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.

August 10, 2009

Diving In: Breath Of Courage

Summer sun beat down on the tarmac and I stepped away from the others. My phone found its way into my hand once I was alone. The entire ride from QI to the airport I had spent wondering just what I was going to say and more importantly just what they were going to say to me. With a deep breath of courage I dialed home.

“Beaumont residence.” Mom answered.

“Hi mom.” I said.

“Allison? What’s that noise?”

“I’m at the airport. I have to go away again.”

“So soon? You just got back.”

“I know. I’m not sure how long but expect at least three or four days, probably a week.”

“You don’t even have a bag packed.”

“The company will provide everything I need.”

“Allison, that‘s wasteful and entirely unnecessary. There is no reason you can‘t just come home and pack some things before you go.”

“I’m sorry mom. It’s out of my hands.”

“I want you to come home right now.”

“Mom, that’s not going to happen. I’m needed here.”

“Your job isn’t that important. This constant traveling is ridiculous.”

“It’s just a business trip and it‘s my job for now. I’ll be back before you know it.”

“Maybe it’s time you left this job and started looking for something more suitable.”

“I’m just getting started here and while it’s not the best job it still beats being unemployed.”

“You have your reputation to think of. All this traveling with your boss is inappropriate.”

“Mom, you’re being ridiculous. I have to go.”

I disconnected the call before she could say anything more. I knew she wasn’t going to be happy and I’ll probably have more than my hands full when I get back. I’d be lying to say I haven’t considered untangling myself from Joseph Candle, but hearing my mother demand it was having the opposite effect on me. Sometimes, being contrary to her is all the motivation I need.

There was one more call I needed to make before boarding the plane. I considered not making it. It wasn’t strictly necessary, but unless I was going to allow my parents to completely control my life outside of work, it was important enough to take a few minutes. I glanced at the waiting jet and decided it could wait a couple minutes more. I dialed. The call went directly to his voicemail.

At the tone; “Mark, It’s Allison. I know we were supposed to get together later this week but I don’t think I’ll be making it. I have to leave town again and I’m not sure when I’ll be getting back. I’ll call you when I get back. Bye.” I said.

A few minutes later I was sitting in a semi-comfortable chair looking out over the Pacific Ocean and wondering if I wanted to ever come back down. Part of me felt like I was finally finding where I belonged with these strangers in the sky. They weren’t friends and that didn’t matter because that wasn’t what I needed anyway. Together we have purpose and direction and that’s what has been missing from my life thus far.

As we soared above the clouds and the blue ocean faded away I turned my attention back to my companions. We were heading into a situation which would likely require all of us to be at our best if we were to going to even have a chance at success. I felt the pressure and the uncertainty of what to expect. The knowledge that one or more of them might be more interested in seeing us fail than succeed was like a load of bricks resting on my shoulders. It was time to do something constructive and stop waiting for someone else to act.

“Dr. Michaels.” I said. “From Mr. Candle’s report is it safe for me to assume we are working off the theory that Magellan’s body was carried from the coast and into the sea?”

He stared over at me through quizzical eyes.

“The assumption is less than certain but it clearly what we are working off of.” He replied.

I nodded.

“Thank you. Kyra, what kind of model are you working up to narrow our search area?” I asked.

Kyra nearly bristled at me and her expression left little doubt as to how annoyed she felt by my question. I didn’t really care. Finding the medallion without unnecessary delay was more important than her feelings.

“We don’t have much to go on. I don’t even have a specific origin to start with. It’s going to be a lot of guess work.” Kyra said.

“I thought there was a marker at the spot where he was killed?” I said.

“You are correct, however, the location is likely to be inaccurate.” Dr. Michaels said.

I bit at my lip, thinking through the logical steps.

“Alright. Let’s determine a radius around that marker.” I said.

“Based on what?” Kyra asked.

“Dr. Michaels, you don’t dispute his death on the coast, correct?”

“Correct. The marker was simply placed long after the actual death of Magellan and it’s location is based primarily off of oral history passed down through the generations.”

“So, the location is based off of what? Trees, rocks, tidal markers?” I asked.

“All of the above.” Dr. Michaels said.

“Okay. Tidal markers seems the most reliable out of that. Can we extrapolate changes in the tidal markers between when the marker was placed and when Magellan was killed?” I asked.

“In theory.” Kyra said.

“What stops us from making that theory a reality?” I asked.

“Incomplete storm records for starters.” She replied.

“Alright, but what kind of an error are we talking about?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well if the records are incomplete and say for example there was a storm of the greatest magnitude ever recorded or there were no significant storms at all how far would the model be off?” I said.

“Umm, I don’t know. Give me a minute.”

Kyra was typing away before she finished speaking. Dr. Michaels had moved closer and was sitting between Kyra and me. I noticed, while we waited, it was the first time since I met him that he seemed genuinely interested in something other than ridiculing me. The change felt like progress.

“In a worst case scenario we could be off by about two feet.” Kyra said.

“That doesn’t sound too bad. What does that do to our search area if we allow for the location within a radius of four feet?” I asked.

“I think I can narrow it further.” Kyra said.

“How?” Dr. Michaels asked.

“Some of the area that would be defined in that radius would not have allowed the body to be washed out to sea at all unless it was moved by someone.” Kyra replied.

“Well that’s certainly a possibility.” Dr. Michaels said.

“But not a likely one. Lapu-Lapu would have enjoyed displaying Magellan’s body to his enemy. Had it not washed away, he would not have been likely to simply toss it in the sea.” I said.

“That’s a drastic simplification of the situation. Our chief reason for believing his body was washed to sea is simply that the medallion itself has not made an appearance since Magellan’s death. It is equally possible that there is another reason for the medallions absence and one of the many other stories regarding Magellan’s body is true.” Dr. Michaels said.

