"Iris, open door please," Benton ordered with a sigh.

The wood door that led to the front hall of the Quest compound swung open as commanded and Benton stepped into his home and set his suitcases down.  He closed the door behind himself and looked around at his surroundings.

Home, he thought, finally home again.

"Hi, pop, welcome home," Benton's son greeted as he walked into the front hall.

"It's good to be home," Benton returned hugging his son.

"How was Colorado?"  Jonny inquired.

"Twice as cold as it is here with snow," Benton answered wondering when the Florida winter had cooled down.

Jonny helped his father with his suitcases, escorting him to his room.  They passed Jessie in the living room as they went.  Benton paused long enough to say hi to her then he and Jonny continued on their way.

"So, how's school been?"  Benton inquired.

"The usual, and everything's been calm around home," Jonny answered.

"That's good," Benton said yawning.

He took his suitcases from his son and entered his room.

"Make sure Race knows I've returned," he told his son.

"Sure, pop, sleep well," Jonny agreed.

Benton closed the door to his room, removed his shoes and jackets and flopped down on his bed exhausted.  It felt good to be back home in a familiar bed with his family safe and sound.  His thoughts were with them as he drifted off to sleep.

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Dr. Zin looked around the room at the people gathered there.  He hoped it would be a pleasure working with them and with them all working toward the same goal he hoped they would be successful.  Just as long as they could over come the Quests, but as a team that task would be no problem.

First was Dr. Jeremiah Surd confined to his wheel chair with his wife Julia and her brother Lorenzo standing behind him.  A brilliant mind plus he had access to Quest World.  His wife too was quite intelligent and Lorenzo was a loyal flunky.  They had come close to defeating the Quests in the past more than once.

General Vostok sat next to the evil scientist; his military uniform crisp and clean.  This was a man, Zin knew, whose bad side you didn't want to be on.  Zin wasn't quite sure what he had against the Quests other than their victories against him on a couple of run-ins.  Vostok was a dangerous man with a military mind to match the uniform.  The strategies he formed in his head were definitely ones top military minds would like to get their hands on.

At the head of the table sat Zin himself, his twin daughters Anya and Milana positioned behind himself.  He'd been battling the Quests for years, could probably be considered their archenemy.  His mind was as brilliant as both Dr. Surd's and Dr. Quest's and yet somehow Dr. Quest always came out on top.  Maybe now with his and Surd's genius combined along with the military intelligence of Vostok they would be able to outsmart the Quest team.

The last man seated at the round, granite table was a man named Jonathon Dapp.  The only thing Zin knew about this man was that he hated the Quests with a vengeance.  Hated them so much more than any of the other people in this room.  You only had to look at him to see that he carried a deep wound, a grudge that boiled and festered inside of him, had been for years.  Zin didn't know what had caused such pain and hate.  He was just glad this man was on his side.  Dapp resembled Ezekiel Rage in the fact that a mask, sort of like the Phantom of the Opera, which obviously hid hideous scars, covered the left half of his face.  The right half hadn't been touched and looked like it belonged to James Bond.

"We all want the same thing, world domination," Zin finally began.  "And we all know the key to that is the virus Pheryll 90. "

"And we all also know that we'll have the Quests to deal with and not one of us has ever been able to defeat them.  They've even killed Ezekiel Rage," Surd cut in sarcastically.

"But, together maybe we have more of a chance.  We're all highly intelligent men and if we work together it only makes us smarter," Vostok countered.

"Quite right Vostok, but will it be enough?"  Surd asked.

"Two of us scientific genius's against Dr. Quests one mind.  Volstok and your wife Julia to both deal with Bannon.  I believe we might have the advantage this time Dr. Surd," Zin answered.

"Yes, but what about their kids?  We mustn't under estimate them.  They all seem to have inherited both Dr. Quest's genius and Race Bannon's fighting skills and military know how," Surd reminded.

"Hopefully, you can take care of them in Quest World, Dr. Surd.  I'm sure you can think up something that'll do the job," Zin assured.

"You better hope so," Surd agreed.

"Ah, but you're forgetting someone," Dapp finally spoke in his proper, English accent.

