Nicholas picked the lowest numbered Strategy Card so he begins the Action Phase.
Since this is his first turn of the Action Phase, Nicholas reviews his situation and options before beginning. Let's review his Secret Objectives (remember in the 2-player game, each player has 4 objectives that are Secret Objectives).
The first Secret Objective (Merciless) will most likely require him to wait for Steve to build a Space Dock somewhere outside of his Home System. Someplace less protected. Nicholas keeps this objective in mind but does not consider it in the planning this early in the game.
Keeper of Gates looks incredibly easy to accomplish since he's lucky enough that the 2 wormholes on the board are both adjacent and very close to his Home System. Getting ships into these systems early in the game seems to be an excellent goal.
The 20 Influence objective will probably take a while to accomplish, so he treats that like another longer-term objective.
Having 5 technology advances will take a little time too. Nicholas starts the game with 2 and will need to acquire technology 3 more times to achieve this goal.
Nicholas decides that's enough information to get started. Continue on for his first turn in the Action Phase for this round.