The ConSentiency is a bureaucratic empire formed by a number of species to govern over them. The ConSentiency runs day to day functions for each race and is headed by the Caleban.
One, the Taprisiots, provide instant mind-to-mind communication between two sentient minds anywhere in the universe, and the Calebanprovide jump-doors which allow instantaneous travel between any two points in the universe. This is the glue that holds the far-flung ConSentiency together. Unfortunately, one consequence of jump-door technology is the possibility that large numbers of unsuspecting sentients can be diverted to destinations unknown for nefarious purposes. A government saboteur attempts to expose one such plot.
In Herbert's fiction, sometime in the far future, government becomes terrifyingly efficient. Red tape no longer exists: laws are conceived of, passed, funded, and executed within hours, rather than months. The bureaucratic machinery becomes a juggernaut, rolling over human concerns and welfare with terrible speed, jerking the universe of sentients one way, then another, threatening to destroy everything in a fit of spastic reactions. In short, the speed of government goes beyond sentient control (in this fictional universe, many alien species co-exist, with a common definition of sentience marking their status as equals).
In the far future, humankind has made contact with numerous other species: Gowachin, Laclac, Wreaves, Pan Spechi, Taprisiots, and Caleban (among others) and has helped to form the ConSentiency to govern among the species. After suffering under a tyrannous pure democracy which had the power to create laws so fast that no thought could be given to the effects, the sentients of the galaxy found the need for a Bureau of Sabotage(BuSab) to slow the wheels of government, thereby preventing it from legislating recklessly.
In Whipping Star, Jorj X. McKie is a saboteur extraordinary, a born troublemaker who has naturally become one of BuSab's best agents. As the novel opens, it is revealed that Calebans, who are beings visible to other sentient species as stars, have been disappearing one by one. Each disappearance is accompanied by millions of sentient deaths and instances of incurable insanity.
Ninety years prior to the setting of Whipping Star, the Calebans appeared and offered jumpdoors to the collective species, allowing sentients to travel instantly to any point in the universe. Gratefully accepting, the sentiency didn't question the consequences. Now Mliss Abnethe, a psychotic human female with immense power and wealth, has bound a Caleban (called Fanny Mae) in a contract that allows the Caleban to be whipped to death; when the Caleban dies, everyone who has ever used a jumpdoor (which is almost every adult in the sentient world and many of the young) will die as well.
The Calebans begin to disappear one at a time, leaving our plane of existence (or exiting "our wave") to save themselves. As all Calebans are connected, if all were to remain in our existence, when Fanny Mae died, all Calebans would die. As each Caleban exits, millions of the ConSentiency are killed or rendered insane. McKie has to find Mliss and stop her before Fanny Mae reaches, in her words, "ultimate discontinuity", but he is constrained by the law protecting private individuals by restricting the ministrationsof BuSab to public entities
Generations ago, a secret, unauthorized experiment by the Gowachins was carried out with the help of a contract with the Calebans. They isolated the planet Dosadi behind an impenetrable barrier called "The God Wall". On the planet were placed humans and Gowachin, with an odd mix of modern and old technology. The planet itself is massively poisonous except for a narrow valley, containing the city "Chu", into which nearly 89 million humans and Gowachin are crowded under terrible conditions. It is ruled by a dictator, many other forms of government having been tried previously, but without the ability to remove such things as the DemoPol, a computer system used to manipulate populaces without their consent or knowledge. Senior Liator Keila Jedrikstarts a war that will change Dosadi forever.
The Bureau of Sabotage is a fictional government entity set in two of Frank Herbert's science fiction novels, Whipping Star and The Dosadi Experiment, and first introduced in his 1964 short story "The Tactful Saboteur". It is colloquially known as BuSab. Jorj X. McKie, the protagonist of all the works listed below, is a saboteur extraordinary first appeared in the story "A Matter of Traces" in 1958.Founded by the mysterious "Five Ears" of unknown species, BuSab began as a terrorist organization whose sole purpose was to frustrate the workings of government in order to give sentients a chance to reflect upon changes and deal with them. Having saved sentiency from its government, BuSab was officially recognized as a necessary check on the power of government. It provides a natural (and lucrative) outlet for society's regular crop of troublemakers, who must be countered by society's regular crop of "do-gooders". First a corps, then a bureau, BuSab gained legally recognized powers to interfere in the workings of any world, of any species, of any government or corporation, answerable only to themselves. Their motto is, "In Lieu of Red Tape." Forbidden from committing acts of sabotage against private citizens, BuSab acts as a monitor of, and a conscience for, the collective sentiency, watching for signs of anti-sentient behaviour by corporate or government entities and preserving the dignity of individuals. Some essential functions of government are immune from BuSab by statute. BuSab is opposed by such organizations as the "Tax Watchers" who have successfully lobbied to grant themselves the same immunity from BuSab enjoyed by agencies such as public utilities. BuSab monitors even itself and employs sabotage to prevent the agency from slipping into hidebound stasis. Agents are promoted to the head of the organization by successfully sabotaging the Secretary. By the same token, there is no term limit imposed on the Secretary of the Bureau of Sabotage. As long as he is alert enough to avoid being sabotaged, he remains qualified to lead BuSab.