"Who?"  Vostok inquired.

"Mr. Bannon's wife," Dapp answered.

"Estella Velasquez?"  Zin said confused.

Dapp threw his head back and laughed.  The rest of the council watched him, seriously doubting his sanity.

"No, Dr. Zin," Dapp finally said when he'd stopped laughing, "not Estella.  Have any of you ever heard of Vanessa Elizabeth Monroe?"

The council looked at each other, none of them recognizing the name.

"She's a jewel thief, an international jewel thief, the best there is.  That's why you don't know her unless you've worked for her and I have, but that's another story.  When she visits her family she goes by Vanessa Elizabeth Bannon.  And sure, you think, why worry about a petty jewel thief?  But, I'm here to tell you that she cares deeply for her family and if they are in danger she will come to their rescue with a whole army behind her," Dapp explained.

"An army?"  Vostok inquired slightly interested.

"She has hundreds of people that work for and are loyal to her.  She runs no small operation.  It takes a lot to sway any of her people against her, but it can be done, believe me, but, again, that's another story," Dapp answered.

"You seem to have a lot of other stories," Surd commented suspiciously.

"Yeah, maybe you'd like to share them with the rest of the class," Lorenzo added.

"There's only one and it really doesn't matter.  What does is that maybe I have an upper hand over Race's daughter, and not just that, but maybe I can convince her to join our side," Dapp said looking each man in the eye.

"Impossible," was the unanimous vote from around the room.

"Not really," Dapp assured.

"How, then?" one of the twins asked.

"Leave that up to me, just know it can be done, with the council's approval of course," Dapp proposed.

Once again, the council looked at each other, but this time making a silent decision.  Finally, Dr. Zin began to slowly nod his head.

"Fine, we'll give you a chance to prove yourself," he approved.

"Just don't mess up.  Some of us aren't very forgiving," Vostok warned.

"You can count on me General.  I know very well what the consequences can be when somebody messes up.  Unfortunately, sometimes it's an innocent man who has to deal with them," Dapp answered.

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"Come on, Jess, I'm ready to beat you at Magic Quest," Jonny urged.

"That's what you said last time, and you remember what happened," Jesse replied.

"Yes, my friend, she crushed you," Hadji reminded.

"Yeah, yeah, I remember, no need to bring that up," Jonny grumbled.

"I also remember you were quite humiliated," Jessie continued.

"You guys will never let me live that one down," Jonny groaned.

"Nope," Hadji assured.

"Okay, okay, but that was last time, this is this time and I'm gonna win," Jonny countered.

"Sure, Jonny," Jessie teased.

"Just log us in," Jonny ordered as he and Jessie connected the VR modules to their ears.

"Log onto Quest World, subjects Jonny Quest and Jessie Bannon…Going hot," Hadji commanded.

Jonny and Jessie found themselves shooting through a green tunnel until they finally appeared in a clearing of a lush forest.

"You two know the rules," Hadji's voice reminded.

"Yeah, Hadji, I think so seeing as we've played this game for the past three weeks," Jonny replied sarcastically.

"Begin play," Iris commanded.

They were off going in different directions.  It was rather simple game if one thought about it.  They had ten minutes to collect as many spells as they could.  Then, they would meet back at the clearing to use their spells in a duel.  They could only use the spells once and the last one standing or the last one with any spells left won.  So far Jessie had always come out on top, but Jonny was determined to beat her.  He kept his eyes open for the white sparkle that signified a spell.

Jessie in the meanwhile was laughing to herself as she entered the small hut.  A woman sat inside rocking silently in a chair.  Jessie had discovered this little secret the second time Jonny had challenged her after being beat by her the first time.

"Teach me," she said to the woman.

The woman smiled, got up and began to pull a chest into the middle of the room.  Jessie aided the woman and the woman's smile broadened.  She opened the chest to reveal the familiar white sparkle.  The woman gestured to the chest.

"Learn well," were her orders.

"Thank you," Jessie replied.

She knelt in front of the chest and began to gather spells.  However, when she heard a laugh behind her that had never been in the game before, she turned to find that the old woman had turned into none other than Jeremiah Surd.

