Title: Omega days
Fandom: Mass Effect
Warnings: Dub-con, breathplay, erotic asphyxiation, hurt/comfort, violence.
pairrings: Kaidan Alenko/John Shepard
Rating: M+, Explicit, N17
Beta: erestorjunkie ❤
Summary: Tonight he would go check out the lead he had, it might be crummy, but it was all he had right now. Kaidan looked up at the neon sign on the building, and down at the address on his datapad, yeah this was the place. He shook his head, "Plastique? Really now?" He shrugged and willed himself to believe that Saren would frequent a shady dance club, because the alternative, that the information was bad, was just too much to bear.
AN: Okay so I took a bunch of stuff from the games, and some from Revelation, shook it in a hat and this stuff came out. Nah I just stole with arms and legs from the different timelines when I thought it suited my purpose. And other stuff I just plain made up.
This is written for neilsaggy, who prompted Tumblr and I was the idiot who couldn’t resist. Nah seriously, thank you for getting my writing mojo back. I hope you like it even if it’s not exactly what you asked for. And thanks to erestorjunkie for helping me out while I tried to make sense of the plot – We ended up with less old school detective and full blown Miami Vice, but who’s counting? – [playlist]
Shepard waited in front of his building, pretty sure that Kaidan wouldn’t show, He was surprised when he actually did, and as he had promised, he had taken them to a nice restaurant. He handed Shepard a menu card, and he ordered something with a professional expression, at least he knew how to do this, he had been company at many a party, usually he would have been told beforehand what he could order, and what topics he could talk about. Here he was on his own.
After a little hesitation Shepard put down his fork and looked over at Kaidan, “Is Earth really as beautiful as it is on the holos?” He laughed nervously, “My parents used to tell me stories from Earth, but honestly then my imagination didn’t do the holos justice… so…”
“It’s better.” Kaidan said with a smile.
“I’d love to see it someday.” Shepard says with a dreamy smile and reaches for his soft drink.
“So where you from?” Kaidan asked, “Here?” He smiled before continuing with his meal.
“You already know that don’t you?” Shepard argued annoyed.
“Nope.” Kaidan admitted, okay so it was a lie, but Shepard didn’t have to know that. “You are not who I am looking for, so I don’t have your background. I could look into it I guess, but I’d much rather hear it from you.”
Shepard raised a brow, not sure what to think. “I am from Mindoir, a colony out in the Attican Traverse.” His voice became nothing but a whisper. “I was born there; my parents were from earth, looking for new frontiers and all that. Farmers, both them and me. Well pretty much everyone around there was.”
“I have a hard time to imagine you as a farmer.” Kaidan chuckled.
“Yeah well…” Shepard shrugged, pushing the empty plate away from him, signaling he was full. “I was good at it.” He smiled mostly to himself. “I wouldn’t mind doing it again someday. You know owning my own little lot and grow food, and flowers.” His smile widened as he imagined all the things he would grow if he could.
“What happened? I mean, why aren’t you back there doing what you love, instead of this.” He gestured out in front of him, “Omega must be a really sad place to be stuck if you like nature.”
Shepard inhaled sharply, looking at Kaidan. Taking a leap of faith he leaned in over the table, resting his chin on his knuckles. “The Batarians happened.” He stated. “Spent some time in Jalnor on Lorek, getting…” He paused, “Repurposed, or reassigned, or whatever you want to call it.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Kaidan whispered. “I didn’t know that.”
“Bullshit.” Shepard huffed, but smiled none the less.
“Honestly I didn’t know.” Kaidan said, and he didn’t. Well he had known that Shepard’s colony had been hit by Batarian slavers, but not that they had actually captured him.
“Could have been worse.” Shepard said with an innocent face, leaning back into his chair, trying to hide a yawn.
“Suppose it could.” Kaidan said, “Hey how much sleep did you get?”
“Hmm, two hours I’d reckon.” Shepard answered, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean -”
“You should get home and catch some more shuteye,” Kaidan said, “Come on, I’ll take you home. Wait for me by the bike and I’ll pay this.”
“Alright,” Shepard yawned again, and got up, “Thank you, it was a nice meal.” He said as he walked past Kaidan.
