|For the AI overseer of Tibbets' Prison, see ODYSSEUS.|
For the president of the United States, see Ulysses S. Grant.
Ulysses is a courier and former Frumentarius of Caesar's Legion. In 2281, he was one of seven couriers hired by Victor to carry strange packages to the New Vegas Strip, but his delivery was left to the Courier after Ulysses' mysterious disappearance. He serves as the main antagonist of Lonesome Road, as well as the unseen secondary antagonist in Dead Money, Honest Hearts, and Old World Blues.
An experienced warrior and scout, Ulysses is a crafty, resourceful, and dangerously intelligent man, who is capable of surviving even in the most hostile and inhospitable of terrains. His worldview has mainly been formed by two traumatic events in his past: the loss of his old home to Caesar's Legion and the loss of his new home to the Courier and the New California Republic. These events have made Ulysses obsessed with history and symbols and especially how individuals can impact the former and effectively become the latter. Now, he longs for crippling both the Legion and the NCR's war efforts, seeing both their ideals and campaigns of expansion as the wrong answers to mankind's future, and to finally settle his old score with the Courier.
- 1 Background
- 2 Relationships
- 3 Interactions with the player character
- 4 Inventory
- 5 Notes
- 6 Notable quotes
- 7 Appearances
- 8 Behind the scenes
- 9 Gallery
- 10 References
The Twisted Hairs
Ulysses was once a member of the Twisted Hairs, a powerful tribe in Arizona that forged an alliance with the fledgling Caesar's Legion in 2247, and became its main scouting force during the conquest of Arizona. Ulysses was one of the most successful scouts in the Twisted Hairs, traveling vast distances in search of the enemies of both his and Caesar's tribes. His scouting ability was supplemented by his ability to live off the land, having acute knowledge of herbal remedies and medicines. However, once the Legion's campaign ended in Arizona, Caesar promptly rewarded their aid by breaking the alliance and betraying them; the Twisted Hairs were conquered and enslaved just as he had done to all the other tribes of Arizona. Their tribal identity was erased and those who resisted were crucified along the sides of I-40.
Vulpes Inculta's pacification of Dry Wells was a particularly painful moment for Ulysses, though his dedication to Caesar and the flag of the Bull prevented his desertion. This is when he took his moniker of "Ulysses," alluding to the man who fought during a time of two flags, and he had to make them one. Thanks to his ability and his forceful personality, he quickly became an important, indispensable frumentarius of the Caesar's Legion, walking the wastes as a nondescript and unnoticeable courier. Caesar told him to kill no other member of this profession since, in fact, many couriers were spies for the Legion as well. In 2274 after the NCR reached Hoover Dam, Ulysses crossed the Colorado and was the first among the Legion to see both the Dam and the NCR - a nation great enough to challenge Caesar himself. Returning across the Colorado River, Ulysses went back to Caesar and spoke with him about Hoover Dam and the impeding republic. This Old World symbol became an object of obsession for Caesar, a great symbol to focus his people on. Ulysses however, believed Hoover Dam might kill Caesar, regardless of whether he won or lost. Ulysses even witnessed Caesar's punishment of Joshua Graham following the Legion defeat at the First Battle of Hoover Dam, cementing that Caesar would have this dam at any cost.
Ulysses continued to walk the wastes, exploring the wastelands for Caesar. Between 2274 and 2277, he discovered a community called "The Divide" which was, in his own words, "a nation taking its first breath", surrounded and shaped by the symbols of the Old World, with the potential to become a real homeland for Ulysses, beyond the lies and everything else, and a second chance, a new way of thinking out of the Legion. To Ulysses' dismay, the prosperous community was discovered and annexed by the NCR, which in turn drew the attention of Caesar, who sent in a small army to take it over. Ulysses had tentative plans to save the community, but before he could act, the Courier, hired by the NCR, unintentionally brought a package from Navarro containing the activated ICBM launch codes.
