The Secret is thoroughly compromised on Padway-3, and there is little consolation to Infinity that this is due to no fault of theirs. The blame rests with Jerry Moore, an involuntary crosstime filibusterer who appeared on this world over sixty years ago and wasted no time in fomenting a revolution among oppressed American colonists. By the time he died of old age in 1800, he had recreated a USA that promises to challenge the Ottoman and Chinese empires for supremacy of the globe; and as Moore had shown no interest in hiding his origins, the entire timeline now knows that crosstime travel is at least possible. Homeline is still trying to determine how to proceed.
War looms as revolutionaries led by the heirs to a crosstime adventurer challenge magical empires, while Homeline tries to decide what to do about it.
1700 AD: The sudden resurgence of magic results in the conquest by the world by the Chinese, Ottoman, and Spanish empires.
Western (diffuse), Islamic (empire), Chinese (Empire)
American Alliance (alliance, CR3), Chinese Empire (Dictatorship, CR6), Ottoman Empire (Dictatorship, CR5)
Mana Level: normal
Centrum Zone: Inaccessible
Infinity Level: Z1
The abrupt rise in mana levels on Padway-3 in the spring of 1700 was at first only noticed by a few of the more obscure philosophers and academics... who then promptly used their newfound esoteric knowledge and power to seize control of the countries in which they lived. The next twenty years saw the creation of three vast empires: the Spanish took control of all of Europe to the Russian border; the Chinese conquered East Asia, Siberia, and Japan; and the Ottomans acquired what was in between. European refugees preceded Spanish armies to first England, and then her American colonies. By 1760 only the southern half of Africa was not under the control of one or another magical empire, and it was widely expected that this would be rectified within the next twenty years. It was at this point that Jerry Moore, a chemical engineer, amateur gunsmith, fencing enthusiast, and retired captain in the US Army, drove the truck in which he was carrying his worldly possessions (including a portable mechanic's shop) off of the road in his native timeline and into the wall of Benjamin Franklin, who was just then deciding that it was long past time that the New Spanish Empire's occupation of the North American colonies ended.
Wild coincidences of this sort are why there is a 'Padway' designation: most involuntary crosstime travelers get themselves killed or neutralized very quickly. The ones that survive usually keep their heads down and stay out of trouble. Moore, on the other hand (and after the usual run of implausible adventures), soon found himself at the head of first a conspiracy, then an insurrection, then a revolution, that had by 1770 swept away the Spanish occupiers of the North American colonies. The liberation of England took another ten years; the final smashing of the New Spanish Empire itself in 1795 was the work of his children. Moore was never President of the United States of America that he founded, but by the time of his death in 1800 he was clearly its Founding Father. His American Alliance was likewise his creation, linking the USA to Iceland, the New Holland Confederation in southern Africa, New Germany (Homeline's New Zealand) and Japan - all of which were liberated, saved, or created by Moore's personal intervention.
Unfortunately, the run of implausible luck that the revolutionaries enjoyed up to that point died with Moore. While the new country is not in serious danger of collapsing, a host of problems that had somehow been ignorable or easily solved previously were now suddenly important. The French refugee population of the USA (which includes England and most of the Caribbean) has been pushing for the liberation of Old France, which has come under the control (like the rest of mainland Europe) of the Ottomans. War between the USA and China (which did not appreciate losing most of Japan as a direct result of Moore's accidental visit there in 1785) looms, and the naval battles between the USA and the Ottomans in the Atlantic are already of epic proportions. And, of course, the successor states in South America to the Empire of New Spain are proving to be very independent-minded and contentious; only the early seizure of Brazil by the Ottomans keeps them from being even more hostile to the American Alliance.
There are also the magical aspects to consider. While impressive, Moore's ability to quickly integrate TL7 science and technology into what was still essentially a high TL4 society was not as implausible as other aspects of his career. He recognized early on that the 'flavor' of magic as practiced on Padway-3 was highly logical and in its way very scientific; Moore's ability to bring in magicians to his revolution, then using their esoteric abilities to streamline industrial processes, was a large part of his success; and until his death, he more or less got away with it with neither opposition nor imitation. Since then, the two remaining magical empires have begun at least the latter, and are probably trying to put programs in place to foster the former. While both the population and the infrastructure of the American Alliance is booming, its rivals are beginning to catch up in terms of growth - and both the Ottomans and the Chinese had larger pools to draw from in the first place.
