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 7, 2009

Diving In: Trouble On All Sides

“You came in late.” Dad said.

He peered at me from behind his morning paper while his hot coffee steamed a few inches away on the table. I nodded my agreement and proceeded to yawn. After pouring myself a cup of coffee, I sat down in my customary chair at the breakfast table. Mom was busy at the stove and paid little attention to either me or Dad. I wasn’t sure what was on his mind but something clearly was when he folded up his paper and sat it aside in favor of giving me his full attention.

“How was your trip?” He asked.

I knew he would ask just as much as I knew he didn’t really want to know. It was a nicety and a courtesy he felt was necessary before launching into whatever thoughts were really on his mind.

“Successful.” I answered.

Succinct, accurate, and probably exactly the amount of information and time my father was willing to spend on the subject. I’m sure it won’t win me any favors, but at least I managed to avoid annoying him with frivolous details which did not concern him, not to mention the lies it prevented me from having to invent.

“I’m sure your boss was pleased then?”

“For now.”

“Mark stopped by while you were gone.” Dad said.

I knew this was coming, but wasn’t sure when it would arrive. Mom and Dad have the irritating habit of involving themselves too thoroughly in my life.

“Oh?” I replied.

No point in making it easy.

“Do you like him?” Dad asked.

“I barely know him.”

“He is a nice enough young man.”

“I suppose he is.”

“But he has no real future and his ability to provide for you is not certain.” Dad said.

“We aren’t living in the 1950’s.” I said.

“Of course not, but do you have no intention of starting a family of your own?” Dad asked.

“I wouldn’t characterize my intention as none, but for the moment it’s a little early for me.”

“I’m not suggesting you start tomorrow, but it is never too early to be thinking about the future.”

“I disagree. I’ve been on one date with Mark, it far too early for me to start planning a future with him. I don’t even know if I’ll still like him in two weeks let alone. Whether I could love him and spend my life with him is far beyond my consideration.” I said.

“It is not. You know as I do, Mark is unfit for the role of your husband. You should move on to more suitable prospects while you still can.” Dad said.

“I wasn’t aware there was a line of eligible bachelors or that my appeal to the opposite sex was endanger of expiring.” I said.

“Perhaps I need to illustrate the hard facts of life to you.” Dad said.

“Oh please do. I can’t wait to hear this.” I said.

Why sarcasm is often lost on my father I will never know.

“You are young but you will not always be so. You have failed in attaining a career which will successfully provide for yourself and you must therefore marry a man capable of doing what you cannot. You do not have the luxury of dating men in search of love and without consideration to the security of your future.”

This was not a morning conversation I was up for having. Truthfully, there is not a time of day, year or life in which I would be comfortable having this discussion. I wonder if he realizes how many centuries out of date he is with his “hard facts”?

“I haven’t exactly given up on the career yet.” I said.

It was an incomplete answer but the rest of what I was thinking was better kept to myself. No sense in antagonizing my father when it wouldn’t have any upside.

“Allison you are a secretary. You need to face reality. You have a job, not a career.” Dad said.

“That may be the case.”

“It is.” Dad said.

“But sometimes jobs can lead to careers. Just because I’m not doing what I want to be doing today doesn’t mean I never will be.” I said.

“Someday you will look back on this conversation and know that I am right.” Dad said.

“Someday you will realize I’m old enough to make decisions for myself.” I said.

“Allison--” Dad. Said.

I shoved back from the table. My appetite had completely dissipated and all I wanted was to get out of the house before my temper snapped and I started saying things I would regret.

“I have to go to my job. I wouldn’t want to be late and lose it and prove I’m even more of a failure than you already think I am.”

The angry words echoed in my head all the way to Quondam Innovations. I barely noticed the drive and it was only when the elevator stopped on the 30th floor rather than the 32nd that the images of the morning stopped replaying themselves in my head. Mr. Candle was waiting for me and the expression he wore was far from one of patience. I switched off the home drama and focused on the moment.

“Good morning. I’m sorry I must have pushed the wrong button.” I said.

“Good morning. You did not. I stopped you here. We need to talk.” Mr. Candle said.

I stepped out onto his floor and followed him over to the window where I first stood in his office. The view below was as lovely as before, but nothing else remained the same.

“You were able to save analytical data from the compasses on your computer terminal.” Mr. Candle said.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I wondered how he had found out.

“I did.”

“Why did you not inform anyone?”

“Because something odd is going on around here.” I said.

“How so?”

“If I knew that, it wouldn’t be so odd.” I said.

Mr. Candle flashed a wry smile in my direction.

“You don’t trust the team.” He said.

“The only person I trust around here right now is me.” I said.

“You need to be able to rely on the others. Your life might well depend on it.”

“How can I rely on them when one or more of them is working contrary to the team?” I said.

I hadn’t planned on revealing my suspicions or thoughts to Mr. Candle until I had something more than intuition to go on but the tone of the conversation hinted that he already knew my feelings. If I had to guess, I’d say he felt some of the same.

“What are you saying?” He asked.

“You don’t seriously expect me to believe the theft was done without help from someone on the inside?”

“It is a possibility.”

One he believed even less than I did by the tone of his voice.

“Not a likely one.” I said.

“Do you have any other reason for your thoughts?” He asked.

“Yes.” I said.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to tell him.

“Please explain.”

I considered my options and decided it was better to get it out in the open and see what happens.

“Someone tampered with Kyra’s computer model making it exclude the location of the compasses from the search.” I said.

“That’s a grave charge.”

“There was ample logic to lead a search in that direction and while I won’t state it was the most likely of locations it was certainly more likely than it’s rating in the model. Either the model was tampered with or Kyra programmed it wrong from the start.” I said.

“I’ve come to the same conclusion.” Jack said.

