2356 - 2360:Starfleet Academy
2360 - 2361:USS Dacia
2361 - 2363:USS Horizon
2363 - 2365:Starbase Zenith
2365 - 2367:USS Wallace
2367 - 2369:Starbase Aurora
2369 - 2371:USS Avenger
2371 - 2374:USS Artemis
2374 - 2378:USS Halliwell
2378 - 2382:USS Lincoln
2368: Cygnis Order
2372: Bronze Planet Fleet Commendation
2372: Order of the Fleet Ribbon
2371: Demoted to Commander and stripped of command of USS Artemis for striking a member of the diplomatic corps.
James Kleim and Maria Vostok met during the first night of a presentation of the ancient earth opera by Robert Wagner, 'Der Ring des Nibelungen' - it took three days, and they met each night just before it and talked. Within several months, James asked Maria to marry him. Two years later, their first child was born. They named her Brynhild, after the Valkyrie of Norse mythology whose story inspired the opera that they had met at.
Brynhild, who was known as Brynna to friends and family, had inherited her mother's personality and her father's Southern German coloring with dark hair and eyes. She was a bright child who enjoyed sports, although she was quieter than other kids her age. She grew up with a strong sense of values and emotions that ran deep and quiet, which she usually kept to herself. She provided the classic big sister and protector role for each of the three siblings to come.
When she was ten, the family moved to Georgia. James, an engineer, had been hired by a company known as ELT Aerodynamics. When Brynna was fifteen, she worked part-time at ELT as well, assisting in administration and later in repairs.
Less than a year after she began to work there after school, there was a terrible accident and tragedy. She was there at the time and in the room that it happened in. This room was filled with industrial replicators and a faulty part in one caused an explosion, which caused a chain reaction. Eleven employees were killed that day and another fourteen injured. Most of them were trapped in rubble until rescue workers found them. The replicator room did not have the same reinforcement to the structure as other rooms, because this sort of thing was not anticipated.
Brynna had been friends with nearly everyone there that day--both those who lived and those who had died. She was in the hospital for a month to recover from burns and wounds caused when pieces of metal had lodged in her lower back and side, as well as broken bones from being buried in the rubble. Because of the delay in treatment, there are scars that only extensive cosmetic surgery will remove, but she refuses the surgery.
She would return to school once she was healed and had to work to catch up, although her teachers had brought her work to her. She also returned to work, helping to rebuild. It was then that she got her first tattoo: on the back of her neck and down between her shoulder blades. It's a column with the names of all those who died at ELT, with 'R.I.P.' and the date, and a circle of flames at the bottom.
Having been a quiet child and adolescent in the first place, the long recovery and loss of friends caused it to entrench and she became somber. It wasn't that she couldn't relax or have a good time. She still had a social life, as ever, it just wasn't as rambunctious as some of her peers, but that had never bothered her anyway.
One thing that emerged from all this was that what had been a minor interest in the workings and products of her company became a fascination with flying, thanks to the simple fact that she played video games during her recovery time, when there was no one to visit. They were fighter pilot games, and it gave her an itch, a taste, to know what it was really like.
She was allowed to try out the on site simulators at ELT, as she was favorably looked on as a young woman who suffered tragedy, but returned to work when no one expected it of her.
When she was eighteen, she graduated high school. For a short time, she contemplated college but decided that she wanted to pursue the craving that was driving inside her, silent but pressing. She applied to Starfleet Academy, and while her parents weren't thrilled (it would take her further away from home) they supported her. She was accepted in to that year's class.
The academy years seemed to pass quickly. She was studious and worked hard at her studies, only socializing occasionally and making a small number of close friends of like mind. She was part of the Academy's Squadron. It was after a drill one day, when she was holding her hair off a sweaty neck that someone saw the tattoo peeking out over the collar of her uniform. They pressed to know why, so she told them.
It was her friend there that called her 'the keeper of the dead' as she could recite every name off that tattoo, and the date, without looking. Keeper became her call sign, but it didn't hold--not precisely.
Eventually, she would graduate and start to her first posting. It was short lived, but she saw comrades go down. Silently, she memorized their names and the dates of their deaths. It was at her next posting where she would meet Cody, her wing-mate. He was in her squadron and one of the few people to not just recognize her name from the opera, but to know the myth behind it. She found a kindred spirit in him and told him about the tattoo, when he asked, and the others.
He was the one who dubbed her Valhalla, and that one stuck. Valkyries were the Choosers of the Slain, but they brought those warrior spirits to the halls of Valhalla, where they would live on. Keeper of the Dead, she was not the Chooser, he said, but the place where their bravery would live forever. Cody would be the first man she ever fell in love with.
