The idea that Deus Ex Nukina must
involve something that doesn't make sense seems to be largely the invention of whoever wrote Nuclear Option
This is the side effect of having user created wikis instead of centralized planing. People often write definitions or summaries of tropes separate trope pages that don't directly correspond to the definition of the trope on the trope page.
I'm posting the oldest versions of the trope definitions I can find, to try and see if we can make sense of what the intent of the trope was.
As near as I can tell
: When monsters attack, military leaders are too quick to resort to nuclear weapons.
Deus Ex Nukina
: A situation arises that can only be solved by nuclear weapons. Sometimes
contrived, but not necessarily. Also, there is a weird bit about having to deliver it by hand, which I think should actually be a separate trope.
: Well considered use of nuclear weapons by legitimate authorities for legitimate means.
When faced with a Monster Of The Week, military commanders show an unhealthy urge to move right up to the nuclear option when the monster can't be killed with bullets. They never stop to consider using something else in their arsenal that's a bit more powerful than an M16, but won't cause as much collateral damage as a low-yield nuclear bomb. It's all or nothing. If rifles didn't do the trick, forget howitzers, forget 1,000 pounder bombs, forget chemical or biological agents, just get the nukes.
More level-headed characters will usually try to make this point, only to be told that there's "no time" to study the monster, we have to take it out now before it gets bigger/destroys more things.
From there, it becomes a race to see if the scientists can find the monster's Achilles Heel or get the Forgotten Superweapon back online before the Army gets its approval to start lobbing warheads. Of course, if the Army wins the race, it's likely that the nukes will either do nothing, or make things much, much worse, making the heroes the last hope.
Anime doesn't use this much, due to the Nuclear Weapons Taboo.
a.k.a Nuke Ex Machina by those who don't know their Canis Latinicus.
This is a situation when nukes and only nukes will do. Something Very Bad has happened, and only an uncontrolled release of nuclear energy can fix it. Deus Ex Nukina is distinct from Nuke Em, because the application of a nuclear bomb solves a problem. Such applications are sometimes contrived and occasionally approach the arbitrariness of Green Rocks.
The most interesting dramatic element of Deus Ex Nukina is the requirement that the nuclear device must be delivered by hand. Robots and missiles can't be trusted; nukes are delivered by men. The delivery method is half the fun and often involves physical contact with the device. The bomb should often have a sleek, eroticized design. Frequently, the courier must also make the ultimate sacrifice and stay with the bomb to trigger it manually.
Anti-matter sometimes substitutes. Occasionally, nukes are used to fix problems created by nukes.
Sometimes, the unthinkable becomes a legitimate option. Other times it's downright commonplace.
Nuclear warheads are currently the most powerful weapon in humanity's arsenal. They are the most destructive thing we have the capacity to deploy, and as such are treated as a last resort, a final option when all other possibilities are exhausted. They are to be used only when the consequences of not using them are worse than the consequences of using them. This has happened only twice in Real Life; in fiction, however, this situation comes up a lot more often.
The Nuclear Option is the well-considered and appropriate use of nuclear weaponry by a legitimate authority. Perhaps the enemy has already launched nukes at allied targets, or maybe Its The Only Way To Be Sure. Maybe the target is Nigh Invulnerable and a nuke is the only way to crack through its protections, or maybe some Cool Starships are flinging nukes at each other in otherwise empty space. Maybe the situation is already so bad that the potential for massive collateral damage doesn't matter anymore. In any case, the Nuclear Option is, ultimately, a good idea, or at least reasonable. Unlike an Empty Quiver, the Nuclear Option is ordered by a legitimate authority; unlike Nuke Em, it's neither overkill nor likely to backfire; and unlike Deus Ex Nukina, the nuke does something that actually makes sense.
Also applies to the use of Fantastic Nukes and, if the Nuclear Weapons Taboo is in effect, absolutely-not-a-nuke weapons.
edited 1st Mar '12 9:28:16 AM by Catbert