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Ulysses is a major antagonist in the video game Fallout: New Vegas and the main antagonist of it's four expansion packs. Serving as a major antagonist in the main storyline, a major antagonist in Dead Money, a minor antagonist in Honest Hearts, a minor character in Old World Blues and the main antagonist of Lonesome Road.
He is the mysterious archenemy and dark counterpart of the Courier (the main character), though all that is initially known is that Ulysses was originally the Courier who was supposed to deliver the Platinum Chip to Mr. House, but deliberately turned down the job when he saw that the Courier's name was the next one on the list of who would deliver packages, thus being the cause of everything that happens to the player during the game.
Ulysses was initially conceived (by the developers) as a companion/sidekick/follower character who was aligned with Caesar's Legion, but for various reasons he was not implemented in the final game. However, he was left on one of the playing cards included in the special limited–edition release of the game, which each featured a character from the game corresponding to a particular card. On the card Ulysses was shown facing backward wearing an overcoat with the original American flag on it and carrying a pole with a golden eagle figure on top of it. This was how players first found out about his mysterious existence, and when asked about it the creators said that Ulysses, had he been included in the game, would have been deeply involved in several parts of the overall story, and “might” be incorporated in a future DLC.
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, becoming its scouts 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 Caesar's Legion and the Twisted Hairs. However, once the Legion's campaign ended in Arizona, Caesar promptly rewarded their aid by breaking the alliance and betraying them: conquering and enslaving them 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. Thanks to his ability and his forceful personality, he quickly became an important, indispensable frumentarius of Caesar's Legion, walking the wastes as a courier. Caesar told him to kill no other member of this profession since many couriers were, in fact, members of the Legion. 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. Returning across the Colorado, Ulysses went back to Caesar and spoke with him about Hoover Dam and the NCR. This Old World symbol became an object of obsession for Caesar, a great symbol to focus his people on. However, Ulysses believed Hoover Dam might kill Caesar, whether he won or lost.
Ulysses continued to walk the wastes, exploring the wastelands for Caesar. Between 2274 and 2277, Ulysses 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. Ulysses believed this place had the potential to become a homeland for him, and a second chance, a new way of thinking outside of the rigid discipline of the Legion. To Ulysses' dismay, the prosperous community was discovered and annexed by NCR, which drew the attention of Caesar, who sent in a small army to conquer it and cut the NCR's supply line to the Mojave and Hoover Dam. Ulysses had tentative plans to save the community, but, before he could act, a mysterious Courier, hired by the NCR, brought a package containing a mysterious device from Navarro, before departing.
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" and activated several of the nuclear warheads still underground in their silos since the Great War. The results were immediate and devastating; deep below Hopeville and Ashton, the warheads' detonations shook the land, destroyed the settlement and killed most of the NCR and Legion soldiers.
This disaster nearly killed Ulysses, but he was saved by several medical eyebots, who had also been activated by the copy of ED-E; he speculated that this was because they had recognized the flag of America on his back. 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.
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.
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.
Some time later, during his mission to reawaken America, he found Big MT by following the weather patterns, knowing the Divide's storms were caused by man, not nature. He tracked it 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 COS Knight Christine Royce and Father Elijah. At some point after Elijah spoke with the Think Tank, Ulysses and Elijah spoke with one another. Ulysses knew the threat Elijah posed to the Mojave and directed the rogue elder to the Sierra Madre, knowing sooner or later it would eventually become Elijah's grave. Somehow, Ulysses learned that Christine Royce was being held captive inside the Y-17 Medical Facility. Wanting to know if the Brotherhood of Steel was the answer to the world he wanted to live in, Ulysses rescued her and nursed her back to health in a nearby cave.
While nursing her back to health. Ulysses and Christine argued about their beliefs. Christine argued that the Brotherhood were preservationists and that technology in the hands of all in the Mojave was dangerous. Ulysses agreed considering the horrors the Big MT produced but critisiced them for being obsessed like the NCR and the Legion. Christine countered that Elijah was obsessed and that was why she was ordered to execute him. Ulysses called her out on being just as obsessed with Elijah as Elijah was with technology and how the Brotherhood was a futureless tribe. Christine mocked him for being 'the man with the Old World flag on his back' and how everything the flag represented had burned away. Ulysses firmly and angrily declared that America was only sleeping, and until it truly was dead, he would carry it just like he carried her. Ulysses informed her of his plan to talk the the Think-Tank as his questions were similar to Elijah's.
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 caused them to awaken and remember that, for a time, America, the flag of which was displayed on Ulysses' back, was not just a flag, but a place, an idea that 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 Big MT.
