|Icarus Hunt, the (1999) [Novel]|
by Timothy Zahn
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Jordan McKell has a problem with authority. Unfortunately for him, the iron-fisted authority of the powerful Patthaaunutth controls virtually every aspect of galactic shipping. In order to survive, Jordan ekes out a living dabbling in interstellar smuggling for outlaw concerns that represent the last vestiges of free trade in the galaxy. So when Jordan and his partner, Ixil--an alien with two ferret-like "outhunters" linked to his neural system--are hired by a mysterious gentleman to fly a ship and its special cargo to Earth, they jump at the job.
Caution has never been one of Jordan's strong suits. But this time he may have taken on more than even he can handle. The ship, Icarus, turns out to be a ramshackle hulk, the ragtag crew literally picked up off the street, and the cargo so secret, it's sealed in a special container that takes up most of the cramped and ill-designed ship. As if that weren't bad enough, it looks like the authorities already suspect something is afoot, there's a saboteur aboard, and the Icarus appears to be shaking apart at the seams.
It doesn't seem as if things could get any worse. That is, until a beautiful crew member helps McKell uncover the true nature of the cargo he's carrying. With his enemies closing in on the lumbering Icarus, the unknown saboteur still aboard, and authorities on Earth pressured to turn them in, McKell and Ixil become fugitives. Their only chance is to stay one step ahead of their pursuers as they try to make it home.
Original title: The Icarus Hunt
Genre: Fiction→ Science Fiction→ Mystery and Detectives