Candice Bergen as Lieutenant Commander Kel Savolainen Name: Savolainen, Kel Penti
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Position: Chief Engineer, U.S.S. Diplomat
Species: Human
Born: 2308
Birthplace: Helsinki, Finland, Earth
Height: 5'3 1/2
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Blue
Marital Status: Widowed (twice)

Previous Assignments: U.S.S. Inmda, U.S.S. H.G. Wells, U.S.S. Llewelyn

Personal History
Kel Savolainen was born in 2308 in Helsinki to Sasha (mother), a Yosa-awarded painter, and Oscar (father), a history teacher. Kel was the eldest of three girls, Isabelle and Salima being her younger sisters. On a camping trip in 2321, Isabelle and Salima fell through thin ice. Kel tried to rescue them both, but only managed to pull Isabelle out – Salim was found dead, three days later; Isabelle suffered from very poor health for the rest of her life and died in 2324. The shock of losing a second daughter took its toll on Sasha, whose health also took a downturn – she died in 2325.

Kel initially followed in her father’s footsteps, attending the Federation Education College and gaining full qualifications to teach up to Level 18 Federation Standard Education in 2330. Kel took up teaching at the Grevin Academy on Cerri Alpha following her graduation, and it was there that she met a Vulcan physicist and former Starfleet officer, named Sterek. The two became involved and married in 2331 and later had a son, Mevik, in 2333. In 2334, Sterek was recalled to active duty in Starfleet – Kel and Mevik went with him aboard his new posting on the Mediterranean-class U.S.S. Charingcourt. During their time together on the Charingcourt, Kel began to take an interest in the engineering aspects of the ship, an interest that Sterek encouraged in her. This led to her beginning a correspondence course in engineering, while also raising Mevik and teaching onboard the ship – both children of the families and some part time tutoring for crew members.

Less than a year had passed since Sterek’s recall when the Charingcourt was destroyed in an encounter with a band of rogue Naussicans – Kel was one of the 73 survivors, but both Sterek and Mevik were killed. Kel was devastated and felt directionless. It was shortly after her husband and son’s funerals that the Chief Engineer of the Charingcourt, Lieutenant Commander Delvia Hasten, suggested that Kel latch onto her interest in engineering and join Starfleet. Though hesitant at the idea, Kel eventually decided to apply, and was accepted into the Academy in 2336. Kel felt more than a little out of place among the other cadets, most of whom were a decade younger than her, but Kel continued at her studies and excelled. She graduated as class valedictorian in 2340 and was assigned to the Merced-class U.S.S. Inmda.

In 2346, then-Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Savolainen was transferred to the Nobel-class vessel, U.S.S. H.G. Wells. While serving there, she was promoted to the rank of full Lieutenant, and later transferred to the U.S.S. Llewelyn, a Rigel–class ship, in 2352. In 2353, Kel took over the position of Deputy Head of Engineering, and later as Chief Engineer in 2358.

Kel met, fell in love with and married Lieutenant Commander Lemis Ysong, a Bolian astrophysicist also serving aboard the Llewelyn, in 2359. In 2360, she was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. During her service on the Llewelyn, Kel published a number of papers, which brought her to the attention of senior officials at the San Francisco shipyards, who offered her a position as Chief of Design. Kel declined the offer, preferring to stick with practical engineering, though she did agree to act as a consultant for Starfleet Design.

2363 saw tragedy strike yet again for Kel. Her husband was killed in the line of duty while on an away team to Uterias VII. Lemis sacrificed his life by jumping in front of disruptor blast meant for the Crown Monarch of the Ulterias system, foiling a plot secretly backed by the Romulans, and died in Kel’s arms.

Following Lemins death, Kel applied for a transfer off the Llewelyn. In 2364, Kel was assigned the position of Chief Engineer aboard the newly commissioned U.S.S. Diplomat, under the command of Captain Steven Reiner. She served with distinction, putting her years of practical experience to good use on several occasions, earning her several commendations from Captain Reiner. During this period, Kel became close friends with then-Commander Quinn Archer, the Diplomat’s First Officer.

Kel was serving aboard the Diplomat in 2367 when the Borg attacked. As a part of the task force assembled at Wolf 359, the Diplomat engaged the Borg and was severely damaged. Of all the command crew, only Kel and Archer survived. While Archer took command, he was badly injured, and relied on Kel to help coordinate the fifty survivors. Upon their rescue, Kel spent two months on leave in Helsinki, before taking up a full-time position with Starfleet Design, as part of the design groups on the Akira- and Sovereign-classes. Also during this period, she acted as senior consultant on the redesign of the Diplomat. When the refit finally reached stage three of the reconstruction in mid-2370, Kel returned to active duty aboard the ship, personally overseeing the rest of the reconstruction.

Upon the Diplomat’s return to active service, Kel returned to her duty as Chief Engineer, at the personal request of Captain Archer.

Casting Notes

I’ll admit it, I prefer the Scotty-type Trek engineer to the new techno-babbling ones. Kel was always going to be from the ‘old school’ of straight talking and miracle working. I also wanted to try and fill one of the ethnic gaps that Star Trek has left - to the best of my knowledge, there has been no Scandinavian main Trek characters. For Kel, I originally intended to go with Ann-Margret of Grumpy Old Men, but at the last moment, recast the role for Murphy Brown's Candice Bergen. She knows how to play tough with a stretch of tender, and has plenty of comic talent (evidenced by her five Emmy's for the title role in Murphy Brown) which is a side I really want Kel to be strong in, much like ol' Scotty. And hey, after ten seasons of Murphy Brown, Candice might enjoy a chnage of pace!

Click here for Candice Bergen Biography and Filmography