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Reactions
Friday 07/05/94 8 pm
The Nine Councillors' Welcome is not included in this transmission. A separate transmission shows the evening's proceedings. It may be obtained by requesting Sharing with Friends from your video entertainment supplier. The Nine Councillors' Welcome may be viewed in chronological order in this programme. Viewers who require this service should say Friends and supply the appropriate identity code now.

Friday 07/05/94 11:45 pm
At the end of the Councillors' welcome Martha said.
"Dear guests and newcomers to our circle, you do not know who played each part because we disguised ourselves and used our magic to deceive you. Shortly you will be introduced to our lord and master - the Devil. His word is our law."

They all gasped as Marita as the devil suddenly appeared in front of them from nowhere. Her deep and massive voice was unchanged.
She said. "Now my new servants, you have seen and experienced my power. If you disobey me for one moment, you will be returned to your demonic forms for ever."
The Devil disappeared and Marita stood in his place.
She bowed as Martha announced: "The star of our show, the ghostly spirit of Marita Andersson!"
Marita then said. "I have had great fun playing my part tonight and I hope that you will remember this occasion with pleasure during the centuries to come. I could not have done anything tonight without the help of my closest and dearest friend, Kerstin Broberg, who kindly loaned me her body to perform for you. I owe my spiritual life to Kerstin twice over. Please honour her as you would me. Now I will say adieu. My performance is over for today. Know me by my tattoo and Kerstin by hers. Goodbye now."
They watched in wonder as Marita's tattoo was replaced by Kerstin's.
Kerstin said. "Now I am back with you I can say that I think that Marita put on a far better show than I could have done. I have no place here among the actors who helped to make our show what it was."
Kerstin left the stage and her place was taken by the Spacers who had played the demons.
As Martha announced each name, the actor or actress stepped forward and bowed. Then he or she showed himself or herself as normal and in each of the guises performed in the show. The admirals were amazed as a young European teenage girl showed himself as a mature Chinese Admiral for a moment before showing his other roles.
Gurprit stepped forward as a beautiful Japanese girl before revealing himself.
Annie stepped forward as a demure Thai dancer before showing herself as herself. The others were content to step forward as their young selves before offering momentary glimpses of their familiar appearances.

Finally Martha introduced Charlie and his helpers. The Admirals gave them all a round of conventional applause.

