Bureau of Sabotage
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2008)|
||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (October 2009)|
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.
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).
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.