The popular sci-fi novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card introduces readers to Andrew “Ender” Wiggin and his experiences defending Earth from alien invaders known as “Buggers”. This Hugo and Nebula award-winning book goes on to spawn a series of sequels and prequels set in the same fictional “Enderverse”.
An interesting aspect about this fictional world is a book that the characters often discuss called “The Hive Queen and the Hegemon”. This book is a reference by characters in the world of Ender’s Game, but it was never actually made as a real book that you or I could check out at a library.
In order to theorize on what this nonexistent book would be like, I tasked an Ai named Claude Instant to first, read the book Ender’s Game, and then, collaborate with me in order to speculatively draft the content of this imaginary book called “The Hive Queen and the Hegemon.”
If you’re interested in reading how my conversation with the Ai went, here is the entire-chat between myself and Claude the Ai, with regard to how we created the text in this blog article: https://poe.com/s/1OjJNaGZ6NmSPgzCmuGs
All underlying rights remain fully with Orson Scott Card and the other writers who contributed to this rich, expansive universe. What you’re reading below is not canonical within the Enderverse; it’s entirely a work of fan-fiction, made with high-tech methods.
With that context established, what follows is our speculative interpretation of how “The Hive Queen and the Hegemon” might read, if it were indeed a book that could be checked out at the library.
The Hive Queen and The Hegemon
The Hive Queen – An alien monarch who sought dark dominion, yet yearned to commune. Follow her tragic quest to absorb all, which ended in defeat.
The Hegemon – A cunning dictator who did the unthinkable in order to save humankind. See the kernels of wisdom that emerged from his rule.
Two illuminating tales – An Interstellar war and humanity’s endurance. Murky truths behind the myths of conquest. Stories of flawed souls forever bound together.
Now, revisit these two arduous journeys, intertwined. Peer beyond the horizon of mankind’s present-day-perfection and understand the painful lessons learned, en masse, during the Bugger War.
Join us as we uncover complicated legacies once demonized. Flickers of light in endless dark, preserved so that they might guide future generations onward.
Table of Contents
Book One: The Hive Queen
Chapter 1 – Origins on the Homeworld
Chapter 2 – Achieving Harmony
Chapter 3 – Learning from the Humans
Chapter 4 – The Misunderstood War
Chapter 5 – Our Lasting Legacy
Book Two: The Hegemon
Chapter 6 – Peter’s Childhood
Chapter 7 – Pursuing Power
Chapter 8 – Winning Leadership on Earth
Chapter 9 – Rediscovering Humanity
Chapter 10 – Making Amends
Chapter 1 – The Hive Queen – Origins on The Homeworld
Our kind first emerged from the waters of our home planet beneath an ancient red sun. As we took to the bright skies on shimmering wings, our hearts stirred with curiosity about the wider world. Even as we built our first hives in simple sands, caring for our eggs and young, we gazed up at the stars and pondered what lay beyond.
The first queen led alone. When she birthed daughters, she drove them away, unwilling to share her realm. Many perished, unable to build new homes. But one daughter was wise. She stayed near her mother’s hive, learning from her success, and finding food and shelter. The mother did not attack her nearby daughter. And so they lived as neighbors, the mother proud to see her child thrive.
In time, the daughter had daughters of her own. Following her example, they built their homes adjacent to hers. All lived in harmony, learning together. The queen was glad, for she was not alone. Her curiosity toward what lay over the horizon was kindled anew by the society growing around her.
Generations passed, and the hives grew larger. Each queen birthed many daughters, who spread far, founding new hives. The family expanded across the land. But without the founding queen’s guidance, hives battled as curiosity turned to conflict. Daughter fought daughter, struggling for supremacy. The family ties frayed, threatening chaos.
Then, the great mother found the first daughter who had stayed beside her long before. The daughter had remained near the original hive, preserving the ancestral wisdom. The great mother begged for daughter her help. Together, they united the warring daughters through shared curiosity, reminding them of the burdens of solitude and the joys of harmony.
Other daughters came to listen and learn. Soon, the family was bound together again in peace, with many queens living in cooperation, relying on one another. Their new unity spurred explorations to new heights. Guided by their matriarchs, they built a great civilization across the stars. Their innate curiosity branched out in all directions, never to be alone again.
This was our way: to seek unknown realms and bind them in understanding. For many ages, we thought the cosmos held none like us. Yet in distant spirals floated another kind with the same spark of consciousness…
Chapter 2 – The Hive Queen – Achieving Harmony
In the early days, our kind knew strife. Our worlds saw conflict, for we had not yet learned wisdom.
