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Kestrel Crew: Nathaniel (Nate) Parks

First Officer from the middle of Intruders onwards

When First Officer Mike Holland is promoted to captain of his own ship, he is replaced by Nathaniel (Nate) Parks, a tall, wiry Scandinavian human, and an old friend of the captain. My idea of an actor to play Parks is a blond Vigo Mortensen. Pictures of him are copyright, but you can see the one I’m thinking of here.

Captain Darrow asks for him especially, because their friendship makes it easy to work together. It’s an emergency and there is no one else available. He knows that Nate Parks is available because a damaged shoulder made him unfit for active duty.

His shoulder was broken and dislocated, and although they repaired it, they were not able to re-grow all the damaged tissue, and there was a weakness in the ligaments, which meant it dislocated very easily. He put his shoulder out again about once a year because he puts the safety of others before himself. Working on Earth, he could get treatment immediately, but if he went into space and was injured, he would be a liability to his ship until they were able to get him to a proper medical facility. He was also more likely to be injured on a PACT patrol than working in Security, where his job was more managerial.

So Nate Parks spent many years in Security, where he was frustrated. He got to meet a lot of other species, but he longed to be out in space. Unlike most of the Kestrel crew, Parks is married. He met his wife Greta in PACT training, but she has an earthbound job, so is able to set up home and raise their two children, Lars and Olga, in relative stability.

Greta found it hard in the early days when he was away on missions, but he managed to have time at home in between. When he injured his shoulder and was given the job in Security on Earth, she was actually delighted, because it meant he was home with her and the children and they were able to build a strong relationship.

But she knows how frustrated he was, and how much he loved space. So she is happy for him to have a chance to serve a mission again when Darrow asks for him, even though there’s the worry about his shoulder.

Nate Parks is a stickler for protocol, and always refers to Darrow as ‘Captain’ in public, although they are good friends. He has a strong belief in discipline and decides the only way to cope with the changes in the crew, extra crew, and a dangerous mission, is to be strict. This doesn’t go down well with the crew, who were used to Holland’s easy-going manner. But he soon wins them round. He is mature and responsible, but likes a laugh and messing about. Life and soul of the party, given half a chance.

Intruders coverIn Intruders he proves his worth and after his shoulder is healed he jumps at the chance to become a permanent member of the crew.

Alien Secrets coverHowever, he proves to be fallible as Alien Secrets opens with his landing party in jail after an undercover mission goes wrong. He is tortured and has to rely on Hoy and Reuel, the other members of the landing party, to escape.

Crisis of Conscience cover 5 starsHe is in trouble again in Crisis of Conscience but this time through no fault of his own, when an asteroid his landing party investigates turns out to be a secret pirate base and the landing party gets held hostage. Even then, Parks is determined not to sit still and wait for rescue.

Ann Marie Thomas authorAnn Marie Thomas is the author of five medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Intruders, Alien Secrets, and Crisis of Conscience are out now. Follow her at