Dale thought the contest would be judged on speed alone. Aquaman thought that at least a dozen other women performed better than her. He also commented on not being asked to pick the richest girl and called her a sore loser. Feeling publicly humiliated by the oafish hero, Dale vowed to return the favor.
A few months later Aquaman and Aqualad were rushing to retrieve a rocket nose cone containing special equipment. The rocket's devices had recorded significant scientific data but its remains were drawn to a mountain of magnetic ore, bound to erase all information. Dale suddenly appeared, outpaced the male heroes and saved the day at the last possible minute. By comparison they looked like snails. Demanding an explanation on how was that possible, Aquaman instead received a challenge to test their skills.
The first task was to summon a number of sea creatures in the area around a derelict boat. "A sperm whale, a seal, a shark, a marlin, a turtle, an octopus and other fish" are in the area but completely ignore Aquaman. Instead they all follow Dale around like trained dogs. The second task involved staying submerged in the water for the longest period. Aquaman remained underwater for an hour but Dale still bested him. The media picked up on the story and started calling her Aqua-Queen, as a play on Aquaman't title of "King of the Sea".
When the two rivals were asked by the United States Navy to obtain specimens of sea plants for biological studies and experimentation, Dale eagerly volunteered. early in this mission Aquaman discovered how was Dale able to stay submerged for so long. She had "a transparent plastic bell cage equipped with a supply of compressed air". He went to investigate the derelict ship and found fish repellent at his location during the task. A hired submarine was instead distributing food to the sea creatures willing to follow Dale. As for her speed, Dale was using a mini-sub.
Dale was unphased at having her plot uncovered and was still rushing to get her biological samples back to the Navy. But she slowed down to avoid hurting sea creatures which stood in her way. Aquaman was able to speed ahead and reclaim his champion title. Instead he slowed down as well and let her win. Dale was confused as to the reason for his actions. Arthur explained he was impressed that she actually held compassion for the sea creatures. Dale was ashamed at the face of this unselfish act. She opted to tell the truth to the world about her "false powers". A smiling Aquaman pointed that Dale was a Queen in more ways than one.
The story has the weakness of seemingly negating the effect of Dale's valuable services to NASA and the Navy because she has no superpowers of her own. Simply human ingenuity and the funds to finance it.