Duke (didnt) Nukem
Paradise slipped through our fingers--and its all 3D Realms fault. Well, not really, but its fun to think about. In 1996, Duke Nukem saved the world in his first 3D excursion, and a macho, loud-mouthed franchise was solidified in the FPS continuum. But what if Duke Nukem had failed miserably in his struggle against the aliens? What wouldve become of Earth as we now know it?
Wonder no longer. Using Chaos Theory as our guide, and a tricked-out Delorean as our transportation, weve mapped out every potential change in the future that never was. Here are our irrefutable findings
Year 1: Duke goes down
The fight was already won. Duke stood proudly over the carcass of the Cycloid Emperor, having gone to space and back to annihilate every trace of the alien presence. Hed killed hundreds of pig cops, saved thousands of strippers, and wrought millions of dollars in damages across the Los Angeles area. Duke felt the need for a show of celebration, one appropriate to the football field he now stood on. With a running start, he kicked the dead Cycloids skull with every ounce of his strength, hoping to score a field goal with the behemoths dislodged eye.
Instead, Duke screamed--a groaning, guttural scream. His ACL ruptured on impact; searing pain shot through his leg. Duke keeled over in agony, accidentally firing a Shrink Ray shot into his own groin. With an anguished whimper, he plunged into unconsciousness. He would remain on that football field, wounded and alone, until paramedics found him three days later. He had no way of knowing that the Cycloid Emperor had already been succeeded, instantly replaced by an alien bloodline that had been brooding for centuries.
Year 2: Duke is imprisoned as the aliens go native
Without Duke there to oppose their forces, the aliens easily embedded themselves on planet Earth. But strangely, and counter to Dukes testimony, it seems that the aliens had actually come in peace. Instead of subjugating humans, they chose to observe and study them, assimilating their lizard-like population into the major cities of existing nations. Pig cops resumed their duties as defenders of the law, and Battlelords worked to rebuild the structures Duke had so callously destroyed.
Duke had to pay for his brutal crimes, committed against what was now known to be an alien exploration party. His punishment: Incarceration in a high-security space prison, home to some of the most infamous intergalactic degenerates from a wide array of species. Humanitys world leaders had no qualms with delegating Dukes punishment to the aliens, after all the goodwill they had demonstrated over the past year. As he was being hauled away in high-tech restraints, all Duke could think to do was yell This really pisses me off! at the top of his lungs. But on the inside, he anxiously wondered if he would ever see the light of day again.
Year 3: The US elects a female president
The aliens had generously shared their technology with humanitys top scientists, and the advances they had made in two short years were astounding. Nuclear energy was made completely obsolete, thanks to groundbreaking developments in the realm of bioenergy. Former-comedian-turned-political-candidate Janeane Garofalo had been at the forefront of these advances, pushing for the continued research of bioenergy during her presidential campaign. Though her ambitions hadnt reached beyond the US presidency--which she won in a landslide--her empathy and tolerance made her the prime candidate to be the voice of the entire human race.
The ceremony for her inauguration as Head of Human-Alien Diplomacy was broadcast throughout the galaxy, and marked a milestone in the fabric of Earths history. As Duke watched the proceedings on a monitor near his cold, lonely cell, he was overcome with rage. "When I get outta here, I'll show 'em all that I'm still the King, baby," he said, softly, with defiance, still hopeful for his eventual release.
Year 4: The worlds oldest profession retires
Contrary to Dukes hopes, the world continued to turn without him. Under Delegate Garofalos leadership, humanity made incredible leaps forward in the region of gender equality. With new job opportunities available for people of all education levels, prostitution was the first career path to dwindle into nonexistence. Women of all walks of life were discovering newfound professions, as male-dominated industries continued to lose their relevance. Strip clubs, no longer financially viable due to an absent workforce, closed down in droves across the planet.
Society had also fully accepted the aliens, with even the most xenophobic citizens looking past their archaic bigotry. The presence of pig cops had revolutionized law enforcement, as they were incapable of racial discrimination due to their own mutated forms. It was also discovered that Octabrains actually fed on garbage and expelled clean air as their waste, drastically reducing pollution levels around the globe. The world seemed closer to a utopian existence than ever before. And Duke? Solitary confinement, of course.
Year 5: Duke Nukem advocates demand his release
But not everyone was happy with all this progressive change. Though they had failed to gain any traction in public forums, a small sect of unhappy citizens had begun to band together. This group was composed of socially inept and sexually frustrated males, who had been suffering from a hormonal imbalance since the downfall of prostitution and stripping. They yearned for the days of yore, when sleaze and sexism were profitable enterprises instead of outmoded antiquities. According to their hastily assembled research, they believed Dukes imprisonment had been the turning point for humanity, and hoped that the traditional ways would be restored upon his release.
This sect, which came to be known as the Federation Against Penalization, rallied for Dukes release on internet message boards. Their complaints were initially ignored, but after countless petitions and locked threads, the alien hierarchy decided to address their demands. They ruled that they would only release Duke Nukem when his rehabilitation was "done." Unfortunately, though therapists had switched treatment methods multiple times, barely any progress on his rehab had been made.
