It hurt even more because he'd tried so hard. And actually started to believe this couldn't happen. Some things were simply too terrible to be contemplated. Even knowing how unjust the world was and the Navy could be. Jack being struck off made Stephen feel as black and helpless as he had after '98.
He hadn't realized how much faith he had gained back to be shattered.
"I am as I was," he murmured to himself. "With no loyalty to any country or organization. Perhaps never again."