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Adaptive Delivery Protocols by Ethan Hedman


Adaptive Delivery Protocols



A thin crust was readied, spread by robot limbs

Smearing barbecue sauce, sprinkling cheese on the dough

Bits of chicken and pineapple drop down to trim

The pizza hits the ovens, flash-cooked in a row


Its order prepared, the drone secures its load

Soaring out from its station, high into the sky

It darts past hovertraffic, finding the abode

Of its latest client, awaiting their pie


The building is vast, shooting up past the clouds

Though the drone stays far lower, its target in sight

Weaving through the rest of the late-night food crowd

It finds the apartment, still lively with light


A faint jingle chimes from the balcony door

Accompanied by a soft tap on the glass

The homeguard app vibrates the phone on the floor

Its AI soon opting to let the drone pass


The drone floats through the doorframe, now in silent mode

Finding its human patron, dozed off through the wait

It scans for a drop-site with its sensor nodes

Placing the box down next to an empty plate


To confirm the delivery, it snaps a quick shot

Just as a small housecat meows up at the guest

The drone turns and lowers, while the kitten swats

At the hovering being, newfound in its nest


Concerned that the cat might follow it outside

The drone prints long receipts, spewing them at the wall

With the kitten diverted, the drone swiftly glides

Causing the sliding door to shut in its quick trawl


With the porch secured, the drone leaves for its home

At the autorestaurant near the city's lowgrounds

After a quick recharge, again ready to roam

Endlessly through dense clusters of peers on their rounds




Ethan Hedman is a speculative fiction writer from South Florida, the land of heat, humidity, and hurricanes. Ethan's work has been featured in a variety of publications, including Tales From OmniPark, Community of Magic Pens, and Gunsmoke & Dragonfire. His full bibliography can be found on


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