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.

April 16, 2010

Losing Control: Tense Relations

Quondam tower looked to be in the middle of a war zone. Police and emergency vehicles surrounded the building and blocked most of the streets off, only allowing a few vehicles through like mine. Shattered glass from most of the floors, covered the concrete walkways and the once beautiful gardens were nothing more than mud and footprints. Mom and Dad followed me through the disaster and inside the building.

Cathy sat off to the side on a plastic chair while medics cleaned cuts on her legs and arms. She was giving a statement to a police office, kneeling beside her, but managed to interrupt everything to greet us.

"The elevators are still down, Ma'am," She said as if she felt she needed to apologize. "You'll have to take the stairs."

I nodded and asked, "Are you alright?"

She feigned a smile and replied, "Of course, nothing a shower and a good night's rest won't cure."

I walked to the stairwell door and ushered my parents inside wondering how long it would be before Mom started complaining. She surprised me and kept quiet until we were about twenty floors up. Dad hushed her though, probably sensing I was not in a mood to be bothered by trivialities or perhaps it was because neither was he. I was grateful regardless.

At the twenty-ninth floor, we encountered security guards and they radioed up that we were coming. Tom met us at the top with a grim expression to mirror my own. I stepped out on the top floor followed closely by my parents. The security door into Q5 was little more than shredded metal. I tried not to think too long on how that had happened. Kyra stood at the remains of the central conference table surrounded by smoking equipment and flashing displays.

"What happened?" I asked, coming to a stop near the middle of the open room.

"Kemp," Kyra said with obvious disgust, "led a team in here. They fought their way up from the lobby and took out all the security systems along with most of our processing power. They knocked Tom and I out and when we came back around, Brian, the staff and all Gene's notes were gone."

"I thought we revamped security after the last breach?" I said looking at Tom.

"We did," Kyra said, "They had inside help, disabled half our systems with explosives before we even knew anything was happening."

"Do we know who?" I asked.

Tom said, "No, and most of the evidence has likely been destroyed."

I nodded frowning and said, "Before this happened, were there any alerts about Mark coming back into the country?"

Tom shook his head, "Nothing."

"That means he came in through an unmonitored route. How many are local to California?" I asked.

Tom shrugged.

"Find out," I said.

"Without the computer systems we're blind," Kyra said.

I sighed and said, "Believe it or not, the world still functioned in a time before computers and the internet and satellites. Get a map and a phone and start running down the possibilities."

"Even if we figure out where he came in, how does that help us?" Tom asked.

"It gives us a direction," I said. "We already know they're well connected in Central and South America. The place in Chile was convenient for them, but it wasn't their base. Guatemala, Belize, Southern Mexico, and Ecuador have to all be within easy range of their operational headquarters."

Tom said, "I get it, but knowing Mark's point of entry won't narrow down the possibilities."

"I never said it would," I said. "Finding his point of entry will lead us to a person and that person may well know information we need to know."

"There is another way," Kyra said.

"I'm all ears," I said.

"The plane in Mexico, the one they took Gene on," Kyra said.

"What about it?" I asked.

"It had a limited range and combined with the regions they blacked out from coverage, I think we can establish a search parameter based on that data and from there I can narrow it down as soon as we get satellite coverage back up," Kyra said.

"How long?" I asked.

"Twelve hours, maybe ten if I call in a few favors," She said.

"Call them in, and in the meantime we don't stop searching," I said, looking between the only two remaining members of my team.

"It won't matter," Mr. Candle said, walking into the room behind me. "In half that time, they will have relocated."

I turned around to find he and my parents staring coldly at each other. "What do you suggest then?" I asked.

"It's been a long time," Mr. Candle said, looking at Mom.

"Nowhere near long enough," She said.

"I take it you've told her," Mr. Candle said.

"I did, but I think she had already put it together for herself," Mom said.

"No thanks to either of you," I said. "If there are any more dark family secrets, it would be nice if you'd tell me now, instead of letting me stumble face first into them."

"Family?" Tom asked, with a raised eyebrow and Kyra mouthed the same.

"Miss Beaumont is my granddaughter," Mr. Candle said.

"Now that, I actually believe," Kyra said.

I turned toward her with a questioning eyebrow of my own. She shrugged and said, "You're both as stubborn as a thirsty mule."

Dad said, "I've been working on that."

Tom said, "Obviously without much success."

