Dr. Axel Donovan
Dr. Axel Donovan loves science -- because it makes money. He doesn't
like to work; he likes to take credit for other people's work instead.
He apparently became CEO of Quark Industries by having the managerial savvy
to get put in charge of Dr. Slate's workgroup (101) as she developed a
host of new technologies, from nucleo-protonics to the P-55, just to be
able to build her dream robot. Now that he is in charge of the whole company,
he drives his scientists relentlessly, slashes budgets and destroys projects
if they aren't quick to produce, and markets new products long before they're
fully tested. He doesn't mean to wreak havoc on the world (except his
competitors), but he often does. When that happens it's never his fault,
according to him -- and he's quick to find someone else to blame.
The real brains behind Donovan's operation is the talking monkey Jenny. Whatever her true backstory, Donovan had the shrewdness to see that a highly intelligent being with no rights whatsoever would put her brains to work for him if promised her continued survival and upkeep. Donovan uses Jenny as secretary, aide, cook, housekeeper, valet, and general factotum. But since nobody really likes Donovan (including Jenny), her approval and companionship really are important to him. Unfortunately, this doesn't make much difference to how he treats her -- except that she never gets fired.
Donovan does have some feeling for his family. He has a sister (apparently a rich one, from seeing her home), and he manifests a certain amount of pride and affection for her son Pierre. But Pierre's arrogance annoys Donovan, and his activities give even him "the heebie- jeebies."
Donovan has a loathe-despise relationship with Dr. Slate. On the one hand, she is Quark's meal-ticket. On the other hand, she uses her influence to try to keep a lid on Donovan's reckless and unethical business and technical practices, she's not afraid to tell him he's wrong to his face, and she has links to a world outside Quark (the military) where Donovan is just another defense contractor, however powerful. The one real leverage he has on her is Quark's proprietary control over all research and development she does while in their employ. He's also not above doing things to inconvenience or distress Rusty (although Rusty's military status makes this a tactic not to be overused) and at one point even exulted that if Rusty had been destroyed, Quark had the right to the scrap (124). When he's about to do something particularly underhanded to Dr. Slate, he's been known to call her "sugar pop".
He is not a bad man, just a capitalist profiteer in a lab apron. If science cannot be put in practice "for the people" (or better, "to make him a profit"), he will not do it. Donovan also keeps an eye on politics -- for that reason he is always on the hunt for defense projects like Rusty in the first place. Although unsatisfied with Slate's "possession" of a defense robot, he keeps her around because she is one of the best he has -- and perhaps for a little malice; she makes the perfect scapegoat for his failures. (Slate is in Quark to stay with Rusty, her lifework -- since Donovan's company owns Rusty and hasn't released him to her, so far).
Back to the Character Index