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 25, 2009

Diving In: Murky Waters

It was almost midnight by the time Jack returned to the hotel. Kyra had managed to fall asleep despite my constant pacing. My parents have told me it’s a bad habit and I guess they are probably right. If it didn’t help me think I wouldn’t do it, but it does and I do. I guess I’m not very good at doing what I’m told if it doesn't fit with my own desires.

I joined Jack in the guy’s room, closing the door between our rooms so we could talk without disturbing Kyra. He was as disheveled as I’ve ever seen him. His hair had dried in curly clumps and he obviously hadn’t bothered to try an comb it. The slump in his shoulders told me he was tired and probably not in the mood to talk for long.

“How are they?” I asked.

Jack had taken Tom and Dr. Michaels to an emergency clinic as soon as we’d docked. Neither of them had life threatening injuries but that didn’t mean they weren’t in pain or that I didn’t care.

“They’ll be fine. The doctor wanted Gene to stay overnight and Tom stayed to keep an eye on things.” Jack said.

I nodded, not entirely surprised.

“Did you learn anything about our attackers?” Jack asked.

Kyra and I had spent the rest of the day and well into the night looking for clues. There was a lot not adding up to me and I was pretty certain there were things I didn’t know about Q5 that I definitely needed to know.

“Not much. We found the transmitter the torpedoes were homing in on. It was on starboard hull below the waterline. Could have been placed by anyone.” I said.

“We dived off port. That means it’s unlikely Tom or Gene were involved.” Jack said.

I nodded, having come to the same conclusion hours earlier.

“I’m having a hard time believing anyone of them could be involved.” I said.

Jack tilted his head toward me with a curious expression on his face. I suspect he was surprised at my words.

“You have an alternate theory?” He asked.

“I’m working on one. I don’t have all the information though, do I?” I replied.

Jack huffed and nodded his head a little. It was probably as close to an acknowledgment as I was going get. I wondered if he wasn’t saying anything because he didn’t know or because he still didn’t trust me. Thinking of Mr. Candle, it was probably a bit of both.

“What else did your investigation reveal?” Jack asked.

“The transmitter was manufactured in China. In itself that doesn’t mean much. It could have been purchased anywhere. The ship that attacked us was of Chinese registry though.” I said.

“So the Chinese government is after us?” Jack asked.

I shook my head.

“No, I don’t think so at least. The ship was reported stolen by pirates about two months ago. Kyra confirmed the records and unless they had some advanced warning about the quakes in this region and what they might uncover, it seems rather farfetched they’d be involved.” I said.

“Maybe, maybe not.” Jack said.

I waited for him to explain with a quizzical expression on my face.

“They might have had another purpose for the ship and circumstances might have made it convenient for use here.” Jack said.

“I guess, but I still don’t know if it’s likely.” I said.

“Anything else?” Jack asked.

“Two other teams reported being attacked as well and Kemp’s team has disappeared.”


I nodded.

“Kyra found a 15 minute gap in satellite coverage and during that time their ship disappeared entirely.”


I shrugged.

“That was my first thought but Kyra doesn’t think so.”

“Based on what?”

“She believed there would be surface water displacement in evidence if it had sank and there was no sign of debris either which would make it hard to explain why it would sink in the first place.”

Jack nodded.

“Any other theories?” Jack asked.

“None worth sharing.” I said.

“If you tell me what you’re thinking I might be able to help you work it out.” Jack said.

“If his ship was also a submarine it would explain a lot.” I said.

Jack chuckled. I blushed, embarrassed by my ridiculous, not to mention impossible, theory.

“I won’t totally discount it, knowing Alex as I do, but you’re right it’s not likely.” Jack said.

“Like I said, it wasn’t really worth mentioning.” I said.

Jack nodded.

“We should go to bed.” Jack said.

