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.

July 10, 2009

Measuring Up: Searching For Direction

Dr. Michaels walked into my office, his arms loaded with a stack of books stretching from his chin down to his waist. They thudded loudly on my desktop. I looked from them to Dr. Michaels and back to them again. He rested an empty hand atop the stack and grinned.

“Just some light reading to catch you up on our latest mission.” He said.

“Please tell me there is a synopsis somewhere.” I replied.

“I’m afraid not, but I could give you a brief oral summary if you aren’t up to reading.”

“Let’s start with that and then I can better focus my attention.”

“Well basically we are looking for a one of a kind prototype compass designed and manufactured by Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei himself.” He began.

I had to fight the urge to roll my eyes at his use of Galileo’s full name. No doubt I was supposed to be impressed and I might have been had he not butchered the pronunciation with Spanish accents rather than the Italian one’s to which the name belonged.

“So what are we talking about a directional compass or a drawing compass?” I asked.

“Neither. The Galilean compass was a mathematical tool much like a scientific calculator.” Kyra said, entering my office.

“Galileo made many of these compasses throughout his career and in fact the sale of these extremely precise instruments to the military and surveyors kept him with sufficient coin to pursue his many other interests ranging from time keeping to astronomy and astrology. In the early 17th century, circa 1609 he improved upon his design and wrote a pamphlet to accompany the new and improved compasses.” Dr. Michaels said.

I stifled a yawn at his monologue and felt sorry for whatever students had once been unfortunate enough to listen to his ramblings. If his story had a point he was taking the long way to getting to it. Meanwhile, Kyra had sat on the corner of my desk and didn’t feel the need to hide her boredom.

“You did hear Mr. Barker wanted a report today?” She asked, looking right at Dr. Michaels.

“Jack doesn’t need a report. He already knows as much as we know about the compass. She’s the only one that doesn’t.” He replied.

“He’s going to lose his patience with you calling him Jack.” Kyra taunted.

“I’ve been here longer than any of you and I’ll call each of you whatever I damn well please.” He responded.

Watching the two of them I figured out pretty quickly that while they liked to goad each other, there was also a layer of mutual respect and friendship beneath it all. I wondered briefly just how long these two had been working together.

“Like it or not Mr. Barker is the boss now.” Kyra said.

“Not.” Dr. Michaels said.

“He wants a report, he gets a report and personally I don’t fancy trying to explain why she doesn’t have it done on time.” Kyra said.

“I can’t say I would mind watching you try.” He replied.

The glint in his eye and the wicked grin on his face made me wonder just what he meant. Kyra seemed to know if the blush on her cheeks was any indicator.

“Cute. You do know I could have a virus destroy all your historical records?” She said.

“Digital logs are hardly historical.” He said and patted the pile of books he had dropped on my desk. “This stuff is history and your viruses can’t touch them.”

“Maybe not but a fire could.” She replied.

“You wouldn’t dare.” He said.

“Try me.” She said with fluttering eyelashes.

“Hey guys, maybe we could get back to this compass thingamajig? I realize it’s not quite as pressing as your banter but it’s unless I’m mistaken it’s the job.” I said.

“Right then.” He said.

He paced the floor in front of my desk like it was a giant lecture hall. Kyra groaned but after one look from me, decided to keep her mouth shut and listen. I tried to act like I was really interested even though all I was really interested in was finishing the report so I could get on to something that would matter.

“During his career Galileo was first and foremost a mathematician. He was brilliant and his work provided the foundation for much of Newton and Einstein’s discoveries. Unfortunately, he lived in a time when the Catholic church ruled supreme on matters of science and anything which could be vaguely construed to contradict scripture was considered heresy. Galileo was eventually put on trial and convicted for heresy over the publication of a paper discussing the pros and cons of a heliocentric solar system. The work was originally approved by the Pope himself as well as the Inquisition of the day, but politics run amok somehow and it ended badly for Galileo. He was forbidden to publish any further works and spent the remainder of his days under house arrest.” Dr. Michaels continued.

I wanted so badly to ask what all that had to do with the compass we were looking for but between the smug look on his face and Kyra‘s yawning, I elected to remain silent. No need to give them more fuel and start a new round of time wasting banter.

“Sometime during those final days, probably before he went blind, Galileo constructed a final compass which is rumored to include a special chart for marking universal time passage based on the observed orbits of a group of moons orbiting Jupiter, known today as the Galilean Satellites. It is this mathematical basis of marking universal time which makes the compass invaluable and particularly so because any papers he may have wrote explaining the concept were never published. The compass may well be the only surviving record of this scientific breakthrough.” Dr. Michaels finished.

