- "Human beings are free except when humanity needs them."
- — Ender's Game, page 35
Hyrum Graff was born fourteen years after the Second Formic War. He grew up on his parent's farm in the Midwest with six siblings. Hyrum was fascinated with Formic technology, and used its principles to modify farm equipment. Nevertheless, the farm was failing, and at the age of sixteen, Hyrum accepted an offer from the International Fleet to join Pre-Command School in return for support to his family's farm.
At Pre-Command, Graff's talents at bureaucracy were recognized, allowing him to rise above the level of an engineer. Together with a small group of cadets, Graff successfully stopped a plot to destroy the Ansible and recall the fleet.
Mazer in Prison
As a lieutenant, Hyrum Graff contacted Mazer Rackham through the ansible. Graff asked Mazer about which traits he should look for in new recruits for Battle School, to eventually replace Mazer as a commander in the Third Formic War. Mazer originally was not helpful in Graff's identification of necessary traits for a commander.
Graff eventually compiled messages from Mazer's family, including his wife Kim Arnsbrach. The messages prompted an emotional reaction from Mazer, which was reported back to Graff. Noting the emotional reaction, Graff apologized and informed Mazer that the International Fleet had been observing all of Mazer's actions in his courier ship. Mazer promptly responded by threatening to never return to Earth if Graff was not given ultimate control over finding Mazer's replacement.
Graff worked with the military bureaucrats to follow through with Mazer's plan. Successfully fulfilling Mazer's ultimatum, Graff was promoted to captain. He sent a video message to Mazer informing him that Graff intended to continue communications with Mazer until he found the appropriate commander.
The Polish Boy
In 34 BX, Graff had become a captain and the director of the Battle School. After Helena Rudolf and Sillain found a young Polish boy named John Paul Wieczorek who showed exceptional potential for Battle School, they presented their findings to a conference in Berlin. Graff explained that although his score was not the very best, his negotiating ability impressed him. Jawaharlal Chamrajnagar said that it showed the wisdom of opening Battle School to noncompliant nations, but he noted the problem that there was no indication that the boy was willing to go. As they understood that they needed to convince his family, Chamrajnagar suggested that Helena be the one to do the job. As they debated more, Chamrajnagar received information from the Polemarch that they should bring in John Paul, as time was growing short before the Fleet arrived at the Formic Homeworld. The group affirmed that Graff and Helena should be the ones to convince him to come to Battle School.
When Helena and Graff returned to the household, his mother and father had brought their friend Magdalena Teczlo, a lawyer, to sit with them, though she could not practice law as she was noncompliant. Graff asked if he could see John Paul with his parents present and they accepted, but when he noted that Magda was in his space she left the house. John Paul sat down and Graff began to explain to him about Battle School. John Paul implied that it would be unfair to leave his family on Earth to struggle while he was in battle School. Graff suggested that they could persuade the Hegemony to lift the sanctions on his brothers and sisters. His parents said that it could not happen since the neighbors would be suspicious. John Paul stated that he wanted to leave but not go to space. Graff suggested that they move to a city and send no more than two of their brothers and sisters to any one school so that no one will know that their family was noncompliant. Graff said that the Fleet would go to great lengths to get John Paul into Battle School, because they believed that in their house he would be wasted, quoting the Bible verse about casting pearls before swine. John Paul's father got up in rage to punch Graff, but Graff blocked the blow easily. John Paul's father said that he would not let his son leave, but Graff threatened him with imprisonment for striking a Fleet officer. John Paul had the plan to move the family to America and be set up in a better life, and then refuse to go to Battle School, but Graff realized that even if this occurred he could find a way to turn it to his advantage.
As they walked back, Helena and Graff discussed the population laws. Graff admitted that John Paul would probably not go to Battle School, but thought it for the best as he would be past his peak when the Fleet arrived. Graff said that if John Paul married someone with good genes, his child could be the commander they needed. Graff then arranged for the family to move to the United States under the surname Wiggin.
Battle School Administrator
Graff was later placed in complete charge of recruiting children for Battle School.
Several months before 9 BX, Graff sired a son, Dabeet Ochoa, but there was some kind of necessity that kept him and Dabeet's mother from interfering with his life. Dabeet was given to a member of the Fleet who was assigned to pretend to be Dabeet's mother and was raised by her. Graff and his unnamed partner were distressed at this separation, but believed it was the best chance for Dabeet to have a normal life.
