For 15 years, S. K. Urgente, know to his friends as Sku, had a distinguished career as an inspector for a warehouse consultancy. His ability to identify hazardous working conditions, sloppy record keeping and poor space utilisation with little more than a glance at a warehouse floor made him a credit to his firm.
It carried over to Sku’s personal life: his home featured a just-in-time inventory management system for light bulbs and a just-in-case inventory management system for toilet paper. Not only were his winter gloves stored in bins by his front door, they were sorted by Days on Hand.
But his career took a turn one fateful April morning while inspecting the warehouse of a bicycle manufacturer alone. Sku bumped teetering pallets of bike parts from an upper shelf, which dislodged boxes of pet trailers, surfboard racks and high-beam lights; and it all came cascading down, trapping him between two racks that had been placed too close together.
Nobody heard Sku’s cries from underneath the boxes for days. He sustained himself on electrolyte drink powder, protein energy bars and trail mix. Luckily, bikes were in such high demand that warehouse workers inevitably came by and heard Sku frantically ringing bike bells.
Through an unexpected chemical reaction from the drink powder and energy bars, Sku emerged with superhuman strength and the ability to perform a physical count in milliseconds.
Having spent days surrounded by the latest advancements in gears, hydraulics and carbon fiber, Sku was able to develop advanced robotic technology and prosthetics that would allow him to single-handedly augment or replace the functions of warehouse machinery.
It was a wild success. Sometimes Sku would show up at a distressed warehouse behind in fulfilment and condense a month’s worth of pick-and-pack into an hour. He even built a special light-beaming device that warehouse managers could use to shine a QR code in the sky to summon him in emergencies . . . just in case and just in time as . . . Inspector SKU.