Latitude 47 ° 9’ S, Longitude 126 ° 43’ W
This ship is The Flying Dutchman. Under her previous captain it was a fishing trawler. Now, under my command, she hunts something larger.
First Mate Marsh -- formerly Captain Marsh -- shambles onto the bridge, his weathered old pea coat clinging unkindly to his gnarled frame. "We be nearin' th' destinaseeun, sirrah." He gurgles the last word, as if caught between 'sir' and 'sire' and finding neither appealing. I allow his mild insult to go unpunished, for I have larger things on my mind.
I have everything on my mind.
Wordlessly I push past him, into the cool South Pacific evening. The stars are beginning to come out. The crew silently falls into step behind me as I make my way to the bow, the smell of the ocean heavy with salt and decay. I place my hands upon the railings and squeeze, feel the metal give slightly under my grip.
"Mr. Marsh," I command, looking not at him but at the ocean before me. "You are to return immediately to port in Massachusetts. You are not to make port anywhere else except to take on essential supplies. Under no circumstances are you to stop or tarry, nor is any member of the crew to embark or debark, excepting that the Law of the Sea demands it. Upon reaching home port you and your crew are to return to your homes until such time as I see fit to release you. There you will spend your days praying that I return alive, and your nights in thanks that I am merciful. Is this clear?"
A unison of thudding echoes behind me as the crew fall to their knees. "Yes, my king. My lord. My master," they blurble.
My own pea coat falls to the deck, and the last light of the setting sun sets my scale armor aflame. "Aquaman will suffice."
The sea welcomes me back as a mother embracing her son.
I plummet downward into the blackened, brackish depths of the Pacific trenches, the speed of my passage heating the frigid waters and sending boiling bubbles surfaceward. Like a meteor I fall, a one-man extinction-level event, for tonight I wage war against a nation, a species, a god. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn, said the cultists who became my crew. In his house at R'lyeh dread Cthulhu waits, dreaming.
Before me rise great squirming shapes, fifteen-foot spheres of tar and tentacles and eyes, like great cancerous leukocytes. Membranes the size of kettledrums convulse, churning the water with barely-subsonic throbs that echo Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li! in my ears.
I scatter them with a telepathic pulse. Begone, say I, for I am master of all things of the sea and on the sea and in the sea. Serve me, or face my wrath.
The shoggoths choose to serve.
Like Lucifer falling into hell I continue downward, a host of broken angels as my honor guard. Down, to the corpse-city of R'lyeh, in whose great and putrid vaults waits Cthulhu, undead god of madness and the sea, inhuman source of the age-old human terrors of darkness, suffocation, tentacles. Tonight, the stars are right. Tonight, Cthulhu wakes and R'lyeh rises, bringing with it an age of holocaustic savagery.
Tonight, one of us dies.
As I enter the putrid sleeping chamber, a mountain of slime and tentacles rises to greet me. Eyes the size of nightmare, luminous and sickly pale, skewer me with their gaze. Insanity washes over me, through me, becomes me, and I am lost for eternity.
The Waterbearer hand pulses its healing magic, a draught of coolness across my fevered brain, and I am restored. I must act now, else all is lost, for already does R'lyeh begin to rise from its watery grave.
My consciousness spreads itself among the creatures of the sea. Every fish, every cetacean, every mollusk, even among the very krill does my mind expand. This vast spy network is mine to command. I see and hear everything that happens within my oceans. Tonight, though, it will serve a different purpose.
I draw upon every mote of psychic energy available. The trillions of krill lend me their strength. The large, powerful brains of the whales buffer me. The cunning minds of the dolphins lift me up.
And the savage thoughts of the shark drive my attack.
"Fall," I stab into its brain, the weight of the world's seas behind each thrust. "Fall before your master. Before your king."
I am vast.
I contain multitudes.
I am the sea's chosen son.
And this interloper thinks he can defeat me?
Fall before the ruler of this world, or be crushed by its weight!
Shuddering, squirming, broken, Cthulhu bows before me. Before his king. Before his master. As must all things in the sea, and on the sea, and under the sea.
On his throne in risen R'lyeh sits dread Arthur, ruling.
Edit: Some people are calling this a Lovecraft story. It isn't. If I had intended to emulate H.P. Lovecraft, I would have titled it "Aquaman, as written by H.P. Lovecraft." Also, there would have been words like "squamous" and "turgid" and "non-Euclidean" in it. Cthulhu != Lovecraft.
Also, Jack Zodiac can kiss my ass.
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