Europe, June 1914.
For me, this is when it all began.
The threat of a general war was looming ever larger across Europe. Britain and Germany had been in a naval arms race for nigh on a decade and lots of bluff and bravado had been tossed about between the two nations in the press. In the last few years, two localised wars have broken out in the Balkans and political assassinations continue month in, month out, across the continent. The general mood is pretty tense and many openly say they would greet war with relief.
The aeroplane is a rarity. Before I stumbled across them at Greenwich with Doff, Marty and Anna, I’d never seen one. They are fragile things and largely handmade, but they’re growing stronger and stronger, and faster too, each year.
A dashing Frenchman (a bit too dashing in my opinion), Louis Bleriot, flew his little craft across the English Channel (and the Royal Navy too) in 1909 winning £1000 from the Daily Mail in the process and causing the British Government to hold a special session of Parliament to discuss the future potential threat. At that point, many started to take the aeroplane seriously.
In September, another assassination. Many think it will trigger the Third Balkan War. But instead, the world will change forever.