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< User:Emily Quinn
Federation:Alexander GunningLiarra Von
The first signs of Sojourner activity in the Galactic South was in 2387, indicated by an increase in pirate raids. At the time, Starfleet intelligence did not know the source of the raids, believing that the attacks were led by the Vinarian Syndicate due to the similarities to their established tactics. However, the attacks were far from the normal operating area of the Vinarian Syndicate.
In early 2388, the USS Shiloh was dispatched to the Galactic South Salvage Company starship boneyard. While on patrol, the USS Savannah, a member of Strike Group Shiloh, discovered that a number of ships had gone missing. The missing ships consisted of two Miranda-class, a Constitution-Refit-class, an Excelsior-Refit-class, two Constellation-class, a Curry-class transport, and two Oberth-class vessels. Further investigation revealed that the vessels had been stolen. The strike group planned an ambush, but were not able to determine who was responsible for the thefts. All they knew was that the ships were stolen and moved to another group, and had no leads as to where the ships were sent.
By the end of 2388, a private investigator working on Starbase 332 recovered intelligence on a Ritorian attack on the Thane system. Starfleet dispatched a fleet from Starbase 332, consisting of the USS Antietam, commanded by Captain Alexander Gunning, the USS Jackal, commanded by Commander Liarra Von, and the USS Metis, commanded by Lt. Commander Nilani Prax. When the strike group arrived at Thane, they did not find the Ritorian fleet they been expecting.
The strike group was met by a fleet consisting of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, a Cardassian Galor-class, two Miranda-class starships, and an Excelsior-Refit-class vessel as the flagship. Unlike their standard configurations, all of the vessels had a new blood red paint scheme. The former starfleet vessels matched the configuration of some of the missing vessels investigated by the Shiloh. The lead ship hailed the Antietam and announced that the strike group was in violation of Sojourner space.
As Captain Gunning quickly pointed out, the Thane system was protectorate of the Federation. However, Akurq, the Regent of Thane, had passed tactical and regional control to the Sojourners. Although the official documents had yet to be filed, it was within their rights as a protectorate to open negotiations with the Sojourners. When Captain Gunning insisted on leaving the Jackal in the system until the documents were filed, the leader of the Sojourners, a woman named Vaishaa, ordered her ships to open fire.
Initially, the Federation vessels held their own against the attacking ships. The Jackal and the Antietam's fighter groups were able to destroy the Bird-of-Prey and severely damaging the Miranda class ships. The Antietam engaged the larger vessels, but their focus was not on the strike group's flagship. Instead, the focused on the considerably weaker Nova-class Metis. The Jackal attempted to come to the Metis's aid, but was delayed by the arrival of Sojourner reinforcements. Another Miranda-class ship and another Bird-of-Prey dropped out of warp and engaged the Jackal.
We had scored some minor victories at first, destroying the Bird-of-Prey and damaging the Miranda class ships, before the Sojourner reinforcements arrived. They brought in two more ships, another Miranda and another Bird-of-Prey, both of them blood red as well. The enemy seemed to have a good understanding of our capabilities, and outright targeted the Metis primarily. They must have identified her as the weakest fighter of the three of us, and tried to take her out first. The Jackal attempted to help, but we found ourselves on the far side of the battlefield, and would not be able to make the intercept quickly enough to make a difference. Instead, we focused on the enemy, destroying one of the Miranda class vessels before the Vesta arrived. Her arrival gave us a better chance, but at that point we had already taken too many hits. The Metis was destroyed only a few minutes later, and Captain Gunning signaled for the retreat. The Jackal hung back with the Vesta, helping provide cover for the fighters and the Antietam before jumping to warp ourselves. No Sojourner ships pursued.