There are hundreds of different encounters in the PC game FTL: Faster Than Light. Space battles are generally rather similar, depending on the layout of your ship, but text encounters vary greatly. In a text encounter, sometimes you will have a blue option. Blue options are almost always universally better than normal options, but can only be unlocked by possessing a specific piece of equipment, specific system upgrade, a specific race of crew member. Upgrading your medbay can potentially give you eight blue options in various encounters in the game, including one option that can unlock the Mantis Cruiser. It is rare that you actually need an upgraded medbay in order to win the game, so upgrading this system is mostly a means of unlocking these blue options. The following guide to medbay blue options will help you maximize your chance of finding and taking advantage of these options in FTL: Faster Than Light.
Unlock Mantis Cruiser – You can only unlock the Mantis Cruiser if you have both a crew teleporter and a medbay that is at least level 2. If you have both of these pieces of equipment, go to the Mantis Homeworlds and explore beacons with ships that do not have distress calls. If you a legendary thief appears, you need to fight the thief and defeat the crew without destroying the ship. Then you need to teleport onto the ship and teleport the thief back to your ship. Besides unlocking the Mantis Cruiser, this always gives you the best rewards for this encounter.
Zoltan Research Facility – You need a level 3 medbay to take advantage of this event. If you have one, you choose the blue option to receive resources and a drone without any consequence. You can get the same results from the normal option, but only by fighting an enemy vessel. If you happen to have a Damaged Stasis Pod, that blue option can potentially lead to unlocking the Crystal Cruiser. If you would prefer a Crystal crew member and a chance at unlocking a new ship, take that option instead of the medbay option. This event can only be found in Engi or Zoltan sectors.
Mining Colony Disease – Never found in rebel sectors, this is one of the most common events in the game, since it can be found in all other sectors at a distress beacon. If your medbay is at least level 2 you can get resources with no risk to your crew. The only normal option that gives you resources costs you a crew member. All blue options are identical here unless you also have the Engi Med-Bot Dispersal augmentation, in which case the medbay option is the best.
Dilapidated Space Station – This event only appears in civilian sectors and Slug sectors. Boarding the station offers much better rewards than scrapping the station, but it also comes with the risk of losing a crew member. You can avoid this risk completely if you have a medbay that is at least level 2. If you have to use it, you will get nothing, but at least you won’t lose anything.
Life Form Detected on Moon – A level 3 medbay offers you the best possible reward for this event, though a level 2 medbay is still enough to assure a good reward and no risk to your crew or ship. Investigate the moon. When you do so, you might find a man in a cave. If that happens, you will have the opportunity to use a medbay blue option. Even if other blue options exist, this is the best because the crew member you get is more skilled with this option than if you take any other option.
Medical Unit “Radiation” – This event is nothing more than an ambush by a Slug ship cloaked in a story about radiation leaking from your medbay unit. You can only run into this event at a location with a ship in a nebula in a Slug system. If you do encounter this event, a level 2 medbay offers you a slight reprieve. Normally you engage in this battle with no medbay and two Slug boarders. With a level 2 medbay, you instead engage in the battle with a level 1 medbay. If you also happen to have a hacking system, you can alternatively choose to fight the battle with your hacking system disabled and full use of your medbay, which makes the boarding part of the battle much easier.
Merchant Requesting Mercenary Aid – Your medbay only matters in this event if you accept the merchant’s request, get five drone parts for your trouble, and travel to the quest marker. Furthermore, when you get to the marker, you need to randomly get the text that says a station is not responding to your hails. If all of this happens, you need a level 3 medbay to be completely safe. This allows you to safely choose the option to investigate. There are two ways it can help. It can either protect you from frenzied scientists or it can protect you from your own frenzied crew member. In either scenario, this blue option offers the best rewards and no risk to your crew or ship.
Recent Mutually Assured Destruction – Only found in a nebula, this event can get you a free crew member if you have a level 3 medbay. It is much safer if you also have a Slug crew member, but the medbay is required to get the free crew member, whether or not you have the Slug crew member.