In November 1942, the Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi took "seven packets of amphetamine" to beat the world hour record on the track.  In 1960, the Danish rider Knud Enemark Jensen collapsed during the 100 km team time trial at the Olympic Games in Rome and died later in hospital. The autopsy showed he had taken amphetamine and another drug, Ronicol , which dilates the blood vessels. The chairman of the Dutch cycling federation, Piet van Dijk, said of Rome that "dope – whole cartloads – [were] used in such royal quantities." 
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As William Gibson famously observed, "the future is already here: it's just unevenly distributed". On first visiting the Boston of the New British Empire, Miriam assumed it was an undeveloped, quasi-19th-century world: much steampunk, very zeppelin. But, just as a time traveller to our own 1942 wouldn't necessarily see any signs of the radar, computers, jet engines, ballistic missiles, or nuclear weapons that were all developing rapidly in secret laboratories, Miriam was unaware of the true state of tech in time line three. We meet her now, 17 years later, interrupting the official opening of an 8-bit microprocessor fab line to take a call informing her that the Commonwealth's first spy satellite has made orbit. Rita's 2020 USA is still five decades ahead of the Commonwealth, but the Commonwealth has computers and nukes and world-walkers. And the Commonwealth has something else, something the USA once probably had but has forgotten: a revolutionary democratic ideology and a deep state that believes it has a mission to spread democracy across the multiverse, starting with the USA.