claim self-defense. Everyone willbelieve it—you’ve made them hate me and fear me. Of course you had to kill me to saveyour own life.”

Ender wanted to die? Now? At Achilles’ hand? “What’s your game?” Achilles asked.

“Your supposed mother raised you to take vengeance for her fantasy lover, your

fraudulent father. Do it—do what she raised you to do, be who she planned you to be.But I will not raise my hand against the son of my friends, no matter how deluded youare.”

“Then you’re the fool,” said Achilles. “Because I will do it. For my father’s sake,and my mother’s, for that poor boy Stilson, and Bonzo Madrid, and the formics, and thewhole human race.”

Achilles began the beating in earnest then. Another blow to the belly. Another blow tothe face. Two more kicks to the body as he lay unmoving on the ground. “Is this whatyou did to the Stilson boy?” he asked. “Kicking him again and again—that’s what thereport said.”

“Son,” said Ender. “Of my friends.”

“Please,” begged Valentine. Yet she made no move to stop him. Nor did she summon help.

“Now it’s time for you to die,” said Achilles.

A kick to the head would do it. And if it didn’t, two kicks. The human brain could notstand being rattled around inside the skull like that. Either dead or so brain-damagedhe might as well be. That was how the life of Ender the Xenocide would end.

He approached Wiggin’s supine body. The eyes were looking up at him through the bloodstill pouring from his broken nose.

But for some reason, despite the hot rage pounding in his own head, Achilles did notkick him.

Stood there unmoving.

“The son of Achilles would do it,” whispered Ender.

Why am I not killing him? Am I a coward after all? Am I so unworthy of my father? Enderis right—my father would have killed him because it was necessary, without any qualms,without this hesitation.

In that moment, he saw what all of Ender’s words really meant. Mother had been

deceived. She had been told the child was Achilles Flandres’s. She had lied to him ashe grew up, telling him that he was her son, but she was only a surrogate. He knew herwell enough by now to recognize that her stories were shaped more by what she needed thetruth to be than by what it actually was. Why hadn’t he reached the obvious

conclusion—that everything she said was a lie? Because she never let up, not for aninstant. She shaped his world and did not allow any contrary evidence to come to light.

The way the teachers manipulated the children who fought the war for them.

Achilles knew it, had always known it. Ender Wiggin won a war that he didn’t know hewas fighting; he slaughtered a species that he thought was just a computer simulation.The way that I believed that Achilles Flandres was my father, that I bore his name andhad a duty to fulfil his destiny or avenge his murder.

Surround a child with lies, and he clings to them like a teddy bear, like his mother’shand. And the worse, the darker the lie, the more deeply he has to draw it insidehimself in order to bear the lie at all.

Ender said he would rather die than raise his hand against the son of his friends. Andhe was not a lunatic like Achilles’ mother was.

Achilles. He was not Achilles. That was his mother’s fantasy. It was all his mother’sfantasy. He knew she was crazy, and yet he lived inside her nightmare and shaped hislife to make it come true.

“What is my name?” he whispered.

On the ground at his feet, Ender whispered back: “Don’t know. Delphiki. Arkanian.Their faces. In yours.”

Valentine was beside them now. “Please,” she said. “Can this be over now?”

“I knew,” whispered Ender. “Bean’s son. Petra’s. Could never.”

“Could never what? He’s broken your nose. He could have killed you.”

“I was going to,” said Achilles. And then the enormity of it washed over him. “I wasgoing to kill him with a kick to the head.”

“And the stupid fool would have let you,” said Valentine.

“One chance,” said Ender. “In five. Kill me. Good odds.”

“Please,” said Valentine. “I can’t carry him. Bring him to the doctor. Please.You’re strong enough.”

Only when he bent down and lifted Ender up did he realize how badly he had damaged hisown hands, so hard had been his blows.

What if he dies? What if he still dies, even though I don’t want him dead now afterall?

He bore Ender with studied haste along the ragged ground and Valentine had to jog tokeep up. They reached the doctor’s house long before he was due to leave for theclinic. He took one look at Ender and had him brought in at once for an emergencyexamination. “I can see who lost,” said the doctor. “But who won?”

“Nobody,” said . . . Achilles.

“There’s not a mark on you,” said the doctor.

He held out his hands. “Here are the marks,” he said. “I did this.”

“He never landed a blow on you.”

“He never tried.”

