Ender in Exile

《Ender_in_Exile》

CHAPTER 1

To: [email protected], [email protected]

From: hgraff%[email protected]

Subj: When Andrew Returns Home

Dear John Paul and Theresa Wiggin,

You understand that during the recent attempt by the Warsaw Pact to take over the International Fleet, our sole concern at EducAdmin was the safety of the children. Now we are finally able to begin working out the logistics of sending the children home.

We assure you that Andrew will be provided with continuous surveillance and an active bodyguard throughout his transfer from the I.F. to American government control. We are still negotiating the degree to which the I.F. will continue to provide protection after the transfer.

Every effort is being made by EducAdmin to assure that Andrew will be able to return to the most normal childhood possible. However, I wish your advice about whether he should be retained here in isolation until the conclusion of the inquiries into EducAdmin actions during the late campaign. It is quite likely that testimony will be offered that depicts Andrew and his actions in damaging ways, in order to attack EducAdmin through him (and the other children). Here at IFCom we can keep him from hearing the worst of it; on Earth, no such protection will be possible and it is likelier that he will be called to "testify."

Hyrum Graff

Theresa Wiggin was sitting up in bed, holding her printout of Graff's letter. "'Called to "testify." Which means putting him on exhibit as - what, a hero? More likely a monster, since we already have various senators decrying the exploitation of children."

"That'll teach him to save the human race," said her husband, John Paul.

"This is not a time for flippancy."

"Theresa, be reasonable," said John Paul. "I want Ender home as much as you do."

"No you don't," said Theresa fiercely. "You don't ache with the need for him every day." Even as she said it she knew she was being unfair to him, and she covered her eyes and shook her head.

To his credit, he understood and didn't argue with her about what he did and did not feel. "You can never have the years they've taken, Theresa. He's not the boy we knew."

"Then we'll get to know the boy he is. Here. In our home."

"Surrounded by guards."

"That's the part I refuse to accept. Who would want to hurt him?"

John Paul set down the book he was no longer pretending to read. "Theresa, you're the smartest person I know."

"He's a child!"

"He won a war against incredibly superior forces."

"He fired off one weapon. Which he did not design or deploy."

"He got that weapon into firing range."

"The formics are gone! He's a hero, he's not in danger."

"All right, Theresa, he's a hero. How is he going to go to middle school? What eighth-grade teacher is ready for him? What school dance is he going to be ready for?"

"It will take time. But here, with his family - "

"Yes, we're such a warm, welcoming group of people, a love nest into which he'll fit so easily."

"We do love each other!"

"Theresa, Colonel Graff is only trying to warn us that Ender isn't just our son."

"He's nobody else's son."

"You know who wants to kill our son."

"No, I don't."

"Every government that thinks of American military power as an obstacle to their plans."

"But Ender isn't going to be in the military, he's going to be - "

"This week he won't be in the American military. Maybe. He won a war at the age of twelve, Theresa. What makes you think he won't be drafted by our benevolent and democratic government the moment he gets back to Earth? Or put into protective custody? Maybe they'll let us