Ulysses was fascinated by the package, bearing the sigil of pre-War America, but also one he had never seen before. This device turned out to be a messenger of destruction: someone activated the device, which began "speaking". This, in turn, activated several of the still-active nuclear warheads left in underground silos since the Great War. The results were immediate and devastating; buried deep beneath Hopeville and Ashton, the warheads answered the call in the only way they could: detonation. The land trembled as underground detonations split the earth, killing the settlers and burying both the NCR companies holding the area and Caesar's Legion guerrillas dispatched to cut the supply lines running through the Divide to Hoover Dam.
This disaster nearly killed Ulysses, but he was saved by several medical eyebots, who had also been activated when the package was turned on; he speculated that this was because they had recognized the flag of America on his back, believing him to be a pre-war US soldier. Ulysses' life was changed that day, which showed him how a single individual could change history, or erase it. As a survivor of the Divide, he held the Courier responsible for the destruction of the place that he believed could have been his true home, "larger than the Bear, greater than the Bull." At the same time, it inspired him. In 2277, he returned to Caesar, learning that the First Battle of Hoover Dam ended in the defeat of Caesar's Legion.
Meeting the White Legs
In the same year, Caesar sent Ulysses to the Great Salt Lake as his emissary, to rally the White Legs against New Canaan and watch over them as they undertook Caesar's test: to cut off the NCR supply lines running through Utah, and to destroy New Canaan, killing the still-living Joshua Graham along with it. He became their mentor; the White Legs called him the "Flag-Bearer" for the flag staff he carried. He taught them the values of the Legion, showed them numerous supply caches and bunkers hidden across Utah (like Spanish Fork) that gave them the weapons that they became known for, all the while lying about Caesar's pride in those who used such weapons. The act of deceit posed some problems in his mind; he compared himself to Vulpes Inculta, the man who had betrayed his former tribe. He was an inspiring presence, but not in the way he wanted to be; the White Legs began to honor him instead of the Legion. After the plundering of New Canaan, he observed that the White Legs began to braid their hair into dreadlocks, as he did. For them, it was a sign of respect for their mentor; for Ulysses, it was a hollow mockery of the ways of his destroyed tribe, the Twisted Hairs, because the significance of the braids was completely unknown to the White Legs. But even then, the braids reminded him of who he was and forced him to realize what he had become.
Shortly after the destruction of New Canaan, Ulysses finished his duties to Caesar and left the White Legs to their own devices. He set out looking for ways to change history himself, and find a way to reawaken America, seeing it as having peaceful yet strong places like the Divide before its destruction, and thinking that the NCR and the Caesar's Legion had no long-term answer for the future of humanity. He retired to Wolfhorn ranch for a time, to collect his thoughts, appearing to be a successful bighorner rancher  and roaming, sometimes as a courier.
The Big Empty
Sometime later, during his mission to reawaken America, he found Big MT by tracking the irregular weather patterns, knowing the Divide's storms were caused by man and not nature. He followed this inclement weather like following a river current, leaving painted emblems matching the flag on his back in case he lost his way, or as a trail for any who might follow, like the Courier. Ulysses finally came to the crater, where he found the Old World facility and the X-17 meteorological station, still active.
While there, he was caught up in the conflict between Knight Royce of the Circle of Steel and Father Elijah. At some point, after Elijah spoke with the Think Tank, Ulysses and Elijah made contact. He directed the rogue elder to the Sierra Madre, apparently knowing it would eventually become Elijah's grave. Ulysses would then rescue Royce from the Y-17 medical facility, nursing her back to health in a nearby cave. From Christine, he learned more about the Brotherhood of Steel, enough to decide the Brotherhood was not able to forge the future he wanted to live in. In payment, Christine gave him an old recorder she had managed to repair, which he used to record the logs he left scattered across the Divide.
