Two cities, both alike in dignity, In fair Ancapistan, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
The citizens of Vaxville pride themselves above all upon their responsibility. This is their highest virtue. Whither their actions, through either first or second order effects, lead to the misfortune, or gods forbid, death of a fellow Vaxvillian is of the highest concern to these noble citizens. They consider their statistical longevity to be testament to their enlightened values.
While the Moshpitians are by no means to be considered irresponsible, they pride themselves instead upon their freedom. To impinge upon the freedom of another Moshpitian is an unthinkable act, from which can only result the greatest of shame. While this can sometimes lead to a slightly decreased lifespan compared to their neighbouring Vaxvillians, this is generally agreed to be a price well worth paying for their unrestricted lifestyles.
Despite their differing philosophies, the two cities have historically been at peace. Not only this, mutual trade has led to the prosperity of both. But alas, a great plague has risen in the land, infecting both citizens of Vaxville and Moshpitia. While neither city is in any doubt as to the virulence of the plague, their respective responses reflect the differing philosophies of our two cities.
The Vaxvillians response was decisive. Lockdown was imposed to stop transmission of the plague. Citizens who needed to leave their abodes to seek sustenance were required to wear beak masks, which, according to Vaxvillian scholars may slightly decrease transmission of the plague. This, the responsible citizens of Vaxvillia proudly did. Some even double-beaked for added protection. While they were afraid, the Vaxvillians held out hope that soon new medicines would be developed to combat the plague. This thought gave the Vaxvillians comfort in the dark times.
Meanwhile, in Moshpitia, the response was somewhat different. Well actually, compared to normal life in Moshpitia, it was not that different at all. Life, for the most part, carried on as normal. There were some casualties to the plague, mainly among the old and infirm, but once this was understood then it was mostly only these citizens that took precautions. For the majority, life in Moshpitia carried on.
As time went by, the plague ebbed and flowed. Both Moshpitia and Vaxvillians mourned their dead, and looked forward to the end of the plague. It was however at this point that relations between the two cities began to sour. The Vaxvillians objected to what they saw as the Moshpitians ‘reckless’ behaviour. Infections in good Vaxvillian grandmothers could arguably be traced back to un-beaked Moshpitian merchants. What was worse, these Moshpitians seemed in no way inclined to take this fact seriously. They seemed to continue about their lives as if there was no plague at all!
The Moshpitians had grievances too. Not only were the Vaxvillians on the point of suspending all trade between the two cities, there was even rumour of Vaxvillian conspiracies to put up a wall around these ’reckless plague-spreading Moshpitians’ to trap them in their city, or worse, force medicines upon them without consent (‘consent’ being sacred to the Moshpitians).
Thus, generations of peace and prosperity were on the brink of ruin. Not because of the plague itself, but because of philosophical differences.
To be continued…