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A Heaven for Toasters | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book After relaunching A Heaven for Toasters, complete with new cover, I promised to publish it here in installments. Here’s the next chapter.

Note: You can find a link to all published chapters at the end of this post or read more parts on Wattpad.

A Heaven for Toasters

What if your perfect man was a robot?

Detective Mika Pensive has a new partner. He’s hot. Smart. Funny. And an android.

Set in the near future, A Heaven for Toasters is more than a sci-fi crime adventure with plenty of romance and wit. It’s the book that will make you look at your toaster in a whole new way.

CHAPTER 9: Hail Mary

4:27 a.m.

The empty lobby was probably an unexpected perk of the emphasis the hotel placed on human personnel: everyone was sleeping at this late hour. Like many high-end hotels, this one guaranteed its clients’ privacy by not allowing any surveillance inside its premises. For once, this helped my work instead of hindering it.

We approached the door and it swiveled open. I popped my head out. A faint street lamp was the only source of illumination.

I tapped my temple. “Night vision,” I murmured.

It was like a magician had just flickered the street into existence. The colors were a little off, but I could see as clearly as in the day. My gaze traveled up and down, pausing at every doorway.

Nothing.

And yet, I couldn’t shake the tingly feeling at the back of my neck. I tilted my head to the sky and jumped back inside. “Ta ma de,” I hissed under my breath as I bumped into Leo.

“What?”

“There’s a drone. Could be the same one as before.”

“Before what?”

“There was a drone following us this morning after we left the station.”

“Is it the police?”

“No idea.” I scratched my chin. “I don’t suppose you can turn invisible, can you?”

“You’re the one with the chameleon clothes.”

“Change of plan, then.” I tapped my temple. “Clothes options.” Various images popped into my vision field. I tapped an icon of a chameleon. My skin tingled. I looked down at my body. Sure enough, I could now see through me—or, at least, through every part of me that was covered. Using the clothes options, I made sure the metasuit covered every inch of my body, then I tapped the icon again. My clothes returned to their Hawaiian pattern. “Okay. We split up. Wait for a few minutes and meet me there. I’ll try to lose the drone.”

Leo nodded and started to leave, then stopped. Turning around, he placed a small kiss on my cheek. “Good luck.” He whipped around and rushed into the elevator that would take him back to our room.

I stood there for a few moments, rubbing my burning cheek. Get a grip, Mika, I scolded myself. You have a job to do.

I opened the door and casually stepped outside, avoiding a look in the drone’s direction. I wanted to look like a jetlagged tourist who wanted to take a predawn stroll.

I started to walk downhill toward the port. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the drone follow me. I tapped my temple and turned my head enough for the tracker app to lock on to it while my gaze scanned the path ahead. The red crosshairs in my vision darted left and right while getting a lock.

As soon as they blinked their success, I turned a sharp right and ducked under an archway, momentarily shielding myself from the drone’s prying eyes. I tapped my temple and whispered a rapid succession of commands. My fingers punched the air. I chose the hooded design for my clothes, making sure it covered every inch of me, then pushed the temperature slider to make sure I’d be invisible even to an infrared scan. Last came the chameleon icon.

A second later, I dashed out of the archway. With a jump, I took cover in an old doorway. The drone zoomed past me, focusing its attention under the archway. I bolted back uphill as fast as I could, not daring to look behind me.

After taking a sharp left turn, I stopped under another low archway. The tracker app showed the drone continue its search pattern, getting farther away from me with each passing second. I did it!

Don’t get too cocky, Mika, I scolded myself. The drone might rise higher up to find you again. I ducked from doorway to doorway, stealing occasional glances at the red dot tracking the drone.

Arrows in my hololens guided me to the police warehouse. When I finally arrived there, there was no trace of the drone. Even the tracker had lost it. Panting, I keeled over, holding my knees and focusing on the burning sensation in my lungs.

When a hand grabbed my arm, I nearly yelled in alarm.


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