In the early 1800s, a mad scientist performed the most daring act of guerilla engineering ever recorded- in one night, he and his assistants constructed a giant, mysterious wheeled mechanism in the center of the newly-founded Trafalgar Square. This wheel, when set spinning properly, creates a connection to a hitherto uncharted world, allowing interplanetary colonies for the first time. It is, however, finicky; the connection can be down for months or even years at a time while the scientist calibrates his machine.

Both on Earth and the exoplanet, steam power, simple machines, and buoyant aircraft outperform the limits of our reality; mad scientists think “peer review” is something nobles do at parties; and Babbage engines have brought computational power to life a century and a half early.

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