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 3, 2010

Losing Control: Timely Eruption

"My God," Brian said, the last to join me in the ruins of the observatory, shining his light around to find the walls. "It's incredible."

The volcano rumbled and the observatory groaned in protest. Long frozen ice cracked and rocks tumbled through the tunnel of our entry, kicking up ice, dust, and dirt into the air. I grabbed the nearest wall to steady myself. Kyra wedged herself next to me and consulted her PDA.

"The frequency of quakes is increasing," Kyra said.

"Meaning?" I asked.

Brian said, "Meaning this sleeping volcano is waking up."

"Exactly," Kyra said.

Gina said, "Does that seem a little too coincidental to anyone other than me?"

"It would if I didn't know better," Brian said.

"Right," Gina said.

I cleared my throat, confident the shaking was over for the moment and said, "We won't find any answers standing around."

"What makes you so certain there are any answers here?" Kyra asked, looking around the ruins surrounding us.

"Because we aren't the only ones seeking this place," I said, stepping away from the wall and heading in the direction I had imagined the girl pointing.

"Watch you step," Brian said, gently grabbing my arm as I slipped on loose gravel. "It might appear stable, but judging by the angles in here, this place has seen some movement it was never constructed to withstand."

"Right," I said, blushing as I regained my footing with Brian's help, "thanks."

We spread out to search the observatory for answers or something that might lead to them. I picked rubble away from the wall the girl had indicated and soon found a treasure of scrolls sealed in clay pots. The pots were decorated with artwork which seemed to reflect legends from around the world and on closer inspection, they appeared to be numbered using a dot and dash system similar to that of the Mayans. A few of the clay containers were damaged, but most were in surprisingly good condition.

"I think I've found something," I said, carefully pulling a pot from the rubble.

"By they way you've been eying that spot since we got in here, I'd say you knew there was something there before you looked," Kyra said, walking toward me.

"I can't explain it," I said, knowing there was nothing I could say to ease her suspicions. "It's like something out of a dream."

"Or a forgotten memory," Brian said, kneeling next to me and taking one of the pots into his hands.

"I don't know how you figure out the things you do," Gina said joining us around the pots, "but one this certain; Things are never dull when you're around."

Brian carefully lifted the lid off the pot marked with a single dot and removed the scroll it contained. "Remarkable," He said, unrolling it and examining the writing.

"Shouldn't we wait to do that until we can examine them in a controlled environment?" Gina asked.

Brian shook his head and said, "The pots didn't create air tight seals, it amazing these aren't dust, but as they've survived, there is really no point in not examining them now, so long as we are cautious that is."

"Any idea what it says?" Kyra asked.

"Yeah," Brian said, looking puzzled, "and something is definitely not right here."

"What do you mean?" I asked, moving around him to look over his shoulder.

"For starters, it's written in English and rather modern English," Brian said glancing over his shoulder at me, "This whole place must be some sort of a hoax."

"What's it say?" Kyra asked.

I stared at the words on the scroll as Brian read them aloud, "My name is Allison Beaumont and I was born in the Gregorian calendar year, 1985. I have no doubt whomever finds this document will doubt its authenticity and with good reason, because even now as I write with these primitive tools, I find it hard to believe as well. It is my hope, that I will be able to direct myself, in a time both long before and long after any of this happened, to this record and in so doing, correct the mistake I made when all this began."

Brian stopped reading and turned to me more fully. I could feel Kyra's eyes burning into my back as she and I were the only two in the room who knew my real name, the name of the author. A cold shiver ran down my spine. I wanted to believe it was some sort of a trick and in part, I knew it was. The lies and half truths were the tricks, not out of malice or deception though, they were told because no one, not even me, would believe the truth.

Brian said, "The woman outside, she said she was the author."

I nodded and Brian said, "I guess we know her name now, but I'm not buying her as 24 or 25 years old."

"That's my age," I said and Kyra said, "Tell them."

Brian looked from Kyra to me and asked, "What?"

I cleared my throat and said, "My real name is Allison Beaumont and I was born in 1985."

"I knew it," Gina said and I turned my gaze to her with a raised eyebrow.

She said, "You just don't look like a Virginia."