The statement caught me off guard and although I’m sure he didn’t mean together, it was the only thought in my head. I could think of worse ways to spend the night. My eyes looked from Jack to the bed and back again. He was looking at me with amusement and I felt my cheeks start to burn as I realized he knew exactly what I was thinking. Lucky for me, neither of us put a voice to the thought.

“I’ll see you in the morning then.” I said.

I backed away from Jack Barker and his bed. My hand found the doorknob back to my own room without the aide of my eyes and I made an attempt at a graceful exit. Jack was gentleman enough to allow me my illusions and other than a weary smile, he refrained from further comment.

I was alone when I woke up. That was nearly a relief after some very vivid and torrent dreams during the night. Jack starred in all of them, but so did Mark. It was rather confusing and frankly, frightening. Kyra had left me a note, she and Jack were downstairs having breakfast. After a quick shower I headed down to join them.

I was walking through the lobby when a voice stopped me dead in tracks.

“Allison!” Mark called.

I turned toward his voice and wondered if I was losing my mind because he was nowhere in sight at first. Then I spotted him standing near a pot of bamboo by the wall. I changed direction and joined him in the semi-secluded spot.

“Mark.” I said. “What are you doing here?”

“Working. Who exactly at Quondam do you work for?” He said.

His voice was quiet, his tone was full of concern. It was disarming and were it not for the recent attack I might have allowed myself to relax, but all things considered, I was suspicious of everything breathing and half the things not. I’m pretty sure it’s not paranoia when they’re shooting torpedoes at you.

“That’s none of your business. Who are you working for?” I replied.

“Look it doesn’t matter. Obviously you are working for one of the people in Quondam’s Q5. They’re a dangerous group. You’ve got no idea what you are into here.”

“Really? Why don’t you tell me.” I said.

Can I help it that his assumption that I couldn’t take care of myself annoyed me? Or, truthfully, it might have been the fact he seemed to have totally discounted the possibility of me being a member of the team in favor of my be subservient to one or more of them. It’s not that I’ve given him any reason to think otherwise but still it’s insulting that he didn’t wonder if I was member even if that did mean I had to have been lying to him.

“For starters someone wants them all dead. I don’t know if you are aware but just yesterday someone tried to kill them all at sea. With torpedoes no less.” Mark said.

“Maybe someone’s just trying to scare them off.” I said.

He gave me an incredulous look.

“You don’t scare people off with torpedoes. You obliterate them from existence.” Mark replied.

“And I suppose what you are doing here is utterly safe?” I asked.

“That’s beside the point. You should quit this job and go home. I’d go with you but I’ve got a couple more days work at least and I can’t afford to skip out on this contract.” He said.

“I’m not quitting my job. They need me here and despite everything I’m starting to enjoy my work.” I said.

“They don’t need you. Something happens to you not a one of them will shed a tear. They’ll just replace you with another young and pretty girl as soon as they get back.”

“It’s not like that.” I protested.

“No, it’s worse. They’re completely insane. From what I’ve heard they don’t even care about their own safety.”

“That’s pushing things to the extreme. They’re good people.” I said, feeling defensive.

“Maybe, but what about this Virginia West I keep hearing stories about. They say she took on a small army with nothing more than a handgun and then yesterday, I hear she drove their boat on a collision course with that Chinese vessel just to avoid one of those torpedoes. She doesn’t sound very stable to me. She sounds reckless and dangerous and just being around someone like that can get you hurt or worse.” Mark said.

I didn’t know what to say. Hearing my alternate identity coming out his lips and the way he painted me out to be some kind of reckless thrill seeker was awkward to say the least. I couldn’t help but wonder what he would say if he knew I was one and the same as this woman he seemed to despise. It was also funny to think he knew as much as he did and hadn’t managed to figure things out a little better.

“Miss West, is everything alright?” Tom asked from behind me.

I glanced behind me to see him with his hand going for his barely concealed gun, just in case. Dr. Michaels was right behind him still looking a little haggard from their ordeal.

“Fine. I think Jack and Kyra are in the restaurant still.” I said.

