Database courses..to transfer or?

2021.12.04 20:33 nabilmontana Database courses..to transfer or?

Hi Everyone !
Not sure if i should do "Introduction to relational Databases" from Sophia.org (which i already have a membership paid for) , and THEN do the other 2 remaining Data management courses at Study.com
OR
Do all 3 at Study.com (i hear completing one class covers a portion of the others?)
OR
Just do everything (All 3) At WGU? ..fyi i dont know a single thing about databases lol any advice would be nice if anyones got experience on those platforms...looking for the best newb friendly approach..Thanks!
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2021.12.04 20:33 VirginityIsRad Why are all the hot girls manipulative

Like damn 🤨 maybe questioning my self worth is worth a girl with a nose ring and short hair
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2021.12.04 20:33 Not_Glitchy Just uploaded another episode of my Minecraft series!! 1.18 Minecraft Eternal Ep 6: BEEEEEEEE Keeping

Just uploaded another episode of my Minecraft series!! 1.18 Minecraft Eternal Ep 6: BEEEEEEEE Keeping submitted by Not_Glitchy to PromoteGamingVideos [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 20:33 ArenadoStubble 800 Club 🤙

800 Club 🤙 submitted by ArenadoStubble to onewheel [link] [comments]


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2021.12.04 20:33 TheXBoxer [PS4] H: B50c25lvc Handmade, B2525 Fixer and BE25 Fixer W: High End Weapon Offers

[PS4] H: B50c25lvc Handmade, B2525 Fixer and BE25 Fixer W: High End Weapon Offers submitted by TheXBoxer to Market76 [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 20:33 dragonlover4612 [PI] Solar dreams: all parts so far. Will be updated as new parts come out

I started writing a story based on a prompt about people being able to summon characters from their imagination into the real world for 24 hours every year. Upon seeing how invested I was getting into the story, I created this post to document all the parts I have made thus far. I will add new ones as they come out.
Part 1
When morning broke, I expected to be full of energy. More pep in my step. It is a very special day after all. But no. Same as it ever was, getting up from bed was tiring. So I spent several minutes of writhing on my bed, getting all the stiffness out of my joints, before finally getting out and getting dressed. I threw on my nylon black shirt and shorts, the same ones I had been wearing for 3 days now.
I opened my bedroom door and strode out into the hallway, the hunch on my neck still as prominent as it was yesterday. But it was worth it, in my book. I had spent every minute of yesterday deciding who I was going to summon. Who in my wildest dreams I would like to bring into the real world, if only for 24 hours. It had all been typed up in my laptop, which I saw was still laying on the carpet of the living room ahead. I could get a desk. It'd help with my posture while working. But this week was the second time my paycheck bounced, and not a single one of those assholes at the bank or insurance could help me.
But that didn't matter. Today was going to be a better day. Especially now that I know who I'm gonna summon. I made my coffee, slugged it down, and went into my backyard to get ready. I didn't want to have to fix my roof, nor did I want anyone to see who I was bringing to life, so the backyard would be the best spot. The neighboring houses have been abandoned for 4 years now, and there's a tall hill blocking everyone from seeing my backyard from behind my house. Perfect setting.
I sat by the seat of the wooden bench, the only thing in my backyard. Its wood was rotten and grey, but still as dry and hard as when I first got it. Though with how old it has become, the wood felt less like wood and more like bones. Dry, dry bones. But enough describing of the environment. It's time. I stared into the center of the yard, and uttered a name.
"Transmutate."
Silence. Complete silence. Absolutely nothing like how other people summoned their dreams. With them there were explosions of light, or portals opening, or even a meteor falling from the sky to bring forth whatever fictional person they wanted to spend a whole day with. But not me. It seemed my wish bounced. Just like my last 2 paychecks. I should be angry, I should be frustrated. But in the end, I just feel... defeated. Like this truly was the final hint the universe dropped to tell me that it hated me.
