Emmelie de Forest stood there on the bridge, looking out to the few dim lights of the city in the distance. The occupied city. Cast in almost complete darkness. Emmelie was talking about the Eurovision Song Contest, but Robin wasn't paying attention. He just couldn't take his eyes away from the city. Dull and dark, Denmark's bright lights were quite a contrast.
"Well, you did hear the latest right?" Emmelie said, "Bulgaria withdrew! Bulgaria withdrew from the Eurovision!"
"Eh, did they now..." Robin said, still staring off into the distance at the city over the water.
"Yeah, Elitsa and Stoyan told me! And they weren't too happy about it!"
"I imagine they wouldn't be..." Robin mumbled, still not turning to look at her, still staring at the dark city in the distance. Because that was Malmö, there, in the distance. The one piece of Sweden that they could see from Denmark. Once filled with brights lights, once the host of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. How different it looked now. Not lit up, a shadow hung over the city. The spectre of Björkman's Empire, the ghost of what Sweden once was. Sweden was an occupied country now, and the occupation was tough, despite assurances from the victorious nations, people around the globe still felt that the Swedish people were somehow partly to blame for the events of May 2013, rather than the blame being fixed entirely to Christer Björkman himself. And that's why the occupiers were so brutal sometimes with the ordinary Swedish population.
North Sweden was owned jointly by Britain and Iceland, (as Iceland didn't have any sort of army to guard it they enlisted the help of the British), while South Sweden was owned by Germany. All countries who felt that they had been wronged by Björkman's Empire in some way. Turkey wanted a share of Sweden too, since they felt they had done the most in standing up to the regime, but they hadn't been offered it. Others countries made requests too, but these were also rejected. It seemed that everyone wanted a piece of Sweden, a piece of the prize. The victors felt that they owned the now defeated nation, and they weren't afraid to show the Swedish people that they felt they were their property. The people outside of Sweden, they talked about 'world peace' constantly, and praised the current world as some sort of peaceful utopia. But for the Swedes, the victory against the regime was hollow. It seemed that they had just swapped one dictatorship for another, and in fact, for many Swedes, especially those in North Sweden, things had gone from bad to worse.
But Emmelie didn't seem to care. She seemed disconnected from the true reality of the world. She just kept on talking about the Eurovision Song Contest.
"And that's not all," Emmelie continued, "Željko rang me today as well, he said Serbia had withdrawn too! Can you believe that? I can't!"
"Mmm..." Robin thought she would take the hint and stop talking about the contest, but she didn't.
"Oh oh oh, and Christos was telling me all about how Cyprus withdrew... and Kravjeli said about Croatia that..."
Robin turned away from the city, and Emmelie. He was annoyed, it seemed that Emmelie was far more concerned with Denmark's public image than the obvious reason that countries were deciding to withdraw from the contest. Robin would have to explain to her.
"Look Emmelie," Robin turned to her, "Look. I'm sorry but, I don't care, I really don't. The Eurovision Song Contest was partly responsible for Björkman taking over Sweden... do you know how many millions of people died when that nuke hit London? I'm more surprised that any country would want to participate in the first place."
Emmelie looked down. She realised it had been quite insensitive to talk about the upcoming 2014 song contest when the previous one had brought so much destruction and despair. And yet it had brought with it hope too. The Eurovision entrants... they had been the ones to fight back against tyranny... and where many others had failed against Björkman, somehow, the participants of an annual song competition managed to succeed.
"In fact," Emmelie continued her thoughts out loud, "Without the Eurovision, Sweden would not be a democracy now."
"What?! Sweden isn't a democracy now!" Robin yelled, "It's still as bad as it was before! Sometimes I think that things were better here under Björkman!"
Emmelie was stunned by this. How could he say that, after all they had fought for? Together, they had fought against and defeated Björkman in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. Things were so much different back then. Robin just glared at her. It was almost like they didn't know each other at all.
"You don't mean that..." Emmelie said, "You don't. You're just upset about the trails... aren't you?"
The Herning Trials. Even though they had taken place in the Danish city of Herning over three weeks ago, it was still fresh in everyone's mind. The Swedes who had been loyal to Björkman decried the trials as a victors justice. In a way, it was. The victorious nations wanted revenge, but Björkman wasn't there to get revenge on, so they went for the Swedes who had been piloting the planes that had bombed London and Iceland. If they had stopped there then the Swedes may have been happy, but it didn't stop there. Ordinary Swedish people had been forced by Björkman to do all manner of things in the name of his Empire. The Herning Trials went after these people too. There had been no death penalty in Sweden before Björkman had reinstated it. The victors kept it reinstated, and got rid of all those that they had deemed traitors.
"I'm... I'm sorry about your friend..." Emmelie whispered, referring of course to Eric Saade. He had been deemed a traitor by the occupation force of North Sweden. And even though Robin was furious at Eric for siding with Christer Björkman, they had been friends once. And Robin could never forgive the occupation forces for executing so many innocent Swedes who had been forced through fear to co-operate with the regime... or else. Robin looked down at the floor. He could never forgive the occuption force for what they had done to his country.
