Chapter 13 Summary

Opening Section

The International Fleet has discovered that Demosthenes and Locke are pseudonyms for Peter and Valentine Wiggin. In a discussion, two officials decide not to reveal this knowledge to the public. They fear that the Russians will think there is an American plot to use the Wiggin children to gain power. They agree to leave the children alone, at least for now.

Main Narrative

Valentine enjoys being Demosthenes. She likes having power and prestige even though she is still a child. There are downsides, however. It upsets her that Father likes Demosthenes’s columns. It also scares her when Peter gets jealous: Demosthenes continues to get more attention than Locke does.

One afternoon, Graff takes Valentine to visit Ender. Ender has spent the past few months at a lake on Earth, refusing to go to Command School. Valentine tells Ender about Locke and Demosthenes, and Ender tells Valentine about Battle School. Ender realizes he still loves Valentine, and he confesses that he wants Peter to love him too. By the time Valentine leaves, Ender has decided to continue his education.

Ender and Graff spend three months on a ship to Eros, where Command School is located. Ender uses the time to learn as much as he can about the buggers. Humans know little about this alien species, but they think the buggers are a bit like ants, with queens and workers and soldiers. In the invasions, the queens seemed to do all the thinking and feeling, communicating instantly with the soldiers who fight the human fleet.

Graff explains that the buggers’ instant communication convinced people that they, too, could learn to communicate instantly across space and time. After the bugger invasions, human scientists used this insight to invent the ansible, a secret military device that allows instant long-distance communication.

Graff also reveals that Ender is not being prepared to defend Earth against an attack at home. Instead, he is being prepared to command, via the ansible, a set of ships that are already on their way to attack the buggers. Graff does not know exactly when those ships will arrive, but he believes Ender will need to be ready within five years.

Ender asks why the humans and buggers are fighting, but Graff does not know. Communication with the buggers is impossible. Buggers communicate only with their minds, so they have no written or spoken language. Ender wonders why they have to fight, and Graff says it is just the way it is. The buggers attacked first, and now the humans have to kill them all or risk being entirely destroyed, themselves. Ender thinks this over and says he is in favor of surviving. Graff answers, “That’s why you’re here.”