Several years later, Graff's responsibilities as the Battle School administrator led him to watching Ender Wiggin's actions via the Monitor in his neck. After one final test, Graff realized that Ender was Battle School material, and took him to the orbiting station.
After Ender fought Bonzo Madrid, Graff returned to Earth with Ender for several months, as Ender had given up on his Battle School education. Once his sister Valentine had convinced him to continue, he and Graff returned to space and headed to Command School on Eros.
While at Command School, Graff lied to Ender that he would be using a simulation game to train to fight the Formics in the upcoming Third Formic War, with Mazer Rackham as his opponent. However, in reality these simulations were the actual battles of the Third Invasion, with Ender and his Jeesh commanding human warships attacking the Formic planets. In the final battle, Ender used the Molecular Disruption Device against the Formic Homeworld and destroyed it completely, killing all the Formics due to their hive mind connection. Graff then explained to Ender that it was not a simulation and had in fact just won the Third Formic War. Devastated, Ender went to his quarters and passed out.
Immediately after the conclusion of the League War, Graff emailed John Paul and Theresa Wiggin telling them that their son was safe and that EducAdmin was working out how to get him home, though he warned that the upcoming trial may depict him in a negative light.
Following Ender's defeat of the Formics, Graff was stripped of his rank and court-martialed for his decisions at the Battle School, with the main case centering on his decision not to interfere with the fight between Ender and Bonzo Madrid. Graff successfully contended in his defense that all of his actions were necessary to ensure that Ender would be able to defeat the Formics. As the court deliberated, Graff sent Mazer an email proposing that they tell the public that Mazer would be going to a colony world so he can avoid a court-martial himself, and at the last minute cancel it. The court later acquitted Graff and honorably discharged him from the International Fleet.
Minister of Colonization
Soon after the court-martial, he was given the job of Minister of Colonization by the Hegemon, Polemarch, and Strategos and placed in charge of the Dispersal Project. Shortly afterward, Graff talked with Ender again about his plans for his voyage to the first colony, and informed Ender that the demagogue Demosthenes had retired and was becoming a colonist who would be on the same ship as Ender. After telling him that he had saved Ender from being Peter's pawn on Earth, Ender realized that Peter was Locke and that Valentine was Demosthenes. He cried and Graff left his office to let Valentine reunite with Ender. Graff then left Eros to go back to Battle School to turn it into the assembly point for the colonists. After this, Graff emailed the person in charge of testing colonists, Imo, explaining that it would be unfeasible to test potential colonists for desirable traits.
As the departure of the first colony ship IFcoltrans1 quickly approached, Graff returned to Eros for the occasion. He spoke with Mazer about their past and the Dispersal Project, as well as Ender's reputation. As they asked Ender to take a promotional picture with them, they were very deferential and respectful. Ender shook hands with Mazer and thanked him, and shook hands with Graff and wished him luck in his new job, then departed for Shakespeare. Shortly after Ender's departure, Graff received word that the follow-up fleet to the Formic Homeworld had found that the dust cloud from the M.D. Device was reforming, and would eventually become a habitable planet. He forwarded the email with the info to Ender.
As the Minister of Colonization, Graff was placed in charge of the newly established Fleet School located in the former Battle School. He once again acted as a recruiting agent, usually choosing children whose parents were in the International Fleet.
Sometime around 2 AX, Graff headed to Indiana to test his son Dabeet Ochoa for Fleet School, although he played it off as a recruitment for an ordinary student he had no connections to. He explained the differences between Battle School and Fleet school to Dabeet and what a commander in the Dispersal Project would experience. Graff pretended that he did not want to accept Dabeet into Fleet School, but was actually looking for how Dabeet would convince him otherwise. Dabeet asked for Graff to tell him the truth of his father's identity, but since Graff could not reveal to him that he was in fact his father he instead told him that his father was a member of the IF and that he had no relation to his supposed "mother". After this, Graff stood up and left, telling Dabeet that he had given him information and a test, and that if he was ready for anything that concerned Graff he would let him know.
After Dabeet was briefly kidnapped by terrorists, Graff communicated with him likely over the Nets, discussing what had happened. At the end of the conversation, Graff told Dabeet that he was accepted into Fleet School. Soon after, Graff communicated with the commandant of Fleet School, Urska Kaluza, that Dabeet would be her best student.
Some time later, Graff received a request from Dabeet to communicate with him over Ansible. Graff opted to connect Ender Wiggin with Dabeet, hoping that he would give him equally good advice.