I stood up from the bench and went to go inside, only to slam face first into an oddly metallic and very, very large stomach. I fell back on my butt, nearly hitting my head on the bench, and looked up. Before me stood an enormous humanoid robot, nearly 14 feet tall. Its body was mostly white, with long strips of blue and gold decorating it. What stuck to me about the body was just how feminine it was. Like a warrior woman who had covered herself in several layers of super thin armor. But with the rise and fall of the machine's chest and abdomen, I can see certain plates bending and stretching as if they were living flesh.
I slowly looked up, having a good idea of who I had summoned. Transmutate from the IDW comics was much easier on the eyes than the one in beast wars. Though having not specified that, I was kind of worried about which one I was gonna bring. But seeing the body of a female robot instead of a mismatched skeleton was indicative enough that this was the IDW version, but when my eyes met with hers, I still felt a little intimidated. Two red gems of pure mechanical majesty peered down at me, their light shining on my face. The face they were attached to showed no emotion. Just a blank stare.
Slowly I raised my hand, and waved hello. For the first time that day, Transmutate's face moved. It seems I knocked her out of a trance, as she immediately looked flustered. But quickly she realized the meaning of my gesture, and with a quick kneel she shyly waved back. Then, she spoke.
"You... summoned me, right?" Her voice was... nice. Light and gentle, but conducted directly and briefly. Indicative of a woman tempered by battle. This version of Transmutate had seen a lot of it. But that didn't matter. I had been asked a question.
"Uh... Yes." I stammered.
"I think." That last part was completely by accident. Of course I had summoned her. Why else would she-?
"Expected a light show like all the others, huh?" She responded, my eyes looking up just in time to see her mouth flex into a smirk. Similar to her torso, her face was made of a softer, more fleshy metal. It seemed uncannily lifelike for a giant robot.
"Kind of. It was all I ever saw when other people made their wishes. So when..." I had lost my train of thought, for when my eyes reconnected with hers, I found myself mesmerised by the red glow. The mechanical parts shifting around behind the glass of her eyes, the struts, the pistons, all shifting back and forth to a silent rhythm.
"So when you made your wish, you immediately assumed it didn't work because there were no theatrics, huh?" Her teasing tone roused me from my thoughts, and I briefly nodded. She chuckled, kneeled down a bit more, and laid a single finger on my shoulder. With her size, that one finger nearly covered my whole shoulder.
"You must be a very unlucky guy. Aren’t you?"
Hearing her voice so close to me sent a shiver through my body but it left as soon as it came, leaving only her words in my head. And then it started. The heat in my face, the sting in my eyes, the haze in my vision. I held it back as best I could, looking at the ground so I wouldn't have to look at her. She couldn't see me like this. We had only just met. But once it started it couldn't stop. My chest felt tight, my vision got blurrier, and finally... a single tear fell from my eye onto the gross.
I knew she had seen it. Shame fluttered up and down my spine, and another tear fell from my other eye. Realizing there was no point trying to hide it now, I looked up to Transmutate. To those bright red eyes that seemed to know so much more than me. With a curt nod, I replied.
"Yeah."
The finger on my shoulder began to move, rubbing up and down, before switching into gentle circles. The smirk on Transmutate's face grew into a gentle smile.
"It'll be okay. Besides-"
The giant metal finger moved to my cheek, picking away my tear with care that belied its size.
"You've got me for 24 hours. So, tell me." Her finger moved from my face to allow her full hand to grab my waist. I was lifted off the ground into the air, until I was barely above the roof of my house. The light of the sun balanced out the glow of her eyes, and for the first time that day I could see her face. I never understood why transformers had noses. Seemed unnecessary for a robot. But it did make her look kind of... cute. In a way. I was again roused from my staring, when Transmutate spoke again.
"What do you want to do? Right now?" She said.
"W-what?" I replied, my attention split between her words and her face.
"What do you want to do right now? More than anything else in the whole world?" Right then I knew. I didn't even need to think.
"You have a beast mode, right?" Transmutate nodded, though her smile betrayed a tiny bit of confusion.
"Can it... can you fly?" Immediately her mouth changed into an O before returning to a smile, now even lighter and brighter than before.