“And you kept on beating him? Like this? What kind of . . .” But then the doctor

turned back to his work, stripping the clothes off Ender’s body, cursing softly at thehuge bruises on his ribs and belly, feeling for the breaks. “Four ribs. And multiplebreaks.” He looked up at Achilles again, this time with loathing on his face. “Get outof my house,” he said.

Achilles started to go.

“No,” said Valentine. “This was all according to his plan.”

The doctor snorted. “Oh, yes, he plotted his own beating.”

“Or his own death,” said Valentine. “Whatever happened, he was content.”

“I planned this,” said Achilles.

“You only thought you did,” said Valentine. “He manipulated you from the start. It’sthe family talent.”

“My mother manipulated,” said Achilles. “But I didn’t have to believe her. I didthis.”

“No, Achilles,” said Valentine. “Your mother’s training did this. The lies Achillestold her did this. What you did was . . . stop.”

Achilles felt his body convulse with a sob and he sank to his knees. “I don’t knowwhat to call myself now,” he said. “I hate the name she taught me.”

“Randall?” asked the doctor.

“Not . . . no.”

“He calls himself Achilles. She calls him that.”

“How can I . . . undo this?” he asked her.

“Poor boy,” said Valentine. “That’s what Ender’s spent the past few years trying tofigure out for himself. I think he just used you to get a partial answer. I think hejust got you to give him the beating that Stilson and Bonzo Madrid both intended. Theonly difference is, you’re the son of Julian Delphiki and Petra Arkanian, and so

there’s something deep inside you that cannot do murder—cold or hot. Or maybe it hasnothing to do with your parents. It has to do with being raised by a mother who you knowwas mentally ill, and feeling compassion for her—such deep compassion that you couldnever challenge her fantasy world. Maybe that’s it. Or maybe it’s your soul. The thingthat God wrapped in a body and turned into a man. Whatever it was, you stopped.”

“Arkanian Delphiki,” he said.

“That would be a good name,” said Valentine. “Doctor, will my brother live?”

“He took blows to the head,” said the doctor. “Look at his eyes. There’s seriousconcussion. Maybe worse. We have to get him to the clinic.”

“I’ll carry him,” said . . . not Achilles . . . Arkanian.

The doctor grimaced. “Letting the beater carry the beaten? But I don’t want to waitfor anyone else. What a hideous time of day for you to have this . . . duel?”

As they walked along the road to the clinic, a few early risers looked at themquizzically, and one even approached, but the doctor waved her off.

“I meant for him to kill me,” said Arkanian.

“I know,” said Valentine.

“What he did to those other boys. I thought he’d do again.”

“He meant for you to think he’d fight back.”

“And then the things he said. The opposite of everything.”

“But you believed him. Right away, you knew it was true,” she said.


“Made you furious.”

Arkanian made a sound, somewhere between a whimper and a howl. He didn’t plan it; hedidn’t understand it. Like a wolf baying at the moon, he only knew that the sound wasin him and had to come out.

“But you couldn’t kill him,” she said. “Because you’re not such a fool as to thinkyou can hide from the truth by killing the messenger.”

“We’re here,” said the doctor. “And I can’t believe you’re reassuring the one whobeat your brother like this.”

“Oh, didn’t you know?” said Valentine. “This is Ender the Xenocide. He deserveswhatever anyone does to him.”

“Nobody deserves this,” the doctor said.

“How can I undo this,” said Arkanian. And this time he did not mean Ender’s injuries.

“You can’t,” said Valentine. “And it was already there, it was inherent in thatbook, The Hive Queen. If you hadn’t said it, somebody else would have. As soon as thehuman race understood that it was a tragedy to destroy the hive queens, we had to findsomeone to blame for it, so that the rest of us could be absolved. It would have

happened without you.”

“But it didn’t happen without me. I have to tell the truth—I have to admit what I was. . .”

“No you don’t,” she said. “You have to live your life. Yours. And Ender will livehis.”

“And what about you?” asked the doctor, sounding even more cynical than before.

“Oh, I’ll live Ender’s life, too. It’s so much more interesting than my own.”


Ender in Exile


To: ADelphiki%Ganges@ColLeague.Adm, PWiggin%ret@FPE.adm

From: EWiggin%Ganges@ColLeague.Adm/voy

Subj: Arkanian Delphiki, behold your mother. Petra, behold your son.

