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 19, 2010

Losing Control: Too Many Questions

I could hear the crash of tidal waters against a rocky shore. The faint scent of salt and seaweed tickled at my nose and the wind left droplets of ocean spray on my bare skin. My wrists were bound by smooth metal bracelets, dangling in front of me. Covering my eyes, a strip of white cloth revealed only the brightness of daylight. The sun felt warm on my back, but the murmur of unfriendly voices sent a shiver down my spine. A single man's voice rose above all the others and silence fell upon the others.

He said, "As the Gods have abandoned us, so shall we abandon them."

The crowd cheered. A rough hand touched the center of my naked back and shoved me forward. I stumbled and fell to my knees, unable to catch myself with bound hands. The crowd laughed. I focused on the sound of rolling waves and smiled, calmed by the essence of nature. The rough hand grasped my shoulder, fingertips pressing deep into the bare flesh.

"Allison," Tom said and I shuddered.

Groaning, I pushed my head up from my desktop and blinked away the remnants of the unsettling dream. Tom removed his hand from my shoulder and took a step back, giving me room to stretch and yawn. A quick glance at the clock told me I had been asleep for the better part of two hours. I nodded at Tom's concerned expression and unspoken question.

"We just picked up two of the cellphones in the same location," Tom said.

I looked through the glass barriers to see Kyra working away at the conference table and asked, "The computers are back?"

"Kyra got her system up about 15 minutes ago," He said.

I stood up and started to walk out to the main room. Tom grabbed my arm, stopping me in my tracks. I asked, "Something else?"

He said, "I'm sorry."

"For what?" I asked.

"Letting you down. I promised I would keep your family safe and I failed," He said.

"This wasn't your fault," I said, laying a supportive hand on his shoulder. "I don't blame you at all."

He nodded and together we walked out into the main room, joining Kyra at the conference table. She glanced up from the screens to acknowledge our presence, but continued with her work without pause. Across the room, Mom and Dad were sitting together on the floor, Mom resting her head on Dad's shoulder and he with his cheek resting on the top of her head. I spend so much time in conflict with them on silly issues, I rarely notice the tenderness and love that should be so obvious. I envied them the connection and, looking at Tom, wondered if I ever might find the same for myself.

"A third, just joined our first two," Kyra said nodding at the computer screen where three red dots blinked on top of a map. "I'll have a satellite in position in just a few moments and we can verify if the location is a likely base or just a rendezvous point."

I raised and eyebrow and in response Tom said, "It's not unusual to use a rendezvous point when a team has been split up, before returning to a primary location. The idea is to verify that no one is tracking or following them before they re-establish connection with their whole."

"I guess it makes sense if you are paranoid," I said.

Kyra glanced up at me with a slight smirk and said, "Is it still paranoia if they really are after you? I mean, we are tracking these people."

"How long before we know?" I asked, ignoring Kyra's comments.

"The satellite is coming into position now," She said. "It will take me about five minutes to gather the data I need to begin an evaluation. From there, it really depends on what I find, but no more than a couple of hours."

"Let me know when you have something," I said and retreated back to my office with Tom following.

I sat down in my chair and Tom resumed his place on the corner of my desk. My thoughts were with Kyra and the data on her screen, but I knew standing over her shoulder was not going to help get things done faster. In truth, it would slow Kyra down and probably annoy her to boot. There was a time that might have been reason enough for me to stay. These days, I am realizing how lucky I am to have friends with the skills to help.

"What you thinking?" Tom said, after a moment of silence.

I looked up at him and wondered why he was there. He did not have to follow me around, offer support or help or anything and yet there he was, trying to find ways to help. Ordinarily, the question would have never occurred to me, but that was before I met myself on the top of mountain, before I learned the people who should care about me the most had spent a lifetime lying to me. Was it innocent concern in his eyes or was it something else, darker, more dangerous?

"Nothing," I said and he replied, "I've known you long enough to know that isn't the truth."

I sighed and said, "I'm thinking nothing is what it seems to be."

"What do you mean?" Tom asked.

"You once admitted to me, you had questions about what we do here. Have you ever considered that what we've been doing may not be as important as why we've been doing it?" I said.

"I've asked the question of why, if that's what you mean," Tom said.

I said, "Not exactly, we were chasing down pieces of a puzzle because they were necessary for something larger, something more important, but why did Mr. Candle ever even care?"

"Not for nothing, but he is your grandfather and obviously this stuff involves you, possibly endangers your future. I'd say he has a vested interest," Tom said.

"That would make sense if you didn't know the rest of the story," I said. "If family really mattered to him so much, then why did he abandon his children in the wake of their mother's death?"

"Maybe it took him a while to realize what mattered to him or maybe there is a part of the story you still don't know. I don't think you can fairly judge him without asking some of those tough questions," Tom said.

"So I'm supposed to pretend all the lies, the abandonment, that none of it matters?" I asked, looking up into Tom's eyes. He stared back answering with the silent conviction I was beginning to adore. I said, "He's had every opportunity to tell his side of things and he chose misdirection and silence instead. Maybe he has his reasons, but I'm done waiting to find out what they are."