I nodded.

“You’re right of course, but unless we are going to make some radical assumptions we have to stick within the confines of the legend we are choosing to believe.” I said.

“Agreed.” Dr. Michaels said.

“I’ve narrowed the parameters to only those locations within our extrapolated death radius. It will take some time but I think, based on these assumptions, I can narrow our search down to a square mile of the ocean floor.” Kyra said.

“Excellent. Will that also account for drift as the body sank and movement from decomposition?” I said.

“I’m not new at this.” Kyra said.

“I’m just asking to make sure we are thinking of all the angles.” I said.

“Fine. I’ll work up the parameters and you can review them to see if you think I’ve missed anything.” Kyra said.

“Thank you. Have Dr. Michaels review them as well.” I said.

For a moment she glared at me in silence. I could feel the hostile annoyance in the air between us, but I decided to ignore it and move onward. There was no point in getting caught up in pettiness and more to the point, there wasn’t time. I turned my attention to Tom, who was sitting off to the other side of the cabin looking amused as he watched the interplay between myself and Kyra.

I stood and crossed the cabin to stand next to him.

“Tom, I inferred from Mr. Candle’s briefing that we will be dealing with some unscrupulous types on this outing.” I said.

“It’s always a possibility, but don’t you worry. I’ll protect you.” Tom said.

“Thanks, but I prefer to be a little more self-reliant.” I said.

“Suit yourself.”

“I will. Do we have guns that will work after getting wet or even in the water?” I asked.

“Handguns and saltwater don’t mix well. If you get them wet you got a 50/50 chance of them firing until you clean and dry the weapon. I’d also recommend tossing any ammo that gets wet.”

“So we don’t have anything that’s waterproof?” I asked.

It seemed a little hard to believe to me.

“Sorry, it just don’t exist. I can equip you with a waterproof carrying case, but if you get the gun itself into the water there are just no guarantees.”

“So we are stuck with spear guns and knives in the water?”

“Just knives.” Tom said.

“I see.”

“What can we expect in the way of dangerous marine life in this region?” I asked.

“Well most of the marine life isn’t dangerous unless provoked.”

“You know what I am asking.” I said.

My patience with his lazy attitude was wearing a bit thin.

“Sharks and eels mostly. Leave them alone and they’ll leave you alone.” He said.

“It might not always be possible depending on the situation.” I said. “I’ve read about sonic emitters that create a buffer zone for divers.”

“They aren’t perfect and sometimes they can antagonize the creatures rather than drive them off.”

“I think it would be wise if we had the equipment available at least. Then we can decide whether to use it or not when we are on the scene and know what we are dealing with.” I said.

“Alright. I’ll see what I can do.”

“Good. Also, get us something for use in the water other than knives. If our competition gets a little to cutthroat while we’re down there, I want to have the odds weighted in our favor.”

“I don’t really--”

“Just do it.” I said.

His easy going expression disappeared. I braced myself for a barrage of insults or some other verbal attack but it never came. He blinked and relaxed again, flashing me a smile as if nothing bother him.

“Yes, ma’am.” He said.

A hand came to rest on my shoulder from behind me causing me to look around. Jack was standing there with an unreadable expression on his face. I decided it was a bad sign and turned to face him fully. My heart thudded in my chest as my brain raced to figure out just what it was I could have done to piss him off this time.

“Could I have a word Miss West?” Jack said.

It wasn’t really a question.

“Of course.” I replied.

My legs felt wobbly as I followed him to the front of the cabin into an area that was sectioned off as a private office for him. He closed the door behind us to allow some privacy and gestured for me to take a seat. I noticed immediately how much more comfortable the chairs were than in the rest of the cabin.

“Is something wrong?” I asked.

“Seeing as I’m technically in command of this team, I would appreciate it if you would run things by me before giving orders to everyone.”

“I wasn’t--”

“Giving orders? I beg to differ. You just turned Kyra’s assignment upside down and pulled Gene off of research to participate in your brainstorm and unless I’m mistaken, you gave Tom some rather specific orders regarding equipment for our defense.”

“Okay, you’re right. I’m sorry.” I said.

“It’s not that I don’t want your input and involvement. It’s just that you are still new to all this and it’s my job to make sure everyone is on track with their responsibilities. If you and I are giving conflicting instructions there will be trouble and I don’t think I need to tell you where that trouble will end.”

“No. I’m sorry. I didn’t think through what I was doing and how it might effect you.” I said.

It was strangely easy to apologize to Jack Barker. Most times in my life when I’ve been in a position needing to make an apology I have struggled with it. Not because I wasn’t sincerely apologetic but mostly because of the insufferable gloating that appears in the eyes so often. With Jack there was no gloating or superiority complex just a cool headed reprimand for a mistake. It was simple and easy and although I’m sure he didn’t realize it, in that moment, he won my respect.


  1. Ashley,

    another fascinating story. Looks like some of the team is finally accepting virgina. Dr. Michaels is coming around too. VIrginia was a little bossy there think she let finding the last treasure go to her head but at least she did apoligize.

    Looking forward to the next story.

    Good Job!!!

  2. Ashley, the gap between Allison/Virginia and her parents is growing, it's time for the umbilical cord to be cut.
    Things are beginning to work in the team.
    I watch with interest to see if I can spot the bad egg.
    Warm hugs,

  3. I'm curious to know how many of these reputation damaging trips Allison can take before her mother puts her foot down. It would be nice to see a bit more gasoline thrown in before that fire gets started though.

    I'm sure the extra protection V requested for underwater will be important in the next chapters. A scuba diving trip is the perfect setting for sabotage and treachery after all.