The Spacing Guild, also known as the Guild of Navigators, or more simply the Guild, was an organization which held exclusive rights to faster-than-light space travel.
Foundation[edit | edit source]
Koman refugees from the Butlerian Jihad, led by Aurelius Venport and Norma Cevna landed on Tupile and established the Society of Mystic Mariners laying the groundwork for what would later become the Guild. The Komans started having in mind an interstellar shipping monopoly, swift and safe through hyperspace.
Venport and Cevna were lost but the Society they created allowed gifted Tupilians such as Frelo Mason to join their ranks. Mason was responsible for the Guild's mature form and activities and transformed it into a predominantly Tupilian organization serving their needs. His son Jasta Mason expanded the fleet until he felt secure enough to make their technologies known (12 BG) and considered joining forces with the newly founded Corrino Empire.
The Guild sent an agent, Zarv to an Imperial governor of Deneb but the results were disastrous, locking the Guild's directors in a policy struggle. They did not dare to deal directly with the Sardaukar who would find the location of Tupile nor approach the Landsraad since the Houses Major would likely join to use the Guild against the new emperor. They also wanted to keep secret the use of melange. The debate narrowed to two choices: retreat back into secrecy, or continue trying to negotiate. Mason broke the impasse with his speech and a unanimous board affirmed his ambitious policy.
Another emissary (contacted by radio) was sent, to the governor of Nabatea. The governor proved more temperate but was skeptical and demanded a demonstration. The Guild transported him to the Imperial Court in 3 standard days (instead of 2 years), initiating the practice of the heighliners that was later followed. The Nabateans were confined to their own craft during the voyage, and were never permitted a glimpse of the Guild ship or its crew.
The Financial Synod[edit | edit source]
Emperor Saudir I was still involved in dealings with the Landsraad over the form of a government that would permit both parties to thrive and the revelation of the brought a pause since Saudir integrated the potent new factor of the Guild into his political calculations. Saudir arranged a great Financial Synod, on Aerarium IV in 10 BG where the Guild participated.
The Guild representatives offered melange, representing it only as a spice which would extend human longevity claiming honest ignorance of the source of melange, allaying any suspicion that melange had additional effects.
The emissaries warned against attempts to use the Guild for purposes other than those negotiated. They referred obliquely to the possibility of finding and seizing Tupile: if any such action was even seriously entertained, the Guild would retreat into secrecy. They pointed out that no political entity could match the Guild in space, and a search for their home world would take years. During those years, the Guild (even if eventually found) would have destroyed its hyperspace industry.
Some Great Houses which had ambitions to become the Imperial House saw in the Guild an opportunity to elevate themselves if they could seize control of this new means of trade. Thus threatened, the Guild refused to deal with many of the Great Houses, and compromise between the feudal powers in general and the Guild proved impossible for years. But both the Guild and the emperor proved themselves skilled negotiators.
While the Synod remained unable to resolve its problems, matters were never permitted to deteriorate so that the gathering broke up. The Guild was especially concerned that this not happen, for they knew that the outcome of the Synod would determine whether or not they survived. Eventually Saudir came up with the proposal of CHOAM.
History[edit | edit source]
The Guild was founded as Corpus Luminis Praenuntiantis ("The Union of the Foreseeing Eye") with its motto as Quilibet, Quolibet, Quandolibet ("Anything, anytime, anyplace"). It was composed in part of members genetically engineered for special sensitivity to melange, and produced Navigators and Steersmen whose prescience enabled them to guide spacecraft through hyperspace without the computers tabued by the Butlerian Jihad. There were also ancillary personnel, all of them making up a closed society of an unknown homework whose heighliners maintained and regulated transportation between planetary systems.
By 2800 AG, the Guild rediscovered hundreds of habitable unpopulated worlds. Under the Right of Domain rulings in the Great Convention the House paying the Guildsmen for a planetary find gained dominion over that planet, conditional upon the approval of the Landsraad Council and the Emperor, something that no House could expect to meet the Imperial revenues demanded, without being able to establish a workforce there.
Since the House often could not populate the planet, most Houses were content to relinquish all claim to a find and offer it, instead, as an Imperial Colony. If accepted, such an offer netted the House a handsome finder's fee, and left the problem of populating the new colony with the Throne. The emperor, being eminently practical in such matters, would spread the costs in lost manpower with "volunteer" settlers.
For millennia its power was great, in one case even naming the successor to the Golden Lion Throne. Only when the Atreides came to power was Guild influence checked through control of the melange they required. The Guild held the civilized worlds together until the invention of Ixian navigation devices in 14132 AG, when the monopoly was broken.
