Ender after the Great War that had claimed 368 million lives, got on a ship with his wife Alice Wiggin, and set out for a planet he had been called to for seven years. He was being made governor of a planet he had been offered seven years ago at the end of the Bugger Wars.
He had left the beautiful visage of Earth with his loving wife. He remembered the last time he had been out in space.
Weightlessness, directionless, hopeless. If you weren't weighed down you'd drift off into nothingness. If you weren't sure which way to go...you were lost. In this shuttle, only one thing was certain. Direction. There was no weight...and so little hope it counted for naught.
Ender watched the stars move so slowly in little patterns only really that he was the one moving. A blue hued ball...that was no breath taking...and yet it instilled only nervousness in Ender. What could he help? He was a thirteen year old boy...who in any normal case in need of his mother...as emotionally he was still tied down around the age of six. He understood his jeesh had been collected up as well. All but three were headed into the Hegemony. Russia, China, and Alai to no country were all in too improbable areas to effectively steal in the night.
It had been horrible...to be alone. To be without friends, or family...and even the few acquaintances he had wanted him to do something for them. He remembered those lonely blood filled days after the Bugger Wars...when all he wanted to do was die...just to end the feeling of blood on his hand...no matter how foreign the blood was.
Ender lay in darkness. No...he lay in darkness of the vast darkness. Where direction was everything and nothing. Like an old sailor of the blue seas he was instead drifting in the vast wades and tides of the vast black nothingness sea. For a few weeks now, shots had been fired back and forth between sides. The Russians on one hand, the Hegemony on the other...and he had heard that within this very asteroid...the battle was faring for neither. All of the bloodshed, was determining his future. And he dreamed at nights often what it would be like to fight for his own future.
His companionable silence drifted back into ringing and clanging, of shouting and charging, of blood and dieing, dieing and dieing...dieing and dieing. It meant only one thing, the temporary truce had been broken again as their homelands back on Earth had hit heads once again in silently dispelling the argument.
So many shots fired, so many grunts, moans, cries, and sometimes the odd begging. It filled the hours between the fake day, and the fake night. And Ender heard it all. In his mind, he would have been troubled when he heard the shots getting closer, and grunts and moans becoming louder, but by now he was empty for the time being. A basin which had poured out its rare liquid to replenish the hope and strength of man. And it would take time and recuperation to fill it back up.
He had worked hours...and hours, day after day to achieve his goal. To end those shots. He no longer found himself on the asteroid...but rather sitting in front of a terminal. Keying in commands and effectively sending men to die for a cause that wasn't entirely moot...but entirely not worth it.
Ender found himself tired and resorted to sleep for awhile. It was no use waiting for reports awake. In his sleep he found the solid nothingness he wanted...and needed so much. He slept for how long he might never know...but he awoke to sounds of alarms and rubbed his lazy eyes as he looked over the reports. And he found he had a heart...as he felt it constrict tightly in his chest...the divisions in Sicily had been beaten back...the Western most Warsaw Pact forces had taken the island...and Bean was captured. He found a side of him he had only faced three times before...come forth in his mind...and like wildfire it inspired thought in him...the Brilliance he had used to end lives.
He brought keyboard up to him to send in his command...divert forces guarding the rear to blockade the island, invade from the south, not the east...and drive the forces up to the ancient city of Palermo...and drive across the beaches to the close land bridge between the mainland Italy and the island of Sicily...and use the garrison troops of Naples to block off any escape while Naples enjoyed a short time off from martial law.
For an hour he typed similar awe inspiring commands. The Aleutian islands would launch their own invasion to Sakhalion...to bring the much needed relief to Japan. Then...instead of attacking Kamchatka closest to the Alaskan Peninsula...drive up across the Sea of Japan and form a beachhead...a serious invasion of Russian-Chinese lands to divert troops from the Western front...then sending the remaining Western Theater troops to the closest part of Kamchatka to Alaska after most of the forces there have headed south to drive off the beachhead...which would spend time only to fortify its position and a few airfields, to further confuse the enemy, making them think this is the real invasion. But while those troops are being squashed on Sicily, or pulling back some million men from the Eastern Theater to aid the Western Theater, the Eastern Theater Armies press up from Hegemony Africa into the Aegean Sea and cut off troops there to push up with the newly acquired Balkan forces.
It was a Brilliant plan...and when he was done typing it...he felt sick...so very sick...a nearby officer catching him in time to receive today's lunch re-served, express line esophagus.
He remembered the days when it had escalated. When a third member to the Great War was stepping unto the stage.
The world was split in three...much like Medieval Europe had been. Catholics vs. Orthodox vs. Islam. Only now Orthodox was Communism, and Catholics were Democracy. So in a way...the three-way fighting/cold shoulder was Democracy vs. Communism vs. Islam.