Gowachin are a fictional race of frog-like humanoids featured in the Frank Herbert books Whipping Star and The Dosadi Experiment. Herbert developed the race from a brief mention by Jorj X. McKie in the short story The Tactful Saboteur. Gowachin are organized in phylums (several of which are the Running Phylum, the Dry Heads, Great Awakening, Assumptive and Deep Swimmers), or extended clans; their phylum identification is tattooed onto their eyelids; one of the rituals of meeting other sapients is a long blink that clearly exposes the Gowachin's phylum identification to the other. Criminals are exiled from their phylum by having their tattoos burned off; while the tattoos are still visible as scars, the scars themselves are a mark of tremendous shame.Gowachin are born in a graluz, an indoor pool into which the tadpoles are born and live until their father tests them by swimming through the graz, eating those he can catch. This winnowing process is used to eliminate the slowest Gowachin who betray an insufficient desire for survival.The Gowachin are generally a patriarchal oligarchy, where elder male Gowachin rule the phylums, and female Gowachin are sheltered and sequestered in the home. Status in Gowachin society comes from one's relative rank in the phylum and from the phylum's overall reputation. The Gowachin regard their legal practices as the strongest evidence that they are civilized. Gowachin law is based upon the notion of a healthy disrespect for all laws; the purpose of this notion is to avoid the stultifying accretion of a body of laws and precedents that bind Gowachin mechanically. In a Gowachin trial, everything is on trial: every participant, including the judges; every law; even the foundational precept of Gowachin law. Legal ideas from other systems are turned on their head: someone pronounced "innocent" (guilty in other terms) by the court is torn to pieces by angry spectators; judges may have bias ("if I can decide for my side, I will"), though not prejudice ("I will decide for my side, regardless"); defendant and plaintiff are chosen at trial by the side bringing the complaint choosing one role or the other; torture is permitted; and all procedural rules may be violated, but only by finding conflict within procedural rules (an example of Nomic). Gowachin law is illustrative of a dominant theme in Herbert's books set in this universe: that governments, law, and bureaucracy (collectively, society's tools for regulating itself) are dangerous when allowed to escape human (sapient) control. In both novels, the Bureau of Sabotage (BuSab) plays a major role. An official bureau, its mandate is to slow the workings of government(s) to ensure that the machinery of governance never overpowers those subject to its power. Historically, BuSab was created when government had become terrifyingly efficient, with laws conceived, mandated, and funded within hours, thus subjecting sapients to an overpowering bureaucratic juggernaut. Gowachin legal practices are to law and the courts what BuSab is to government bureaucracy: a governor on an engine, preventing a static pronouncement on the state of things (real or intended) from ever over-ruling sentient judgement or discreation at the contingent moment. Inasmuch as only sapience or full consciousness is capable of dealing with a dynamic universe, no procedural set judicial algorithm can ever supersede or effectively protect sapience. This aspect of the novels is echoed in Dune Messiah, when the Emperor, Paul, rejects a request from a subject world for a constitution. Ostensibly, the purpose is to provide basic guarantees for the people; in reality, it's an attempt to check the Emperor's power with legal limits. Paul justifies his decision by arguing, in his official pronouncement, that constitutions are dead things, limited and limiting to what can be currently conceived as a threat from which the people require protection, ultimately enfeebling them by depriving them of the essential human challenge to deal with an ever-changing universe. Jorj X. McKieis the only living human in the Gowachin bar and one of only a few non-Gowachin who have ever been admitted as Legums. The only other non-Gowachin legum whose species has been confirmed is the female Wreave Ceylang. His first, widely admired, legal victory in a Gowachin trial came when he demonstrated to the court that "eternal sloppiness was the price of liberty". In his final victory, in the Dosadi experiment, McKie killed one of the three judges (Parando), who was legally capable of being slain because he was exposed as a legalist.
Taprisiots are a fictional species in Frank Herbert's science fiction novels, The Dosadi Experiment and Whipping Star.Taprisiots (generally called 'Tappys' by humans) appear to be stubby chunks of wood, almost like logs with their branches broken off. Their value to other sentients is that they can communicate directly with each other telepathically, and can create telepathic communications channels between other sentients with their mediation. They sell their services as communications channels, and have become indispensable to the workings of the pan-sentiency.Among other users, agents of the Bureau of Sabotage are sent out on especially dangerous missions with 'Taprisiot monitors': a Taprisiot maintains a telepathic link to the agent, and at the moment of the agent's death, the entire circumstance and contents of the agent's conscious mind can be made available for study.It is speculated[by whom?] that Taprisiots are, in some sense, immature cousins of Calebans, who have far greater access to the realm that the Taprisiots use for telepathy. Caleban interaction with sentients is through contracts to provide jump-doors and other, more specific, services.
