When Michael Holland was promoted to captain of his own ship, he was replaced by Nathaniel Parks, a tall, wiry Scandinavian, and an old friend of the captain. Martin asked for him especially, as it was an emergency and there was no one available. He knew that Parks was 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 damage, 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 it was 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.
He 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. Met his wife in PACT training, but she has an earthbound job, so is able to set up home and raise their two children in relative stability. She found it hard in the early days when he was away on missions, but they were not very long, and he always had time at home in between. When he injured his shoulder and was given the job in Security on Earth, his wife 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 knew how frustrated he was, and how much he loved space. When his shoulder was healed by the Prin, she was glad for him, and happy to let him go back into space. The children were older, and they had had several years together, and much as she would miss him, she wanted him to be happy and fulfilled. Martin’s request to keep Parks as First Officer was granted, and they were both delighted.
Parks was a stickler for protocol, and always referred to Martin as ‘Captain’ in public, although they were 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 didn’t go down well with the crew, who were used to Holland’s easy-going manner. But he soon won them round. He is mature and responsible, but likes a laugh and messing about. Life and soul of the party, given half a chance.