- This article pertains to the character as he appears in print. You may be looking for his small-screen counterpart.
Howard "Duke" Perkins (d. 21 Oct Year of the Dome) was the husband of Brenda Perkins, and the Chief of the Chester's Mill Police Department. He and his wife lived at 28 Morin Street, and were neighbors of the Buffalino family. Before the events during "Dome Day", he conducted a secretive investigation into the illegal activities of Second Selectman Jim Rennie in conjunction with the state's Attorney General.
The night before Dome Day, October 20th, Duke got a call from either Tommy Anderson or his wife Willow about a scuffle in the parking lot of Dipper's Roadhouse. He drove into the parking lot and caught a fight between Dale Barbara and Junior Rennie, Carter Thibodeau, Melvin Searles, and Frank DeLesseps. Junior told Duke that Barbara started it, but Duke still arrested all five of them. He took them all to the station and that was when DeLesseps told Duke that Barbara had raped Angie McCain. He did not believe this in the least; nevertheless, Duke put Barbara and McCain in the interrogation room and told McCain that this would go to court for perjury if she lied. She told him that there had been no intercourse. After that he let Barbara off the hook. Jim Rennie caught wind of this and was furious and wanted Barbara to be tried for something. Duke told Rennie that if any of it made it to court, he would let slip of Junior's school records which all were bad. After the threat, Rennie reluctantly let it go.
On October 21st (Dome Day), Duke was raking leaves on the front lawn of his home on Morin Street. He did not hear the explosion of Charles Thompson's Seneca V since he was listening to his portable radio, and his hearing was not as good as it was. But, being a police officer, he was attuned to sirens; he heard the sirens of Car Four and knew the one driving was Henry Morrison. Another siren started up, and Duke knew that it was a newer model - Car Two - belonging to Jackie Wettington. He was about to go inside his house when he heard the siren of Car One and knew that Deputy Chief Peter Randolph was also called in, and knew it had to be a serious matter. His phone rang and it was Stacey Moggin, the dispatcher for the police station; Randolph had given her a call and told her to tell Duke that an airplane and a pulp truck had collided. After asking Stacey to head to the station, Duke returned outside to find Brenda had moved her car out of the way so he could leave. When emergency sirens started wailing around town, and Brenda showed her fear, he told her not to worry since the sirens were programmed to go off when the power to the town went out. He informed her of where he's going, and they exchanged a fond, romantic goodbye. As he left, Brenda yelled and reminded him to take care of his pacemaker.
Duke got out of his car as soon as he got to the accident scene, and was met with Henry Morrison, Peter Randolph, and Second Selectman Jim Rennie. Duke was unsurprised at Rennie's presence; Rennie claimed that something big was going down and suggested that someone should get in touch with National Security, saying he didn't want to say that terrorism was involved but it might be.
Duke looks past Rennie and sees Wettington being helped up by Ernie Calvert and Johnny Carver. Perkins instantly made out that the plane hadn't been trying to land because there were too many pieces scattered around. He had also knew that the plane hadn't collided with the pulp truck since their clumps were spread apart instead of forming one. Duke questioned Rennie about the situation. Rennie was about to explain when Calvert came over, saying that there was an invisible barrier across the road and claims that that was what the plane and the truck had hit. Alden Dinsmore came over and backed him up. Carver says that Wettington had hit it as well. Duke then headed over to Wettington to check her status - her nose had been bruised, but not broken, by the Dome. She described her experience to him, and he sends her to the cars to get cleaned up. Duke, Rennie, and the others observed the strangeness of the Dome, including the fire hoses on the outer side generating only a light mist on the inner side. Duke was bemused by the whole situation, but took charge, deeply offending Rennie but not caring - officially, a Second Selectman does not outrank a police chief in a crisis. Duke sent Rennie away from the scene.
After Rennie walked away, Duke walked over to the spot where Wettington was injured and finds the spot. As he touched it, he felt the buzzing sensation Wettington described to him but instead of it passing it deepened to a searing pain in his shoulder. Immediately afterward, the pacemaker exploded in Howard Perkins's chest for getting too close to the Dome. His final moments involved seeing his own blood on the dome, remembering his wife's warning, and trying to say her name - he did not succeed, and died at the scene.
Howard Perkins' body was sealed in the Bowie Funeral Home along with the bodies of Myra Evans, Chuck Thompson, and Claudette Sanders and was buried in the rubble of the funeral home after the Visitor's Day explosion. In her time of mourning, Brenda discovered his research on Rennie's illegal activities - unfortunately, her attempt to confront Rennie on the matter ended with many deaths, including her own. Duke's evidence may have been lost in the havoc, but as it was researched through state connections, records of Rennie's misdeeds still most likely exist (even if they are moot).
- Under the Dome - Section 6 (Clustermug), Chapter 3