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Young woman pilot wins old space freighter in a gambling game. Discovers some crew on board, including Romany young woman (and her stowaway father) who has a hidden hydroponics plant.

One of the crew officers stinks and after they deep space him for mutiny, they find an artifact in his cabin, hidden in a decomposing chicken. Usual complications with overbearing Empire.

Added: they wanted to scoop up some asteroid ice to refil tanks with water but were chased off by "authorities" demanding large fees. A nearby ship secretly gave them coordinates where they met up with a ship crewed by an extended Germanic family. That ship helped them get the ice and introduced them to a small loose group of likeminded rebels, which they joined.

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    Can you remember anything else? Any additional information you can remember - no matter how inconsequential - could be helpful – Jason Baker Nov 22 '16 at 16:46
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    Hmm, or what was the empire called (if it's Union / Cyteen it might be one of the C.J. Cherryh novels - just taking a shot in the dark). – Adam Luchjenbroers Nov 23 '16 at 4:24
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    possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/44897/… ? – Otis Nov 23 '16 at 4:34
  • Thanks for trying, Otis and Adam, but it isn't Cherryh, who I read a lot (I prefer her science fiction to her fantasy. Have read all the books in the Foreigner series many, many times and always hunger for the next release), and Adam's suggestion did not fit. I thought for a while that I was remembering Lindsay Buroker's Star Nomad. There is a lot of parallels, but that is not it either. – john spencer Nov 23 '16 at 17:03
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This is Book 1 of the Drifters' Alliance series by Elle Casey. As of December 2016 there are 3 books with at least one more planned but not yet published.

  • Young woman wins a ship in a bet - Yes. The book opens in the final gamble as she wins the ship.
  • A stowaway - Yes. Named Rollo.
  • A German-crewed ship - Yes. Met while trying to bring water-ice onboard while avoiding fees the OSG is trying to charge. The ship is named DS Mekanika and captained by a Gunter Beltz.
  • A decomposing chicken in a cabin - Yes. Kept in a box under a bed. The DS Mekanika asks for this in exchange for some repair parts for the ship. It turns out there is something hidden in the dead chicken...
  • A group of likeminded rebels - Yes. They eventually join an Alliance of Drifters. A Drifters' Alliance, in fact.
  • Thanks, I recognize the title and author now you remind me. Must read it again. – john spencer Nov 24 '16 at 4:02
  • Is there a link I should click to say "Answered"? – john spencer Nov 24 '16 at 4:12

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