Dear Petra, Dear Arkanian,

In so many ways too late, but in the ways that count, just in time. The last of yourchildren, Petra; your real mother, Arkanian. I will let him tell you his story, and youcan tell him yours. Graff did the genetic testing long ago, and there is no doubt. Henever told you, because he could never bring you together and I think he believed itwould only make you sad. He might be right, but I think you deserve to have the sadness,if that’s what it is, because it belongs to you by right. This is what life has done tothe two of you. Now let’s see what YOU do for each other’s lives.

Let me tell you this much, though, Petra. He’s a good boy. Despite the madness of hisupbringing, in the crisis, he was Bean’s son, and yours. He will never know his father,except through you. But Petra, I have seen, in him, what Bean became. The giant in body.The gentle heart.

Meanwhile, I voyage on, my friends. It’s what I already planned to do, Arkanian. I’mon another errand. You did not deflect me from my course. Except that they won’t let mego into stasis on this ship until my wounds are healed—there’s no healing in stasis.

With love,

Andrew Wiggin

In his little house overlooking the wild coast of Ireland, not far from Doonalt, afeeble old man knelt in his garden, pulling up weeds. O’Connor rode up on his skimmerto deliver groceries and mail, and the old man rose slowly to his feet to receive him.“Come in,” he said. “There’s tea.”

“Can’t stay,” said O’Connor.

“You can never stay,” said the old man.

“Ah, Mr. Graff,” said O’Connor, “that’s the truth. I can never stay. But it’s notfor lack of will. I have a lot of houses waiting for me to bring them what I broughtyou.”

“And we have nothing to say to each other,” said Graff, smiling. No, laughingsilently, his frail chest heaving.

“Sometimes you don’t need to say a thing,” said O’Connor. “And sometimes a man hasno time for tea.”

“I used to be a fat man,” said Graff. “Can you believe it?”

“And I used to be a young man,” said O’Connor. “Nobody believes that.”

“There,” said Graff. “We had a conversation after all.”

O’Connor laughed—but he did not stay, once he had helped put the groceries away.

And so Graff was alone when he opened the letter from Valentine Wiggin.

He read the account as if he was hearing it in her own voice—that was her gift as awriter, now that she had left off being the Demosthenes that Peter made her create, andhad become herself, even if she did still use that name for her histories.

This was a history that she would never publish. Graff knew he was the only audience.And since his body was continuing to lose weight, slowly but surely, and he grew morefeeble all the time, he thought it was rather a shame she had spent so much time to putmemories into a brain that would hold them for so little time before letting all thememories go at once into the ground.

Yet she had done this for him, and he was grateful to receive it. He read of Ender’scontest with Quincy Morgan on the ship, and the story of the poor girl who thought sheloved him. And the story of the gold bugs, some of which Ender had told him—butValentine’s version relied also on interviews with others, so that it would includethings that Ender either did not know or deliberately left out.

And then, on Ganges. Virlomi seemed to have turned out well. That was a relief. She wasone of the great ones; it had turned to ashes because of her pride, yes, but not untilafter she had singlehandedly taught her people how to free themselves of a conqueror.

Finally, the account of Ender and the boy Randall Firth, who once called himselfAchilles, and now was named Arkanian Delphiki.

At the end of it, Graff nodded and then burned the letter. She had asked him to, becauseEnder didn’t want a copy of it floating around somewhere on Earth. “My goal is to beforgotten,” she quoted Ender as saying.

Not likely, though whether he would be remembered for good or ill, Graff could notpredict.

“He thinks he finally got the beating Stilson and Bonzo meant to give him,” Graff saidto the teapot. “The boy’s a fool, for all his brains. Stilson and Bonzo would not havestopped. They weren’t this boy of Bean’s and Petra’s. That’s what Ender has tounderstand. There really is evil in the world, and wickedness, and every brand ofstupidity. There’s meanness and heartlessness and . . . I don’t even know which ofthem is me.”

He fondled the teapot. “I don’t even have a soul to hear me talk.”

He sipped from the cup before the teabag had really done its job. It was weak, but hedidn’t mind having it weak. He didn’t really mind much of anything these days, as longas he kept breathing in and out and there was no pain.

“Going to say it anyway,” said Graff. “Poor fool of a boy. Pacifism only works withan enemy that can’t bear to do murder against the innocent. How many times are youlucky enough to get an enemy like that?”

* * * * *

Petra Arkanian Delphiki Wiggin was visiting with her son Andrew and his wife Lani andtheir two youngest children, the last ones still at home, when the letter came fromEnder.