"I'm really sorry..." Emmelie said again. Robin looked up.
"You're not sorry!" Robin yelled, "None of you are!"
And with that Robin stormed off, leaving Emmelie standing alone. All the fighting, the nuclear bombings, the Melodifestivalen Massacre... it had all been for nothing. Sweden was worse off that it ever had been. Robin was right, things had been better under Björkman's rule. It's just that no one wanted to admit it.
Only one organisation was standing up for the rights of Swedish people, and it was banned by the Western Allies. BjörkNet. Officially listed as a 'terrorist organization', BjörkNet was founded in late 2013 by Carola, although no one knew that she was the leader... yet.
Of both the occupied sectors of Sweden, the German owned South Sweden was the best to be in. While South Sweden was relatively peaceful if you knew what you were doing, North Sweden, the half of Sweden that was jointly owned by both Britain and Iceland, was in total chaos. Iceland didn't have an official military, but the British more than made up for it by flooding Swedish towns and villages thousands of British troops. Every Swedish city was swamped with armed soldiers. Always watching, always waiting, always ready to fire.
BjörkNet was far more popular in the north of the country than in the south. The Germans treated the Swedes with respect, and so BjörkNet did not attack the German soldiers in the south. In the British-Icelandic sector, occupation was brutal. Many Swedes were attacked and even killed because those countries had suffered the most during the war with Björkman, and so they wanted revenge. Revenge on Sweden, revenge on any Swede. It didn't matter who. Any random Swede walking down the street would do. The British government refused to condemn these acts, or even acknowledge them. Anyone caught trying to publicised the incidents, anyone trying to get the news out to the outside world, was arrested on the order of the British government, and never heard from again. While Germany ended the censorship of Björkman and brought internet connection back to South Sweden, the North was still cut off from the world. And worse, no one was allowed to leave. Huge barriers of steel built by the British ensured this. Surrounding everything, casting a huge shadow on the separated nation.
Yes, Northern Sweden was brutal, and life there was what had motivated nearly all of the BjörkNet members to join the banned organisation, including the leader and founder, Carola. Most members of the organisation were motivated by the brutality of the British soldiers in particular.
"Robin, Robin!" Emmelie ran after him.
"Go home Emmelie," Robin sighed, "You don't understand. None of you do."
"Robin! Robin wait! I'm sorry!"
While the British government worked hard to cover up the many random acts of violence against Swedes, one was so violent, so brutal, that no amount of cover ups could hide it. A huge increase in BjörkNet members happened after British forces went into a stadium during the children's competition Lilla Melodifestivalen. It was a very special contest in Sweden, a version of Melodifestivalen for children. The soldiers wanted to use the stadium for some training purposes, but the contest was already well underway. The organisers and the competitors themselves refused to leave. The British response to this shocked even the most jaded individuals. The prime minister of the UK gave the order to fire, and the soldiers fired blindly and wildly towards the stage. The death toll was enormous. The whole world was disgusted, and images of the attack were beamed to every news station worldwide. But people were reluctant to act against Britain, a strong nuclear power. There was an official condemnation from the German government, but, other than that, no action was taken.
Robin sighed. Emmelie was an idealist, she didn't understand. In fact, neither did he, at the time. Back then, back at the contest, everything seemed so simple. He thought that when Björkman was overthrown and the bombs finally stopped falling, that peace and happiness would flood throughout the entire world. But it didn't. Sweden was still ruled by tyranny. People were still being killed, it made no difference who was doing the killing. In fact, more people were being killed now than they were under Björkman. At least after the initial massacres the regime calmed down a little. No... was it right that he thought like this? Robin couldn't believe he was beginning to regret taking a stand against Björkman's Empire. Björkman was awful... but the British were no better. The attack on Lilla Melodifestivalen was unjustifiable. Unforgivable.
He thought about the role that he... the role that all Eurovision entrants had had in the takedown of the regime. Was it worth it? Had all their effort been for nothing? All the sacrifices made during Eurovision 2013.... the brave Melodifestivalen entrants who had been massacred by Björkman's robots... Anouk... the Icelandic robots...
Was it all pointless?
Robin stood alone now, Emmelie had left long before, she had given up running after him, disappointed that her friend now seemed to be against the Western Allies. Dismayed that her friend could change sides so quickly. But she didn't understand, she never could. After all, it wasn't her country that was destroyed. Denmark was fine, but Sweden...
Robin took a yellow card from his pocket and looked at it closely. A BjörkNet membership card. He never thought he would see the day when he held such a card. A year ago he would have been disgusted with himself for being a members of such an organisation. But BjörkNet had nothing to do with Björkman... other than the name. They were just trying to protect Swedish people. They were in the right, weren't they?
Either way, Robin only knew one thing. The occupation of Sweden had to be stopped.