Secret Identity: Doesn’t quite understand the concept despite friends attempts to call him ‘Lagoon Boy’ or ‘Aqualad’
Age – 16
Height – 5′ 9″
Weight -150 lbs
Hair – black
Eyes – black (no irises)
Build – muscular
Ishmael is an innocent. He is shy and prefers the company of those who see no need in talking constantly. More than that however he prefers to be alone in water as this is where he feels at home.
Ishmael is generally only comfortable in shallow water (this being anywhere from the surface until the point at which no sunlight penetrates). He does not like pitch black depths as these remind him of the traumatic sensory deprivation trials he has been put through. He does not much appreciate being on land and is terrified of heights.
He does not fully understand the need to use his abilities for violence having been taught that this is wrong in the same stroke. He does not respond well to instruction. Ishmael has yet to grasp human interaction and is just as likely to let a criminal run past him and look confused and he is to electrocute a team member over a misunderstanding
While Ishmael has learnt much on the few occasions he cannot understand people or scenarios he can be made to feel stupid and will get angry and storm off, generally this involves stripping himself of what he sees as unnecessary human clothing and swimming away.
He does not like to discuss where he came from, either the laboratory or prior to that. Although he silently wishes he could one day find his people he has learnt from a regretful Aquaman that may not ever be possible and is fully aware he is, no longer, truly like them.
Ishmael possesses certain abilities due to both the adaptations of all Hy-Brasilians and more granted by his mutation and genetic manipulation, though it is hard to determine which source they originate from. Made to survive in depths deeper than any human submersible could possibly go the Hy-Brasilians have several unique qualities that surface dwellers would see as super powers and his DNA tampering has further encouraged mutation along these lines.
-Ishmael can, first and foremost, breath both water and air as he owns lungs but also a set of gills on his chest. He can however only swim as fast as a peak Olympic athlete, albeit with limitless stamina.
-He is also, due to the intense pressure of the deep, almost impenetrable and has a very reduced sense of pain. This same reason means his is incredibly strong as he is built to freely move about the very bottom of the world’s oceans. His ability to move freely in the deep also means that on land his reflexes are highly sensitive.
-Ishmael has what are known as ‘cement glands’ near his wrists. This means he can release a slimy but gripping liquidous agent from his hands at will thereby attaching himself to whatever he is gripping in a similar style to a limpet or barnacle.
-Ishmael’s body contains electroplaques: these are the cells in sting rays and electric eels that allow them to produce and emit electric charges. He can distribute this power from any where on his body at will and it appears as nothing more than a haze in the air (though it travels further underwater due to conductivity). Ishmael (like many marine animals) can also sense the electric currents emitted by living beings and these currents (when underwater) alert him to motion he cannot necessarily see…
-Talking of sight, Ishmael can see in pitch black. He can see in a world with zero sunlight and yet still have vision comparable to a human in daylight. As such his sight is highly acute though this is often more of curse than a boon.
-The same is true of his hearing. While it is true sound travels further underwater it is often garbled and unclear but the his adaptations allow them acute hearing that when above water does not have the same desired affect.
-Ishmael’s body is designed to sense and process the world around him in ways normal senses cannot achieve. As such when underwater he is able to control the motions of his head in such a way as his incredibly light, lank hair can spread out and tactilely sense the motions of the water around him. On land his hear (while fine to a human) is far to heavy for him to manipulate. He does however possess a set of soft, prehensile, retractable antennae in his chin that are involuntarily electrically charged (like a sting-ray’s tail).
-From his legs and arms Ishmael can produce external feeding gills that filter nutrients and small krill from the water and then, by retracting them into his body in a flash, they are passed into his digestive system. They also act as navigational fins.
-Most peculiar perhaps of his abilities is his bio-luminescence. He initially knew next to nothing of an audible language and communicated solely by the flashing patterns of the natural lights across his body. This ability has several purposes. It is the primary form of communication for Hy-Brasilians and is used not just socially but also as a defense mechanism. When attacked their will flash lights initially in a slow, rhythmic pattern that has a soothing, calming and almost hypnotic effect. If this doesn’t work they will randomly flash lights across their bodies while spreading wide their limbs and hair and, with the light bouncing of their ‘fins’, they appear much larger than they are and repel potential threats. While the second aspect tends to not have much affect on people the first usage is quite effective when it comes to being used a super power.
Ishmael’s physiology is also his greatest weakness. Due to the adaptations of his eyes and ears sounds and lights are extremely painful and it is only with the aid of sunglasses that he can stay out in direct sunlight for extended periods (if underwater the refraction of the sun’s rays lessens the impact somewhat). It is not an immediate effect but after time he will develop severe migraines if over exposed to light and sound
Training has taught him to focus on individual sounds rather than be overwhelmed but sudden, unexpected loud noises can cause him intense pain. If a grenade were to be thrown at him the physical damage, in terms of impact, would be negligent but the consequences for his hearing and vision would be excruciating.
Ishmael’s external feeding gills collect nutrients when above water also and while, in the country per se, this is not unpleasant, when in a city the pollution can make him terribly sick so he is reduced to orally feeding which is a secondary option to him.
His main weakness is his relatively naivety and lack of basic human awareness of people and social norms. When confused he can be very short tempered however more often than not if presented with personal confrontation he tends to just return to water and swim to avoid conflict as he finds human anger a particularly worrying trait.
Ishmael, very notably, barely talks. He can talk and he understands English perfectly but due to both his history and the nature of a deep sea culture he finds spoken language an excessive exertion. If he does it is not often in whole sentences but choice words that express his current emotion.
Burns easily in the sun.
