Part 19: A Quiet GalaxyA Quiet Galaxy
The TechnoGeeks have more opportunities now than they know what to do with. I attempted to formulate a plan to take advantage of this. It soon became clear that the main issue is production - we're going to be able to research things far faster than we can use them, due to pollution effects. I decided to switch research up, because while I definitely want Biospheres, I'm not going to get much benefit from them right away. What I need is to get a lot of colony ships out to start making use of the surrounding systems.
First up, I want to get a couple of Chemistry advances, starting with Advanced Metallurgy. The main point here is reducing waste with the Pollution Processor in the next tier. Secondarily though, we'll get a better missile(Merculite), MIRV capability for our starting nuclear ones, increased range, and better armor. All of that will be nice for whenever we meet rivals and need to start ramping up the fleet.
Here's the build list on the homeworld. Finishing up the factory now. Then, given the fact that we're going to have some really big planets to send them to, I want to hit the whole incubator planet thing hard and get our other local planet going right away. After that, another group of freighters to ensure we have enough of those - I'll need to keep a constant eye on that - and then really start expanding into other systems. Bogina first, then Alaozar is the plan.
SD 3502.5 - I wasn't really sure what to do here. We need research to improve our production capability, but meanwhile we need to build stuff now. I decided to split the difference. Most of the workers are producing four industry, two of which are eaten up in pollution. Occasionally there's one who gets an extra in there for five total due to the calculation. Meanwhile it's six research per scientist, so it's not close which we are going to be best at. When unsure of what to do, I often find it useful to try splitting the difference, so that's the way I went here.
Nah, we don't need any warriors yet.
SD 3503.3 - Research moves on to Advanced Chemistry. That'll take a bit longer.
Our first incubator planet is established. This takes us to break-even on food and just 1 of 10 freighters not being used to ship it around. A new citizen on the homeworld is available the next turn, but they'll need to farm to ensure we have enough to go around.
SD 3503.8 - It took only two turns to get the freighters going. We now have 15, half of them inactive. That's enough wiggle room for now IMO, it would allow for shipping one citizen at a time when the need arises. I've shifted the labor allocation to production a little more. It seems sensible to me to try and synchronize getting the Colony Ship and research done at about the same time. Right now that's 24 turns for the ship, 23 for the research. Eeek, but there's not anything else we can do. That way, as soon as the ship goes out we can build the pollution processor and then be able to get the next one going more quickly.
SD 3504.2 - The automated factory on Mentar I is halfway done, so I'll pay to finish it up.
A new citizen every slightly less than six turns. That will certainly help. For comparison, a piddling 36k was the natural growth rate. And then the wait. Whenever Mentar I got a new citizen, they were transferred to Mentar II to accelerate our main projects. Nice thing was that, being in the same system, there was no travel delay even. Just a short freighter trip across the system, barely time to miss the place you came from before you get to the destination. And for it's own part, the homeworld was still seeing almost 70k new citizens every turn as well.
The freighter activity primarily, and also the construction, has reduced profits to a mere 67% (12 expenses, 8 profit). Still a healthy percentage, but we're not making money hand over fist like we were initially.
Belatedly, it occured to me that it might be a good idea to use the extra parsec of range I now had and scout. Unuk has this desert planet along with a Med Rad Rich and a Huge Barr UltraRich HighG. Um again, this isn't a mineral rich galaxy. It really isn't. Is it? The wormhole connects to an orange star on the right edge of the galaxy, 29 parsecs away as the non-singularity flies. That could become one heck of a shortcut. Naturally we had to investigate.
Lomar is possibly the most unimpressive system I've yet found. Small Rad Poor LG for the other one. Most importantly though, it isn't yet occupied.
Well, ya'll called it. We have ourselves some Sakkra. Aside from reporting on a race we didn't know existed (not a fan of that), this tells us they suffered a very minor setback, but more importantly what they were working on. Namely, that they've already advanced further in Physics than us. Which is more than enough to make any true TechnoGeek hate them intensely.
Game isn't even trying to hide who this guy is based on. Instructor we've already seen, but Famous is a new trait. Other leaders are more likely to join us, and the 90 BC is a discount we get off their hiring fee for having him around. It strikes me that Administrator Yota is likely to pay for himself in that way, and that having someone to improve our ship crews probably isn't such a bad thing either. He is hired, and assigned to Vela because I feel better putting him somewhere than not doing so.
'I saw the little runt sitting there on a log. I asked him his name and in a raspy voice he said Yota. Y-O-T-A ... ' ... nvm.
Same turn, we hit maximum population of 15M citizens on Mentar II.
Gotta be some pissy crewmen after they spent over seven months (six turns) traveling from Sagan to discover ... a pair of asteroid belts.
Another nothing system except for the wormhole.
This one goes the opposite direction, to a red star in a nebula. How mysterious.
Well then! We had a 16% chance of discovery when Advanced Chemistry came in. Next I'm making a three-tier push into Construction to get Robo-Miners. Along the way, battle pods of course help the ships as discussed last game. Each of the next two tiers will give us multiple helpful things as well.
Space debris was here for a 50BC boost. The other planet is the same, except Rich HG.
The nebula system. We, uh, might not be back soon.
That's the extent of our scouting range for now. Just how fortunate we were at first is becoming clearer. I'm rather stunned that we still haven't hit so much as a space monster though. The top four planets here are the same ones we saw in our initial forays, and they are clearly the best targets with minimal negatives overall. There are smaller rich ones that will definitely be useful, if not eventually excellent, over time. But these four, and the three systems they represent, are clearly my top initial goals for expansion. They won't allow for any further range to the right, a matter that I should ponder in terms of potentially setting up an Outpost. But that can wait. Or it will, even if it can't. Right now I want these.
Now where to send the Colony Ship? I paused to reconsider this. Bogina is the most valuable system overall, but Sagan and Alaozar are probably the most vulnerable to poaching by others. And I don't know where they are yet. So I decide to switch Bogina to last, much as it pains me, and head to Alaozar with Sagan planned to be next. Expanding our scouting range isn't as vital as MOO1, but it still seems a good idea.
ROFL. The TechnoGeeks are blessed. We'll still need to research those fields to get the other options.
SD 3506.3 - Pollution Processor comes online the same year. Also ...
The other two balls of rock will be considered later for incubator duty, but for now we have an initial spot to send all those citizens we are growing on Mentar I. Long-term, this will probably be one darned excellent research world.
I might be able to squeeze by without more freighters ... but with a cost of only a tenth of what we'll pay for the next colony ship, the delay is less than two turns. Not worth the risk I don't think. Research output is fairly minimal, at least by our standards, but we're churning out 38 industry now on the homeworld. At that rate, a new system can be settled in 13-14 turns. And the sooner the better in getting to those other two prime pieces of real-estate. After that, I can re-evaluate.
That one citizen will stay on Vela now - I like having a bit of growth there to slowly make that planet useful. But any others will definitely get shipped off to Alaozar to build up faster there. In the meantime, we've got some more scouting to do.