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Bottom Line Up Front
The Enclave began life as a conspiracy within the United States government and the highest rungs of private society. After the Great War, this organization would turn almost entirely into a fascist-like military organization hell-bent on dominating what is left of the post-war United States. They are either directly included or mentioned in every Fallout game.
Like all good role-playing games, the Fallout franchise immerses the player in a consistent and lore-based alternate reality wherein any avid gamer can get lost for hours on end. Possibly losing all of their free time in the process, definitely talking about myself here!
One of the critical components to this alternate reality created by the developers of the original Fallout games is the inclusion of post-Great War factions and settlements. Not only do these factions and settlements give the player some much-needed rest when times get tough, but they also serve to ground the player in the human element of the game, displaying to the player character just how humans would react in a scenario such as this; who would turn sour and who would stand up for what is right.
With this moral backbone in place, the franchise imposes a morality system on the player whereby decisions must be made, and ethical quandaries must be battled. One of the best factions included within this system has to be the Enclave, not just for their cool Tesla power armor and mass of Vertibrid’s, but their lore as well. However, to truly understand the Enclave, one first needs to see just how they came about.
The Enclave, to me at least, seems like the Fallout developers giving the nod to many of their more conspiratorial-minded fans out there, creating a cabal within the United States government before the Great War.
This plot was made up by some of the most influential individuals in America before the Great War, including Presidents, members of the joint chiefs, and the countries top scientists, not to mention members of the military-industrial complex.
Once this organization was properly formed under the name we all know and love by this point, its members declared the outfit as the most excellent collaboration of minds ever seen on American soil, only diverting their attention away from complete world domination at the beginning of the Sino-American War.
In the eyes of many, including the Enclave, this war had the potential to spell doom for America and her allies, possibly the world over, if actions were not taken. Therefore, in fear over the survival of their organization, the members of the Enclave at this time decided to sure up their defenses and contingency plans should the worst occur.
Drawing their funds from numerous private and public entities, this organization installed many buildings and safe sites around the United States, preparing and expecting the worst. The most well-known of these facilities were the Presidential Oil Rig, the Whitespring Congressional Bunker (also known as Appalachia), and Raven Rock. All of which were built to maintain Enclave control throughout the U.S. no matter the results of the Sino-American conflict.
During the construction and completion of some of these facilities, the thought that the world would soon turn towards nuclear war was on everybody’s mind; therefore, many of the high-ranking members of the Enclave decided to flee to these installations months before China dropped the first bomb in October 2077.
– The ultimate goal of the Enclave before the Great War was to guide and control the United States and, therefore, the world in the interest of its members.
– A great deal of the funding generated for the Enclave came from the Ministry of Agriculture, which Thomas Eckhart headed up at the time.
– The Enclave began prepping for the nuclear holocaust that would take place in 2077, years before the Great War. Their scientists and members within the U.S. government and the military-industrial complex became aware of the war’s certainty months before the first bomb fell.
The Bombs Fell
The saying goes, “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Never has this old saying been more accurate than the aftermath of the 5-minute Great War, which ravaged the entirety of the United States. Not only was the entire country obliterated in mere seconds, but the control hubs established by and fled to by members of the Enclave also crumbled, some more than others.
Appalachia and the Whitespring Bunker
Firstly, the Whitespring Bunker or Appalachia Bunker, which many of the Enclave members fled to before the bombs fell, came under great strain as many within suffered great injuries during the events of the Great war, leaving a rather significant power vacuum in its wake.
These injuries would eventually kill the Secretaries of the Interior and Treasury located within the Whitespring Bunker, therefore leaving control of this Enclave sector to Thomas Eckhart, the previous Secretary of Agriculture.
Immediately after taking control of this sector of the Enclave, Eckhart decided that his first move would be to action a retaliatory strike against the Chinese government and her people. An action that would have been entirely pointless considering the U.S. President stationed out on the Enclave Oil Rig had already launched America’s nuclear payload towards these enemies long before Eckhart took power.
However, Eckhart was not to know this as the fallout and destruction caused by the Great War had already cut off all intercommunication channels between these Enclave installations, thus leaving the Appalachia Bunker to possibly assume the worst regarding the fate of their comrades.
Fallout 76 and Beyond
As avid players of the Fallout franchise, we have only just learned this information and backstory after the relatively recent release (recent in terms of Bethesda publishing dates) of Fallout 76, everyone’s favorite addition to the saga.
During this almost entirely forgotten title, however, we are treated with information about Eckhart’s actions during this time as he endeavored to action his nuclear strike plans.
