Chapter 8 Summary
Colonel Graff has ordered Major Anderson, who runs the games the boys play at Battle School, to brainstorm ways to make battles unfair. Anderson protests, saying the game will be ruined for all the boys if the teachers rig the battles. Graff insists, saying they need to give Ender the hardest possible challenges in order to bring out the boy’s genius.
Ender finds himself a part of Rat Army, with a boy called Rose the Nose as his new commander. Ender reports directly to Dink Meeker, who is a subofficer called a toon leader. Ender is still practicing on his own with launchies every day. Rose the Nose orders Ender to stop, but Dink says Ender should continue.
Ender follows Dink’s advice, and Rose the Nose is upset. Upon learning that Ender disobeyed Bonzo as well, Rose grows even more furious. At Ender’s first battle as a soldier for Rat Army, Rose orders Ender into the battleroom first. This move is calculated to get Ender frozen quickly, but it does not work. Ender employs some strategies he has been working on with his launchies; he retains his status as the number one soldier in the school.
One afternoon Dink confesses privately that he hates being manipulated by the teachers at Battle School. He loves the game but he has twice refused to accept promotions to commander. Dink believes the bugger threat no longer exists. He thinks the teachers are really training the Battle School students for wars on Earth. Ender disagrees, but he shares Dink’s attitude that the teachers are enemies.
Ender’s next evening practice session has far fewer attendees than usual. Several jealous commanders have threatened to hurt any launchy who works with Ender. Alai, Shen, and a few other loyal stalwarts are willing to accept this threat and keep practicing.
During the session, a group of big boys comes into the battle room. The boys jeer at Ender and his friends. The verbal bullying quickly turns into a physical fight. Ender sends his friends to safety and then faces the older boys himself. By fighting intelligently within the zero-gravity situation, he injures several of them and comes out of the situation intact. He is surprised that teachers do not intervene. The injuries Ender inflicts are officially recorded as accidents.
Returning to his barracks, Ender plays the mind game on his computer. He returns to the tower room at the End of the World, where he kills a snake and faces a mirror. The mirror does not show him his own reflection. Instead it shows a picture of his brother, Peter. Ender despises himself, believing that he really is as cruel and violent as Peter is.