|This page is about the package courier. For the AI overseer of the Big Empty, see ODYSSEUS.|
Ulysses without his mask
The day I set my flag down, it'll be over my body or over a nation I believe in.”— Ulysses, 3 of Clubs
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.
- 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
Background[edit | edit source]
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 world view 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.
The Twisted Hairs[edit | edit source]
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, travelling 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 Interstate 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, 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.
The Divide[edit | edit source]
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: by detonating. The land trembled as underground detonations split the earth, killing the settlers and burying 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, that had been constructed by the Divide's computers copying ED-E. They recognized the flag of America on his back and saved him, figuring he was a U.S. soldier. Ulysses' life was changed that day, showing him how a single individual could change history, or erase it. As the sole sane survivor of the Divide, he held the Courier responsible for the destruction of the place that could have been his true home; of something "larger than the Bear, greater than the Bull." At the same time, it inspired him, showing just how great of an impact a single man can have on history. In 2277, he returned to Caesar, learning that the First Battle of Hoover Dam ended in the defeat of Caesar's Legion. There, he was assigned a new duty.
Meeting the White Legs[edit | edit source]
In the same year, Caesar sent Ulysses to the Great Salt Lake as his eye and to rally the White Legs against New Canaan and watch over them, as they undertake Caesar's test: cut off the NCR supply lines running through Utah and to destroy New Canaan, killing Joshua Graham with it (who had miraculously survived his fiery baptism). He became their mentor, called 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 that used such weapons. The act of deceit posed some problems in his mind, expressing himself to use the same method as Vulpes Inculta, the man who had betrayed his former tribe. He became an inspiring presence to the tribe, but not in the way he wanted to be. He was particularly affected when they tried to honor him instead of the Legion. After the sacking of New Canaan, he observed that the White Legs began to braid their hair into dreadlocks, just like 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 were completely unknown to the White Legs.
Shortly after the destruction of New Canaan, Ulysses considered his duties to Caesar finished and left the White Legs to their own devices. Wanting to break his ties to the Legion once and for all, 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 the NCR and the Caesar's Legion having no long-term answer for the future of humanity, considering both of them ridden with "disease." He retired to Wolfhorn Ranch for a time, to collect his thoughts. Appearing to be a successful bighorner rancher for a time and roaming, sometimes as a courier.
The Big Empty[edit | edit source]
Some time 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. Ulysses would rescue Royce from the Y-17 medical facility, nursing her back to health in a nearby cave. 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. 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.
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 the 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.
The reunion[edit | edit source]
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 after 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.
Philosophies[edit | edit source]
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. The Legion did a better job as an empire than the NCR, and, to boot, the Legion is not at war with 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 needed 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.
Relationships[edit | edit source]
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 it was - from Ulysses' point of view, that is - the Courier who caused the destruction of the community, Ulysses came to believe in the power that a single man can have on history. The Courier is not even aware of having been involved in the event, as was hinted at by Chris Avellone before the release of Lonesome Road. He stated, cryptically:
I also have a lot of love for Ulysses in Fallout, only because I like the idea of someone hunting my player for reasons of his own, and then hearing the reasons why… and realizing how important even the smallest of my actions are for the people of the wasteland – living or dead.”— Chris Avellone
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 Destruction 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[edit | edit source]
Interactions overview[edit | edit source]
|This character is a temporary party member.|
|This character starts quests.|
|This character is involved in quests.|
Quests[edit | edit source]
- The Job: After having completed The Silo, Ulysses will contact you through ED-E and tell you to come find him. He instructs you to transverse the dangers ahead, and have an ending to things with him, provided you can handle the Divide.
- The Courier: At long last, the Courier confronts Ulysses inside his temple, beneath the flag of the Old World, as he is about to trigger a second nuclear apocalypse.
Effects of player actions[edit | edit source]
- If Ulysses is killed by the Courier, the Courier tears down his Old World flag and uses it as his shroud, although whether out of respect or anger is an interpretation "best left to history".
- If Ulysses is convinced not to fight the Courier, by means of two speech checks at 90 and 100 or by talking to him about his logs, he can be found sitting vigil above the Hopeville ruins, just at the entrance to the Divide.
Other interactions[edit | edit source]
- If the player chooses to spare him, after the quest The End, Ulysses will set up camp and sit on a nearby cliff near the entrance to the canyon wreckage. Ulysses will then help the Courier make camp fire recipes and also present new dialogue options, such as giving hints at how to deal with Legate Lanius and commenting on possible previous player actions in the Mojave (e.g. killing House).
- Ulysses will also supply the Courier with miscellaneous items he found in Hopeville (The Courier's Mile), including rockets, Rad-X, RadAway, MRE, and pre-War books.
