- These Bureaux were quasi-commercial organizations that had descended from the three dominant castes in pre-historic Vilani culture.
The three original Bureaux were:
- Makhidkarun, which had descended from the original Enshii (the Aristocratic Nobles in pre-industrial Vland);
- Sharurshid, which had descended from the Badenkii (wealthy Industrial magnates in pre-spaceflight Vland);
- ...and Naasirka, which had descended from the Shugilii (Food processors and Doctors).
Each of these Bureaux governed a specific territory within the Ziru Sirka and controlled virtually every aspect of life within their territories. The Terrans characterised the Bureaux as being simple corporations, and while there was some truth in this view, it failed to fully come to terms with the complex nature of the Bureaux.
Hybrid Commercial-Governmental Organization
The Bureaux were indeed commercial enterprises, but they were far more than simple Terran corporations.
While each Bureau did control a particular field of commerce within the Ziru Sirka, they also provided governmental services within their territories. All of the citizens of the Ziru Sirka were employees of one of the Bureaux; and the Bureau provided for all their needs from the cradle to the grave. In return the employee was bound to their job and location for their entire life.
The Terrans frequently likened this situation to that of the serfs in feudal Europe. Whilst this analogy has some degree of accuracy, it is important not to stretch it too far. While workers were bound to a particular job and location throughout their lives, there was no real noble elite; and the Vilani need for consensus and sense of community resulted in a paternalistic system with fair and equitable treatment for all.
Specialization & Exceptions
Each of the Bureaux specialised in a differing area of interstellar trade and commerce depending on their origin and the technological patents they held.
- Makhidkarun with it origins in the Enshii emphasised information technology and governmental services;
- Sharurshid with its origins in the Badenkii emphasised trade and speculation.
The exception was Naasirka.
- Naasirka had its origins in the Shugilii, who on Vland had controlled the food supply. Naturally this proved to be impossible on worlds other than Vland and for a period Naasirka floundered without any true direction. Eventually however Naasirka was able to transform itself into a broad based organisation with interests in transport, energy, agriculture and consumer goods.
Originally on pre-spaceflight Vland there were numerous other commercial bodies dealing with the many other aspects of economic activity. But eventually these were all brought under the control of one of the three Bureaux and by the time the Vilani had reached out into space, all economic activity was directed by them.
The three Bureaux coordinated their activities through the Igsiirdi (Central ruling council).
Initially the Igsiirdi was simply the means by which the three Bureaux debated matters of common interest, but with the start of the Consolidation Wars, the Igsiirdi was transformed into the central governing body of Vland and the Ziru Sirka. In practise it remained the coordinating body of the three Bureaux, as all the governmental functions were carried out by the Bureaux within their territories.
One of the most vital functions of the Igsiirdi was in ensuring that each Bureaux and their products were represented within all the territories of the Ziru Sirka. For the most part this was achieved by cross-licensing rather than a physical presence. Thus Naasirka products would be produced under licence by Sharurshid in the rimward provinces and likewise Sharurshid products would be licence produced by Naasirka within its territories. However these products were still marketed under the appropriate brand names throughout the Ziru Sirka.
Within 10 years of the end of the Consolidation Wars the president of the Igsiirdi was proclaimed the Ishimkarun ("Shadow Emperor"). The Ishimkarun ruled by published decree, never appearing in public. Upon the death of one Ishimkarun, his or her successor would be elected from the ranks of the Igsiirdi.
- In -3610 (908 AD) the Ishimkarun was declared the Sirkakarun ("Emperor of the Stars").
- Gradually the control of the Sirkakarun and Igsiirdi weakened as the Diikagkarunii grew in strength.
- By -2800 (1718 AD) local mutinies and insurrections by the Diikagkarunii were becoming increasingly common. Some of these would seek to further their power by hiring and equipping barbarian mercenaries from beyond the Empire. These small border rebellions added to the slow decay of the Empire in its dying days.
- The bureaux survived the transition to the Rule of Man in -2204, as the Terran Confederation military saw no obvious alternative method for continuing to administer the former Vilani territories. High level personnel in the bureaux were replaced with Confederation naval officers, but their essential structure remained intact.
- The bureaux managed to preserve their knowledge and expertise in managing affairs across multiple sectors of space through the Long Night, despite the general reduction of long-range interstellar travel and trade during that time. They eventually transformed into megacorporations in the Third Imperium era, shedding their governmental authority and becoming purely commercial enterprises.
- In 1120, during the Rebellion, the Restored Vilani Empire (Ziru Sirkaa) granted some aspects of governing authority to the former bureaux within its territory (basically consisting of Vland Sector). This persisted until the release of Virus in 1130.