Ulysses spoke with the Think Tank, specifically Doctor Klein, who recalls him as a melancholy fellow who asked a lot about history. Ulysses also spoke with Doctor Mobius. While at the Big Empty, he questioned the Think Tank: "Who are you, that do not know your history?" This question awakened them and they briefly remembered America, the flag on Ulysses' back – not just a flag, but a place, an idea they had cared for once before. After this awakening, the Think Tank told him what "still carries America's voice", deep in the heart of the Divide: the "Divide giants" – nuclear missile silos scattered across the ravaged landscape and the device still there to activate them. Whether by their own hand or Mobius', the Think Tank's memory of Ulysses' question was later erased to perpetuate their stay in the Big Empty. Ulysses departed, deciding to reshape the post-apocalyptic world single-handedly, much like the Courier reshaped the Divide.
In 2281, Ulysses was hired by Victor to carry the platinum chip to the Strip's North Gate. He walked the I-15 to Primm and the Mojave Express office, just as the Courier would, to receive the delivery order, and was about to accept the job until he saw the Courier's name on the list. He asked Johnson Nash if the Courier's name was genuine since he thought the Courier had died at the Divide. Nash informed him the Courier was still alive. In his desire to see the Courier dead and by respect of the old order of Caesar, Ulysses said, "No, let Courier Six carry the package", expecting the Mojave Wasteland to kill the Courier without having to intervene and then left without another word.
Years of tracking the Courier proved to be fruitless, and Ulysses determined the Courier would have to come to him. On October 19, Ulysses broadcasts a simple message intended for the Courier: the coordinates for the canyon wreckage west of Primm, and the words "Courier Six. -Ulysses", wanting to destroy their new home in his reshaping of America before their eyes, as the Courier did for him with the Divide. He made sure to host the Courier personally; the message itself is not importable, but the meaning is. Ulysses had to be sure his words would not be lost in paper, ink, or the voices of others. Resolute the Courier would walk roads no other courier would, Ulysses lured them to the Divide to walk the road ahead and see what they truly brought to the Divide.
When he returned to the Mojave from Big MT, he recorded several entries on his philosophies, including his stances on Big MT, Caesar's Legion, the White Legs and history itself. He never intended for the Courier to find them, casting them out into the Divide, letting the storms spread them; he needed to get his thoughts together in one place so history might be able to hear what he thought. He was also quite vocal about his ideas and shares them with the Courier without invitation.
Ulysses does not hold as much respect for Caesar's Legion as one would expect him to. He understands that Caesar is the only thing holding the Legion together; once he is gone, the Legion will regress and fall back into warring tribes. However, he still respects the Legion more than the New California Republic: In his opinion, the Legion is far better than the NCR at maintaining an empire and is not at war in itself.
Ulysses harbors a lot of hate for the New California Republic. He implies that their spirit is similar to their flag: they are split like a two-headed bear, trying to go in different directions but getting nowhere. He feels the NCR is too busy carving up the Mojave with how civilization should be to see how things truly are. They rely too heavily on laws that do not hold water in the Mojave and are stretched too thin to protect their borders. In the sharpest of irony, the NCR kills people by trying to protect them, and are too blind to see what it is they are creating. All things considered, the NCR and the Legion both carry Old World ideals into a new world that cannot foster them and does not need them.
Being in between Caesar's Legion and the New California Republic, New Vegas is also of importance to Ulysses. Despite his disloyalty to the Bull and the Bear, he does not think an independent New Vegas is the solution either; there is no future allying with Mr. House or Yes-Man, and by extension, the Courier ruling New Vegas themselves. The insides of New Vegas' walls could be considered one of the safest places in the Mojave, but it is what is inside the walls of Vegas that worries Ulysses. Mr. House selfishly let the entire world burn while he protected his Las Vegas from the Great War, and given another chance, he would do it again. If anything, New Vegas is proof enough that House cannot let go of the Old World; he propped up what was and what should have been left behind and Ulysses does not want to be a part of that world. Should House remain independent of foreign influence, it is only a matter of time before his walls spread and the Mojave becomes New Vegas entirely. The lights of Vegas blind House and anyone who comes to the city, making them forget themselves and what they sought to do, but Ulysses is not going to be bothered to make the blind see.
