A Heck of a Mix-Up

Captured in the dead of the night, Colbie awakes to find Cronus, Hacker, and Count Olaf in leagues with each other.

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1. A Heck of a Mix-Up

Things weren’t going the way Colbie thought they would.

            After years of fighting the god of time to avoid capture, she finally was captured.  The young woman was snatched in the middle of the night by unknown assailants from her bed and the arms of her hero – Jay.

            It didn’t come to any of her surprise that she awoke in a cage in a dark area.  Thanks to being a descendant of the very same enemy she fought against, her night vision was a little better than most people’s.  With it, she could see almost very clearly where she chained.

            Across from her was a trio of young people.  The eldest – a female – couldn’t be much older than her, and she was unconscious, like the two younger people – a boy about eighteen, and a girl about seven years old.  The eldest was very pretty, and virtually no scar marred her pretty face.

            The boy wore glasses, and, like the older girl, no scar touched him, but there was an abnormally large bruise on his face.  Colbie shuddered to think what happened to him.  Deciding against waking the boy to talk about it, she decided to scan the youngest present.

            The youngest was very much like the eldest, but her hair was curly.  Her face looked puzzled as she dreamed, far away from the dark place the three people were in.

            “Psst – Colbie,” a familiar voice whispered.  “Over here.”

            “Inez?” Colbie murmured.  “Is that you?”

            “Sadly, yeah.  Matt, Jackie, and Digit are here, too,” the voice identified as Inez muttered.

            “Do you think Cronus got you guys?” Colbie replied.

            “No.  This place is far too dingy to belong to Cronus.”

            “And Hacker.  Don’t forget him.”

            “True.  Hacker tends to be a little sophisticated when dealing the rest of your team.”

            “And he vowed not to cross me, remember?  I think he’s worried about his life, if you ask me.”

            “Oh, I wouldn’t doubt it.  You scared him a few times with your temper.”

            Colbie almost laughed.  “You think I’m scary when I get mad?  Try Cronus with it.  He’d likely kill every last human within a hundred-mile radius,” she said.

            “Y’know, I don’t doubt you when you say that.  I think I’ve only seen him mildly annoyed,” Inez admitted.

            Colbie chuckled.  Of course, they’d only see him mildly annoyed.  They were still kids compared to the likes of her team.  At the sound of her quiet laughter, one of the girls across from her stirred, chains rattling against the floor of their cage.  Colbie cut herself short and her eyes darted over to the three.

            It was the eldest who had stirred, and she was awake.  Her dark eyes suggested terror and questions of her whereabouts and just who was staring back at her.

            Colbie gave the girl a small smile.  “Hey.  Mind telling me your name?” she asked.  She didn’t want to come across as intimidating to the poor thing, and she didn’t want to come across as unapproachable, either.

            “Violet.  What’s yours?  Where am I?” the girl answered curtly.  She looked around the cage like a wild animal, and struggled against her bonds.

            “Her name is Colbie,” a deep, menacing voice answered.  Colbie tensed up.  She knew that voice.

            “Dammit, Cronus,” she sighed, “this is the umpteenth time you’ve done that.  It’s so freaking old already.”

            There was a chuckle from the darkness.  “But it is new from the Hacker, now isn’t it?” a less menacing voice asked.

            “Hacker!” came Inez’s, Jackie’s, Matt’s, and Digit’s response.  They almost sounded bored, like they knew he was going to appear at some point.

            “Hacker?” Violet inquired as she gave up her fight.  “Cronus?”

            “New friends of mine, brat,” a new voice answered.  Colbie almost shuddered.  The new voice was raspy, wheezy, and cold.  “Now, wake up your siblings.  It’s about time you meet my friends face to face.”

            “Who was that?” Colbie asked Violet as she shook her siblings awake.

            “Count Olaf.  He’s been after our family’s fortune for a long time now.”  Violet analyzed cage as the boy and the girl blinked to consciousness.  The boy looked around his surroundings.

            “Vi, where are we?” he asked Violet.  “Who are these people?”

            “I don’t know where we are, Klaus,” she answered simply.  She looked down at her hands.  “But there is a girl here who knows a little more than me.”

            “My name is Colbie,” Colbie said as fluorescent lights flashed to life.  She squinted in order to see the boy better.  “It would appear we were all captured by some unknown assailant that’s after us for some reason.”

            “Fine, then.  I’ll take the cyberbrats,” the wheezy voice snarled.

            “Have fun with them.  They’re smart kids,” Cronus sneered.

            “I’ll take Colbie, then,” Hacker sighed.  “Since, y’know, I haven’t really had the chance to fully understand what her mind is made of.”

            The youngest girl looked up.  “What’s happening?” she asked.

            There were footsteps, and Cronus’s figure appeared.  When Colbie looked, he did not look pleased.

            “You’re going with Hacker, Mangas.  His pathetic excuse: to see what your mind is made of.”  There was a snap, and the floor beneath her and the chains around her wrists disappeared.  The chains reappeared as handcuffs.  “The rest of you brats are going to have to wait for the decision of Olaf.”

            There was a collective sigh from the Baudelaires and the Cybersquad as Colbie was forced out of the room.  Cronus kept a hand on his descendant’s back and forced her out of the room.

            As the Cybersquad started worrying about her, the door slammed shut.

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