Significance[edit | edit source]
The Guild was (after the Emperor and the Landsraad) the third leg of the political tripod of the Imperium, with its monopoly on interstellar travel, transport and banking. Although it owed formal allegiance to the Imperial House, from whom it received its charter, the Guild was equal in power to both the emperor and the combined forces of the Landsraad Houses, should it choose to use that power. All communication, travel, trade, and military operations were dependent upon Guild approval. No Great House, not even House Corrino, dared endanger its Guild shipping privileges through ill-advised infringements of the Guild Peace. The emperor himself was forced to employ spies andsmugglers in an attempt to circumvent Guild control.
The Guild was a fundamentally conservative organization because of the fear that technological advances in places (as Ix or Tleilax) would break its monopoly through new methods of space travel, and the fear that its supply of melange would be cut off. Therefore the Imperium with its feudal structure and religious strictures against technology was its only safeguard against these dangers. The Guild allowed rubber-stamp control over its charter by the emperor, and to balance its power against that of the Landsraad and any other threat to the established Imperial order.
Only on Arrakis, the sole source of melange, did the Guild's policy prove ill-founded and disastrous for the Guild and the Corrino Imperium as a whole. With the establishment of the Regency government in 10196 AG, the classic period of Imperial feudalism ended although the forms endured for many generations thereafter.
Structure[edit | edit source]
The Spacing Guild was divided into five main departments:
Accounting, Legal, Security, Operations, and Tupile.
Accounting and Legal[edit | edit source]
These were standard and understandable. It involved Payroll and the financial Records
Legal & Contracts involved: Imperial, Landsraad, CHOAM, Internal
Security[edit | edit source]
Security was in fact the most efficient secret police organizations ever founded.
- Covert Operations
- was divided into two branches
- mainly used subverted locals, with "controls" who held offices in the Guild's local offices. A separate command was devoted to operations on Ix.
- Interior branch
- was staffed completely by full-time Guild employees; it was responsible for finding out the exact cargo loaded onto every Guild Liner. Even when the cargos were personal ships of the passengers, Covert Operations-Interior would find out who and what was aboard. It was also responsible for the very few cases of "lost" shipments.
- was the largest single section since the Guild strongly preferred prevention over cure.
- Public Relations Office
- was responsible for keeping the rest of the empire in the dark about the location of Tupile (Maps), for propaganda (Misinformation), and for the acquisition of goods and the investment of assets, either openly or through middlemen (Purchasing).
- functioned as roving visible "ears," always willing to listen to any complaints from employees, and to see what could be done to correct the situations giving rise to the complaints.
- was responsible for assuring, as much as possible, that all employees were satisfied. It also handled polling, both internally and externally.
- Employee Relations was charged with keeping the peace with the rank and file
- the court of first resort for any employee problems.
- Guards and Police
- there were four branches
- served mainly as crime fighters and investigators
- Spice and Sanctuary
- served to guard the location and knowledge of the Guild's spice hoards and the Sanctuary planet
- was the Guild's secret police, which maintained counter-espionage and security within the Guild
- Anti-Hijack guards
- were specially conditioned to release their hold on a dead-man switch which would fire a lasgun at the Liner's Shield should the Liner ever be hijacked. This post was secret, but an open one and; it was tested only very rarely.
Operations[edit | edit source]
Operations was in charge of the day-to-day, activity of the Guild.
- performed the activities that the naive thought were the main function of the Guild — that of getting cargo from one place to another for a price.
- Public section
- handled professional recruitment, and advertisement for tourism.
- Exploration secretive section
- had two branches
- Alien Search
- received most of the funds and none of the publicity.
- Planet Evaluation
- was responsible for inspecting and determining the commercial value of planets discovered by Alien Search.
- Research and Development
- a highly classified section
- Tleilaxu Branch
- was concerned solely with evaluating any data discovered by Security about the Tleilaxu progress with the Navigational Computer.
- Training Methods
- studied better ways to insure loyalty, through drugs, indoctrination, or anything else that might work.
- Arrakeen Fauna
- was the innocuous name given to the branch which tried to find some way to keep the occasional sandworm snatched from Arrakis by Security alive.
- Spice Synthesis: would manage to find an answer if transplantation proved impossible.
Tupile[edit | edit source]
The home base of the Guild whose location was kept totally secret. The daily operations of Tupile were
- Local Government
- took care of traffic control, street cleaning, broadcasting, etc.
- Tupile was also the retirement home for Guildsmen, as well as a recreational park, advanced training center, and hospital for those who needed special treatment
- Maintenance & Repair
- overhauled every ship in the Guild's fleet at least once every three years
- in charge of resource allocation, and production of consumer goods to keep the fugitives on Tupile in some luxury. At the same time it kept up the production of new ships of all kinds