“So I guess I’ll go back to doing my thing,” I said.
Collins shook his head and pulled out a folded piece of paper, handing it to me.
“What’s this?” It was a lab report of some kind, but I couldn’t parse the particulars of the form. There were a lot of numbers, and very little in way of information that I could make use of.
“Okay. Do I look like a scientist? What does it all mean?”
“It’s a breakdown of all the compounds in the sample.”
“Again, I’m not a scientist, particularly not a chemist. Give me something I can work with.”
Collins pointed down on the form to a section on notes, where I started reading.
“Specific chemistry of the salt has been altered from its original state through the use of smoking agents identified as saffron and cinnamon. Not enough of the chemical agents of the cinnamon and saffron exist for a geographic source to be determined. Trace sea salt elements indicate the most likely origin for the salt is Belfast Lough.”
“Belfast Lough?” I said.
“No, it’s pronounced like Lock, like Scottish lakes” the tech said.
“Whatever,” Collins said. “What’s it mean?”
I shrugged. “Kind of confirms what I was thinking.”
“So this is Irish mob?”
I frowned. “Not in the way you’re thinking. I doubt the Irish mob would be working with these people.”
How do I summarize the entire history of the Celtic peoples with the faerie in one succinct sentence? Oh, right.
“They have a history.”
“Too many deals that went south.”
As good a way to put it as any. No need to talk about the number of ways that the faerie have screwed humans with a bargain.
“But they’re bringing this sea salt in. Is it coming straight from Ireland?”
I frowned, looking at the analysis, then looked back. “I have no idea. Maybe. Shipping traffic?”
Collins nodded, then pointed at the tech. “Do the thing where you bring up the shipping traffic to Belport.”
“Bringing up the Harbormaster’s schedule, now,” the tech said. “Filter it by cargo or by shipping origin?”
“Shipping origin,” Collins and I said together.
Collins gave me a glare, and I held up a hand in apology.
This is his show.
“All ships that have made a stop in Ireland.”
Surprisingly, it was a lot of ships.
“The Northwest Passage,” the tech explained. “Since it’s summer, passages through the arctic have opened up, and ships that normally can’t get here can take the northern route instead of going through the Panama Canal. Shaves off a lot of miles and time, not that salt cares about the amount of time it takes to get here.”
“It might not, but the rest of it, does.”
Collins turned to me. “What do you mean?”
I held up the paper. “Saffron and cinnamon. Pretty exotic stuff. To be potent, it has to be pretty fresh. It would come from where, India? Southeast Asia?”
Collins shrugged while the tech opened up a new window, searching out the information.
“Let’s say it does,” Collins said. “So what?”
“They need to get the stuff and smoke it, still. They’ll either have to do that in Ireland, then ship it over, or they get all the ingredients and do it here. Either way, fresher is going to be better.”
“Because it’ll taste better? Every drug expert and doctor I’ve talked to says that stuff cannot produce a high.”
I nodded. “We’re in my area, now. The salt is not the only thing we found.”
“Dammit, I hate fucking magic,” Collins swore under his breath.
The tech looked back quickly, then back at the screen.
Apparently, Collins didn’t keep that quiet enough.