Mysteries of the DaryenWhile checking out and investigating the Daryen, several things occurred to me over time. These are either subtle things hinted at, or questions that are never answered. I list these in no particular order.
Are the post-Maghiz Daryen stupid?
The pre-Maghiz, post-Itzen Daryen were able to zip right through from TL10 to TL16. Had the Maghiz not happened, they would have made TL17, and their progression showed no real signs of slowing down. Yet, ignoring the time it took to recover to TL10, they have made painfully slow progress since then. Quite frankly, if it weren't for the help of the Imperium, they would still be at TL12.
Plus, think about the Maghiz itself. The various colonies, of which only Rore and (apparently) Mire were intended to be self-sufficient, had very small populations. And 90+% of the population on Daryen was killed off; almost all of the survivors were from the Zlodh basin. It is quite likely that, genetically speaking, much of the Daryens' genetic diversity was wiped out by the Maghiz.
Also, what socialogical changes occured as a result of the Maghiz? If you know your entire civilization was destroyed, and you entire species was almost wiped out, due to research, you might become much more careful about future research. Even if/when they regain their lost technology, pushing the envelope will come much more slowly, with a significant increase in difficulty and caution.
What is the real story of 494-908?
This is a large world with a dense, but breathable atmosphere. It is a fairly dry world, but the 30% or so water coverage is usable. The atmosphere has a high radioactive taint and the world is, apparently, lifeless. The world is used by the Daryen Navy for training and is subject to frequent nuclear bombardment.
But none of that makes any sense. In their entire history, the Daryens have never bombarded anyone, with the single exception of the Sword World trading post on Ator (and that only in the GTU). They are also extremely non-expansionistic; why do they need to practice how to bombard a world? Their big stick is the Star Trigger, not pedestrian nuclear orbital bombardment. And the world is always mentioned as being part of the Daryen Group. Why would a completely empty world be so included?
Why does it not have a name? Plus, the non-name uses the Imperial numeric notation, and this is apparently how they themselves identify it. If they never named it, why wouldn't they use their own designation rather than the Imperial one?
Perhaps the atmosphere wasn't always tainted. Even without the taint, it wouldn't be a popular destination for the Daryens because of its large size and relative coolness. But it would still be a very valuable world on which to plant a colony or outpost, and that doesn't stop over a billion of them living on the similarly sized Zamine.
Putting it all together, it is quite likely that there was a colony on 494-908 at some point in the past. What could have gone so wrong with the colony that the Daryens find it necessary to continuously bombard the world to get rid of the evidence? What was so horrible they felt the need to wipe out the world's name? And when did this event happen? It would seem likely this occurred prior to contact with the Imperium, but if so, why is the Imperial world designation used? If it happened after, why do even the Imperials not mention what happened?
What's really happening on Zamine?
The Daryen are a remarkably accomodating people. Even under harsh circumstances, Daryen are going to discuss and negotiate long before they resort to warfare and violence. The ability to compromise and accomodate are some of the greatest strengths of the Daryen culture. However, on Zamine, the situation has apparently degenerated beyond conventional warfare to apparently include terrorism. While the Confederation has apparently managed to keep a lid on things such that the violence has not been exported from Zamine, and full blown civil war has been prevented, the situation is still incredibly volatile.
So, what caused this situation? What is so different that conventional Daryen means of dealing with conflict have failed so miserably? Is it a Zhodani plot? Is it a new, dangerous religion? Political dissidents who reject traditional Daryen culture?
What's wrong with the Entropans?
First, why are there 11 billion people living on a nearly frozen, near vacuum world? Right "next door" is Winston, a world with an untainted, breathable atmosphere and lots of water and very little population. Is there something really wrong with Winston, or were the founders of Entrope just not very bright?
Second, why is the world such a political football? As mentioned above, they have 11 billion people. That's over a third the population of the Darrian Confederation and something like a fifth the population of the Sword Worlds Confederation. It would be one thing if they were low tech, but they are more technologically advanced that all but one Sword World and two Daryen worlds, and outnumber each of those worlds. They should be able to out-produce and out-tech both Confederations on their own. So why are they conquered back and forth like some powerless stooge? They should be doing the conquering.
Why did they let all of the outposts die?
Once Daryen was crushed by the Maghiz, the other colony worlds had years of advanced warning. Granted that the ability to maintain the ships and get new ships was now gone. And the bulk of the small fleet was probably destroyed in the Daryen system. But they still did nothing to help the stranded outposts. They had enough ships to maintain communications between themselves for years, so obviously they had non-trivial fleet elements left. So why did they let all those outposts die?
What happened on Gungnir?
The Daryen pharmaceutical outpost on Gungnir was said to have survived for a hundred years or so before dying out. But do we know that for certain? Suppose that outpost had manage to survive, if not thrive, until the time of the Sword Worlders' arrival. If so, why did they finally die out? Where they outright killed, subjugated into oblivion, died by disease, or on their last legs? What really happened, and what will happen when the real situation is discovered and publicized?
(Note that it is most likely that they did die out as reported. This is more of an adventure seed or conspiracy theory, than a true mystery.)