She came into the room where the family was playing a card game, her face awash withtears, brandishing the letter, unable to speak.

“Who died!” Lani cried out, but Andrew came up to her and folded her into a giant hug.“This isn’t grief, Lani. This is joy.”

“How can you tell?”

“Mother tears things when she’s grieving, and this letter is only wrinkled and wet.”

Petra slapped him lightly but still she laughed enough that she could talk. “Read italoud, Andrew. Read it out loud. Our last little boy is found. Ender found him for me.Oh, if only Julian could know it! If only I could talk to Julian again!” And then shewept some more, until he started to read. The letter was so short. But Andrew and Lani,because they had children of their own, understood exactly what it meant to her, andthey joined her in her tears, until the teenagers left the room in disgust, one of themsaying, “Call us when you get some control.”

“Nobody has control of anything,” said Petra. “We’re all beggars at the throne offate. But sometimes he has mercy!”

* * * * *

Because it was not carrying Randall Firth into exile, the starship did not have to goback to Eros by the most direct route. It added four months to the subjective

voyage—six years to the realtime trip—but it was cleared at IFCom and the captaindidn’t mind. He would drop off his passengers wherever they wanted, for even if no oneat IFCom understood just who Andrew and Valentine Wiggin were, the captain knew. Hewould justify the detour to his superiors. His crew had started when he did, and alsoremembered, and did not mind.

In their stateroom, Valentine nursed Ender back to health between shifts of writing herhistory of Ganges Colony.

“I read that stupid letter of yours,” she said one day.

“Which? I write so many,” he answered.

“The one that I was only supposed to see if you died.”

“Not my fault the doctor put me under total anesthetic to reset my nose and pull outthe shards of bone that didn’t fit back in place.”

“I suppose you want me to forget what I read.”

“Why not? I have.”

“You have not,” she said. “You’re not just hiding from your infamy, with all thisvoyaging, are you?”

“I’m also enjoying the company of my sister, the professional nosy person.”

“That case—you’re looking for a place where you can open it.”

“Val,” said Ender, “do I ask you about your plans?”

“You don’t have to. My plan is to follow you around until I get too bored to stand itanymore.”

“Whatever you think you know,” said Ender, “you’re wrong.”

“Well, as long as you explain it so clearly.”

Then, a little later: “Val, you know something? I thought for a minute there that hewas really going to kill me.”

“Oh, you poor thing. It must have been devastating to realize you had bet wrong on theoutcome.”

“I had thought that if it came to that moment, if I really knew that I was going todie, it would come as a relief. None of this would be my problem anymore. Someone else

could clean up the mess.”

“Yes, me, I’m so grateful that you were going to dump it all on me.”

“But when he was coming back to finish me off—I knew he planned a kick or two in thehead, and my head was already so foggy from concussion that I knew it would finish

me—when he came walking up to me, I wasn’t relieved at all. I wanted to get up. Wouldhave if I could.”

“And run away, if you had any brains.”

“No, Val,” said Ender sadly. “I wanted to get up and kill him first. I didn’t wantto die. It didn’t matter what I thought I deserved, or how I thought it would bring mepeace, or at least oblivion. None of that was in my head by then. It was just: Live.Live, whatever it takes. Even if you have to kill to do it.”

“Wow,” said Valentine. “You’ve just discovered the survival instinct. Everybody elsehas known about it for years.”

“There are people who don’t have that instinct, not the same way,” said Ender, “andwe give them medals for throwing themselves on grenades or running into a burning houseto save a baby. Posthumously, mind you. But all sorts of honors.”

“They have the instinct,” said Valentine. “They just care about something elsemore.”

“I don’t,” said Ender. “Care about anything more.”

“You let him beat you until you couldn’t fight him,” said Valentine. “Only when youknew you couldn’t hurt him did you let yourself feel that survival instinct. So don’tgive me any more of this crap about how you’re still the same evil person who killedthose other boys. You proved that you could win by deliberately losing. Done. Enough.Please don’t pick a fight with anybody again unless you intend to win it. All right?Promise?”

“No promises,” said Ender. “But I’ll try not to get killed. I still have things todo.”


I never meant this book to go this way. I was supposed to spend a few chapters gettingEnder from Eros to Shakespeare and on to Ganges. But I found that all the real storysetting up the confrontation on Ganges took place earlier, and to my own consternation,I ended up with a novel which mostly takes place between chapters 14 and 15 of Ender’sGame.

