Bruce Banner has just returned from his lab, where his latest experiment came out really well. He should go straight to bed, because it's six in the morning, but he can't seem to become the right kind of tired, probably also because it's six in the morning. So instead he's watching the sun rise out the window of his cozy (tiny) grad-dorm single room.
"Apparently what happens is I get an ERO point and a new skill, because you are a genius and make excellent suggestions!" Then Bruce turns back to the woman whose name he probably already found out and then forgot.
His first instinct is to disbelieve the claim that her dad is a witch, then he realizes how utterly fucking hypocritical that would be, not to mention how much of a potential missed opportunity. Why should the aliens or whatever restrict themselves to messing with only one person? Possibly it would be messing with their experiment or whatever this is if he went around seeking out other potential weirdness sources, but this one, if it's legit, got dropped like a plot hook. "That's really cool. Can I get his contact information? I want to ask him about magic at some point."
"Sure!" she says, writing his contact information on a piece of paper. "He's really good at balancing chakras. I had a cold a while ago and then he balanced my chakras and in just a few days it went away."
Okay, not a plot hook then. Probably for the best; it'd be pretty weird to have an orgy with a woman and then try to talk magical shop with her dad. He sighs and sticks the contact info in his Unimportant Objects Pocket (back left) rather than his Important Objects Pocket (front left) or his Garbage Pocket (back right).
"So, Aarons, where are we hosting this thing? I need a location for the form and, uh, you've seen my dorm room, if we want to have an orgy in there we need to get on inventing a shrink ray." If this joke results in the appearance of a shrink ray he's gonna . . . hmm, he doesn't actually know what he's gonna. Host a miniature orgy, he supposes. It probably won't anyway, that feels too blatant for 16 ERO.
"I was telling them to go to my dorm room but... possibly... we should get a hotel."
"Yeah, you probably don't want your dorm room full of randos even if they'll all fit. I can book us a hotel room." A large hotel room in Cambridge is going to cost a nontrivial fraction of all the money he has, but he can pick up tutoring hours or something if he's going to run out. (This reminds him to hurriedly mark himself incompatible with all his recitation students on Orgynization.)
"No. You should call the hotel and ask them if you can get one for free."
"On what grounds, free advertising? I guess I can try asking the game for a free hotel room, sure." Too bad that's going to involve making a phone call to a human being who didn't ask to be in the middle of this nonsense. But hay, maybe he'll get someone who wants to come to the orgy.
He dials the hotel in Kendall Square, chickens out in the middle of "por Espanol oprima dos" and almost hangs up, looks at Aarons looking at him and manages not to.
"Hello!" says the receptionist. "Would you like to book a hotel room?"
"Yes. And. I'm hosting a large group event, do you have discounts for those?"
The receptionist types on her laptop. "No, we don't... there's a scholarship for the promotion of sex positivity that would get you a free penthouse suite but no one has collected it."
Okay, he might have just wussed out enough to trigger easy mode on this particular activity. "Oh, my thing is actually a sex-positivity event. In the form of. Uh. It's actually an orgy. Doesthatqualifyforthescholarship?"
That was the most embarrassing scholarship application he has ever done. He hadn't thought anything would top the one where he had to explain his passion for medical research without sounding like a transhumanist weirdo, but here he is.
"Well, it has to be a sex-positive orgy," the receptionist says. "Body-positive, queer-inclusive, and consent-oriented."
"All bodies, genders, and sexualities are welcome, and I'll be modeling and monitoring for good consent practices." Stealing language from student group pamphlets: way less embarrassing than assembling his own sentences. And that last was a welcome reminder, actually; it's his orgy and that means he needs to be responsible for keeping order and throwing out anyone acting like a scumbag. Which sounds like an extremely uncomfortable job, so hopefully the Erogame won't direct the invite to a bunch of scumbags.
"Excellent!" she says. "When would you like your penthouse?"
This would have been such a stupidly spontaneous not-even-a-plan if not for the Outside Context Help. (The reference is, he reflects, weirdly appropriate; this is totally the sort of thing the Culture would do.)
The receptionist schedules the appointment!
"...I wonder what happens if you try to blackmail the Erogame."
"So on the one hand every idea you've had so far has been brilliant and I should listen to you, but on the other hand I would really rather not have an adversarial relationship with the entities that may or may not have total control of our reality?" He says this very fast and at an uncharacteristically high pitch.
"...that's fair. Maybe we should keep it in our back pockets in case something really important happens."
"Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense." It's not that he's not down to rage against the heavens, if that ever turns out to be the thing that needs doing, but so far things have been pretty chill for how insane they've been and he'd like to keep it that way.
". . . Now I'm curious what blackmail material you're thinking of."
"Well, if I were trying to blackmail the Erogame, I would buy a plane ticket to Iceland, block your emails and your phone number, and never speak to you again. But you have better options, you can just commit to-- no, you don't want to commit to celibacy, people kink on that-- you want to commit to masturbating once a day to softcore porn with extremely vanilla fantasies. --Although there's an obvious failure mode."
"I can think of a couple different failure modes if I tried that, none of them pleasant." Let's not think about the possibility of Aarons getting fed up with his weird game stuff and never speaking to him again, for blackmail or otherwise, that sounds awful.
"What were you thinking of? I was thinking of you getting raped or, I don't know, forcibly turned into a girl or something."
"Getting raped a bunch, yeah. Or the game just says 'okay, fine, you lose' and I don't get to cure death and scarcity and stuff. Or they rewind the simulation that is our universe and rerun it over and over with different tweaks until I do what they want."
"...Probably you don't have to worry about getting raped unless you get off on it."