Colonel Graff and Major Anderson have an argument. Graff wants Anderson to set up battleroom scenarios that are unfair. Anderson objects, pointing out that the whole school is based upon the fairness of the games. Graff agrees but states that war is not fair, and that Ender must be ready to face anything. Anderson threatens reporting Graff's actions because he thinks someone else should have some input concerning the fate of humanity. Graff says that he realizes that what he is doing is not right, but if he does not succeed it will not matter because the buggers will win. He convinces Anderson not to contact higher authorities—it is difficult enough for Graff to get Ender ready without further scrutiny.
Even as the head of the school and the man in charge of the battleroom clash over Ender's fate and that of the Battle School itself, Ender goes to Rat Army, where Rose the Nose is in charge, and he is assigned to Dink Meeker's platoon. Rose tells him he must stop his practices with Launchies and stop using his desk (his computer), but Dink tells him that Rose cannot stop him. Dink is good, and Ender learns from him, though he still sees things that Dink does wrong. He runs his practice sessions and teaches what he knows to his launch group. Ender has been taking personal attack classes in order to protect himself, and in a confrontation with his commander he refuses to stop using his desk. At the next battle, against Centipede Army, Rose sends Ender out immediately, just to have him frozen, but Ender manages to freeze several of the enemy and Rose no longer questions him.
Ender and Dink have a talk one day where it comes out that Dink was promoted twice but refused to be a commander because he does not believe in the school. Dink says that he believes children are not meant to be commanders of armies, they are meant to be children. He says that they are not normal, and the school makes them crazy. Ender points out that Dink could still be a commander, but Dink will not let the adults run his life completely. Refusing command is his way of attacking the system. Dink thinks that the buggers are gone but that the school is kept up to keep the I.F. in control. Ender does not believe Dink, but the conversation has an effect on him—he begins to look for ulterior motives in people's actions and words.
At one of Ender's extra practice sessions some older boys taunt them and a fight breaks out. Ender gets all of his Launchies out of danger but remains surrounded by the older boys. He fights his way out, injuring four of the boys, and feels bad about doing so. Ender returns early that night and plays the mind game, where he returns to the tower room and ends up looking into a mirror where Peter looks back out at him. This image haunts Ender. He believes he is not like Peter but then realizes that it is the killing part of him that his teachers like the most. Ender thinks that he really is a tool, and it does not even matter if he hates himself for it.
Graff wants Anderson to make unfair battleroom scenarios so that Ender can face situations like real war, compromising the integrity of the entire school. Ender really is the only hope, and so the Battle School must be manipulated to make Ender ready, just as he himself is manipulated to be what they need him to be. Anderson disagrees with Graff and threatens to notify higher authorities but Graff convinces him not to. This series of events shows the uncertainty even within the I.F. as to how to proceed. Graff wants full control over the teaching of humanity's last hope, and Anderson trusts him enough not to interfere. Graff is talking on a huge role, but the point is that it only matters if he is right. Graff makes an appeal based solely on ends—mankind must survive, at all costs. If the games and the school must be sacrificed, then so be it.
Meanwhile, Ender faces challenges of his own, and progresses very well. He learns from Dink and knows how to maintain his own power as a soldier. Even more importantly, he thwarts the attempt to stop his extra practice sessions by fending off his attackers. The fight troubles Ender, but he knows that its occurrence is not his fault. More troubling to Ender is the image of Peter in the mirror. The mind game clearly bothers Ender, and now he thinks it is claiming that he is Peter. This is Ender's worst nightmare brought to reality, and he is actually coming to terms with the fact that he might be like Peter. Unfortunately, Ender comes to this conclusion, not happily, but with apathy and despair. He has been pushed into being Peter, and it has become harder and harder to deny comparison with his evil brother. Ender has started to hate himself, and this hate could destroy all that is good within him.
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