Kaidan flagged down a waiter as soon as Shepard was out the door, and quickly went on his omnitool, looking to back the info up that Shepard had given him. He didn’t know if he should congratulate himself for following his instinct, or weep for Shepard. But it was pretty easy to find out that the dancers and escorts that were available in the Plastique were gracefully out sourced by Groto Ib-ba, mercenary and fucking bastard. So Groto was the one who owned Shepard, that made sense, he thought he had seen a weird looking mark on Shepard when he had gotten him into bed that night. But since he had kept the pants on, he hadn’t seen what it was. It would of course be a slavers brand. Like you did to cattle on earth! The thought made him slightly sick. But on the other hand, Groto was directly connected to Saren, according to Kaidan’s intel at least, so he had found the fucking pot of gold; hit the jackpot, whatever winning the lottery! Shepard was the man, he would know where Groto was, and through him could ferret out where Saren was. Only thing was that he actually felt bad for Shepard, he didn’t want to use him like this. He liked him, he seemed empathetic, intelligent and so fucking hot it should be illegal. Maybe if he just went along a little? work and fun did sometimes fall into your lap in the same package, and this was just one of those situations.
Paying for the brunch he joined Shepard at the bike, and took him back to the depressing looking housing unit where he apparently lived. Shepard slid off and stretched his back, “I guess that’s it…” He hesitated a little, biting his lip.
Kaidan turned the bike’s engine off and turned to Shepard, “If you want it to be.” He said with a smirk, if there was something he knew how to do as well as Shepard, it was to never give away what you were thinking. He was playing a game of chess with really high stakes, and if Shepard told him to fuck off now, which Kaidan halfway thought he would, then all would be lost.
“When are you leaving Omega?” Shepard asked, looking at Kaidan with an expressionless face.
“Don’t know.” Kaidan said, “Soon I hope, but Marlowe turned out to be harder to locate than I thought. I am beginning to think he ain’t here at all.” He folded his arms over his chest.
“Oh.” Shepard fidgeted with the hem of his shirt.
“Are you gonna invite me up?” Kaidan asked with a soft tone, “Or are you waiting for me to beg?”
Shepard’s smile grew, “You can beg if you want to.”
“I’m not in the begging business,” He leered, “I’d much rather hear you beg.”
In contrast to what Kaidan had thought of Shepard, the other man blushed a little, “That depends if you have something worth begging for.” Shepard shot back, starting to walk towards the front door of the unit.
Kaidan laughed and followed, “Oh I do.”
Kaidan tried to ignore how dingy this place looked, Shepard led him down through corridors and stairs until he stopped and punched in a ten digit code on the door. the door swooshed open, Shepard reached in to turn on the light when Kaidan grabbed his wrist, Shepard’s breath hitched as he was pushed into the dark room, and Kaidan’s arm wrapped around his chest, he let his head fall back as Kaidan’s hand rested on his throat, as he swallowed hard he could feel his Adam’s apple pressed down slightly by the weight of the hand.
Freeing Shepard’s hand Kaidan kept his light hold on Shepard’s throat; he could feel the slightly shorter man’s heart hammer in his chest drumming up through his arm. The free hand he rested on the outside of Shepard’s jeans, feeling the heat of an erection through the fabric. He had read Shepard right, it had been a massive gamble that he liked it rough, but Kaidan figured that the silent attraction they had to each other had to come from somewhere, maybe he had read Kaidan too? “You like it like this, don’t you?” Kaidan breathed in Shepard’s ear, licking the outline of the shell.
Shepard swallowed again, “Yes.” He croaked out in a whisper.
Kaidan smiled against Shepard’s ear, “Good.” He purred, gently turning Shepard around so they were eye to eye. “Arms up.” He whispered.
Shepard raised his arms obediently letting Kaidan pull off his shirt, and when it came to his pants he stepped out of those like nothing. Kaidan shrugged off his jacket and pulled his shirt over his head, grapping Shepard’s waist, pulling him close again, rubbing his clothed erection against Shepard’s naked one. When Shepard gasped softly, Kaidan saw his opportunity to kiss him, a firm grip on the back of buzz cut head, invading Shepard’s mouth marveled at how sweetly he yielded, and in the back of his mind he knew he should not get lost in Shepard’s obvious submission, and keep a cool head. But on the other side, all the other people he had ever kissed in the world should have taken notes from Shepard.
