It was initially owned by Captain Auson with the help of a loan from House Bharaputra. While Auson was contracted to the Oseran Free Mercenary Fleet as a captain-owner, his ship was captured by Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, who was posing as a Betan named Miles Naismith. It became the first warship in the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet. Bel Thorne, previously Auson's second in command, became its new captain.
Thorne retained command of the Ariel after Naismith left. After Yuan Oser seized control of the fleet and changed its name back to the Oseran mercenaries, Thorne remained loyal to Naismith, and put his ship at Naismith's disposal when Naismith returned. The Ariel handled the operation that retrieved the Emperor of Barrayar Gregor Vorbarra from the clutches of Commander Cavilo of Randall's Rangers. It was afterwards detached from the fleet to escort Vorbarra to Vervain.
The Ariel took part in the operation that rescued Dr. Hugh Canaba, the quaddie Nicol, and Bharaputran super-soldier Taura from Jackson's Whole. Years later, after a refit over Escobar, it was commandeered by Naismith's clone Mark Vorkosigan and raided a House Bharaputra facility that held clones scheduled for brain transplant.
- Triumph - for a discussion of which Dendarii Fleet ship is the fastest.
- Ariel is the name of the airy spirit that served Prospero in Shakespeare's play, The Tempest.
- A famous Ohio ship that served in the War of 1812 was the USS Ariel. The USS Ariel was a 4 gun schooner with a crew of 36; it and the USS Scorpion led Perry's squadron in the Battle of Lake Erie (1813).