Hell's Teeth (Phoebe Harkness Book 1)
for ourselves had not been easy. Despite what most people might individually think about freedom and liberty, people en masse want order. They want to know someone is in charge of things and making the cogs of our world turn. Most people had been glad that someone, anyone, was taking charge, forming some manner of government after the years of confusion and terror. Thirty years later, and we were all now finding out what happened when you gave all your human rights to a group of people who insisted their agenda was to ensure you remained human enough to have rights.
    People don’t like upset. Cabal make sure that doesn’t happen, for the most part. Content citizens are easier to manage I guess.
    DataStream screens on the sides of dark buildings were already showing the evening’s roundup as I drove the dark streets. All the usual stories concerning rolling brown-outs across New Oxford and the need for all citizens to do their part, pull together, blah blah blah. After the usual power crisis story there was a segment concerning the crop circles again. Seriously, who makes these things? Certainly not humans; we don’t live in the countryside anymore. That’s Pale territory. We stay behind our nice safe, high, thick, heavily-guarded perimeter walls.
    New Oxford was cruel in wintertime; there had been ice on the inside of my apartment windows all week. By the time I got home, curled up in bed hugging a fluffy hot water bottle, the DataStream had already finished, the segment on the Blue Lab R&D aired and gone.
    My phone rang almost as soon as I turned off the DataStream, slightly disappointed to have missed the segment. I flicked on the bedside lamp, which sputtered at half wattage for a moment, before deciding to come on full beam after all. It was Lucy on the line.
    “That didn’t go as bad as I thought!” She sounded monumentally relieved.
    “Lucy, how did you get my number?” I asked.
    “Oh, sorry, I’m at … I’m with Griff,” she said awkwardly. “We thought you might need checking up on, bit of a team high five that we didn’t get crucified on screen tonight, you know?”
    With Griff, eh? My eyebrows crawled up my forehead, and I was glad Lucy couldn’t see the expression. Well, this was news to me. See what happens when you absorb yourself in your work so much? You become the cranky, work-obsessed spinster while everyone around you gets coffee and long walks on the beach. Maybe I was reading too much into things, though. They could be just hanging out. People did that right? Other people I mean. Not me obviously. My closest acquaintances were lab rats.
    “I didn’t catch it,” I admitted. “Did the camera add ten pounds? I hear that happens.”
    “Oh, there was a fault with the equipment at the lecture theatre apparently,” Lucy revealed. “Something to do with all the brown-outs. They didn’t show any footage from the lecture, just the anchorwoman, that Poppy Merriweather with the red hair, interviewing Veronica Cloves.”
    Of course , I thought.
    “She was very complementary about Blue Lab,” Lucy said. “Talked us up big style. She’s so lovely!”
    Orwell had been almost, but not quite right. Total world domination hadn’t been achieved through a fascist boot stamping on the face of mankind forever. It had been achieved through glossy, impenetrable and perfect PR.
    “I take it there was no mention of a vampire being there?” I asked.
    “No, I dunno … maybe they didn’t have time on the segment.” She seemed to sense my mood. “I would have thought you’d be happy you weren’t on screen?” Lucy asked. “I know you didn’t want to take Trevelyan’s spot anyway.”
    “I don’t really care how much screen time ‘Doctor Fiona’ got,” I muttered. “I just wonder at the famous transparency of Cabal.”
    “Don’t be silly,” Lucy insisted. “They can’t help the power crisis. If anything it shows it affects them too, not just us lowly citizens. I know the only light

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