The good, the bad, the Enclave fanfic preview/prologue.

"How long had it been...? Some days I can remember it all, and then some days I can't even grasp those memories because I quietly weep for them often times. Twenty? No, thirty years. It seems like a lifetime ago now, a different reality. It was the peak of an era of purpose for me and all the people I knew and still know... the kind of peak that never comes again.

San Francisco and around that entire general area in the early 2240's was a very special time and place to be a part of... if you were with us. Mother America was coming back, and she was going to take care of us again at long last. Maybe it meant something to the average Joe, maybe not, in the long run.

But history is hard to know, especially in this Wasteland, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a striking blaze of glory, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time and will never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

No explanation, no skillful mixture of words, no holotapes, not even the fogged memories themselves can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive, fighting and dying for the end of the end of the world, and the beginning of a new era as we rose from our very ashes in that corner of time and the world...

My central memory of that time seems to hang on one, five, or maybe forty nights... and then a very early morning when I left Navarro half-crazy from the realization nobody wanted. I do know I was 17 at that time, Richardson had just died along with all the people I knew, my family, my life practically, back on the Rig were dead and gone. So, instead of just going back home... this pilot kid named Grissom aimed us and the 'Bird we plopped our armored asses in straight across and headed east... the faith we put in that Vault was long gone at that point.

So at a hundred miles an hour wearing full gear with ration stains on the front of me and the 'Bird having ample fuel supply, we were zooming over the hells of the Eastern Mainland and we passed along the way what would have been Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and then finally... the Capital. Well, what was left of it for us anyway. I'll never forget that fateful ride.

We weren't quite sure where to land at first until we finally got orders from Senior to land and regroup in DC as we flew over what was Las Vegas. Even after that we still weren't quite sure which altitude to maintain, and we still weren't quite sure just what in the bluest of blue hells we were going to do because we were just running. Running from... everything. But, there was one thing we were absolutely certain of no matter which way we went or what we did along the way, we would come to a place where people were probably just as terrified and lost as we were soon enough...

Before then, before we lost the Station though... there was hope in any direction, at any hour. If not across the San Francisco Bay, then just to the northwest a little, or throughout unpredictable locations all throughout depending on what we had to do... you could strike red white and blue sparks anywhere and everywhere with your bare hand. There was this phenomenal universal sense and purpose that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning, and that a light at the end of the tunnel awaited us...

And that I think... was the handle of it all. That sense of inevitable victory over the forces of evil? Any other sense but that very same one, complete and utter victory for a brighter future? We didn't need it. We thought our aura alone would prevail if all else failed and that same energy would relight the fires of America's very being... for a second time.

We had all the momentum, had every ounce of wishful thinking we could muster... and when that wasn't enough, sheer willpower and anxious tension became our adrenaline. It became our purpose, it became our feeling of a cause... like riding the crest of a tall, dwarfed by the natural, blazing sun as it protected us and the human race, extinguishing everything in our path with its righteous fire.

Even if we were wrong at the end of all this, and we were, you just had to be among us to truly understand, to truly grasp, just how close we were, just how close America really was...

And now. More than thirty years later, you can walk up on a steep hill in San Fran and gaze to the West, and with the right type of eyes, you can almost see that same beacon of hope again... that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back down.

But during all of this, even to this very day, theirs been an awful, somewhat gaping suspicion in my mind that I've finally gone over the hump, but the worst thing about it is that I don't feel tragic at all. Only weary, and sort of comfortably detached..."

-Secret Service Agent CRONOS