Chapter 9 Summary
Colonel Graff argues with Major Imbu, another teacher at Battle School. Graff is appalled that the computer showed Ender a picture of Peter in the mirror. He wants to know why the game showed that image. Imbu has no explanation; he says that the computer is making up Ender’s training as it goes along. Graff finds this comforting because he is doing the same thing.
Back on Earth, Valentine celebrates Ender’s eighth birthday by lighting a small fire and imagining that Ender, in outer space at Battle School, can see the smoke. Valentine and her family now live in the wilderness of North Carolina. She knows her parents hope that these natural surroundings will have a softening effect on Peter, but she also knows it is not working. Peter now shows his violent side less readily in public, but he is as ruthless as ever. Valentine has seen evidence that he tortures squirrels in the woods.
Peter finds Valentine in the woods and threatens to kill her, but she is not afraid because she knows he has nothing to gain from hurting her. Peter explains that he thinks the Russians are moving troops in preparation for a war on their neighbors. This goes against the Second Warsaw Pact, which helped to keep peace between countries on Earth when Earth faced the bugger invasions. Peter says that either the buggers are no longer a threat or the threat is about to be eliminated. The Russians are preparing for a land war.
Peter confesses that he wants to find a way to influence world events. Valentine mocks this desire, saying that no adult listens to a twelve-year-old boy no matter how smart he is. Peter explains that he has a plan to go on the nets and write columns anonymously until people start listening.
In spite of herself, Valentine grows increasingly excited about this plan. She likes the idea of writing articles that influence people. Still, she does not agree right away. She does not really think Peter will gain much power, but she is reluctant to help him because she knows he might hurt people.
Peter senses her feelings. He cries and says he does not want to be a monster. He begs Valentine to help him with is plan and also to be a good influence on him. Valentine assumes Peter is trying to manipulate her, but she wonders if he might be sincere. She agrees to help him, hoping that she can maintain a little power over Peter.
From this point on, Peter and Valentine are inseparable. On the nets, Valentine becomes Demosthenes, and Peter makes her write paranoid anti-Russian articles. Peter becomes Locke, a more moderate and reasonable character. This arrangement means that Valentine, who is not as ruthless as her online persona, is dependent on Peter’s input as she writes her articles.
To Peter’s surprise, Demosthenes gets more attention and respect than Locke does. Valentine does not find this surprising. She reasons that moderate arguments get less attention and therefore take longer to gain a following. However, Valentine is appalled when her father becomes a fan of...
(The entire section is 808 words.)