Tom nodded and then they walked away leaving Mark and I alone again. I could see Tom glancing back just to make sure I was still fine. His concern was touching. Mark on the hand had gone completely pale as he tried to come to terms with what he had just inadvertently learned.

“Your?” Mark asked.

I nodded.

“I don’t understand.” He said.

“It’s complicated, but you can’t tell anyone, especially my brother and my parents.”

“Allison, I’m going to need a lot more than that. You can’t just go around being two different people. It’s crazy.”

“We need to talk, but this isn’t the time or the place. Please just promise me to wait and hear me out before you say anything to anyone?” I asked.

Mark swallowed and studied my face as if he was trying to assess my sanity. I watched him carefully because part of me thought it was unlikely he was learning of my duality for the first time. I hoped I was wrong, but there were too many coincidences and things just weren’t adding up the way they should.

“Alright. As soon as we get back, I want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Is that a deal?” Mark said.

“Deal.” I said. “Now I have work to do and it’s probably best if we aren’t seen together again while we are here.”

Mark nodded in agreement. I wanted to give him a reassuring kiss but my suspicious nature wouldn’t allow it. Instead I walked away without a look back and hoped he was better than I thought of him at that moment.

I joined the rest of the team in the hotel’s restaurant and sat down to enjoy some breakfast. Food was about the farthest thing from my mind, but I needed something to distract me from Mark. Tom half stood as I sat down and nodded passed me to where Mark was walking out the lobby doors into the morning sunlight.

“Old friend?” Tom asked.

“Something like that.” I said.

“Problem?” Jack asked.

“Nothing I can’t handle.” I said.

“If he’s a danger to you, he’s a danger to all of us.” Jack said.

“He’s not.” I said.

I glared at him for a moment and it was enough to convince him to drop the subject.

“We’ll go back out tomorrow.” Jack said, changing the subject.

“Are you sure that’s wise?” Tom asked.

“Kyra’s working on a few things that should help.” Jack said.

He gestured toward Kyra to explain.

“On Miss West’s suggestion I think I’ve developed a way to protect us from further attacks on the boat at least. I believe I can modify a transmitter to produce a signal directly inverse of the engines, in essence it will give us an invisibility to the guidance systems on those torpedoes we ran into. Also, I created a new program to scan the boat for any signals in the radio and light spectrums that it might be sending. It won’t prevent them but it will give us advanced warning of their presence. If we scan before we head out, we should be reasonably sure that we aren’t tagged.” Kyra said.

“Can Tom and Dr. Michaels get back in the water so soon?” I asked.

“If necessary.” Tom said.

Dr. Michaels didn’t look like he agreed.

“It won’t be. You and I will be diving.” Jack said.

“I’m working on a way to narrow our search field from the original grid.” Kyra said.

“How?” I asked.

“While we were out the other day I got some pretty good scans of the ocean floor. Based on that data and the parameters I have for the medallion and Magellan, I think I can identify a specific locations or two at the most.” Kyra said.

“Not bad.” I said.

I was genuinely impressed.

“After breakfast, Kyra will have assignments for everyone to help out getting prepped for tomorrow’s departure.” Jack said.

At least being busy I won’t have too much time to worry about Mark. I sighed and turned my attention to the menu before me. It occurred to me it was a good representative of my life at the moment; so many things to choose from, but most of them aren‘t as good as they look.


  1. Ashley, I'll be interested to learn how Mark knows so much about V.
    Very interesting dear girl.
    Warm hugs,

  2. Ash,

    Good story,I like how you have her thoughts and how she brings them out(in the last paragraph). I also like the communication or lack of between Jack and Virginia. Meaning Jack does not say to much to often.Looking forward to the next post

  3. So now Mark and Allison both have reasons to be distrustful of each other. Their next conversation will really need to clear up a lot of things if they are going to move past that. I'm really curious to know what sort of work Mark is doing. It would be nice if he made an appearance in future missions too.