After the terrorist threat to Fleet School became known, Graff realized that the only person with the connections and influence necessary for the attack would be Achilles de Flandres, a Battle School expulsee who was causing trouble on Earth. He sent a ship to the station to evacuate Urska Kaluza, Dabeet, and the other Fleet officers, but Dabeet hid and the ship left without him. Soon after, Graff communicated with Mazer Rackham and discussed the possible threat of another Formic fleet and how his son would fend off the terrorists.
When the attack had been prevented, Graff had another conversation with Mazer where he discussed descendants, and how nothing compared to having genetic offspring compared to a child that one mentored. Mazer told Graff not to extend his life with relativistic voyages, since he had experienced one and said it was like prison. He also said he felt more of a connection with Ender than his actual great-grandchildren, but Graff said that even Ender or Bean were not the same as his actual son Dabeet.
Several days later Graff arrived at Fleet School to see Dabeet, and used the new commandant Robota Smirnova's request to have advice on school administration as a cover. When Dabeet was called from class into the commandant's office, Robota left the room to give the two privacy. Graff gave Dabeet a choice to stay at Fleet School or return to Earth, where he would not be involved with the Fleet's inquiry into the event. Dabeet chose to remain in Fleet School. Graff then told Dabeet that his mother was an officer of the Fleet assigned to Dabeet, so there would be no reason to go and visit her. When Dabeet inquired further into his parentage, Graff told him not to bother and that he would never find out, though he said they were alive and distressed that their son could not know them. When Dabeet noticed a flash of pain on Graff's face when he disparaged his parents' absence, he asked if Graff was his father. Graff lied to Dabeet and said no, but if he were he would gladly take ownership of him. Graff stood up to signal that Dabeet was dismissed, and stayed at the school for a bit longer to train Robota.
Conflict on Earth
Graff used his role as MinCol to assist Peter Wiggin and Bean in their struggles against Achilles de Flandres. After the Free People of Earth had been established and the Wars on Earth ended, Graff along with Mazer Rackham convinced many former members of Ender's Jeesh and Battle School Students to become colony governors and leave Earth behind. For Virlomi's colony of Ganges, Graff bent the rules that ordinarily mandated only 1/5 of each colony to be one ethnicity. Shortly before the ship to Ganges left, Graff came to see off those who would stay awake for the voyage, impressing on them that they must follow the captain's orders. Randi Firth approached him and spat on his shoe, which piqued Graff's interest. He investigated her and found that she was implanted with Bean and Petra's missing child.
Graff began going in and out of Stasis for 10 months of each year to stay alive to see the Dispersal Project succeed. He sent an email to Ender, informing him about Bean's genetic illness and how he had left Earth on a relativistic voyage to stay alive to find a cure. He also informed him that he had married Petra and had 9 children but one embryo had been lost, and later found to have been implanted in Randi Firth. Graff proposed that Ender travel to Ganges after his time on Shakespeare to help with any problems caused by Randi's son.
In 41 AX, Graff communicated with Ender shortly before the IFcoltrans1 arrived at Shakespeare. He worked with the new Polemarch Bakossi Wuri to make a program that would give Ender control of the ship's files, and to write a letter affirming Ender's governorship of the planet over Admiral Quincy Morgan, and that Morgan would immediately leave after offloading the colonists and supplies, or be tried for mutiny. Shortly after, Ender sent an email to Graff explaining that the transition was going well, but that Shakespeare would be de facto independent from ColMin and the IF.
About 2 years later, Graff told Ender that Colony IX had refused the colony ship headed for their planet, and asked Ender if he could accept them on Shakespeare. He agreed and began to look for a place on the planet for them to settle. Soon after, Ender replied, stating that he would go to Ganges as per Graff's suggestion.
After years of going in and out of Stasis, in 58 AX Graff awoke to find that he was removed from his office as Minister of Colonization due to nonperformance of his duties. He retired to a spot of land he owned in Ireland. Afterward, he sent one last email to Ender, informing him of his large pension fund and reflecting on their relationship. He ended the letter by telling Ender that he viewed him as his son.
As Graff lived his days at his coastal house in Ireland, one day he asked the grocery deliverer O'Connor to stay for tea. They spoke briefly but O'Connor had to leave to go to other houses. He received a letter from Valentine Wiggin, telling the story of Shakespeare colony and Ganges. She informed him how they had resolved the situation with Bean and Petra's last son. As Valentine and Ender requested, when he had finished reading the letter he burned it.
