Location: Deck 2 - Senior Crew Quarters
Raven Mattel felt nervous as the turbo lift stopped on Deck Two, the doors sliding open silently. She had never been up this high on the ship before and felt for sure that she'd be arrested for trying. She wasn't entirely certain if she was allowed up on the top decks; it was just one below from the Bridge after all. She had joked to Ignatius about accidentally getting off on the wrong floor and inadvertently ejecting the warp core; as if that was something that could be accidentally done. Ignatius had kindly offered to come with her, himself no stranger to visiting the Temple family on this deck, but Raven had wanted to do this journey alone. It was important for her to speak with Counsellor Kaleri and take this step herself.
Walking down the corridor, she was instead greeted by smiles by the passing officers, some who dipped their heads respectfully as she sauntered by. She had to remember that these people would usually come down to see her, and probably knew her name - even if she didn't always remember theirs. A lot of the jumpsuits had the same colours after all. But it seemed a lifetime ago that she had first stepped foot on the Pandora as a drag performer and bartender, and she had been through so much with this crew during that time. She wasn't a strange to them, nor them to her. Though there was a part of her that still felt distant from the ship because she was only a civilian and not an officer like them.
And also because she hadn't been living as her true self.
It felt like she had been living a lie; they could see "Raven Mattel", but it was only a costume. Something she could take off at any time. Robert was always there. His voice. His stubble. His body. In truth, the man underneath was the costume; he was the lie. Now Raven had made the conscious choice to transition her biological identity to match who she felt she truly was on the inside. She had tried to tell Counsellor Kaleri about her intentions once before but in the moment she found herself unable to say the exact words out loud. She had used her fight with Ignatius as another costume to hide her true feelings. The days of delaying and lying were over now. It was time to say what she wanted out loud.
Arriving at the Counsellor's door, Raven didn't hesitate as she pressed the chime.
Krysia was sat relaxing with her feet up, the twins were currently asleep in the nursery so Krysia was taking the chance to transition herself back into a working pattern. As much as a c section didn’t take as long a recovery as it would have many years ago, she was still recovering and didn’t her muscles know it! She looked up as the chime rang. “Come in.”
Allowing the door to slide open, Raven poked her head inside, "Counsellor?"
“Raven!” Krysia smiled warmly. “Please come in and make yourself at home. Forgive me for not getting up.” She motioned to the empty seats. “How are you?”
"No, no, it's okay. I apologise for dropping by your quarters." She said with an awkward laugh. "I'm okay, how are you?"
“I’m ... managing” Krysia offered a wry smile. “Please take a seat and make yourself at home. I was just taking baby nap time to get back into the swing of things.”
"Already?" Raven smiled as she sat down, "You're thinking of going back to work?"
“Well not full time” Krysia offered a smile. “I’m the main Counsellor onboard so I’m trying to fit in those who need it alongside my maternity leave. It helps me to feel useful.”
Raven laughed a little, "That typical Starfleet mentality, I see. Gotta always be doing something."
“That’s true” Krysia grinned. “I’ll most likely regret it when I want a rest and I’ve got things to do!”
"Oh, well please let me know if I'm out-staying my welcome." Raven replied, "I understand."
“Don’t worry!” Krysia smiled warmly. “You’re not in the way, I enjoy the company. I didn’t stop to think before about how I’d feel being alone while James was working. It’s more lonely than I realised especially when you’re a new mum!”
"Please let me know if there's anything I can do for you." Raven said earnestly. "I'd hate to just impose."
“You’re not imposing.” Krys smiled warmly. “So how are you doing? Last time we talked you were considering a change in your life, have you settled on a decision?”
"Well, where do I begin?" Raven said with a sigh, leaning back into her chair. "Thanks to Terrekal, I was able to resolve my issues with Ignatius and tell him what was really going on with me."
“That’s wonderful” Krys smiled. “So, if you don’t mind me asking what does Ignatious think?”
"He's happy that I've told him." Raven nodded, thinking about her friend. "I hope he understands that I wasn't deliberately trying to keep my truth from him - or anyone, for that matter. I had never really said it out loud myself. I felt like a fraud, but I think he knows now why it was so difficult for me."
Krys nodded. “That’s good. It’s better that he understands your situation. A true friend will stand with you no matter what. So what next for you now?”
Raven bit her lip pensively. "Well, that's why I'm here, Counsellor. I've made the decision to transition myself into a woman. I don't want to this - " She indicated down to her hair and dress, "To be just something I take off and on. It's who I am, on the inside. And I'd like the outside to reflect my true self."
Krys smiled warmly. “It’s good that you’ve decided that it’s what you want. The process in days gone by was a long drawn out one but it’s much more refined and quicker these days. If it’s what you truly want then I’ll be here to support you in any way I can.”
"Thank you, that means so much." Raven replied with a nod. "I know I'm supposed to go through an evaluation to determine if I've properly considered the choice before me and the impact that will have on me. Of course, my answer will be yes, yes, yes." She smiled. "No one gets to this stage without considering what it means to transition, like it hasn't been everything we've thought about for years. But, there is a slight wrinkle in the plan. I'm a civilian, not a Starfleet officer, and this is a Starfleet vessel. I don't know... if we can actually proceed?"
“You’re still a part of the crew civilian or not, as such you’re entitled to medical care.” Krysia paused. “What we may have to do is consult with the Doctor, if it’s a problem then we’ll need to talk to the Captain. That’s if you’re happy to involve the Captain if needed?”
"Well this isn't medical care exactly. More voluntary? I'm not sure how Starfleet would approve." Raven shrugged hesitantly. At the mention of the Captain, she took in a gust of breath. "Gosh, that would make it much more real, huh? This process is like being on a rollercoaster. Ups and downs - except it's one of those coasters that goes up and just waits at the top for a few seconds before dropping you down. Like the Demon Train on Risa? You know the drop is coming but you're just left for there for ages waiting, anticipating, trying to prepare yourself." She gave a sheepish smile. "Every step is like that."
“I will be at your side for every one of those ups and downs.” Krysia smiled warmly. “No matter what I’ll support you. First things first we need to find out where you stand with regards the medical treatment you need. We need to speak with the doctor.”
Raven nodded, "Okay, I'm ready to take that step. I'm so grateful to have everyone's support, I couldn't do it without everyone."
Krysia nodded. “We’re all here for you Raven, you’re a part of this crew civilian or not.”
"Well, we have a plan then." Raven said emphatically, "If you don't mind, this has been a big conversation for me. Can we leave it a few days before we talk to the Captain or the Doctor?"
“Of course!” Krysia smiled warmly. “There’s no rush, we take this at your pace not anyone else’s. When you’re ready let me know and we’ll go from there.”
Raven gathered her thoughts and nodded, "Okay, I will do. Thank you again for the chat and your support. It feels... possible now, when it didn't before."
“I’m just happy to be a part of such an important time for you” Krys smiled warmly.
Feeling like she was dancing on air, Raven glided out of the Counsellor's quarters and into the corridor; she couldn't wait to tell Ignatius the good news.