Miles and Keiko! Where have you guys been? What jerk hasn’t been giving you any strip time? I really do like writing these two, honest, there’s just been so much pilot plot getting in the way. Blame Geordi!
But so really my feeling about what is going on here is that (a) everybody has a job, (b) everybody has things they don’t like about their job, and (c) everybody vents to somebody about that stuff they don’t like, right? Even if you love your job, it still has its moments. Even in the post-scarcity utopia of tomorrow, that seems like a given, more so on the Enterprise for everybody who isn’t at the top of the pecking order and constantly having big adventures.
So Miles meets Keiko, they hit it off, maybe Keiko’s not really in love with her botany assignment on Enterprise, she complains about work to him, he complains about work to her, it’s a bonding thing. But there’s this asymmetry, right, where he actually really digs his job, a lot more than she does hers — maybe he’s the kid with the Tonka truck who grows up to work in construction, except for transporters on starships — and so she’s essentially created this larger-than-life sympathetic negativity about his career. In her mind he hates that he’s stuck beaming people around, hates that he’s not captain of his own ship or whatever; it’s a mix of projection of her own job dissatisfaction and a sense of care for and loyalty to him as the new important person in her life.
But then that all spools out inappropriately in public. Like things do. Et voila! And so: drama. And one probably shouldn’t engage in drama at Picard’s expense, even Ha Ha Just Kidding But No Really drama. But at least it’s a game, so there’s plausible deniability. I don’t really feel like this is going to help Miles get promoted, though, Keiko.