"Hadji, log us out," Jessie ordered.

Surd began to walk toward her.  She looked around her for a weapon, then remembered the spells she'd been gathering.  She picked a random one from the group and hurled it at her opponent.  It hit home, sending the lunatic backwards.

"Wrong move Miss Bannon," Surd said standing.

His hand turned into a pincer and he extended it and grabbed her around the neck.  He lifted her into the air, the cottage disappearing to be replaced with the familiar background of the mainframe of Quest World.  Jessie saw Jonny over Surd's shoulder for only a moment before he disappeared.

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Hadji typed furiously at the keyboard after being alerted to the intruder and hearing Jessie's urgent, "Hadji, log us out."

"Iris, log Jonny and Jessie out of Quest World," he ordered.

He watched as Jonny's visor shut down and his brother stood.  But, Jessie was somehow trapped in the VR system.  Jonny joined Hadji behind the console.

"What's wrong?" he demanded.

"I do not know," Hadji answered still typing away.

"Hadji, Jonny, help me," she called.

The two turned to the screen and watched.  Surd was laughing as he held Jessie in the air.  She struggled to free herself, trying to pry the pincer open with her bare hands, but failing.

"I could finish you right now, Jessie," he told her.

She continued to struggle.

"But, I won't.  You've a different fate awaiting you," he finished.

He set her down and they both disappeared from Quest World.  Jessie's visor turned off and she sat stunned, trying to catch her breath.

"What just happened?" she asked.

"And what did he mean a different a fate?"  Jonny added.

"Both very good questions," Hadji answered.

"I think we better stay out of Quest World for a couple of weeks," Jessie suggested.

"I agree," Hadji replied.

"I wonder what Surd's up to?"  Jonny mused.

"Who cares as long as you promise to stay out of Quest World," Jessie told him.

"Fine, fine, I promise," Jonny agreed.

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"That, Julia, was just to give them a little scare," Surd informed his wife once he was out of Quest World.

"What now?"  Julia inquired.

"We wait.  Monitor Quest World.  I want to be informed the exact minute Jonny enters the system," Surd ordered.

"Yes, Jeremiah," Julia obeyed.

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"I don't like this, Benton.  Surd's definitely got something planned," Race said to his friend after they'd heard the story.

"Yes, Race, but what?  Why didn't he kill Jessie like he'd said he could?"  Benton replied.

"And what about the different destiny they told us he'd warned her about," Race continued.

"I don't know, but we don't have much choice but to wait and see what happens," Benton answered.

"That's what worries me," Race sighed.

"Yes, well, we'll just have to be careful.  I have some things I need to work on.  If anybody needs me I'll be in the lighthouse," Benton said leaving Race.

He made his way through the house and out into the cold Florida winter.  He hurried his pace, eager to get to the warmth of the small "cabin" that housed the Quest World and other equipment.  Once he'd reached his destination he rubbed his hands together trying to generate warmth in them more quickly.

"Iris, load file virus 90," he ordered.

"File loading," Iris replied as Benton sat down behind the console.  "File loaded."

A picture came up on the monitor while data whizzed by at the side of the screen.  The Pheryll 90 virus was very lethal.  Not something one wanted a lunatic bent on taking over the world to get his hands on.  And Benton already knew of a couple of lunatics who were looking for it.  Before, he'd been able to truthfully plead ignorance.  Once, it had almost killed Jesse, but she was okay.  Now, though, he knew all about the virus, even how it was made and he knew he could make it himself.

That's what scared him.  He had been honored when the Morton's had asked him to help them with the project they'd been working on.  He'd had no idea it was the Pheryll 90 virus.  They'd made a lot of progress on their own and with the team the government had supplied them, but Benton knew that he'd made even more progress.  He'd always been good at that kind of thing, finding the unknown, and this virus had definitely been the unknown.

Benton began to read the information that accompanied the picture of the virus despite the fact that he had it memorized.  If the virus were released, it would be worse than if Jeremiah Surd's nerve gas had been.  The virus would literally eat a person alive from the inside out.  It was highly contagious, and would spread as fast as the plague had with twice as much damage.  If a person caught the disease they would surely die and there would be no remains to bury.  Not after the virus had eaten the person.

