- "Can we just talk about the bonus situation?"
- ―Parker (from Alien)
Dennis Monroe Parker was the chief engineer aboard the commercial towing vehicle USCSS Nostromo. He was serving on the ship during its fateful voyage in 2122 when it encountered a Xenomorph on LV-426, an incident that eventually led to the destruction of the ship and the loss of all but one of its crew.
Parker was killed by the Alien whilst gathering oxygen tanks that would allow the survivors to flee the Nostromo in its shuttle, the Narcissus.
Parker earned his professional qualifications at the ICC Engineering Trade School's Martian campus, graduating with a Tech 2 degree. Prior to his posting to the Nostromo, Parker served as engineer aboard the cargo vessel USCSS Nonnabo, where in 2117 he was joined by Samuel Brett. The two quickly struck up a strong friendship, both eventually transferring to the Nostromo together in 2120.
Landing on LV-426
- "I hate to bring this up but, uh, this a commercial ship, not a rescue ship..."
- ―Parker, regarding the investigation of the signal (from Alien)
From the outset, Parker was strongly opposed to the Nostromo landing on LV-426, citing the crew's lack of training as a good reason why they should not attempt to investigate the signal coming from the moon (although, as ever, he managed to wrap his argument up in a discussion on pay grades). During landing on the moon's surface, dust entered one of the ship's engine intakes and caused damage, eventually triggering an electrical fire in the engineering section. While Parker and Brett managed to extinguish the blaze, their repairs were not entirely completed by the time Kane was returned with a Facehugger attached to him and the vessel lifted off. Concerning Kane's condition, Parker was adamant he should just be put into stasis for return to Earth, but Science Officer Ash ignored his suggestions.
Hunting the Alien
Parker later witnessed the Alien dragging Brett's corpse away after killing him, becoming the first person to see the fully-grown creature and live. After Captain Dallas was also slain, Parker dismissed any suggestion of fleeing the ship and devoted all of his skills and determination to killing the creature. He later saved Ripley from Ash, whom he decapitated, revealing him to be a Synthetic. When Ash told the remaining survivors of Special Order 937 and taunted them regarding the futility of their fight against the Alien, Parker incinerated his body in a rage and ultimately agreed to set the Nostromo for self destruct and flee aboard the shuttle Narcissus.
While gathering sufficient coolant for the shuttle's life-support systems, Parker and Lambert were ambushed by the Alien. Parker found himself unable to fire on the creature with his flamethrower for fear of hitting Lambert as well, and so charged the Xenomorph with a hook, but the Alien quickly noticed him and knocked him to the floor with its tail. He was quickly overpowered, and the creature pinned him to the wall before killing him with a Headbite.
Personality and Traits
- "Let's go over the bonus situation. We haven't- Can we just talk about the bonus situation?"
- ―Parker, attempting to redirect the conversation back to pay grades (from Alien)
Assertive and acerbic, Parker was a dauntless complainer and, abetted by his regular sidekick Brett, spent much of his time aboard the Nostromo demanding increased pay, particularly when confronted with investigating the alien transmission on LV-426, something he considered far outside his remit as an engineer aboard a commercial towing vehicle. Despite this, when the Alien began slaughtering the ship's crew, Parker became the strongest advocate for fighting and killing the creature rather than running away, his actions no doubt fueled by the loss of his close friend Brett. It is possible that this was aggravated further by a sense of personal responsibility for Brett's demise, as he was the one to send Brett off to retrieve Jones, indirectly sending him to his doom.
Being part of the "working class" engineering team aboard the vessel along with Brett, Parker often remained distant from the rest of the crew, particularly Ripley and Ash, whom he seemed to dislike on a personal level. However, as Ripley assumed command and employed her mental strength and resourcefulness to try and guide the survivors through the crisis, his respect for Ripley grew greatly. He also personally saved her after Ash attacked her. Even before this, Parker sided with Ripley in her decision to leave Kane outside, correctly pointing out that the creature attached to him could well pose a threat to them all. Parker was also very logically-minded, questioning how Kane was able to breathe with the parasite attached and repeatedly enquiring why he wasn't just put him into stasis.
Being an engineer, Parker was skilled with an array of tools on board the Nostromo. After the Alien was found to have grown to full size in just a matter of hours, Parker constructed several makeshift incinerator units to help combat the creature and carried one himself until his death.
- Parker was named after Dave Parker, a major league baseball player who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In early drafts of the film's script, he was known as Jay Faust.
- According to Ridley Scott's character background notes for Alien, Parker's name and initials were originally J.T. Parker. However, none of this background detail appeared on-screen in the first film. Parker's name was later changed to Dennis Monroe Parker by James Cameron for Aliens, and it is this name that appears on Parker's file at the inquest into the destruction of the Nostromo.
- Aliens (photo only)
- Aliens: Original Sin (mentioned only)
- Alien: Out of the Shadows (mentioned only)
- Alien: River of Pain (indirect mention)
- Alien: Isolation (voice only)
- Deep Black (indirect mention)
- Alien: Isolation (novel) (mentioned only)
- Nostromo crew manifest, available as an Easter Egg on Alien Legacy DVD box set
- Parker's actor's (Yaphet Kotto) height is 6ft 4 (193 cm), so that is also how tall Parker would have been.
- Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett (writers), Ridley Scott (director). Alien (1979), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, p. 135 (2012), Titan Books.
- Nostromo inquest dossier seen in Aliens, available as bonus feature on Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set
- Alan Dean Foster. Alien, p. 45 (2014), Titan Books.
- "Strange Shapes - Writing Alien". Retrieved on 2015-03-06.
- Alien script (first draft) by Dan O'Bannon