Wade checks that Shoto and Art3mis have left their homes for safe locations, and they both confirm that they have. Wade explains that he assumed a fake identity, purposefully got himself indentured, and hacked into the IOI database. Aech and Shoto express their admiration, but Art3mis remains skeptical, telling Wade it was a “stupid” risk to take. She is also angry that he looked in her file, telling him that he should be more respectful of other people’s privacy. However, after Wade reveals all the extra information on Halliday he downloaded from the IOI database, Art3mis softens and tells him she owes him.
Art3mis’ cold reaction to Wade’s news is perhaps unsurprising given that historically Wade has failed to respect her boundaries. Although she and Wade developed an extremely close friendship and romantic relationship, Art3mis doesn’t feel she can trust him. On the other hand, with so many enemies around, she may not have much of a choice.
Wade shares the good news that the Sixers still don’t know how to open the Third Gate. He explains this gate is more complicated than the first two, and shows the video of Sorrento trying and failing to open it. Three words are carved into the Third Gate: “Charity. Hope. Faith.” Sorrento tries reciting them in different languages, to no avail. Suddenly, Wade, Art3mis, Aech, and Shoto exclaim in unison that the words are taken from “Three Is a Magic Number,” the pilot episode of 1970s TV show Schoolhouse Rock. Wade thinks that three keys must be used in order to open the Third Gate. He suggests that Halliday wanted to force people to work together, although Art3mis proposes it is more likely that he wanted to ensure a dramatic, competitive finale.
Wade, Art3mis, Aech, and Shoto are no longer so concerned with whether or not they should form an alliance. Instead, an alliance has naturally developed between them due to the frightening power of their mutual enemy. Rather than focusing on their own individual chance of winning the egg, their main goal now is to stop IOI from accessing it. As a result, this brings them together and compels them to act as a team. Is this what Halliday wanted all along?
Wade explains that the shield the Sixers have installed will dissolve on its own in 36 hours’ time, noting: “I’ve taken care of it.” He adds that they will need a lot of backup, which is why he’s written an email to every gunter, which he plans to send later that night. The email warns that if the gunters don’t join forces, “the OASIS will fall under IOI’s imperialist rule.” Art3mis is uncertain that the gunters will show up, but Aech is confident that they will. Wade adds that most of the gunter clans have already given up on the Easter egg hunt, so they have “nothing to lose.”
Wade and his friends’ willingness to form an alliance against IOI should extend to the wider gunter community—or, at least, Wade hopes so. Aech’s confidence that the gunters will support them speaks to Aech’s own selflessness and generosity. Art3mis, on the other hand, is more of a loner and thus more skeptical about Wade’s plan working out.
The team agrees to go ahead with a plan, but Art3mis points out that, in reality, she is currently in Vancouver airport with nowhere to go. Shoto chimes in, saying that he’s at a public café in Osaka where he likely won’t be safe from the Sixers for long. Wade admits that he’s homeless, too. Suddenly a deep voice offers help—it is Og, Morrow’s avatar, who has suddenly materialized inside the Basement. He asks if any of them have been to Oregon, saying it is “lovely this time of year.”
Although they may be the most famous and respected gunters in the OASIS, in reality Art3mis, Shoto, Wade, and Aech are young people without money or homes who are being persecuted by an evil corporation. Indeed, at this point they need a real-life intervention from a hero—luckily, Morrow steps into this role just in time.