- If he is alive at the conclusion of Lonesome Road, he will offer both the history and recipes of bitter drink and the Snakebite tourniquet.
Inventory[edit | edit source]
12.7mm submachine gun
6x frag grenade
2x Stealth Boys
Drops on death
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Even though Ulysses is no longer a member of the Caesar's Legion, he thinks the Legion has taken the wrong path, 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 general Anglicized pronunciation.
- Ulysses has unique depictions of dialogue options based on the Courier's reputation with the New California Republic, Caesar's Legion, Robert House, and New Vegas.
- Intentional or not, Ulysses shares many traits with Joshua Graham. Both are affable, erudite men, who are fond of quoting others. They use their deep voices to speak in a bookish manner with a philosophical bent. Both were skilled members of Caesar's Legion and mentors of a tribe.
- Ulysses' red, white or blue spray-painted flags can be found in many locations in Big MT and the Divide and were left by Ulysses while tracking storms, in hopes that the marks might be followed and someone else could discern a pattern. Within the Divide, red flags indicate hostile areas, white flags mark the proper pathways, and blue flags denotes hidden caches.
- Ulysses created holodisk logs and left them along the road to the Divide. These can be found by the Courier and were apparently a gift from Christine Royce for saving her.
- 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).
- It is explained that the unique face is actually a mask worn by Ulysses which is unobtainable.
- Since his face is fully textured beneath his breathing mask, you can only view it via external manipulation. His lips don't move when he speaks, and no part of his face is animated.
- Ulysses is one of only three characters in the game to have 10 in all the SPECIAL stats (the other two are Colonel Royez and Gaius Magnus, from the Lonesome Road add-on). The only other non-player character in the Fallout series known to have 10 in all SPECIAL attributes is Frank Horrigan. Also 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.
- Ulysses is 15% faster than a normal human character and the game's only human character with more than 1000 health points.
- Ulysses can be seen in various places in Lonesome Road, briefly watching the player and then walking away.
- Ulysses is one of the two non-hostile NPC's in the Divide. The other being ED-E.
Notable quotes[edit | edit source]
- "Who are you, that you do not know your history?"
- "If war doesn't change, men must change, and so must their symbols. Even if it's nothing at all, know what you follow, Courier..."
- "Burn away the flags. Begin again."
- "You've already answered for what you've done. Now the flag you follow will answer for it."
- "My history isn't revenge, or hate. The road that brought us both here - isn't about that. It's about the message you carried. The one in that package whether you knew it or not."
- "There is nothing more to be dug from these cracks in the earth, no more fury to be torn from its sky."
- "No need for bombs, when hate will do."
- "The Old World died long ago. Anyone who believes they can make it return and everything will be as it was..."
- "No... the paths we've walked. The roads, and the flags above them, carry equal blame."
- "Home isn't where you're born into this world. You taught me that. Part of your message, whether you meant it or not. Can be a place of mind, a moment where you know who you are, the history of it. And they can be places you breathe life into."
- "Questions have a habit of making others."
- "The Divide winds have torn the skin from many of them - may be the radiation is the only thing keeping them walking." (Marked men)
- "My name for it. If you have a better one, you grant it - my choice in names won't carry past you and I. Lies along the road, running from the Hopeville silo... straight on to where the ground burns, and wind howls even stronger than here." (The Courier's Mile)
Appearances[edit | edit source]
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 Dead Money and Honest Hearts, appears in voice in Old World Blues, and makes a full appearance in Lonesome Road.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
Dialogue references[edit | edit source]
- During the first dialog with the ED-E clone, you learn 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 not failing 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 reference to the current real-world Flag of California, from the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846, which is the same of the NCR flag but the bear has one head and the inscription is "CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC" instead of "NEW CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC".
Development[edit | edit source]
- Ulysses' appearances throughout the Divide, stalking the player, were an idea of and implemented by level designer Charles Staples.
- Ulysses, called Odysseus by the Greeks, is a figure from Roman and Greek folklore. He is the central character in the epic poem The Odyssey, chronicling his ten year journey, after fighting in the Trojan War, to reach home. This is echoed in Ulysses' own references to home and journeying.
- Ulysses was originally supposed to be a companion in Fallout: New Vegas, but was cut from the final version of the game and now only appears in the add-on Lonesome Road and playing cards that came with the Collector's Edition. According to Chris Avellone, "he [...] was a complicated character in terms of some of the hooks into the storyline".
- 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 player's role in it, acting as a sounding board when possible.
- He had to be a Legion sympathetic character and explain Legion backstory 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 player 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 player's end faction allegiance when they completed Ulysses' vision quest).
- Ulysses portrays Chris Avellone's opinion on the direction the Fallout setting should take.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Ulysses observing the Divide near the remains of Hopeville