Directors' Choice Award Winner
by Nick Stanton
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What is an aspiring inventor to do when all of the world’s greatest creations have already been invented? This is the struggle facing Steven Barrows, an aging engineer working for Paul Binning’s Honest Inclined Planes, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of inclined planes. Despite being largely successful in his career, Steven has yet to truly make an impression on the world, a fact that constantly haunts him. However, on one particularly depressing day, inspiration strikes, and Steven invents the Worker’s Helpful for Engaging Easy Locomotion. The W.H.E.E.L., as he calls it, will have the power to change the world.
Unfortunately for Steven, a man named Robert J. Rudnick, owner and CEO of Inclined Planes Inc., stands in his way. Rudnick’s long-held ambition of cornering the global market on inclined planes is finally within his grasp. Only Honest Inclined Planes has remained a holdout against Rudnick’s dominance. When Rudnick hears of an exciting new invention coming out of Honest Inclined Planes’ R+D division, Rudnick—never above a little thievery—instructs his minions to steal the only prototype. With Rudnick’s team of brilliant scientists, reverse-engineering the new technology should be a snap, and Inclined Planes Inc. will be able to mass-produce the new invention and gain market share much faster than the competition ever could. Steven works a plan to get the wheel back, but defeating evil geniuses has never been easy.
What is legacy, in the end? Is simply creating something enough, or is recognition of the accomplishment an integral requirement? Regardless of the answer, one thing is certain—a little piece of stone is about to change the world.
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