Chapter 2 - The New Switcheroo
"Even in the 24th Century, the sanctity of the Confessional of The Roman Catholic Priesthood is a legend. There are stories of Klingons that converted solely on the basis of having someone trustworthy to confess their weaknesses to! So don't you dare even intimate to me that you might reveal my secret, Father!" Francis Mulcahy was stuck. Soon-Lee Klinger's revelation of her belief that she was, in actuality, a time traveler named Keiko O'Brien only confirmed everyone's worst fears. "You told me you were Japanese, not Korean. But O'Brien is neither of those. Believe me, I know! The O'Briens who lived by us in our neck of Pennsylvania were very Irish. Stereotypical, I'm afraid. Hard-drinking Union men, one and all. " Father Mulcahy was trying to gently persuade the woman he firmly believed to be Soon-Lee to talk to someone - probably Dorrie Taylor. He liked Dorrie. She didn't hold faith in contempt. She and Sydney Freedman were exceptions to that seeming rule of psychiatry. "Dorrie can help you, Soon-Lee. I can't. I can never tell anyone what you've said. But she can, when you're ready. Please tell me you will at least think about it."
The woman who knew she was not Soon-Lee Klinger just shook her head. "No , Father. I can't. They'll think-" She saw his face - "what you apparently do. That I've lost my mind. I'm not sure I haven't. No, scratch that. I am Keiko O'Brien. My husband is Miles O'Brien. Those people you spoke of sound a lot like his ancestors. Some of them emigrated back, after the Khan wars-don't ask. Maxine-God, how she looks like my Molly did, at that age-will marry a Japanese businessman who is my only traceable ancestor at that time in history. There are so many stories. The racial friction, because he married a Half-Korean. Max Klinger's legendary efforts to get a Section 8 Mental Challenge Discharge. A time capsule was opened recently that had one of his actual dresses in it. It was turned over to me and my family. Oh, God. Dax used it to play a trick on Worf. I still can't believe she got him to put it on! See, she told him that my ancestors would be insulted..." Keiko trailed off, seeing that, in the eyes of Father Mulcahy, she was slipping into delusion. "Soon-Lee-Child-You were there when we buried the time capsule-the last week of May, 53'. A full three weeks before you married Max. Surely, you remember..." He saw that she did not. Father Mulcahy gathered himself, then braced for what he had to say next. It wouldn't be easy. "Keiko - I will respect your right to call yourself what you like, in here - what you confessed to me was not a sin, but what you believe to be a fact." Keiko saw the implications immediately, and did not care for them one bit. As her face showed her resolve, Mulcahy's began to weaken. He felt, for a second, that this was a woman raised in a future time of equal footing. "You know, Father, a great man named James T. Kirk will one day be asked under what circumstances he would go strictly by the book. He would always find loopholes, like you're trying to do right now. As I say, a man revered by even his enemies as an innovator and someone who did what he had to-rules or no. Do you know what his response was?" Father Mulcahy, of course, did not. "He said that if he became a member of the priesthood, then he would obey the letter of the law-because that's what a priest does. Not that he would have been the best candidate." With that, the proud young woman with two names and two families in two times left the hospital chapel, upset that she had not recieved the comfort she wanted. Equally upset, Mulcahy prayed for guidance. "Lord? Do you think you could send this Kirk fellow here? He might be able to talk to her. I, it seems, am failing her miserably." The Lord moves in mysterious ways, though. Sometimes through the hand of man, and sometimes through the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, though, the Lord sends angels that are indistinguishable from the people we know. Father Mulcahy now found this out.
