When Ender comes into his dormitory he sees that the other nineteen kids in his launch already took their beds leaving only one bed for Ender:

The other boys had already chosen their bunks when Ender arrived. Ender stopped in the doorway of the dormitory, looking for the sole remaining bed. The ceiling was low Ender could reach up and touch it. A child-size room, with the bottom bunk resting on the floor. The other boys were watching him, cornerwise. Sure enough, the bottom bunk right by the door was the only empty bed. For a moment it occurred to Ender that by letting the others put him in the worst place, he was inviting later bullying. Yet he couldn't very well oust someone else.

But then when Ender takes the last bed, Dap says that they usually put the launch leader there, but now it's too late to recode the beds.

This room is your home for the first year or so here at the Battle School, so get the bunk you want and stay with it. Ordinarily we let you elect your chief officer and install him in the lower bunk by the door, but apparently that position has been taken. Can't recode the lockers now.

If they only had the exact number of beds either way, then how would they ever be able to put the launch leader there without recoding the lockers?

  • How would Graff know that Ender would get the lower bunk by the door? Also, they would probably end up talking to the other launch groups, so there is some limit to how much stuff the teachers can make up. – ibid Nov 23 '15 at 21:41
  • I suspect it was an improve performance by Dap - as you can see in my answer, the launch leader wasn't even supposed to be elected then. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Nov 23 '15 at 21:56

Dap was lying through his teeth, and pretty clearly simply going with Graff's "let's isolate Ender" program.

  1. Re-coding the lockers is trivial, as we can see in Ender's Shadow

    Of course the adults would know what he had done. In fact, Dimak was certainly noticing already, when one child complained that his locker wouldn't open. So the station computer knew how many students there were and stopped opening lockers when the right total had been opened. But Dimak did not turn and demand to know who had opened two lockers. Instead, he pressed his own palm against the last student's locker. It popped open. He closed it again, and now it responded to the student's palm. ("Ender's Shadow" - Chapter 7, "Exploration")

    Also, clearly they CAN recode the lockers that were previously occupied - they locked Ender's locker when he was transferred to the Army, and obviously they recode the lockers for everyone in the launch room once they get sent to be soldiers so next Launchie group is housed there.

  2. Also, the launch leader wasn't even elected at that point - Alai was elected that, much later, after Ender broke up Bernard's hold and "healed" his launch.

    It wasn't obvious to everyone; Bernard still blustered and sent his cronies on errands. But Alai now moved freely through the whole room, and when Bernard was crazy, Alai could joke a little and calm him down. When it came time to choose their launch leader, Alai was the almost unanimous choice. ("Ender's Game", Chapter 6 -- "The Giant's Drink")

Please note that at this point nobody (except may be for Bean) knows anything about what the teachers can or can't do. Even Ender doesn't figure some of those things out (like tracking) initially; and most other kids can't even figure out the simple iPad security for a while - Alai tumbles onto Ender's tricks against Bernard much later.

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  • What Dimak did in Ender's Shadow was just opening up an extra locker. (I guess Bean had a lot less kids in his launch group.) Dap was referring to recoding a locker once assigned. The two are not necessarily identical. – ibid Nov 23 '15 at 21:48
  • @ibid - It's all moving a couple of electronic bits here and there. NOT exactly a difficult task when you have privileged access to the system (think of it as re-mounting a home directory under Unix). Added more reasons as well – DVK-on-Ahch-To Nov 23 '15 at 21:50
  • It may just have been a case of poor planning. That there were usually less then 20 kids per launch (like by Bean), and everyone was told to leave the first bed empty. Ender came late and so missed the warning. – ibid Nov 23 '15 at 21:56
  • @ibid - definitely plausible. What really bakes my noodle is, why did Ender state (internally) that that specific bunk was the worst in the room? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Nov 23 '15 at 21:57
  • I think that the audioplay had said something about the lower bunk by the door having the least privacy. – ibid Nov 23 '15 at 22:02

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