Regardless of the player’s choices in Fallout 3, we know for a fact that the Lyons Brotherhood of Steel managed to defeat the Enclave and drive them out of the Capital Wasteland. Although by the events of Fallout 4, a decade after their defeat, we don’t have a clear answer to what happened to the Enclave after they lost the Brotherhood-Enclave War. However, due to unlikely sources, I have a theory about their fate following their defeat in DC in 2278.
While it is possible that after the destruction of the mobile base crawler at Adams Air Force Base, the remaining Enclave forces could have just scattered into the wasteland, it is unlikely. If there is one thing that we know about the Enclave, it’s that they have the survival skills of a roach. In the 36 year period between the start of Fallout 2 and end of Fallout 3 (2242-2278) the Enclave suffered major losses at their own base of operations. First their off shore oil rig to the Chosen One, then they lost Navarro to the NCR four years later. Less than a full year after arriving in the Capital Wasteland both their primary base at Raven Rock and contingency base at Adams Air Force base are destroyed by Lone Wanderer. Their losses are much larger even if you consider the larger outposts they also lost, such as the Jefferson Memorial. At this point, we can assume that they are quite skilled at remaining organized and rebuilding their forces even after suffering heavy losses.
This raises the question of if they managed to stick together, where did they go? Since the only mention of the Enclave in Fallout 4 was in the Brotherhood of Steel terminals, it’s likely that they didn’t head north to attempt to gain control of the technological hotspot of the Commonwealth. Believing that they are America’s “best hope” it is unlikely they would leave the US to regroup across the ocean in Europe (not to mention that they would probably not have the resources left to move a large amount of troops across an entire ocean). This leaves them with two options: head back west or south.
While we have no actual proof of where they might have went, we can use their previous behavior to make an estimated guess. In every game they have appeared in, they have always used some prewar bunker or fortress as their base of operations, often equipped with top of the line technology. Raven Rock, the mobile base crawler, and the oil rig were all major examples of this. However, by 2278 almost of the potential bases that we have heard of have been either destroyed or occupied by powerful enemy forces. Fortunately, there are three exceptions to this.
The first and least likely potential base is the remnants bunker from Fallout New Vegas in the Mojave Wasteland. While the bunker is sealed and mostly abandoned, it has managed to remain hidden and out of the control of outside forces. However the reason why it’s so unlikely the Enclave would have retreated to it is because of it’s almost two and a half thousand miles away from DC. If the Enclave were willing to travel this far, their weakened forces would have to travel directly through the land controlled by Caesar’s Legion on the way there. Even if they managed to reach the Mojave, they would also have to deal with the other occupying forces there that would likely see them as a threat: the NCR and Robert House. The amount of effort it would take to secure the bunker and hold it could possibly result in the Enclave’s destruction, making it unlikely.
The second, much more likely, option would be travel to Chicago and occupy the base there. While Chicago is much closer than Vegas (just under 700 miles from DC), there is another problem: we honestly know almost nothing about it. Since Fallout: Tactics’ canon is questionable, almost everything we have heard about Chicago and the possible bunker there is open to speculation. It might even be possible that the Enclave bunker there doesn’t even exist. With out any concrete evidence that the bunker exists, it is unlikely the Enclave would be willing to make the journey there to find out.
Finally this leaves us with the most likely option. The one potentially remaining Enclave outpost that is likely still in functioning condition: the Enclave bunker below the Whitespring Resort in Appalachia from Fallout 76. While it might sound slightly ridiculous, if you think about it actually makes the most sense. The distance from DC to West Virginia is less than half of that to get to Chicago. While all the information we know about the bunker is possibly outdated considering Fallout 3 takes place 200 years after the war instead of 25 like Fallout 76, it is quite possible that the bunker is still running. MODUS managed to restore the bunker to its former state prior to the civil war that destroyed the Appalachian Enclave forces by himself and the events of Fallout 76 give us no reason that his actions or control over the bunker would change. While it is possible something could have happened to the bunker between the events of 76 and 3, we have no evidence to prove it. It is actually quite likely that following the destruction of the mobile base crawler, that MODUS could have managed to make contact with the surviving members of the Enclave just like John Henry Eden did after the destruction of the Enclave oil ring in Fallout 2. We also know that MODUS likely has the signal power to reach the Enclave in DC since the players in 76 can help boost his signal in the Dropped Connection Event. The combination of these factors makes it extremely likely that the Enclave would have attempted to retreat to the Whitespring bunker after Fallout 3.
However, there is one challenge they could encounter once they arrive in Appalachia: the residents. In Fallout 76 we learn, that unlike most of the dwellers ofVault-Tec Vaults that managed to open, the original Vault 76 dwellers weren’t push overs. They managed to not only survive the Scorched Plague that had destroyed every other faction before the vault opened, but also eliminate the scorched plague as a threat to future residents all together (how else could humans come back in the Wastlanders DLC without just contracting the plague too?). Even with pretty much everything else in the wasteland trying to kill or eat them, they still managed to overcome every obstacle they were presented with. It is quite possible to assume that their descendants would be just as capable of defending themselves from equal threats. Honestly for all we know there probably quite a few of the original dwellers left by the events of Fallout 3 considering they are constantly rolling around in radiation and getting mutations. It’s quite possible that many could have turned into ghouls or gotten some kind of anti aging mutation (kinda like the Mysterious Stranger). Regardless, the residents of Appalachia are definitely stronger and more organized than the average wastelander. The reason this would be a problem is because these dwellers would be in control of the bunker. Considering how obsessed the Enclave are with “preserving humanity in a pure form” and the fact that many dwellers (original or descendants) would likely have willing mutated themselves with serums from the bunker or radiation, the Enclave would likely try to kill the dwellers and take the bunker for themselves. Unfortunately for them, attempting to take the bunker by force would lead to disaster due to several factors including the fact that they lost a good portion of their power after their defeat in the Capital Wasteland and the dwellers are likely well organized fighters with significant power at their disposal (control of the nuke silos, the ability to produce high tier power armor from just scrap, and any mutation they have that would likely help in any fight). After all they lost in their war with the brotherhood in DC, attempting to start another one in Appalachia with its residents would quite possibly lead the Enclave to be destroyed once and for all. If this were the case it is quite possible a few remnants could have attempt to flee west with hopes that there is a safe bunker in Chicago, while some survivors would just surrender. Since at this point they would have suffered 3 major losses in just the span of about 2 years and have nowhere else to go, I find it really unlikely that even the extremists in their army would really have to will to keep fighting. These survivors would likely be incorporated into the general population of Appalachia.
In short, considering all we know about the Enclave and their holdings in the wasteland, it’s highly likely they would have traveled to Appalachia after Fallout 3 only to be finally destroyed by the dwellers there. At least that’s at least my theory on what happened to them. What do you guys think? Sorry for the long post, just wanted to get my full point across.
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