Part 2
Transmutate gently puts me down, my feet quietly reconnecting with the grass of my backyard. She then produces a cellphone, which looked comically small as it rolled between her fingers like a coin. Quick to notice the plaid popsocket on the back of the phone, I realized that it was my phone!
“Hey, how did you get my-!”
“Size doesn’t matter. It’s how you use it.” She said with a smug chuckle. That’s when I noticed at the end of her index finger was another, far smaller hand. With my cellphone in hand, it immediately began tapping away at the screen.
“Hey, that’s private!” I yelled.
“Don’t worry about it! I’m only looking for something I can use as an alternate mode.” She assured me. Even so, I watched her fingers manipulate my phone with scrutiny.
“So what are you looking for?” I interrogated.
“Eh. 3D renders, CAD models, STL files, anything with enough mechanical detail for my sub-systems to fill in the gaps when I start scanning.” My expression softened, showing my intrigue.
“You can do that?” Transmutate nodded, her eyes still focused on whatever she was searching up on my phone.
“Yeah. How do you think the dinobots were able to turn into dinosaurs? They looked at the anatomy of dinosaurs, translated it into machinery, and used their subconscious algorithms to fill in any missing or undefined parts.” Now, as much as I don’t like a mutant robot woman going through my phone, I gotta admit that she had some interesting things to say.
“Aaaand done!” She chirped, her left eye glowing much brighter than the other before suddenly shooting a laser into my phone. It zigzagged randomly, seeming to trace whatever she had pulled up on the screen. When she was done, she unceremoniously tossed my phone to the ground, now a charred mess of its former self. I spent a moment or two sputtering at the loss of my phone, before sighing in defeat.
“Aw, chin up, little guy!” She cooed, kneeling down again to pat my head with her finger hand.
“We can get a new one when we land.” I immediately straightened up, remembering why we were doing this in the first place, and immediately kicking myself for prioritizing a phone over the chance to fly! I immediately ran to the end of the backyard.
“There’s the spirit!” Transmutate called as I got a safe distance from her. She began to stretch her limbs every which way, her joints creaking from her warm-up.
“You ready?” I was already nodding before she finished her sentence, and with a ruffle of her amor plates she began to transform. It was very different from what I imagined.
It started with her legs. Two struts extended from either side from her hip, which quickly grew into a set of spindly, almost insectoid, bird legs. Her upper arms shifted downward to make way for another set of slightly girthier legs. She dropped to the ground on her four new legs, freeing her other limbs for their own transformation. Her original arms stretched into massive bat wings, before their membrane suddenly retracted and the wings folded into her back, leaving only long spidery fingers which stuck to the ground for purchase. A tail grew from the base of her spine as the calves and feet of her original legs stretched into two more tails, the three appendages weaving together into a single braid. Finally, her neck stretched out and reared up like a snake, and her jaw split open for four small mandibles to fold out and close around her lips.
I just stared, completely gobsmacked by what I had seen, and most especially by the end result. A bizarre yet somehow mystifying chimera of a dragon, a spider, and a woman stood before me. But that mysticism soon subsided in place of sudden fear as she suddenly crawled across the backyard to me which, considering her new size, took less than the blink of an eye. Her sudden startled me as I instinctively leaned against the fence of the yard. Her mandibles parted, revealing the same comforting smile that graced me during our first conversation.
“Come on, little guy. It’s still me.” If her smile wasn’t enough to convince me, then her voice definitely was. Her neck snaked downard and her spider legs folded away to reveal a raised basin on her back, just big enough for a human to fit in.
“Are we flying or what?” I slowly walked over, climbed on her neck, and nestled into the spot on her back. With me in tow all 12 of her legs stretched out and shuffled on and over the roof. For the first time today I got to see the outside world. It would seem that while my end of the town was still as barren as a desert, everyone beyond had wasted no time with summoning their dream characters. The tops of huge monsters and robots can be seen just above the rooftops. Farther up in the sky, silhouettes of all manner of flying entities, be it from a movie, a video game, or an actual dream someone has had, can be seen swarming the skies.
