With 70% of the world covered in oceans and seas, a vast treasure trove of real estate is available for anyone to stake a claim as 'their own'. The Pacific Warlords are a group with this mentality.
Believing that anything 'below' the Pacific Ocean's surface is fair game, right up to the beaches of all nations, the Pacific Warlords have taken it upon themselves to steal, scavenge and claim all they can, as well as set up their own new individual underwater fiefdoms.
Each Pacific Warlord controls an underwater region in the Pacific Ocean. All warlords answer to their leader, Lord Abysmal. Lord Abysmal provides them with genetically-created Ningrens (aquatic solders and slave labor) and the warlords are tasked to expand the Lord Abysmal's powers throughout all of the Pacific Ocean.
The Pacific Warlords are currently at peace with the Atlantic Kingdom and most of the world's nations, however, the nations of the world, through the United Nations, does not acknowledge any of the Pacific Warlord's territories. The Pacific Warlords are considered, by the U.N., terrorists.
Each Pacific Warlord has their own way of ruling their Ningren subjects; some are merciful and kind, others are brutal and harsh. Regardless, each warlord has been tasked to 'expand' their fiefdoms in the name of Lord Abysmal, with their end goal becoming rulers of the Pacific Ocean.
To achieve their goals, the warlords independently raid what they wish, taking down shipping, submarines, oil rigs and even coastal facilities and beaches at their leisure. This has brought them into conflict with every national maritime military forces and many superhero groups. As such, some superheroes that went to fight certain Pacific Warlords never returned from their battles, or worst yet, were 'taken over and controlled' by the warlords with some type of mental control or device.
Recently, the Pacific Warlords have become more brazen and have started attacking shipping and coastal areas with more frequency. As a result, the United Nations has issued a 'combat directive' stating that if fired upon or attacked by anyone associated with the Pacific Warlords that lethal force is authorized against said Pacific Warlords and their minions to protect property and life for all world citizens. The directive received a unanimous vote from all in the United Nations, thus setting the stage for what could easily become war with the Pacific Warlords.
Dr. Howard K. Kestkill III
A highly resourceful and brilliant American bio-geneticist, Dr Kestkill was pressed into scientific service for a secretive Undersea Warfare Warrior (UWW) division of the CIA to create and engineer cloned underwater warrior creatures (under the program codename: Abyss) to use against the great threat of the Atlantic Kingdom and its megalomaniac of a leader, King Dolphin. Even though the best of intentions were the focus of the UWW, its diminished morality and unchecked program parameters led to the creation of the Pacific Ocean's most dangerous super-villain - Lord Abysmal.
Dr. Kestkill was brought in to lead the science team of the UWW to come up with a counter to the Atlantic Kingdom's cloned army of warriors. The CIA UWW Director, Mason Masterson, lost a dozen agents in an Atlantic Kingdom attack, including his only brother. Obsessed with creating a counter to the Atlantic Kingdom, and irritated by the US and world government's politics over the situation, Masterson worked Dr. Kestkill and his team relentlessly, making them work around-the-clock shifts. Although the team was overworked, they performed miracles in the field of cloning and transmutagenic science.
The team created a machine dubbed as the "Transmutation Matrix". When properly calibrated and aligned, it could take any biological creature, human or otherwise, and provide temporary or permanent new powers such as enhanced strength, stamina or the ability to filter oxygen from the seawater and breath in the ocean depths. Unique features on a human body included gills, protective eye membranes and protected hearing ablations, as well as thicker skin akin to scales. The Matrix machine had been used in several trial experiments using a hybrid synthesis of human and various undersea creature DNA. Using the Transmutation Matrix machine, there were able to create the first experimental Transmutation Matrix-created creatures, which were codenamed "Ningren". Most Ningren died within hours if not days of being created, but several remained alive for study to aid in fine-tuning the matrix. The Ningren were docile creatures, easy to manipulate and train, however, the creatures hated being confined in lab tubes; they wanted to be able to swim in the open ocean, not caged or trapped. Nonetheless, the Ningren were a 'stepping stone' to furthering the Transmutation Matrix's use on humans to temporarily 'transform' combat troops to perform undersea combat roles and missions. With the Atlantic Kingdom stepping up their attacks against the nations in and around the Atlantic Ocean during this same period of time, the pressure to complete Project Abyss was considered imperative. Mr. Masterson made Dr. Kestkill and his team work harder than ever before, almost to a breaking point.