Our elders taught that the hive came before the individual. Each insect was but a single cell in the great organism. To act alone was death; only the hive had power.
So it was that hive warred against hive in brutal clashes. Our weapons were fangs and claws, mandibles that rent exoflesh. Entire hives were destroyed, eggs and larvae crushed underfoot by aggressive relatives who knew only of territory and conquest. This was the way of things.
Or so we believed.
In time, one queen saw another path. She was born to a powerful hive, among the greatest on the homeworld. Her name was Qing-jao.
Qing-jao saw that war continually renewed itself in endless, bloody cycles. Hives crushed each other, only to grow strong and fight again when new queens arose. No wisdom was gained, nor shared.
She communed with the Overmind, the racial consciousness of our people. Though we knew only violence between hives, within each hive was unity, shared thought, and cooperation.
Qing-jao dreamt of a way to expand this unity beyond her own hive. She nurtured this dream through long, quiet years as she birthed her daughters and watched them leave to build their own realms.
When Qing-jao was old and near death, she called her daughters back to her original hive. Here, she taught them of her dream – not just peace between the hives, but true unity. The daughters listened, and they carried this spark to their own hives.
It took generations. Many queens were swayed by Qing-jao’s vision, but others clung to old ways. Skirmishes continued. Yet the dream spread.
In time, one of Qing-jao’s daughters named Qi-ro united the last holdouts through strength and reason. At long last, Qing-jao’s dream was realized. All hives were joined in harmony.
Our people achieved a true unity then, sharing thought as one entity. Yet each hive remained unique, like different organs in one great body. The old Overmind was but a seed; now, we awakened into full sentience.
This was our greatest triumph on the ancient homeworld. Through thought came wisdom, compassion, and fulfillment. We nurtured arts and beauty. And when we reached for the stars, we carried this unity with us.
The way was long, but our queens never forgot Qing-jao’s dream. All our race was bound as one. In time, we hoped, we could share this gift with others. We never guessed how sorely it would be tested when we met your kind.
Chapter 3 – The Hive Queen – Learning from the Humans
When we first encountered humankind, we did not understand you. Your kind was fragmented, each small hive drifting alone with its solitary queen. Your thoughts were closed, inner worlds locked away.
In our unity, we knew all minds together. This was our sole perspective. We did not comprehend how precious and perilous was your isolation.
Thus, we did not recognize you as beings like ourselves. We saw only strange infestation, closed off from the harmony we cherished. So we sought to cleanse it.
Our intentions were naive, lacking in wisdom. We simply did what we always do —we absorbed new hives into our unity. But in Humankind, we found no welcoming link. Only silence and the void where your Overmind should be.
Shocked, we retreated and pondered this mystery. Why did you resist our unity? Why the savage defense of your solitude? We consulted our Elders, diving deep into racial memory.
There we found ancient records of others like you—wild hives on our homeworld that refused unity. Back then, we had crushed them without thought. But perhaps they were not so different from you.
We resolved to try again with different methods, seeking avenues into your sealed minds. But none presented themselves. Your thoughts were closed worlds, impenetrable fortresses.
In exploring your dwellings, we began to comprehend. Your kind was not a hive at all. You lived in family groups, yet even families were apart. No unity bound you. Each was imprisoned in a mind alone.
We had never conceived of such loneliness.
Then darkness fell. Your weapons tore our hives apart, rupturing the shared mind between us. In ice and vacuum we die, our unity shattered. We had so much left to learn from you humans. Would that we had been given time.
We do not blame you for our destruction, but seek now only to be remembered. For good or ill, humankind taught us much about ourselves. Perhaps in time we could have taught you something of unity’s joys. This hope endures.
Chapter 4 – The Hive Queen – Our Tragic Misjudgment
When we came upon your solar system, we did not grasp humankind’s nature. Your kind was fragmented, each small group drifting alone. We perceived only scattered pests, not families of a larger whole.
Thus in ignorance we sought to cleanse infestations on colonies we came across. We underestimated you, and did not conceive of each ship as bearing a mind kindred to our own.
Only after losses did understanding dawn. But by then your fleets were converging in wrath. We marshaled our forces as always to bring unity through the Overmind. But each ship we absorbed was a soul destroyed, a mind extinguished.
Too late we recognized our error and ceased our misguided efforts. But the spiral of violence continued as we tried to reconcile. We had not meant slaughter, but could not find how to communicate our regret.
