Lieutenant Smith was asked by Mister Zumwald to get him a drink,” Wilkes said. “She responded with physical violence. I counseled her on conduct unbecoming of an officer and, when she reacted with foul language, on disrespect to a superior officer, sir, and I’ll stand by that position. Sir.”
“I agree that her actions were unbecoming, Captain,” Steve said, mildly. “She really should have resolved it with less force. Which I told her as well as a strong lecture on respect to a superior officer. On the other hand, Captain, Mister Zumwald physically accosted her, grabbing her arm and, when she protested, called her a bitch. Were you aware of that, Captain?”
“She did say something about it, sir,” Wilkes said. “However… ”
“I also understand that you spent some time with Mister Zumwald afterwards,” Steve said. “Rather late. Did you at any time express to Mister Zumwald that accosting any woman, much less an officer of… what was it? ‘The United States Naval services’ was unacceptable behavior, Captain?”
“Sir,” Wilkes said. “Mister Zumwald is a major Hollywood executive… ”
“Was,” Steve said.
“Excuse me, sir?” Wilkes said.
“Was a major Hollywood executive,” Steve said. “Right now, Ernest Zumwald, Captain, is a fucking refugee off a fucking lifeboat. Period fucking dot. He’s given a few days grace, like most refugees, to get his headspace and timing back, then he can decide if he wants to help out or go in with the sick, lame and lazy. And in this case he’s a fucking refugee who thinks it’s acceptable to accost some unknown chick and tell him to get him a fucking drink. Grab her by the arm and, when she tells him to let go, become verbally abusive.
“What makes the situation worse, Captain, is that the person he accosted was not just any passing young hotty but a Marine officer. He did not know that at the time; the Marine officer was dressed much like other women in the compartment. However, he does not have the right to grab any woman in my care by the fucking arm and order them to get him a fucking drink, Captain! Then, to make matters worse, following the incident, Captain, you spent the entire fucking evening getting drunk with a fucktard who had physically and verbally assaulted a female Marine officer! You dumbshit.”
“Sir, I… ” Wilkes said, paling.
“And not just any Marine officer, oh, no,” Steve said. “Forget that it was the daughter of the Acting LANTFLEET. Forget that it was the daughter of your fucking rating officer, you retard. I’m professional enough to overlook that. I really am. There’s personal and professional, and I do actually know the line. Except that it was, professionally, a disgraceful action on your part, Captain. But not just any Marine officer, Captain. No, this was a Marine officer that, unlike you, is fucking worshipped by your Marines, Captain. This is a Marine officer that the acting Commandant thinks only uses boats so her boots don’t get wet walking from ship to ship. This is a Marine officer who is the only fucking light in the darkness to the entire Squadron, you dumbfuck!
“I’d already gotten the scuttlebutt that you were a palace prince pogue who was a cowardly disgrace to the Marine uniform, Captain. I was willing to let that slide because maybe you could run the fucking clearance from the fucking door. But you just pissed off every fucking Marine we’ve got, you idiot. You incredible dumbfuck, moron!
“In case you hadn’t noticed, you are getting cold-shouldered by everyone you work with while you were brown-nosing some fucking useless POS who used to ‘be somebody.’ ‘Your’ Marines are spitting on your shadow and that includes your fucking Gunnery Sergeant! Captain, am I getting through to you? Are you even vaguely recognizing how badly you fucked up? Professionally, politically, personally?