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 19, 2009

Finding Virginia: Shifting Gears

Rick threw the keys in the air. I snagged them as if I had been expecting them, but the really amazing part is I managed to pull it off without looking surprised. I glanced at the nearby jeep and then back at Rick. We’d spent the last hour talking about how to control a vehicle in less than perfect conditions. I didn’t need a crystal ball to figure out it was time for some practical experience. He threw a second set at Patricia.

“Get yourselves seat belted in and pull up to the back gate. When I open it up you’ll follow the white cones into the course. When you’ve completed the circuit, pull back in and pass the keys onto the next member of your team.” Rick instructed.

Patricia raced to the gate so she could be first. I couldn’t have cared less but Virginia was slightly annoyed at the over competitive spirit Patricia was cursed with. Rick opened the gate up and we were off into the desert. I trailed back a little not wanting to crowd her in case either one of us made a mistake. Virginia was pretty sure Patricia would be the one to screw up but I wasn’t so sure.

The red dust storm she was leaving me in made it hard to see what was coming before it was gone. The jeep was jumping around like a cricket in lust. Somehow I managed to keep my foot on the accelerator and my hands firmly attached to the steering wheel and gear shift. I heard rubber sliding on dirt and down shifted to slow myself, expecting some sort of hazard ahead. It was a sharp right turn into a valley, guarded by a red rock demon.

"I just knew the road to hell was around here someplace." Virginia said aloud.

I made the turn with little trouble and caught a glimpse of Patricia speeding away on a straight stretch of mud. I kept it in low gear and stayed to the left where there appeared to be a trailing edge of rock wide enough for the left tires to stay on. It seemed more prudent than praying the mud wouldn’t get deep enough or thick enough to leave me without traction.

It wasn’t long before Patricia came head on to the reality of my fear. Her solution was to floor it as I went passed and spray me and my jeep with mud. I waved politely in the rearview mirror. By the angry look on her face, it was the best response I could have imagined.

The only bad thing about leaving her behind was that I would have to watch for the dangers ahead on my own without having her mistakes to warn me. I’m sure it was all part of the plan that the lead would normally swing back and forth between the two people driving it. It wasn’t supposed to be a competition or so Rick said, but that didn’t stop it from feeling like one.

I rounded a more gentle curve and found myself on a solid rock straight-a-way. The engine roared as I pushed the accelerator harder and shifted to third and fourth. Wind whipped through my hair and I had to admit, I was having fun. The ride was far from smooth, but I let the wheel run loose in my hands and the jeep stayed the course with little effort on my part.

When I got to the edge of the rocks I could see the path ahead was going to be the real challenge. The road, not that it deserved the name, ran straight into the remains of a washed out bridge. The rive water was rolling over half the bridge and the other half was just missing. I think they call that white frothing water, river rapids, but this didn’t look a ride at a water park. One thing was certain, I was going to get wet.

I slowed down and scanned the area looking for the solution. There was no place to go but into the river and unless I made the right choice as to where, I’d be spending a lot more time in the water than Virginia would like. Personally, I couldn’t think of a much better way to spend my afternoon than drenched in the cold rush of raging river water.

Hearing engine noise echoing off the rocks, I glanced in my rearview. Sure enough, there was Patricia, racing full speed on the rock like a bat out of hell. An icky, muddy bat, but still she was coming and if I wanted to maintain my lead, I needed to make a choice fast. Of course I could wait for her and then not do whatever stupid thing she comes up with that gets her stuck. No, no that would be cheating. Damn, it sucks being honest.

Traversing a washed out bridge is probably not the best of ideas, especially with half the bridge not present. Rocks then. That’s what causes the river rapids, isn’t it? Now I’m wishing I paid a little more attention when I was a freshmen and forced to take Earth Science for a year. God that class was boring, but it probably covered some useful shit right about now.

“Focus!” Virginia said aloud, as if scolding me.

Okay so rocks make the froth. I hope that’s right. It sounds right. Aim for the froth, but how fast? Virginia’s vote was to floor it and keep it in second for extra traction. I didn’t have a clue so I went with her best guess. The engine was screaming for a little clutch action by the time the front tires hit the frothy water.

