The Wren-class Light Transport was a bare-essentials craft with a straightforward design approach. Basically, it was a standardized 40-foot shipping container wrapped in a heavy-duty frame, with a cockpit, pulse drive, and rotating thruster pods. The Wren was one of the smallest cargo ships in the 'Verse.
Wrens were incredibly common because they could be operated by a single crewman, were cheap to buy and maintain, and had the lowest operating costs of any non-custom freighter class in the frontier. Despite their spartan crew facilities, Wrens appealed to those spacers who had an abundance of self-reliance, lots of creative business sense, and not much money.
The real advantage of the Wren was the containerized cargo. Instead of spending time loading and unloading, the Wren could simply detach the container on delivery and mate up to a new container for the next run, or it could just fly off without one. The containers themselves came in an infinite variety of patterns and purposes: bulk dry or liquid storage, refrigeration for perishables, portable laboratories, passenger seating, livestock carriers, and much more. This gave the Wren a very dynamic mission profile, though it took a savvy captain to plan ahead for what he might need at the other end of the run.
Despite this flexibility, Wrens could not compete with the larger bulk transports in the Central Planets and larger Border worlds, especially those designed to carry dozens or hundred of containers like the Vanderdecken class. Wrens in these regions were often operated as lighters, ferrying containers from ship to surface and vice versa. Expensive pulse drives were not needed for this type of work.
- A Wren is a type of bird.