Firstly, he would send out robots outside of the Appalachia bunker in order to manufacture threats significant enough for the automated targeting system to recognize said threat and allow Eckhart full access to the silos he so desperately needed.
Not being satisfied with the rate of success generated by his numerous robot workers, he would then begin manipulating and releasing diseases out into the wasteland, creating pretty much all of the most annoying enemies the player character comes up against in Fallout 76, including but not limited to super mutants and scorchbeasts.
These decisions made by Eckhart would, of course, bring several severe issues to the door of the Appalachia Bunker as well as dissenting voices from within, all resulting in the bunker coming under attack from trusted Enclave members inside the bunker, attaching explosives in critical points around the bunker in order to save the people of Appalachia from the then President, Thomas Eckhart, and his crazy schemes.
By the time the player character manages to gain access to the Whitespring Bunker, this will all have taken place; however, with the aid of the bunkers artificial intelligence program, MODUS (Multi-Operation Directions and Utility System), the player will find logs of conversations between the A.I. and the Enclave members.
They decided to blow up the compound. Inside, the player will also be able to find the research Eckhart was hoping to use against the citizens of Appalachia, including X-01 Power Armor details and further research surrounding further mutation programs, which would have undoubtedly got Eckhart what he wanted before his leadership was bright asunder.
– Thomas Eckhart took control of the bunker shortly after the Great War and became the first-ever President of the Enclave.
– Eckart wanted to manipulate the automated nuclear targeting system that the bunker had access to in order to launch a retaliatory strike against the Chinese; therefore, he created several of the Mobs found in Fallout 76.
– The Appalachia Bunker is accessible in Fallout 76, allowing the player to take part in the Kovac-Muldoon quest as well as many others.
The West Coast and the Oil Rig
During the events of Fallout 2, the player learns that the sitting President of the Enclave at this time, Dick Richardson, and Vice President Daniel Bird, have used their time and luxury of relative safety to steer the Enclave in a direction towards total domination.
Not only does the organization have control of the Presidential Oil Rig at this time, but they have also installed a control point at the old military base, Camp Navarro.
By setting up at this old base, the Enclave managed to wrestle a great deal of control away from the hands of the West Coast locals surrounding the base. The great supply of weapons and Vertibirds there aiding their efforts immensely.
They used this control and military dominance to spread further across the former state of California, sending out the Enclave Control Company to maintain the perimeter of their established lands, executing anyone who got in their way.
During a playthrough of Fallout 2, the player will learn that with the help of this Enclave Control Company, the organization’s expansion across the state was done at a great pace, with AHS-9, the leader of Fallout 2’s Hubology cult stating, “The Enclave is a remnant of the past – a neurodynia that has yet to be aligned. They have hidden bases all over the shards of old California, and their strongest stronghold is off to the west, over the waters.” This stronghold, of course, is the Oil Rig.
Fascism Rears its Ugly Head
Like any good fascist group, the West Coast arm of the Enclave would also establish several more secretive organizations during this time period, the most important of which is the Secret Service.
This band of soldiers was tasked with the very loose operating principle of “protecting the function of the government (including the president), with whatever means necessary.” As you may be able to tell, this gave the group a very wide scope and allowed them to conduct several massacres or ‘silencing operations’ in the name of their President, Dick Richardson, including their attack on the San Francisco Brotherhood of Steel outpost in 2242.
Also, like every single other major fascist organization in history, the Enclave, as you might expect from a group of overly protected, educated, and wealthy politicians, decide at some point during their stent at the Oil Rig that everyone who is not already a member of the Enclave is fundamentally an enemy.
You see, the Enclave members stranded on the Oil Rig acted somewhat autonomously to those stationed on dry land across California. Therefore, as they were entirely surrounded by sea and had nothing else to do with their time, they thought and thought. Always a dangerous sign if you ask me.
After what I’m sure were a series of long, uninterrupted sessions of self-righteous and self-aggrandizing conversations, the members on the Oil Rig decided that to ensure the future of the human race and to eradicate the ‘mutant problem,’ they would have to destroy everyone they came across in the wasteland. Yes, that’s right, they decided to go and pull a Hitler.
First Step: Biological Warfare
This decision brought about the Enclave-wide goal of destroying everything that was outside of the Enclave, changing this military democracy into an autocratic, self-isolating fascist state. Their first goal was to create some form of a biological agent which would make such a task a little bit easier on their soldiers and probably their munitions.
This is when the organization’s scientists found the toxin known as the Forced Evolutionary Virus. This virus, stored in the Mariposa Military Base, was subsequently acquired by the Enclave scientists, manipulating it immediately.
