Opposition dies down, excitement builds, and the money rolls in. And so the giant gun is built!

I won't bore you with all the details, of all the engineering challenges we overcame, the number of workers, the number of iron furnaces, how he chose the location, how we had to build camps and roads, how we designed the missile. You can read the official book for that.

The official text changes some details, for political reasons. First, it changes me to a Frenchman, since the author, Jules Verne is French. Second, it pretends that the gun club had the initial idea: we have to make them think that or they would never build the thing. And finally, the book doesn't mention the Martians, because another author had signed an exclusive deal to chronicle that. But otherwise it's more or less accurate.

And so we enter the capsule and say goodbye to the Earth - perhaps for the last time!

The capsule takes three people: Impey Barbicane, President of the gun club. Captain Nichols, owner of the armour plate business. And myself, as space specialist. My uncle, the real specialist, was supposed to go, but he dropped out at the last moment, for reasons I'll explain another time.

The only windows are covered with steel plates to protect them from the blast. So we can see nothing. We hear the nose cone being bolted on, and feel a crane lowering us down into the gun. We strap ourselves in and make final checks.

We are sitting on top of the largest explosive charge in the history of the world. In one minute we could all be dead. And the countdown begins!

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