But as I wrote it, I knew this was the true story, and one that had been missing. Thewar ends. You come home. Then you deal with all the things that happened in the war.Only Ender doesn’t get to come home. He has to deal with that, too.

Yet none of this material was “missing” from the original novel, any more than

anything was missing from the novelette version before the novel was written. If, at theend of chapter 14, we had then had Ender in Exile, neither story would have worked. Forone thing, Exile is partly a sequel to Shadow of the Giant—that’s where Virlomi’s,Randi’s, and Achilles/Randall/Arkanian’s stories are left hanging, in need of thisresolution. For another, Ender’s Game ends as it should. The story you’ve just readworks better as it is here—in a separate book. The book of the soldier after the war.

Except for one tiny problem. When I wrote the novel Ender’s Game back in 1984, my focusin the last chapter, chapter 15, was entirely on setting up Speaker for the Dead. I hadno notion of any sequel between those two books. So I was rather careless and cavalierwith my account of Ender’s time on the first colony. I was so careless I completely

forgot that on all but the last formic planet, there would have been human pilots andcrew left alive. Where would they go? Of course they would begin colonizing the formicworlds. And those who sent them would have at least allowed for that possibility,sending people trained to do whatever jobs they anticipated would be necessary.

So while the meat of chapter 15 of Ender’s Game is exactly right, the details andtimeline are not. They aren’t what they should have been then, and they certainlyaren’t what they need to be now. Since writing that chapter, I have written storieslike “Investment Counselor” (in First Meetings), where Ender meets Jane (a major

character in Speaker) when he is legally coming of age on a planet called Sorelledolce;but this contradicted the timeline stated in Ender’s Game. All in all, I realized, itwas chapter 15 that was wrong, not the later stories, which took more details intoaccount and developed the story in a superior way.

Why should I be stuck now with decisions carelessly made twenty-four years ago? WhatI’ve written since is right; those contradictory but unimportant details in theoriginal novel are wrong.

Therefore I have rewritten chapter 15 of Ender’s Game, and at some future date therewill be an edition of the novel that includes the revised chapter. Meanwhile, the entiretext is online for anyone who has ever bought or ever buys any issue of my magazineOrson Scott Card’s Inter-Galactic Medicine Show (). I have linked it to that magazinebecause every issue of it contains a story from the Ender’s Game universe. My hope isthat if you buy an issue in order to read that revised chapter, you’ll also sample allthe stories in that issue and find out what an excellent group of writers we’ve beenpublishing there.

But rest assured that nothing significant is changed in that chapter. You have notmissed anything if you don’t read it.

In fact, the most important purpose for that revised chapter is to keep people fromwriting to me about contradictions between the original version of chapter 15 and thisnovel. So if you’re content to take my word for it that all the contradictions are nowresolved, you won’t need to look it up online.

In preparing this novel, I had to venture back into old territory. It’s not just that Ihad to fit in with Ender’s Game (where that was even possible). This story also had tofit in with every casual decision I made in Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon,

Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of theMind, not to mention all the short stories.

There was no way I had the time or the inclination to reread all those books. It wouldjust depress me to notice all the things in all those books that now, being a better orat least more experienced writer, I would like to change.

Fortunately, I had the aid of people who have read my fiction more carefully and morerecently than I have.

First and foremost, Jake Black recently wrote The Ender’s Game Companion, in which hedeals with every event, character, location, and situation in all the Ender novels andstories. He was a consultant on this book (as he is on the Marvel Comics adaptation ofEnder’s Game) and vetted everything.

And in preparing his book, he also had the help of Ami Chopine, a writer in her ownright, who also has been the mother superior and/or nanny of , and Andy Wahr (alias

“Hobbes” on my website at ), who also helped me directly by answering many questions Ihad in preparing to write this book. I hope I never have to write an Ender novel withouttheir help; and in the meantime, I count them all as good friends.

I also have the benefit of a community of kind people and friends at , whom I exploitmercilessly as a resource. As I set out to write this novel, I had several questions Ineeded to have answered. If I had never addressed the issue in any of the books, Ineeded to know that; if I had, I needed to know what I had said so I could try not tocontradict it.

Here is the original request I posted at :

I can’t trust my memory about details in Ender’s Game and the Shadow books, and I’mafraid that in writing Ender in Exile I might be contradicting some points in the EGuniverse. Perhaps someone can help on the following questions:

1.Who decided Ender should not come back to Earth, and why? Peter was involved, but Ithink he gives different motives from what Valentine and/or the narrator of EGspecifies.

