Before I begin, this is a heavily speculative fan theory. However, I will be using evidence from the games to build my points on. (May contain spoilers for FO4 and New Vegas)
From the time I first started playing fallout 3, I was slightly perplexed by one thing. If this is hundreds of years after the bombs hit, why hasn’t human civilisation returned? Chernobyl managed to return to its natural state only 20 years later, and whilst that’s barely a fraction as catastrophic as worldwide nuclear annihilation, you’d have thought that some semblance of human society would have come back. Radiation doesn’t last nearly that long (it “decays” after a certain point) and yet it’s still going strong.
But then, as I explored more and more terminals in the game, I found something very interesting. The world before the nuclear apocalypse wasn’t exactly a utopia: the things that vault etc were doing with the approval of the US government is the most obvious testament to that fact, and if they were allowing Vault-Tec to do these awful things, one can only imagine what other horrors the government and private corporations both had in store for their citizens. And then it hit me. The reason why the radiation hasn’t decayed, and the reason why society hasn’t come back, is because someone doesn’t want it to. There is a cabal, an organisation so secret that not even the institute or the Enclave know about it, that operates throughout the entirety of the USA, constantly manipulating events so that society doesn’t come back and repeat the horrors of the past. They also are responsible for replenishing the radiation sources so they don’t decay. And the more I play these games, the more convinced I become.
Every single time society starts to make a comeback, some mysterious, “anomalous” event happens to stop it. Take the failed Commonwealth Provisional Government in Fallout 4. That looked like a promising start to negotiations, until a synth from the Institute sabotaged the whole thing and destroyed it. The weird thing is, the Institute claims to have absolutely no knowledge of this event; they had no issue with the CPG. So why did their synth go AWOL? A simple glitch perhaps? Or evidence of someone far more sinister at play?
And then we move on to New Vegas:Lonesome Road. Despite the roadblocks, it seems that the US is not entirely immune to new governments rising up. Caeser’s Legion, the NCR and the mysterious location in the Divide where Ulysses lived in, all show signs of the start of new societies. And yet, Ulysses’ hometown is destroyed by the launch codes brought to the location unknowingly by the Courier. Question: Who, out of the blue, sends the Nuclear launch codes to a thriving community in the hopes that they’ll blow themselves up? The game never answers this critical bit of info. And finally, we move onto the NCR and the Legion. In turns out that Ulysses is intent on destroying both of these civilisations, because he believes they are corrupt. I don’t think he knew he was working for this Cabal that rules the US, but I do think they manipulated him into become their asset in the hopes he would do something that would do their dirty work for them and stop these governments before they had a chance to repeat history.
If they ever made a final fallout game, I think these guys should be the villains. They could be exposed and destroyed, giving society the chance to rebuild, or they could be helped by the player to last forever, meaning the US and the world will constantly be stuck in this purgatory whilst they live, comfortable and safe, in their towers and vaults in some remote part of the USA…
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