Our great Anglican Empire now spans nearly a hundred worlds and is envied through the Caeliverse. Citizens of her Majesty’s Commonwealth have never before enjoyed such wealth of lifestyle that her colonies have brought forth. It is an amazing point of fact that we owe this bounty to the brilliance of once of our fellow countrymen. In 1831, Sir Michael Faraday, a fine scientist already of great renown, had embarked on a very ambitious series of electromagnetic experiments when the results of his efforts suddenly, and literally, unlocked a new world for us. In an effort to expand the powers of electromagnetism, Sir Farady built an experimental version of what is now known as a Faraday Capacitor. He had initially been seeking to expand the power of mutual induction by substituting other elements in place of the iron ring in the electromagnetic coil, but fate what on his side. An element only recently discovered by an obscure German chemist names Dr. Helmut Eisen, which he named crystal liquidic plasma, had been derived from quartz crystals found in certain South American caves. These crystals unique crystals contain a volatile organic compound that, when melted with an oxy-hydrogen flame, transformed into a viscous liquid with very peculiar properties. Chief among which was it’s profound paramagnetism.
While many might see the amorphous fluid swirling and deforming in reaction to a magnetic catalyst as something or a parlor trick, Dr. Eisen, aware of Faraday’s experiments, saw that it’s unique potential could be much greater. It was because of this hyper-paramagneticism, that Dr. Eisen brought the material to Sir Faraday’s attention and in the now infamous experiment known as the “Cataclysm of the Fold”, Faraday had specially constructed a glass ring containing the plasma and fixed it in place of the iron ring. When the experiment commenced, there was a burst of light that threw everyone back as a great swirling rift was created in the center of the laboratory. This rift nearly destroyed the building, tearing open gaping holes in the roof and gouging out massive chunks of the floor. The suction created by the rift swallowed anything that was not firmly fixed, and while the majority of the men present had a firm footing and a good hold of something, Sir Faraday’s assistant, Wesley Archman, was pulled through. Frantically, they team tried to contact Archman through the fold, but were unable to before the experimental machine imploded of it’s own volition. Unfortunately, Wesley Archman was never heard from again.
This revelation immediately lead to more experimentation, however, and it was quickly determined that the “fold” created by the device established an opening into an alternate place. At first, the scientists thought it was a teleportation effect, allowing them to travel to other parts of the earth, but the soon realized, from fauna and flora samples taken from traveling through the “fold”, that these worlds were not Earth. Further observations revealed that similar constellation patterns could be observed from these worlds, some of which corresponding to Earth. It was thus determined that each of these new worlds existed within the same galaxy as the Earth, and from diligent mapping, thier positions relative to the earth could be calculated. While the Earth had already been largely colonized, it was by the grace of God that he should present the Commonwealth with such an opportunity.
These experiments were not without their problems however. The destructive power of the “fold” had proven that it was impracticable to open one up inside a building, or even on the ground, and furthermore, while the rift could be opened, the rift never seemed to open to the same place twice. Each of these issues were solved in turn. Sir Faraday discovered that if the frequency of the vibration of the plasma could be controlled, and synchronized with the magnetic resonance of each world, then specific courses could be plotted. The mathematical computations required to determine this, however, were enormous. The great Commonwealth inventor and mathematician, Charles Babbage stepped in, delivering the Babbage Mass Oscillator and the Difference Engine which, in tandem, are the cornerstone of Caeliverse navigation. The mass oscillator is a device that is placed within the plasma and has the ability to control it’s frequency, but that task is a complex one requiring massive amounts of mathematical calculations to achieve. The larger the rift, the more complicated the calculations. Enter the Difference Engine, the first “thinking” machine capable of calculating in minutes the trajectory formula for fold cutting that would take a team of mathematicians a lifetime.
With the ability to plot specific courses through the fold, our early Commonwealth Aeronaughts utilized simple balloons to deploy carriages in the air where the folds could be safely cut open and moved through. This of course lead to larger airships requiring larger drive engines, larger plasma arrays and more precise Difference Engines to plot their courses. Non rigid and semi-rigid airships predominated the fold travel at first until 1840 when the first rigid airship Luftschiff was successfully test flown by Hermann Krupp of the infamous steelworks family in their Essenworks factory. His elder brother, Alfred, felt that the family business should focus more on guns and cannonry, that the Anglicans and Republicans were already well invested in the airship trade, so Hermann broke away from his brother and established his own company, Krupp Luftschiffwerks.
While the Prussians were starting to assert their role in the industry, our Anglican engineers were pushing the very bounds of the technology. Sir Goldsworthy Gurney had earlier that year taken what he’d learned from his steam carriage endeavor and aided the government to invent the steam injector powered airship. This invention, soon to be combined with that of the rigid airship, formed the foundation of the great modern airfleets of the Caeliverse.
In the coming years, Airship design developed at a fast pace, but it was when the young but brilliant Ferdinand von Zeppelin joined the Krupp Luftschiffwerks in 1862 that airships entered their golden age. Zeppelin had been enraptured with the airship work perpetrated by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe during the Federation’s Civil War. Sent as an military observer by the German Confederation, he saw first hand the revolutionary ways in which Lowe was employing rigid airships in combat. Taking this knowledge back, Zeppelin was instrumental in moving the Krupp company’s factory from Earth to planet Essen and employing some of the most notable airship architects to plan and implement the most incredible airship production facility ever conceived. Over the next thirty years, Zeppelin (who would colloquially give his name to the many of the large airship designs themselves) produced crafts if increasing size and complexity. 1871 saw the flight of the first modern titanic Dreadnought class military airship, and in 1879, the Krupp Luftschiffwerks deployed the first dual rigid frame airship, which has since developed into a staple in most governments as a transport ship, air siege platform and even a recreational cruise vessel.
Currently, our Anglican empire reigns dominion over nearly three dozen worlds in the Caeliverse, with the largest airfleet and the most dedicated professional military defending the Commonwelth citizenry wherever they call home. God Save The Queen.