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 13, 2009

Diving In: Making Waves

The hotel lobby was as hot and humid as the outside. It was full of life and not just the people milling around, but plants were a central part of the d├ęcor. We left on such short notice the only luggage we were burden with was Kyra and Tom’s equipment. Given the heat, I was looking forward to a nice cool shower and a change into more comfortable attire. Of course, we would need to buy the attire which didn’t seem like such a bad thing either.

“V, get us checked in and make sure Kyra and Gene have everything they need.” Jack said.

We were standing off to the side of the main entrance.

“Going somewhere?” I asked.

“Yes. We need to obtain some permits before we can do anything here.” Jack said.

“Fun. Any idea when you’ll be back?”

“A couple hours maybe longer. It’s hard to estimate.”

“Right. What about clothes? We’re going to need more than what we’ve got on our backs.”

“Joe will take care of that. By tonight we’ll have everything we need and then some.”

“And here I was looking forward to a shopping trip.” I said.

“We have more important things to do.” Kyra said.

It was meant as a barb, but I chose to ignore it. Jack glance at Kyra said all that needed to be said anyway. I nodded at Jack.

“Good luck.” I said.

He nodded back at me with a hint of a smile on his lips. I headed for the check-in counter and he headed back outside. It took a moment but the rest of the team followed me and I somehow managed to avoid looking back over my shoulder to make sure.

The hotel turned out to be overbooked and our five suites were demoted to two doubles. The guys were going to be uncomfortable with one of them having to sleep on a rollaway. Keys in hand I stepped away from the counter and out of the way. Everyone had heard the bad news and if the expressions on their faces were any clue, no one was too happy about it.

“If you had a backbone we would have what we are supposed to have.” Kyra said.

Her accusing tone was meant to challenge me and incite the others to come down on me as well. Tom and Gene weren’t quite ready to jump on the wagon though and I wasn’t biting.

“If you think you could get a better result, please do your best. I’m still new to all of this.” I said.

“I like how you pick and choose when to use that line.” Kyra said.

“Unless someone thinks they can do better on our rooms, I suggest we head up to them.” I said.

Kyra seemed to want to engage in a battle of wits but for a change I was realizing it takes two to fight. Whatever her problem was with me, it was going to have to wait for a more appropriate time. I looked around at my group and seeing that no one had anything else to say, I turned and walked to the elevators. Unfortunately there was a line which forced me to stop and wait again.

One glance at Kyra told me she was about to take advantage of the situation and press on with her subtle attacks. I quickly decided to take away her opportunity. Tom seemed convenient but in retrospect I might have found a better direction to prod our conversation.

“Tom, I want you to sweep both rooms for any surveillance devices before anyone gets settled.” I said.

Tom rolled his eyes and shook his head at me as if to say I didn’t know what I was talking about.

“If anyone’s that interested in us it would be a first and if they are, there isn’t much I can really do about it because if they’re good enough to get stuff into our rooms they’re good enough to bounce a laser off our windows.” Tom replied.

“Just do it.” I said.

It wasn’t his fault I was an idiot but with Kyra riding me, I wasn’t in the mood to have it pointed out to me. My brain was racking its way through the slight embarrassment trying to find another subject to discuss before Kyra took advantage of the silence. Nothing seemed to be going smoothly.

“V!” A familiar voice shouted from somewhere behind me.

I spun around to find the source and my eyes locked onto a ridiculously happy Gina. She waved as if I could possibly not have seen her already, but I couldn’t help smiling and waving back. I had never really thought I’d see her again after camp, especially with how things had ended. Still, it was good to see her and clearly she was even more happy to see me.

“Excuse me for a few minutes. I’ll meet you upstairs.” I said.

“You do know we’re working here?” Kyra said.

My patience was running out but I managed to contain myself to a narrow eyed glare in her direction and a gruff tone to my voice.

“See to the rooms Tom and then help Kyra get set up. I’ll be up in a few minutes.” I said.

Kyra was about to say something else but Tom stopped her with a hand over her mouth. I almost laughed aloud at the sight. Kyra wasn’t laughing though. Dr. Michaels was at least remaining quiet. He was absorbed with his phone where he was reading up on data he’d downloaded before we debarked from the jet.

“Don’t be long.” Tom said.

I nodded at him and left to meet Gina halfway in the distance between us.

“How are you?” I asked when we were close enough for her to hear me without shouting.

“Better. Great. I see you’re with your whole team. How’s it working out?” She said.

Just seeing her and the excitement she clearly was feeling, made me feel better. It was like getting a personality transplant the way she eased my tension and relaxed me with her mere presence. I felt as if I was grinning like an idiot, but I didn’t care at all.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I could ask you the same but I already know why you are here.” Gina teased.

“Are you avoiding answering me?” I said.

Gina laughed. It was good to hear her laughing again.

“I’m here to cover the story if one of you actually finds this medallion.” She said.

“I suppose I really shouldn’t be talking to you then.” I said.

“Why? You aren’t afraid of Joseph Candle’s big blue paddles are you?” Gina asked.

I’m not sure what image was floating around inside of Gina’s head but she definitely planted a humorous one in mine; Joseph Candle chasing me around his office with a blue leather paddle the size of a tennis racket shaking in his hand. It was both hilarious and terrifying.

“Joseph Candle is the least of my worries.” I said.

Gina nodded as if she understood. It’s probably a trick they teach reporters. I can see how it would work quite well. You simply nod and your subject suddenly feels like you know the things you want to know and therefore all thoughts of keeping secrets fade away. I mean what’s the point of a secret that everyone knows?

Of course my secrets aren’t known to everyone and I’m almost constantly aware of just how little everyone around me knows about me. Every time someone calls me V or Miss West, I am reminded that I am a stranger in my own life. It would be nice to have someone to discuss it with other than Joseph Candle but in my short time with Q5, I have realized he was absolutely right when he told me no one could know.