There was a war. A war between Tritonis and Posidonis which resulted in neither side winning. Tritonis, due to ever-increasing pollution and man’s general presence in the oceans, attacked the surface world and Posidonis, led by King Orin, retaliated to protect man.
The fallout was immense and many clans, tribes and sub-cultures, including the manta-like populace of Hy-Brasil, fled to avoid the conflict and made themselves refugees to the oceans. The Hy-Brisalians, having already been deep dwellers in the first place, sought the depths and the darkness.
Deep below the ocean’s rich, upper waters, closer to the core of the Earth than the crust, in the densest trenches and caverns, deeper than Atlanteans tend to ever travel, dwell these now shy, skittish and peaceful beings. Most Atlanteans have all but forgotten of their distant cousins: ‘The Lost Tribe of Atlantis’.
Most Hy-Brasilians in fact lost their knowledge of a surface world save for what they know to surround birthing lagoons. They do not know of anything but their black oceans. They live a quite, nomadic existence and while they are humans with equal intellect who merely adapted long ago at a much slower rate than the later Atlanteans did, they live more as marine wildlife than as people, having no complex culture or spoken language.
They eat primarily shellfish and the schools of fish they peacefully herd. They are primarily prey, albeit wit few predators, and are fearful and quiet by nature. There are only two occasions when they leave their dark and silent homes. First is for a yearly migration to kelp fields where they are a.) well hidden and reclusive and b.) able to feast on the nourishing properties of the kelp.
The second is to return to the lagoons they are born in and then only potential mothers go. These lagoons are generally unknown by man and if they sense any signs of disturbance before they arrive then they will flee. But mankind has, as he does with so many other forms of life, begun destroying their habitat.
Their numbers are small, only a thousand left in the world, and they live in shoals of between ten and twenty. Man’s constant polluting of the seas, unhindered by a war to prevent it, continued to damage the cells of those who dwelt in them.
While Atlantis rebuilt its defenses and filtered its water the Hy-Brasilians were in danger. Slowly the population dropped as mother’s gave birth to children unable to survive underwater or simply had still-births. That year only one female in her shoal was ready to birth. She returned to her birthing lagoon and walked ashore where she lay waiting in labor.
What she did not notice at first was the pollution in the air. As she used her external gills to take in nourishment and water from the air she also took in toxins. These adversely affected her and caused her to become ill and confused and she wandered, delirious and dying, from the safety of the lagoon.
She wandered for a long time before stumbling upon a privately owned beach. Confused by not only the pollution but the strange creatures and the noise and the light she collapsed in distress. The family who witnessed it called for help and the creature was ultimately taken away and the family hushed.
She died in captivity in a laboratory not long after. But her child did not. The creature was raised its whole life in an upright tank of salt watered and subject to a battery of tests from the day it was born, for the next sixteen years. Not only did they test the measures of this already mutated offspring but they further subjected him to genetic manipulation. He became unlike anything that had been seen before.
The problem was that his handler, the woman who had named him, began to bond with him and began to see him as a son. Slowly she could no longer treat him as an experiment and decided to break him free. However the consequences were not as she had expected.
The boy had received constant muscle manipulation and an array of examinations to test his potential but he’d never truly been awake and certainly not acted autonomously. He had only learnt what had been intentionally instructed to him during psychedelic drug induced incidences and after this he gave up wanted to learn. He knew what the words ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ meant and could introduce himself. He didn’t know how to control himself. His electroplaque control was limited at best upon awakening and he killed the scientist and several guards that tried to stop him.
He wandered into the streets of Metropolis where he was greeted with hostility and fear. Naturally he began to use bio-luminescence to calm those that approached but this caused one man to suffer a stroke and the attacks began. He tried to protect himself but his electric discharge injured several people. He was scared and confused and alone and under threat. The news reports claimed he was an alien invader with laser blasts and a death stare.
Then they arrived. The Justice League. They’d heard the reports and one among them was shocked to hear the news of the creature’s appearance. He recognized the description without having ever seen the boy; like a man recognizing a vampire. He just knew what it was.
Jackson Hyde had been told stories by Arthur Curry. Stories that had been told to him down the ages. Tales of the people who dwelt beneath all. But they were fairy tales. They were not real. Jackson Hyde had never met a Hy-Brasilian before the war and they were generally presumed extinct.
And yet he, Aquaman, stood before them. He introduced himself calmly and spoke softly to the boy who was surrounded by noise and terror. He asked the boy’s name and, barely understanding, the boy replied as he had been taught.
“Call me Ishmael.”
And so Aquaman calmed the boy and hurried him away from all eyes. He knew what it was to be different from the world. To not feel in your true home on the land among normal people. And he began a mission to teach the boy about the world. Protecting the confused and naive young man as best he could he taught him many languages including English.
Taught him human customs and behaviors. Showed him the many places in the world where one could swim freely. Taught him to use words like ‘beautiful’ when they swam through the Great Barrier Reef or fearfully dove from Angel Falls. And soon Hyde realized the boy would need to meet those like himself if he was to fully integrate into society. People with abilities beyond those of their own kind. And so from time to time he would introduce him to those heroes who were hanging about the Brownstone or attempt to grant him a presence before King Orin; though due to political turmoil and the somewhat intense nature of Posidonis’ fear of outsiders this has yet to transpire.
Though Aquaman had tried for a long time to keep the boy away from other humans by and large, knowing he was vulnerable, corruptible and scared he was aware that the time had come. He knew he would also need the company of those who knew how to handle great power.
Slowly and surely he was making friends. But just because he has friends doesn’t mean he is safe. Cadmus want him back.