Dad nodded and I shook my head. "My nephew has been kidnapped folks," I said. "Let's see what we can do about correcting that situation."

"Don't forget your brother and his wife," Mom said and Kyra added, "Or Gene, Jack, and Brian."

"Allison is right," Tom said, "Her nephew is exactly the catalyst for everything. If we get him then their plans are foiled and no one else will have any value to them."

"Not to be pessimistic, but doesn't that mean they might use them as leverage if they lose her nephew?" Kyra asked.

"They might try, but a lot more is at stake than a few lives," Tom said.

"Easy to say, when it's not your son's life," Mom said.

"Arguing gets us nowhere," I said. "We will do what we can to free everyone they are holding, but as long as they hold Geoff everyone is in danger. He has to be the priority."

"I disagree," Mr. Candle said turning his focus to me, "We must locate this cave and seal it off so no one can ever enter it. If we are successful then it is likely all the prisoners will be released unharmed."

"Based on what?" I asked.

"Logic," Mr. Candle replied.

"Forgive me if I don't hold my breath for our adversaries to act logically," I said.

"There is no call to be rude, Miss Beaumont. Our goal should be to stop the event from occurring not racing against the clock to rescue individuals we may or may not be able to locate in time," Mr. Candle said.

"We don't know where that cave is and our ability to find it before they do is not guaranteed, especially with out lack of equipment and people," I said gesturing at the room around us. "The only way to stop them for certain is to ensure my nephew and I are unable to get anywhere near that cave."

"And if you go on some half-cocked rescue and get yourself captured, they'll be holding all the cards," Mr. Candle said.

I said, "It's not your call."

"Like hell it isn't," He said.

I said, "I'm in charge of this team at the moment and without me, you don't have a hope of finding the cave in the first place. So you can either fire me or do this my way. It's up to you, but I'm not leaving my nephew with those people regardless of your decision."

"You fire her, you might as well fire me too," Tom said, stepping up next to me and Kyra said, "Make it the same for me."

Joseph Candle frowned at the three of us, clearly disappointed in his inability to sway our decisions. Mom and Dad were looking at me with something akin to respect for about the first time in my life. I bet the pride was beaming off my face, but there was no time to stand around basking in the glow. We had plans to make and locations to find.

"Fine," Mr. Candle said. "But don't say I didn't try to warn you."

I took a step closer to him, anger getting the best of me for a moment and said, "You're pitiful warning is way too little, way too late. The entire time I've been here you have lied, manipulated and hid behind cryptic clues. It's laughable to think you really want to help me now."

"You have no right to judge me," Mr. Candle said, snapping his finger and glowering at me.

Mom stepped between us and said, "She has every right. This entire thing is your fault. You run from every responsibility you've ever had and blame all your troubles on other people who didn't measure up to your impossible standards. Guess what? You don't measure up and if anything good has come out of this, it's that she knows that for herself and I'll bet somewhere underneath that shell you hide behind, you know it too."

"Say what you want, but we both know you are the one who ran," Mr. Candle said. "Maybe it was too much responsibility for someone your age, but we all have to grow up sometime. It's too bad you never have."

He turned and started walking away. Mom moved as if to go after him, but Dad held her back. I was seething myself, but I knew arguing with Joseph Candle was not going to solve any of my problems. I laid a hand on Mom's shoulder and offered her a smile of sympathy before turning my attention back to Tom and Kyra.

"We need to find them," I said.

"I'm open to suggestions," Kyra said.

I pulled my phone out of my pocket, handing it to her and said, "I downloaded the data from the cellphones of some of the men who attacked us at my brother's house. They're probably up and moving by now. If you can find a way to track them we might just get lucky."


  1. Ash,
    good episode definitely liked how Allison stood up to Mr. Candle and her family and the people she worked with also backed her up except for some of the secrets her mom kept from her and Allison is right to want to go after her nephew.
    AL :)

  2. Ash, great episode, now we are rolling.
    It's good to see Allisons' true self coming out at last.
    It's sad when both your daughter and your granddaughter turn on you, I'd hate to be him, and both actually stronger than him.
    Warm hugs,

  3. Al, Allison has a lot of standing up to do right at the moment. It should be fun to see how well she fares and especially if she can keep her friends and family standing with her.

    Paul, Allison is finally realizing she can be herself and still be strong. As for Mr. Candle, the dust is still settling and when it all does settle, it should be interesting to see all that is revealed.