Chapter 5 - Soon-Lee Klinger of the 24th+3/4 Century!
"Miles, is that woman your wife? She looks just like me! But why does she not wear any clothes? Is that how women dress, now?" With a beet-red face, an aggravated Miles O'Brien cursed the dumb computer that couldn't differentiate between Keiko's voice and that of Soon-Lee. It was obvious enough to him. Lots of things were, right now. Like the fact of his bedroom being thrown open, right as he was ready to access Keiko 8.97, his wife's holographic substiute. "Sir? Is a triad simulation indicated here? Will Keiko 1.0 be joining us?" Miles was not feeling any better. "Not in my lifetime. Computer, end program. Luckily, the naked image of Keiko O'Brien faded out. But Soon-Lee's screams did not. "Oh, you cruel man! You sent your wife away! Miles, bring her back. She has had no chance to get dressed!" She wasn't the only one. Miles stepped as tenderly as he could. "Soon-Lee, that was a hologram. Kind of a motion picture of my wife. The computer, er, made a mistake. That's why she had no clothes on." Soon-Lee seemed to understand this. But Miles was having trouble understanding why Soon-Lee was also not wearing any clothes.
Just then, Molly walked up to exacerbate matters. "Daddy, why is the nice lady who's here while Mommy's away not wearing any clothes?" Miles didn't think his face could get any redder, but he was wrong. A laughing Soon-Lee picked Molly up. "Oh, no, Molly. Doctor Bashir showed me how to use the changeable door and the changeable bathrobe. I can see me without clothes, but you can't." Soon-Lee did wonder why the sweet child felt so close to her skin, but reasoned that the new technology she had encountered made that possible.
"So many wonders to behold, here! My great-grandaughter must be a beautiful person, to come from such a place!" Miles was still waiting for the other shoe to drop. It wouldn't be long. "Oh, there are lots of things to behold, Soon-Lee. Speaking of which..." Molly then dropped the other shoe. She adjusted the bathrobe-filter controls on the "Nice Lady's" garment. Realizing her initial mistake, Soon-Lee's face went to match Miles as she sprinted for her quarters. "Daddy, Doctor Bashir pulled a mean trick on the Nice Lady, didn't he? Are you gonna punch him?" Miles nodded and said, "Yes, Honey, Daddy is going to beat the...daylights ...out of Doctor Bashir." Molly spoke again. "Daddy, first you better put on some clothes, too! Hmm! I gotta take care o' everybody 'round here!" As the little one stalked off, he realized he hadn't a moral leg to stand on, clothing-wise. "Thank God we're such an open family. Open to what, though, I have no idea!" As he got dressed, determined to make trickster Julian know the pain, he remembered the last week of adjustment, hoping and praying it would be the last week. Miles was very unsure as to whether he could survive another week with Soon-Lee Klinger. He was certain he couldn't handle another scene like that, though.
When Soon-Lee had first arrived, of course, her identity had not yet been ascertained. There was no need seen, at that time, to scan her after she awoke from fainting. The problem first came when Worf stopped her to say hello. Since it was soon to be his goddaughter Molly's birthday, the Klingon said, "I will be stopping by to see that little girl of yours. I have something for her." Jadzia Dax, Worf's wife, then chimed in. "You're both so lucky to have such a cute kid, oh I just wanna gobble her up!" At most, Jadzia and her husband expected an admonishment about spoiling the children. However, the woman they both saw as their old friend Keiko began to kick, scream, and claw at them, quite wildly. They wondered if Molly's grown-up, feral self had somehow posessed her mother. "Someone help me! Man with helmet-for-head and diseased lady want to come into my house and eat my children! Police!" The local constabulary did respond, prompt as ever. "Mrs. O'Brien? What seems to be the trouble?" Soon-Lee was nervous, and her English was breaking up. "I tell you what trouble is, what your problem? You have no....FAAAACCEEEE!" To everyone's eyes, Keiko O'Brien fainted dead away - again - and was rushed off to sickbay. Worf turned to Odo, who was still trying to assess the situation. "A lot of good you did, Constable!" Odo just kind of stood there for a while, and then, when everyone had left, he stirred, and said,"What precisely, is wrong with my face?"
