Whatever Lies in the Depths of Her Soul by Fernando Raffani

The fight was very bloody.

Rolf stood impatiently outside the cage watching the fight between Nei and Neifirst. He couldn't understand why he and his companions had to keep back while Nei fought alone against the strongest opponent they have faced until that point.

I can't stay here watching Nei being hurt like this as if I was watching boxing on TV! Rolf said, shaking the cage.

We are not comfortable either Amy answered but she chose to do so and she may have good reasons. After all, she already knew Neifirst.

Yes, but she is like a sister to me. I can't stay here watching my sister being killed and stay calm.

Amy felt the bitterness in Rolf's voice and decided to end the conversation. No one else had the courage to talk to Rolf about the fight and stayed in silence watching the fierce fight.

Inside the cage, the fight had reached a stalemate. At the beginning of the fight, Nei was thrashed by the powerful blows of her twin, but as the time passed, the experience acquired in the previous fights started to make the difference in her favor. Nei had deep cuts all over her skin, with some blood dripping and she was already starting to feel the weakness caused by the blood loss. Neifirst, on the other hand, was in better shape, but was much more tired and more scared by the last blows received and frightened with a pain that she was not accustomed to, unlike Nei. She had received some cuts in the last serious struggle and was having a hard time dealing with the pain and blood loss. Neifirst also knew that attacking at that point would be suicide, because Nei was much more experienced in fighting and a perfect blow in a counterattack would prove to be fatal.

Meanwhile, Rolf was still shaking the bars of the cage and screaming. His companions were restless as well. Shir preferred to close her eyes and ears, for she couldn't stand it anymore. Rudolf stayed quiet, looking almost relaxed, as he appeared to be in the battles they have endured, but his mind was uneasy. Anna approached Rolf and softly put her arm on his shoulder in a friendly way, making Rolf look at her and forget about the fight for few seconds, before he started shouting again.

Nei knew that time was running out for her and, though a better fighter, she couldn't breach Neifirst's defense properly. She had to do something, and she knew what to do, but she was relunctant since it was a suicide plan. She couldn't win the fight attacking and she knew that Neifirst would only attack if she was sure she would score an excellent blow and leave unharmed.

Neifirst was waiting, scared, with a million different thoughts through her mind when she noticed a change in Nei's semblance. A second later, everybody saw Nei collapsing on the floor.

Nei, hold on! Rolf screamed in despair.

Neifirst spent some seconds trying to rearrange her ideas, but then decided it was time to give a last blow to her twin. She was somewhat puzzled, because she has seen Nei collapse on the floor with a grin on her face, but as Nei didn't move after that, she went full speed for the final blow.

Outside the gate, Rolf was mad and ordered Rudo, shoot the lock! I can't stand this anymore!

Rudolf got his gun and shot three times before it broke. Rolf opened the door of the cage in a hurry and was running towards Nei, but he suddenly halted. Others were shocked as well by a deep scream in agony followed by a shorter but louder scream and a strong thud of a body collapsing on the floor. Neifirst had come at full speed, aiming her claw at Nei's neck. At the last second, Nei put her right arm in the way and received the full blow in her arm. She, then, screaming in pain, swung her body under Neifirst and inserted her left-hand claws straight in Neifirst's throat, tearing it open. With the force of the blow, Nei stood up and raised Neifirst's body in the air, where the latter gave her last scream. Nei swung her body, freeing herself from Neifirst's claw and dropping Neifirst's lifeless body on the ground. Then she arched, holding her perforated arm with her hand and fell on her knees again.

In a second, Rolf reached her, followed by his companions. Rolf made Nei lean on his lap and Amy rushed to administer the first care. Nei was heavily injured and soaked in blood, both her own and Neifirst's. She had already sustained worse injuries before, to the point of needing a clone of her body. But this time, something was different.

Hold on, Nei, you will be fine now. said Rolf with a calm voice, while caressing Nei's blood-soaked hair.

Sorry, Rolf, I can't make it. If Neifirst and the other biomonsters are gone, I must go as well... Nei replied with a weak voice.

Don't say that, Nei, everything will be alright. We love you and we will go through all this together.

Rolf, don't let this ever happen again, please. I must go. Don't forget me, I love you too.