Transmutate and I both took in the view before us. The world we had truly was incredible. Every other day of the year is the same old rat race. Get up, go to work, suck up to higher-ups and suffer the ramblings of coworkers, and worst of all having to do it with a smile. Every. Single. Day. Except for today. The one day where everyone can just be who they always were in their own minds. And it was all with the help of the friends they bring to this world, with the power of the summer solstice and just pure imagination. It would seem that I had spent too long gazing at the wondrous view ahead of us, for Transmutate was already preparing for takeoff. Her arms unfolded from her body, stretching to nearly her entire tail length as membranes stretched across her wing fingers. A few testing flaps of her wings was all the warning I got, before she bounded off the roof of my house like a cat.
The next few seconds would be struggling to hold on as Transmutate beat her wings furiously through the air, riding the wind for all she could as she steadily gained altitude. I was rocked up and down from the moving of her shoulders, my grip on the open cockpit on her back tightened to the point I was sure they would blister later. Then all of a sudden the shaking had stopped, and Transmutate’s voice called out over the wind.
“It’s alright, little guy. We’re all leveled out now.” I crawled up from my perch between her shoulder blades, and peered over her elongated neck. What we saw in the distance below was now much closer, revealing the flying solstice summons and the gleeful people riding them. Two middle aged men cruised around on top of what looked to be over a dozen tie-fighters chained together into a worm, with pac-man acting as the head. Hovering in place was a winged gundam mech, with a young black kid standing atop fully decked out in Naruto gear looking down on the people below with wonder. Zipping overhead was a girl riding Toothless the dragon, laughing manically as she and her mount weaved around all the other flying summoners effortlessly.
Transmutate and I soon joined the swarm, the cybertronian darting through the air with me braced on top of her. Some of the other fliers took notice of me and my summon, and cautiously followed us. Transmutate saw them pursuing us, and narrowed her eyes. Then with a few brisk flaps she soared high into the clouds, disappearing into the mist. Eventually Transmutate settled into a glide, circling a large pocket of open space within the cloud. Now at a safe position in the air, I could finally relax and loosen my grip. I spent a few moments resting my eyes, my back on Transmutate’s back as we chillaxed within the cloud.I was brought out of my light nap when I felt her mandibles tapping my forehead, and I looked up to see her face above mine. Her neck had twisted around to meet face me, and her eyes gleamed with curiosity.
“Yeah?” I said. Transmutate’s mandibles moved aside to allow her lips to move unabated.
“For someone over twenty years old, you seem really new to this whole ‘solstice summon’ thing.” I froze in place, my jaw locking tight after hearing her question. Transmutate’s eyebrows furrowed in concern, her head repositioning to be perpendicular to mine.
“Hey.” I said nothing in response, my eyes locked onto the ceiling of the cloud pocket.
“Hey, are you okay?” Again I ignored it, old emotions welling up from within my chest as my mind began to wander into the past.
“Ellis!” I sat up, looking at her in surprise.
“You know my name?”
“Of course I know your name! I read it from your google account while I was looking for a mode with wings.” My mind pointed out that she had promised to stay away from private information on my phone, but I very quickly stuffed that though into the back of my mind.
“Now tell me.” She spoke, her voice becoming stern for the first time that day.
“What’s wrong?” I shook from my head to my toes at the question, before finally sighing and answering.
“I never got to summon anyone before-”
“Why?” She cut in. I shivered again, but that face told me she wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
“Fine.” I said.
“It’s because-” The clouds to our right parted, and the manic girl and her dragon Toothless crashed through. Straight into us.
Part 3
Ethan walked through the aisles of the supermarket, idly grumbling as he picked groceries off the shelves. By his side, a certain yellow electric mouse followed suit, occasionally chirping ‘Pika’ when suddenly distracted by random sounds and sights. All around him people walked around in glee, followed by various characters from fiction. A young couple walked past the other side of the fruit boxes, followed by two 2d animated animals: a baby deer, and their bunny friend. A larger family walked by, composed of a mother, father, and two little boys. One was running around with a playful NASA rover while the other stuck to the carriage, quietly clutching a sleeping goomba. A teenager strides in from the snack aisle, followed by a 5 foot tall Metal Gear Rex with a basket of junk food hanging on its arm cannon. Behind him is what can be assumed to be his older sister, leading a winged tiger by a leash.
