One of the first Akira-Class starships to enter service, Thunderchild was one of the early testbeds for the design. Under the command of Captain Evelyn Hoffman, its first few years of service were spent patrolling the edges of Federation space. A multi-purpose cruiser, the ship mapped two worlds inhabited by pre-warp civilizations and surveyed 6 new star systems during this period.
Despite the relative successes of these first few years, one of the main design objectives of the Akira program remained untested. The class had been designed and constructed following Wolf 359, and it was meant to be the first line of defense against any future Borg attack. Thunderchild was able to prove the success of the design in this aspect as well.
3 years after the ship was launched, the Borg attempted to assimilate Earth in what would become known as the Battle of Sector 001. Thunderchild's heavy ablative armor resisted several direct impacts of Borg energy weapons, and even managed to dissipate a tractor beam attempting to lock onto the ship. Thunderchild survived the battle, and was the starship to score the most direct hits on the Borg cube during the encounter, thanks in no small part to the Akira class having an unprecedented number of torpedo launchers.