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 22, 2009

Diving In: Rough Waters

The wake up call came about an hour before sunrise. Kyra insisted on being first to shower. I snuggled back into bed and fell asleep again. My dreams felt oddly familiar like memories nearly forgotten, but when I woke again they faded back into obscurity. It probably didn’t help that it was Jack shaking me awake. The room was practically spinning from his rattling and his impassive face was the only thing in focus as my eyes blinked rapidly to clear away the last vestiges of sleep.

“What’s wrong with you? Everybody is already downstairs and read to go.” Jack said.

I turned my head and had to shield my eyes from the morning sun coming in through the open curtains. The clock was impossible to read through the glare but the presence of the sun told me all I really needed to know; I was late.

“Go on without me. I’ll catch a cab and be there within the hour.” I said.

Jack nodded. He took a moment to look at his watch and then moved toward the door.

“One hour. Don’t be late.” Jack said.

“One hour.” I said.

I was practically in the shower before the door clicked shut. If Jack had stuck around much longer I would have eventually been embarrassed by my irresponsible behavior, but with him gone and the hot, steamy water pouring over my face, it was easier to be angry. At first, Kyra was the target in my thoughts but it didn’t take me long to conclude that wasn’t exactly fair. She hadn’t made me go back to sleep and it was far from her responsibility to wake me up. In fact, the open curtains suggested she might have even tried.

I stepped out of the shower, clean in body if not spirit, and I wiped the steam from a small part of the mirror. Staring back at me was the only person I could blame and furthermore, the only person worth of my anger. I took a moment to give her a silent lecture and good, long, stern look.

Inside the closet I discovered we’d received gifts from the clothing fairy, otherwise known as Joseph Candle, probably via Cathy. I had to think for a moment to recall Jack was wearing casual gear, shorts and a t-shirt with deck shoes. It wasn’t a guarantee but if the bosses is dressing casual, I’m guessing everyone else was as well. I picked out a red sundress and grabbed a pair of brown sandals, conveniently all in my size.

Based on my calculations, I was out of the door with forty minutes to get to the docks. That’s got to be some kind of a record for me getting showered and dressed. Too bad my dad wasn’t around to notice because he’d never believe it without seeing it. The thought put a smile on my face as I entered the elevator and pressed the button for the lobby.

I hadn’t noticed when I stepped inside but there was a young girl riding with me. She reminded me of someone but I couldn’t quite place it. I doubt she was much older than 8 or 9 and I briefly wondered why she was alone. Her long brown hair was brushed out straight and tied back with purple ribbons, that made me think of my own childhood. She was smiling and staring at me in reflection of the doors.

“Hi there.” I said.

“Hello.” She replied.

She sounded incredibly formal for a child. It seemed wrong for her to be riding the elevator alone and I wondered why her parents would allow her to wander off alone in such a busy hotel.

“Are you on vacation?” I asked.

In the deep recesses of my thoughts I understood it was possible her parents had dragged her along in their search for lost treasure, but I hoped it wasn’t the case.

“Are you?” She asked.

“No. I’m here for work.” I said.

“You’re trying to find the medallion.” She said.

So much for hope. She had to be one of the adventurers daughter and for that I felt sorry for her. I couldn’t imagine spending my childhood hopping around the world in one futile search after another.

“It’s my job.” I said. “Are your parents here to find it as well?”

“You should leave.” She said.

There was a gravity to her voice which made her suggestion sound more like a warning of danger than an instruction to be followed. It was unsettling to hear a child speak in such a way.

“I’ll be fine I’m sure. We probably won’t find anything anyway.” I said.

It was my intention to comfort the girl, but I seemed to have the opposite effect. She wrung her hands together in a clear sign of agitation. I reached out toward her and she pulled back away from me as though she thought I might hurt her. I let my hand fall back to my side and smiled my best non-threatening smile.

“It’s alright. I won’t hurt you.” I said.

The elevator came to a stop and the doors opened. The girl ran passed me and into the crowd of waiting people. No one paid any attention to her as she stopped in their way and turned her head back toward me.

