The Prologue is the first stage of RAGE.
The video sequence in the beginning of the game tells about the past, when a giant asteroid entered the Solar System, passed Saturn, hit the Moon on the way to Earth and then hit the planet. After that you see your Ark's people going into cryo and set asleep and after about 100 years a survivor is released from a cryogenic chamber.
After the player gains control over the protagonist, they leave the shelter and see the new world. At first, they see an old Dam Facility. After they start their way to the ground, they are attacked by some bandits, but a man in a buggy saves them and takes them to a nearby settlement.
The old world was not a quiet place. Dozens of conflicts, and some of them led to wars. Political and religious systems were mutated into something monstrous. Terrorist threats. Pollution. Disasters. And many other troubles. Perhaps that all was going to break out one day, eliminating humankind itself and rendering a once thriving planet to an envenomed desert.
But that day never came. Instead, there came 99942 Apophis, the giant asteroid given the name of the ancient god of chaos and darkness. It was expected that its strike on Earth would cause multiple severe earthquakes and tsunamis, rendering the surface lifeless and filling the atmosphere with ashes that would cover the sky, thus making the world a cold and quiet graveyard of the past civilization.
It's when the Eden Project emerged, humanity's ultimate attempt to save a portion of itself. Each of the world's superpowers participated in the endeavor creating numerous "Arks", the cryogenic shelters that would let some to survive the destruction, programmed to release the occupants at the right time as determined by the onboard A.I. To ensure their survival, the Arks' residents were injected with Nanotrites and implanted with Defibrillators, the top-notch products of the time.
The Arks were sealed when Apophis passed through a gravitational keyhole, which made it hit Moon on a tangent first. This neither stopped the asteroid nor changed its trajectory, but it caused it to lose some of its "satellites" and a noticeable part of mass with fragments, which resulted in the effects of the impact on Earth being less disastrous. This also let some people survive the disaster and the following impact winter — and that was something no one would consider possible before the catastrophe.
After over a hundred years of maintaining the cryogenic stasis, Ark 437a sustained a significant damage due to a seismic activity in the region. Two years later (106 years total) the situation only became worse, and the Ark was forced to resurface. With the remote beacon offline, the A.I. couldn't determine the Ark's current location. By that time only one cryogenic chamber was still active, the Omega 5 chamber occupied by Nicholas Raine, the former U.S. Special Forces lieutenant.
The Ark's A.I. interrupted the stasis and initiated the Nanotrite activation sequence. Both procedures were a success, and Nicholas Raine has awakened, only to acknowledge that the rest of the Ark's residents were dead, which most likely meant that the Apophis threat was not just a bad dream. (At this point the player is able to gain control over the protagonist.) The A.I. confirmed the safe egress and disengaged the pressure seals and the outer door lock, and then played a pre-recorded audio sequence:
- This is President Davis. You, the Ark volunteers, are mankind's last hope, our survival. Our very existence rests in your hands. No one will know what you will find when you awake, but remember you and the contents of these Ark will form the final barrier to the extinction of mankind. Our prayers go with you, and Godspeed.
Nicholas then tried to retrieve his ID Drive, but the A.I. was running the drive's diagnostics, with time to completion unknown, which might as well mean that the ID Drive is damaged, and the poor condition of the Ark's interior only made such an assumption quite plausible. And so Nicholas opened the outer door and left the Ark. The light of the day blinded him at first, but after a small time he adjusted his vision and saw an old dam facility below. Well, it looked like that at least this part of the world avoided the total destruction that was supposed to happen, and since there wasn't much to do up there, the protagonist advanced towards the ground — only to be attacked by some bandits.
It must be the two hundred of years of the cryogenic stasis that dulled Raine's reflexes and let some punk to drop him on the ground and practically defeat a decorated Marine he is. But a moment later a gunshot and the punk's blood that splashed his hands and face made it quite clear that he's got a helping hand. One more shot, the other punk is dead, and as Nicholas is standing up, he notices a man with a sniper rifle who starts a buggy-style vehicle and soon drives closer: "Hey you! Over here! It ain't safe here. Get in."
After seeing the world like this, Nicholas understands how rough it is, so he loots the bodies, only to find a few good old U.S. dollars. And as he seats into the buggy and notices a vaguely familiar bobblehead in front of him, he thinks that it's right when they say that the history repeats itself: it's been a few days for him, and over a century for the rest of the world, when he followed another unknown man. That meeting back then changed his life, and this one is likely to do the same thing.
Soon Raine's thoughts are interrupted by the man that saved him — "Dan Hagar", he said — and as Nicholas listens to him, he notices a strange aircraft up in the air that makes him remember of Zeppelins, though this one looks quite different. But it doesn't seem to be the right place for enjoying sightseeing. A moment later he sees two buggies on the road ahead, a man and a woman on their knees, and a few raiders — "Bandits", Dan said — with guns that remind of early Kalashnikov models.
Dan shares some information with Nicholas on the way to Hagar Settlement, the Dan's place. The Authority that offers money for Ark Survivors, so the Ark Suits are a giveaway, bandits that have their own territories where they are the only power, and also Dan says he took a great risk when saved him… OK, it's better to solve the problems one by one, and when they arrive to the settlement, Nicholas is ready to listen to his plan on how to get them all out of trouble.
- It's impossible to leave the Dam Facility area on foot. As soon as the protagonist reaches the Wasted Garage door and heads up the driveway that leads to the road above, a shot is heard (Dan?) and the protagonist drops dead.
- The dossier only becomes functional after accepting the quest "Quell the Bandit Threat".
- The diameter of the real-life asteroid 99942 Apophis is only 270 m, or 885 ft, and as deadly as it might be, it is still rather small. The video in the beginning of the game shows us a much bigger asteroid, which is especially noticeable when the in-game Apophis grazes the Moon.