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In the book Ready Player One,

Wade purposely gets himself indentured to IOI in order to hack their database with backdoor exploits he bought

However there are two competing quotes about this in the book

I didn't test the IOI passwords until the second night of my indenturement. I was understandably anxious, because if it turned out I'd been sold bogus data, and none of the passwords worked, I would have sold myself into lifelong slavery.
Ready Player One - 0030

However, later in the same section:

Before my arrest, I'd set up a timed funds transfer that would deposit enough money in my IOI credit account to pay off my entire debt, forcing IOI to release me from indenturement.
Ready Player One - 0030

If he knew that the deposit was coming, why was he worried about lifetime indenturement if the passwords didn't work?

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    He was worried because he was gambling with his life! What if IOI refused to accept the funds? If he was caught as an insider threat then the auto funds wouldn't protect him in the slightest.
    – djm
    May 4, 2018 at 17:56
  • I assumed you meant to make the top quote-block a spoiler tag, so I added one in for you.
    – amflare
    May 4, 2018 at 18:21
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    @amflare - I looked at the relevant meta's about the spoiler tags, and quoted it accordingly. And if you spoiler the first one, might as well do the same for all of them.
    – JohnP
    May 4, 2018 at 18:26
  • @JohnP, my bad. Putting ones own words in a quote block is usual. I'll undo it.
    – amflare
    May 4, 2018 at 18:30
  • @amflare - Ah, I see. Yeah, I forgot to edit that out. I had it all spoilered, then since the book had been out 7 years, I went and looked at the meta, and they all seemed to indicate to not spoiler quote. I could be wrong.
    – JohnP
    May 4, 2018 at 18:58

2 Answers 2

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TLDR

  • Wade was just worried about Murphy's Law

Of course, Murphy's Law is whatever can go wrong, inevitably will go wrong. Wade was just concerned about the worst case scenarios. Possible Issues:

Money Transfer

  • power outage (funds do not go through)
  • human/computer error (fund do not go through)
  • Wade missed a zero in the transfer (not enough funds go through...)

Wade is discovered

  • Sorento sees him somewhere and recognizes him (he is screwed)

  • Cameras are found out (he is screwed)

Of course there are many more possibilities, but if the passwords don't work then the entire trip is for naught as well; hell the passwords could be an elaborate IOI trap! Still I understood that passage and concern from Wade to be a worst case deal...

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  • Do you have any evidence from the book, or is this speculation? '
    – JohnP
    May 4, 2018 at 16:43
  • There is nothing additional that is mentioned in the book that addresses the passage you are questioning, but it can be inferred from the issues we face today. If you have not finished the book I do not want to spoil anything, but I will say there is another part coming up where Wade realized he did not think his "release" through enough and his entire plan could have been undone... I mention this, because it is Murphy's Law in the book. The entire plan could have failed do to one oversight of a small thing. Murphy's Law and worst case scenarios are not just always possible, but pivotal events
    – Odin1806
    May 4, 2018 at 16:50
  • Hrm...I will have to consider it. I was mostly looking at the money/indent aspect, but these are valid points. (And I have read the book, it was on my 6 or 7th reread I caught those two passages for some reason).
    – JohnP
    May 4, 2018 at 20:06
  • 20/20 hindsight I think that section could have been worded better... which I think there are a couple other spots that could have been addressed; for example, the idea of avatars dying. Near the end when Arty says something like "good thing too since all my data was just erased" after dying... that makes no sense. Sure, her items were all lost, but why would her personal files be erased as well? That's just bad business... But I chalked that up to the characters having misspoken or brief ignorance... No one is perfect! Still, Murphy's Law always applies! And I meant the slippers before!
    – Odin1806
    May 6, 2018 at 14:16
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The passwords, and the access they granted, were his backup plan. They would allow him to get out if anything happened.

I pulled up my indenturement profile, accessed my debt statement, and zeroed out my outstanding balance—money I’d never actually borrowed to begin with. Then I selected the Indentured Servant Observation and Communications Tag control settings submenu, which operated both my eargear and security anklet. Finally, I did something I’d been dying to do for the past week—I disabled the locking mechanisms on both devices.
Ready Player One - 0031

The thing that happened was the discovery that he needed to get out 5 days early.

Before my arrest, I’d set up a timed funds transfer that would deposit enough money in my IOI credit account to pay off my entire debt, forcing IOI to release me from indenturement. But that transfer wouldn’t happen or another five days. By then, the Sixers would probably have Art3mis and Shoto locked in a windowless room somewhere. I couldn’t spend the rest of the week exploring the Sixer database, like I’d planned. I had to grab as much data as I could and make my escape now.
Ready Player One - 0030

(all emphasis mine)

But if for some reason the funds didn't go through on schedule, he would have been able to use the passwords to get himself out anyway.

I was understandably anxious, because if it turned out I’d been sold bogus data and none of the passwords worked, I would have sold myself into lifelong slavery.
Ready Player One - 0030

So his worry was that one of his layers of redundancy would not work, thus increasing the risk of the whole operation substantially. Perhaps a better word choice would have been "could", but it is what it is.

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    the passwords were actually integral to his plan. They were needed to gain access to the system to create his bogus admin accounts. without those admin accounts he could not accomplish the plan he had set out for himself while in the building...
    – Odin1806
    May 4, 2018 at 18:21
  • True, but they were not integral to leaving. Which is what OP is asking about.
    – amflare
    May 4, 2018 at 18:23
  • @amflare - Actually, no, Odin is correct. In the first passage he says that he has sold himself into a lifetime of indenturement if the passwords don't work. Why would he say that if he knew that he had funds coming anyway? (I can add in the quote about indenturement being effectively lifetime if you like).
    – JohnP
    May 4, 2018 at 18:24
  • I think the OP is actually asking why Wade was concerned he may be in lifelong servitude given the timed transfer. With the time transfer in place the passwords were not necessary to escape, i.e., dont be worried about escaping cause you will be released.
    – Odin1806
    May 4, 2018 at 18:24
  • Redundancy and poor QC on the author's part. Given that the former is in-universe applicable, thats what I chose to give as my answer, with a nod to the latter.
    – amflare
    May 4, 2018 at 18:32

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