One night, after another 30-hour long no sleep work session in the labs, his team collapsing on the brink of exhaustion, Dr. Kestkill told Masterson he was resigning and any of his team that wanted to leave with him should. Kestkill told Masterson that once he was back in Washington D.C., he was going to report Masterson and his chain of command for creating a prison for his scientists, the deplorable conditions and strain they were all put under and the unethical operations that Project Abyss was creating and performing. When Masterson told Kestkill that nothing would come from talking to his superiors in D.C.; that's when Kestkill stated he'd instead go to the media and the United Nations and let them all known what uncivil operations were occuring with the UWW's Project Abyss.
Masterson threw the doctor all about the lab, screaming and ranting that the doctor nor his team would ever leave the lab until the work was done. Masterson continued to drone on about a 'greater power' than the 'United States Government' or the 'United Nations' needing this work, while all the while continuing to toss Dr. Kestkill around the lab, ranting "he'll kill me", "He'll kill you", and "You have no idea of his power" as threats. Dr. Kestkill, bloodied and bruised by the physical altercation thusfar, demanded to know 'who' would kill them' and that, regardless of Masterson's actions, Kestkill himself was going to make sure everyone around the world knew what was happening there.
Now fully unhinged, wide-eyed with madness, Masterson threw Kestkill across a lab console and into a "Transmutation Matrix" machine. The machine's hatch electronically closed, locked and started a transmutation matrix buildup. Masterson. Masterson fumbled with the control panel, computer buttons, instrument knobs and mechanical devices in an attempt to electronically override the locks and release Kestkill from the machine. The matrix machine roared to life with painful screams emanating from the matrix for the next two minutes. Security arrived during this, asking what happened; attempting to shift blame, Masterson stated that Kestkill went mad and attacked him before Kestkill himself locked himself in the matrix machine to obviously commit suicide.
Of course, the take Masterson told the security personnel was the farthest from the truth, but that didn't matter once the hatch to Kestkill's Transmutation Matrix machine finally reopened.
What came out of the machine was no longer Kestkill, but a large, eight foot tall, powerful blue-skinned monster of a man; a man forever changed. The being that was once Dr. Kestkill looked up from its space in the machine and saw Masterson and the several security guards. The large blue creature lunged at Masterson, tearing off Masterson's right arm from his torso, followed by both his legs. Security opened fire on the being that once was Dr. kestkill, but instead, the bullets bounced right off of the large blue creature, with one bullet richoceting enough to kill one of the several security guards. In fear of their lives, the security guards scattered for the exit, only to be cut down by the large blue creature that fatally squashed, smashed or broke each security guard. By this time several more security guards came running down the secure corridor, machine guns blazing. The being that once was Dr. Kestkill broke open the several tubes that held the captive Ningren creatures, freeing them. As the Ningren attempted to slither off, the abysmal blue monster that once was Kestkill ordered the Ningren to attack the soldiers and kill them. The Ningren paused, but did at the large blue creature commanded and with the speed of greased lightning, attacked and killed the additional security guard, losing only one Ningren in the process.
At this point, there was no more security on Ford Island; additional security would have to be flown in or boated in, since the island's bridge was still under construction and only 1/2 built. The being that was once Kestkill then tossed Masterson's near-dead body through the facility's ceiling, through the roof and out into Pearl Harbor. As it was about to escape the building, it stopped and looked at the Transmutation Matrix equipment. With a smirk, the large blue being rolled the equipment out to the secret cargo submarine transfer bay, loaded the sub with all the lab equipment and took the sub out of dock and dove off the coast before the Navy was any the wiser.