Ulysses' dual obsessions with the Courier and the Divide are motivated by several factors. He is the only unmutated survivor of the disaster at the Divide, and because he believed it was the Courier who caused the destruction of the community. Ulysses understands the impact a single person can have on history, even if the Courier is unaware of their involvement in the event.
Furthermore, Ulysses demonstrates this notion to the Courier several times, and can be seen as the tertiary antagonist of Fallout: New Vegas. By turning down the platinum chip delivery, Ulysses inadvertently caused the Courier's brush with Benny and nearly ended their life; he was the one who told Father Elijah of the Sierra Madre, and is therefore technically responsible for the Courier being kidnapped and kept hostage; he was the frumentarius Caesar sent to teach the White Legs how to be stronger and helped equip them with more effective weapons, leading directly to the Sacking of New Canaan and the War for Zion. He finally appears in the Divide to reveal his unknown role in the Courier's recent life.
Interactions with the player character
|This character is a temporary companion.|
|This character starts quests.|
|This character is involved in quests.|
- The Job: After having completed The Silo, Ulysses will contact the Courier through ED-E and tell them to come to find him.
- The Courier: Ulysses is finally confronted by the Courier inside Ulysses' Temple, beneath the flag of the Old World, as he is about to trigger a second nuclear apocalypse. Ulysses can either be fought by the Courier or convinced to stand down and fight by the Courier's side against the marked men invading the temple.
Effects of player's actions
- If Ulysses is killed by the Courier, the Courier tears down his Old World flag and uses it as a shroud.
- If Ulysses is convinced not to fight the Courier, by means of two Speech checks of 90 and 100 or by talking to him about his logs, or by obtaining all ED-E upgrades in the Divide and talking to him about ED-E's logs, he can be found sitting vigil above the Hopeville ruins, just at the entrance to the Divide.
- Ulysses' red, white and blue spray-painted flags can be found in many locations in Big MT and the Divide and were left by Ulysses. Within the Divide, the red color indicates hostile areas, white marks the proper pathways, and blue denotes hidden caches.
- Ulysses can be seen in various places in Lonesome Road, briefly watching the Courier and then walking away. This can be seen on the top floor of the still-standing base of The Crow's Nest and in the building south of the Sunstone Tower roof.
- If Ulysses lives, after the quest The End or The Apocalypse, he can be found near the pass to canyon wreckage, where he will help the Courier make campfire recipes. Ulysses will also present new dialogue options, such as giving hints at how to deal with Legate Lanius and commenting on possible previous in-game actions in the Mojave (e.g. killing Mr. House).
- Ulysses will also supply the Courier with miscellaneous items he found in Hopeville (The Courier's Mile), including rockets, Rad-X, RadAway, MREs, and pre-War books.
- If he is alive at the conclusion of Lonesome Road, he will offer both the history and recipe of the bitter drink.
- Ulysses is 15% faster than a normal human character and the game's only human character with more than 1000 health points.
- Ulysses is one of only three characters in the game to have 10 points in all the SPECIAL stats (the other two are Colonel Royez and Gaius Magnus). The only other non-player character in the Fallout series known to have no less than ten points in all SPECIAL attributes is Frank Horrigan in Fallout 2.
- In his temple, Ulysses is escorted by a Medical eyebot and a Repair eyebot. The former will regenerate Ulysses's health throughout the fight, more quickly than a stimpak would.
- Like Colonel Royez and Gaius Magnus, Ulysses is impervious to knockdown attacks, such as the Ranger Takedown move or the special attack of the bumper sword. Because he cannot be knocked down, he simply freezes in place when he suffers a critical hit from the Compliance Regulator.
- He is one of the very few characters that cannot be pickpocketed. Attempting to do when he is at the pass to canyon wreckage will simply initiate conversation instead.