He had spent around two months with his parents and sister...it had reminded him so much of those little memories he barely contained of when he was six...to his first memory...around when he was four. Two years he had memories to call upon for how to be human...and he had ten now for how to be a murderer.
He sat at his same old screen looking over reports...but they had moved his station closer to where his parents lived...in case he had another mental breakdown. Which would've made his third breakdown by the time he was sixteen. Losses now ranged in the low millions. The opposition he knew from rough body counts lay in the middle five millions. Just because they had China and now half of India following behind the cause. The other half was staunchly for Islam to take up arms against the two sides battering each other.
When done typing he got out of his seat and stepped out of his office into the hallways of Central Command...the heart of the Hegemony war effort. Not only was it the heart that pumped the much needed blood to the many limbs that killed men for the heart...but it was the Brain as well...where his brain...and pretty much his brain alone carved history out of flesh and bone. Out of steel and bullets.
However he also remembered better times. He remembered it had been the very day that Islam had to be considered a threat, and eventually would be...he would meet that red headed gal he loved so much.
There he was struck with a sight he had seen...and yet had never seen quite of its like before. He thought his mother was a beautiful woman...and that his sister, was growing into one as well. But there...staring at him much as he stared at her, was a girl. He could tell...from the patch on her upper arm that she was a volunteer...probably for filing, or getting coffee. Menial tasks that officers couldn't seem to find to do these days.
They stood there...and found themselves in a trance. Her red hair caught his attention. It was wild and free...and he could tell it represented her well when she opened her mouth to speak, "I'm sorry...I didn't mean to interrupt sir."
He nodded dumbly...what was he to do? To say? He had heard tips from Bean about Petya. How girls in the military were wild freaks. But it didn't mean he had much experience...his only experience...being when he had seen Petya naked in the barracks. "Its quite alright miss," he hoped for some reason his voice didn't scare her off...it had been becoming hollow since the near death of his friend Bean. How lucky his voice was then I suppose that the missile had landed yards away.
She looked as if to say something about his voice but thought better of it...besides...he was rather cute...gaping at her like an innocent child. "Would you like some coffee?" she asked almost demurely...so as to not scare him away.
He thought over it...and despite a good dislike of coffee found himself agreeing, "I would...how about four?" he says looking at his watch to make sure of the time. She agreed and they walked off from each other. How was either to know this little coffee incident would lead to more? How could they?
He remembered further the even more happy days.
It had been weeks since he and Alice has met. She was a girl from a small country town. One of the last few ones in America. She had a bit of a southern drawl to her voice...but it had been stamped out in her year and a half working for the military. She didn't have much of a clue as to what he did in the military...but she had gotten the picture that whatever it was he didn't like talking about it much.
Spending some time with Alice and his family had removed some of the gravel in his voice. But he noticed how they still winced from time to time when he spoke. Alice was different it seemed. Alice...she seemed to not be bothered by his voice at all. She had grown on him...much as he had noticed himself growing on her. She came from a bit of a troubled past. Her father was an alcoholic...and had in his disgrace a wife who despite the laws was an avid birthing woman. Now...there were some families in which one of the partners was sterile...and people like her mother would get themselves pregnant so the family could have a child. Her father...being as human as he was had boiled over one day in rage at his wife giving birth to other men's children...and ended those days...with shrapnel through her womb. And then shrapnel through his own skull.
The two of them at one point...just two weeks after meeting and having coffee...and spent the whole night, as it had been miraculously both of their days off, spending the night together and talking till the sun had come back up. They talked about their life, their thoughts, and every little thing in between. For example, Alice learned that he had next to zero experience with girls and kissing, just having a scholar's knowledge on sex. He had been so embarrassed when he left...she had given him a small exam over girls...and kissing. He had never been so thrilled at returning to someone.
He heard a swish of the door and knew by the smell of cocoa who it was. It was someone who had been helping him relax...and sure to his thoughts he felt hands on his shoulders massaging the knots away. A soft voice pouring over his ears in a tune from her hometown. Something about someone named Dixie. He had never heard it in the very least.
He looked up to her fair face framed with her red hair and black brown eyes looking down at him and he could feel himself relax. The world was slitting it's throat...and she was making him feel like none of it existed.
But he was leaving it all behind. And headed into the stars to wipe his hands clean...to find redemption his wife and child had given him thousands of times over. He was going to find redemption from the one species he had wronged...had so terribly wronged.
His knuckles turned white from gripping the bar just under the window looking over Earth. And much to his relaxation...another, softer, hand covered his own...and a smiling red face looked at his with such love. Such care...He felt that at 19...he could face it. Face that destiny which had been prolonged it seemed. Prolonged...and seven years overdue.