A Tale of Two Worlds

Using worlds as an analogy for cities can be useful, when talking about high-pop systems. For example, take A Tale of Two Cities: Chongqing and Chengdu, and turn those two cities to worlds. Rewriting for Traveller…

“Why does Chongqing have the most gorgeous women in Cathay sector? There are several theories:

  • As the old capital of the Ming Empire, it was where all the concubines of the nobility were to be found.
  • The ancient Ba Kingdom was founded here, where minor human races noted for their beauty merged into one.
  • Uniquely pure water, the many mountains, and high-oxygen air brings out the health of the people.
  • The superhot Singram Spice, grown largely on this world, has properties that clears the skin and refreshes the muscles. When it isn’t burning off your tongue.”


“Chongqing’s Motto: Yeah, we crazy!”


“Chongqing is this chaos spread out over an entire planet of 32 billion people-and-counting, beholden only to the Emperor, and that only in name. Every dug-in mountain-city in Chongqing is infected with Chongqing-itis, which basically is a willful pride in all things irreverent. Other worlds care about their face and will try to show Travellers and rich executives or nobles from Capital their pretty face. Chongqing has it written in blood that any local that bows and scrapes to outsiders is actually a Chengdunese spy, trying to learn the secret of singram.”


“I left Chongqing’s madness for Chengdu because the of Chengdu’s tranquil, tropical climates, the hardly-working starport and the easy living. Chengdu is the fat provincial nobleman to Chongqing’s beer and singram steel worker; the sweet green rice paddies to the wild and jagged peaks; the world of comfort to the world of craziness. They constantly sneer at each other, but Chengdu’s sneer is preceded by a quick peek left and right. Chengdu also has a reputation for beautiful women and a penchant for the good life, but there doesn’t really need to be an explanation for it. It’s just the way it is.”

“I can’t help it. In Chongqing, I would have had to be a gangster or end up in the gutter. Here in Chengdu, I can get a feta cheese hamburger. There aren’t many hamburgers in Chongqing.”


“There is a vibe here in Chengdu that attracts a certain type of Traveller and I consider myself to be representative of that type of person. Chongqing does not attract Travellers. I love it there and I still go back every chance I can, but its a tough place to live. Not when you have the easiest world in the Empire just three parsecs away.”

It would be pleasant for someone to write an amusing travelogue for the Imperium, covering (say) the top 20 systems, and a few stops along the way.

Places are interesting, but people even more so. Hot women with flattering tongues and cold eyes have their dangers; but innocent, trusting, and easily deceived women can also ruin an unwise man. Knowing who to trust – if anyone – is a balancing act for any Traveller.

About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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