I sat back for a moment and tried to summarize what he had told me. It seemed incredible or rather incredibly ridiculous.

“So what you are saying is we are looking for a compass that might contain a mathematical algorithm for universal time keeping, but we don’t know if the compass or the algorithm actually exist at all?” I said.

Dr. Michaels looked at me for a moment. Then he looked through me as if processing my words and trying to decide if he could respond simply or if a more complicated response was required.

“In essence,” He said. “Yes.”

“See how much easier it could have been said?” Kyra piped in.

I shook my head at her. I thought I had trouble keeping my mouth shut. By the looks of things, Kyra had me beat on that count by miles.

“Do we have clues as to where such a compass might have ended up?” I asked.

“Not much. My best research suggests it might have been passed down to his son Vincenzo. He followed in his father’s footsteps to an extent in mathematics although never quite as successful. It was clear however that he had a fascination with time and actually designed a pendulum based clock although it was never built. Most dismiss the design because it lacks accuracy based on our accepted time keeping, but I’ve theorized the clock might have been designed to keep time on an entirely different scale.”

“So it could be plan for a universal clock of sorts?”

“His theory is crap. The clock is based on a false premise about the swing of a pendulum. He’s just grasping at straws because we already proved his original thoughts on the compass were wrong.” Kyra said.

“It is a possibility, but without Galileo’s formula it is impossible to determine.” Dr. Michaels said, ignoring Kyra entirely.

I decided to follow his lead. She wasn’t really helping us get anything resolved.

“So if Vincenzo got the compass, where would it have gone from there?” I asked.

“That is the question. My theories include Galileo’s tomb in the Basilica of Santa Croce, The Catholic Church, or somewhere in the estate of Sestilia Galilei Bocchineri.”

“And if Vicenzo didn’t get it?” I asked.

“Then it could be anywhere.” Kyra said.

It was the reality regardless but Dr. Michaels didn’t seem to realize it. If the compass existed at all, if it survived the last 400 years, it could be sitting in a museum somewhere with no one knowing what it was worth or worse yet, it could be in someone’s basement collecting dust and long forgotten. One question plagued me; Why were we looking for it now?

“Okay so how do we put this into a report?” I asked.

Kyra bravely rolled her eyes at me. Dr. Michaels chuckled. I looked between the two of them feeling certain I was the joke.

“A little help getting to know how you do things around here is all I’m asking.” I said.

“Yeah, well you better ask Mr. Barker.” Kyra said.

“I thought he told you to help me.” I said.

“He did, but he’s the only one who has ever actually done them before.” She said.

“Do you have an old one?” I asked.

“Nope.” She said.

I closed my eyes and tried to push away the frustration.

“Fine.” I said. “Get out.”

The both looked at me like I’d lost my mind. I didn’t care. If they weren’t there to help I certainly wasn’t going to keep them around to watch. Besides, how hard can it be to make a report? They wisely decided not to test me and left me alone.

I turned on the computer, grabbed the top book from the stack and started reading. Summaries are great when someone knows what is going on, but when everyone’s in the dark a summary is just a shortcut to missing what you are looking for.

It was dark outside when Mr. Barker popped his head into my office. I was not even close to halfway finished, but I wasn’t going to let that scare me. It wasn’t like I’d been wasting time.

“How’s it going?” He asked.

“With all this material I can’t get you a report before tomorrow evening at best.” I said.

He nodded.

“You knew that from the start.” I said.

“I did.”

“Then why ask for the impossible?”

“I wanted to see how you’d handle it.”

“Did I pass?”

He smiled.

“With flying colors. Why don’t you pack it up for the night. It’s time to go home.” He said.

I looked at the stack remaining on my desk and nodded. It would still be there in the morning and wherever the lost compass was resting, it would still be there too. Or so I hoped.


  1. Ash,

    Good Story. LIke the backforth banter between Virginia and Kyra. Kyra is a smart alic, but like how virginia didnt put up with anything either even if it might of gotten her sent to HR

  2. I like Kyra already and Dr. Daniel Jackson uhmm, I mean Dr. Michaels too.

    Good decision to go home and let it rest till tomorrow!


  3. Ashley, so Kyra is helpful and Dr Michaels has a chip on his shoulder because length of service, he thinks, qualifies him to lead.
    Mr Barker seems reasonable.
    Warm hugs,

  4. Dr. Michaels seems like a nice enough guy. It's always the nice ones that get picked on though.

  5. Ashley, I look forward to seeing just what you are doing with this Galilean Compass. These kinds of things are very interesting to me and they always make for good adventure stories.

    Also enjoyed the interaction between Kyra and Dr. Michaels, but I have to admit I was at least halfway hoping to see her get a little spanking. Oh well, maybe next time.