Admiral Valentina Markovitch acted as spokeswoman for the admirals when the applause was over.
She said. "Friends, you have between you given all of us the most terrifying and wonderful experience of our lives. None of us knew what to expect and I must admit that we were just a little disappointed when you started with a quiz show. Now I know it was just a way of lulling us into a false sense of security, I understand why you did it. I really believed that I was in hell. I was terrified at the time. Your monsters were magnificently horrific but the feelings I felt were so extreme I almost would have died to experience them one more time. You could hardly have made your show appear more devastatingly frightful. We also felt an indescribably exquisite pleasure that we could never aspire to recapture. If we had known beforehand how we were to be treated, most of us would have thought it would be very disrespectful of our ranks and positions. Now I would not wish it otherwise than how you performed it. What an experience! None of us had an inkling that we were abused by a female ghost in a woman's body. If we had read about it we would have treated it as fantasy. I could go on and on with commendations, wonder and praise. It was beautifully done. Now I want to thank you all for the gifts you have freely given to us and the way you have welcomed us into your community."
The Admiral paused for a moment then continued.
"Now it is my very pleasant duty to award a medal, promote two of you and announce commendations. By unanimous agreement we award Lieutenant Sil Agonistes the Medal for Outstanding Spacemanship.
The citation reads: 'Lieutenant Pilot Sil Agonistes, assisted by her colleagues, used her skills in extremely unusual circumstances to rescue our friend and guest Undepoldus with his spiritual companion Marita Andersson from certain destruction. In connection with this award are honourable mentions in dispatches for Lieutenant Kerstin Broberg, Lieutenant Commander George McFigg, Commander Jane McInnes and civilians Charlie and Jennifer Potter.'
In view of the very special circumstances we promote Kerstin Broberg and Sil Agonistes to the full rank of Commander. We also have great pleasure in extending all Spacer rights, privileges and protection to Sarah Chebychev, Eva Sincayvitch, and Charlie and Jennifer Potter.
Our congratulations and thanks go to you all."
Anne-Marie stood up and said. "I would like to take this opportunity to welcome my fellow councillors as newcomers to our select and happy community. In our short history as Spacers we have tried to maximise our resources to support and assist humans everywhere on Earth. Now we must use our new powers to improve on what we have done so far. We are not truly human anymore. Some alien artifice beyond our comprehension has made us more capable of caring for our fellow creatures. We now live with a promise of existence that we could only dream of previously. We have been equipped with a way of pleasing ourselves and our fellows that is always fresh and never palls. We will need this benefit to sustain ourselves in times of trial and to remind ourselves that such a privilege requires us to help and protect those less fortunate than ourselves. Our Council now comprises valiant and experienced Spacers who have been appointed to replace previous members who have departed this life. We must now reconsider our positions in view of our extended longevity. I therefore propose that all present councillors and those that follow us with extended lives should be limited to a term of service of ten years. Those who retire from our service should be given the honorary title of Guardian in perpetuity. The role of Guardian will be purely advisory. Do I hear others who wish to comment on my proposal?"
Admiral Janice Stevenson said. "May I have the honour to second Anne-Marie's excellent proposal. Our Council must never become fossilised with members who have lost contact with ordinary Spacers of all ranks."
Admiral Rika Mitsubashu said. "I endorse the proposal before the Council as it stands. However, I would like to add with permission an amendment to the proposal. Henceforth the rank and title Admiral shall be dropped when referring to a Councillor. The rank and title of Admiral should be reserved for those still occupied with the general administration of the Spacers League."
Admiral Suliman Bashir said. "I concur with the original proposal and endorse the amendment."
Admiral Namita Punjabi said. "I approve of the proposal and the amendment."
Anne-Marie asked. "Five of us approve of my proposal. Do I hear any opposition?"
There was none.
Admiral Rika Mitsubashu asked. "Do I hear any opposition to my amendment."
Nobody made an objection.
She continued: "I hereby request that the foregoing proposal and amendment shall be recorded in our minutes at the next formal meeting of our Council."
Kerstin stood up and said. "Honorable Councillors, I have a duty to inform you that your proceedings and most of tonight's events are already recorded through my friend and spiritual companion Marita Andersson. Anything I see, hear and feel is recorded by my companion's alter ego with Undepoldus. In her present state she forgets nothing and can present her knowledge as a vidcom recording if requested to do so."
Admiral Suliman Bashir said. "I welcome the fact that our deliberations and this evening's events have been saved for posterity. When our friend and guest Undepoldus returns to his home system we may hope that he will act as our esteemed unofficial ambassador. He will carry with him our sincere wishes for the good of all intelligent entities as we show that we are not too proud to be humiliated in a worthy cause. I leave you to think about the way these entities will regard our intense urge to share comfort as often as possible. Speaking of which, I invite my good friend Anne-Marie to instruct me in her superior knowledge of the subject."
Anne-Marie said. "Suliman, my first instruction applies to all of you who have joined us tonight. Let us not waste any more time talking, we have some sharing to do!"

Anne-Marie's suggestion was quickly adopted by everyone.

