“What the hell hour of the morning is it?” Duke asked, sleepily. “Look, if it’s before 9 AM, it can wait, damn it.”
“Sir, that’s just it,” the aide said, much-beleaguered. “It’s 9 AM and you’re due at the White House lawn for your first presidential address in an hour.”
Duke Nukem was a man of many things—sex, booze, and guns—but he was also a man of action, and rather than complain further he leapt out of bed, leaving three sleepy co-eds behind.
“Is the Vice President coming?” Duke asked, running toward the gold-plated shower he’d had installed. Paid for by Duke himself—taxpayer money was taxpayer money, and he wasn’t gonna squander America’s hard-earned cash on his own ego. He hadn’t run as an independent for nothing.
“Vice President Wang is indeed coming,” the aide said, sighing. “After he’s done…well…coming.”
“Oh yeah, who wants some Wang?” a voice called from the next room over.
“He’s still at it,” Duke said, proudly. “Keeping the American end up as always.”
After the shower, Duke Nukem dressed in his finest Armani suit—tailored to his specifications, which meant it was less a suit and more a jacket and jeans made of Kevlar, with easily detached sleeves for the sole purpose of flexing and intimidating would-be attackers.
“I hope you’ve got something planned, Duke,” the aide said. “I’ve read Why I’m So Great, and it’s a good book.”
“Of course it is,” Duke said proudly.
“It’s also over ten years old. People need hope, Duke. Scandal after scandal rocking the nation, invasion after invasion—people want to hear that they matter.”
“You act like you never even read the book,” Duke replied. “The key lesson of Why I’m So Great is that to be so great, you gotta act like you’re so great—but never rest on your laurels. Lo Wang taught me that back when I was hero training. Why do you think he was my running mate?”
“Because the fact you’re the 69th president makes the joke too easy?”
“Am I really the 69th? Damn, that’s some turnover rate.”
Duke soon made his way to the White House lawn. A crowd of reporters, fans, and weary citizens all were waiting for the address. A solid-gold podium with Duke’s symbol on it waited. A band wearily struck up “Hail to the Chief” before switching to “Grabbag.”
As the music died, Duke took the stand.
“My fellow Americans, what’s up?”
The aide sighed. It was Duke. Of course he’d start the speech like this.
The crowd, for their part, were silent.
“A long time ago, we were invaded. And one man stood up and faced those alien bastards. Three times. And each time, that man gave them hell. But I’m not here as the man who single-handedly saved the planet. I’m here as your president.”
Scattered, unsure applause.
“Years ago, I published a book titled Why I’m So Great. And you wanna know why I’m so great? It’s because you’re so great. I made some mistakes in getting here.”
The crowd went dead silent.
“I’ll be the first to admit it. I mean, what, 11 fucking years for a game sequel? What the hell was I thinking? And the pink shirt I had when I started, don’t even get me going on that! And I’ll admit, I’ve been behind the times on a lot of things.”
The crowd murmured.
“We’ve lost a lot of good people. The Holsom Twins, for instance. I thought I could save them; I was wrong. You’ve lost people. All of you. But we need to rebuild. Together. You’re great, you’re all great for coming out here. And like I said, the reason I’m great is that you’re great. I look out over this crowd, and I see a legion of little Dukes. I see future soldiers, the badasses of tomorrow, the great leaders who will shape this country after I’m gone. People ask if we should make America great again. Well, who said it wasn’t great to begin with? We’ve got a common enemy.”
“The common enemy are those scumbags who can’t respect their fellow man, and can’t respect their fellow babe. And as I am the king, baby, let me tell you—respect your babe, and she’ll respect you. Those alien bastards, they don’t respect babes at all! But what pisses me off something bad is the number of people I see online who treat their babes just like those aliens do.”
The aide felt a faint smile coming.
“Let me tell you, as the man who single-handedly wrote the book on manliness, you ever dare lay a hand on a babe, you hurt her, you don’t take no for an answer—then you’re no man. I’ll tell you this—every single babe I’ve been with has come willingly. So be like me, men! It’s not hard! Who do you want to be? Me? Or some alien bastard?”
“And let me make another thing clear. We’re here to preserve American freedom. So let me tell you this—if you love freedom, love your babe, fight for your fellow man—then you are Duke’s America. I say we stop fighting wars on our shores. I say we take the fight to any scumbag in the galaxy who thinks planet Earth is ripe for the taking.”
“I’ve got two terms in mind, people. They are LET’S and ROCK. So to all alien bastards out there, come get some, because President Nukem and the American people are here to say they aren’t taking any more crap.”
“One more item. I said earlier that I’m so great because you’re so great. What I mean is this. There won’t ever be another Duke Nukem. But there’ll be a Sam Stone. There’ll be a Lo Wang. There’ll even be…”
He turned to his aide.
“Say, babe—what’s your name?”
“It’s Shelly, sir.”
“There’ll be a bombshell like Shelly over here,” Duke said, pulling her up front and centre. “I’ve got eight years to make each and every one of you a badass. And I’m gonna do it. We’re gonna do it.”
Duke listened, and heard a gun click. Flexing hard, he tore off his sleeves, as a dark-haired, black-coated figure drew a rifle. The crowd panicked, but Duke leapt from the stage and tackled the man to the ground.
“You picked the wrong president to assassinate,” Duke growled, grabbing the gothic assailant by the throat, shaking him until a bunch of guns fell from his jacket. “What’s your name, just so I can know what to erase from the history books?”
“My name is not important,” the man said. “What’s important—”
“You heard the man,” Duke said, choking Not Important even harder. “He’s Not Important! And this! This stupid hatred isn’t important at all! So for all you murderous wannabes out there, let me send you a message live!”
Duke’s mighty foot kicked Not Important square in the jaw, sending him flying into a SWAT van which immediately drove him out of the conference.
“This is America. Land of the free, home of the brave. You wanna make us scared? You wanna make any of us scared? Then let me tell you, I’m not gonna rest until I’ve kicked each and every one of your asses personally. And you can bet on my balls of steel that that’s a promise.”
The crowd cheered.
“Hail to the king, baby!” Duke crowed, flexing for the cameras.
After the conference, Duke settled in with a cigar and a glass of whiskey.
“Have Shelly sent up,” he said to Lo Wang, who was busily practicing katas in a corner of the Oval Office. “I’ve been meaning to talk to her about a position…”
“Shelly reporting, sir!” she said, cheerfully.
“Wow, you’re fast,” Duke replied. “Listen, I’ve got a position in mind for you—”
“How would you like to be my head of security?”
A wicked gleam lit up her eyes.
“As long as I get to bring my own guns, I’m loving the idea.”
She showed him a very large revolver.
The future was in safe hands, Duke decided. No matter who took over from him.
Still, he thought…
Duke Nukem Forever.