“Go home Allison.” She said.

My mouth dropped open and I blinked in utter shock. How could she possibly know my name and not just my name but my real name? She didn’t wait around for me to collect my wit, but turned into the crowd and pushed her way through them. I followed through the crowd and out the corridor into the center of lobby. I turned a complete circle, looking everywhere, while my heart pounded in my chest and the blood in my head pulsed against my skull making me nauseas with dizziness. The little girl was gone, but the mystery remained.

I arrived at the docks with only a few minutes of my hour to spare. The team was already aboard our rented boat. Kyra was up top, completely absorbed in her equipment while the guys were all lounging on the lower deck. Jack offered me his hand to board. Stubbornly, I crossed from the dock to the deck without his help and nearly fell over for the trouble. I pretended it was nothing. Other than disapproving stares, nothing was said.

Tom took to the helm and we were out to sea in no time. The water was relatively calm and with the clear blue sky, I could almost pretend I was on a vacation. There is nothing quite like the gentle rocking of a boat at sea to make you feel free and relaxed. Unfortunately, work was never far enough away to complete the feeling.

We reached our location, a starting point on the grid Kyra had developed with Dr. Michaels help. The area was still large enough that it was unlikely we were in the right spot, but it made sense to search the grid methodically.

“Gene, Tom, you’ll be diving with me. Kyra, keep on the sonar and watch for trouble. Miss West, just hold position here and wait for us.” Jack ordered.

I considered arguing to accompany the group diving, but considering how the day started, I couldn’t blame him for leaving me behind. The guys changed into wetsuits and I helped them with their tanks. They didn’t really need the help but it at least made me feel like I was part of the team.

Once they were below the surface there wasn’t anything else to do. I found a sunny corner on the lower deck and sat on the rail, soaking up the rays and thinking about the girl at the hotel. It occurred to me that if she knew my real name, someone else did too. That thought led me to the glimpse I’d caught of Mark the night before. If he was involved with one of the other teams, he might have blown my cover without even knowing it. On the other hand, maybe he had just followed me. But, if that were true, how did the girl know my name?

Just thinking about it was giving me a headache. I decided to join Kyra on the upper deck and settled in at the helm. The seat was at least comfortable. She was actually looking nearly as bored as I felt.

“Are you still mad at me?” I asked.

“Who says I was mad at you?”

“The way you’ve been acting ever since we got back from Italy.”

“You made me feel like an idiot for helping you. If I’ve been mad at anyone it’s myself for allowing you to influence me against my better judgment.” Kyra said.

“I’m sorry. I messed up. We found the compasses and I guess I let it go to my head a little.” I said.

“You know you should lighten up on Jack.” She said.

“What?” I asked.

The sudden change of subjects left me feeling a touch confused.

“He’s not a natural leader, not like you. It’s hard for him and you don’t need to make it harder by challenging him at every turn.”

“I’m not challenging him.”

Kyra laughed at me.

“Seriously. I’m not.” I said.

“Right and--”

Kyra’s equipment started beeping. She nearly tipped over in her chair trying to turn so she could see what the trouble was. I was tempted to ask, but chose instead to give her a moment to figure it out without me interrupting. Her face went pale. Her hands flew to her keyboard and started typing damn near the speed of light.

“What’s happening?” I asked.

She didn’t even pause.

“We’ve got an incoming torpedo. Its guidance locked.” She said.

I swiveled back toward the wheel and slammed my hand into the starter button as if the velocity of my hand would bring the engines to life faster. With the anchor down I knew we wouldn’t be moving fast enough but I hoped I could maneuver enough to avoid a direct hit.

“We can’t outrun it V.” Kyra said.

Duh! Talk about an understatement.

“Where is it coming from?” I asked.

My eyes were scanning the water looking for any sign of the incoming projectile with our name on it.

“Quiet!” She said. “I’m trying to detonate it.”