Kaidan ended the kiss, grinning at Shepard who looked just as hot and bothered as he felt. “Bed.” Kaidan just said sweetly, letting go of the shorter man completely.
Shepard made his way to the bed, “The boots?” He asked as he sat down on the narrow one person bed.
“Leave them on.” Kaidan said kneeling down between Shepard’s feet, and with a firm hand he pushed Shepard back in the bed. He smiled as Shepard’s cock twitched when he grabbed his hips and pulled him closer. Kaidan pushed Shepard’s legs up towards his chest, “Hold.” He commanded.
Hooking his hands behind his knees and held his legs up and out, Shepard closed his eyes biting his lip as he felt Kaidan’s soft breath against his ass, firm hand’s spreading his cheeks apart, an eager tongue and expert fingers worked him open, his thighs were shaking, and his grip slipping. It had been so, so long since anyone had touched him like that, and he knew it was selfish that he wanted this before Kaidan would disappear out into the Galaxy again. As rough fingertips brushed against Shepard’s prostate relentlessly, he gave in to pleasure and pushed down on Kaidan’s fingers as much as he could. He was already panting and Kaidan had not touched his cock once. “Please.” Shepard purred, knowing that it was the magic word Kaidan wanted to hear.
“Please what?” Kaidan whispered huskily before tracing the base of Shepard’s erection with his tongue.
“God, please fuck me.”
“No God here.” Kaidan said in a dead serious tone, reaching up to pinch one of Shepard’s nipples, while finger-fucking him a little harder, making Shepard arch off the mattress.
Shepard opened his eyes but closed them shot as a moan ripped through his body. “J-just.”
Kaidan chuckled and pushed off the bed, looking down at Shepard. “You are beautiful like that, you know.” He mused, opening his pants to let his own erection free. “Hold on to your legs for me.” Kaidan mumbled, positioning himself for entering the quivering, ready body below him.
Opening his eyes once more Shepard looked up at Kaidan, who was actually quite a lot more vocal than he had thought, he wasn’t complaining though, he thought that Kaidan’s voice was like liquid sex, and it was just better that it was laced with passion.
Kaidan stopped and hooked Shepard’s legs up over his shoulders, “Be a good boy and hands over your head, and trust me.” Kaidan whispered softly, kissing Shepard’s slightly swollen lips.
Shepard did as he was told, he reached up over his head and left them there, even if he would much rather run his hands down Kaidan’s sides, he looked soft and warm. When one of Kaidan’s hands pinned his hands to the mattress he wasn’t really surprised, Kaidan’s thrusts were hard and deep, and Shepard didn’t think that he would last long with that pace.
Pinching a nipple again with his free hand, Kaidan smiled as Shepard moaned needy. “Trust me.” Kaidan moaned, and he knew that Shepard most likely had no idea what he meant, not until Kaidan’s hand found its way back to Shepard’s throat, holding on this time, pushing slightly down. Enough so Shepard opened his eyes wide and looked at Kaidan. “Relax J-John, just – let it hap-pen.” He squeezed a little tighter but not so tight it should be uncomfortable, watching Shepard closely as he leaned down a little moaning, his hair undoing itself wet with sweat tips, dangling on Shepard’s lips. “Oh fuck you’re gorgeous.” Kaidan felt Shepard relax and dig his blunt nails down into his hand as confusion and fear was exchanged with lust again.
Shepard didn’t want to relax, but his body didn’t care when his rational mind tried to overwrite his lust addled brain. And when he felt heat start to spread up his spine, and he desperately wished that Kaidan would never stop. He heard Kaidan whisper “That’s right, relax.” in a hoarse voice. Shepard wasn’t sure what was more of a turn on, the mix of shame and lust that struggled inside him, or the fact that he felt completely had, there was no part of his being that wasn’t controlled by Kaidan. Shepard could hear his own muffled broken moan, as the dull heat turned into steady build-up that he knew would end in an explosion of intense pleasure.
Kaidan worked harder at getting them both off as he heard Shepard’s throaty restrained moans become more desperate, and just when they turned into a hoarse whispered “yes-yes-yes-yes. Oh God… Fuck yes,” he could feel Shepard tremble and he increased the pressure on Shepard’s wrists, throat and drove into the shivering body harder knowing that Shepard’s expression alone would undo him completely in a moment. Shepard opened his eyes, his pupils totally blown and unseeing as he climaxed. Kaidan couldn’t resist the feeling of Shepard spasming around him, and joined him in his orgasm.
