- This page details Lee Kelso in the primary universe; for Lee Kelso in the mirror universe see Lee Kelso (mirror); for the Lee Kelso in the Kelvin timeline created by Nero's temporal incursion see Lee Kelso (Kelvin timeline).
Early life and career
Born in San Francisco, California, Earth, Kelso was orphaned at an early age and with no other living relatives, he was placed in an institution in Los Angeles, where he was raised until the age of 18. (TOS comic: "Who's Who in Star Trek 1"; TOS - My Brother's Keeper novel: Constitution)
Kelso later went on to be educated at the Palo Alto Technical Institute and enter Starfleet Academy. While at the Academy, he was a classmate and close friend of James T. Kirk. He also became quite popular, always surrounded by a crowd of people. He excelled at outdoor athletics, especially soccer, gliding, and surfing. (TOS comic: "Who's Who in Star Trek 1") Kelso also had strong interests in architecture and ancient Egypt. (TOS novel: Strangers from the Sky)
Following his graduation from the Academy, Kelso was assigned to the USS Lexington as helmsman. After serving aboard the Lexington for several years, Kelso transferred to the USS Potemkin. (TOS - My Brother's Keeper novel: Constitution)
In 2264, Kelso grew tired of life aboard the Potemkin and applied for a transfer to the USS Enterprise. Before assuming command of the Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk spoke to the captain of the Potemkin. He immediately had Kelso assigned aboard as a helmsman and navigator. Kelso and Gary Mitchell often exchanged friendly banter on the bridge and during senior staff meetings, to the point of Kelso losing all composure and laughing out loud at Mitchell's humor. Kelso ironically told Mitchell that he'd be the death of him. (TOS - My Brother's Keeper novel: Constitution)
- According to the TOS comic: "All Those Years Ago...", Kelso was serving aboard the Enterprise prior to Kirk assuming command of the ship. His reaction that it was "low" for Kirk to request to beam aboard the Enterprise and look around prior to the change of command ceremony could indicate that he had served under Christopher Pike for a period of time.
Aboard the Enterprise
Shortly after Kelso transferred aboard the Enterprise, Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott caught Kelso making slight adjustments to the deuterium injectors. When Scott asked Kelso what he was doing, Kelso commented that some "idiot chief engineer" had the wrong ratios set on the injector. This sparked off a friendly rivalry between the two officers.
Over the following months, the two officers would race each other to see who could make it to the transporter room first. Because main engineering was closer to the transporter room than the bridge, and Scott didn't have to wait to be relieved, Kelso almost always arrived last. This changed during a mission to investigate a Ceebriian derelict near Alpha Ortelina VII in 2265. With the help of a transporter operator, Kelso rigged the transporter controls so that when a special signal was sent from the helm console, he would be transported directly to the transporter room, once he entered the turbolift. (TOS - My Brother's Keeper novel: Constitution) Kelso also particapted in first contact with the Archernarians of Archernar IV, where his discomfort with bugs almost ruined. Fortunately Spock was able to defuse the situation by making a screeching sound. (TOS comic: "Mission's End, Issue 1")
A few weeks later, Kelso met his unfortunate demise on Delta Vega. Kelso led an engineering party to the surface to oversee the removal of lithium crystal packs from the lithium cracking station and its installation aboard the Enterprise. Kelso was killed by Gary Mitchell after he became possessed by god-like powers. (TOS episode: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")
Because Kelso had no surviving relatives, his memorial service was conducted in the Enterprise's chapel by Captain Kirk. Many officers spoke at the service, including Commander Scott, Lieutenant Dezago, and finally Captain Kirk. All of the officers praised his diligence to duty and his fine skills, and agreed that his death was a loss to the Enterprise and Starfleet. (TOS - My Brother's Keeper novel: Constitution)
In an alternate timeline in which John Frederick Paxton destroyed Starfleet Command and ended the talks for the Coalition of Planets in 2155, Lee Kelso served as navigator aboard the UESS Enterprise in the mid-2260s.
He was a close friend of the ship's first officer Commander James T. Kirk, who routinely beat him at chess. Kirk regarded Kelso as a good man but believed that he was nervous in crisis situations. (TOS - Myriad Universes novel: A Less Perfect Union)
|USS Lexington personnel|
|USS Lexington (NCC-1709)||J. Baila • Berriman • P. Coss • D.W. Davidson • Garth of Izar • Ito • T. Ivari • L. Kelso • R. Leslie • W.C. Perinal • M. Rousseau • W. Samuels • D. Sinclair • L. Sterling • C. Stuart • N. Uhura • D. Watley • R. Wesley|
|USS Lexington (NCC-14427)||Declan Keogh • Manojlovich • Rosita Pérez|
|USS Lexington (NCC-61832)||T. Allenby • H. Anderson • Antonacci • Audrey • G. Ben Zoma • Bowdren • T. Cadwallader • S. Carson • Cavanaugh • J. Cox • Eberling • Fornnel • Gaines • F. Galloway • Griscom • Halprin • Hasegawa • G. Jenson • P. Joseph • Kumagai • Leff • E. Lense • R. Mithra • Moytulix • Pridemore • Rodgers • Soriano • J. Turner • Twistekey • Man-Fai Wan • Wilhoite|
|USS Lexington (Steamrunner-class)||A. Jago|
|USS Potemkin personnel|
|USS Potemkin (NCC-1657)||J. Armstrong • Arviela • S. Ascher • D. Bailey • T. Barrows • Callas • M. Cleary • D.M. Flinn • M. Garson • J. Gaynor • Gladstone • Jonesy • L. Kelso • Konstantin • R. Lonergan • D. Paris • M. Rahda • H. Takeshewada • Tutakai • N. Uhura • Yellowhorse|
|USS Potemkin (NCC-18253)||M. Bertrand • W. T. Riker|
|UESS Enterprise personnel (alternate timeline)|
|Phillip Boyce • Pavel Chekov • Lee Kelso • James T. Kirk • March • Guillermo Masada • Leonard McCoy • Ann Mulhall • Christopher Pike • Montgomery Scott • John Stiles • Nyota Uhura • Vinci|
In his episodic appearance, Kelso wore an operations division beige Starfleet uniform, even though helmsmen usually wear the uniform of the command division. The division insignia on his assignment patch was the stylized globe symbol that would later be exclusively for sciences division personnel. In promotional art for the episode that was used for the cover of the James Blish novelization cllection Star Trek 1, Kelso is shown wearing a blue sciences division uniform. Despite appearing on the cover of several editions of that volume, the story of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is not collected therein.
In chronological order: