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In the mid 2340s decade, Lieutenant Commander Keel served as an instructor at Starfleet Academy. In the year 2346, he was one of several observing officers during a cadet training cruise on the USS Prague. It was during this cruise that he got to know pre-med student Beverly Howard, and was impressed by her devotion and passion for medicine. (TNG novel: Losing the Peace)
Keel later introduced Howard to Picard and Crusher. In 2348, by which time he had been promoted to Captain and given command of the USS Horatio, he attended the wedding of Jack and Beverly Crusher. (TNG novel: Death in Winter)
In 2354, Keel and the Horatio were assigned to patrol the Tzenkethi border. During this assignment, Keel learned of the death of Jack Crusher aboard the USS Stargazer. He sent his condolences to Beverly, but regretfully missed the funeral. (TNG novel: Losing the Peace) A year later, he again sent condolences, to Picard, following the loss of the Stargazer. (TNG - The Lost Era novel: The Buried Age)
In 2357, while the Horatio underwent a major refit at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, Keel approached Crusher, who had been on extended leave following her husband's death, and recruited her as his new chief medical officer. (TNG novel: Losing the Peace)
In 2364, Keel became suspicious about the state of Starfleet, after witnessing strange behavior from key Starfleet Command personnel, as well as his own first officer and chief medical officer. Based on these suspicions, he used code 47 to summon Captains Picard, Rixx, and Tryla Scott to a clandestine meeting on Dytallix B to discuss these concerns. Shortly afterward, the Horatio was destroyed under mysterious circumstances, killing the entire crew including Keel. (TNG episode: "Conspiracy")
During the first part of her Starfleet career, Keel's classmate Estrella Miyakawa witnessed Jean-Luc Picard, Jack Crusher, and Keel moving in tandem together through the academy and into the service. She and many others assumed that the three of them would rise to command their own ships before returning to Starfleet Academy to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of Starfleet cadets. When reaching out to her friend and fellow classmate Jean-Luc Picard for help in 2368 she reflected on how differently fate had turned out than she assumed it would - with Picard being the only one of the three still alive. (TNG novel: The Devil's Heart)
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