Her ancestors were part of a wave of multi-generational starships dispatched to nearby galaxies to find new territories for the Empire to conquer and occupy. Reaching the Milky Way Galaxy after centuries in the intergalactic void, her ship was destroyed crossing the galactic barrier. Under Rojan's command, Kelinda escaped with three other crew members in a life-craft to an unidentified Class M planet. The Kelvans adopted humanoid forms more compatible with the new region's intelligent life and available transportation.
After a false distress call attracted the attention of Captain James T. Kirk, Rojan's crew hijacked the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), so they could return home and report their discoveries to the Kelvan Empire. Kelinda's mind was briefly probed by Spock, and she was attacked by Kirk in an escape attempt.
The humanoid sense perceptions and emotional tendencies were alien to Kelvan experience, leading Kirk and his senior officers to exploit Kelvan weaknesses. Kelinda immediately recognized Kirk's apology for striking her was merely an opening for seduction, but she welcomed his efforts and embrace. Rojan was incited to a jealous rage by Kirk and Kelinda's repeated 'apology' sessions. Kirk suggested that the Kelvan's new humanity could be fully realized on a planet in the Milky Way, and Kelinda eagerly endorsed the idea of a life of humanoid sensations experienced with Rojan. (TOS: "By Any Other Name")