2.I think there’s already a contradiction between EG and the Shadow books (Giant?)about the circumstances surrounding Ender’s governorship and who commanded the colonyship. But was it already fully resolved? That is, Mazer was announced as commander ofthe ship, but then didn’t go? I remember that in conversation with Han Tzu, this wassolved (after Hatrack citizens helped by pointing out the contradiction in the firstplace!).

I’m referring to that last chapter in EG, but what I can’t do is ferret out detailsfrom the four Shadow books or any stray references elsewhere in EG or the Speaker

series. I’ll be grateful for any reminders people can give me of details from this timeperiod—from the end of Ender’s last battle to the arrival on his new colony world, notjust what happens to Ender, but what happens to Peter and Valentine, Mazer and Graff,and the world at large.

I had valuable responses to this cri de coeur, from C. Porter Bassett, Jaime Benlevy,Chris Wegford, Marc Van Pelt, Rob Taber, Steven R Beers, Shannon Blood, Jason Bradshaw,Lloyd Waldo, Simeon Anfinrud, Jonathan Barbee, Adam Hobart, Beau Pearce, and Robert

Prince. Thank you to all of them for plunging back into the books to find the answers tomy questions.

In addition, Clinton Parks found an issue I hadn’t even thought of, and sent my staffthis letter:

I know you guys probably got this already, but I wanted to put it out there just incase. Did you remember that there was a discussion in “Shadow of the Giant” where thefirst colony’s name is revealed as “Shakespeare”? It stuck in my mind cause I

wondered why Ender would name his colony that. Anyway, I just wanted to be vigilant andsend a reminder. Take care!

This was, in fact, a real contradiction—elsewhere, I definitively stated that the firstcolony was named Rov. That’s because in writing those earlier books I did not have theresource of a community of generous readers, or didn’t think to ask for their help as Ishould have, and so thought up cool new ideas for things that I had already dealt within earlier books, but forgot about in the years that followed.

This, too, I have resolved.

I was once a professional proofreader. I know from experience that even the brightest,most careful readers, working in teams so we could catch each other’s mistakes, stillmissed errors. A world as complex, with as many stories set in it, as this one is boundto contain other contradictions as yet undetected. Please post any that you find (exceptthe ones from the former chapter 15 of Ender’s Game) at , and maybe I can find a way tofix them later.

Or take it philosophically, and realize that if these were genuine histories orbiographies instead of works of fiction, there would be contradictions between themanyway—because even in factual accounts of the real world, errors and contradictionscreep in. There are few events in history that were recounted identically by all

witnesses. Pretend, then, that any remaining contradictions are the result of errors inhistorical transmission. Even if it’s a “history” of events hundreds of years in thefuture.

Besides these helpful friends, I showed my chapters as I wrote them to my usual crew ofunbelievably patient friends. Getting a novel piecemeal is an old tradition—CharlesDickens’s fans always had to read his novels as they came out in installments in thenewspaper. But getting a chapter every few days and having to respond quickly becauseI’m on such a tight writing schedule is making more demands than I should rightly makeof friends.

Jake Black was, for the first time, one of those first readers, in order to bring hisencyclopedic knowledge of the Ender universe to bear. Kathryn H. Kidd, my longsufferingcollaborator on the long-overdue-and-entirely-my-fault sequel to Lovelock, called

Rasputin, has been one of my first readers for years. Erin and Phillip Absher have alsobeen longtime prereaders of mine, and Phillip bears the distinction of making me throwout several chapters in order to follow up on a plot thread that I had thought was athrowaway, and he convinced me was at the heart and soul of the story. He was right, Iwas wrong, and the book was better for it. This time, fortunately, he didn’t make merewrite whole swaths of my book. But his, Erin’s, Kathy’s, and Jake’s encouragementhelped me feel as though I was telling a story that was worth the time spent on it.

My very first reader, however, remains my wife, Kristine, who also bears the brunt ofthe burden of the family when I’m in writing mode. Her suggestions might seem small toher, but they’re large to me, and if she has any doubts, I rewrite until they go away.

Kristine and our youngest child, Zina, the last at home, have to deal with a father whohaunts the house like a distracted, irritable ghost during the writing of a book. But wedo have those nights watching Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, where we actuallyinhabit the same universe for an hour or two at a time.