Ethan looked at them all, and grumbled. He had spent a whole month planning which character he was going to summon for the solstice, and just when he was making his wish, a random memory of pikachu popped into his head. And just like that, he was stuck with an annoying electric rat for the rest of the day. He stopped for a moment, and pulled out a picture from his jacket. In it was Ethan himself fist bumping Scorpion, with the Mortal Kombat logo just behind them.
“Maybe next year.” He said, before discreetly sliding the photo back into his coat. He reached the checkout booth, paid for his groceries, bagged them, and walked out into the parking lot. All around him, the town was covered in huge banners. Some were advertising deals at stores and restaurants, while others seemed to be campaigning for a faceless politician, with even a few saying to ‘wish responsibly’. But they were all pretty much saying the same thing: Happy Summer Solstice!
Up in the sky, people can be seen flying around on various animals and machines. An elderly woman riding a short and stout dragon, whose similarly dwarvish wings buzzed like a fly’s. Quickly passing her were a group of teenagers, all riding on the tops of fearsome gryphons. Quickly chasing after them was a team of girls riding on centipedes, whose legs have been replaced with ornate stained glass wings. The two factions seemed to be spouting insults at each other as they raced across the skies, only for both to run away together from a new teenager riding on a flying prism whose sides were photos of Obama’s face, who laughed maniacally as he stood atop his steed in a t-pose. Ethan stared at them, and scoffed.
“Kids these days. Always coming up with random, edgy monsters. Why can’t they bring back a classic, like Kung Lao or Sub-Zero?” The older man grumbled to himself for the thousandth time that day, before suddenly hearing a scream. This one was much fainter than the others up above, but it was very quickly becoming the loudest of the bunch. It was also coming from right behind him. Ethan whirled around just in time to catch two faces. One was large and pale, with bright red eyes and a small strip of metal running between that roughly resembled a nose. The other was much more human, being a typical caucasion young adult with slightly chubby cheeks. Both were screaming, and both were flying right toward him. Ethan ducked just in time, and heard the two crashing into the road behind him. The old man stands and turns in a huff, immediately hollering after the two idiots that had nearly blended him into a disgruntled smoothie.
“What in the-!? Who in the!? WHAT KINDA PSYCHOPATH JOY RIDES ON HIS SUMMON!?” Ethan yelled. The summon was the first to stand, revealing it’s massive mechanical dragon body as it reared up on 4 thin, hinge jointed legs. Its neck snaked around to meet Ethan, revealing an eerily humanoid face. Aside from 4 mandibles stemming from the sides of it’s head, and an ominous seam line running along its mouth, its face was almost exactly like that of a woman wearing a skin-tight helmet. She huffed in relief, still recuperating from the rough landing.
“Sorry about that!” She began.
“Some schmuck on a black dragon crashed right into me and my summoner.” On cue, the man stood up and dusted himself off in just a few quick and fluid motions. He then looks to Ethan, realizes the situation, and immediately starts to spout apologies. Ethan calmly holds up a hand, and the boy goes silent.
“It’s fine. Just don’t do it again.” Ethan looks to the robot dragon beside the boy, narrowing his eyes as he examines the large summon. He then looks back to the boy.
“What’s your name, son?” He asked. The immediate response was:
“Ellis! Ellis Thurman, and this is my friend for the day, Transmutate!”
“Transmu- What? What kinda name is that?” Ethan scowled.
"It comes from her being a mutated form of transformer." Ethan's face and body softened upon hearing the last word.
"Transformer? Like those toys from the 1980s?" Ellis nodded.
“Now I don’t remember seeing anything like that! In either the cartoon or the toy stores!” Ellis looked to Transmutate, who seemed slightly upset at Ethan’s remark. A short whir in her chest was the only warning as she transformed from beast mode to robot mode. Her tail split into three, with the middle folding away as the other two reformed into her lower legs and feet. She stood up on them as her other beast legs folded away, leaving only her wings to revert back into normal arms. Finally, her neck contracted into her body until it had returned to its normal length. Now standing at her original 14 foot height, she smiled smugly down at Ethan with her hands on her hips.