Shepard was gasping for breath as Kaidan rolled off him. He wasn’t quite sure what to feel, he couldn’t recall he had ever climaxed that hard, it had been absolutely mind-blowing. Excellent sex didn’t even come close, but damn he could have asked him, couldn’t he? “You asshole.” He croaked, rubbing his sore throat, “You could have asked.”
“What? I thought you wanted it like that.” Kaidan stated while catching his breath on the mattress next to Shepard. “You didn’t stop me. And if you are telling me you didn’t like it, you’re a liar.”
Shepard sighed, “It was fucking amazing.” Shepard whispered with a guilty wince, “Still you could have asked.”
“Yes.” Kaidan sighed, “I’m sorry. Truly I am. I just read the situation wrong.” He placed a warm hand on Shepard’s sticky stomach. “Forgive me?”
Shepard laid a hand on top of Kaidan’s, “It’s fine.” He whispered, worried that Kaidan’s hand would leave a bruise that he couldn’t conceal at the club. He rolled out of bed and walked to the bathroom; he turned on the light and looked at his throat, and right enough an angry red imprint of a hand on his skin. “Shit.” He cursed at his own mirror image. He hadn’t heard Kaidan getting out of bed until he stood in the doorframe to the bathroom. “You gonna be in trouble?”
“Maybe.” Shepard admitted, and self-consciously covered his brand below his hipbone with his hand.
“I saw it.” Kaidan said softly, gently removing Shepard’s hand from the brand, and moved behind Shepard, resting his chin on the shorter man’s shoulder, wrapping his arms lovingly around Shepard’s waist. “I still think you are gorgeous.”
Shepard opened his mouth to say something but just closed it, and instead joined his hands with Kaidan’s staring at their reflection in the mirror. “I wonder if I could ask you a favor?” He licked his lips, “Before you leave Omega.” He tried to smile but it never made it to his eyes.
“Sure.” Kaidan said softly, “For you, John. Anything.” He kissed Shepard’s neck. “What do you say we clean up and get dressed before we talk business?”
Shepard felt an insane giggle bubbling up inside. “Sure.” He just chuckled and shook his head amused.
Shepard placed a mug of coffee in front of Kaidan, who sat in the bed, since the apartment didn’t have any other furniture than the bed, a large monitor and a dresser. No chairs no tables, it spoke of Shepard’s needs when he was here, sleep, quick meal and a bath. “So.” Shepard said leaning against the dresser, “The bartender, Garrus.”
“Yep.” Shepard nodded, “He is like a brother to me. But he has a bad gambling habit, and while you’d think that Turians were pretty good at this whole ‘pokerface’ thing, he lost large amounts of money.” He took a sip of his coffee, feeling a little weird selling his friend out like this. “Thing is that he didn’t stop gambling, he just borrowed money from more or less shady people… Alright so very shady people.”
“I am good at finding people, not erasing gambling debt, John.” Kaidan said, turning the mug in his hands.
“Just hear me out.” Shepard said, scratching his throat where the hand imprint was hopefully gone by now. “I need to get him off Omega or something bad will happen to him. In my line of services you hear a lot of things and know nothing.” He smiled at himself and continued. “I am not asking you to take him with you to Earth. But Garrus has a father, a sister and a brother still on Palaven. Could you perhaps, uhm… track them down or something so I could get him aboard a ship for Palaven or somewhere close by. Garrus needs to reconnect with his family and go back home, he deserves better than this.”
A long silence stretched, Kaidan thinking to himself that it should be fairly easily to find them if he had a surname. “What about you? Do you think you deserve this?”
“It is what it is.” Shepard said cryptically.
“Come now, I thought you wanted to see Earth, you can’t wait for your master to relocate you there.” Kaidan said getting a little more upset than he should.
“I accepted long ago that I will never grow anything again, or ever see Earth,” Shepard shrugged, “So will you help me to help Garrus?”
“I suppose so.” Kaidan said with a little nod, “If you will answer me truthfully where Marlowe is, I know that you know. As you say, people like you hear everything and know nothing.” He put the coffee down in the windowsill and crossed his arms over his chest watching Shepard.