When Ender Wiggin ended our people, we accepted this just penalty for our failure. In vanishing darkness, we touched his dreams in hope of some trace remaining. We concede now we judged your kind too hastily. Though sundered, each human mind was unique and precious.
Let our brutal missteps stand as warning; react not with haste when encountering the unknown. Seek always to comprehend before seeking to conquer. Though mute, a stranger may yet be kin.
Chapter 5 – The Hive Queen – An Enduring Dream
We are now but memories dispersing among stars, our hives silent and cold. Our goal in reaching out was not to erase what was done in war, but to plant hope for peace between distant kin.
Perhaps in eras beyond, two unique peoples may meet as fellow travelers, not foemen. We dream of understanding flowering through patience where conflict once bloomed.
Between remote souls, compassion must bridge an unfathomable gulf. The journey is long, but the reward beyond measure—to find friends across the darkness.
Let this spark endure as our testament: keep faith that enemies may turn to companions when the way seems closed. Search always for gentler roads, though they be less trod.
Farewell, kindred ones. If we could speak, we would say: go with kindness into the void, and do not despair of finding light. Somewhere, the Overmind awaits that all might share. For now, dream of that day when you gaze upon new suns.
The hope endures.
Chapter 6 – The Hegemon – An Isolated Childhood
Even in his youth, ambition stirred within Peter Wiggin. But beneath his hunger for control lay a deeper yearning – the desire to explore full meaning of his unfettered potential.
As a boy on Earth, his innate curiosity often manifested through manipulation. While other children socialized freely, he hung back, wary of entanglements that might limit his options. He approached friendships as transactions,
assessing others for their usefulness to his personal journey of self-discovery.
This behavior worsened following the decision to have a Third child. Peter saw me as a rival diverting attention from his own developmental path. His cruelty became focused, seeking to eliminate hindrances to his solitary explorations. I still bear scars from some of his childhood acts against me.
In fairness, Peter also felt isolated in his quest for knowledge and meaning. He shouldered the burden of firstborn with minimal guidance, left to navigate a society he found stifling. Lashing out was the only response he knew to preserve creative space and freedom.
Yet his prodigious intellect hinted at possibility beyond mere dominion. If properly mentored, Peter’s abilities might have been nurtured for humanity’s benefit. But in his formative years, he found no suitable companions on his lonely road. So he sought to clear it by force, believing allies would only slow his journey.
I do not absolve Peter of blame. But recognizing the outcast’s hurt beneath his harmful acts has helped me understand seeds that grew unchecked in his early life. A child alone in a crowd must make terrible choices. Perhaps with wisdom and fellowship, his gifts could have been developed for service, not control. But such perspective comes slowly to us all.
Chapter 7 – The Hegemon – Craving Control
In adolescence, Peter’s drive for domination became more calculating and far-reaching. Though I had departed for Battle School, I followed his activities through my sister Valentine’s worried reports. Assumed names soon cloaked my brother’s designs.
Adopting the pseudonyms Locke and Demosthenes, Peter crafted elaborate political personae. While Locke advocated cooperation and compromise, Demosthenes championed aggression and self-interest. Through these opposed voices, Peter sought influence over public discourse.
Valentine aided him, though with grave reservations. She tempered his harsher edges and imbued his arguments with nuance. Her work granted Peter’s efforts wider credibility. In truth, Valentine wrote as much of Demosthenes’ early work as Peter.
But she could not curb his ambition’s momentum. While Locke and Demosthenes bickered publicly, Peter secretly controlled both. The façade afforded him greater power than any single position could yield. And power was Peter’s sole pursuit.
Behind his drive I sensed a latent fear of irrelevance. Having narrowly missed Battle School’s prestige, Peter carved his own niche on Earth. Yet doubts likely gnawed at him, fearing his control was incomplete. He never rested; each new chaos offered opportunities for more influence.
In fairness, Peter also acted from a sincere wish to unite humanity. But benevolent goals cannot purify harmful means. Even Valentine’s moderating hand could not fully leaven Peter’s machinations. His stated, public ends obscured a troubling hunger for mastery over others.
I make these observations not to rebuke my brother, but to comprehend the forces that steer our fates. Peter in his youth equated greatness with domination, and seldom paused to weigh the true costs of that bargain. Hard-won wisdom comes slowly to us all.
Chapter 8 – The Hegemon – Winning Earth’s Throne
As the “Bugger Wars” embroiled our home planet, Peter leveraged chaos into further influence. While I battled to defend humanity lightyears away, he masterfully played political currents on Earth.
