January, 2147 [eight years prior]
From low orbit, the Indian built Garuda V rocket didn’t come into view until it cleared the last level of clouds over the Australian interior, and even then, it was only a small spec on the visualizer. Another twenty miles up, and the main body of the vessel would break away from the payload and begin its descent burn back down to the landing pad to refill its fuel reserves and begin the process all over again. This one rocket had already done fifteen runs to low orbit this week, and there was an evenly spaced trail of pin lights representing packages trailing toward their final destination. When they came close and automatically positioned themselves within the larger grid spreading around the globe, the packages would slowly unfurl their light sails and position their arrays of data transmitters and receivers. Finally, they would blink on and connect to their neighboring satellites as well as the nearest of the six major Net hubs already in position. There they would stay, constantly micro-adjusting their positions relative to the others for the foreseeable future.
China had thrown the full weight of their state of the art manufacturing might behind the construction of Hemingway’s satellites, and the tolerance level of each part was within a thousandth of a nanometer, the materials were so anti friction, that there was no need for periodical checks for the corrosive effects of the dust clouds orbiting at nearly the same altitude as the Network. In short, the satellites that Hemingway had designed, China had built and India had positioned, were so ahead of the rest of the globe’s technology that even if something did go wrong, the automation of the rest of the satellites would correct for it.
Six months into the deployment of Hemingway’s Network, the last of the satellites were finally making their way into position. It had been at a breakneck pace from the beginning, but with the renewed fervor that world leaders had for a grand collaboration, the Net had been the platform that they could sink their teeth into, so funding and labor flowed in as fast as was required.
The last of the twelve thousand secondary satellites tapped their positioning jets and settled into position, unfolding and then silently blinking on their running lights. Connected and secure, the Net came online. Millions down on the surface had waited for this moment, ultimate connectivity to the rest of humanity. All was silent, but information began bouncing around in blips and starts, faster and faster until every satellite, node and hub were interconnected and wove a web of light around the Earth, even if not visible to the naked eye, it was beautiful to perceive.