"Julian?! What in bloody hell do you mean that isn't Keiko? We just checked each other out this morning! That is to say, we checked each other to make sure we weren't shapeshifters! That's what I meant." Bashir smiled. "Well, Chief?" Miles was not smiling. "Well, what?" Bashir shook his head, amusedly, and said "Are You or Aren't You?" O'Brien's patience was leaving him rapidly. "Are I or Aren't I What!?" Bashir gave a look of mock-concern. "A Shapeshifter? Are You or Aren't You a shapeshifter?" The boom. "JULIAN! I SWEAR ON MY..." A commanding voice cut through. It was Kira, concerned about the friend she had placed in jeopardy. "Chief O'Brien, that's enough! Doctor, this is neither the time nor place for that kind of stupidity". For all his genetically enhanced intelligence, Bashir was great at stepping where he should not. "I'm sorry, Major...Miles. But this is incredible. I felt some levity was required to deal with it all." Miles and Kira calmed down, not liking Bashir's humor any better but listening anyway.
"Since this was the Orb Of Time we're talking about, I cross-referenced this young woman's appearance with Keiko's known ancestors. Finding 5 that were her mirrors, I then did a simple blood check. This woman has traces of a chemical insecticide once known as DDT - as did all people in the mid-to-late 20th Century. Making this a field of one..." Miles, overlooking the Sleeping Beauty that was not his wife, finished Bashir's statement. "She's Soon-Lee, a South Korean immigrant to the United States. Went there with a soldier she married-one Maxwell Q. Klinger. Boy, I hope that nose never enters the O'Brien line. We have enough troubles. Anyhow, her daughter Maxine, named for her father, marries a Japanese businessman named Hiron. Things get kind of a sketchy for a while, but this Hiron is Keiko's last known relation prior to the wars of Khan Singh. When Pennsylvania's coal mines closed forever, the O'Briens went back to Ireland. A wild bunch. My ancestor, analog to Mrs. Klinger here, was a former nun from a very religious family. Quite the scandal. To this day, the O'Briens and the Mulcahys only speak when they have to!" Julian finally spoke up. "Miles, we will find Keiko. All this ancestor talk won't calm your obvious nerves about.....did you say Mulcahy and Klinger!?" Miles, still staring longingly at Soon-Lee, said, "Yeah. What about them?" Bashir's enhanced memory had hit upon something. "Computer, call up main medical display and access all files relating to the Earth Korean War Mobile Army Surgical Hospital numeration 4077."
"File A: Personnel, File B: Wounded Treated, File C: Statistics, File D: Innovations, File E: Debauchery, File X : Immunita Project." The Computer droned on a few more, and was then directed to File A. "Computer, keep File X open, and put it to my personal station, for later reading. Ol' Spooky's always good for a laugh!" Upon saying that, Bashir pointed to several long-digitized photos, many of them recovered from a makeshift time capsule dating from the end of the hot phase of the Korean War. The most prominent one, found in an auxiliary canister, was of a wedding. Soon-Lee chose then to wake up. "Where did you get a picture of my wedding? Are you people Communist spies? You will get nothing from me! I am American now! MY COUNTRY, CAUSE OF THEE, SWEET LAKES OF LAND YOU SEE, I SING MY SONG!" She then folded her arms and sat defiantly. Miles, more than a bit confused, asked, "Mrs. Klinger? Uh, first, we're not spies. You see, my wife was kidnapped, and the kidnapper got you too, and we have to catch him to send you back, as well as get my wife, Keiko. But he's tricky, this guy. You see, we live here in the future, while you live in the past, and that's where my wife is-we hope." Soon-Lee shook her head. "I don't live in the past. I leave Korea, and I never look back! That's what Max told me, when he taught me that wonderful song." The explanations took a while longer.
"So you see, Soon-Lee, Father Mulcahy's sister married Miles' ancestor. Honoria Winchester, sister of Doctor Charles Emerson Winchester the Third, is my ancestor. While you and Max are Keiko's-er- Great- Grandparents." Oversimplification, Bashir knew, but he wasn't sure how much Soon-Lee could take, memory-wipe or no when she left. "That is not possible! Max and I only became parents two years ago! Oh, Max, you have finally driven me up a wall, and I have no driver's license yet!" Miles put her hand on Soon-Lee's shoulder, noting again the uncanny repeat dance genetics can do. "It's all right, Soon-Lee. Listen, would you like to me to take you to my quarters? My kids kind of miss their Mommy, and you'd be a real surprise to them." Soon-Lee stared at Miles. "You sure you are not my descendant? I see family trait on your face. I think it's the nose!" As Miles groaned, and Julian laughed, the non-couple went to meet the kids.
