New to Quest Five?
The stories are best enjoyed when read in order beginning with May 1, 2009.

Welcome To Quest Five
Allison Beaumont is having trouble finding a job after college until one day the wealthy and powerful Joseph Candle offers her a job at his rather unusual corporation, where mistakes can lead to bare bottomed spankings. Adopting the alias of Virginia West, she joins four highly skilled colleagues, racing around the globe in search of mysterious treasures, but wherever she goes, trouble is sure to follow.
Note: Some stories contain scenes of a sexual nature, corporal punishment, non-consensual corporal punishment, and strong language which some reader's may find offensive. If you feel this material might be inappropriate for you please move on to another blog by clicking the next blog link at the top of the page.

June 4, 2009

Finding Virginia: Safety First

We lined up in the middle of the quad, side by side and toes on a white chalk line in the red sand. I had finished my run with just enough time to get changed into the camp’s uniform and down a bottle of water. Rick paced the line before us like a drill sergeant. In his right hand his nasty leather strap dangled, slapping his leg as he walked.

“My job this week is to teach you how to survive. And if you make it to the end of this course, you’ll have done more than learn how to survive. You will have survived.” Rick said.

My eyes wandered to the woman standing behind his path of pacing. She looked positively bored by the slouch of her shoulders and the glazed look in her eyes. Her short blonde hair gave her a rebellious look and while an impassive expression ruled her face, I couldn’t help imagining her with her tongue sticking out at the back of Rick’s head. Our gazes crossed for a moment and I suddenly felt like the most conspicuous person in the world.

“This isn’t your typical survival school. I don’t cater to paranoia and I don’t advocate eating bugs or purifying your own water. You are here because you want to survive dangerous situations and people and both are unavoidable in your lines of work. That’s okay, but let me tell you one thing you should keep in mind this entire week; If your not up for the things we do here, you probably aren’t well suited for the profession you’ve chosen. Do yourself a favor and survive the easy way, find another career.” Rick continued.

Rick’s words faded into silence and he ended his pacing, stopping directly in front of me. His eyes landed on me with the finals words as he ended his pacing. I shifted uncomfortably on the line, feeling as if he was somehow telling me his last words were meant specifically for me. On a normal day I would have looked away. Hell, on a normal day I would have agreed with him, but I know I left normal behind in a limousine at the airport. I stared back at him with a determination not entirely my own. There was a strength in being someone else and yet still being me.

“If you’re waiting for me to quit, you better get comfortable cause it’s going to be a long wait.” I said.

He looked pleased with himself and a part of me wanted to wipe the overconfidence from his grinning cheeks. The rest of me wanted to curl up on a bed somewhere and forget I’d ever heard of him or Quondam Innovations. I held on to my defiance and braced for the storm sure to come.

“I’m comfortable right here. You’re the one uncomfortable. You don’t fit. You’re out of place and off balance. All it will take is one good push and you’ll fall Virginia.” Rick said.

“So what are you waiting for?” I asked.

“Excuse me?”

“No.” I said, “You want to push then push. You think it would be so easy to get me to quit. Give it your best damn shot and let’s get it over with because I’m not scared of the likes of you and I’m not running away. So get it all out of your system so we can get on with what we are all really here for.”

I was just as surprised as he was. Where did all this determination and venom come from? Virginia West might not have existed yesterday, but today she has possessed me. Rick nodded after a long moment of silence and hard staring.

“Alright, maybe you’re tougher than you look.” He said.

“Tougher than you.” I almost said, but then I bit my tongue and kept quiet.

“For the remainder of the day we will go over safety procedures. My wife Tanya,” He gestured to the woman behind him. “Will be directing this class and I expect all of you to give her your full attention.”

There was a brief murmur of assent and then Tanya stepped forward. Rick moved into the shade of the building behind her, where he could watch all of us, comfortably leaning against the wall. I stared at him until I realized he was staring at me and that he might consider my attention to be less than fully with Tanya. I changed my focus to her and only glance at him occasionally to see if he was still watching. He always was.

Tanya’s class in safety was bitterly dry. The material was hardly favorable for an engaging discussion but her tone was monotonous and she sounded as bored as she had looked before and I’m sure most of us were sporting similar looks of boredom long before she finished. I vaguely recall a few things she called important, but the rest fluttered away with the hot breeze.

Dinner followed and we all filed into the main building like sheep. I was starved and pushed my way to the front of the line with little resistance. I guess nobody felt brave enough to challenge me outside of Rick. I’m guessing his nerve only came up because Mr. Candle probably encourage him to take such action. I’ll probably laugh about in a week but right now I’d like to get my fingers around Joe’s neck and squeeze.

