"Great," I said weakly. "And why can I survive this if Conrad couldn't?"
"He tweaked the spell when he made you the devil," God reminded me. "You still have more humanity in you."
"And being human will help me survive something that being a demon wouldn't?" I summarized. "That doesn't make any sense."
"Sure it does," Lucifer said. "The passages between Hell and Heaven were guarded. We didn't want demons having access to Heaven, so the tunnels induce telekinetic weakness, pain, brain damage…all kinds of things go haywire. But it only affects demonkind."
"So a human could pass through easily," God pointed out. "I mean, that's what the passages were designed for."
"Conrad, as the devil, had enough demon blood in him that he almost definitely would have died had he tried to open the door himself," Lucifer explained. "You should be able to accomplish the task, but if we're right, you'll merely suffer weakness, mental confusion, extreme pain, and a few other things."
"Merely?" I said.
Lucifer shrugged. "Merely, as in, it sure beats the alternative."
"So because Conrad couldn't do it but he sympathized with your goals," I said, "he chose me to take over Hell because I was the least evil of his descendants?"
God nodded. "And when he performed the succession ritual, he made sure to give you a little protection against your eventual objective."
I sighed. "Why couldn't any of you explain this from the beginning?"
"Conrad wasn't sure you were a suitable candidate," Lucifer admitted. "We didn't want to put all our hopes on you because you weren't exactly the best option, you were just the option that was least likely to be, you know, utterly and completely terrible in every conceivable way."
"Oh, thanks," I said, rolling my eyes.
Lucifer grinned at me. "Your grandfather simply advised us to wait and not put our plan into action until we'd seen a little more evidence that you were up to the task."
"Don't worry," God told me, stretching across the table to pat me on the forearm. "You've proven yourself. We're all on board now." As he reached, he dipped his elbow in a spot of barbeque sauce that had dripped onto his tray a few minutes earlier. It didn't look like he'd noticed.
Even though God, Lucifer and my great grandfather were "on board," I wasn't sure that I was. "What about me? What if I don't want to do it?"
God waved his hand like he was swatting away a fly. "You have the chance to free billions from the fate of eternal torture. I know you've been selfish at times in the past, but I think we all know you're not going to refuse something of this magnitude."
Lucifer tried to give me a warm, reassuring smile. "And don't forget," he told me, "we're ninety percent sure you won't have to sacrifice yourself."