The Pioneer Moon is an experimental ship based on a standard 200-ton Beowulf Class Free Trader hull. The vessel was commissioned by the Imperial Marines as a prototype for covert/undercover extraction, surveillance and recon missions. Despite being largely successful, the project was ultimately abandoned by the Marines with only the single prototype ever produced. Modifications to the Free Trader design include 2 additional laser cannons in “stealth” mountings, an autonomous probe, escape pods, and improved jump and maneuver drives. A missile launcher was also added, however this occurred after the project was slated for cancellation and no attempt was made to conceal its presence.
After the program was terminated the prototype vessel was ordered to be scrapped. However a young and ambitious agent of the Helios Light Shipping Corporation named Nolan Malik became aware of the ship’s existence and fate through his network of Imperial contacts. Malik was able to “make an arrangement” with the contracting salvage yard to scrap another ship instead, then, forging new ship’s “papers”, make off with the prototype for himself and his then partner Tegan Sabine. It was Sabine that gave the ship it’s first and only name.
As the ambitious young Malik grew more influential within Helios, he and Sabine grew apart. In the wake of their split, Sabine managed to scrape together to sufficient credits to buy Malik out of his share of the Pioneer Moon. Malik was soon to get it back, however, when Sabine found herself back in debt to Helios. He then sold it on to a collector to recover part of the owed money, although, as always, his motives can be, well, “opaque.”