“My advice is divide them up into groups of about 10, that way they can help each other and more should come through. Send off groups at about 5 minute intervals and make sure they all understand the reasons for splitting up, those buldarks can never understand that humans do not all follow the same path, so if one finds a group, they will wait in the same place for several days and other groups will get through even if they are fairly close. Remind them to avoid what seem like the easy trails, thats where the buldarks wait for frindans to come to be attacked. And of course, remind them all that if they encounter an adult sjeban, to approach respectfully and to ask for guidance and protection. Those will be the lucky ones, buldarks run from siebans.
Over and out.”
That was all the help and advice I got from Duncan, who was safely waiting at the spaceship near the town. Why I had been so unlucky as to have my shuttlecraft crash when his run to drop off equipment for the new settlement had been without incident was just that. Bad luck. But now I had over four hundred people all wanting me to get them back to safety. And all we had was our feet and a few agricultural tools, not at all suitable for holding off or killing buldarks.
How to divide them up so the greatest number survive? That is the important set of decisions. Will all male groups have the greatest chance? No and afterwards the colony will be out of balance, too many males and there is no next generation to carry on. Too few women and the gene pool will be inadequate. Mutations in just a few generations,then failure.
So I pair them off, man and woman, 5 pairs in each team. The last team has 5 men and 3 women, the two women who died in the crash have been buried. Lay down the rules what to be careful of,who the most difficult routes are best, how to recognise the dangers, how to adress a sieban. And then I start them off, 5 minutes between groups. Which will survive and reach the settlement?
Two days later I have the answer, three hundred and forty three have survived. The first settlement is fine, they have enough food for all for the next season, the newcomers can all work, the settlement will survive and flourish. The equipment placed at the planned second settlement will be fine until Duncan and I can afford another spaceship to bring shuttles and more supplies, the seed grain etc will all be lost from my crash.
We are doing well. There are 3 online bidders for our planet, one with enough money to pay this year’s university fees, then we graduate. We still have 2 weeks of vacation, if we sell now we can spend time at the pool,and look as though we have been relaxing all holiday.
I log off the screen, going down to smell toast and coffee. My mum looks worriedly at me, “i just do not understand how you and Duncan make all this money, just playing games” she says worriedly.
“Mum I have been explaining, we play Empires and sell off our successful planets to wealthy people who want to pretend they are as good at it as we are, so they buy our avatars from the summer, complete with the developed planets. It’s all so they look good to their idiot friends, and we get our education. All the planets and settlements have Asian names so they seem to have been created by them, thats why our sales are so good. ”
Now I’m teaching my little sister to play, next year she can start and also earn her university funds by playing.
After all in the games, those that survive pay a day of university, fees, lodgings and books.