Personal Log, Harriet Hamilton, etc.
A stroke of luck. At least, I hope it’s a stroke of luck. I was hoping I’d find Lt. Donovan’s former ship, IR Hood — well, its equivalent in this universe, anyway — along one of the routes he mentioned, and I have. She’s another one of those “independent traders” who make their real living smuggling. The thug on watch, with the guns, the muscles and the cunning hat, looked at me suspiciously when I asked for Capt. Johnson. Then he kind of winked at me, and said, “Oh, you mean ‘Capt. Johnson’!” I told him, yes, I meant “Capt. Johnson”, and winked back at him. He wasn’t the brightest light on the console, so that helped. “Tell him Donovan sends me,” I added. That was a blatant lie, but it worked. I’m sure the Lieutenant won’t mind. If either of us are alive at the end of this.
Hood is small, fast, and, from what I gathered by snooping in the hold later, deeply involved in the Hjocoa smuggling trade — poor Lt. Cmdr. Mundy, so much Hjocoa on board, and she’s nowhere near! “Capt. Johnson” actually believed me when I told him I know Donovan… and was willing to take me aboard when I suggested that my familiarity with ISN frequencies and protocols would come in useful for avoiding inspections. And when I pointed out that it already had.
More importantly, just as in our universe Capt. Johnson had dealings with the Unukalhai, this “Capt. Johnson” has contacts in the TSN. Hood is on her way to trade illegal Hjocoa for other supplies (I haven’t been told what, and I haven’t asked. If I want to find out, I’ll do it after we have the stuff on board), and then, to trade those supplies to a TSN transport. So, if we don’t get inspected and arrested on the way, and if this isn’t some convoluted ploy by INI to have me lead them to the TSN… Yeah, that’s been in my nightmares a lot. But I’ve been as careful as I could.
Now, all I need to do is talk my way to someone in the TSN who is going to be willing to overlook those TSN ships 4HG destroyed, and help me rescue the 4th Light, both Senior and Junior. And believe the whole alternate universe thing.
How hard can it be?