The Mae Lee began life as a much different ship. Her original hull was that of a Locus Class Merchant owned by a Zeristu Corporation. In her early years, she plodded along regular routes carrying freight and passengers. During the second war between the Zeristu Empire and the Confederated Systems of Argent she was set upon by CSA raiders, damaged, captured, then abandoned, and presumed lost by both sides. Years later, in 966, she was recovered by Akus Moby and claimed for salvage under the laws of the Mark Government. After refitting, she was renamed for Moby's deceased wife as the Mae Lee.
During the last 30 years the Mae Lee has been heavily modified, transforming her from a dumpy merchant into a bawdy Exploratory Trader. Less than 20% of the original Locus ship remains and that is confined mainly to the internal structure. Today the Mae Lee is a fast ship with larger power plants, thicker armor, and better weapons than your typical merchant ship. She boosts a top of the line jump drive that can routinely do a Jump 2 and a Jump 3, with a skilled astrogator aboard. Akus improved the electronics and control systems allowing the Mae Lee to be operated with a smaller crew than a typical Locus ship. The ship has hanger space for a 20 dton Ship's Boat, the Random Walk, as well an air/raft, although no air/raft is aboard at this time. In recent years, a general purpose laboratory has been added to facilitate research of systems coreward along the Quental Main.
The Mae Lee isn't without her problems, though. Any ship with a long history, and as many modifications, as the Mae Lee will have developed a number of quirks that make life aboard her interesting, the Mae Lee is no exception. She is also an old ship with mismatched and scrounged systems, many filled with parts pulled from yet other scrounged systems. This makes maintenance and repair a constant and demanding chore.
The modifications have changed how the Mae Lee's earns her keep, too. The number of passenger cabins and amount of cargo space has been reduced due to the modifications, so freight traffic will not cover her upkeep. The crew of the Mae Lee must engage in speculative trade, special delivery trade and opening new, profitable, markets to cover costs. Passenger and freight trade is incidental.