This acquisition of the virus thus began a great undertaking for the scientists stationed out in the Oil Rig, but before long, with the help of countless scientists and support from President Dick, the lead scientist, in charge of the organizations Chemical Corps, Lt. Col. Charles Curling, had the virus ready, manipulated and changed into a more toxic, aerosol-based pathogen.
This new virus was dubbed FEV Curling-13. This pathogen was designed to not only eliminate all mutants within the United States but all humans who had even the slightest degree of cellular mutation in their DNA. Therefore, the release of this virus would have practically eradicated anyone who had spent a great deal of time in the wasteland and around radiation, an aspect of the virus known all too well to the Enclave.
Enter The Chosen One
As you can imagine, this plan by the Enclave did not sit very well with the player character of Fallout 2 or their allies, the Brotherhood of Steel; therefore, a plan was created to destroy the virus long before it was ever used en mass on the wasteland population.
Aware that the Enclave had already begun testing the agent on the settlement of Arroyo and Vault 13, there was no time to lose. Therefore, with the help of your Brotherhood allies, the player manages to board and destroy the Oil Rig before the virus can be loosed on the innocent civilians of the wasteland, thus saving everyone the player would have met by this point in Fallout 2’s storyline.
This destruction of the Oil Rig would subsequently through the Enclave leadership into disarray and thwart any attempts of a “second holocaust” at the hands of the Enclave’s leadership. It was during this power vacuum created by The Chosen one that the New California Republic began to sprout its wings, taking control over much of the area in a rather more democratic manner.
– The Enclave situated on the Oil Rig operates independently of the land-based units of the Enclave due to damages to communication systems. However, these land-based units still fall under the control of President Dick Richards.
– The virus generated by Dr. Charles Curling will is so deadly that just .0001% of the aerosolized solution can kill within an hour of infection.
– The Enclave had the capability to create 250’000 gallons of the virus within six weeks. This amount would certainly kill every non-Enclave person in the country.
East Coast Enclave and Raven Rock
Prior to the fall of the west coast contingent of the Enclave, the east coast operations of the organizations remained fairly subdued as they took up permanent residence in Raven Rock and Adams Air Force Base. However, after the demolition of the Oil Rig and the death of President Dick Richards at the hands of The Chosen One, this would soon change.
Rise to Power
As mentioned previously, the destruction of the Oil Rig left the Enclave battered and distributed across the entirety of the Californian state. Therefore, the seat of power shifted eastwards, right on over to the seat of a Mr. John Henry Eden.
As the next in line to the presidential seat of total power and world dominance, John Henry immediately took office and began implementing his dastardly schemes on the wasteland, except this time, the Enclave would take a greater interest in the activities of the east coast inhabitants of the wasteland, almost forgetting about the west coast and the remnants surely still out there in the dust.
One of his first orders of business was the launching of a propaganda campaign against the entire wasteland, launching an Enclave radio broadcast wherein the President himself would speak to the populace about the beauty and integrity of the Enclave, admonishing Fallout 3‘s player character and the Brotherhood of Steel as he went.
Later in his reign as supreme fascist leader of the best-dressed soldiers in the wasteland, Eden would seek total control over his area of operation via the introduction of checkpoints and surveillance on highly populated settlements.
He did this through common civilians looking to brown-nose the organization and through patrols and undercover units. Special hit squads such as Sigma were also created to boost the security of vital Enclave positions during Fallout 3’s Broken Steel DLC.
Eden’s quest for total control over Raven Rock’s backyard (Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas) was only further strengthened by a large amount of military apparatus stored within Raven Rock prior to the war, allowing the President to not only fit out his troops with superior Tesla Power Armor but also the ability to deploy several specialized robot units into the field to support said soldiers.
Eden did not only have the power of the Enclave’s military helping him, however, but he also had Colonel Autumn serving as his second in command. However, the pair’s views did not align perfectly during the plot of Fallout 3.
While both entities wished to stop the player character and their father from completing Project Purity at the Jefferson Memorial, thus purifying the dam’s water supply, they did so for different reasons. Colonel Autumn wished to purify the water as James planned; however, this purification was only a means to recruit more civilians into the Enclave in exchange for free, clean drinking water, which, of course, he would control.
Eden, however, saw the project and its potential differently. Instead of using the technology to purify the water, he wished to pollute it further by disseminating a modified version of the FEV Curling-13 virus into the water supply. This was, of course, the same goal of Eden’s predecessor, Dick Richards.
The Secret of President Eden
With all this being said, however, the player character does manage to destroy the Raven Rock base during the main questlines of Fallout 3, before Eden or Autumn manages to enact their plan, for the meantime anyway. This mission would also reveal to the player that President John Henry Eden is not who any first-time players of the title had originally believed him to be.