I nearly jumped out of my skin turning around to find Jack Barker standing only a few feet away. I had thought we were alone.

“Is there any evidence?” Mr. Candle asked.

“Yeah. We’re missing two Galilean compasses.” Jack replied.

I couldn’t help smiling. It was exactly what I had been thinking only I wasn’t quite brave enough to say it aloud.

“The fact they are missing is not evidence.” Mr. Candle said.

“No, but how and when they were stolen is.” I said.

Jack nodded in agreement.

“Explain.” Mr. Candle ordered.

“The alarm was tripped but it never notified security. The timing was perfect and it was an unplanned outing. If we had not gone out to celebrate Gene would have been in the lab all night. Someone had to let the thieves know our schedule and probably handed them the alarm schematics.” Jack said.

“Actually the whole thing could have been pulled off by Dr. Michaels.” I said.

“You really don’t like the man do you?” Jack said.

“That’s got nothing to do with it. He was late arriving at dinner and therefore had all the time he needed to remove the compasses from the lab. It would also explain the alarm.” I said.

“Gene does not possess the technical know-how to circumvent the alarm.” Mr. Candle said.

“He wouldn’t need to. He has full access. All he needed to do was trip the alarm on his way out.” I said.

Mr. Candle and Jack exchanged a look which told me they hadn’t even considered what I had just suggested.

“It’s all just speculation.” Jack said.

“Agreed. We still need hard evidence before we can act.” Mr. Candle said.

It was the way he said it that made my brain start whirring away. Suddenly the situation in Italy made a lot more sense.

“You thought it was Kyra.” I said.

They both looked surprised.

“That’s why I was stuck at the hotel with her. You wanted me to keep an eye on her in a way that wouldn’t make her suspicious but still keep her unable to act against the team.” I said.

“We weren’t certain and when the two of you came back with the compasses I was fairly certain she was innocent, but with the compasses being stolen I’m not so sure now.” Jack said.

“The field isn’t exactly wide open. It’s either her or Dr. Michaels or both.” I said.

“That’s not strictly true.” Mr. Candle said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Over the last year, there have been a number of occasions where I suspected an internal problem and to complicate matters, evidence has appeared against every member of the team. I refuse to believe everyone is involved.” Mr. Candle said.

“No but a person might be trying to deflect attention from themselves by making it appear others were involved.” I said.

“Or someone on the outside is trying to sow the seeds of dissent in our group.” Jack said.

“Now I understand why you didn’t want Tom to investigate.” I said.

“I am going to have to rely on the two of you to clear the rest of the team from suspicion. In the meantime I will attempt to determine who on the outside is involved.” Mr. Candle said.

Jack and I nodded.

“How do you know Jack isn’t the one?” I asked.

“How do we know you aren’t?” Jack asked.

“Well I haven’t been around long enough for that. You obviously had problems before I arrived.” I said.

“Suffice it to say, if either of you is a mole then everything has already been lost.” Mr. Candle said.

It was clear he wasn’t going to decrypt his statement for me.

“So what do we do?” I asked.

“Proceed with the next mission, but keep an eye on the others.” Mr. Candle said.

“You have a target?” Jack asked.

Mr. Candle nodded.

“I’ll brief the team in an hour.” Mr. Candle said.

With that we were clearly dismissed. Jack and I rode the elevator up to the lab in silence. I had plenty of questions left to be asked but I already knew I wouldn’t be getting any more answers for the moment.

An hour later we were all assembled around the conference table. Everyone was eager to learn what we were going after next and how soon we would be leaving. In the back of my thoughts I wondered how my parents were going to react when I informed them I was leaving on another business trip so soon.

“Recent tectonic activity in the Philippines may have given us a rare opportunity.” Mr. Candle began.

“Ferdinand Magellan. History knows him as the man behind the first voyage around the globe although he did not complete the journey. On April 27, 1521 he was killed during a battle with the native inhabitants of Mactan Island. His body was never recovered. There are a variety of legends surrounding his death, but our focus in on one in particular which is likely to be true.” Mr. Candle continued.

“A local leader, Rajah Humabon, befriended Magellan and gave him a gift of extraordinary value in exchange for Magellan’s promise to kill his enemy, Lapu-Lapu. This gift was a special medallion which has its origins in ancient China. Some relation to either the Three Sovereigns or the Five Emperors of China is implied but no concrete evidence has ever been found. It is possible the medallion is a map or a key to an ancient vault hidden somewhere in the Philippine archipelago.” Mr. Candle said.

“What makes us think it can be found now?” Dr. Michaels asked.

“I mentioned before there has been some recent tectonic activity in the region.” Mr. Candle said.

“I don’t see what that has to do with anything.” Dr. Michaels said.

“Divers in the region have reported the sea floor was significantly disturbed and artifacts have been being discovered but in particular remains of the Concepción, a ship from Magellan’s fleet, were uncovered only a few days ago. The odds of finding Magellan’s Medallion have never been higher.” Mr. Candle said.

“When do we leave?” Kyra asked.

“The jets fueling up now.” Mr. Candle said. “Time is of the essence here. You will not be the only ones looking for the medallion.”


  1. Ashley,

    Another great story. looks like mark and Allison wont go on there second date anytime soon LOL, but her parents wont mind that. I have my theories on why her Dad thinks mark is not a suitable boyfriend or future husband for Allison. but I keep them to myself for now just in case I am totally off on my theories on that.

    Looking forward to more stories.

  2. Ashley, is Allison's dad for real, he may be the dominant in his family, but his head is so far up his arse, he can probably see his own tonsils.
    There is a slight smell of sulphur around Dr Michaels and it's getting stronger. ;)
    Warm hugs,

  3. I think it's nice that Allison's dad is looking out for her best interests. I hope Mark will somehow show his worth to him in the future.