Saturday 08/05/2094 09:30 am
At breakfast later in the morning the dining room was fuller than usual. George and Kerstin were joined at their table by Tun Wong and Annie. Around the room there was the sound of suppressed giggling and laughter as the night's events were discussed. Tun Wong and Annie had serious looks on their faces. George and Kerstin waited until one or other wanted to say what it was that was on their minds.
Eventually Annie spoke. She said. "You know as well as I do that anything connected with Spacer affairs on Earth will eventually become public knowledge. I see the world from both sides of the fence and I wonder what will happen when our abilities and talents become more widely known. You two have already experienced something of what it is like to be the focus of a madman's ideas. In my other occupation I have to face those who idolise my position and those who think that all like me should be killed off. Both sides see only narrow aspects of my Swedish occupation. In between there are those who want to find anything about my life that will show that I am no better than the average Swedish citizen and probably worse. It is hard to have a private personal life as a figure on a pedestal. I much prefer the ordinary life as a Spacer where I am treated as just another mildly talented woman. I loved the Spacer life as it was. My Swedish origins meant nothing. I could ask for a share with any male Spacer without regard to who his parents were. I knew that in the things that really mattered, the male Spacers I shared with were Spacers because of their abilities and their attributes. They treated me in exactly the same way. Now I find myself in a comparable position among Spacers. I am as different to most Spacers as my Swedish situation is to most Swedes. I know what it is like to be different and alone. Within our small community we are not alone but our small community is within another community that is not very large. In the presence of others we have to act roles that are imitations of the roles we lived previously. It is a false life that I abhor. I have seen and experienced too much of it. I can endure my Swedish role for a while longer because I have had a lot of practice. One day I will have to accept that I cannot continue in my Swedish occupation. Then I wonder what sort of life will await me as a near-immortal Spacer. Will I be able to live in a Spacer community where I do not have to try to hide my apparent age? Will that community be able to isolate itself from the attentions of non-Spacers? I know that I want to stay with Tun Wong but his skills are best used on Earth. He cannot do his job on Lagrange Five, hidden away from non-Spacers. I worry about the security needed to keep a community of new Spacers like ourselves secret from the world at large. You two are at the centre of our new lives. What do you think?"
George answered slowly after a pause for thought. He said. "Annie, you have put into words some of my own misgivings about our new situation. We tried as a very small group to keep our new talents secret. Our security was hopeless. You, Tun Wong, soon discovered that we had something to hide and then found out what it was that we were hiding. From then on our secret has been shared with more and more people. The Councillors have already assumed that they are only the first new Councillors. They expect that more will follow. Anne-Marie did not consult Kerstin, Marita, Undepoldus or me. Only Kerstin and I are known to have the power to extend lives. Marita and Undepoldus decided that we should grant the Council members the gifts to reduce potential pressure on ourselves. We now have to rely on the absolute integrity of the Councillors. They have what they wanted from us so Kerstin and I have little more to offer them. They could, if they wished, decide that they will stay in office indefinitely. If Kerstin and I gave more Spacers the gift, they would be potential rivals to the present Councillors. They would have a motive to stop us giving others what we have. I am not saying that they would think in this way but we have to consider the possibility. Last night we gave you the gifts to give to the councillors. We gave you the impression that your powers would only last for the night. I can tell you now that your power to give the gifts will be yours always. The same applies, although they do not know it, to all those among our original group that we shared with last night. Kerstin and I have done this to reduce the focus on ourselves alone. You know that Charlie was given the gifts to communicate and to make himself invisible to those around him. You have those gifts too among others. You know that you can peep if you want to and you can project phantom comfort. You can also sense how others are feeling without trying. Kerstin and I do not know the extent of our powers or even what powers we have that we have not tried to use yet. We discovered yesterday that Kerstin's Marita and Undepoldus Marita can communicate over thousands of kilometres fast enough for a pilot not to notice the delay. The more I think about it the more I think that Undepoldus has provided us with powers to deal with almost any eventuality. His makers made him so that he could provide an alternative to death for an intelligent entity. There would be no point in this if he had a short life or was easily killed. We know that he has automatic defences that he did not know about until someone shot at him. Kerstin and I know how he feels towards us. We know of his overpowering urge to protect us. As he is going away, he must have worked out some method for protecting us in his absence. If you put our known talents together you will understand how we could defend ourselves if necessary. If we can project phantom comfort to please those we love we could project pain equally easily if we had to. I do not think that I need to say more on that subject. We have been given defences that will help to protect us because we may need them."
Tun Wong said. "George and Kerstin, thank you for giving us the powers that we now have. Now we know the possible extent of our powers we will have less to worry about. I can project from what you have said that we could find a quiet little spot on Earth to set up a community that would never be discovered. We would not have to make it invisible but we could plant in the minds of anyone who approached it that there was nothing odd about it. We could live quite happily in such a place for a very long time. I would suggest that we use our powers now to plant the idea of creating such small communities in the minds of the councillors here. In my job I am privy to a mass of information that is unknown to anyone else. Without the powers I have now I was able to learn a lot about petty intrigues that had to be curtailed. I think that we four should share comfort and our secrets before the day is out. My knowledge needs to be available if anything should happen to me in the same way as your powers needed to be shared. Marita and Undepoldus should know what I know too."

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