Character Interview – Dr Henrik Matah, Director of the Bergrund Industrial Complex.

TWV: Welcome to The Wildcat’s Victory, Dr Matah.

“Call me Henrik, I don’t have time for titles and rank.”

TWV: Yes, of course. Do I see where Gisel got her own impatience with formality?

“You mean from me? Strange idea – I don’t think she takes my part in anything.”

TWV: If you say so. But to go back a little – surely you have frequent noble dignitaries visiting Bergrund? Who deals with the issues of protocol?

“Count Bergrund used to, and now his daughter Katya – my wife – takes care of massaging royal egos and noble sensitivities.”

TWV: Ah – you have married again? I didn’t see an announcement.

“We had a quiet family wedding about a year ago. It was a busy time at the works, so we didn’t want to be interrupted by some huge social occasion.”

TWV: And Lady Katya was accepting of the situation?

“Why should she not?”

TWV: Grand weddings are the norm on Gaia, especially if the union is one of social significance. I would have thought she might have been keen to show off her catch. You were a very eligible bachelor.

“Ahem. (Looks embarrassed) Perhaps not in the situation – you see … well. She was …”

TWV: Pregnant? So you have a new family?

“A son, Agraj Bjorn. Named for my father and Katya’s, as is the custom here. But I assure you she is enjoying a great deal of social life since the child was born. She also presides over protocol and arrangements at official Iskander functions, and has become a regular visitor at the royal court in Stadholm.”

TWV: Indeed? Iskander and the royal family of Tarnland are close friends? I thought from some of Gisel’s problems that there had been a cooling of relations in the past year or two.

“Hmm. I don’t like getting into politics, but there was a situation for awhile. We were able to fix it.”

TWV: Really? What happened?

“My idea, in the end. I merely cut the Autarch in as a partner in the Iskander Steel Enterprises. He gets 20% of the profits from armaments and seems very content.”

TWV: Then you are a consummate politician after all. You and Gisel are alike in that. But that isn’t the whole of the Iskander holdings, is it?

“Not by any means. Steel Enterprises is the armament factory – then there is Iskander Steam, that builds the boilers and steam engines; Iskander Maritime, our shipbuilding; Iskander Aviation, our new aircraft factory; Iskander Electric; Iskander Domestic … makes stoves, refrigerators and all that … well, you get the idea. We didn’t put everything in the same basket.”

TWV: And where does the Iskander-Felger Partnership figure?

“It too is separate, and has dealings with all the other Iskander enterprises on its own account. Even the young people have a firm of their own.”

TWV: Who? Gisel and Yohan?

“Yes. They have a company called Industrial Fastenings. Makes threaded bolts, nuts, wood screws, springs – lots of items needed for Gaian entrepreneurs to modernise their own factories.”

TWV: Really? Gisel is into nuts and bolts – seems very mundane for a gal with her reputation.

“Not at all. She and Yohan are very shrewd. Fastenings and springs are fundamental to upgrading the industrial infrastructure of Gaia. The nuts and bolts, as it were.”

TWV: (Chuckle) Yes I see. So it’s very profitable?

“(Laughs) Very. I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t turn out to become the richest of all the Iskanders. She did have a head start with prize moneys and awards for service to other governments – then the salaries and bonuses from the Partnership.”

TWV: So, what do you think her holdings are worth?

“Oh, you’d better ask her. But she started with about twenty thousand Ducats when the Partnership started – say about four million Dollars in your currency. Probably adds a million a year now – or would if she didn’t have all the outlays for her own interests,”

TWV: The women’s rights thing?

“Yes – and the Workers’ Brotherhood. But let’s say no more about that – she’s in a very deep game there and I wouldn’t want to make things difficult for her.”

TWV: But you do approve of developing the social background of Gaia’s workers as well as their technical skills?
“It’s all of a package … isn’t it? You can’t run an industrial revolution with serfs and peasants.”

TWV: As the Tsars of old Russia found out.

“You mean Lenin’s revolution? Something like that, but we hope to be able to manage the extremists better. Industry needs a social democratic basis to thrive, but … that’s politics again. I’m an engineer. Ask me about Iskander’s technological developments, not it’s political strategies.”

TWV: I certainly will, but perhaps another time? We’re about out of time for this interview. Perhaps you’ll return soon. You can bend my ear with your engineering enthusiasm.

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3 Responses to “Character Interview – Dr Henrik Matah, Director of the Bergrund Industrial Complex.”

  1. joylene Says:

    Another great interview, Chris. Matah is a fascinating fellow. I can’t remember who he was married to before. I’ll go look it up.

  2. kester2 Says:

    Hi Joylene:

    Henrik Matah was married to Gisel’s mother, Gina, and they divorced a couple of years before the Iskander journey started. Gina is a physician and stayed behind (of course) but persuaded Gisel to go because she didn’t want Henrik’s influence to ruin her son. Robert hardly ever leaves the Iskander where he runs the mainframe, monitors the various satellite imagery services, and does the math and simulations consulting. Not sure if that counts as ruined.

    Chris.

  3. joylene Says:

    As soon as you said this, I remembered. I knew he was a big fan of Gisel by the way he talked about her. Yes, it sounds like Gina is a bit … not sure of the word.

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