“I’m part of the later generations. You should check ‘em out.” She spoke curtly. It was then that the little pikachu that had been hiding behind Ethan’s leg had gained enough confidence to come out. He spotted Transmutate, and was awed by her large size. He waddled over to her, to which Transmutate took notice. She squatted down, and gently brought a hand to touch the electric mouse. The pokemon wasted no time and snuggled into her large fingers, the lightning from its red cheeks buzzing against her metallic digits.
“Well, aren’t you just the cutest little thing?” Transmutate cooed, moving her fingertip to scratch pikachu’s chin. Ethan huffed at the display.
“Ain’t nothing cute about that overgrown rat.” Transmutate looked at him, slightly hurt but otherwise enamored with the small creature.
“Well, then why did you summon him?” She inquired.
“I didn’t want to. I was trying to summon someone else, but then I saw an old magazine that had him on it, and then I remembered the intro to the tv show, and… You get the idea.” Transmutate let out a quick ‘hm’ of understanding, before gently nudging Pikachu back to his summoner. She stood back up, and dusted herself off.
“Well, it’s not too bad. You still got next year. And besides, Pikachu isn’t nearly as bad as you’d think. Give it some more time. You’ll like him.” Ethan puffed through his nose, and turned to look at Ellis.
“Watch where you’re going next time.” He said roughly before walking off, his pikachu following suit upon seeing his beckoning hand. As the pair walked away, Ethan looked down at Pikachu. The little mouse looked up at him with pure adoration. Ethan looked away, grumbling to himself. Pikachu made a tiny gasp, before looking down at the pavement mournfully. Ethan saw them sulking out of the corner of his eye, and with a short groan he stopped. Pikachu had only enough time to stop with him, before the yellow mouse suddenly found himself scooped up into the arms of his summoner. Ethan continued onward as normal, with the exception of the small pokemon now cradled in his arms.
Transmutate and Ellis looked at the endearing display eahed, then to each other, each shrugging their shoulders at the other. The two walked up the parking lot side by side preparing to take off into the air, before they suddenly heard an ominous hiss. The two casually turned around, and looked down to see a spider. A very large spider. About the size of a small dog. It was holding a staff in its front two legs, and had a wizard hat on its head. Transmutate cocked an eyebrow at the weird sight before her.
“What‘re you looking at?” She shot, the solid plates of her body flaring out to make her appear larger, inadvertently exposing her human-like midriff to Ellis’ unprepared gaze. The young man quickly switched his attention to the spider in front of them, who suddenly raised its staff. It began to cast a spell, circling its staff in the air as it chanted in clicks and chortles. Whatever tongue it was speaking, it appeared to actually be conjuring magic. A ball of fire began to materialize at the tip of the staff, growing to the size of a basketball before being launched off with a swing of the spider’s staff. Straight toward Transmutate it went, before bouncing off her armor. It bounced to her right three times like a real basketball, before fading away with a disappointing fart noise. Transmutate began to chuckle, looking at the spider with an unimpressed gaze.
“Is that really all you go-” The spider suddenly leaps up and latches onto her face. The next sound Ellis heard was probably the loudest, most high pitched shriek of pure terror he had ever heard.
Part 4
I looked up just in time to see the spider had landed on Transmutate’s face. Her reaction was very much what I would expect from a giant spider jumping onto your face, but I was still not prepared for just how high-pitched her scream was. She had to have a little bit of her beastwars incarnation in her, as that one’s main ability was being able to scream so loudly that mountains would crumble from the vibrations. Unfortunately, none of that did anything to deter the spider. Try as she may, it still held on, even after she lost her balance and fell to the ground. I ran over to help her, but within arm’s reach of her I froze. I was a 5’4 man, and she was a 14 foot tall robot. How was I gonna help her without getting crushed? Realizing my severe disadvantage, my eyes darted everywhere for someone who could help. The fliers were too high up in the air to hear me, and the nearest summoner on the ground had left moments ago after an awkward encounter with me. What could I do? What could I do!?
