If you clicked on the 3-D button, the scene would swivel to the side showing an enormous ramp running west to east and terminating in a precarious drop of nearly one mile. Around this ramp were the numbers 12, 3, 6, and 9 located at the cardinal compass points. The satellite images were updated hourly, and being on the equator, this complex made a perfect sun dial, leading millions of people to use the images as backgrounds for their comm devices and notebooks. It became a sensation as a giant sidereal clock.
Conspiracy theories abounded. The net was abuzz with speculation and wild rumors. What could this thing be? Why would the Company go to such great expense to build this massive complex in such a remote location and move all of its global operations there? And given that this project was the centerpiece of the flamboyant and incomprehensibly rich golden child Elton Mons, the underlying purpose could have been anything. Indeed, some of the wild rumors and speculations seemed to fit all of the known facts. The most favored theory at the moment was that Mons was attempting to take control of global weather for profit. With Mons' background, it was certainly probable.
Elton Mons was a 40-something inventive genius. At 20, he had devised a secure commerce system for the net called ObzOBM that had cornered the market and made him fabulously wealthy. His next project was to create a high-speed train system that connected all of the major islands of the South Pacific with the mainland in a never-ending loop. It used next generation mag-lev technology and never broke down or ran late. It virtually killed air traffic in the region, since you could go from Jakarta to Bangkok in half the time and a fraction of the hassle of flying.
By the time anyone noticed this most recent project, it was nearly half complete. People watching it develop noted that the numbers were actually buildings, and that a maze of roads ran between all the structures and the giant ramp. The whole complex comprised a square that was three miles on a side. The part that really got everyone's attantion, though, were the massive doors leading into a blister of earth at the western-most end of the ramp.
One afternoon in mid-July, the net caught fire. A giant black triangular object had appeared at the base of the ramp. Mons' satellite imaging site received over a billion hits within hours of the object's appearance. Speculation was rampant. Theories abounded.
Over the next year, the object would move up and down the ramp at various times of the day - and night. Certain websites were making a fortune with photo enhancements and outrageous pronouncements about the object. The neterati concensus was that the object was an Aurora-class craft designed for hypersonic flight around the world, taking people from London to Beijing in under an hour.
The nay-sayers pointed to the fact that the object had yet to leave the ramp in all that time, and certain physicists had analyzed the size, shape and dynamics of the object and concluded that it could not fly at all.
Still, radio talk shows devoted hundreds of hours to deconstructing the Object, the Project and Elton Mons himself. They tore apart the Company's financial statements looking for clues, but the most suspicious thing they could find was that the Project was attached to three private entities for which no public information was available, except that they were registered in Brunei and operating under a special relationship with the Indonesian government.
One day, without warning of any kind, a website appeared for the Project. It had a photo of the Ramp taken from the extreme eastern end looking back towards the Object in the far distance. Under the photo was an announcement:
Elton Mons, founder and chairman of Hyper Dynamics, Inc., will hold a special press conference on March 2nd, at 2 p.m., at the media center located at the south entrance of the Borneo complex. Attendance is by invitation only, but the event will be netcast live on this website. The topics will include the public unveiling of the Company's latest project.
Hits on the website passed one billion in two hours. The talkies, as the radio programs were known, scheduled every available 'expert', regardless of how shady their qualifications were. Bloggers went berserk with prognostications and predictions. Groups of neo-hippies camped out around the Project perimeters to chant and channel Gorlon, the supposed alien leader from e-Microscopium prime who had been consulting on the Project with Mons. Everywhere, people planned 'Announcement' parties and bought subscriptions to various cablecasts that promised the cream of the crop in commentary.
Inside Building 6, Mons sank into his bio-chair and selected George Harrison's last album for his relaxation session. On the wall, the screens were tracking hit counts and various net traffic across the planet. He smiled as his eyes closed half-way.
A portion of the wall behind the chair vanished and a beautiful Indonesian woman entered carrying a terminal. She was five and a half feet tall, with long straight blue-black hair and impenetrable black eyes.
Her oval face was emotionless as she glided smoothly up to the chair.
"Nila," Mons said without looking at her, "move Biji back inside the hangar at midnight and prepare for full operational mode. We're gonna skip shakedown and go straight to plan alpha."
"Sir?" a shadow of surprise ran across Nila's face.
"Run Biji just before I go out in front of the press. Then on my cue, send the Package right behind it. I've got 'em eating out of my hand now. I want to keep the fever pitch going. Go ahead and make your preparations," Mons ordered, as a half smile eased across his lips.
"Yes, sir," Nila responded. "Should I alert the rest of the team?"
"Absolutely! But remind them, no communications with anyone until after the conference. There'll be plenty of time for goodbyes before we go."
"Yes, sir," Nila said, as she bowed ever so slightly. She slid back through the hole in the wall, which then vanished again, replaced by a bookshelf.
Mons pushed deeper into the chair and let the other half of the smile loose just as Harrison's "When We Was Fab" came up.
"Look out world," he thought, "here it comes."