Year 6: Killing time in the clink
After observing the headway that the first-world nations had made, the rest of humanity followed suit, endeavoring to address gender relations in every culture. By 2000, the feminist movement was deemed a success: The male and female genders were now completely equal in all aspects of society, on all parts of the planet. Light years away, Duke was still his same misogynistic self, convinced that the aliens were the cause for his total lack of conjugal visits. In reality, not a single woman had expressed interest.
Yearning for something to occupy his time, Duke had tried and failed to adapt to the daily activities of prison life. After years without a steady supply of steroids, Duke found that he was completely incapable of lifting weights in the yard--much to the delight of his fellow inmates, who incessantly mocked him and his feeble physique. Books were useless, seeing as Duke had never learned to read. Im here to hate life and improve myself, thought Duke, and Im all out of self-improvement.
Year 7: Support for Duke continues to dwindle
In the span of seven short years, gender inequality had been completely eradicated, bringing society into a renaissance of acceptance and impartiality. Even greasy cheeseburgers were deemed undesirable. The only dissatisfied group was the Federation Against Penalization, which had withdrawn from the advanced civilization to create their own underground society, by actually digging a giant hole in the ground and living within it. Though they were still united by their hatred for women and their passion to see Duke Nukem released, they were running into a new problem: the propagation of their culture.
With no women with which to procreate, the Federation Against Penalization knew that the existence of their philosophy was a ticking clock. Either Duke would be freed during their lifetimes, or they would die one by one in the depths of the earth. But their resolve had never been lower: None among the Federation Against Penalization had heard or seen anything of Duke Nukem for years. They began to question if Duke was still alive, and quarreled amongst themselves if he was ever worth rallying behind in the first place.
Year 8: Duke reemerges to announce that he's found religion
Meanwhile, on the surface, civilization continued to break new ground. As society moved towards worldwide collectivism, poverty, famine, and disparity between the rich and the poor ceased to exist--or matter. With no crime, violence, or war to report on, the news media revolved around human interest stories. But soon, there would be a single press event involving violence. After years of good behavior, Duke was granted a parole hearing.
With a greeting of Hail to the king, babies, Duke took the podium in front of a room of stoic justices and slavering reporters. For thirty agonizing minutes, he insisted that he was definitely going to be released this year, come hell or high water. He even tried to leverage the crowd with religion, claiming he had put all his faith in his guardian angel. JonSt. John watches over me, Duke insisted. His audience found themselves...surprisingly disinterested. Frustrated by their indifference, an insolent fury welled up in Duke. Blow it out your ass! he shouted, before physically assaulting the nearby alien guard. His outburst had only one outcome: the postponement of his parole hearing. Dukes release had once again been delayed.
Year 9: Duke on trial
With his repeated inability to control his temper in public, Dukes freedom seemed as far off as ever. During all of his parole hearings, Duke would devolve from a phony piety into outright aggression. Female members of the Galactic Board of Prison Terms were alienated by Dukes advances, as he incessantly asked them to Shake it, baby or You wanna dance? Time and again, Dukes parole request would be denied. Ill rip off your heads and s*** down your necks! hed sputter, before swiftly being escorted back to his cell.
Just when things seemed beyond hopeless for Duke, one Earth-dwelling lawyer would take pity on the man. An accomplished attorney, from the Geary, Boxer & Sons law firm, saw Dukes trial as the last challenging case in a world devoid of crime. Duke, completely out of options, took up the firm's proposal. After an extensive review of Duke's case, his attorney unearthed an arcane technicality, to which the court had no option but to accede. It was finally time for Duke Nukem to be released.
Motion for a judgment of acquittal, as delivered by Duke's attorney
"...a man cannot be convicted of a crime if said crime was committed against an enemy of the state or any entity which could be construed as an enemy when said action was committed. And as the aliens were at the time of Duke's arrest still entities of a presumed alien invasion, his deeds could not be classified as felonious. Therefore, I rest that, though this man is unfit to be a member of modern society, his incarceration was never truly justifiable..."
Year 10: Duke Nukem forever released
So, after years of suffering in solitary, Duke returned to Earth, never to be imprisoned again. They say that ignorance is bliss, and Duke had the former in spades. But now that he had set foot in the modern world, the realities of Earths progressive changes were about to punch Duke squarely in his shrunken junk. Balls of steel would not help him now. No matter how many movie quotes he rattled off, or beers he chugged, or bottles of steroids he choked down, Dukes freedom felt hollow.
The world had changed, but Duke hadnt changed with it. No strippers. No porno mags. No scantily clad babes. Duke wandered the streets, staggering aimlessly in a worn-out daze. He was without purpose, trapped in a world where women were no longer his playthings and his "game" had long been redundant. Even the Federation Against Penalization, who had rallied for his release years ago, couldnt be bothered to care that he was finally out. But his story is not yet over. Duke can now, at this very moment, be found in a hole of a gym in an outskirt Texan town, muttering to himself, mid-bicep curl, "Always bet on the Duke. Always bet on...the Duke."
Let Forever be
So ends the sordid story of Duke Nukems downfall. What do you think wouldve happened if Duke never met (and killed) the Alien Queen? Let us know in the comments, and try not to weep for the loss of a utopian world that couldve been.