He died a year later in an engagement against Talaarians during a border skirmish. He was killed and she nearly died herself along with him when the canopy of her bird was shattered and the pieces cut through parts of her flight suit near her neck. It was fate that kept it from hitting an artery, and it was the pieces of the shield lodged in her seat that kept her suit from venting her oxygen and suffocating her.
Brynna, also called Val by some, was in sickbay for two weeks after that, and requested a transfer. The wing commander understood and supported it. In transit, she would have another tattoo placed on her--this one on her hand. The flames can be seen sneaking out of her sleeve and on the back of her hand is a plane, a Valkyrie since that's what they flew, flying out of them and beneath the circle of fire reads:
Where the brave may live forever.
This was now her life. She went from posting to posting, and most would say about her that she was reserved, but not cold; quiet, but not shy. Brynna made a few friends, and they were close and she would always keep in touch, no matter where she landed. Her fault was that she kept things forever, and never forgot. She earned the respect of her colleagues and commander and climbed ranks and positions, remembering the name of every pilot lost.
Eventually, she would land on Starbase Aurora. This would prove to be her most challenging post yet, but also the most rewarding. She began as a squadron commander and eventually became the wing commander. Brynna saw the wing through many strange events, integrating a host of new pilots into the station and coordinating with a marine air group. This would even be through a large scale conflict against the Vaghr.
During that conflict, she met Jack Balen, who was CAG of the Bonhomme Richard. The two would begin dating.
In time, the captain of Aurora would ask Brynna to become the executive officer and to her own surprise, she agreed. To even greater surprise, Balen would put his name in consideration for wing commander. He received the position and although it was a tight rope, their relationship continued and blossomed, even through more strange events that would befall Aurora. It got to the point where Brynna began to believe that Aurora was some sort of galactic beacon for the odd.
After roughly a year and a half on Aurora, Brynhild was transferred to first officer of the Avenger and Jack was granted a transfer as well. Command settled well on her shoulders, although like any fighter pilot, she often longed for the days of being in a fighter plane.
A shuttle craft being driven by Jack to bring the captain of their ship to a conference was attacked by a pirate vessel en route home. They got out a distress call, but the Avenger was too late. The shuttle was destroyed when a stray shot hit its warp core, killing both the captain and Jack. Brynna was forced to assume command for a longer period than originally intended amidst incredible personal tragedy.
Jack Balen was the second lover she had lost and it greatly rattled her faith in existence. She loved Jack very deeply, like she felt all emotions, and to be faced with command in the face of his loss was a very difficult time for her. Her stalwart dedication to duty and to her ship was the only thing that saw her through. She returned the ship to dock and gave the decision regarding the fate of the Avenger's command to Star Fleet.
In the meantime, she had a second tattoo added to her opposite hand. This time, it was simply the words:
I don't think I'll love any more.
Life continued and the fate of the Avenger was that it was to be handed over to two new command officers, while Brynna was given the rank of captain and the center chair of a border patrol vessel named the USS Artemis. She had never been a vengeful woman, but the idea of protecting others against pirate scum like the kind that killed Jack appealed to her and she set off on the long journey to reach the Artemis...
And even though her name was no longer Valhalla, she would forever be the Keeper of the Dead... Only now she just had to hope that being captain didn't give her too many more names to keep. It would be up to her, she knew, to do her best to make it so that there wasn't.
For a time, she did her best and did well. The Artemis did have a way about her of putting its captains under strain and after one particularly stressful mission, Brynna--normally so reserved and calm--just cracked. She broke the jaw of a VIP traveling (and using) the Artemis. She was spared a court martial, but was demoted to commander and the Artemis was taken away from her. It was given to its former CAG, now Captain, Thomas Jameson, who asked for Brynna to be his first officer. Feeling like she wasn't done with the Artemis yet, she agreed. Now with a couple more tattoos to commemorate things thus far.
Brynna would serve on the Artemis through the first half of the Dominion War, before requesting a transfer to CAG on the USS Halliwell. It was another demotion in position, but it was war. She felt she was best suited to help as a fighter pilot rather than command. It was granted, and she served the second half of the war with distinction. She continued on as CAG after the war ended, and eventually earned her way back up the chain to the rank of captain and a shot at a center seat.
Brynhild is quiet and somber by nature, although when she relaxes, she warms up and shows a very caring and sensitive nature. It's not that she's the cliché of 'hard on the outside, but soft on the inside' - she's neither. It's just that she doesn't show her feelings very easily. She is sometimes afraid to make friends, as she's lost a lot in her life, but she does anyways, as she knows that no one is an island, although she is assured in her heart that she'll never fall in love again. She can't risk it, but that doesn't mean she won't make friends. As she puts it: 'no one can live surrounded by fire and not have someone cross it sometime - it just takes a little work to get there'.
Brynhild Kleim is in good physical and mental condition, and declared fit for duty.