Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 430
Wesley Mouch, the new head of the Bureau of Economic Planning and National Resources, promotes several new laws that are ostensibly designed to equalize interstate trade. The maximum speed and length of trains are to be limited. The number of trains run in Colorado must not exceed the number run in any other state. The output of Rearden Metal by Reardon’s plant must not be greater than the output of other plants and must be shared equally with all. Colorado would be closed to the influx of relocating companies. Rearden discovers that Paul Larkin had not shipped the ore to Rearden’s plants but had instead sent it to Orren Boyle, as per an agreement Boyle had made with James Taggart. Left with no other option if he intends to stay in business, Rearden begins to acquire ore through illegal channels.
Dagny begins a furious search for the inventor of the static-electricity motor. She learns that the Twentieth Century Motor Company had been sold to two different people and had been tied up in court for years. She tracks down Lee Hunsaker, who bought the company from the heirs of Jed Sternes. Hunsaker tells her of Midas Mulligan, who refused to grant him a loan, so Hunsaker sued him, demanding that he not be discriminated against because of need. Hunsaker won his suit in an appeal, but Mulligan (and all his millions of dollars) disappeared.
Dadny finds the family of Jed Sternes and learns that the company went into bankruptcy because workers were paid according to their need, not according to their production. Next she learns that the chief engineer was William Hastings, who died five years previously; Dagny contacts Hastings’s widow and learns the address of someone who might know the whereabouts of the inventor of the motor. She discovers him working as a cook in a diner in Wyoming. He is Hugh Akston, the famous philosopher who taught Francisco d’Anconia, Ragnar Danneskjold, and one other person whom he says is not important. He gives Dagny a cigarette that is stamped with a dollar sign.
Dagny calls Eddie Willers in New York and learns that a special tax has been levied on the state of Colorado, effectively killing all industry in the state. She fears for Ellis Wyatt’s welfare and tries to contact him. As she approaches his oil fields, she sees a wall of flames. Wyatt has set fire to his entire operation and disappeared, leaving a sign stating that he has left it as he found it, available to anyone who wants it.
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