Friday, March 16, 2007

Aquaman, written so that he does not suck

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.


  1. one problem. cthulhu isn't aquatic. water harms him, dampens his powers and imprisons him. if he was a water creature this would not be the case. so aquaman doesn't command him.

  2. I confess I am not a scholar of Lovecraft but I have not ever heard this theory before. Source please?

  3. ah, yeah. sorry.

    "In the elder time chosen men had talked with the entombed Old Ones in dreams,
    but then something had happened. The great stone city R’lyeh, with its monoliths and sepulchres,
    had sunk beneath the waves; and the deep waters, full of the one primal mystery through which
    not even thought can pass, had cut off the spectral intercourse. But memory never died, and
    high-priests said that the city would rise again when the stars were right. Then came out of
    the earth the black spirits of earth, mouldy and shadowy, and full of dim rumours picked up
    in caverns beneath forgotten sea-bottoms. But of them old Castro dared not speak much. "
    Cthulhu came from the stars so we don't even know if he evolved in the oceans(although if he did aquaman has some connection to them anyway and could at least blast static at him that causes seizures in humans.... Also in favor of your story if death like sleep counts as living on the sea then I think aquaman could talk to him anyway even if he wasn't a fish(although can he talk to men in submarines?). (also I think when they completely retconned aquaman(when they made him rightful heir to atlantis) he can more "ask" the fish to do his bidding and they usually listen but I think he couldn't directly control them against their will cause piranhas eat his hand?)), In its first appearance, "The Call of Cthulhu", it is stated that when its city R'lyeh sank beneath the ocean, it could no longer influence men with telepathic communication, because something about the ocean cut off all such broadcasts. Surely if it was aquatic, its powers would not be adversely affected by seawater, if anything that should have helped not left him basically dead.

    After Lovecraft's death, August Derleth made Cthulhu a "water
    elemental", despite the evidence to the contrary. So Aquaman is
    in a Derleth story.

    So it still works, it just isn't the origination verison of cthulhu or the newest aquaman

    Also aquaman has beaten the elder gods before. making your story pretty close to cannon in his universe. just not lovecraft's

  4. We're not talking about just 'a few dolphins', though :P

    Aquaman has a telepathic link to everything in the sea. There are seven billion humans on earth; scientists found 130 THOUSAND living creatures in THREE CUBIC METERS of coral reef. Obviously humans are far more intelligent than animals, but when it comes to sanity, that might actually be a weakness. Aquaman has access the the largest telepathic booster in the world whenever he likes.

  5. Still don't buy it. A half asleep Cthulhu was driving the world mad. You don't think animals were effected as well? What good is a connection to a whale if the whale is just as mad as you?

    And let's be honest, what the hell is a coral reef really going to do to help? Cthulhu isn't going to go attack the coral reef, he's going to attack you. The coral reef doesn't at as a buffer because it's not between Aqua man and Cthulhu. It has no way of helping in this instance.

  6. Well, to be fair, the typical creature doesn't have a telepathic connection with anything. Individually each creature might be driven mad, but connected in a vast psychic network with Aquaman as the focus? That's a lot of mental power at work. It doesn't matter where the reef is, as mentally it will be with Aquaman, always. *voice does the echoey jedi thing*

    I mean, Cthulhu was put back to sleep by ramming it with a speedboat, it can't be that hard :P

  7. See, here's the thing. The world went mad when it faced Cthulhu almost coming to full wakefulness.

    Combining a bunch of creatures together won't help if they are already going mad. And since the coral reef is a mindless construct, it's not going to add much of a buffer. They'd probably add less memtal processing power combined than a single dollar store pocket calculator.

    And Cthulhu was only defeated because the stars were not quite right. It's the stars that determine whether or not R'lyeh rises and Cthulhu wakes, not Aquaman or a half mad sailor. When his city began to sink, he returned to his tomb. Had the stars been right, he would have proceeded to conquer the rest of the planet.


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