His wife was a politician who in 1521 PD was appointed to a cabinet position on Urako. At the same time, Whittaker went on an expedition to the planet Sphinx in the Star Kingdom of Manticore, where a new sentient species, the treecats, had recently been discovered. He also took his teenage son, Anders, with him.
Once there, he encouraged his son to befriend Stephanie Harrington, the girl who made first contact with the treecats and also established the first permanent telepathic bond with a member of the species. (SK2)
Following the near-disaster on Sphinx, he was re-called to Urako to explain himself before the chancellor of Urako University and the chairman of the xenoanthropology department. After handing over his reports and those of his assistants, he was allowed to return to Sphinx and continue his mission. (SK3)