Weite - Breaking the Shackles
One of the most common starships within the Imperium is the tested and tried type S Scout/Courier.
Originally produced to specification for the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service, this sleek and simple ship was intended for common courier duties within the Imperium, and simple survey and exploration duties beyond the Imperial borders.
While the Xboat system provides fast forwarding of messages and information along the major xboat routes within the Imperium, it falls to the Scout Service’s fleet of scout/couriers to relay information from worlds along the routes to outlying fringe worlds. The Jump-2 capability of the scout/courier places nearly all such worlds within its range.
Beyond the Imperial borders (and in relatively unexplored regions within the Imperium) the scout/courier is pressed into service as an exploratory vessel. It can roam through most areas, refuelling itself from Gas Giants or planetary oceans as necessary, checking up on local conditions, and filing reports when it returns from a mission. In some areas, an exploratory cruiser of perhaps 10,000 tons will carry a squadron of ten or more scout/couriers. As the cruiser passes through an area, individual scout/couriers will range ahead or to the flanks and perform actual data gathering missions.
Because the scout/courier is a standard design, the Scout Service has a large quantity of the vessels on hand, with the natural result that some are sold at surplus and find their ways into private or commercial hands, while others are scrapped.
In addition, however, many are diverted to a scout program called detached duty. Under the direction of the Scout Service’s Detached Duty Office, some former or retired scout personnel are provided with scout/couriers for their own use.
The ships are too small for profitable commercial operations, but they do serve as a form of reasonable transport for those with wanderlust. They displace 100 tons, and are capable of Jump-2. They have quarters for four, but a single person could operate the vessel if they were highly skilled and capable. Aftermarket refits are extremely common.
In addition, the Scout Service derives a reasonable intelligence return on its investment through the examination of the ships’ logbooks when they are serviced, and through routine interrogation and debriefings of crews.
Finally, such detached duty scout/couriers are subject to recall and activation (with crew) in the event of a war scare or mobilization alert.