Caleban are a fictional major race of beings seen in two of Frank Herbert's novels, The Dosadi Experiment and Whipping Star, which is set in the ConSentiency universe series of stories. The Caleban are extra-dimensional beings of enormous, almost unfathomable power. Their visible manifestation is as stars; that is to say, every star in the universe is, in fact, the visible manifestation of a Caleban. Communication between sentients and Calebans usually occurs when a Caleban initiates contact with a sentient, putting the sentient into a trance state during which apparently telepathic dialogue can occur. Communication is only 'apparent' because the Caleban, so different in nature from the normal run of humans, Gowachin, Wreaves, Laclacs, Taprisiots, Pan Spechi, and other sentients, have difficulty expressing their mental frame of reference, and understanding the weltanschauung of sentients. Given the discrepancy, it's difficult for sentients to say for certain that they are using words the same way. The Caleban speak of their existence in terms of nodes on waves, suggesting that their being and perceptions exist on a higher plane of physics, much like the dimension of space-time is a higher-level abstraction of daily reality. The concept of death is difficult to communicate to Calebans, who can identify individuals as nodes in their continuum, but see no discontinuity in that node upon death, only a transformation to a different wave. Herbert's use of terms found in quantum mechanics appears deliberate, to avoid making metaphysical commitments that he avoided in all his novels. While he did imply much about higher orders of being in his works, he took a thoroughly scientific approach, describing those planes in terms of scientific advances and accessibility. Nonetheless, after making initial contact with sentients, the Caleban quickly enter into contracts with the pan-sentiency, the first of which is to provide jump doors--teleportation in its most literal form. A jump door opens, a sentient enters it and exits elsewhere without traversing the intervening distance. This revolution in transportation quickly becomes commonplace in the universe and is a standard device in both novels set in this narrative universe, even though the introduction of jump doors occurred only a few decades earlier than the novels occur. The novels do not describe how interstellar travel occurred before the introduction of jump doors (FTL ships and metabolic suspension are mentioned), but the history of pan-sentient relations strongly implies a much longer period. Calebans appear not to understand dishonesty, and their contracts are absolutely binding, even if the contract specifies the death of the Caleban (such a contract is at the heart of the plot of Whipping Star). This implies that Caleban perceptions of the universe are somehow purer or absolute; since the Calebans cannot understand a discrepancy between perception and reality, there is no ontological room for a deliberate discrepancy—a lie—to exist for them. Calebans are, in some sense, capable of analogous emotions to what sentients feel. The Caleban known to Jorj X. McKie as Fannie Mae, whom McKie saves from 'ultimate discontinuity' in Whipping Star, feels something she describes as love for McKie. During a trance, she allows him to directly experience a fraction of that feeling. McKie is completely overwhelmed in a burning oneness with Fannie Mae that happily engulfs him for a few moments; afterwards, he admits to himself that, if he could, he would sink in that sensation, never to return.
Wreaves are a fictional species of sentient beings in the Frank Herbert science fiction novels The Dosadi Experiment and Whipping Star. Wreaves are approximately humanoid, but resemble insects in the way that the Gowachin resemble frogs: they have insectoid mandibles in place of mouths, faceted eyes, and a chitinous exo-skeleton. Nonetheless, they are sentient, and take full part in the ConSentiency, or the collective of sentient species in the narrative universe in which the novels are set. They have a highly developed culture that involves clan relationships extended to the whole of the species by means of, essentially, wife-swapping: breeding females are traded between clans, creating extended family relationships between all wreaves. The 'distance' of the family relationship is immaterial. They have a strict code of honor, and to offend one wreave is to offend that wreave's family, which is effectively all wreaves, everywhere. Settling the dishonor means killing the offender, so to dishonor a wreave is to invite the wrath of the entire species upon oneself. Wreaves are not known to gamble, so the expression "a wreave bet" means "a sure thing".
Pan Spechi are a fictional species in Frank Herbert's science fiction novels, The Dosadi Experiment and Whipping Star. They first appear in his 1964 short story The Tactful Saboteur. Pan Spechi are unique in that a single individual has five different bodies, each uniquely different from the others. The lifespan of a Pan Spechi individual involves transferring the ego serially and irreversibly through each body; while the ego possesses one body, the others remain safely hidden and mindless in the individual's crèche. "Crèche matters" are extremely private Pan Spechi affairs which are wholly their existential prerogative, such that a mention in casual conversation which even touches on crèche matters can be a cause for extreme offense. The highest crime of the Pan Spechi is 'fixing the ego', or surgically altering the ego's current body to prevent ego transfer to the next. This is a capital offense; any Pan Spechi caught in such a state is immediately killed, regardless of the circumstances. The individual sentient body of any given Pan Spechi outside of the crèche resembles the form of one of the other species of the Consentiency with whom he has contact and works; examples of Pan Spechi with human-appearing and Gowachin-appearing bodies are frequent characters in Herbert's novels. Indeed, the novels indicate that the Pan Spechi are able to grow bodies to match any known intelligent race. The eyes of the Pan Spechi are distinct from the species they are modeled on, however, in that they exhibit gem-like facets.