Tom nodded with a sympathetic smile and said, "I understand and I'm with you, for whatever you need. All I'm saying is even with everything we've learned in the last few days, I'm pretty sure we still don't know everything we should."

I said, "And I agree. I'm just pretty sure he knows more than we do and he's withholding it for some reason."

"Maybe he has a good reason," Tom said.

"Or maybe we're working for the villain in all of this," I said.

"After everything that has happened, do you really believe that?" Tom asked, his eyes clearly saying he did not.

"That's just it," I said, crossing my arms in front of me, "After everything I've been through, I've learned to trust my instincts and my instincts are telling me not to trust Joseph Candle."

"So these people are resorting to kidnapping and theft because the ends justify the means? I'm sorry I've never bought that argument," Tom said.

"Really?" I said, shaking my head. "We've killed people in our presumption that what we are doing is right."

"Only when we had to," Tom said, "and it's not like these others haven't killed as well."

I pulled out my gun and ejected the cartridge, tossing it into Tom's hands. He stared at the tips of the bullets and then looked at me with raised eyebrows. He asked, "Where did you get this?"

I said, "From our deadly adversaries."

"These are part of a confidential development project for the U.S. government," Tom said.

"I know. Joe showed them to me the day he hired me, but our adversaries have been using them," I said. "While we have bullets that can incapacitate, just a few floors below us, we are running around using the real thing and potentially killing people. Our adversaries are apparently going to the trouble of stealing these bullets so that they can avoid doing the same. If that doesn't sound a bit odd to you, then I don't know what would."

"What about Bad Land?" Tom asked. "They used real bullets there."

"Somebody used real bullets there," I said.

"What are you suggesting?" Tom asked.

"Olivia was there for me, no doubt about it and probably Gina too, but we have no evidence to suggest the men who raided the camp were related to them at all. In fact, one of them nearly killed Gina," I said.

"If they had these," Tom said holding the clip up, "Then it was just a show, most likely."

"Or," I said, staring into his eyes, "Those men were sent by Joe to make sure I was convinced he was the good guy."

"We can't prove that," Tom said.

I nodded and said, "No, but we can't disprove it either and right now, I'm not willing to ignore possibilities just because they sound a little far fetched. We're in the middle of something very big and for whatever reasons, everyone who knows exactly what that is, doesn't want us in on it. That makes me not trust anyone."

The phone on my desk rang and I answered via speaker. Kyra said, "I've got something."

Tom and I made our way out to the main room and stood behind Kyra. She had several images up on the various screens. Tom was nodding, no doubt already forming tactical plans in his head. To me it was all a little overwhelming and difficult to find meaning. Kyra turned from the screens and looked up at me with a faint smile on her lips. She was proud of her work.

"What are we looking at?" I asked.

"Satellite and infrared images. This is more than a rendezvous point," Kyra said turning back to the screens and clicking on something to bring it up larger before us. "Recognize that?"

It was obviously an airplane of some sort and then it hit me what she had to be suggesting. I asked, "The plane they used to get Dr. Michaels?"

"Bingo," Kyra said. "There is a good chance Jack and Gene are somewhere inside this compound."

Tom reached over Kyra's shoulder and pointed to another image. He said, "This looks like a training area."

Kyra tapped a couple of keys and the image was replaced by a series of images. She said, "I pulled up a time lapse and you're right. You can see the people here and here."

"Then we're looking at their main headquarters?" I asked.

"Not likely," Kyra said, "but there is a good chance they're holding your nephew here as well as Jack, Gene, and Brian."

"What makes you say that?" Tom asked.

Kyra clicked on another image, making it larger and said, "This here is clearly, holding cells. There were two people in them on my first pass but, you can see here, another one joins and here, three more. Based on the numbers alone, it's a good chance this the place."

Tom nodded and said, "This temporary most likely, now that they know we'll be looking."

Kyra said, "Yeah, I bet they'll be gone in 24 to 48 hours. The plane is obviously available and if they black out our coverage, we won't have a clue where to look next."

"Then we have to move fast," I said.

Tom nodded and said, "The only problem is we are severely out numbered."

"We need an element of surprise," I said.

Tom and Kyra turned to look at me, eyebrows raised. Kyra asked, "What are you thinking?"

"Get the jet prepped for take off," I said, looking at the screens and specifically at the map.

"They'll see us coming long before we get in range," Kyra said.

I nodded, "Yes, but that's the idea."

"Get them to move the hostages," Tom said, looking at me with a little more respect.

"You and I need to get down there and fast," I said looking at Tom.

"What about me?" Kyra asked.

"You're the diversion and our way out," Tom said and I nodded.


  1. very good chapter Ash, things are really unfolding
    now,Allison comes up with some very good ideas,
    seems Kyra and Allison sure work good together they are starting to know what the other is thinking to a point.
    Looking forward to the next chapter and see what twist you come up with there and if there is any (shout)ing LOL
    Thanks for the Awesome chapter
    AL :)

  2. A little behind with my reading :) Enjoyed this chapter. Thanks.


  3. Ash, yes, things are really rolling.
    I like what is growing between Allison and Tom.
    He respects her strengths but advises a little more caution.
    You threw me a little with the dream scene, well done.
    An excellent chapter, thank you.
    Warm hugs,