“That’s enough, boy!” A new voice called from behind a nearby car. The spider immediately relaxed, jumped off her body, and scuttled in the direction of the voice. From behind the car strode in a much younger boy, dressed in a long black coat with small white stripes lining its rims. His spiky hair shined with hair gel, and the unnatural shade of blue in his eyes suggested he was wearing colored contact lenses. He strode toward me, hands nonchalantly sheathed in his pockets. He moved up and down my body, the color of their lenses making his gaze upon me feel much more unsettling than it would have had his eyes been normal. He stopped and tittered to himself.
“Never used a summon meant for fighting, that’s for sure.” My head shook a tiny bit as I tried to grasp his words, my face broadcasting my incredulity to him.
“If you spent even a single solstice with other people you’d know never to trust a summon without its summoner.” He continued. He looked to Transmutate, who had since clambered back to her feet, and met her glare of silent indignation.
“You’re summon seems to act on her own, which is a rookie mistake at best. And I just gotta say: You really couldn’t think of anything better than a transformer?” Now that right there, is what got me. My eyebrows narrowed with my eyelids.
“Who are you?” I asked. The boy chuckled to himself, and casually offered his hand to me.
“My gang calls me ‘Clutch’.” My right eye twitched as I immediately remembered where I heard that name before. With the sheer amount of freedom people have when summoning during the solstice, it was inevitable that those would use such power with less than virtuous intentions. Various sleeper gangs would rise up during the Solstice and wreak havoc on innocent people. Because their summons disappeared when the day was over, they could easily cover up their tracks and disappear into the masses before resurfacing next year. One of the most sadistic offenders among these gangs were the ‘spider-men’. And the name of their leader was ‘Clutch’.
While my body showed no sign of emotion, deep down I was scared. This kid and his goons were completely psychotic, and the many victims who had images of spiders carved into their backs have attested to that day in and day out. Knowing full well that this could turn ugly, I reached my arm up and grasped his hand. A few curt shakes was the best I could do before Clutch ripped away his arm with strength that belied his size, though his face still showed no emotion other than a smug, smug grin.
“Why are you here?” I blurted out. Clutch stiffened, his smile widening. Knowing I very likely misspoken, my eyes glanced at Transmutate. She remained stoic, though the tensity in the soft parts of her armor showed she was every bit as on edge as me. Clutch suddenly relaxed, and spoke.
“Well, me and my boys here were planning on a fun little bout of store looting-” The young man began, gesturing around him with a relaxed arm. Suddenly, more people began to crawl out from behind cars, followed by vicious summons of many shapes and sizes. They all were all, in one way or another, giant spiders, but their summoners had clearly taken their own ‘creative liberties’ with their appearances. From buzzsaws for feet, to dragon heads for fangs, to even two spiders conjoined by a fleshy red string stemming from their tails, these summons were very clearly made to torment rather than entertain. “-But after seeing you and your ‘pet’ fall from the sky, and seeing her transform, I elected that you were more interesting than just another smash-and-grab.” My eyes flicked to Transmutate again, and noticed her plates beginning to flare up again.
“What would you want with us?” She spoke. Clutch whipped his head toward her, his mouth slightly agape. But just as soon as his surprise had come it went away, and his smirk returned. He looked back toward me.
“You even let your toy speak for you? Tsk, tsk, newbie.” Transmutate growled.
“I speak for myself, thank you!” She snarled, her plates ruffling up and down in a wave-like pattern before settling into their original spiked out position. Clutch tsked again, before snapping his fingers. The other spiders hissed, before launching several webs at Transmutate, all aimed at her mouth. The webs landed on her lips, knocking the robot woman’s head backward as they near instantly sealed mouth shut.
“Yeah, but I'm not talking to you.” Clutch shot, his smile fading away as his brows narrowed down in annoyance. Transmutate whipped back up from the knockback of the web, muffling through her makeshift gag as her hands shot up and began pulling at the incredibly strong fibers. I looked at her with worry, not realizing that Clutch had already diverted his attention away and stared at me expectantly.
“Hey, newbie.” Clutch shot, snapping his finger right next to my ear. I spun around, noting his annoyed expression with worry.
