Absolute Unity by Red-Rum-18
On April 20th, 2010, the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon suffered an explosion, causing the oil they were collecting from the deep-sea well to gush out of control, poisoning the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystem and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to both the coastal states' tourism and fishing industries and British Petroleum, the energy company that owned the prospect that was being drilled. However, there were more casualties to this horrible disaster that no one knew of, ones whose people existed beneath the waves, far from the knowledge of humanity, for thousands of years. In the ancient eras, the land-walking beings of Earth have shared their world with those who can survive and thrive within the water, but a rivalry between two brothers, brothers of a governing family of the water-breathers, caused an incident that destroyed the trust the land-walkers placed in the water-breathers. The land people began imprisoning and killing the water people at both the behest of their emperors and at their own cognizance, but there were a few empires that had granted asylum to the water people. In the end, the water people, who had no true country to call their own, were given a grand territory upon the edges of the now-Atlantic Ocean, and they dubbed it “Kings' Mercy”, which in their language is pronounced “Atlantis”. The Atlantean Empire began advancing their knowledge to form a prosperous state, but the mainland states who opposed them grew even more worrisome and paranoid, so they invaded the archipelago and ransacked the undersea caves that they made their home. The main-landers, believing that the Atlanteans were all removed from the mortal plane, faded their memory from their minds. But they had made a new home in the deepest trench in the sea, seeking to become the most advanced civilization and withhold all of their technology from the surface-dwellers, who they felt were too destructive for them to use responsibly.
Since then, the Atlantean Empire has split between different states across the oceans of Earth, including Crastnus, Tritonis, and Thierna Na Oge. There were many colonies and settlements spreading out from the Atlantic Ocean, including a few ones in the Gulf of Mexico. Dozens of Atlanteans were affected by the crude oil spilling into their waters, and those who weren't instantly killed were made fatally ill. It took more than a week for relief workers and soldiers to arrive with medicine and food, and until then, those who weren't poisoned were nearly starved to death due to the tainted crops and livestock. The recorded images of this horrendous catastrophe, including an Atlantean baby born malnourished and near death, were enough to concrete a union between the undersea states to avenge this injustice. The Atlanetan royal government was unanimously voted in to lead their military forces in bringing in the board of directors of British Petroleum and Transocean, the owner of the drilling rig, to answer for their part in the disaster.
Serpentine battleships snaked their way from the surface of the ocean as they were flanked by smaller battle craft, the ships making their path to the United Nations headquarters in New York City. No police or military forces had advanced upon the transports, even when they docked and dispensed foot soldiers (able to breathe on the surface with collars around their gills that convert gas to liquid) and crab-like transports that carried the BP and Transocean executives to the UN building. The transports stopped outside the doors of the building as onlookers flocked to see what was transpiring. The executives were the first to be led in; they were in no restraints, but were flanked by guards brandishing swords. Following them were more heavily-armored guards flanking the King of Atlantis, who will serve as the representative of the undersea states for this meeting. But then, all eyes took to the sky as the Superman, a super-powered ally of the United States government, descended to meet them. Silently confirming that this was indeed a diplomatic mission in response to the oil spill, not a military invasion, the King and his guests were allowed to pass.
The representatives of the nations of man were convened to hear the words of Atlan Or'yn Marius, sovereign ruler of Atlantis, who spoke of a solid unity between their worlds for the sake of peace and prosperity. The undersea states were recognized as independent nations and they began cooperation to clean the oil spill and treat the victims of the disaster, both human and amphibian. The mutual respect between the Atlantean King, whom the surface-dwellers dubbed “Aquaman”, and the Man of Steel will be the bedrock of a resistance force for a war that humanity will yet realize they are destined to fight...
* For Absolute Aquaman's design, I started with full-on Atlantean heritage and biology, including pale-green scales, fin-like ears, slit-eyes, and spines in place of hair. Then I decided to get rid of the gold elements in his costume in place of silver and give him a cape (he IS royalty, after all). His scepter his based on the hook-handed phase of his history from the main comics.
* The symbol that makes up his belt buckle may look like a fish, I know, but it is the sea-dwellers' symbol for Atlantis, based on an amalgam of the Roman numeral for 1 and the symbol for Alpha.
* The sea-dwellers' technology is based on an advanced crystalline computer design, which connects all states and their settlements through an internet-like programming that is even able to access the surface world's technology.
** Not only do they have collars that allow them to survive on land, their headbands allows them translate their spoken language to any other one.
* Aquaman is a capable warrior and strategist as well as a politician, with strength proportionally higher than the average sea-dweller. His headband also allows him to influence the bioelectric impulses of lower sea creatures' brains. A series of sub-dermal implants allow him to mentally control the magnetic signatures in the molecules that make up water.
* “Atlan” is the title of king in the sea-dwellers' language.
* Mera is the director of the prison colony Xebel and Or'yn's love. Or'yn's brother Orm is the Prince of Atlantis. Vulko was the brothers' teacher and the advisor to Atlan Or'yn. Garth is Or'yn's student.
** Xebel is the prison for many of the undersea nations' deadliest criminals, including Hila the Siren, twin sister of Mera, the Thirst, who corrupted their water-control technology, Nanaue the King of Sharks, and the most dangerous of them all: The Manta!
** The Atlantean military will be instrumental in holding back a future crisis, one that involves a strike force formed by Superman and Aquaman.