At the moment of Audrey Montgomery’s birth a new world came into existence. It is a barren place, a catalyst for the darkness spreading through the multidimensional system. The shift in power makes Audrey an invaluable pawn in a war between those who want to protect her and those who will go to extraordinary lengths to eliminate her.
As a result, she has spent her life on the run, unaware of her true origins. When her father dies and leaves her with a shocking legacy, her life is irrevocably changed. If she has any hope of surviving, Audrey must embrace her new reality and trust a man who is as dark and uncertain as the future itself.
Lieutenant Keith Delany, an Interdimensional Officer of the Law (IDOL), is tasked with bringing her in. It is an assignment his entire team is invested in, having spent years searching for her. As a senior member of the squad, Keith is charged with protecting her, with showing her the truth about her past, and with preparing her for an unknown future. As an IDOL he is responsible for every life, for every traveller who navigates the system. But his connection to Audrey is unprecedented, and he soon discovers she alone holds the power to prevent the continuum’s collapse.
In reality, the shift takes twelve seconds, give or take. But time has a funny way of altering our perceptions. It feels like a lifetime when all your senses are heightened and you feel a rush, deep within the blood.
I’ve never fully embraced the journey. I prefer it when I have control over my body. So although it’s as natural as breathing, it’s a part of me I can’t dictate.
“Are we going to do this thing?” Nate, my partner, muttered beside me, and I felt a rush of anticipation.
Grunting, I closed my eyes and concentrated on the image in my head; locking onto our location with a single minded focus. It’s the way I always travel, though I know Nate steps into the shift with his eyes wide open. It causes a sensory overload, not an unpleasant feeling, but the overstimulation can be distracting.
“Let’s fly,” I said, feeling my cells burst to life. I accepted the hum in my blood; felt the drag, as Nate calls it, the feeling of being pulled at an exponential rate towards a single point. The picture in my head never wavered. When I opened my eyes it mirrored my surroundings.
“What a rush,” Nate said beside me, slapping a hand to my shoulder.
The first time he’d spoken those words we’d been twelve. He’d said it again when we were initiated into the interdimensional policing department and became IDOLs. We’d been partners for ten years now, and were so in tune I knew what he was thinking before he verbalized it.
The fact we would serve together had never been in question. It was our duty to enforce the restrictions laid out by the Governance.
Nate was born on Sceptre, the ninety-first dimension, known commonly as ST-91. It is the only world to produce shifters of our kind; people who can transport on a metaphysical level without restraint.
Nobody knows why some people possess the genetic markers to allow interdimensional travel. There are plenty of theories, none of which interest me. The better question is why that ability differs from world to world. Most Travellers have a unique gift. Some, like the suspect we were currently tracking, use only the mind.
In the case of Borrowers, their physical bodies stay behind, sealed inside a chamber – a form of suspended animation. If their bodies are not preserved, there is nothing to return to. Some have discovered that the hard way, whether through a lack of training or an incomprehension of the continuum itself. They become stuck, living inside their host with no choice but to experience life as an outsider. If they are not strong enough to overpower the host they will eventually cease to exist.
It rarely comes to that because there are rules, ones that the IDOLs enforce, and we have the authority to remove a Borrower by force. This is a fate worse than death, a new type of hell. The Borrower is sucked into the unknown, floating aimlessly, and with nothing to see but empty space.
“Lieutenant, we have the suspect detained. Do you have contact with the host?”
The voice from central command reverberated around my head, the transmission fuzzy until I tapped my ear. The devices aren’t built for extensive use, and mine had been on the blink for weeks. I hate hospitals, and since the device is internal, I had yet to get it fixed.
“Stand by,” I said, monitoring my surroundings. If they had the Borrower’s chamber within the Hub, it meant things would be a lot easier.
“Man, I love this place,” Nate said beside me.
We were in Trident’s division 3, a technologically advanced world which, at the moment, meant tall sleek buildings and holographic images that defied logic – at least to me.
This neighbourhood, though, was tamer than most. The trees were real, as far as I could tell. All lined neatly on the street, cloaking us beneath their branches.
“Given the amount of time it took to track him, the host may be in a vegetative state,” I replied, not sharing his enthusiasm for the bright welcoming messages plastered on mail boxes. Still, at least we knew we were in the right place.
“This could get ugly,” Nate said, grinning.
I gave him a mild look. “And here I was thinking things couldn’t get any uglier.”
His eyes danced with merriment. “You made a joke.”
I tried not to give in to the smile tugging at my lips, but it formed anyway. As partners we fit in so many ways – humour, commitment, drive, yet it was our friendship that got us out of more trouble than I can count.
“Sir, there’s something else,” the voice in my ear said, stealing Nate’s thunder.
I tapped my ear in annoyance. “Report.”
“We have information about a renegade group the suspect is tracking. I think he’s planning to use their technology to disappear. You need to see this, sir.”
“Does he have the technology in his possession?” I asked, looking at the house in front of us.
I glanced across at Nate and got the nod. “Then we proceed. I need comms silence until we have Edward Summers in custody.”
The quiet that followed was interrupted only by Nate’s laughter. “Give the poor man a break,” he said, as we stepped onto the path.
“I’ll give him plenty when we have this wrapped up. I’m starting to lose my sense of humour.”