Character interview – Colonel Elias M’Tov; Chief of Iskander Security

TWV:    Welcome to The Wildcat’s Victory, Colonel. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

“Nice place she has here. I must say our Wildcat does well for herself.”

TWV: And well for Iskander, would you agree?

“I don’t begrudge her a thing. She has done us proud – but then I always predicted she would.”

TWV: Really? I felt you were really down on her at the start.

“Well, she was a brat. She needed a strong hand to set her on the right course.”

TWV: A strong hand from you.

“Who else? Henrik Matah is a genius but a terrible father; Yvan Korchik was a fairly good mentor and instructor for her on the voyage, but a bad influence with his leftist and contrarian views. Maria Hather was a better influence but if I’d left Gisel to her she’d have been steered into a medical career … not a bad outcome, but we needed more.”

TWV: Gisel’s mother was a physician.

“(shrugs) I’m not a believer in family professions. My father was a baker – would you believe it? He was actually disappointed when I chose a career in Space Command. No. I do not think families offer the best background for developing young people.”

TWV:    I expect he made terrific bread.

“You better believe it, but society doesn’t live by bread alone.”

TWV:    So where did you come from … on Earth I mean?

“The Bronx – what was left of it after the worldwide sea level rose. Building a 10 metre concrete wall around New York was only half a fix. Water has always seeped into the city through the substrata – even in the 20th century – but the rate of seepage at modern sea levels meant half the city taxes went to water pumping. Then there was the crippling maintenance and replacement cost.”

TWV: Seems your US wasn’t the powerhouse we are used to.

“The whole coastal US was a disaster zone in the twenty-third century when I was a kid – no one had the resources or wealth to maintain all their coastal assets with that sea level rise worldwide. If it wasn’t pumps it was the dykes failing.”

TWV: Which explains the effort put into colonising other worlds. How many colony worlds like N-3 were there?

“Who knew? Half of them were corporate ventures, and commercial privacy meant they were secret ventures – until the corporations developed them to the point they were able to be chartered as new worlds … when no other company could horn in and settle it with their own squatters.”

TWV: Hmm. Sounds like the wild west, and a setup for all kinds of abuse and oppression.

“Yes, that’s why leftists like Korchik could slip through the cracks in the personnel selection security. I don’t deny there were colonies where the settlers were treated like slaves. There were stories in the news all the time … some had to be true.”

TWV:    But I’m still interested in your family and your career in Space Command. Can you tell us more?

“The family was originally Russian Jew … but that was way back in the twentieth century. My folks were more Russian than Jew – they sent me to a Greek Orthodox school. I signed on with Space Command when I left high school – and the force put me through college and staff training when I was in my thirties.”

TWV: And before that? You served in some kind of airborne service, I believe.

“The Intervention Force – yes. We were the people inserted into troubled colony worlds to reconnoitre and prepare for either a peacekeeping force or a Universe Bank take-over. We parachuted in from the edge of space – always dangerous as we’d fall supersonic in the rarified atmosphere.”

TWV: Sounds exciting.

“More than exciting if you couldn’t control your fall. Could get an arm ripped off.”

TWV: And then in Arrival you broke an ankle teaching Gisel how to parachute land.

“Don’t remind me. Damned embarrassing. I was way out of training for such a drop and should have given it more attention.”

TWV: So that was where you learned parachute assaults, covert operations … spying?

“All of that. I wound up commanding one of the top battalions.”

TWV: But you also commanded spacecraft there – you had the experience to command the Iskander.

“Intervention Force is a young man’s game … young woman’s, too, we had a lot of good covert agents. But I moved to the bridge of spacecraft when I left staff college. Logged a dozen missions  before the Iskander one.”

TWV: Thank you very much for sharing this Colonel.

“My pleasure … always glad to set the story straight.”

TWV: These interviews seem to be filling out details not covered in the novels. Will see who I can interview next time. Meanwhile skip over to my other blog on writing topics at http://trailowner.blogspot.com/

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