"Then test them again! I'll rework every damned inch of Defiant til we can transfix on Keiko's exact chronal coordinates! My children aren't buying it anymore! They wanna know where their Mommy is. The "nice lady" wants to go home, too". Miles O'Brien had never come up against such a frustrating dilemma. No matter the way they leaked chronoton particles, 1955 was beyond their reach. He saw Captain Sisko. He needn't need to be told to calm down, and Sisko knew better that to order him calm for now. "We're being herded, Chief! The Prophets want us to use the Orb - those stray anti - chronotons flooding this region of space are coming straight from the wormhole." Miles looked straight at Sisko. "Captain, am I coming along?" Sisko looked like he was thinking about it, but the truth was, he had already decided to take him. Sadly, he would need the chief, for a grim reason unique to those times. But he wanted him along, anyway. Thoughts of finding Jennifer around a corner of time still haunted him, months after her 2nd death in the Mirror world. He couldn't deny another man this- he wouldn't even try. "Alright, Chief, but remember, consequences of time-travel are geometrically related to how far back you're going. The mid-1950's on Earth was not just Rock'N' Roll. Dumlur and Lucsly of Temporal Affairs are only allowing this to in-and-out retrieve a Federation citizen!" Sisko did not add in the concerns they expressed about a civilian privy to so many Starfleet secrets, back that far in time. "Further, I'd like you to comfort Mrs. Klinger before we go. Your distance from her has only increased her distress." Miles shot back, "Captain, how would you feel if a woman who looked exactly like your wife showed up out of thin air, but you know it isn't her, and ----that was a bad question, wasn't it?" Sisko actually smiled. "Oh, it ranks right up there with the time you asked Commander Riker how he would like to have a double running around." Sisko left to choose his crew for this mission. Miles went to see a good, decent woman who he had been trying to avoid like the devil, but with whom he wanted to make mad love every time he saw her. Ancestors are ancestors, but uncanny remains uncanny. None of this was her fault - or anyone else's. Well, maybe Kira did share some of the blame.
"To conclude, I offer reverent thanks to my ancestors, for there is no present without the past, and we are nothing without them who came before us. In Japan, we hold these dear people close to our hearts, always. The ones who were the noblest Samurai. The ones who were the most casually brutal Fascists. The ones who survived the Gojira plague that trampled our people like ants, while Titans chewed on skyscrapers. The ones who rebuilt the Earth's economy, after the Third World War. On my beloved husband's line, stand heroes who made work something that got one ahead in life, rather than running in place. Ours is hardly the only culture to revere ancestors, but forgive my pride when I say that Shinto has a grace to it, an elegance of ritual, that I hope I brought through to you today." There was loud applause in the Bajoran shrine. Some had been wary of another faith showing its wares in Deep Space Nine's Shrine to The Prophets-by Grace of The One True Emissary. But Keiko was still, at her core, a teacher. As her watching husband knew, she taught quite well. She knew the value of presentation, and that always included follow-through. "I now stand before your people's blessed Orb Of Time, to see both what was and visions of the things to be-but I doubt I'll find any lost cities!" There was amused laughter, at that last comment. Keiko was thankful she bounced it off Kira first, though. "Oh, I'm Molly! She's -she's teaching shapeshifter children in a refugee camp-oh-one of them's pulling a trick on her, but the Jem'hadar boy's telling! Oh, how funny-I wait- I'm- washing dishes? Dishes that I ordered from a-cereal box? Now I'm writing a letter- to -The Last Of The Mohicans? That doesn't make any sense. I'm talking to a priest, but he's not hearing my words-but not because he won't-that's only part of it-it's because he can't! But if he can't, then everything we have fought for to protect the Sisko will be in vain! We must not permit this! We-----" In a flash, Keiko O'Brien vanished, then reappeared, quite dazed. Major Kira Nerys felt absolutely rotten. It was at her suggestion that Keiko perform the Shinto rite here. If she had been hurt-"Keiko! Please! Are you all right?" Keiko looked up. In an accent distinctly different than her usual one-to Kira all humans had accents-the woman who appeared to be Keiko spoke. "Your nose - why is it all pushed in like that? Where is Max?" With that, the woman fainted. In hours to come, they would find out she was Soon-Lee Klinger, a 20th Century ancestor of Keiko's. Sisko would then get authorization to get Keiko back, assuming she were alive in 1955 Missouri. But this was now, and Miles shot Kira a bad look. Very bad.
She looked to Odo for sympathy. His face gave as much as he could muster, then and there. As Dr. Julian Bashir walked in to administer to the shock-ridden Soon-Lee. "Odo, you know something? This is why I don't throw parties!"