Chapters 17–20 Summary and Analysis
Wade enjoys a lengthy, flirtatious chat session with Art3mis. He confesses his attraction to her, but Art3mis is skeptical about the prospect of a romantic relationship with him. During their conversation, we learn that Wade is 18 and Art3mis is 19. Both are orphans but remain philosophical about the hand fate has dealt them. The chat session ends with Wade promising to email Art3mis, despite her protestations. In due time, Wade's persistence leads to the couple becoming regular email confidants. They begin to enjoy daily private chat sessions and participate in shared quests to other planets.
Meanwhile, Wade becomes a formidable 99th Level warrior. This is the highest avatar level in the OASIS. His achievement makes him feel invincible, but the Quatrain's meaning still eludes him. Wade's infatuation with Art3mis distracts him from his obsession with Halliday's egg and leads to a developing gulf between him and Aech. Buoyed by his intense feelings, Wade throws caution to the wind, ditches his low profile, and begins frequenting popular OASIS nightspots with Art3mis. More than ever, he is determined to remain a free spirit in the virtual world and to continue his wooing of Art3mis.
On a Friday night, Wade is doing some research when he receives an email invite to Ogden Morrow's 73rd birthday party. The festivities will be held at the Distracted Globe nightclub, Morrow's zero-gravity dance club on planet Neonoir. Wade is not surprised when Art3mis confirms her intention to attend, but he acknowledges that Aech, Shoto, and Daito will likely stay away. That night, Wade dresses carefully and arms himself with formidable weaponry; he can afford to take few chances, as Neonoir is a PvP zone.
Wade lands on Neonoir in his Back to the Future DeLorean, equipped with a Knight Rider-inspired AI named KITT, an oscillation overthruster, and license plates that read ECTO-88. On Neonoir, Wade casts a Shrink spell over his car and puts it into his pocket. Not long after...
(The entire section is 1166 words.)