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Ender in Exile (Ender)by Orson Scott Card
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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). Herat 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."
Theresa Wiggin was sitting up in bed, holding her printout of Graffs letter. " ‘Called to "testify." Which means putting him on exhibit aswhat, a hero? More likely a monster, since we already have various senators decrying the exploitation of children."
"Thatll 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 dont," said Theresa fiercely. "You dont 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 didnt argue with her about what he did and did not feel. "You can never have the years theyve taken, Theresa. Hes not the boy we knew."
"Then well get to know the boy he is. Here. In our home."
"Surrounded by guards."
"Thats 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, youre the smartest person I know."
"Hes 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! Hes a hero, hes not in danger."
"All right, Theresa, hes 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, were such a warm, welcoming group of people, a love nest into which hell fit so easily."
"We do love each other!"
"Theresa, Colonel Graff is only trying to warn us that Ender isnt just our son."
"Hes nobody elses son."
"You know who wants to kill our son."
"No, I dont."
"Every government that thinks of American military power as an obstacle to their plans."
"But Ender isnt going to be in the military, hes going to be"
"This week he wont be in the American military. Maybe. He won awards at the age of twelve, Theresa. What makes you think he wont be drafted by our benevolent and democratic government the moment he gets back to Earth? Or put into protective custody? Maybe theyll let us go with him and maybe they wont."
Theresa let the tears flow down her cheeks. "So youre saying that when he left here we lost him forever."
"Im saying that when your child goes off to war, you will never get him back. Not as he was, not the same boy. Changed, if he comes back at all. So let me ask you. Do you want him to go where hes in the greatest danger, or to stay where hes relatively safe?"
"You think Graff is trying to get us to tell him to keep Ender with him out there in space."
"I think Graff cares what happens to Ender, and hes letting us knowwithout actually saying it, because every letter he sends can be used against him in courtthat Ender is in terrible danger. Not ten minutes after Enders victory, the Russians made their brutal play for control of the I.F. Their soldiers killed thousands of fleet officers before the I.F. was able to force their surrender. What would they have done if they had won?Brought Ender home and put on a big parade for him?"
Theresa knew all of this. She had known it, viscerally at least, from the moment she read Graffs letter. No, she had known it even before, had known it with a sick dread as soon as she heard that the Formic War was over. He would not be coming home.
She felt John Pauls hand on her shoulder. She shrugged it off. His hand returned, stroking her arm as she lay there, facing away from him, crying because she knew she had already lost the argument, crying because she wasnt even on her own side in their quarrel.
"We knew when he was born that he didnt belong to us."
"He does belong to us."
"If he comes home, his life belongs to whatever government has the power to protect him and use himor kill him. Hes the single most important asset surviving from the war. The great weapon. Thats all hell bethat and such a celebrity he cant possibly have a normal childhood anyway. And would we be much help, Theresa? Do we understand what his life has been for the past seven years? What kind of parents can we be to the boythe manthat hes become?"
"We would be wonderful," she said.
"And we know this because were such perfect parents for the children we have at home with us."
Theresa rolled onto her back. "Oh, dear. Poor Peter. It must be killing him that Ender might come home."
"Take the wind right out of his sails."
"Oh, Im not sure of that," said Theresa. "I bet Peter is already figuring out how to exploit Enders return."
"Until he finds out that Ender is much too clever to be exploited."
"What preparation does Ender have for politics? Hes been in the military all this time."
John Paul chuckled.
"All right, yes, of course the military is just as political as government."
"But youre right," said John Paul. "Enders had protection there, people who intended to exploit him, yes, bu
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