And Nei fell unconscious. Though Amy managed to stabilize her condition, she seemed to have already given up life. The party rushed out of the Climatrol, as it began collapsing, and rushed to the nearest hospital. Nei arrived there in a critical condition, but her body seemed to be recovering, though she never regained conscience. They decided to take her to the Clone Labs and tried to revive her.

While in the waiting room of the Clone Labs, Rolf was desperate and mad. Nei has been in the cloning room longer than usual and there was no information. The old woman appeared and said:

Unfortunately, we can't clone biomonsters. There is nothing we can do to help your friend.

How can't you clone her? You have already cloned her before! What are you trying to do? Rolf screamed in despair. He hit the wooden counter with so much strength that it broke.

Keep your cool! We have done everything we could. Your friend has lived a full life. Let her rest in peace now. the old woman replied, slowly walking back, afraid of Rolf's reactions.

Rolf stormed into the cloning room where he saw Nei's body lying still, alive, but her mind was completely halted. Rolf started crying over her body and stayed there for a long time. His companions followed him into the room and despite the protests of the scientists, they wouldn't leave.

I don't know why, but it looks like her soul has abandoned her body after she said her last words. Rudolf commented.

Everybody was taken by surprise, for Rudolf was the last person they would expect to believe in souls and afterlife, but everybody was still in shock, so nobody made any remark about that. One by one, they left the room, with only Anna and Rolf remaining. Anna embraced Rolf in a loving manner and whispered in his ear:

Dear, she is gone. Let's leave her rest in peace.

Go... go... ne? Rolf said in a torment of feelings, sobbing bitterly.

Yes, gone, my dear, let's go, please.

No, no, Nei.... Rolf protested.

He then noticed that Nei's breath and heart had stopped and screamed Nei one last time, before surrendering to Anna's pull. She embraced him tightly and led him to a bench in the corner of the clone room, where both sat. She held his head pressed on her breasts, caressing his hair very lightly. After some minutes in silence, Rolf started talking of lots of things that represented his tormented feelings:

I have lost my parents in that spaceship crash, when I was still a boy. I have grown up alone all these years and my heart was hardened like a stone. Nei was a blessing in my life. Since I've found her, homeless and hunted, I discovered a new meaning to my life. She had triggered the rebirth of my feelings towards mankind. But caring for her as my little sister, I learned many things about people, love and respect. Then I decided to take this job as a government agent to help people. Now I have lost the only person who cared for me and I am also being considered a criminal! Is it what I deserve, after all?

Rolf, you are a good man and you are doing everything according to what you believe is the right thing to do. There are people who trust you and like you for who you are. Anna answered in a gentle voice while still caressing Rolf's head.

I see people that still need my services, but I don't see a person that loves me.

But they do, they do.

Nei loved me... Rolf says that in pain and starts weeping again.

Anna resumes her comforting task in silence. After some minutes in silence, Rolf becomes sick of crying and starts thinking again, about his future. The first thought was about Anna. He used to think of her as a cold, tough and mysterious woman, but now she was being the most comprehensive of his partners. She was being sweet and was caring for him, when he most needed someone. It was a long time since he has felt some motherly love for the last time and Anna's affection for him was something close to the love he had lost long before. He also noticed how comfortable Anna's embrace was. He knew that she was a very beautiful and sexy woman and, though his mind was still set in problems and filled with sorrow, it was the first time he let romantic feelings arouse towards any of his companions. His three female companions were all pretty and Shir showed some infatuation with him, but Anna was by far the prettiest, with her femme-fatale style. And she was kind to him. And she was closer to him than the others. And she was caring for him in one of the most difficult moments of his life. And had a warm and comfortable body, And had nice breasts to rest his head on...

Rolf, shocked with his own train of thought, let himself out from Anna's embrace and, subduing the last tears, said in an assured tone:

We must carry on. Let's have my dear sister buried.

Yes, let's talk with the clerk in order to provide a proper burial Anna agreed.

They were getting out of the room when suddenly Rolf halted and turned to look at Nei's corpse again. Anna became worried that he would return to the suffering state as before, but he just whispered his beloved sister's name, shook his head and left.

The funeral was coming to an end. The gravedigger had already put all the earth over the coffin and was hitting the mound to flatten its top a bit. Beside the mound rested a gravestone with three names on it, two being of Rolf's deceased parents and the third was Nei's name, with Rolf's family name added as her surname. Despite the protests of the graveyard management, who wouldn't agree on burying a biomonster as a person, Rolf was paying the last homage to his beloved sister, officially adopting her as member of his family.

