When the club shut down early on news that an accidental light plane crash into the worldʹs tallest building had actually been an unmanned military drone, Doug and David descended to Nasheedʹs condo on the forty‐eighth and forty‐ninth floor of the Swann. There, they stood at the living room window and watched as smoke billowed from a spot two‐thirds up the distant silver edifice. Circling helicopters spotlighted the structure, but even with Nasheedʹs tripod mounted refractor they couldnʹt see the pandemonium being reported around the base, due to intervening construction.
Returning to the sunken media pit at the roomʹs center, they sat on Nasheedʹs white leather sectional couch, and engaged a 72 inch flat screen TV lowered from a horizontal cabinet mounted in the ceiling. The English‐speaking Pakistani host, hairpiece barely intact, lamented his stationʹs attempts to obtain footage of the crash, reassuring viewers that no one else had it yet, either, and that as soon as anyone did, they would, of course, be first to air it. Skirting speculation as to the number of casualties, if any‐‐(much less why a U.S. military drone was airborne over Dubai, or even how its explosive payload could have detonated on impact)‐‐the host settled for describing traffic problems caused by the incident, intercut with live reaction from the street. He was rescued by a station chief, whose phone interview with the siteʹs head construction foreman covered the fire suppression system employed at the tower. Over a montage of design images shown in slow succession, which revealed the progress of construction and then the opening ceremonies and fireworks along the massive high‐rise, their disembodied voices bantered.
Host: ʺSo youʹd say thereʹs no chance of a collapse here, as with, say, other high rises?ʺ
Foreman: ʺNone. Zero. The fire will be contained within the hour, if it hasnʹt been already.ʺ
Host: ʺYou sound pretty sure of yourself. But so was the captain of the Titanic. How do you know what youʹre saying is true?ʺ
Foreman: ʺI know everything about that building. I also know the stylobate platform size and the stasis balance rendered from the pilotis to the horseshoe arch of every Islamic facade in Dubai. And I will tell you, I donʹt care if that plane was full of jet fuel and dynamite, it would be impossible for it to compromise the buildingʹs integrity.ʺ
Host: ʺSo whatʹs burning, over there?ʺ Foreman: ʺNothing. The fireʹs out.ʺ Host: ʺAnd the smoke we see?ʺ Foreman: ʺSmoldering TV Guides.ʺ
Host: ʺThank you for that. Now, since you obviously know so much, would you be so kind as to tell us what else you know about the building, for the benefit of those newly visiting our fair city?ʺ
Foreman: ʺLike what, you mean statistics?ʺ
Host: ʺSure. Whatever you feel is relevant. We donʹt want people to panic.ʺ Foreman: ʺWell, thereʹs no need for that. And itʹs unlikely anyone died at that level,
except maybe an unlucky janitor or two. Okay, then. The tower has an Armani hotel with a hundred‐seventy‐five rooms and a hundred‐forty‐four suites. Thereʹs also eight hundred luxury apartments, four pools, five restaurants, a spa and a ballroom. There’s an observation deck on floor one‐twenty‐four, with the top floor going up to one‐ seventy. Then thereʹs an observation deck in the top third, and a private club above that. Where the drone penetrated was a conference area with no current bookings, Iʹve just been told. All the materials used in construction are fire resistant, along with around seventy thousand tons of steel rebar.ʺ
Host: ʺSeventy. . .thousand. . .tons?ʺ
Foreman: ʺThatʹs right, just for the rebar. The core is concrete, unlike the World Trade Center. And weʹre talking about an unmanned drone, not a wide body jet with full fuel tanks. You would need a nuclear weapon to bring that building down.ʺ
Host: ʺWhat if thatʹs next? What if. . . this was just a trial run?ʺ
Foreman: ʺWhy are you asking me? Because I have no idea who did this, or why.ʺ Host: ʺSo you donʹt think itʹs an accident.ʺ
Foreman: ʺI thought you didnʹt want people to panic.ʺ
Host: ʺI donʹt. But I have to ask questions I believe people are thinking. Questions they want answers to.ʺ
Foreman: ʺI think itʹd be better to wait until the facts come in.ʺ Host: ʺExactly. Thank you, Mr. Abrams, for your insight.ʺ
The station cut to a commercial for Coca‐Cola.