Chapter 12: Bonzo
The chapter begins with a heated argument between Colonel Graff and General Pace, the chief of the I.F. military police. Dap has filed a report regarding the possible conspiracy to harm Ender among some of the students at the school. Pace wants Graff to take some action and Graff insists that Ender must handle this on his own. There will be no one to save Ender when he is the commander in the war against the buggers and so he must rely only on himself and his fellow schoolmates. This is the only way that Graff believes Ender will be able to reach his fullest abilities. Graff refuses to back down, and Pace can only threaten action if Graff's plans do not work.
Meanwhile Ender trains his men, working on some new techniques that Bean has come up with. Petra attempts to warn Ender that he is in danger, and he already knows this. His toon leaders escort him to his room, where Dink has left him a message of warning. Ender is only able to sleep when he thinks that surely the teachers will keep him safe outside of the battleroom.
After winning their battle the next day, Ender falls asleep before showering and wakes up just before lunchtime. Without thinking, he heads to the showers and soon finds himself surrounded by seven boys, with Bonzo at the lead. Ender quickly realizes that Bernard and the other boys pose no true threat—it is Bonzo who wants to kill him. He is able to use Bonzo's honor to convince his enemy to face him alone, and Bonzo strips to face Ender on equal terms. Dink rushes in to try to convince Bonzo not to fight but he is pushed outside by the other kids.
Ender asks Bonzo not to hurt him in order to provoke an attack, and Bonzo jumps at him. Ender avoids the attack and hits Bonzo in the face with the top of his head. He has injured Bonzo and knows he might be able to walk away, but he does not want to have to fight the battle again. Ender realizes he must make Bonzo fear him enough never to fight him again. He knocks Bonzo to the ground and kicks him in the crotch, but Bonzo is motionless, and does not even respond. Dink takes Ender away, and Ender knows that no adult will ever help him. Ender feels terrible about how he hurt Bonzo, and begins to cry.
Ender is given a battle at seven o'clock that night against two armies. He does not want to fight and cannot believe the assignment. Ender figures out a brilliant way to win the game, but he does not even care about it. The boys in the other armies pay tribute to him but Ender only wants to go back to his room. Bean comes to see him and tells him that he has been put in command of an army, as have all of Ender's toon leaders and assistants. Then Graff and Anderson come in and give Ender a sheet graduating him to Command School. Ender leaves Bean, who wonders what it could all mean and is convinced that something significant must have happened with the war. Ender is briefly taken back to Earth before his trip to command school, and he finds that the feel of his native planet is all wrong—the Battle School has become his home.
The chapter ends with a conversation between Colonel Anderson, now in charge of the battle school, and Major Imbu. It is revealed that Ender killed Bonzo when they fought. They are discussing Graff's future, unsure whether he was arrested or promoted, since Ender succeeded brilliantly, but a student died under Graff's command. They also mention that Ender also killed Stilson, although he does not know it. Anderson ends by saying that they are getting Ender to Command School just in time—the war is at hand.
Ender's fight with Bonzo mirrors his fight with Stilson. In both cases Ender ends up hurting someone when all he wants to do is to protect himself from being hurt in the future. Ender kills both boys, yet he is not the aggressor in either case. The main difference between the two fights is that Stilson likely would not have killed Ender. He was just a bully who picked a fight with the wrong kid. Bonzo wanted blood, and Ender knew he needed to defend himself. Ender's fight with Bonzo also cost him more. He did not want to hurt anyone and he is sure that he did terrible damage to his opponent. It shows him that he cannot escape hurting people. In fact, his life is now made up of a pattern of hurting people who have become his enemies. But, unlike everyone around him, Ender does not think that Bonzo had it coming—he simply wishes that Bonzo would have left him alone so no one would have been hurt. Ender is still filled with compassion, but he now seems to have no place for it in his life.
Immediately after the Bonzo fight, the worst event in Ender's life so far, he is forced to fight a battle with impossible odds. Graff pushes Ender to the limits of human endurance, and Ender succeeds, but he no longer cares about winning. In fact, he no longer cares much at all. All Ender knows is that the same adults who care so much about him winning his games let a fight take place in which Bonzo was seriously injured and he was forced to hurt him. Earlier Ender hated the teachers and saw them as the enemy, but now he does not wish to have any enemy at all. He does not want to play any games at all. Ender leaves the Battle School with no belongings, just as he came. He still has some humanity left, but the despair and apathy that gripped him once before have again taken hold of him. Ender Wiggin survived Battle School, but it is uncertain how much of him will be left when he gets to Command School.
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