A search for Kestkill went on for the next month, but nothing was found. Within a day of the incident in the lab, all references to Project Abyss were quickly and secretly removed, leaving the old rusty seaplane hangar just as it was before; a barren relic from the mid 20th century.
The being that was once Kestkill took the cargo sub to a remote location under an iceberg in the Arctic Ocean. There, with all the noises of breaking and creaking ice to mask his sub's sounds, he created his own 'pocket' up inside the iceberg through which to surface the sub. After clearing some holes in the ice for air and light, The being started rebuilding the Transmutation Matrix machines, this time to new settings. Using a dozen or so of the remaining hydrid human/fish DNA samples, he used the Transmution Matrix as a cloning machine, making more of the samples. Thousands more.
He was creating his own Ningren army.
The being that once was Kestkill believed that humanity was 'unworthy' of Earth and its oceans and that only the 'fittest and strongest' should survive. As such, he created the Ningren better than ever before. He also created a worker class to do all the labor needed in building bases and moving equipment. In time, the being that was once Kestkill even gave him/itself a name:
Over the next few years, Lord Abysmal created thousands more Ningren warriors and workers, sending them out across the Pacific Ocean in search of sunken treasures; treasures such as the reactor core and nuclear weapons of a couple of sunken Soviet nuclear subs; tens of thousands of ammunition shells and unexploded ordnance that litter the ocean floor from man's last century of Pacific Ocean warfare and tons of scrap metal and steel for construction. He even built new safehouses and bases out of old sunken ships and debris, then arming them with weapons and traps all to keep man from taking what Lord Abysmal now considered 'his'.
In time, the nations of the world started discovering Lord Abysmal's secret bases, causing the bases to either self destruct as a result of human incursion or actually be taken over. He soon realized he was only one man, and as such, couldn't be everywhere at the same time. He was also leading an army of tens of thousands of drones, dumb drones that he had to train again and again; the effort was unending. To that end, he realized he needed more help in building his empire; his own...cabal of warlords that could regionally take control of an area and manage it for him as if he were there himself. That's when he started abducting humans and transmuting them to beings he could control as his new warlords. After years of fine tuning his Transmutation Matrix equipment, Lord Abysmal was now able to grant varying powers to human hosts as well an induce the same level of control over the subject as he has over the Ningren. Over the next year, Lord Abysmal collected over two dozen candidates as his new transmutated warlords. Half of them were either 'unworthy' of Lord Abysmal, or died during the Transmutation process. Those that didn't die each became unique, super-powered warlords unto themselves. They each were given a new code-name and a region of the Pacific Ocean to lord over...with Lord Abysmal as their ultimate lord and commander.The Pacific Warlords soon became one of the most dangerous band of beings on Earth.
The secrets of the UWW's Project Abyss were never revealed to the world nor was the identity of the person that was considered 'more powerful' than the United Nations, as stated by Masterson. Lord Abysmal's existence, however, recently started to go from myth to fact as the other warlords started leading attacks against the surface world. All out war hasn't happened yet, but should it occur, Lord Abysmal has orders that each warlord and their tens of thousands of Ningren troops would join and fight together as "Pacific Warlords".
Today, as the leader of the Pacific Warlords, Lord Abysmal uses his warlords as chess pieces; moving them smartly and with purpose to gain benefits from the surface world and increase their realm of control. He continues to create Ningren (and on occasion, new warlords as needed) as well as build his secretive massive underwater capital and super-fortress located...well, that would be telling now, wouldn't it... Suffice to say, if Lord Abysmal or the surface world decide to go to war against one another...
...it'll be like World War III.
As for Mr. Masterson, well, officially, he died. Unofficially, he was 'rebuilt' and has once again been tasked by the 'one with more power than the United Nations' to recover Lord Abysmal's Transmutation Matrix equipment, no matter what the cost...