Scouts, often called skippers, are small ships manned by crews of less than twenty. Used primarily as survey vehicles, these ships have found a place in every interstellar agency in the Unified Federation. The scores of science and research organizations tend to be the largest employers of these ships. The military uses them as a vanguard to their ships of the line.
Scouts are usually assigned to tours for a minimum of six months or more, depending on the needs of its agency. The ships are not luxurious by any standard, but they are very comfortable and equipped with an assortment of activities to alleviate the boredom of long term missions.
The scout is probably the most advanced non-military ship available on the market today. The military versions are both armed and armored, making them capable of patrol and light combat. The science versions are equipped with a network of highly sensitive sensors and recording devices. Larger scouts maintain on-board laboratories and research facilities which cater to the craft's specific mission profile.
Versatility is the attribute that has made the various classes of scouts a success. With an estimated one thousands craft in operation, it is a testament to the human need to discover and explore the unknown.