NULL CITY: Superpowers suck. If you just want to live a normal life, Null City is only a Metro ride away. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, become parents, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. When forces try to destroy Null City in order to capture the the angelic relic powering the City and its Metro, Gaby, a (technically) dead accountant teams up with Leila, the teenage daughter of the Prince of Hell, to protect the City. It just would have been nice if someone told them the Angels were all on the other side. Or that the only one who can help is Gaby’s ex — the angel she killed. ***
In the room made of light they plan the end of Hell. White floors disappear into the distance to blend seamlessly with walls and ceilings. A portable conference table with four folding chairs occupies the center. Three gold laptops blinking blue-screen error messages are ignored while their owners cluster around the fourth with its apple-shaped icon gleaming in a brushed aluminum case.
“I told you not to order through in-house Central Stores.” The fourth laptop’s owner sits back to allow them a better view and serenely folds her hands into the flowing sleeves of her robe. “They have a sweetheart deal with Celestron Computers, but their processors are dinosaurs and they’ve outsourced their tech support to imps at Fallen Court.” Her face, while carved from the same perfect model, hints at an unfinished spark not visible in her three companions.
Ignoring her words, the others focus on the message on her screen. The rustle of their robes subsides until the only sound is brisk tapping as her fingers return to the keyboard. “That’s it then.” She looks up at her three elders. “My calculations show if we control all three points in time that determine Null City’s history, we have a 96.7 percent chance of successfully isolating the City and recovering the Archangel Raziel’s Book.”
The Eldest softly closes his gold laptop. “Null City must be destroyed before humans try to use the power in the Book to unmake Creation.”
The laptop operator’s voice is calm and her face remains immobile. But her youth relative to their endless eons is betrayed when she asks, “Not only will that strategy lead to massive death and destruction for humans, but it could mean war between Fallen and Angels. Is there no other way?”
Gently, the Eldest replies, “No.”
GABY, CHAPTER ONE
Gaby’s new employee handbook was clear: missing a client appointment was an excellent way to get fired. But it didn’t say a thing about breaking and entering. She’d checked. Over the past hour, she’d knocked, called, tried the house phone, paced, and automatically straightened the paintings lining the elegant hallway of Seattle’s stately Olympic Hotel. Despite the muted voices from within the suite, the brass-bound double doors of the Presidential Suite remained locked.
She’d promised Dad: no more B&E. Her foot tapped. She could go back and try to explain to the agency. Tap. But this assignment was supposed to pay crazy-well for a week or more and they’d asked for her specifically. Tap, tap. She needed that money for the normal life she’d promised her brother and sister after their parents were killed. Her foot slowed. Sorry, Dad. She pulled out her father’s torque wrench and favorite hook pick. Moments later the lock’s tumblers hit the shear line with a subtle click. I didn’t break a friggin thing; Dad. I’m just entering. Returning the little tools to her bag, she eased the door ajar a careful half-inch. “Hello?”