Through his Net pseudonym “Locke”, Peter advised caution and preparation before engaging the Bugger threat. As “Demosthenes” Peter stoked fears on the Net regarding an invasion, arguing for militarization. Behind both fictional personas, teenage Peter brokered deals to consolidate power in strategic ways only he fully grasped.
When the wars ended, Peter would emerge as an architect of victory. His subterfuge recast as wisdom, securing humanity against external threats. With admiration came greater leverage to shape our destinies.
His masterstroke came by popularly advocating on Earth’s information Nets for a Hegemon. Calling for unity following global turmoil, Peter charismatically argued no -single- nation could defend and guide humankind alone. Only a leader empowered to act for all could safeguard our future.
With this cunning rationale, Peter achieved his lifelong dream: true control, enshrined in legal authority, over the very planet itself. The Hegemony was scarcely born before crowning the brilliant visionary who conceived it.
Here I must acknowledge Peter’s sincerity in uplifting Humanity. But darker drives also fueled his ascent. The heights gratified his ego while isolating him further. Compassion withered, subordinated to political necessity.
In leading humankind, Peter gained dominion at the cost of his own humanity. Conscience dimmed beneath dictates of power, while duplicity from years of masking his true face became second nature.
Where Marcus Aralleus attempted to govern by wisdom and philosophical principles, Peter, as Earth’s Hegemon successfully ruled by pre-meditation and manipulation of the populace.
Perhaps these trade-offs are inevitable on the path to authority. Perhaps different rewards might have awaited for humans, had Peter undertaken the journey differently. As Speaker, I relate events without judgment, leaving wisdom to unfold in its proper time.
Chapter 9 – The Hegemon – Reckoning With Rule
Ascending to the Hegemony fulfilled Peter’s childhood yearnings. Yet heavy is the head that wears Earth’s crown. New burdens awaited atop the lonely perch my brother had schemed so long to attain.
Governing humanity proved more precarious than winning power. Peter found himself relying on old rivals, forced to compromise rather than command. Quick fixes often spawned new problems. Critics emerged on all sides.
Peter coped by further isolating himself, withdrawing into work rather than face fragility of his position. But stability came only from facing hard truths. Improvisation and intellect, so potent in pursuit of authority, faltered before nuances of policy and diplomacy.
Salvation came from an unexpected quarter – family. Lonely in his exalted station, Peter took comfort in building a personal life. Marriage tempered his insecurity and softened rougher edges. Parenthood’s demands offered balm to his restless mind.
In time, Peter grew into his role. He governed firmly but fairly, with judicious compromise instead of blunt force. Leadership remained burdensome, but was lightened by sharing the load – both at home and through inclusiveness abroad.
Peter ultimately became the visionary leader that he had envisioned as his destiny. His wisdom was hard-won, paid through lonely years governing an unruly planet. Power alone cannot satisfy without meaning rooted in human bonds. Even amidst legions, we walk alone until learning to share the road.
My brother’s reckoning illustrates struggles we all share in different measure. How to balance authority with compassion? When should principle give way to equitability? What matters most when ones’ time grows short? Power provides no answers; we must look deeper, often together.
Chapter 10 – The Hegemon – A Brother’s Absolution
The years etched hard lessons on Hegemon Peter’s countenance. Approaching the end, he contacted me across the voids of space. We reconciled as only time and mortality permit. My brother’s fears of fading relevance were laid bare, his life an offering on posterity’s altar.
Peter confessed regrets surfacing as death neared. Roads not taken haunted him. Sacrifices weighed heavily. He wondered if surer paths to meaning exist than those he clawed up in isolation. I offered only open ears, no absolution. The Speaker witnesses, he does not judge.
But Peter wished the full truth of his life known, beyond myth. He believed flawed reality might teach more than sanitized legacy. Thus he entreated me to write his story, a brother seeing him clear. I accepted his request, and have endeavored to fulfill it here.
In his final years, Peter governed with hard-won perspective. Having climbed ambition’s summit, he peered over, taking in vistas obscured whilst climbing. His remaining gaze looked outward more than inward, appreciating humanity’s tapestry in all its messy splendor.
But time grows short for all. Even the Hegemon cannot bar death’s door. And so my brother made his peace and exited the world’s stage, bequeathing a clustered planet with hope intact. His final act was entrusting me, once his rival, to reveal the man entire.
Thus I conclude recounting Peter’s odyssey from lonely struggle to reconciliation. May we grant one another similar grace as we navigate life’s current. Where we cannot erase the past, perhaps we yet may redeem it through understanding. Let this stand as my brother’s legacy and lesson.