Pastora Soler stood there watching the television screen, transfixed. Videos of Björkman's atrocities were plastered all over the news once again, and so it had been the case ever since Christer Björkman had transformed Sweden from a liberal democracy into a police state. Björkman's Empire. That was the new name of Sweden. He'd changed so much about the country, he didn't even let it keep their name. This year, the Eurovision Song Contest would be held in Björkman's Empire, and Spain had El Sueño de Morfeo, the band who had immediately agreed to take part in the competition. Other Spanish musicians had been scared off by Björkman's reputation, but not ESDM. Shortly after the band agreed to go to the contest, Portugal had withdrew from the competition due to the violent nature of the dictatorship. Worried about their close neighbours, the Portuguese government sent frantic messages to the Spanish government, telling them to withdraw too. But they refused.
The images on the TV screen continued. Pastora had come to the Spanish broadcaster RTVE's studio to talk the band out of going to the contest. After all, when she had represented Spain things had been different, Sweden hadn't been a dictatorship. Christer Björkman had rushed into Baku's Crystal Hall to ruin the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, his robots following close behind. She'd never forget the sight of those robots rushing in to the stadium, guns raised high. Björkman forced a Swedish victory, and the rest, as they say, is history.
El Sueño de Morfeo were also standing there in the studio, looking at the TV screen. But if they were having second thoughts about travelling to the dictatorship nation in May, they weren't showing it. They weren't bothered at all by the images of the TV screen, laughing and joking with each other as Pastora stood there watching the news intently.
"So," David Feito said at last, "What did you bring us here for, Pastora?"
"Really?" Pastora said, still looking at the television, "You haven't figured it out yet?"
"Nope," Raquel grinned, "Unless you came to congratulate us on being the Spanish entrant this year, that is."
"No," Pastora looked at the three of them for a few seconds in stunned silence, before mumbling, "You can't do this. You can't go. You can't go to Sweden."
"What?" Raquel laughed, "Are you serious?"
The other two band members laughed with her,
"Why are you laughing, look at this!" Pastora pointed to the TV, where Björkman's robots were putting down yet another political rally against his tyrannical regime, "Look at that! Look at that! That's the reality of Björkman's Empire! Do you really want to go to a place like that?"
"Sure, why not," Raquel said, before adding, "You went to Azerbaijan, after all."
"Well that's hardly the same now, is it," Pastora said, rolling her eyes, "Come on, you know what I mean."
"No," Juan said, "We don't know what you mean. Come on, if you're jealous that we get to represent Spain this year instead of you just come out and say it!"
"No, what?!" Pastora yelled, "Why would I be jealous of... look... it's just that, I'm worried about you guys, we all are. Björkman's Empire is a dictatorship, I don't know what'll happen in May, but we've all seen what Sweden's new dictatorship is like. And it's not good. We just don't want you to get caught in the middle of it."
And with that, the band began to laugh again.
'So they really aren't taking this seriously,' Pastora thought, 'This is just one big joke to them.'
"Aw come on, you're so silly! We all want to go, and even if we didn't we've already agreed to it!" Raquel laughed, "We're not worried, so you shouldn't be! And besides, Spain's one of the Big Five! We gotta go!"
"But but-" Pastora began.
"Nope," Juan said, "We've made up our minds."
"Yeah," Raquel said, "Look, Pastora, it's sweet of you and all, but we've all already decided to go to Malmö in May, and there ain't nothing you can say that'll change our minds! Listen, Eurovision needs to hear our cool folk music, and do try not to worry, everything'll be fine, we promise, don't we?"
Her two bandmates nodded. It seemed nothing Pastora was saying to them was getting through, they really were set on representing Spain in the competition. And with that, El Sueño de Morfeo began to walk away. Pastora couldn't tell if they were being really brave, or really foolish. But she hoped that they wouldn't have to pay the price for their foolishness in May. In years past, the worst thing that had happened to a Spanish Eurovision entry was Jimmy Jump jumping onto the stage in 2010. Now, anything could happen.
"Wait!" Pastora yelled, as the band kept walking away from her. It seemed that they were determined to go the 2013 Eurovision no matter what.