Chapter 11: Veni Vidi Vici
Anderson and Graff are discussing their plans for Ender's army, and it seems that Anderson has devised an unprecedented number of battles. Graff plays devil's advocate for a few moments but then agrees that this is what they must do. He is worried about how far they will push Ender, but knows that they must accelerate things in order to have him ready in time for the war with the buggers.
Ender's first battle is with Rabbit Army, and Dragon Army demolishes their opponent. Ender's army works unlike any other army. Each of his five toons can work independently and they can even split into ten half-toons of four people, achieving unprecedented independence and flexibility. Ender takes advantage of the insights of his toon leaders, like Crazy Tom, Fly Molo, and Hot Soup, and trains them to deal with situations on their own. Carn Carby, the leader of Rabbit Army, is gracious to Ender and in the commanders' mess he is the only one who treats Ender well. Even Dink and Petra do not seem to be Ender's friends anymore.
Ender's army fights and beats Petra's Phoenix Army the next day. By the end of the week they have fought seven straight battles and won them all. Ender begins studying videos of the first and second invasion to learn strategy, and it is from the buggers that he begins learning new modes of attack. He is brought in to speak to Anderson and Graff, and they ask him about his army. Ender is cocky and antagonistic, and challenges them to give him a good battle. They tell him he has a fight in ten minutes (his army's second fight of the day) against Salamander Army, and by the time Ender's troops are ready his opponents have already set up position. Ender defeats them quickly and easily but is angered that the fight was not fair. He speaks rudely to Anderson and releases his army instantly. Only in hindsight does Ender realize that not only did he defeat Bonzo's army in a fight where they had an advantage, but he did not go through with the normal ceremonial surrender. He realizes that his snub will whip Bonzo's hatred into a frenzy.
Ender has Bean come to his room and has a talk with him. He makes sure that Bean knows that the significance of the game, rather than the game themselves, is important. Ender says that the game means that the teachers are trying to find the best soldiers for the real war with the buggers. Ender tells Bean that he needs him, and lets him choose one soldier from each toon to be a part of a special unit that Bean will train separately during their extra practices. He wants Bean to come up with new ideas—to try risky tactics that no one would rationally engage in.
Ender is a brilliant commander, far better than any of his competition. He is able to lead his soldiers effectively and gets the most out of all of them. His conversations with the adults show that he is competing with the teachers more than with the other soldiers. He wants to beat them when they try to make him lose. However, Ender's anger with the teachers causes him to unwittingly insult Bonzo, and he knows that his insult will have repercussions. Bonzo already hates Ender when the battle begins, and afterward his honor is slighted publicly. Ender simply makes enemies because of his success, and Bonzo is a perfect example. All along Ender has never had the intention of angering Bonzo, and the hate is not reciprocal. Ender's empathy is strong enough so he does not hate others even when they hate him, but he also knows that he may be forced to deal with their hatred.
Ender's conversation with Bean reveals that Ender is a complex emotional being in addition to an excellent military commander. So far, at the Battle School, only Alai and Bean have seen the truly human side of Ender. He opens up emotionally to only those two boys, and Bean is the first in several years. Ender is surely doing this to help Bean, but he is also being honest. It is not easy for him to be a commander, and the job is starting to take its toll. Ender needs to be able to count on others to help him. It is not that he is not self- sufficient, merely that he needs his army to think for itself, because he cannot be everywhere at once. Here we see that Ender is thinking like a fleet commander, entrusting local strategies to subordinates while he coordinates a global strategy. Ender does not place his trust lightly, and he is both burdening Bean and helping him. He will help make Bean a better soldier, or else, if the new job is too much for him, it will crush him. Ender is a leader who does not let his troops fail, and if they match his commitment they will succeed. Ender imposes his own will upon his army. They must all desire to win as much as he does; but for those who are to command, like Bean, they must also know why it is important to win. The games themselves mean nothing; only the future war with the buggers matters.
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