"Chief! Fair Warning! Keep that woman away from me and my wife! I mean it!" Worf swung his trademark weapon in a wide arc, seeking to keep Soon-Lee Klinger at bay. With odd calm, she spoke to Worf. "Mister Worf, I am very sorry I insult you and your wife. I realize now you were not trying to eat my children. I'm just very touchy when it comes to that. Jadzia, I want to speak with you later about my great-granddaughter. The Doctor says you are her friend." Dax smiled, and agreed, and she left. Worf left, as well, never turning his back on Soon-Lee. She smiled at O'Brien. "Such nice people. Oh, who's this?" Miles had grabbed up Molly to meet Soon-Lee. "Molly, honey, this is your Great-Grandma, give or take ten generations, say hello." Molly knew this wasn't her mother, but liked the woman anyway. "Hello, Grandma. I love you!" Soon-Lee was overwhelmed by emotions at the child's hug. But she quickly told Molly, "Please, don't call me Grandma. Just think of me as nice lady." Molly smiled, "Ok, Nice Lady". The kids and her hit it off great. But after a week, Soon-Lee was confused. In the quarters, alone, she spoke to herself. "I shower in front of him, walk in not wearing anything, interrupt him playing with movie projector, and he does nothing. Miles O'Brien, you may not be as handsome as Max, but I like you very much. Why won't you do what I say? After all, this is MY DREAM!........I hope."
In 1955, in a setting that seemed more like one out of 1952, brought to a place outside of any time, Father Francis Mulcahy faced what appeared to be a group of people he cared deeply about, all the senior members of the 4077th staff. Captain Benjamin Sisko could have told him what was going on. So could Proprietor Quark. But neither of them was around. Speaking was not Ben Sisko, but rather Ben Pierce-or the image of him, anyway. "You Are The Priest." Next was Trapper. "The Priest carries the clay. The clay is fragile." Now BJ. "The Priest Does Not Hear The Woman, and so fails to notice the rocks in front of him." Now Henry Blake. "The Priest trips, falls, and the clay is lost in the river. We are familiar with that." For some reason, the others turned and looked the Blake Image, stared, and then turned back again. The image of Frank Burns went to speak, but was cut off by the Margaret Houlihan before he could. "To Maintain Order, the Clay must be forged and hardened, made firm, unyielding, strong,wondrous...." Again, the same stare, then back to business. Radar spoke. "The Priest Must Deliver The Clay To The Right One, otherwise it gets all screwy." Clearly, these beings were having some kind of trouble relaying their message as they wished to.
Father Mulcahy wouldn't be a bit surprised if the personalities of the 4077th were shining through just a bit. As with Klinger; "The Right One will be the One who is not the Wrong One. You might want to take a note of that. It could be important later." Now, he saw himself. But his face had no features, just eyes, nose, and a mouth. "Seek the one who was cast out". Father Mulcahy objected. "Never! He who was cast out shall burn in a fire of his own making forevermore!" Now the stares were all at him. "Er, you were talking about the Devil, right? No, I don't believe you were. It's just that whole cast out thing rubs me the wrong way." Now, Soon-Lee, the REAL Soon-Lee , told him ; "The Priest must believe The Woman. I mean the other woman, I mean me, Uh..." Now Sherman. "The Priest brings The Clay To Be Forged by The Potter!" Mulcahy nodded. "I was kind of wondering when you were going to get there." The Potter image looked a bit concerned. "Were we that obvious?" Francis tried to be gentle. "Well, to be candid, it was that whole, Clay, Clay, Clay Thing. The Potter reference followed pretty naturally." Finally, Hawkeye spoke again. "You are The Priest. You carry The Clay To The Potter. The Potter takes The Clay, and from it forges a vessel. This vessel carries The Emissary, The Sisko. But not The Lone Ranger." At that, all of them stared at the Pierce Image. It shrugged. "Hey, don't look at me; They're his friends! Those other humans and Bajorans never caused this!" An argument broke out, and Mulcahy tried to slip out. He was stopped by Winchester. "There is more you must be told. You Are The Priest. Obviously."
The argument had stopped. They were preparing to resume their curious talking. Before they could, though, Mulcahy shot off, "Would it help you at all to know that I have no BLesseD idea what you are talking about?!" A new voice in the corner, that of Sydney Freedman's. "No, it would not. Just sit down and we'll---talk." The exasperation was showing on the Padre's face. "Oh please, tell me. Are you Angels Of The Lord, testing me for some purpose?" Hawkeye, then each one in turn, said, "Angels?". Mulcahy sighed. "I better start at the Beginning. In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth..." In a place without time, Father John Patrick Francis Mulcahy taught about his faith to the Prophets of Bajor. As you might expect, there were a lot of questions.