The Battle School was a large space station built in the orbit of Earth. It was designed to train and evaluate children as future commanders in the International Fleet for the imminent battle against the Formics. It included both standard classroom education, and competitive games designed specifically to develop the unique characteristics required of its students. One of the central features of the space station were the Battle Rooms, large microgravity chambers where different Battle School Armies competed.
Battle School consisted of two major habitation rings that rotated constantly to simulate gravity. They were 350 meters in diameter and 33 meters wide.These dimensions account for the insulation, plumbing, and radiation shielding that protected the interior halls of the rings. One ring housed the barracks and commander quarters for armies, while the other ring housed quarters for the administrators of the school. Students would normally never enter the second ring, as there was no public connection between the two.
In the student ring, hallways visibly curved upward as one walked along the interior of the ring. Along the walls, there were light panels that would light up with the colors of their respective army to guide students back to their barracks.
Outside of the rings were the nine Battle Rooms, which cycled past the entrances into them every half hour. he Battle Rooms were large, square-shaped rooms that were essentially bare with few variations.
In many ways, Battle School was like a typical school on Earth. Children took basic classes for mathematics and other studies. In a many more ways, Battle School was very different. The classes were more advanced. Every child in the program were Earth's most intelligent, so that the slowest child at Battle School would be top of their class on Earth.
The classes also had a distinct slant towards military topics, such as battle strategy and military history. If one chose, they could take a class in self defense.
Students were allowed to do various simulator games, in the game room and on their personal Desks. The most significant of the games was the Mind Game, or the Fantasy Game. Its primary function was not to learn strategy and tactics, but to evaluate the psychology of the player.
The Battle School students, coming from many different ethnic backgrounds, developed their own slang derived from their diverse native languages. They still had to speak a shared language, International Fleet Common, but over time, certain native words became one of the only parts of their culture that was evolved from the children themselves. (see List of Enderverse slang)
The children dwelled in a highly structured environment, and were chosen specifically for their special abilities to function well within the circumstances of Battle School. As a result, discipline remained high, yet creativity was mostly suppressed.
Potential Battle School candidates were singled out as infants or young children and were monitored by the International Fleet to assess their suitability for the program. If their parents were compliant, the International Fleet fitted the children with a Monitor to track their development and measure their abilities, however there were children who were chosen outside of the monitor system, such as Zachariah Morgan. All children who hoped to enter the school took a series of tests that assessed physical, mental and tactical ability. Once a child had been chosen for the program, they usually stayed with the International Fleet throughout their education and into adulthood, however any Battle School student could have been 'iced', or sent home, for poor performance or behavior issues.
Once selected for the Battle School program, the children would be sorted into launch groups, to be sent into orbit and reach the space station. A group of 'Launchies' arrived at the school once every few months, with the groups staying together for approximately two years before being transferred into armies. As a launchy, students learned the basics of Battle School life and zero-gravity combat. Launchies were typically between the ages of 6 and 8.
Main article: Battle School Army
A Battle School army was made up of forty soldiers, with armies distinguished by their color code and symbol. Within the armies were Toon Leaders and a Commander who took on greater responsibilities in the Battle Room. Soldiers rarely remained in the same army throughout their time at Battle School, and students were often transferred between armies based on merit, or lack thereof, with any soldier having the opportunity to take the position of commander if they displayed sufficient skill to the teachers.
Exceptional students were given the opportunity to command an army. This typically occurred between the ages of 11 and 13. Commanders were given special privileges and were expected to lead their armies to success. A new commander typically had three months to train their army before they were given their first battle.
Students typically graduated from Battle School before they were 14, and were chosen to go to one of three schools of further education - Tactical, Navigational, and Support. Students who studied at these Pre-command schools had the opportunity to move onto Command School at the age of 16 if they proved successful.
The Battle Rooms were the most significant part of the Battle School curriculum and structure. There were nine identical Battle Rooms, each usually open for practices and for scheduled games. The Battle Rooms were large, square-shaped rooms that were essentially bare with few variations. The rooms had two gates where the opposing armies began the battles. Since the exercises were meant to prepare the combatants for battle in space, the rooms were in zero-gravity.
The objective of the Battle Room game was to either freeze all soldiers of the opponent's army, or to have four soldiers place their helmets, unfrozen, on the four sides of the enemy's gate, and have a fifth soldier enter. The game did not technically end until the enemy's gate was entered in such a manner (unless every member of the opposing army was incapacitated), though after Ender Wiggin was confronted with two armies at once and exploited the enemy gate to win, the rules were changed so that all opponents must be frozen prior to passing through the enemy's gate.
Battle Room Devices
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 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.
Third Formic War
After the Third Formic War had ended and Battle School lost its purpose in training children for war, it was converted into Fleet School, administrated by the Ministry of Colonization. It trained children to be explorers or governors in the new colonies as a part of the Dispersal Project.
The Battle School made use of Military Time, using a 24 hour version on a clock. The clocks were set to Eastern Standard Time, causing inconvenience for launchies from distant countries.