Study Guide

Atlas Shrugged Volume 3, Chapter 9

By Ayn Rand

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Volume 3, Chapter 9

The Generator

  • Stadler has lost it. After Galt's declaration he hops in his car and is now frantically driving to Project X headquarters in Iowa.
  • We learn that, hilariously, Mr. Thompson threatened to take Stadler hostage in order to pressure Galt, since Stadler was the only person he asked to see. Galt must secretly love him still.
  • Stadler is having a breakdown and decides that he'll take over things at Project X with some vague notion of "showing" Galt who's right – so there.
  • Project X HQ is called Harmony City, ironically enough.
  • Something shifty is going on when Stadler arrives. There are armed men wandering around and the place looks kind of trashed.
  • Stadler (Captain Oblivious) demands to speak to whomever's in charge.
  • It's our favorite wannabe gangster, Cuffy Meigs. Cuffy has put a militia together and they have taken over Project X and plan to use the weapon against their various enemies.
  • Stadler yells that he's crazy and doesn't even know how to properly work the machine.
  • Cuffy Meigs says I'll show you! Famous last words.
  • Cuffy, as it turns out, did not know how to operate the machine.
  • He sets it off and blows up the entire Project X facility and everything else within a hundred-mile radius. The blast collapses the Taggart Bridge across the Mississippi. Everyone in the blast radius is now dead.
  • Scene cut.
  • Dagny is thrilled at how hardcore her boyfriend is. She follows the looters back to their conference/panic room. But then she learns that they are planning to torture Galt with something called the Ferris Persuader. Ferris is very gung-ho about the torture. They're taking Galt to the State Science Institute for the torture session.
  • Dagny panics but pulls herself together and hightails it out of there.
  • She runs to a phone booth and calls Francisco on the number he had given her in his note.
  • She gives him the lowdown and he tells her to pack a bag and he'll come pick her up in forty minutes at the Taggart Terminal.
  • Dagny goes back to her office to get some things and learns that the Taggart Bridge has been destroyed.
  • She freaks for a moment but then forces herself to let it go. She walks out.
  • In the terminal she grabs some lipstick and draws a dollar sign on Nat Taggart's statue.
  • Then she walks up to Francisco and says the oath to be admitted into Atlantis.
  • Francisco smiles and they walk out together.
  • Scene cut.
  • We're in a basement room at the State Science Institute, where Project F is located.
  • Project F is a generator device that creates an electric current.
  • James Taggart, Dr. Ferris, and Wesley Mouch are the only ones there with John Galt.
  • Galt is hooked up naked to the machine and Ferris starts administering progressively worse electric shocks, ordering Galt to cooperate.
  • Galt says nothing.
  • Mouch is squeamish and breaks first, asking Ferris to stop.
  • James is taking sadistic glee in the whole thing and Ferris keeps going.
  • But then the generator shuts down. The building is having power problems.
  • A maintenance worker comes in and says he doesn't know how to fix it.
  • Galt pipes up and tells him which wires to mess with to get the generator running again.
  • Maintenance guy freaks out and runs away.
  • James is yelling that they can't stop and then he stops and realizes what sort of monster he's become.
  • He crumples and seems to go catatonic.
  • Mouch and Ferris panic and haul James out of the room. Ferris tells Galt that they'll be back.

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