Chapters 36–39 Summary and Analysis
Parzival realizes that the Sixers must have detonated the Cataclyst, a powerful bomb that can kill every avatar in a sector and level the entire terrain of a planet. Since it can only be used once, the Sixers waited until the right moment to deploy their most powerful weapon. As it is, the bomb killed every avatar and Sixer soldier on Chthonia, even leveling Anorak's Castle; the only thing standing on the planet is the Third Gate, hovering in mid-air. Surprisingly, Parzival's avatar lives: the quarter he'd won after playing a perfect game of Pac-Man on Archaide is a single-use artifact that grants its owner an extra life.
Shoto, Aech, and Art3mis are relieved that one of their own has another chance to find Halliday's egg. There is one problem, however. With no teleporting or levitating tools, Parzival can't reach the Third Gate. Eventually, he notices his Beta Capsule hovering nearby (artifacts are impervious to the Cataclyst). He tries to wield it, but nothing happens: the artifact will only allow him to transform into Ultraman once a day. Art3mis then informs Parzival that her magic sneakers have flight capabilities. Parzival searches the rubble and eventually finds them. Before he enters the Third Gate, Parzival promises to split the prize money with Aech, Shoto, and Art3mis. The three are incredulous at his generosity, but Parzival has a good reason for it: he only has one chance to find the egg, and he needs their support to increase his chances for success.
Parzival's first Third Gate challenge is to beat Halliday's score in the arcade game Tempest in one sitting. This makes Parzival nervous, as he hasn't played the game in years. However, Art3mis points out that the 1980 game is the first version of Tempest, one that contains a glitch. If a player dies after...
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