Brian said, "I thought the old woman wrote this."

Kyra said, "She did."

I turned to Kyra and saw in her eyes that she understood the situation as I did. It was impossible, but clearly we had both seen enough to make the impossible seem possible or at the very least plausible. We exchanged a nod of understanding while Brian and Gina stared at us, still confused.

"She's me," I said.

"The old woman?" Gina asked and I nodded.

"How?" Brian asked.

"That is very likely amongst the answers she left for us," I said, nodding toward the collection of pots.

"If I hadn't seen her with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe it," Brian said, "but there was a resemblance and not just in appearance. I noticed it the first we saw her in the cave where I hid the codex."

"Joseph Candle chose me for a reason and I'm starting to understand what it was," I said.

Kyra and Gina nodded in agreement. Kyra said, "The man in the shadows must know it as well."

The mountain rumbled again. A nearby column, supporting the domed ceiling, cracked and groaned with trembling. We held tight to each other until the tremor subsided and the dust settled once more. In the aftermath, I stared at the opened scroll in Brian's hand. I had to know everything, but it seemed there might not be enough time. The volcano was probably the least of our worries with Alexander Kemp on his way.

"I need to know what is in these scrolls," I said looking at my team. "I would not have left them for myself if they were not important, but it seems I was rather thorough in explaining things."

"There's not enough time to get through them," Kyra said and I nodded.

"We also need to find a way out of here before Kemp's people trap us in here," I said.

"Got it," Kyra said, looking around the observatory and flipping out her PDA, "I'll try to find us that way out while the rest of you see what you can learn."

"Thanks," I said, catching her eye for a moment so she would know I meant it.

Gina, Brian and I settled down on some carefully arranged rocks and started reading the scrolls. It was unsettling to read words printed in my own hand, and to know I had not written any of the words or at least not yet. The very idea of traveling through time had my head spinning, but the shortness of time kept me focused.

The stories I read, were nearly a perfect match for the adventures in my life since the day I met Joseph Candle. The scroll contained every detail of our first meeting, even the thoughts I had kept to myself. Everything was exactly the same, telling me my life was headed toward a disaster of epic proportions. She said, she had made a mistake and it was her hope to help me avoid it, but was that even possible? Assuming one could travel into the past, changing the future, especially one's own future, seems reckless and dangerous. In fact, it was the most disturbing part of all of it; That I would have changed so much as to not consider those very things. Was it then possible that my journey backward in time was causing even more damage? If that was the case, then whatever technology is being developed which made this impossible feat possible, must be destroyed. The fate of everything and everyone might well depend upon it.

"I've got something," Brian said, interrupting my thoughts.

"Yes?" I said, looking up from the scroll in my hands.

He said, "She talks about a crystal she found in the Philippines."

"I know the one," I said.

"Of course," Brian said shaking his head, "The crystal bends more than just light apparently and when inside some place called The Cave Of Destiny during a particular celestial alignment, it can be used to open doorways between realities. You are apparently one of very few people with the ability to use the crystal successfully for this purpose."

"So that make it simple, I'll just stay away from caves for the rest of my life and the rest should take care of itself," I said.

Brian chuckled and said, "Doesn't look like you get off that easy. She writes that whether you go or not, the doorways will be opened. She says you have to close them before anything passes through them, but it can only be done in two ways, either you pass through them with the crystal or you have to bring the crystal together with a special staff."

"Great," Gina said, "another quest. Where is this staff supposed to be?"

"Right here," Brian said. "According to this, you found it and brought it here."

Looking around the observatory, I said, "Now I have to find it again."

"I think this might be it," Kyra said from the other side of the observatory.

We all turned to look. Kyra pointed at the remains of statue, headless and missing one arm, but the arm that remained was holding a staff. It was longer than I was tall and sported an elaborate headpiece in gold with a giant hole in the middle. It was obviously missing a jewel of some kind and it looked to be just the right fit for the one we had found in Fu Xi's vault.

Gina jumped up from her rock and nearly leapt the distance to the statue. I laughed at her excitement and wished I had some of the energy. My energy was waning with never having recovered from the sleepless days in rescuing Brian and here we were again, pulling an all nighter. It was almost like my college days only the exam could come at any moment and without much warning.