After an incredibly bouncy 20 seconds I was on dry land and even on the other side of the river. That was good news because the hissing sound coming from the left front tire wasn’t.
Just what I needed, a flat tire. I don’t suppose they’ll let me use my triple A card out here? Yeah I didn’t think so.

I stopped the jeep and turned around just in time to see Patricia pull off some very fancy driving. She maneuvered just right to tip her jeep up on two wheels and drove right over the half bridge. I’m sure my draw dropped, but can you blame me? I mean really, who the hell knows how to drive on two wheels? Motorcyclists don’t count.

She flashed me an evil smile. Virginia returned it with equality, but of course it was Patricia’s turn to wave in the rearview mirror as she left me behind. The only difference was she waved with a single finger extended into the air. Damn, why didn’t I think of that? Oh that’s right, I wasn’t born with a broomstick up my ass. Silly me.

Changing the tire took about ten minutes. It was easier than I expected and it probably helped that Virginia was in a foul mood at being left behind by the likes of Patricia. Those poor lugs never stood a chance. I dumped the flat tire in the back and hopped back into the driver’s seat. The jeep didn’t start straight away but after holding my breath for a second and warning God he better no screw with me today, I turned the key and the engine came back to life.

The road from there wasn’t too bad. I made good time in catching up with Patricia. Of course that probably had something to do with her being parked in front of the mother of all obstacles. The look on her face when I pulled up next to her was worth a laugh but the good sport in me held it in.

“How the fuck am I supposed to get around this?” She asked.

“What? Is there something in your way?” Virginia replied.

I couldn’t help sounding infuriatingly calm, particularly since I had already realized how to maneuver over the giant fallen tree laying across the path. There wasn’t anyway to get around, you had to go over it, but that’s what four wheel drive is for.

“Are you fucking blind?” She asked.

Virginia just laughed. It was ironic in that hilariously not funny way. In answer to her question, I engaged the four wheel drive and angled myself into the tree so the right front tire road up on the trunk and then helped pull the rest of the jeep right on up and over. It wasn’t even really tough. When I was completely on top I paused to enjoy the shock on Patricia’s face. Virginia waved at her, beckoning her to follow. I guess she deserved it but I would never have been so mean.

That was pretty much the end of the course. I drove back into the camp followed closely by Patricia and I don’t think you could really say I beat her, but it was obvious by her mood she felt that I had. Rick spent a few minutes helping us get the jeeps ready for the next drivers and then we got to watch video of ourselves on the trip with Rick narrating our every mistake.

After taking notes on how bad a driver I am, I was given the option of practicing more with locks or climbing. I chose climbing because I needed something a little less cerebral to help me relax. I climbed up and down the fake cliff side quite a few times before everyone had finished their turn at driving the course and by then it was lunch time.

After lunch I had a good fifteen minutes before the next class began. Brian was eyeing me and I knew if I gave him half a chance he’d be trying to drag me off alone for as many of them as possible. A month ago I would have been floating on butterflies but now life is so much more complicated and a relationship, even a short one, would just complicate matters more. How can I be with a guy and not know whether he is with me or Virginia or whether there is even a difference?

“I should probably check in with my office since we have a few minutes. I’ll meet you guys at class.” I said.

I caught a glimpse of disappointment in Brian’s eyes and I felt a twinge of guilt for being elusive. It was a lame excuse, but it got me away on my own without having to turn Brian down directly. I walked away toward the bunks before anyone could say anything.

Out of sight and alone, I sat down on the edge of my bed and closed my eyes for a moment. I had a very strong urge to lay down and cry. Virginia would never do such a thing but I’m tired and frustrated and confused. Maybe I should just throw caution to the wind and enjoy Brian for the few days we have left together. I want to. Virginia won’t let me. Who am I?

I opened my eyes to Gina staring at me. She looked almost concerned but there was a glint of suspicion in her eye as well.

“Are you okay?” She asked.

“Fine. Just a little headache.” I replied.

“I’ve got some aspirin if you want.”

“That alright. I’ll be fine, but thanks.”