After arriving back at the cave, Christine expressed her suprise that he survived. Ulysses admits he almost didn't but nevertheless got his answers, though so did Elijah and the rouge elder had left. Christine demands to know whether he knew where Elijah had gone. Ulysses informed her that Elijah had gone to the Sierra Madre, deeming it a 'special kind of hell' and if the Madre and it's horrors didn't kill him, then someone tougher and smarter would. Ignoring his warning, Christine declared that she couldn't abandon her mission.
Ulysses saw much of himself inside of Christine at that moment. Her hatred of Elijah was the same he had for the Courier, a hatred for someone who had robbed them of something precious. Knowing that she wouldn't listen to reason, Ulysses let her know that he wouldn't persuade her otherwise, and how he had a meeting of his own with someone. Christine questioned whether this individual was the Courier he had mentioned earlier. Ulysses confirmed it and how he would lure the Courier to the Divide to see what they had twisted it into. Christine questioned why he would go to the Divide, as nothing was there. Ulysses sarcastically asked like the Madre, or the Big MT, he cryptically told her that the Old World slept there and that he and the Courier would have an ending to their feud. After healing. Christine and Ulysses parted ways, though Christine gifted Ulysses with empty Y-17 logs to serve as a journal as a form of gratitude, and Christine never forgot the beliefs Ulysses had shared with her. Ulysses departed the Big MT, deciding to reshape the post-apocalyptic world single-handedly, much like the Courier reshaped the Divide, and armed with the knowledge to do so.
In 2281, Ulysses was hired by Victor to carry the platinum chip to the Strip's North Gate. He came to Primm at the Mojave Express to receive the delivery order, and was about to accept the job until he saw the Courier's name on the list. Shocked that the Courier had survived the Divide, he asked Johnson Nash if the Courier's name was genuine. Nash informed him the Courier was still alive.
Wanting to see the Courier dead, but obeying Caesar's old order, Ulysses said "No, let Courier Six carry the package," Ulysses knew that with all the complications delivering the platinum chip entailed that the chip painted a target and a death sentence for anyone who tried taking it to New Vegas. Expecting either the Mojave Wasteland or whoever it was that was after the chip to kill the Courier without having to intervene, he returned to The Divide without another word, expecting the Courier to die.
Eventually, Ulysses learned that the Courier had survived the brush of death he had with Benny. Deciding to forsake the old order of Caesar, he broadcasted 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 the Courier's new home before their eyes, as the Courier did for him with the Divide. The Courier answered the call and began their journey through the Divide, but it was only after they got through the Hopeville Silo (and seeing the missiles ready for launch) did the Courier and Ulysses talk for the first time through ED-E (an Enclave Eyebot the Courier befriended). Navigating through the Divide, the Courier and Ulysses continued their conversation/arguement. With the Courier learning their role in the Divide's destruction, Ulysses' origins and his goals, all the while the Courier and Ulysses questioned each others beliefs.
Unfortunately, Ulysses revealed that what he was after was ED-E, and had been waiting for the Eyebot to get within range of his temple. Hijacking the floating robot, Ulysses directed ED-E to his temple with the Courier slowed down by the Divide's Marked Men (NCR and Legion remnants that survived).
There, Ulysses and the Courier met for the first time, and there the two Couriers confronted each other and the Courier had two tasks with two options each. 1: Slay Ulysses or convince him that going through the launch would make him no better than the Courier. 2: Ask ED-E to sacrifice himself to stop the missiles or launch at least two at key Legion and NCR outposts.
If the Courier slew Ulysses, then they cast the American flag in Ulysses' temple over his corpse, though as a sign of respect or anger is probably best left for only the Courier to know.
If the Courier convinced Ulysses, then the two Couriers fough off a legion of Marked Men together and escaped the temple's destruction. Afterwards Ulysses stood vigil at the Divide's enterance to prevent the horrors inside from spreading to the Mojave, accepting it as self-punishment for his sins. When the Courier visited him again, Ulysses offered advice to the Courier that played a crucial part in the Second Battle of Hoover Dam.
Regardless of the outcome, the confrontation between Ulysses and the Courier became so legendary that wastelanders everywhere (such as Christine Royce, who had, thanks to the Courier, finally completed her mission and now served as warden to the Sierra Madre) had come to hear of it. Ulysses also left a final message for the Courier, a duster, similar to Ulysses (which symbolized whichever faction the Courier supported) and a holotape, in which Ulysses revealed that he had been the one to show Caesar Hoover Dam and the NCR, and the things he had seen. How the Courier was the only one who could prevent what had happened at the Divide and elsewhere in the Mojave. So when they shaped the Mojave into the nation they believed in, to wear the symbol they wore with pride.
- Overall, he is a major antagonist in Fallout: New Vegas and the main antagonist of it's expansion pack storylines. He was the frumentarius who revealed the existence of Hoover Dam and the NCR to Caesar, causing the war between the NCR and the Legion in the Mojave. 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.
- 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, Mr. 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.
Fallout: New Vegas