“Normally I’d have my boys strap you down as their summons rip apart your robot wife so I can personally carve my message straight onto your back.” I shuddered, remembering the many people with symbols of spiders permanently carved into the skin of their spines. The other summoners began to creep toward, the sound of their larger minions shuffling on the ground with their many appendages invading my ears. The gangsters continued forward, their arachnid pets slowly outpacing them as their fangs reared up. Just when they got within 10 feet of me, Clutch raised his hand. Everyone stopped and stepped back.
“But I have a better idea.” He looks to Transmutate, just as she had ripped off the webbing that latched onto her face as abruptly as the spider wizard did. “She may be unoriginal, but she is quite powerful. Powerful enough that she may be able to clean out all the sycophants in my gang. So, here’s the deal...” He looks back to me, his smile never faltering, but the emotion behind it now altered to a more sinister tone by the dilated pupils in Clutch’s eyes.
“In two and a half hours me and my boys are joining up with the other gangs at the foot of that mountain over there.” Clutch roughly grabs me by the hair, and twists my head towards the mountain range to the north. His hand points to a specific mountain in the center of the horizon. It was noticeably slimmer and pointier than the surrounding mountains, and was completely devoid of any green fields and meadows. Only cold, hard stone.
“That one right there. This year we’re gonna be debuting an arena the other gang leaders and I had just finished building. The typical bloodsport rally. There’s gonna be lights, speakers, disco balls, all the bells and whistles.” Clutch shoves me away, his grip on my hair only releasing when I stumble out of his reach. I could only stare back, fear gluing my feet to the ground. Transmutate leaned in with the intent to intervene, but the collective hiss of all the giant spiders made her still.
“It’s also the only place I can get rid of all the no-goods and the weaklings that had somehow weaseled into my group, without making myself look bad in front of the other gang leaders.” His fingers began to curl, the first and only indication of jealousy I have seen from him. My attention on his fingers was once again broken by Clutch snapping his fingers in my face again. As my eyes again viewed Clutch’s face, I could see the rage bleeding through his smug facade.
“Hey! HEY! Pay attention when I’m talking to you!” He spat, delivering a quick smack to the side of my head in the middle of his sentence. “You and I are gonna head on over, and that robot of yours is going to fight for us. I’ll only be sending in the most useless of my gang, so she shouldn’t have any trouble pounding their summons into the ground. That is, until I get bored and decide to just kill her with the others.” For the first time since Clutch had introduced his name, I had felt anger. He had no right, no privilege, over the lives of others. Most especially not my summon. My summon.
“You can’t do that.” I muttered. Clutch stepped, feigning shock.
“What was that, fat boy?” He jeered, maintaining his fake shock. I only narrowed my eyes, my confidence gaining despite my highly disadvantaged position.
“I said you can’t do that. She’s mine!” Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Transmutate. Her face had relieved itself of all its aggression, and replaced it all with great surprise, a fair bit of awe, and even slight adoration. Remembering her comforting finger, her warming smile, and those endless eyes of red, I couldn’t help but feel a form of pride that she was now the one in awe of me. But our eye contact was abruptly ended by Clutch’s fist in my stomach. I keened over myself, not enough to lose balance, but enough for Clutch to grab me by the ear and yank me toward him.
“You don’t seem to understand.” Clutch growled. His voice being so close to my ear made his threat all the more clear, and the situation all the more uncomfortable and invasive. Transmutate once again tried to intervene, only for one of the smaller spiders to jump on her arm. She swatted it away, and begant backpedal defensively as more spiders began to creep toward her. She shifted back into her dragon form, raising up her own spider legs in a threatening display. The spiders slowed to a stop, retaliating with their own intimidation poses.
“I’m not giving you a choice.” The voice of the gang leader felt more violating than anything else, what with our close proximity. “You either come with us, fight in our arena, and die there, or-” Clutch roughly twisted my ear, the feeling of my skin stretched taught nearly enough to cause a headache.
“-Or you can die right here. Right now.” Here I was. Caught in an ultimatum from a psychotic gang leader, fearing for both my own life and the life of my summon, when not even an hour prior I was at home alone.
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