Chapter 3 - Keiko Along The River Bend

As Keiko O'Brien entered the Klinger household, thankful that Max was not home, she still felt like the biggest fool in four centuries. As the neighbor who was watching the children smiled and left, she resolved to apologize to Father Mulcahy the first chance she got. She had no right to yell at the sweet, gentle man, nor to put him on the spot. But her own positon was nearly unbearable. With Max's wondering why she turned him away joined with the children's understandable rejection of her, she felt more and more isolated. Her paranoia had even kicked in, wondering if Miles and Nerys hadn't done this to get rid of her, so they could run off together. She knew this was ridiculous-her careful planning had nipped their mutual attraction in the bud, in any event. But ever since she had arrived in Soon-Lee's place, events had exacerbated her worst tendencies.

When the flash from the Orb was done, she found herself sitting in an old-style bathtub, suds flowing. Then, a voice "All right, you hunk of South Korean womanhood, be prepared to bathe with Mr. Lebanon, 1956-they voted me in early! " The man was wearing a bathrobe, and nothing else. She wondered if this wasn't Quark's holosuite, maybe a joke on Dax and Kira's part. Well, if it was, she didn't care for it. She got up, threw on her bathrobe - modesty didn't matter much in front of the hologram she assumed Max Klinger to be- walked up to the bathroom door, and shouted "Exit. Exit! Guys! QUARK! I don't care how much they're paying you, I'll double any offer! NOW!" Max sauntered up behind her, and playfully slapped her in the rear. He then put his arms around her. "Wassamatta, baabykins? You gotta case of cold feet? We don't get a better opportunity than this! Wally and Maxine are at the Potters, we're both off work....the bath water is almost as hot as you. Now I'll just untie that silly ol' bathrobe pushed to the floor in a broken heap. What gives, hon?" Keiko was fed up. If her friends ever did anything like this again, they would know the pain. An amorous hologram was not her idea of a good time - unless it was Miles 3.7, the facsimile that she brought with her during her six-month stay on Bajor-but that was her husband. This man was not her husband, but he was---familiar.

Retying her bathrobe, so as to prevent him from becoming any more familiar, she exited to-a bedroom? "All right, that's it! COMPUTER! O'Brien Override 96356! Miles, if you're in on this, you better pray Keiko 7.9 is back up! That's all I'm saying, that's...this isn't the holosuite, is it?" Keiko half-hoped that surrender would end the practical joke. It didn't and it wasn't. A very concerned and quite real Max Klinger walked in. "Soon-Lee, please tell me what's wrong. Honey, some men say they aren't mind-readers. Well, I'm barely a mind user! So give! What did this big chump do to ruin our little game of the Queen and her Throne?" Keiko didn't even want to bother to reason out what that particular game meant for this man's wife, "Soon-Lee? So-So-Soon-Lee Klinger?" Max tried his best to play along. "Well, I sure hope so. Otherwise, we got a lot to explain to our two kids! Although, at times, they can both be little...." "We're here! The Klinger crew is being dropped off, after a successful mission! Max? Soon-Lee?" Max frowned. "Oh, great. The Colonel's back early. Sorry, my Queen!" Keiko wasn't sorry. Just massively confused. A little boy, that she learned was Walter Sherman "Wally" Klinger, ran up to her, joyfully screaming, "Mommmmmeeeee", then, upon touching her, without missing a beat, recoiled, and screamed, "Maxxie! She's not our Mooommmmeee!" Then he ran straight into his father's shin. The baby, Maxine, then started to do everything upset babies do. Mildred Potter said to her husband "Sherman, do you think we came at a bad time?"

Miles O'Brien had wanted to talk things out with Soon-Lee, to apologize for his coldness to her, especially when that wasn't what he felt-God help him. As he walked in, he heard the shower running. Replicated water had been set up for Mrs. Klinger's comfort. Julian reasoned that a long hot shower, such as 20th century folk were wont to like, would calm her down. This was a good idea. She had been knocking things over since she arrived - usually on Miles, then apologizing. The idea had one flaw. Soon-Lee had reversed the opaque door controls on the shower. Now, instead of being able to see out at people who could not see in, she could be seen without realizing it. Miles saw her. He was embarrased, but saw a terrific opportunity. If she walked out and saw him leering, she would scream bloody murder. That would shake his attraction to his wife's double, for certain. But after 15 minutes of hearing her say, "Lather, Rinse, Repeat", and turning around countless times, he retreated to his quarters, which he quickly locked. "Computer! Access Program Keiko 8.9-better make that 8.97! I've had a rotten day!"

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