Bjorn remained confident that Frederico's attack on the state was complete and utter hyperbole. But he had exhausted his arguments against Frederico's claims. Frederico had clearly spent much more time thinking about the true nature of the state than Bjorn had ever done, and any attempt by Bjorn to counter Frederico's assertions were bound to fail.
"This is the danger of charismatic leaders," Bjorn thought to himself as he turned to look for Ante who had quietly walked away while Frederico was holding his little lecture for Bjorn. "They have a way with words that capture the imagination and makes one believe in absurdities."
"Why don't you stay for the show?" Frederico asked, sensing Bjorn's desire to leave.
"I might," Bjorn answered. "I'll see what Ante thinks."
Then he thanked Frederico for having taken time to share his thoughts with him before heading over to Ante who was waiting for him in the back of the church, engaged in some light conversation with Igor, who had just entered the church together with several other people.
"Hi Igor. How are you?" Bjorn asked as he approached the two men. "And you must be Olga, am I right?" Bjorn continued, turning to a tall blond woman with Asian features, standing next to Igor.
"Yes, that's right," she said with a smile. "How do you do?"
Bjorn introduced himself as one of Igor's many passengers, telling Olga that her husband was clearly very proud of her.
"I know," she said with a smile. "He is such a darling."
They kept the light conversation going for a little longer. But then, as Ane entered the church with Ola at her side, Olga suddenly clammed up. And Bjorn too was a little stunned to see her enter.
"Well, we better find a place to sit before all the good places are taken," Igor said with a smile, as if unaware of his wife's sudden discomfort. "How about you? Care to join us?"
"Well, why not?" Ante said without consulting Bjorn.
And Bjorn, not finding a convenient way to protest, tagged along despite being a little reluctant to being exposed to even more of Frederico's propaganda.
They found four seat conveniently located far away from Ane and Ola where they sat down before resuming their conversation.
"Well, look at that!" Olga said with enthusiasm as Jan entered the church with his two stunning daughters. "He has brought Pedro with him."
"Where?" Bjorn asked, curious to see the man in person.
"The guy in the beige coat," Olga said in a hushed voice.
"So that's Pedro!" Bjorn said, taking note of Jan's guest.
"It's the first time I've seen him here in church," Olga continued. "It looks like everybody is here today, though."
And Olga was right. The little church was quickly filling up with people, and Bjorn recognized several faces. The three Italian carpenters were there, and Peter the stall owner was there too. The arbitrator woman who had been so active on the Blacklist was also there, looking exactly like her picture on the web. And the woman he had let into the colony without a passport, Cecilie, was also there with her daughter, nicely dressed and done up for the occasion.
Cecilie looked around for a moment, before finding her way down to Ane and Ola who had evidently set aside two seats for her and her daughter.
Bjorn could not help feeling uncomfortable about Cecilie's presence. He had let this woman into the colony, almost certainly against the law, and here she was, reminding him of his unprofessional behaviour by her very presence. And yet, there was something innocent and pure about both Cecilie and her daughter that conflicted with the idea that they had done anything wrong. Cecilie was no doubt on the run, and Bjorn should have apprehended her when he had the chance. But the very thought of doing that made him cringe, and her presence in the church was, as it were, a thorn in the side of his divided conscience.