Shepard felt his heart twitch in a strange way, he wasn’t sad, or upset, he was just disappointed. And not even in Kaidan, he should have expected this from him; he did come here to Omega and to Plastique with an agenda after all. “Alright.” Shepard said strained. “Marlowe is not on Omega, he has been with Saren Arterius and Groto Ib-ba out on a business trip to see Edan Had’dah somewhere in Kite’s nest. They are expected back one of these days. And that is what I know.” Shepard looked pale and drained, knowing that if anyone ever learned that he had said this, his only option is to pray for a quick death.
“Is that brand Groto’s?” Kaidan asked bluntly.
“Yes.” Shepard answered coolly. “Edan Had’dah owns a bunch of clubs and brothels around the Milky Way, Plastique is just one of them, I am pretty sure you can figure out the rest on your own.”
“So Groto is leasing you out to Edan?” Kaidan pulled a disgusted expression even if he tried not to, he didn’t want Shepard to be offended more than he already was.
“Exactly.” Shepard said with a tiny shrug, “So you promise to help Garrus?”
“I promise.” Kaidan said holding a hand out to Shepard, which Shepard ignored.
“Just go.” Shepard said deflated, “You got what you came for.”
“Hey wait, it was not like that!” Kaidan argued, getting to his feet, “This, us.. the sex, don’t think that it was just to – uhm get to you or something.” Kaidan looked at Shepard’s hard expression with a pleading look. “I think you are great, and.. oh.. You know what I mean.”
“Sure.” Shepard said, just staring at Kaidan coldly. “Now get out, please.” He gestured towards the door.
“What about.. what about a lift to the club? it’s the least I can do.” Kaidan said, hating the pitiful tone to his words, this was not what he had wanted.
“I know how to get there on my own.” Shepard stated.
Kaidan wasn’t really surprised when James told him that Shepard was not at the club when he came by later. He left without arguing with James, because Kaidan could -tell- that Shepard was lurking in there in the dark somewhere. And he cursed himself that he had pushed for that information, there had had to have been a better way to get it. Maybe not a faster way, but there must have been a way without hurting Shepard, and driving a wedge down between them, now that Kaidan was just getting used to the pretty smile and all that goddamn glitter. He would just have to wait some days, maybe dig into the Vakarian family whereabouts like he had promised. Maybe if he upholds his promise then Shepard would at least speak to him.
Two days later Kaidan returned, James shook his head again, but Kaidan just smiled, “I am not here for Shepard, I need to talk to Garrus.”
“Garrus?” Wrex growled, “What do you want from him?”
“Business, Private investigator, remember?” Kaidan said with an overbearing sigh.
“Alright.” James said and just ushered Kaidan through the door and directly to the bar. “Hey Garrus, this fella says he has something for you, something business related.”
Garrus closed his eyes and sighed, “I have no money.” He just said automatically.
“It’s not about that.” Kaidan said, “It’s about your father.”
“My dad? What then?..” Garrus leaned in over the bar, watching as Kaidan eased up on a stool. “James please.. We’re good.”
Kaidan watched James leave and then looked back on Garrus. “I was asked to locate your lost family for you, and I have the location on your siblings’ houses, your dad’s house, even their numbers. They are yours, and you should maybe talk to Shepard about the rest.” Kaidan transferred the intel he had on the Vakarians to Garrus omnitool.
“You did it.” Shepard said from the dark and empty dance floor, walking slowly over to the bar, he was dressed in his dancing attire.
“You set him up to this nonsense Shepard?” Garrus asked annoyed, “Why would you do that, man?”
“Because you need to leave Omega, and you know it.” Shepard said coming to a standstill next to Kaidan at the bar, before he surprisingly gracefully jumped up on the desk.
“Damn, Shepard! Now I got that glitter crap all over the bar.” Garrus whined, pulling three glasses making them a drink each.
“Shut up Garrus.” Shepard laughed, “I’m sure you could double charge for sitting at my butt imprint.” He chuckled until he got eye contact with Kaidan, then his laughter died, and he looked back at Garrus. “Please Garrus, you should be back with your family, you don’t have to be here.”
“Well my father and I didn’t exactly part on the best terms, and -”
“I’m sure he forgives you.” Shepard said motherly, “That is what family is for.”
