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Drinking With Mike Strong

The origin of the question “What would Mike Strong do?” is a story in itself, but as the release of Dragons approaches, it’s more important that we consider the question: “What does Mike Strong do?”

Of course, the venerable Colour Sergeant has a reputation. For instance, his actual rank is just ‘Sergeant’ because he was busted down for reportedly having a fling with the wife of the Minister of War, and then breaking that politician’s jaw. It’s widely believed that no woman on either world is immune to his charms, and no party truly gets started until he arrives…

And yet, he was rather suspiciously caught sleeping on Daphne’s floor (not in her bed) back in Elspeth… and after a year assigned to Alex and Stephanie, neither of them seems at all uncomfortable with him being around. What gives?

This excerpt from Dragons –– posted today –– hints at what Mike Strong is really like, and the real reason he lost his rank of Colour Sergeant. I started this week talking about the very important Never Quit Foundation, and its determination to prove to wounded warriors that they can achieve what’s important to them. That’s appropriate, because the psychological wounds Strong suffered in Empire never fully healed… but like certain real people, he never gave up, and he’s absolutely making a difference.

Of course, not quitting was much easier for him, because he’s fictional… but even in that context, he’s done well.

In Defense Command, Captain Andrea Kiley struggled with PTSD for 16 books –– and by the end was only beginning to learn the need to cope. Perhaps because he’s been living with it for 20 years, Strong handles his ‘battle fatigue’ much better… though my understanding is that every such wound is unique –– and so is each recovery.

At some point, I should do an author note about this subject –– what little I’ve learned through research, and how I wonder whether combat in Korea might have colored my grandfather’s experience with Alzheimer’s. It’s neither an easy subject, nor one I pretend to be an expert in, but it deserves attention.

For today, though, let’s just commend Mike Strong: he makes no bones about his psychological wounds, and though his treatments are probably (almost definitely) all wrong by modern standards, he has found a new mission: to be the Sergeant who Alex and Stephanie can always rely on. Those two ladies are the daughters of the men he went to war with… in a way, his daughters… and he will never, ever, let them down.

So without further ado, let’s go drinking with Mike Strong.

Disclaimer: This is not the correct treatment for combat stress.