Gina pulled the staff free and twirled it around in her hands to get a better look at the headpiece. Kyra said, "Pretty smart of you V, putting the staff right by the way out."

"Makes sense," I said.

Gina said, "It's incredible. You know legend has it the staff was made of gold, but its really just the headpiece. I wonder if it would work on any wooden staff or if there is something particular about this one."

"Huh?" I said, feeling confused.

Gina slipped a hand into her pocket and shrugged. She said, "I'm sorry, but as long as you're with Joey, you can't be trusted with this."

The wall behind her exploded, but she wasn't surprised at all. I scrambled to my feet as I realized what was happening. It was too late. Alex Kemp came through the hole with his gun drawn and pointed right at me. His team had the others covered. I glared at Gina, unable to believe she had played me for a fool and so well.

"It would be much easier if the three of you would just agree to come with us peacefully," Kemp said.

"I bet," I replied.

"Tom Clark is on his way back if he isn't here already," Gina said to Kemp.

"He landed ten minutes ago," Kemp said, "We've been jamming the radio frequencies."

"I should have known," Kyra said.

"The old man has a chopper waiting for you and the staff. You better get moving. Sanders and Calder will escort you," Kemp said to Gina.

"You knew about the staff?" I asked.

"Didn't you?" Kemp said. "Why else are you here?"

"Looking for answers," I said.

"Did you find any?" Kemp asked.

"As matter of fact, I did," I said.

Kemp said, "I'm still willing to trust you. Give me your word you won't attack my people and we can walk off this mountain together, peacefully."

"I'm not the one waving a gun around," I said.

"Is that a yes?" Kemp asked.

The ground rumbled. I smiled and said, "No."

As the tremor strengthened, I dropped on my back and slid down the floor at Kemp and his men. The shaking threw me off course and I crashed, feet first into the statue, knocking it over on top of Kemp and his people. They barely scrambled back into the tunnel in time to avoid being pinned under the statue. I caught a glimpse of Kemp signalling his people to get out. The statue blocked the exit for us, but it also kept us safe from them.

"Tell me you don't expect us to climb out the same way we came in," Kyra said as the tremors continued.

"It might be safe, but no that's not what I had in mind," I said.

"Care to share?" Brian asked, joining Kyra and I on the low end of the observatory.

I said, "You mentioned the floor earlier. If the quake doesn't shake some of it loose, we should be able to make a hole ourselves without too much trouble."

"If I was right," Brian said.

A chunk of floor behind Kyra fell away and I said, "You were right. Let's go."

Without an ounce of caution we dropped through the hole in the floor onto a narrow ledge. Even if the volcano had been sleeping it would have been a dangerous path of ice and snow, but with the rumbling it was like walking a tightrope while wearing ice skates. It was probably our adrenaline keeping us going and on our toes as we half ran, half slid onto a more secure and level alcove in the rock. Looking up, the entire sky was covered in a cloud of dark smoke.

Turning to Kyra, I asked, "Can you break through their jamming to get in touch with Tom?"

She nodded, "I think so. I knew something was up earlier, but I thought it was just an effect from the volcano."

"Don't worry about it," I said, resting a hand on her shoulder, "None of us could have seen this coming."

Gazing onto the mountain I could see Kemp's people scrambling to get down to the lower pass. A little way ahead of them were three more people and I knew one of them had to be Gina. I slipped my pack off my back and pulled out my gun, checking to make sure I had the right clip of ammo loaded. Brian raised and eyebrow at me and I tossed him my pack.

"I've got Tom," Kyra said and I said, "Tell him to get up here and pick you two up. I'll activate my gps when I'm ready for you to come get me."

"You might as well let it go,"Kyra said. "They'll be another time and place."

Brian shook his head, "I don't like it, but this is probably the only chance you have to get the staff before it's too late. I'll go with you."

"Thanks, but I can handle this one," I said. "Just get yourselves secure and make sure Tom is ready to come save my butt."

"You've got a plan?" Kyra asked.

I smiled and said, "Always."