She nodded. I turned my attention to digging my bag out from beneath my bed. I expected Gina to walk away and leave me alone but instead she sat down on her own bunk and pulled her bag out. I pulled my phone out and turned it on with no idea what I was going to do with it other than looking like I was doing something. To my surprise the display flashed with two urgent messages.

I glanced at Gina and decided she was far enough away so as not to hear anything from my phone. I pressed the button to dial my voicemail and entered my security code. The first message started playing right away.

“Miss West, It’s Joseph Candle. I apologize for bothering you during training but an urgent matter has come up that I must discuss with you immediately. Please call me back as soon as you get this.”

Urgent perhaps, but you would never have guessed it by Mr. Candle’s calm voice. The second message started playing a few seconds later.

“Miss West, Joseph Candle again. It is imperative I speak with you as soon as possible. Call me.”

Obviously, something important was up. I disconnected from voicemail without deleting the messages and called Mr. Candle from the phone’s directory. It only got through a half ring before Cathy picked up the call.

“Quondam Innovations. Joseph Candle’s office.” She said.

“Cathy, It’s Virginia-”

Cathy interrupted me before I could even explain my reason for calling.

“Mr. Candle has been expecting your call. I’ll put you right through Ma’am.” She said.

There was only a brief pause before Mr. Candle was on the phone.

“Miss West, thank God you are alright.” He began.

“I’m fine sir. I just got your messages, I’m sorry I hadn’t really expected to hear from anyone so I wasn’t checking it regularly.”

“Not to worry about now, Miss West. We have a bit of a situation on our hands.”

“Yes, sir. How can I help?”

“We discovered a mole inside our HR department. It’s possible your information has been compromised.” Mr. Candle said.

“In what way?” I asked.

“They didn’t have full access but your cover identity is almost certainly exposed.”

“Forgive me, but I don’t understand the concern. Isn’t that what we want to be publicly known?"

I glanced at Gina. She was carefully pretending to not be paying attention, but I could tell by the tension in her shoulders and neck that she was inferring loads from the one sided conversation she was hearing. I would have to be careful.

“I’m afraid a full explanation will have to wait until you return from Utah. What you need to know right now is that you could be in danger and someone at that camp might well know that Virginia West is a cover identity. You won’t be able to fool them if they have the file because they’ll know more about Miss West than you do.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Identify likely suspects and investigate the camp’s enrollment records to see if any of them were enrolled last minute like you.”

“How do you expect me to do that? I don’t have access.”

“You’ll find a way. It’s important. I’ve recalled the rest of the Q5 team from Italy in case we need to take action. Whatever you do, don’t let on that you know anything. Just get back to me with any information you can find on who might be connected to our spy.”

“I’ll see what I can do. No promises though.”

“Be careful Miss West. I can’t stress enough how dangerous these people are.”

“Understood.” I said.

I hung up the phone and turned it off. I wished I had someplace secure to lock it up but as I’ve learned in this camp already, no lock is safe. I settled for separating the phone and battery into different compartments in my bag. Suddenly, that eerie feeling I had when Brian made that comment about just being myself, returned with a vengeance.

“Trouble at the office?” Gina asked.

I smiled away my suspicion and shrugged like everything was normal.

“The usual. Everything is life and death with Mr. Candle.” I replied.

“Must get old.”

“You learn to deal.” I said. “We better get going or we’ll be late.”

It was hard to concentrate in Tanya’s class with the scary knowledge rolling around in my head. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to crawl around in brush and cover yourself in dirt. Camouflage might look like fun, but at the end of the day I couldn’t wait to hit the shower. Cold water or not, I wasn’t sleeping looking like a sandworm.

I didn’t really sleep anyway. After the lights went out all I could think about was how I would break into the administration office and steal a look at the files without getting caught. I hope inspiration hits me at some point cause right now I’ve got nothing.


  1. Very good. I'm excited about how it goes on but I know that's the whole purpose.

  2. Ashley, so now the real action starts, or does it ?
    Warm hugs,

  3. Ashley, I just wanted to say I love the story so far. It's really very entertaining and your heroine is both funny and intriguing. Like everyone else, I'm eagerly waiting to see what happens next.

  4. Good job setting all the characters up so far Ash. The spy really could be anyone.