Okay, here is the scenario: The raider is a Drengin ship, the victim freighters belong to the Altarians with whom they are at war. I (leader of the Terrans) have "Friendly" relations and Trade routes with both races. At this point, the Drengin raider has destroyed about a half dozen Alterian freighters in and around Earth and the Altarians have discontinued use of two of their trade routes as a result, significantly reducing my income.
Strategy failures: All Drengin planets are heavily defended by large fleets, so planetary invasion will not be an option anytime soon. If my apparently impotent fleets cannot get rid of one lone raider, they certainly won't be able to do anything to the fleets defending their planets. Also, I have broken my fleets down into smaller ones with a minimum of three vessels each, but I have been unable to get them to surround the raider before it attacks its next victim. Because of its speed advantage, the raider simply flies around my fleets to do its deed.
Game play failures:
1) I find it unacceptable that I cannot declare war on an alien race that is devastating my economy.
2) I have discovered that the "Sentry" command does not work in my game. My manual has the following description: "This tells a ship to be idle until another ship - friendly or enemy - comes near." The italics is mine for emphasis because that is the only difference I see between that and the "Guard" command. So, a ship or fleet under a "Sentry" command should challenge both the raider and the freighters, but they don't. In fact, I have discovered that the "Sentry" command does not work at all -- the "Guard" command persists through multiple turns until I change the command, but the "Sentry" does not. Whether I give a fleet or a single vessel the "Sentry" command, it is nullified programmatically when I click the "Turn" button because its check box is unchecked the next turn. This is a significant failure as the "Sentry" command is the only one listed where a ship or fleet can be ordered to react to a non-enemy vessel. Would someone check to see if the "Sentry" command is enabled in your versions? I want to know if this is a failure just in my particular version or if it is a global failure in all versions.