Charleston Sutterfeld does what people do: shows up to work, tends to assigned tasks, avoids conflict. Sure, he occasionally ponders whether a personal greatness might exist somewhere inside of him — as anyone, he presumes, might naturally wonder. But his life seldom offers occasion to descend to such introspective depths.
Until an innocent oversight brings Charleston face to face with an unexpected bit of information about a man known as Mr. Twytharp — the revered and reclusive founder of Thundercom Corporation, a company known as the universe's single largest manufacturer of all things material. From a towering eighty-six floor building, Thundercom revolutionized business. But as Charleston unwittingly discovers, the lauded humanitarian at the center of the company's success barely resembles — in appearance, at least — the human beings whose culture he has so advanced.
Rather than proving his undoing, this discovery brings about Charleston's inexplicable rise to the top of Thundercom's bizarre ranks. His success requires that he keep from asking one simple question. A question he has heretofore seldom asked. A question that is now proving irrepressible. A question that is deeply threatening to the most powerful man-like thing in the global economy: What does any of this mean?