Regardless of this, the areas that the Alliance controls are becoming fairly pleasant and secure places to live, particularly when compared to their rivals (although the Chinese are showing recent signs of moderating their more extreme behaviors). Industrialization is helping to extend the benefits of TL7 to an ever-wider population; between crosstime knowledge of resource locations and the ability to use magic as a substitute power/work source, infrastructure development is rapid. Half the cities of the USA are less than twenty years old; their growth is only limited by how quickly immigration and/or natural increase can fill them. The local environment is also much better than at a comparative point in Homeline's history: the use of magic to keep air and water clean is almost a fetish in the Alliance, and stems directly from Moore's inflexible rules on the subject (the man was not a doctor, but he did remember enough of the basics of germ theory to know why cleanliness was so important). If it weren't for the constant threat of war with two unpleasant continental powers, life might almost be idyllic for Alliance members. Not so much for the independent nations caught between it and the empires, of course.
Infinity is reasonably certain that Padway-3 did not start out as an echo, and are almost certain that Jerry Moore did not originate from Homeline; there are records of his existence, and he died of old age pretty much to the day that Padway-3's did. On the other hand, Homeline's Moore showed no signs of the drive and implausible luck that propelled him to the top of his adopted alternate, which is unfortunately compatible with several odd, but yet not disproved theories on the theoretical possibility of mini-banestorm doppelganger twinning. All of which means that, in addition to the regular headaches stemming from a alternate where the Secret is compromised, Infinity also has to deal with a fairly nasty academic feud; one that is by now also somewhat politicized.
Infinity already has far too much to worry about as it is. Jerry Moore never felt the need to keep his origins a secret, and at any rate the mages of Padway-3 were able to determine his extra-dimensional nature fairly early on. In fact, the New Spanish Empire even commissioned research into working out how to banish him back to his home plane of existence. Infinity would dearly love to know how far they got before the fall of New Spain ended the project. Certainly Padway-3's Ottomans have been working on Gate spells; their occupation of Brazil depends in large part on the limited ones that they have so far mastered. Both the Alliance and the Chinese empire have their own projects in place to understand, reproduce, and counter such spells.
All of this resulted in the I-Cops' worst nightmare: an alternate that knows the Secret, and can do something about that knowledge. The proper response to such a threat is currently being fought out at the highest levels of the UN; proposals from everything from an immediate full diplomatic mission to discuss an alliance to an immediate sneak attack with neutron weapons have been seriously put forward. In the meantime, very small numbers of researchers are allowed, and precisely zero tourists. Unfortunately, word of the alternate has gotten out, and attracted the attention of people... who would like to be just like Jerry Moore, or who think that they are. Keeping them out of the alternate is surprisingly hard.
Infinity uses the 'Padway' designation for worlds with implausibly-successful crosstime adventurers; they have encountered five thus far. Padway-1 (Q6, current year 627 AD) is a TL5 De Camp myth parallel where the eponymous refugee prevented the destruction of a Gothic kingdom in Italy; it is now engaged in a fairly serious war with the Byzantine Empire. Padway-2 (Q3, current year 1100 AD) is a low-mana world where the Norse have been colonizing North America under the aegis of a 300-year old dynasty founded by what appears to have been a sous-chef from Caliph's Stockholm. 'Padway-4' (Q6, 1879 AD) has been revealed to be part of a disinformation campaign aimed at Centrum; there is in fact no timeline where the American Civil War was intervened in by holdout South African terrorists in possession of AK-47 rifles. Padway-5 (Q7, 30 AD) appears to be a timeline where Centran filibusters have taken possession of a now-all powerful Persian Empire; the conflict between them and Interworld is violent, constant, and inexplicably still going on. Finally, Padway-6 (Q5, 2004 AD) is likewise a TL6 myth parallel (Piper) where the grandchildren of a Pennsylvanian state trooper are finishing their conquest of an exceptionally implausibly 'European' North America. This particular alternate is currently rated R10, and has its appeal to tourism.