I tucked the gun into my waist and climbed out of the alcove onto the snowy slopes of the volcano. On my back I slid down the icy slope to the opening that led Kemp and his men to the observatory. A statue stood on the mountain side of the entrance, mostly encased in ice, but the tremors had shaken it free a little. The statue was some sort of warrior with a spear in one hand and a long, rectangular shield in the other. Unlike the statue, the spear and shield were not made out of rock. Getting my feet back under me, I stared at the statue.

"I knew you'd find your way," Kemp said from behind me.

I turned to face him and said, "There is a lot more at stake here than you know."

"I could say the same for you," He said.

"Probably, but the problem is everyone keeps lying to me and that makes me very reluctant to trust anyone," I said.

"She's too far ahead of you at this point anyway," Kemp said. "Why don't you come with me and you can be a part of something good."

The ground rumbled again and I was ready. I kicked the gun from Kemp's hand with a solid blow that surprised even me. He stumbled backward into the tunnel, trying to keep me off balance, but I stopped and pulled my own gun. He shook his head and sighed.

"He was right about you, that's for sure," Kemp said.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked.

"You're as dangerous as they come," He said. "I suppose you'll kill me now."

"I'm not in the mood," I said, "Just stay out of my way."

I picked up his gun and back away from him slowly. Outside the tunnel the statue had dropped its shield on the ground with the back facing up toward the sky. I glanced down the slope where I could still Gina and her two escorts, but they were almost to the pass. I ejected the clip from Kemp's gun and threw the empty weapon aside, shoving the clip in my pocket. With a deep breath, I turned to the shield and jumped on it, hooking my feet into the bracing meant to hold it on an arm. The shield slid forward on the slope, picking up speed and giving me hope, I might make it in time.

Tossing my balance from side, I found a rhythm and kept going for Gina and the staff without another thought. The cold wind rushed through my hair even as I could feel the volcano trembling. Some of Kemp's people shouted and took wild shots at me as I zipped passed them on my way down the mountain, but I kept my focus on Gina. As I approached I brought my gun up and shot both her escorts in the middle of the back before they even knew what was happening. Gina spun to face, shock on her face. I activated my gps and hoped Tom was ready and close enough.

I shot Gina in the leg and she went down on her knee, but held tight to the staff. Her free hand whipped out her own gun. She took aim and I leaned myself back allowing my feet to slip from the bracing on the shield and send it flying straight into her. The staff rolled free of her hands as did her gun and she slid into a rock gasping for air and struggling to push the shield off of her.

On my back I slid on the snow and ice toward the staff. I grabbed the staff, spinning around in a circle as I did and then using the staff to straighten my course on the snow, toward the edge of the mountain and the sound of a helicopter. I caught sight of it, but it was too far out to catch me before I would fall of the edge. I fired a shot into the ice ahead, near the edge, and let the gun slide away on its own. Grabbing the staff with both hands I rammed it into the ice at the edge of the mountain and flung my weight into the open air, keeping hold of the staff. For a moment I was flying through the air, out into nothingness and certain death. A moment later I was entangled in the ladder dangling from the side door of the helicopter and being hoisted up. I glanced back at the volcano just in time to watch the first spews of orange and red lava explode into the air and spill out of the crater.


  1. Ash,

    great story was not expecting Gina to do that nice little twist there. just thinking if V does not make it at her job with Q5 she can become a stunt person for television...LOL, liked this story and cant wait for the next one
    AL :)

  2. Ash, I knew there was something suspicious about Gina.
    You have outdone Dick Barton, a fictional hero of my boyhood, Google him there is lots of information there, I really didn't think that was possible, he held me spell bound for five years as he did millions of others.
    This is a brilliant episode, your fantastic imagination and invention do you more than credit.
    Give that girl two gold stars. :D
    Warm hugs,

  3. Al, Good that I'm still keeping you guessing. I know it's hard to believe, but as real as V seems at times, she's just a fictional character and I promise she won't be down at the unemployment office after Q5 concludes. LOL

    Paul, I did look up Dick Barton, and I must say thank you, that's quite a compliment. I often censor my imagination a little bit to keep my writing a little more grounded, but here with the last parts of Q5, I decided to hold nothing back and just go for the whole thing. Personally, I think it's great, but the final word is always up to those who read.