12.7mm submachine gun
Frag grenade x6
Stealth Boy x2
- Even though Ulysses is no longer a member of Caesar's Legion, and thinks the Legion has taken the wrong path, he still considers Legion members to be "brothers," and says "Caesar" in the classical Latin pronunciation favored by the Legion, unlike Joshua Graham, who uses the Anglican pronunciation.
- Ulysses has a positive view on Joshua Graham, commenting that "Graham earned his life" and that no real good would come of killing him.
- Ulysses has a negative opinion of Mr. House, commenting that he is "best left buried with the Old World."
- His face is a unique model linked to his unique breathing mask and differing greatly from other human character models (i.e. he doesn't blink, he has a unique hairstyle, and his texture is more detailed).
- After taking the duster and mask from his corpse, his dead body will still be wearing them.
- Since his face is fully textured beneath his breathing mask, it can only be viewed in-game via external manipulation. His lips don't move when he speaks, and no part of his face is animated.
- The Ulysses that stalks the Courier has a separate ref ID and cannot take damage or be killed via console commands.
- "They only take what parts they find in the Divide, never roam beyond it - can't even leave the silos without a human to shadow, like hounds. Maybe they saw the flag on my jacket, thought I was of America. If so, history saved me. A sign. "
- "You came all this way for answers. Only currency I have."
- "You got lives in you, hard to kill. Storm, bullets, sand and wind, yet still you walk. For now."
- "Missile silos exploded from beneath the ground, cracked the landscape. Sand, ash... the dead... the Divide skies became a graveyard."
- "No need to destroy the bear. Just cut its throat."
- "America sleeps ahead of you, its nightmares filled with quakes, storms. You'll need to find your own path."
- "Who are you, that do not know your history?"
- "To the Divide they came... in the Divide, they rest."
- "Burn away the flags. Begin again."
- "No need for bombs, when hate will do."
- "My history isn't revenge, or hate. The road that brought us both here - isn't about that."
- "The Divide... this place is a slice of it. Old military. Can still smell the pride. And the fear. Hope of the old world, wrapped in fencing, covered in storm."
- "Road gets rougher from here, Courier. Left marks for you - colors'll tell the way - if you're smart. They'll lead you to your home one more time, lead to the ending of it - maybe remind you why you wander."
- "Home isn't where you're born into this world."
- "Don't need Old World medicine to kill you."
- "You have forgotten all you were, traded glory for savagery. Fitting."
- "If war doesn't change, men must change, and so must their symbols. Even if it is nothing at all, know what you follow, Courier..."
- "If you feel its loss... remember you could have turned away at any time. Gone back home, and none of this would have happened. But you had to make one last delivery, and that's why I knew you'd come, Courier. Couldn't stay away, it's who you are."
- "The day I set my flag down, it'll be over my body or over a nation I believe in."
- "There is a shadow of a nation behind you, the hope of a people... yet it may not matter. The Divide still stands against us. [...] Our enemies gather outside... shadows of the Bear and Bull... they will have found their way in, just as you did. It was always my intention - in case I could not kill you, the Marked Men would flood this place, cut off your escape. If we cannot prevent what comes, then let us make our stand here. Two Couriers, together, at the Divide."
- "Before you... this is the edge of the Divide. Ahead lies your work, the history you burned in the earth. What you brought to the people here."
- "You gave it a name. What was it to you? Companion? Slave... weapon? All of that, nothing compared to its primary function. It's a messenger. Like us... and it shares our history."
- "My family? My tribe lives... its history? Died long ago, fell under the shadow of the Bull... consumed by another symbol. No, this isn't about family - or any common blood. It's blood shared by acts, not by chance."
- "There's a lesson here, in the Divide. Old World history about paving and intentions could teach the Republic a thing or two - if they listened. They have an idea of trying to do what's right, never quite getting there. [...] They're stretched thin, can't protect their frontlines, their towns. Think paper's power, radio means control. All of it? Useless."