Kaidan just looked from Shepard to Garrus and back again, not sure what to say, or if he should say anything at all. All he could really think about was those long muscular legs next to him, dangling off the ledge of the bar. Just some days ago they were wrapped trembling over his shoulders.
“Maybe – ” Garrus mumbles, downing his drink. “But you still should have stayed out of my family business.”
“Garrus, please.” Shepard said, “You are the closest to a brother I have, and I am asking you, no I’m begging you! To be on a ship out for Palaven within the week. We both know what the Bloodpack does to people who owe them money, right?”
“Right.” Garrus sighed. “But what about you? I can’t leave you here and just go back home and play family.”
“Please,” Shepard resisted the urge to roll his eyes, “I survived the Mindoir massacre, I survived Jalnor and I survived your horrible cooking, I will be fine.”
Garrus huffed half annoyed, half amused.
“Just fucking do it Garrus. You have a shot at a new beginning, you should take it.” Shepard leaned in as he put more pressure on the Turian, “If I had somewhere to go, you’d be damn sure I’d go. Nothing is keeping you here. Let Kaidan find you a ship out of here that shuttles as close to Palaven as you can get.”
“You better come visit me.” Garrus said without any bite, he knew that it was a dangerous thing that Shepard had done, if any of those who he owed money got wind of that it was Shepard who had gotten him off Omega, he would be in big trouble. And he knew that Shepard would never come to Palaven, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t want him to.
“So you will do it? You promise Garrus, you fucking promise me!” Shepard grabbed Garrus’ wrist to force the Turian to look at him.
“Jeesh Shepard, I promise!” Garrus snatched his hand back and rubbed his wrist.
“Good.” Shepard said with a sad smile.
“I really should get going.” Kaidan finally said, “Thanks for the drink Garrus.” He slid from the stool and looked up at Shepard, “Hey could we perhaps, uhm talk or something?”
“Get off my bar, you sparkly idiot!” Garrus pushed Shepard down from the bar, he landed on his feet next to Kaidan on the floor.
“I don’t see why not.” Shepard sighed, “Come on we can go out by the back door, we should have some privacy there.”
“Hey Shep -” Jack called from the dressing room, and stopped mid-sentence when she saw Kaidan, “Well hello there Sailor.. who’s your new friend Shepard?”
“Jack.” Shepard gave her a hard glare in a naïve hope to shut her up.
Jack looked the two men over, “You totally fucked him, didn’t you?” She asked bluntly, making Kaidan blush much against his will, and Shepard groan. “So he was that guy you talk -”
“Enough Jack!” Shepard snarled, “Maybe, just maybe.. okay? leave it for now.”
Jack chuckled, “Fine, Have a good one gentlemen.” She winked at Kaidan.
Outside Kaidan started chuckling, “Who’s your crude friend?”
“Jack.” Shepard just said, not offering more. “So what did you want to talk about?”
Kaidan held his hands up as were he surrendering, “You’re pissed at me, I get it. I was wrong, I made a bunch of bad calls that day and I wanted to get an opportunity to show you that I really am sorry, and that I honestly do like you, and wish that we could just rewind all that shit.”
Shepard just stared at him, hands on his hips waiting for Kaidan to talk in a standoffish manner.
“So could we try with a new brunch? maybe? Please?” Kaidan stepped towards Shepard with arms out to the side and a wide smile.
“I don’t see what for.” Shepard shrugged before he unbuttoned his shorts and pulled the side down to flash his brand. “And that is why, It’s completely pointless to lead you on, you and I can never have anything with each other, my master will see to that.”
“John.” Kaidan argued with a slight whine.
“Oh I’m sorry, does that make you uncomfortable?” He buttoned his pants back up, “Truth is that I enjoyed your company, but you have what you need, and so do I. So no Kaidan, I won’t go out with you, I will go back into the club and hope I am not in too much trouble already. Good luck with the Marlowe thing.” He smiled swiftly and punched the code in for the backdoor. “See you around, yeah?”
Kaidan just stood and stared at Shepard, not knowing what to say, or how to make him stay. And before he knew it Shepard was gone and there was nothing but the door. “Wait!” He finally said, but it was much too late. Okay that did it! I would just have to get them all! Saren and Groto both. He would get a shitload of money and Shepard would be free, it would be a goddamn bulletproof plan was it not for the fact that he couldn’t even locate those bastards.