The Last Shadow
Sometime after his retirement and seeing his death approaching, Graff utilized brain-state-recording equipment to record his brain as data in a dozen or so iterations. These computerized Graffs remained in the Ansible network, still exerting some control over shipping in the Hundred Worlds and sharing information with Jane.
In 3180 AX, due to the Hundred Worlds-wide shutdown of the Ansible network, the data of Graff's mind was transferred via Ansible to the Herodotus, the ship that carried Bean's children and grandchildren at relativistic speeds, in case the network shutdown affected him as well. He interrupted one of the grandchildren, Delft "Blue" Delphiki's birthday to speak with the Delphiki family, explaining who he was, and that he had been reading all the data that the Delphikis had been sending to research institutions who purported to be studying Anton's Key. Graff revealed that he had been slowing down the Herodotus to non-relativistic speed in order so that the Leguminids may help solve the problem of the Descolada on Lusitania. The Delphiki family were unsure, and decided to finish celebrating Blue's birthday before deciding.
The family met together in the mess hall to discuss the revelation. Cincinnatus Delphiki expressed his thoughts that the creators of the virus were most likely extinct by this point, and Graff appeared once more as a hologram. Sergeant told him that he had nothing to say to him and left the room. After much discussion about the finances of the Delphiki family and the Descolada problem, Thulium Delphiki proposed that the Leguminids simply go to Lusitania to converse with the scientists there about the issue. Suddently, Sprout realized that Graff came to the Herodotus to escape the Hundred Worlds-wide Ansible shutdown, to which Graff affirmed his hypothesis. Graff explained to the Delphikis that the Lusitanian scientists had found a possible origin point of the Descolada, a planet they called Descoladora.
At his request, Jane and Miro Ribeira instantaneously traveled at that moment into the mess hall. Jane walked to Ender Delphiki and expressed that he looked much like his parents, Bean and Petra Arkanian. Graff thought Jane was Valentine Wiggin, though much younger than she should be. She introduced Miro Ribeira to the group and explained how Andrew Wiggin had created her body and Peter Wiggin II while Outside, as well as the concept of an Aiúa and how the Recolada had neutralized the Descolada on Lusitania. The Leguminids doubted Jane's story and were baffled at how she and Miro appeared instantaneously on the ship. Jane then instantly transported the Delphikis to a plain of grass on Lusitania. Graff then instructed Carlotta and Cincinatus that they are to go to Nokonoshima and convince their ex-spouses to come join them on Lusitania.
Over 6 months later, Graff was still on the Herodotus when Sergeant and his twin children returned. Hearing Graff speak, Sergeant mentioned purging him from the ship's computer, but Graff said that he was the ship's computer. When Graff called him Sergeant, he rebuffed him and told Graff to call him Cincinnatus. Graff offered Sergeant advice on taming his children, and observed that he did not like his children. Sergeant said that he did not like children, but loved Thulium. Sergeant also admitted he needed advice on being a father, as Bean mostly talked about science when he was alive, and accepted Graff's help.
Graff was a profoundly talented liar, managing to convince Ender Wiggin and his Jeesh that they were merely playing a simulation when they were in fact fighting the Third Formic War. This extended to his relationship with his son, Dabeet, lying to him multiple times about who his mother was and denying that he was his father.
Initially Graff was shown to be an uncaring man who would do anything to bring out the true potential in his students, even telling Ender the lie that he was simply playing a simulation when he was actually fighting the Third Formic War. Later in life, Graff was shown to have become a much more caring person.
- Known email addresses:
- He ate when he was stressed, leading to his obesity.
- Graff was portrayed by Harrison Ford in Ender's Game (Film).
- "I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one. Or at least as close as we're going to get."
- — Ender's Game, Chapter 1
- "I am an old man who thought he could manipulate time and live to see all his plans come to fruition. In a way, I suppose I have. I have pulled many strings, and most of my puppets have finished their dance. I have outlived most of the people I knew, and all of my friends."
- — Ender in Exile, Chapter 21
- "'War criminal, bully, dictator, and psychoanalyst,' said Dabeet. 'You've only dipped a toe into the ocean of my résumé,' said Graff."
- — Children of the Fleet, page 28
- "Almost everyone is dead, except you."
- — The Last Shadow, Chapter 2