Then I saw its wake. It was headed straight for the center of our starboard side. I gave the port engine full throttle and turned the wheel hard to starboard, turning us toward the torpedo but hopefully enough so that it cruised right beside us. I realized the anchor was going to take too long to retract so I hit the emergency release and dumped it. It also occurred to me that it would give Jack a sign that we were in trouble. Of course I realized it was quite likely they were under attack as well.

The boat turned slow. I watched in helpless horror as the torpedo closed the distance by the second. It had to have come within a few inches of our starboard hull, but miraculously it missed us. As soon as I saw it go passed our after quarter I straightened the rudder and matched speed on the starboard engine. We might not be able to outrun it but at the very least I could give Kyra a few more seconds to figure out how to detonate the thing.

“Tell me you’ve figured it out.” I said.

“A few more seconds.” She replied.

I looked behind us and immediately wished I hadn’t. The torpedo had clearly turned around and was coming right back at us. Unfortunately, I had turned the boat against the tide and our acceleration felt like a slug’s.

“Any idea where it came from?” I asked.

“A ship most likely.”

Ask a stupid question…

I settled on a course following the trail of the torpedo’s original wake. It wasn’t a guarantee to finding the source but it was definitely a direction toward the right quadrant of ocean. A quick examination of the horizon ahead revealed one ship a bit larger than the rest and a bit farther out. Without any better evidence I decided they were the most likely source.

“Got it!” Kyra shouted.

Sure enough, the torpedo exploded in the water only a few feet behind us. The resulting splash soaked us both and nearly stalled both the engines. Instinctually I managed to turn the boat so we rode the resulting wave and gained velocity. As it dissipated I put us on a heading straight for the large ship. I’m not sure what I thought I could accomplish, but I was angry enough to not care.

“Why didn’t your equipment pick it up before it was that close?” I asked.

“I don’t know. It was a quiet model but still we should have had more warning. I can’t track it to it’s source either. I think someone might be jamming our long range soar.” She said.

“Can you overlay satellite imagery on your sonar?” I asked.

“What difference would that make?”

“If there is a discrepancy we might know a bit more than we do now.” I said.

Kyra opened her mouth then shut it without saying a word. She turned back to her equipment and set to work.

“Where the hell are you?” Jack’s voice squawked over the radio.

“We had a little trouble up here.” I said.

“Tom and Gene are wounded. I need you back here now.” Jack said.

He almost sounded panicked.

“V, we’ve got another torpedo coming at us!” Kyra shouted.

“Can you detonate it?” I asked.

“They changed the frequency. I’ll need time to find the right one.” She replied.

“Jack, you’re going to have to wait.” I said.

“There’s blood in the water. We don’t have long before the sharks start circling.” Jack said.

“Understood.” I said. “Do you have the sonic screamer?”

“Negative. Tom left it in the cabin.” Jack replied.

An idea started to form in my head.

“Kyra how are those torpedoes tracking us?” I asked.

“Most likely through some sort of frequency tag.” She replied.

“Sounds waves?” I asked.

“Yeah, usually keyed to the frequency of a ship’s engines but we were dead in the water originally so they must have tagged us with something that’s emitting a beacon of some sort.”

“Can you find the signal?” I asked.

“Not and break their encryption to detonate that torpedo before it blows us to pieces.”

“How long till impact?” I asked.

“80 seconds.”

I could see it on the horizon ahead. We were headed straight for it.

“Were you able to confirm the source?” I asked.

“Yeah, it’s definitely that big one you’re head for.”

“Find the frequency it’s tracking and then grab the sonic screamer and set it to match.” I ordered.

“What are you planning?” Kyra demanded.

“Just do it Kyra.” I replied.

It was going to take some very precise timing to work, but if we could pull it off, we’d be safe long enough to collect the rest of our team and escape to safer waters. I kept my eyes on the incoming torpedo and drove us straight for it. Somehow I doubted anyone else on the team would even think of trying what I was attempting and no doubt they’d all think I was insane.

“Got it.” Kyra said.

