The Battle School is a military installation based in a space station orbiting Earth. It is designed to train and evaluate children as future officers in the International Fleet for the imminent battle against the Formics. It includes both "standard" educational techniques (such as classroom studies), and "games" designed specifically to develop the unique characteristics required of its students. One of the most unique features of the space station was the Battle Room, a large microgravity chamber where different armies competed.
In many ways, Battle School was like any typical school. Children took classes. They engaged in competition. Friendships grew, and groups were formed.
In a lot more ways, Battle School was very different. The classes were more advanced. Every child there was Earth's best and brightest, so that the slowest child at Battle School would be top of his class on Earth. The classes also had a distinct slant towards things military. Strategy and military history, for instance. Ender himself took a class in self defense. But once a child became part of an army, classes lost their importance in the eyes of the adults running the school. How one did in the simulators and battle rooms is what was truly important.
That is the competition that these children engaged in. Students were allowed to do all sorts of simulator games, including free play, known to them as The Fantasy Game. Bean refused to play it, seeing that the adults were trying to evaluate his psychology, and when he eventually tried it, he took it as the opportunity to evaluate THEIR psychology. It's primary function was not to learn strategy and tactics, but to evaluate the psychology of the player.
It was not surprising that the children, coming from many different ethnic backgrounds, developed their own slang derived from their diverse native languages. Of course, they had to speak a common language, I.F. Common, but over time, certain native words showed up in the vocabulary and became a one of the only parts of their culture that was evolved from the children themselves. (see Enderverse Slang)
In a nutshell, the children dwelled in a highly structured environment, and were chosen specifically for their special abilities to function well within that environment. As a result, discipline remained high, yet creativity was suppressed, for the most part.
The Battle Room Edit
The Battle Room is the most significant part of Battle School aside from housing. The chamber is at the center of the rotating "wheel" of the Battle School space station, where the centrifugal force that generates the artificial gravity on the station has the lowest magnitude. It is also probable that gravity generators are used to create artificial gravity right outside the entrance to the Battle Room. There are actually nine identical Battle Rooms, each usually open for practices and for scheduled games.
The objective of the Battle Room game is to either freeze all players of the opponent's army, or to have four soldiers place themselves or their helmets, unfrozen, on the four sides of the enemy's gate, and have a fifth enter. The game does not technically end until the enemy's gate is passed in such a manner (unless every member of the opposing army is incapacitated), though after Ender is confronted with two armies at once and exploits the enemy gate to win, the rules are changed so that all opponents must be frozen prior to passing through the enemy's gate.
Battle Room Devices Edit
Flash Pistol Edit
Also called a Dao (Vietnamese for "knife"), a Flash Pistol was used in zero gravity competitions and training in the Battle Room. A laser shot from the pistol would immobilize any shot region on an opponent's flash suit, effectively immobilizing him or her. It had a trigger, a red button (for a tight, laser-like beam) and a white button (for large-area illumination) on its butt end which were easily accessible to the thumb, and several others along the bottom of the shaft that were essentially inaccessible except when using two hands.
Flash Suit Edit
The Flash Suit was a suit worn by students competing in the Battle Room. Flash Suits were specially constructed to be mostly bind-free during normal use, but had special light sensors in the fabric that could tell if it had been "hit" by a Flash Pistol. When hit, a portion of the Flash Suit (or all of it, depending on the "lethality" of the hit) would become immobile, or "frozen." A hit in one of the "vital" areas causes the entire suit to become immobilized, including a clamp in the helmet that prevents the soldier from talking. Another aspect of Flash Suits is their glow: in a darkened room, undamaged portions of the suit emit a slight glow, whereas damaged parts are completely dark. Flash Suits are different colors for each Army, and come in various sizes, although not "extremely small," as Bean found out.
A star is an obstacle found in the Battle Room that soldiers are forced to maneuver around and find ways to use to their advantage in zero gravity. They are likely held in place magnetically or via gravity control, as they do not seem to respond to physical contact. For any given battle there could be a vast range of stars present, anything from none to very large numbers clustered randomly, simulating shapes, or evenly spaced, sometimes even giving an obvious advantage to a single Army. Most armies (and their commanders) found stars to be nothing more than annoyances since their locations were seemingly random and didn't necessarily work well with their preplanned formations, which most Army commanders utilized in almost all situations. Some commanders, however, most notably Ender Wiggin, found specific ways to use stars to their advantage by having their soldiers use them as makeshift bunkers that they could use as cover while firing on exposed enemy troops, as hiding places for ambushes, or for concealment of formations as they are constructed and before they are utilized.
The hook was a small box, carried by an army's commander during practice sessions, that allowed the holder to move about the Battle Room freely in the zero-g environment, thaw frozen soldiers, and pull out stars during practice. During a battle, the hook was maintained by Major Anderson, and presented to the victorious army's commander so that he, in a small ceremony at the end of the game, could thaw the soldiers of the competing teams.
A Ball Caller was used to retrieve Target Balls. The Ball Caller was mentioned only briefly in Ender's Game. Users of note included Petra and Ender .
Target Balls Edit
Target balls were orange-sized, spherical items which were thrown at random in the Battle Room during practice and then shot at with the Flash Pistol to improve accuracy.
Some time after Mazer Rackham was sent on his life-extending time-dilated flight, he took himself hostage, seizing control of his ship from the International Fleet and making clear he would not allow it to make the return trip until his handlers met his demands. With the help of an ambitious and devious young Hyrum Graff, he successfully reformed the military bureaucracy, giving Graff a free hand to organize and administrate his Battle School for prodigies that would train them to be commanders for the Third Invasion.
Time Information Edit
Battle School makes use of Military Time, using a 24 hour version on a clock. The clocks are set to Florida time, causing inconvenience for launchies from distant countries.
- Lights out is at 2200 (10:00 pm)
- Light on is at 0600 (6:00 am)
- Ender's Game
- Mazer in Prison
- Ender's Shadow