And there was no cure.  That's what they were working on now, a cure, but things were looking pretty doubtful.  Whoever developed this virus, was a super genius.  Too bad he hadn't developed a cure to go with it, Benton thought.  Then, he sat up, an idea forming in his head.

"Maybe he did," Benton said to himself.  "Iris, get me the president."

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Do you want to go to a movie tonight?"  Jessie asked as she plopped down on the couch next to her boyfriend.

"Depends, what are we going to see?"

"We'll vote on it at the theater, or we can just split up and go see what ever we want to."

"We should see the new Star Wars movie," Jonny suggested.

"I don't know, I'll wait and see what my choices are," Jessie replied.

"Well, whatever you decide, I'm going to see The Phantom Menace," Jonny told her.

"Don't be surprised if you end up going alone," Jessie warned.

Jonny just smiled at her.

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"I thought I was going to be watching The Phantom Menace alone," Jonny mused as he walked out of the movie theater with his arm around his girlfriend.

"There was nothing better showing," Jessie excused.

"You just can't resist me," Jonny accused.

"Don't flatter yourself," Jessie returned.

"It's not flattery, it's the truth," Jonny assured.

Jessie wrapped her arms around herself as she and Jonny walked out into the cold winter night.  They both noticed the figure leaning against the car they shared.  As they approached the car they wondered who could be waiting for them, or if it were just nobody.  Maybe just a person taking a break from whatever it was they had been doing.

"I thought you two were never coming.  I've been freezing out here waiting for you two," a familiar voice said.

Jessie ran to her mother and wrapped her arms around her in a hug.  Her mother's arms encircled her, returning the embrace.

"Didn't expect you back so soon," Jonny said coming up behind Jessie.

"Well, it's good to see you too," Vannie replied sarcastically catching the boy up in a hug.

"You know I missed you," Jonny assured.

"Now, can we get out of this cold?"  Vannie requested.

"Can't wait to see dad, can you?"  Jessie asked as Jonny handed Vannie the keys.

"Of course not," Vannie said unashamedly.

She climbed into the driver's seat and the two teens climbed into the back.

"What am I?  Your chauffeur?"  Vannie joked.

"Looks like," Jonny replied.

"Turn on the heat," Jessie ordered.

"Gladly," Vannie said.

She fiddled with the switch for the heater as she drove out of the parking lot and back towards the compound.  The ride was anything but quiet as Jessie and Jonny filled Vanessa in on what had been happening in their lives since she'd been gone.

"I've even received two letters from Jared," Jessie said.

"What did he have to say?"  Vannie inquired.

"I don't know, I never read them," Jessie answered.

"Yeah, she burned both immediately," Jonny clarified.

Vannie laughed as she turned onto the road that led to the compound.  She pulled up to the house and turned the car off.  The three climbed out and headed into the house.

"We're home and we've brought a guest," Jessie called out.

She removed her coat and Jonny took both her's and her mother's and hung them in the coat closet along with his own.  They led the way deeper into the house.

"Who is it?"  Benton asked as he came out of the kitchen carrying a cup of coffee.  "Oh, hi Vannie."

"Hello Benton, been working late?" she greeted seeing his disheveled condition.

"Just woke up," he corrected.

"Hi dad," Jessie chimed as her father joined the small party in the front hall.

She smiled when her father ignored her for her mother.

"Hi Jessie," he finally said after finishing his kiss with his wife.

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Vannie walked into her daughter's room the next morning to find it empty.  A small tape recorder lay amidst the tangled sheets.  Vannie picked it up and pressed the play button.  The voice that issued from it made her sick to her stomach.  The recorder dropped back onto the bed as Vannie listened.

"I know you recognize my voice so I won't take the time to introduce myself.  I also know you've probably figured out what this means.  Yes, I have your daughter, but don't worry, you'll see her again, although the reunion won't be a happy one."

When the message finished Vannie hit the floor unconscious.