Lots of psychology, identity and what if Cal had never been Auphe? What and who might he have been without the taint of darkness and death in his very DNA? A pretty decent guy, it would seem. Still snarky and a fan of sleep, but a bit of a hero rather than being the thing that he should be protecting others from.
Cal wakes up on a beach surrounded by super-spiders. he doesn't know his name, where he is from and what he is doing here. But he knows that there are monsters and that he kills them. A real stand-up fellow. Some locals give him a hand, he gets a job at the diner. All is going well. Even if he still has no clue who he is, no memory of his self or past until two guys walk into the diner, one of them demanding to know where the hell he has been. Turns out that guy is his brother, Niko. It goes downhill from there for poor Cal as he gets dragged back into a world of monsters and pain and confusion. He begins to have very dark thoughts as he starts to remember. And he does not want to be whoever the person he once was. So, Niko drugs him to try and keep the memories at bay.
Niko was willing to give Cal up, any chance of his Cal, the one who knows him, knows their whole life, just so that Cal might have a chance to be happy without the burden of his past. Of course, he does eventually remember and he does and kills the other half-Auphes like him, forerunners of the grand experiment, only he missed one. Which will obviously be back in the next installment to wreak havoc."You lied to me" ... (Cal tells Niko) "You drugged me." He thought I'd blame him for what he'd done. That I'd hate him. As if I had that in me. I had many things in me some would say I'd be better off without, but hating Niko wasn't one of them.
That was Niko. That was my brother, the one I remembered from the first memory I'd ever had. I'd been about three when we hid in the closet as Sophia trashed the house in a drunken rage. Three years old and the glass breaking and the chairs hitting the wall, scary noises, but someone's arm was tightly around me. Someone was there to keep me safe. I'd heard his voice, whispering reassuring words, although I didn't remember those words. I did remember what I felt ... not alone. I wasn't alone.
Content: sexual references, language, etc. You have been forewarned.