“So tell me, who is favored to find the elusive medallion?” I asked.

Gina’s grin grew wider.

“Ah ha! So you are here for the medallion.” She said.

I laughed.

“That wasn’t a secret.” I said.

“Well so far everyone else has denied that’s what they are here for.” She said.

“I’m sure not everyone is looking for it.” I said.

Gina gave me a “really?” look and I laughed.

“Okay, so maybe most of them are.” I said.

She nodded.

“So who’s the favored team?” I asked.

“It’s hard to say, but honestly Q5 isn’t anywhere near the top. I mean everyone says you’re a wild card on the team, but you’re up against a ton of experience on other teams.” She said.

“How many other professional teams are we pitted against?” I asked.

Gina might have set out to get information from me, but in reality she was providing me with more useful information.

“There are at least four other teams that I know about. I’ve heard rumors there is even a Chinese team coming, but no one has seen them yet.”

“What can you tell me about the other teams?” I asked.

“Wait a second. I’m supposed to be asking you the questions.” Gina said.

“I know, but it works so much better this way.” I said.

Gina shook her head at me, still half laughing.

“Hands down the best equipped will be Alex Kemp’s team. He’s not afraid of getting his hands dirty, but if he can pay someone else to do it, he will.” Gina said. “Watch out for the Russian team, if they think you’ve found it they’ll try to take it from you. The other two teams I don’t know much about. One of them is mostly a French group but I think their leader is Belgian and the other is basically a collection of mercenaries led by a former Seal. I’d tell you more if I knew.”

“That’s more than I knew ten minutes ago. Thanks.” I said.

“Can you answer one question for me?” Gina asked.

“Ask and I’ll let you know.”

“What coordinates are you going to start your search from?”

I sighed.

“I wish I knew. We are still compiling data, trying to narrow the search field.” I said.

“If you knew would you tell me?”

“No. I can’t risk giving someone else a head start.” I said.

“I figured that. Well if you think of anything interesting you can tell me, I’ll be around.” She said.

I nodded. We said our goodbyes and headed off our separate ways. I wondered how much hell I was going to catch from my team as I rode the elevator up to our rooms. Exiting the elevator I was struggling to remember the room numbers when I heard shouting down the hall. I recognized the voice as Tom’s immediately. I broke into a run, heading straight for the commotion. I burst into the room, thinking I was ready for anything and I was, except for what I found.

Tom was lying on the floor. His face was bright red. Wires were wrapped around in every which direction and it was clear by his twitching that the more he moved the tighter his confinement was becoming. He was glaring at Kyra and barely even noticed my entrance.

Kyra was laying on the bed, laughing hysterically. If this had happened in Italy I would have considered it an accident and been laughing myself, but having worked with the team, I doubted anything was accidental. Kyra saw me and decided my entrance was almost as amusing as Tom’s predicament.

“What’s going on here?” I demanded.

Kyra continued to laugh. Tom chose silence. Dr. Michaels cleared his throat. I turned to him.

“I do believe Tom has managed to get himself wired.” Dr. Michaels said.

Clearly, he thought he was being funny. I looked between the three of them and decided I didn’t really care what was going on or who was responsible for what.

“Get him out of this before something gets damaged.” I ordered.

Kyra stopped laughing long enough to glare at me.

“It wouldn’t have happened--” She began.

I knew what she was going to say. She was intending to somehow blame me for the mess because I had stopped to talk with a friend. I snapped my fingers at her, gaining her irritated attention.

“If you need that much supervision from me to get your job done then I can think of something else you need as well.” I said. “Now, help Tom extricate himself from those wires and make sure your equipment is working before I decide to mention what you need to Jack.”

Finally Kyra decided to do what I asked instead of questioning me and my authority. It bothered me that I had to resort to threats, but something told me nothing else was going to work until Kyra and I had a free moment to work out the real problem between us.

It only took a few minutes for her to free Tom. You might have thought he’d be grateful, but you’d be wrong. If anything he was angry at me for getting involved. I knew right then I was going to have to develop a thick skin if I hoped to survive with this bunch of misfits I was supposed to call my team.

Once it was clear Kyra’s equipment was functioning properly and Dr. Michaels had access to everything he needed I turned my attention to other things.

“Tom, did you find anything when you checked the rooms?” I asked.

He glanced at me and instantly I knew he’d ignored my order to look for surveillance equipment. I tried to control the anger building up inside me as my spine straightened and my jaw set in its “Don’t mess with me” pose. The blood rushed to my face and I’m sure Tom was trying to decide whether I was embarrassed, pissed off, or both.

“You didn’t even check.” I said.

“Check what?” Jack asked from behind me.

I kept my eyes on Tom who wasn’t looking quite up to his usual cockiness.

“I asked Tom to check our rooms for bugs.” I said.

“You ignored her?” Jack asked.

Tom didn’t seem to be able to look at Jack or me.

“I was distracted.” Tom said at long last.

“By what?” Jack asked.

“Kyra.” I answered.

“She left us alone.” Kyra said, pointing at me as if there was another “she” in the room.

Jack sighed in obvious disgust.

“Sweep the rooms, Tom. Everybody out, I need a word with Kyra. Alone.” Jack ordered.

Nobody dared to question his orders.

3 comments:

  1. Ashley,

    Great story. I like how Virginia is getting more responsibility on the team. Looks like Jack is trusting her and has confidence in her, also like how Virginia was ignoring kyra and not playing her game

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  2. Ashley, never a dull moment, I like the way the story moves.
    Warm hugs,
    Paul.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So now Kyra seems to be fulfilling the role of official team troublemaker. Can V reclaim her lost title?

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