- "Not if you believe in what you follow. Kill no Courier, Caesar's words. I honored them. Other Couriers could have been Legion - like me. The truth is, you serve nothing, believe nothing. Killing you... meaningless."
- "All these roads, you walked. These packages you carried. Think it wasn't your choice? Of course it was your choice. You could have stayed in the Mojave. But you chose to come, couldn't let be - not in you to let go. Came for no other reason than you were curious, restless - always have been. Had to know the why of it - now, I'll show you."
- "You don't see, listen - even when it's all around you, no matter if I nailed it into your head like a gift from Caesar."
- "Even if it is nothing at all, know what you follow, courier... Just as I followed you to the end."
Ulysses was originally supposed to appear in Fallout: New Vegas, but was cut from the final version of the game. He is mentioned indirectly in Fallout: New Vegas, Dead Money and Honest Hearts, appears in voice in Old World Blues and makes a full appearance in Lonesome Road.
Behind the scenes
- During the first dialogue with the ED-E clone, it is told that Ulysses was given his name later in life. It was meant to refer to Ulysses S. Grant, a Union general during the U.S. Civil War who Ulysses says "fought to unite two tribes under one flag." The Courier can even comment that Ulysses' namesake was the historical general as opposed to the figure of Greco-Roman mythology.
- If siding with NCR (or killing Caesar and haven't failed Don't Tread on the Bear!), when talking to Ulysses through ED-E the first time, he'll refer to the two-headed bear not being the first historic American symbol. He explains that the "Old World" symbol had one head. This is a reference to the current real-world flag of California, from the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846, which is the same as the NCR flag but the bear has one head and the inscription is "CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC" instead of "NEW CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC."
- Ulysses was originally supposed to be a companion in the base game of Fallout: New Vegas, but was cut from the final version of the game and was changed to appear only in Lonesome Road. However, the playing cards that came with the Collector's Edition included Ulysses, despite him not appearing in the base game. According to Chris Avellone, Ulysses "was a complicated character in terms of some of the hooks into the storyline." Avellone teased Ulysses' eventual return in an interview with Lightspeed Magazine in November 2010, saying "maybe he'll come back at some point."
- Ulysses was ultimately cut from the base game because his recorded dialogue was so large that it would not fit on the disk. Even when compared to the second-biggest companion in terms of dialogue and memory, Cass, Ulysses took up much more space. It was too late into development for them to selectively cut down dialogue, so the team decided to scrap Ulysses from the base game altogether. Had the size issue been recognized earlier in development, Joshua Sawyer stated that they likely would have found a way to keep Ulysses in the game. The loss of Ulysses from the base game was a difficult one, as Sawyer and Avellone both felt that the game needed a companion that was more sympathetic to the Legion.
- Ulysses was the only character intended to be a companion that ended up not being one.
- In the original version of Fallout: New Vegas, Ulysses-as-companion was designed with a number of goals in mind:
- He had to reinforce the faction reputation mechanic, which Avellone thought was one of the key mechanics in the game.
- He had to react strongly to NCR/Legion conflict and the Courier's role in it, acting as a sounding board when possible.
- He had to be a Legion sympathetic character and explain Legion back story elements since there wasn't much Legion support in the companions.
- He had to continually remind the player of Hoover Dam as the focus, and his backstory incorporated that (he was the frumentarius who discovered the Dam and NCR long ago).
- Showcase myth elements. Ulysses was big about symbols, and his take on the NCR flag, the Legion flag was also reflected in their champions (he viewed Legate Lanius as an Eastern myth in the making, and he felt the Courier could achieve that same mythological status for the West or for the Mojave).
- He was to complement the cool visual design changes that Joshua Sawyer had included for other companions (similar to Raul Tejada and Arcade Gannon, Ulysses would have the vest/flag changes, except it would depend on Courier's end faction allegiance when they completed Ulysses' vision quest).