Aech is Wade’s best and only friend. Like Wade, Aech is a high school student on Ludus and well-versed in all things ‘80s and Halliday. Throughout most of the novel, the reader sees Aech as a white male. It is later revealed that Aech is actually a young Black lesbian named Helen Harris. Aech is a famous video gamer, but unlike Wade, she isn’t poor. She uses her skills to earn a lot of money winning video game tournaments. Aech is a great friend to Wade. She is always supportive and generous, but she knows better than to offer Wade help in ways that would embarrass him. Aech is loyal and consistent. Although her friendship with Wade is strained as he spends more time with Art3mis, Aech always waits in the wings. Her friendship with Wade is healed when she repays Wade’s earlier kindness by offering him a clue to help him progress in the contest. Aech is motivated by a desire to protect herself from discrimination and prejudice. Wade learns at the end of the novel that Aech has also suffered in her life. Her mother disowns her when she finds out that Aech is a lesbian. By the end of the novel, Aech overcomes her fears of rejection and opens herself up to Wade by sharing her true identity.