The GoldenEye was an orbital EMP weapon, which was developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The GoldenEye was the key instrument in Alec Trevelyan's vengeful plot to decimate Britain's financial economy.
GoldenEye's main method of attack was a powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) fired via special satellites which orbited around Earth. Once activated, the satellites would set off a nuclear blast within the planet's atmosphere, creating an electromagnetic shock-wave that hit the ground below. In reaction to the EMP, all electronic items within a twenty-mile radius would either short circuit or overload to the point of exploding, thus eliminating all forms of electronic communication or retaliation.
The phenomena of the EMP was originally discovered after the American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Soon after, the Soviets found a way to weaponize the concept and secretly proceeded with funding for the GoldenEye program. Intended only for the direst of circumstances, the GoldenEye was the crown jewel of the USSR's military arsenal, giving them a massive advantage over their enemies if any major conflict were to ever arise.
A collection of items made up the GoldenEye, each playing an intricate part in the use of the weapon. Two identical orbiting satellites code-named "Petya" and "Mischa" were the central components of the weapon system, each capable of delivering an overwhelming electromagnetic shock. In order to activate the the satellites, three keys were needed; two conventional golden keys were used to start the system's targeting network. The third key, a large rectangular cartridge that housed an optical disc and golden gem, was used to read the system's complex access and firing codes. Setting off the weapon also proved to be a rather complex process, as these several items needed to be sequentially set in place for them to work together as a single super-weapon.
In order to obtain the three keys, an authorization code was needed to unlock the eye shaped vault where they rested. After the cartridge key was loaded into the console, the golden keys needed to be turned with precise synchronization to activate the targeting system. With the target coordinates set, the weapon needed to be manually armed by entering the firing codes. After unlocking yet another compartment, the system would be ready to fire once the trigger switch was turned.
The GoldenEye was kept locked away by the Russian Defense ministry at an unassuming satellite intelligence installation, located in Severnaya, Siberia. Deep beneath the control center however, was the GoldenEye's heavily guarded terminal room. Despite being home to the world's most high-tech cyber weapon, the facility itself was rather crude and obsolete. Due to the secretive nature of the weapons program, the staff at the Severnaya station was minimal; among these employees were Boris Grishenko and Natalya Simonova. The facility and most of it's staff ultimately met it's end when General Ourumov and Xenia Onatopp infiltrated the base and stole the golden keys, leaving the complex to suffer the GoldenEye's devastating attack.
A second station was secretly located within the heart of the Cuban Jungle, it's existence remaining hidden even from the entire body of the Russian Defense Council. The location of the duplicate facility was unbeknownst to even the Severnaya staff; the only individuals who knew of it's whereabouts were General Ourumov and his Janus associates. The Cuban Station was far more elaborate than Severnaya's, possessing a massive antenna dish that utterly dwarfed that of it's Siberian counterpart. Inside the facility, was a state-of-the-art terminal room which contained only the utmost advanced technological hardware available. Adorning the wall of the control room was an enormous video screen that displayed a coordinate world map, as well as other specs of the GoldenEye's designated target.
In order to avoid detection from spy satellites or the naked eye, the antenna dish was capable of being flooded, effectively disguising itself as a mere lake. Trevelyan also managed to keep the compound heavily guarded with a veritable army of his Janus operatives, constantly having them around the perimeter, concentrated within the terminal room, and even having two helicopter gunships patrol the sky above. Along with Trevelyan's forces, the base itself also had it's own built in defense systems, including hidden missile turrets that were capable of swatting down enemy aircraft. The Cuban facility wound up being destroyed as well, this time by Bond himself as he was able to destroy both the central control terminal and sabotage the radar antenna.
Alec Trevelyan's Scheme
Nightfire features a multiplayer scenario titled "GoldenEye Strike" which involves two teams scrambling to find both the GoldenEye key and disc, in order to fire the EMP on the opposing team and score points.
- The ring which appears on variations of the film's logo is meant to symbolize the center of the antenna cradle at the Cuba facility.
- The CD-ROM key was jokingly referred to as "The Fried Egg" by Director, Martin Campbell and the rest of the film's crew.