Chapters 13–16 Summary and Analysis
After Aech clears the First Gate, I-r0k tries to blackmail Wade and Aech into revealing the Copper Key's location. When the heroes refuse, I-r0k leverages his tenuous connection to them to fuel speculation about the key's location on Ludus. Before long, two other gunters clear the First Gate. On the Scoreboard, the names "Daito" and "Shoto" appear in fourth and fifth place, respectively, after Parzival, Art3mis, and Aech. Meanwhile, with enough credits to graduate high school in two months, Wade turns his attention to the Jade Key riddle, which he dubs the Quatrain.
As he puzzles over it, Wade is inundated with fan mail and propositioned by the largest gunter clans. He also receives book and movie offers, which he turns down. Not surprisingly, Wade is approached by companies who want him to promote everything from OASIS immersion hardware to Parzival action figures. Sensing an opportunity to leave the "stacks," Wade signs lucrative non-disclosure contracts with the companies. These agreements protect his identity and his right to receive a reliable income for his endorsement work. With frugal living, Wade calculates that he should soon be able to afford his own apartment. The chapter ends with Wade accepting a chat-link invitation from Nolan Sorrento, the head of IOI operations. In its eagerness to recruit the teenager, IOI inundated Wade with 5,000 copies of Sorrento's proposal email in the space of a week.
During the chat-link session, Sorrento takes Wade on an orbital tour of planet IOI-1, IOI's main base of operations. The virtual tour showcases planet IOI's robust, state-of-the-art defense system. As they touch down, Wade notices that the IOI Operations Complex consists of a middle, circular skyscraper flanked by two rectangular skyscrapers. Sorrento's shuttle lands on the O-shaped tower's roof, and he takes Wade to the Oology Division on the 106th floor. There, he offers Wade a job as chief oologist for a sign-up bonus of $1,000,000, pay of $2,000,000 a year, and a bonus of $25,000,000 upon discovery of the egg. Wade agrees, on three conditions: he wants Sorrento's position, $50,000,000 upon finding the egg, and IOI employees to address him as El Numero Uno.
(The entire section is 1091 words.)