There wasn’t much of a choice, a half dozen tables all setup for four people. I sat down at an empty one with my tray. The gray gruel that was supposed to be gravy was thickly spread over something of only slightly more substance. I steered clear of the muck and shoveled a fork full of green peas into my mouth. They tasted more like the aluminum can they had lived in than the vegetable they were supposed to be. I swallowed instead of spitting them out, but it was a close call.

“Virginia right? Hi, I’m Georgina, but you can call me Gina.”

I looked up, frankly surprised anyone was talking to me. The young woman sat down in the chair directly across from me. She was smiling like we were old friends already. I dropped my fork, giving up the pretense of eating and studied her for a moment.

She was very young, no more than twenty or twenty-one years old. Her straight black hair was cut short, barely falling below her ears. She wore a simple pair of diamond studs in each ear and small cross around her neck. I was impressed with the confidence she exuded.

“Are you sure you want sit with me? I might harm your reputation.” I said.

She glanced around the room while shaking her head at me.

“Are you kidding? I think you’re the most interesting person here.” She replied.

I scoffed at the very thought.

“Why would you think that?” I asked.
“Other than the fact you showed up in a limo? How about that you work for QI?” She said.

“Who told you that?”

“I have my sources. I confess I did a little looking into you after your arrival this afternoon.”

I did my best to remain externally calm but inside I was panicking. It was my worst fear put to the test. What if she asked me questions about my background? Mr. Candle had obviously put something in place, but the particulars were not known to me. I groaned inwardly realizing Gina probably knew more about Virginia West than I did.

“Find out anything interesting?” I asked.

“Maybe. I’m curious, how does a UC Berkeley graduate end up at QI?” She asked.

“It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to me. Both are well known for their devotion toward technological advancement.”

“I guess you steered clear of the politics.”

“I never much cared for them. Politics are for old men in smoky rooms.”

Gina nodded.

“You must be pretty good at what you do. Six months in you were promoted to team leader on a classified project. A year after that you’re a project coordinator and now, rumor has it you’re taking over Q5.” She said.

I swallowed my surprise, hopefully before it showed on my face. The résumé sounded great, but how did she know anything about Q5? Prior to my tour with Mr. Candle I had never even heard of the section. The glint in her eye told me she was confident in her facts. In the back of my mind I wondered if she wasn’t working for Mr. Candle herself and testing me to see how I would respond.

“What’s Q5?” I asked.

“As if you don’t know. I know it’s classified and all that, but the pieces aren’t that hard to put together. Four weeks ago Stanley Carter is killed in Northern Africa. Two weeks later you are seen entering the secured elevator at QI headquarters in Los Angeles. Everyone knows the only people allowed on that elevator other than Joseph Candle are the members of Q5. Stanley Carter was widely rumored to head the team and with your fast track management record it’s pretty obvious you are replacing him. If anyone had any doubts about it, your presence here has certainly alleviated them.” She concluded.

“You make it sound so good I almost believe it myself.” I said.

“I know what I know. Why don’t you tell me something I don’t know.” She said.

“Mr. Candle has seat warmers for the conference chairs in his office.” I said.

Where the thought came from and why it came out of my mouth is beyond me.

“That’s odd for California isn’t it?” She asked.

I shrugged and started picking at my food again.

“You are in over your head and don’t even know it.” She said.

“You really don’t know as much as you think you do. My work is classified and I can’t discuss it but I can assure you that you’ve got your facts all wrong.” I said.

I decided it was best to deny everything even the things she though she knew about my past. Whether they were truly part of Virginia’s background or something Gina had made up I didn’t know and that meant the safest course of action was to disclose nothing at all. Unfortunately, I also figured that would insure Gina’s curiosity would not diminish. In fact, she might well consider a denial of everything to be an admission that she was right about everything. It was just one more reason to be angry with Mr. Candle. At the very least he could have told me something about the person I was supposed to become.

“I guess you aren’t all that interesting after all then.” Gina said.

She shoved her chair back and walked away with her tray, leaving me alone. I guess I was supposed to care, but I didn’t. I finished my dinner while it was still warm enough to pass for food and headed for bed. It wasn’t that I was particularly tired, but I had a feeling I would be by the end of the week. I slept on my stomach, probably to the amusement of the other women, but the beds weren’t very soft and my bottom still ached from my welcoming.


  1. Ashley, I suspect that Gina is a spy, of the industrial sort!
    Interesting. :)
    Warm hugs,

  2. You have a talent of choosing appropriate titles :)
    Another excellent part