The group returned in silence to Rolf's house. No one wanted to speak, out of respect for Rolf's feelings. Anna walked beside him, with a hand over his shoulder, while he was trying to dry his last tears. He had already accepted Nei's loss, but was sorrowful. Anna was feeling sad as well, but more relieved because she knew that, though sad, Rolf had stopped denying Nei's loss and from that time on, time would slowly heal his wounds. The evening was clear, cold and the sky was filled with stars, providing a beautiful landscape and invoking sadness.

They arrived home and everybody wanted to sleep, since they were tired from the last battles and the long process of the funeral. Rolf had received an urgent letter from the Motavian Commander and would check it after some sleep. He said, more to himself than to Anna, but she could hear him saying in not so convincing tones Well, life must go on.

Anna smiled at him with a loving smile and left to her room. Rolf tried to think about Anna´s behavior again, but tiredness took less than five minutes to make him sleep.

When Rolf woke up, the day had already dawned. He readied himself and went to the Central Tower, advising his companions to get ready for more trouble. He left with a bad mood, but he had to face life and, by commander´s letter, there would be more problems ahead. So, he walked the three blocks that separated his house and the Central Tower in a fast pace. When he arrived there, there was a great mess, and a man, running and screaming:

Omigosh! The lake is overflowing! There must have been an accident at Climatrol! All of the rain supply has flowed into the lake! Mota is going to flood! Run for your lives! It's a catastrophe!

Rolf entered the Central Tower worried about the news. By talking to the commander, Rolf got the reports about the impending flooding that would be caused by their raid on Climatrol, which culminated with Neifirst's death. He was informed as well of the persecution ordered by Palmian government, although he had already heard about them being considered criminals. He and the commander agreed that he and his companions should try to slip past the security robots and open the dams before the cities got underwater.

He returned to his home immediately, dispirited by the last outcomes and worried about the new problems presented to him. When he arrived home, Rudo was in the front door waiting for him, weapons in hand.

Rolf, did you hear the news? We are being hunted by the security robots, as if we were responsible for the climate crisis after we got rid of the biomonsters in Climatrol. We must do something now! Rudo said, clearly shocked.

Yes, Rudo, I know. The commander told me about that. We are off to the dams. We shall unlock them to prevent the flooding of the cities. Rolf answered calmly.

If it is so, it is better to take our leave now. I thought it would be the end of our journey, but things are getting worse, those damned robots will be a nuisance, but once we get inside all this mess, we must go until the end. Besides, it will be easier for us to avoid trouble roaming in the country than to stay here at your home or returning to our homes.

Yes, you are right. Help me spread the word among our comrades.

They went inside and started spreading the word. All of them were uneasy with the news, mainly Hugh and Amy, which weren't accustomed to fighting and were hoping for peace. Shir saw the opportunity to stay close to Rolf longer as a silver lining in the dark clouds ahead. Only Anna didn't show any emotion. She was already ready, with her deadly slicers in hand and her "takes no prisoners" attitude. While the others were readying themselves, Rolf tried to start a conversation with Anna, but the lovely woman in her disappeared again, and she was again the tough, sometimes harsh woman of the past, trying to conceal her emotions and mainly her past from him. Rolf was caught off guard and talked no more to Anna during the start of their new journey. But his thoughts were almost all about her. He couldn't understand the sudden changes in her behavior. He was even falling in love with her, when she was being supportive and lovely, but now it looked as if he had only dreamed about a kind and lovely Anna. He tried to guess what could have happened to her in the past that could justify her behavior, but he just couldn't and wished she could again be the woman that embraced him in the Clone Labs while he was crying over Nei's body. But he examined her seated in the jet scooter as if he was trying to see the depths of her soul, but could only see a cold and tough woman, who seemed to feel nothing at all. He would give everything he had just to know whatever lies in the depths of her soul.

On the other bench, Anna was looking down, with her mysterious semblance. She knew that Rolf couldn't take his eyes off her, but she knew she shouldn't look at him, at least for now. She had to finish something before she could look straight at his face again.

For now, Anna had to fight her strongest foe. Inside herself.

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