Part 3: Turn 18TURN 18
We make contact with yet another Minor Race in the neighborhood. These ones think they are special because they are blue. Apparently a lot of them are barbers, though they have no hair.
Having already gained a friendship and affiliation treaty with Nausicaans, we're now ready to pop the question and ask them to join our empire. If they refuse, it will be very embarrassing.
Our first Starbase has been completed in the Milika system. This makes Milika invulnerable to attack for the foreseeable future, since Starbases have a lot more firepower than Outposts. As promised, the other two Troop Transports that assisted with construction are now free to move on to other systems to build Outposts.
TURN 19. Another turn, another wondrous first contact experience. We would need a lot more cash if we were going to bribe all of these guys to join our empire. Our official report claims the Betazoids could be useful to our intelligence agency, but it's hard to imagine one of these idiots trying to infiltrate us.
The Klingons have proposed a treaty to us. The terms are as follows: We give them 1,030 credits, and in exchange, they will...do nothing. This is just bluster from the Klingons, but to spare their feelings, we'll simply ignore their demand rather than reject it. We keep our lunch money.
A new Klingon ship has been spotted just north of our original three systems and just south of the Volon Outpost. It's a Destroyer II, definitely more capable in combat than their Scout was, but no real danger on its own.
Further to the west, we've spotted an unidentified scout ship called the FMS Prospector. The "F" stands for Ferengi. Hopefully they're far from home. This is not an official "first contact" with the Ferengi empire, but we'll be keeping our eyes peeled. Just north of Betazed, you can see a few squares lightly shaded in with red. Those are territories claimed by the Klingon empire. We have officially come up against a border.
To add at least the pretense that we have a defensive fleet, we'll redploy our one and only Destroyer over to the Volon Outpost.
TURN 20. Before our own Destroyer can arrive there, the Klingon's destroyer has stumbled across the Outpost. We're lucky it's only a Destroyer: Anything bigger and the Klingons would be able to blow up the Outpost easily--that's how fragile they are.
The Klingon destroyer is able to escape before our Outpost can even score a hit. Nevertheless, the Klingons will be disappointed by their "defeat."
The Nausicaans enthusiastically join our empire. Now to see whether they will be worth all of the money we spent on bribes.
Nausicaa is underwhelming, especially when it comes to their construction ability: only one level 2 factory. All of our money must have gone up their diplomats' noses. However, they do have dilithium in their system and all but one of their planets are un-terraformed. Once we terraform those, perhaps they will blossom.
To the northwest of Volon, our Scout spots an Outpost in one of the Klingon systems. At this point I should note that when our Scout moves on, we may not be able to see what's over there, even though an Outpost is a permanent structure.
TURN 21. The Klingon border is well-defined to our northwest, as you can see all of those red-shaded squares. We don't know how far they've advanced, however. I would like to see if we can expand to the northeast quickly and beat the Klingons to the northern border of the galaxy.
A colony ship has arrived at Nausicaa and begins the long process of terraforming all of their planets for them.
TURN 22. Though we've not made contact with the Ferengi yet, we can see any treaties that the Klingons make with anyone. The Ferengi and Klingons have made a non-aggression treaty with each other, which simply means that they cannot enter each others' territory for now. News of peace between our enemies is always bad. But this is still a minimum-level treaty, and may mean nothing.
With the Klingons only a couple of sectors away from Volon, upgrading the Outpost into a Starbase is an obvious move. We have no other way of defending systems unless we want to stop building Colony Ships and Troop Transports.
TURN 23. We spotted one of their ships awhile ago, but we've officially made first contact with the Acamarians to the northeast. Now let's see what kind of system they've got.
Acamar is a good system: It already has a maximum population of 250 even though several of its planets haven't been terraformed. It's also one of the next logical stepping-stones on our way to the northern border of the galaxy. We should make a mental note to either bribe or conquer the Acamarians when we get the chance.
TURN 24. Our counter-intelligence agents have reported that they foiled a plot by Klingon saboteurs. Klingons never did make good spies.
All of our intelligence resources are allocated to internal security, rather than espionage (gathering information) or sabotage (blowing stuff up). We'll keep it that way for now, and maintain a minimal level of resources on intelligence.
I forgot to check this earlier, but when you make first contact with an empire, you get one free snapshot of their economic, science and military levels. The reason why the bars are in orange is that they're out of date. You can only update those by using espionage, but I'd rather infer the strength of an empire by other means. Their military strength looks much lower than ours, but not only is that old information, but our "military" strength is comprised of Outposts and Starbases rather than a fleet. That's probably not the case for the Klingons. The information on the right-hand column is always up to date. We hold 9 systems to the Klingons' 6; three of ours have dilithium while the Klingons have only one. It looks like we're way ahead of the Klingons when it comes to expansion.
We colonize the Mertens system while the Vulcans look on. We've been colonizing a new system just about every other turn now.
To the southwest, we're building a Starbase on Miridian. Our Scout is concentrated on the northeast because of the Klingons, so we really have no idea what we're dealing with over in this part of the galaxy. The Starbase will give us superior scan strength, and for all we know we're approaching the border of another empire.
We founded Milika quite awhile ago, and it is only very slowly developing. Until its population increases, it won't be of much use.
TURN 25. At long last, we've persuaded the Vulcans to join our empire. That's two Minor Races to join us now, but we've expended most of our treasury on them.
We've made first contact with another blue-skinned Minor Race. Their personality is of little interest; I'm more curious whether they have a good solar system.
The Andorians are located to the far northeast. Their system is big and would bring us even further northeast than the Acamarians' would. However, Andor is currently out of the reach of our medium-range ships (Colony/Troop). We need to build another Outpost to the northeast as soon as possible.
Looking at the map as a whole, we've carved out a nice chunk of the galaxy for ourselves, with possible room for expansion to the southwest. Expansion directly to the west would rely on bribing the Betazoids or Bolarians, but we're running out of funds already. Our manifest destiny is readily apparent: We want to beat the Klingons to the northeast and stretch our empire all the way from the northern border of the galaxy to the southern border.
Thus far, our game has been entirely peaceful. The Klingons have absolutely no idea that we've got no defensive fleet, and show little interest in war with us. We haven't even made contact with the Ferengi, Federation or the Cardassians. Everyone is leaving us completely alone, which is exactly what we want. But it is not likely to last much longer.