The Drala Fi (Black Star in English) was a Sharlin-class warcruiser that served as flagship of the Minbari Federation during the Earth-Minbari War. It employed hit-and-run tactics, destroying dozens of Earth Alliance ships in a matter of weeks, which gained the ship the reputation of "ace cruiser" among Earthforce personnel. The Drala Fi was destroyed by the crippled EAS Lexington in the Earth year 2247, giving Earthforce a much needed victory. The tactics used by John Sheridan to destroy the ship were still controversial among many Minbari as late as 2259, when Ashan of the Third Fane of Chudomo attempted to frame him for murder.
In April 2247, the Drala Fi ambushed an Earthforce task group led by the Lexington, by luring them into an asteroid field with a Minbari flyer playing possum and opening a jump point in the middle of the fleet. The Lexington was severely damaged in the opening barrage and left for dead while the Drala Fi pursued the retreating Earth ships. First officer Commander John Sheridan took command, as Captain Roger Sterns had been killed when a support strut collapsed into his command chair. Knowing that the Minbari would accept no surrender and would even pursue and destroy a crippled ship, Sheridan devised a strategy that used the surrounding asteroid field to his advantage, mining several of the nearby asteroids with thermonuclear warheads. With the trap set, the Lexington broadcast a distress signal, knowing full well it would attract the attention of the Minbari. The Drala Fi fell into Sheridan's trap and took two proximity blasts from the warheads before being completely destroyed. Without leaders, the rest of Minbari fleet retreated from system, giving Earth a much-needed victory and propaganda coup in the process.
Though the Minbari considered the destruction of the Drala Fi a despicable act of cowardice, and labeled Sheridan the "Starkiller," Earth justified the desperate tactic by pointing out that the Minbari were attempting to murder the crew of a crippled and helpless ship. Even a decade later, Sheridan refused to apologize for the incident, citing it as Earth's only victory in the war. Among those killed when the vessel was destroyed were family members of Lennier, of the Third Fane of Chudomo.
- A continuity issue exists regarding the destruction of the Drala Fi: when Captain Sheridan explains the incident to Susan Ivanova upon taking command of Babylon 5 in 2259, he states that the nuclear warheads destroyed the Drala Fi and three of its heavy cruisers. However, when the engagement is depicted in "In the Beginning," only the Drala Fi is seen to be destroyed.
|Sharlin class warcruisers|
|Dogato • Drala Fi • Enfili • Ingata • Takari • Tragati • Solaris • Valen'Tha|