I have also had the help of Kathleen Bellamy, the managing editor of The InterGalacticMedicine Show—who does not read my books until they are in page proofs, whereupon shereads them for the first time—as our very last proofreader before the book goes to

press. That makes her our final line of defense. And our webwright and IT manager, ScottAllen, keeps Hatrack and oscIGMS going so that I have that community to call upon.

On this book, Beth Meacham, my editor at Tor, played a larger role than I usually ask ofmy editors. Because this book was so quirky—being a “midquel” that overlapped with mymost popular novel—I did not want to proceed without her assurance that the book wasactually something Tor wanted to publish! Her suggestions and caveats were wise andhelpful at every stage of the development and writing of this book.

And I thank the production team at Tor for the sacrifices they had to make because I wasso late with this manuscript. That this book still came out on time is owed to theirextra work and sharp concern for quality. Even when rushing, they do their work withpride and so I end up with a book I can be proud of. Where would I be, if other goodsouls did not make up for my shortcomings?

The character of Ender as depicted in the original novel was in some ways drawn from myson Geoffrey, who was five and then six when I was writing that book. He is now thirtyyears old and the father of two children (with the good offices of his wife, the formerHeather Heavener). To my great relief, Geoffrey was never called upon to serve his

country in war.

So in examining what Ender’s experience might be like, I have drawn upon much reading,of course, but also from correspondence and conversation with good men and women whohave served our country in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other trouble spots where our

responsibilities as the only nation with the strength and the will to help beleagueredpeople against tyranny have been fulfilled. You bear a burden for us all, and I saluteyou.

I grieve for those who have fallen, or who, surviving with dire injuries or broken

hearts, have been deprived of much or most of the future that you once dreamed of. As acitizen of the United States, I bear some of the responsibility for sending you whereyou have gone, and certainly reap the benefits. Like Ender, I might not have known whatwas being sacrificed in my name, but I recognize the connection between us.

And for those of you who are visibly whole after your service, but who bear inward

changes that no one sees, and carry memories that no one shares, I can only hope that Ihave done an adequate job of representing, in Ender Wiggin, something of what you feeland think and remember.

Coming in 2009 from Tor Books and Hatrack River Enterprises: The Ender’s Game

Companion, written by Jake Black. This encyclopedic volume is thoroughly researched, andfeatures entries on the characters, planets, technology, and more from the Ender’s GameUniverse—the novels, short stories, comics, and screenplay. The following is a sampleentry from the Companion.


The Hundred Worlds was the name given to the different planets settled by humans duringthe 3,000 years following Ender Wiggin’s victory over the formics: Albion, Armenia, AsFábricas, Associated Planets, Ata Atua, Baía, The Belt, Calicut, Córdoba, Cyrillia,

Descoladore, Divine Wind, Etruid, Gales, Ganges, Hegria, Helvetica, Honshu, Jonlei, JungCalvin Colonies, Lusitania, Lybian Quarter, Memphis, Milagre, Mindanao, Moctezuma,

Moskva, Nagoya, Oporto, Otaheti, Outback, Pacifica/Lumana’i', Path/Tao, Qu, Reykjavik,Rhemis, Rov, Saturn, Shakespeare Colony (formerly Colony I), Sorelledolce, Stumpy Point,Summer Islands, Trondheim, Ugarit.

Ender’s and Valentine’s Travels

Shortly after defeating the formics, Ender left Earth to govern one of the colonies inthe Hundred Worlds. The first colony he visited, as seen in Ender in Exile and “GoldBug,” was Shakespeare Colony, also known as Colony I. The term “Colony I” will bechanged to “Shakespeare” in future editions of Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide. Thischange is being made, in Orson Scott Card’s words, “to accommodate the ‘true’story” as written in Ender in Exile.

Ender and Valentine didn’t stay in any one place too long. Their galactic travelogue isas follows:


2.Shakespeare Colony


4.Various planets, including Helvetica and others not yet identified, where Ender wasnot a speaker for the dead but a research assistant for Valentine as she wrote her

books. (Ender had written The Hive Queen and The Hegemon in Shakespeare Colony, but didnot list Speaker for the Dead as his occupation.)


6.Rov, where citizens of the colony first see Ender with Jane’s jewel in his ear. Healso lists his occupation as speaker for the dead for the first time here.

7.Various planets, including Moctezuma and others not yet identified, where Ender was afulltime speaker for the dead.



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