I nodded, but kept my attention focused on the torpedo and our course. She didn’t wait around for acknowledgment, but instead ran below to get the screamer. It would have been useful for the others if Tom had brought it with them, but he hadn’t. If my plan worked it was going to save all our lives though, making it better off being right where it was. If I’d had time to think about it, I would have enjoyed the irony of a mistake turning out to be anything but a mistake.

Kyra returned with the bright yellow device in her hands.

“It’s ready. Now are you going to tell me what you are doing?” Kyra said.

“Stand by to turn it on and throw it off the aft quarter on my command.” I said.

I was amazed how steady and calm my voice was considering if I failed in my attempt it would be the last thing I ever did. The nice thing was my calm demeanor seemed to inspire confidence in Kyra and keep her calm as well. If we were going to die, it wasn’t going to be like a couple of helpless girls.

The torpedo was only seconds away. It was time. I cranked the wheel to port and increased our acceleration to maximum. The bow hit the incoming wave of tide and the boat leapt out of the water and into the air for just a moment. But a moment was all that was needed. The torpedo went right beneath us through the water where we should have been. It didn’t take it long to figure out that it had missed it’s target. It was already altering its course to pursue us by the time I was certain we’d missed it.

I altered our course back toward the ship. It wasn’t so far away anymore and by the look of it, it was quite obvious it wasn’t around for the same purpose we were. I glanced behind us trying to keep an eye on just how close the torpedo was getting. It was fast, but reversing its course took time. We had at least a minute before impact. I hoped it would be enough.

The engines were roaring at their maximum torque, but I could barely hear them over the wind rushing passed my ears. Kyra kept glancing at me expectantly. I know she wanted an explanation, but if I gave her one she would likely try to stop me. I kept my focus and mentally crossed my fingers and toes.

“It’s almost on us.” Kyra said.

“I know. Just a few more seconds.”

It was then Kyra looked in front of us. We were seconds away from sideswiping our attacker. I looked behind us with my hand on the port throttle. It was going to be close.

“Hang on to something!” I shouted.

I shifted the port engine into neutral and cranked the wheel as fast as I could.

“Now!” I said.

Kyra threw the screamer into the water behind us. The starboard bow of our boat hit the port side of our attacker. The fiberglass screamed in protest and our port side dipped into the water at the force of the impact. The starboard propeller lifted up into the air and I re-engaged the port engine.

The torpedo lost us for a second in favor of the screamer Kyra had reconfigured, but whatever signal we were putting out was stronger. I’d been counting on it though. The torpedo returned to a heading for us only we were traveling perpendicular to our previous course and it was too dumb to figure that out. It slammed into the hull of those who’d launched it with an explosion that would have utterly destroyed a smaller ship. As it was they were on fire and taking on water.

Our little boat rode their hull to its end, leaving the torpedo’s destruction in our wake. I steered us back toward our original location keeping the engines at full power. Our immediate danger had passed but Jack and the others were still in trouble. Kyra was staring at the ship behind us with her mouth open. I would have laughed but my heart was still beating in my throat.

With the tide flowing our direction we reached Jack and the others in only a few minutes. We got them on board before any sharks took a serious interest them, but Dr. Michaels had a knife sticking out of the back of his shoulder and Tom’s left hand was sliced open. Jack was miraculously unharmed.

“What happened?” Kyra asked.

“Somebody didn’t want us looking down there.” Tom said.

“And someone didn’t want us waiting around up here either. I think we better head back in.” I said.

Jack nodded.

I set our course and engaged the engines with a little less speed than before. I was pretty sure we hadn’t seen the last of our troubles, but for the immediacy it seemed we were safe enough.


  1. Ash,

    Fantastic Story... you had me on the edge of my seat. That was some Great, fancy driving. good job on all the nautical terms too very impressive.

  2. Ashley, now that was a humdinger of a chapter, had me on the edge of my seat.
    Wonderful, thank you.
    Warm hugs,

  3. You can't really get more serious than torpedoes. No way I'd go out again knowing there might be another attack like that. Maybe they could pick up a nice medallion from the gift shop before flying home. At least then the trip wouldn't be a total waste.