By Rob Morris
Chapter 1 - Confession is good for whom, exactly?
He quickly put on his vestments. He had never recieved a Confession from this particular person, but he was glad to do it. Particularly in light of the problems that she and Max had been having. Max Klinger's bout with depression had finally passed. He acknowledged to the new psychiatrist that he really did have problems stemming from the war. All those dodges were his way of putting on a brave front - with the seeming of cowardice. But the Klinger collection had been put away, until Maxine Klinger was old enough to wear them - not to mention Erin Hunnicutt, half the country away. Rumor had it, even Margaret had written, asking for one. Like the former staff psychologist at Pershing General Veterans' Hospital, the new one, Dorrie Taylor, was a woman. Unlike her predecessor, she took a tough approach with Klinger, slapping his hand as often as she held it. It was rough, at times - but it worked.
But life goes in cycles, not all of them fair. Klinger had been brooding of late. The word was, and it seemed to be sadly accurate, that Soon-Lee suddenly would not abide his touch. She wasn't angry, but kept turning him away. They weren't speaking now. Mulcahy had heard that the children were rejecting their mother, as well. Sad, bizarre circumstances. Father Mulcahy was sure he knew their genesis. Soon-Lee must have been with someone not her husband, and the children saw. He would offer her comfort, but such a breach would be difficult to heal - if it could be healed at all. Soon-Lee entered the confessional; Father Mulcahy entered his area. This was at her insistence. He would have preferred speaking face-to-face. She began, "Father, I've never confessed before, and what I have to confess is not a sin." Mulcahy was both relieved at hearing this and struck by how her Korean accent had vanished, like it never was. "I am not Korean. I am Japanese, although I have Korean ancestors." Relief was washing over Mulcahy in waves, now. He had encountered Korean racial beliefs during the war. Sadly, it was a common point between America and its ally. "Soon-Lee, you don't need to worry, here. Any foolish soul who hates Asian peoples won't care about the distinction. And those who love you - like your husband and children will always do so." He could hear the tears in her voice, unabated. "Max Klinger is a good man - I've heard nothing but good things about him, all my life. But he's not my husband. Even for the temporal Prime Directive, I won't commit incest, no matter how many times removed he is." The Padre's relief was gone. "He's not removed from you, my child- he's right there, in your home. His problems are past him. As to incest - now I must confess - I have no idea what you're talking about." She gathered herself, and spoke again. "My confession, Father, is that I am not Soon-Lee Klinger. She, Max, and those beautiful children are my ancestors! My name is Keiko O'Brien, and I was born in the 24th Century! I don't know how, but Soon-Lee and I changed places. She is currently on a space station orbiting a planet called Bajor. She's probably horribly frightened." There were rare occasions when the sanctity of the Confessional came around to bite Francis Mulcahy. This felt very much like one of those. "I'm sure she's not the only one, My Child." He could not tell anyone that Soon-Lee had gone completely insane. Those were the rules- until he could find some way, with God's guidance, to make her confess this in public.
"You did WHAT? Major, the Orb Of Time is inherently dangerous! Why is it even on display?" Kira looked rather sheepish. Miles O'Brien was trying hard to remember that the young Bajoran had carried his child. "Well, " she responded, 'it seemed like a good idea...at the time." Captain Benjamin Sisko was not impressed. He would figure out, though, with the guidance of Starfleet regs and the Prophets- how to get Keiko O'Brien back.