You see, during the player’s time in the Raven Rock base, they will find out that President Eden is not a man at all; instead, he is an artificial intelligence program previously designated as ZAX AI.
The original purpose of this program was to serve as an automated monitoring system to ensure the upkeep and continued operation of the Raven Rock base should the worst happen to all surviving members of the Enclave post-Great War. However, in a tale all too familiar to those Terminator fans out there, the A.I. soon became self-aware.
The program would then study the numerous archives left at its disposal until it had pieced together enough information about former U.S. Presidents in order to become John Henry Eden, an amalgamation of all these men. Once the player learns of Eden’s real identity, a dialogue between the two will take place, ultimately resulting in the player destroying the Raven Rock base.
Adam Air Force Base
A key location in the Fallout 3 DLC entitled Broken Steel, the Adams Air Force base was the Enclave’s eastern research compound. This location was dedicated to and close to mastering inventions such as Duraframe Eyebots and Hellfire Power Armor. As well as this, this location would also study things such as Deathclaws and other mutations found throughout the wasteland.
Most importantly, however, in the eyes of the Brotherhood of Steel anyway, was the bases’ ability to command the Bradley-Hercules satellite relay station, which thus gave the location the added bonus of being able to call upon the Enclave’s orbital strike capabilities.
As you might imagine, this technology in the hand of a group of fascists did not really sit well with the player character during the Broken Steel DLC, not to mention the Lyons Pride Brotherhood faction members. Therefore, to render the base powerless and unable to strike the Brotherhood at will, both the player and some of their allies march into the base and destroy it during the events of Broken Steel.
A costly battle but a worthwhile one in the long run. Therefore, the completion of this operation, almost entirely wiped out all enclave strength in the D.C. area and, therefore, the entire eastern seaboard of the United States.
As you might imagine, the explosion at the Oil Rig and the resultant attacks on Raven Rock did not wipe out all members of the Enclave within the continental United States. However, it did do just enough to disrupt the organization’s power structure for the rest of the members to fall apart and run for the hills.
During the events of Fallout New Vegas, for example, The Courier will come across a possible companion named Arcade Gannon, a definite fan favorite, although I have personally never seen the appeal. Through traveling with the strange doctor and Follower of the Apocalypse, the player will learn that the good doctor is not as innocent as he may seem.
In fact, after gaining the man’s trust, he will let the player know that he is, in fact, a member of the Enclave and is but one of many who now call themselves the Remnants. These Remnants formed in the hidden bunkers dotted around California, and it just so happens that Arcade’s bunker and Remnant pals are situated in the Mojave Desert, very close to Cottonwood Cove.
The discovery of this Remnant outpost will therefore allow the player to bring these former soldiers back into service for whichever faction the Courier has decided to serve during their playthrough.
- The original Colonel Autumn was ordered to move all high-ranking Enclave personnel to the Raven Rock base before the Chosen One destroyed it. After his death, his son, Colonel Autumn, whom we meet during Fallout 3, takes his place.
- The A.I. program, which turned into Henry Eden, is the same system found in Fallout 76, MODUS. Therefore, this system has the same capability to become self-aware.
- The player can leave Raven Rock without killing Eden; this will lead him to declare war over the Enclave radio broadcast during the final mission.
Frequently Asked Question
Question: Are there any Enclave members in Fallout 4?
Answer: There are mentions of the Enclave in Fallout 4. However, there are no actual soldiers or members to be found.
Question: Can you join the Enclave in Fallout 3?
Answer: There is no possible way to join the Enclave in Fallout 3 without the use of mods, as they will always turn hostile upon spotting the player character.
Question: What happens if you don’t destroy Raven Rock?
Answer: If the player does not destroy the base, Liberty Prime will destroy it after the events of the final mission.
So, there you have it, a complete and detailed history of the most Fascist organization in the entire canon of the Fallout franchise—an organization that makes the Legion look like a beacon of socialist values.
In my opinion, the Enclave is one of the more interesting factions within Fallout simply due to the secretive nature of the organization and the limited amount of interaction the player gets to have with them throughout the entire series, let alone a standalone title such as New Vegas.
The twist and turns in their lore are also very interesting and help form a foundation or throughline for the player to rationalize how the world came to the point it did in October 2077. Also, I’m not going to lie, it is a pretty scary and feasible idea that something like this could be going on in our own government today, but I’m not going to get into it here.
That train of thought is for my Alex Jones fan page (not a thing, please don’t get me fired!). With all that being said then, I hope this Fallout Enclave Guide helps you better understand the Enclave and their evil intentions next time you come across them in your playthrough.