Disclaimer: You know and I know Joss owns these characters.
Wash had no aversion to excitement. Witness, please, his chosen line of work. And with whom, particularly, he canoodled regular-like in connubial bliss. But, there was excitement, and then there was excitement. Excitement was Crazy Ivans and a warrior woman in his bed. Excitement was said warrior woman stuck in lock-up while a man-ape threatened to beat him with a chain if he didn't abandon her there.
Excitement: chain-threating gunman hallucinating twinkly little angels, then crashing to the deck of the bridge, slyly doped up by a very sneaky doctor using those shiny top three percent brains of his.
Excitement: henchmen of the large, violent, disgruntled variety strolling onto Serenity to take issue with Mal's business ethics.
The ensuing melee had been all manner of exciting, bullets and fists and sharp objects flying, jumbled up together. He wasn't exactly sure which category of excitement his ramming the mule into one of the henchmen fell into. It had seemed the thing to do at the time, what with the guy shooting at his wife and friends. At least that guy was up and hobbling around, which was more than he could say for the guy Jayne had knee-capped. Crow. Yeah, the one with the very attractive facial tattoos. Not that Wash held the joint-destruction against Jayne, not a bit of it. Was just doing his job, keeping Mal's insides inside.
Returning the stolen goods to the locals had boosted Wash's morale considerably. Stealing unspecified "Alliance Goods" didn't unsettle his conscience too badly. But ripping off desperately needed medical supplies? That would have made them not just crooks, but actual Bad Guys. He hoped Mal would take something away from this particular cock up, maybe make sure he had all the details of any particular job from now on. Maybe even take a pass on capers where he didn't have all the relevant information.
It looked like all the excitement was pretty much wrapping up as he worked the nav comp, happily plugging in the co-ordinates for their next port of call, far, far away from Paradiso and its lock-up. And, when Mal and Zoe finished renegotiating the deal with Niska with his freaky henchmen, they'd be sailing far, far away from them, too, with as much speed as Wash could squeeze out of Serenity and be sensible with the fuel. Though there might be some of the best kind of excitement yet to come. The hug Zoe'd given him after Inara had sprung her and Mal from the hoosegow had included some pretty meaningful groping in some pretty meaningful areas.
He looked up as the comm clicked, and as he'd expected, it was Mal, calling from the cargo bay. The captain, however, didn't give him quite the expected orders.
"Wash, fire up the pods."
Thinking maybe he'd missed something while he was caught up in his computations and other thoughts, he checked, but no, the cargo bay door reading indicated it was open and unsealed. He flipped on the comm. "Um. Why? We're still wide open."
"Do it just 'cuz I'm the captain and I told you to."
Wash huffed out a tiny breath of annoyance at Mal's pissy tone. It was a reasonable question. But he decided to cut him some slack. The guy was no doubt a little out of sorts due to a major stab wound. So he confined himself to a snarky, "Aye, aye, sir," before reaching out and flicking on the switches that got the engines going, setting them to maintain a relatively low rate of rpm. Even without the grav-screens on, his jets could still push Serenity around if he got them revving hard enough. Grumbling absently about a captain's prerogative to indulge in unquestioned whimsicality, he returned to his interrupted task.
Seemed bare moments later when the smooth rising whine of the pods abruptly staggered, cut into by a deep, wrenching, grinding noise which stopped almost as soon as it started. A wrong, wrong noise, one Wash had heard before, but when exactly didn't come immediately. "Wo de ma," he blurted, but even as he was speaking, he had one hand keying in diagnostic programs, while he reached with the other for the comm switch to the engine room.
"What the hell-" he started, but Kaylee cut him off immediately.
"Nothin' here, Wash! Weren't nothin' in here! Was somethin' outside."
The sound, that weird yet familiar sound abruptly resolved into memory. That time, before the war, when he'd been setting a heavy transport down on Newhall, and a flock of seagulls had gotten sucked into his engine pod's intake.
"Tzao gao," he breathed, cutting out of the engine room to connect to the unit just outside the forward cargo bay hatch.
"Zoe!" he called, voice tight with alarm, shoulders bunching up toward his ears, dreading the onset of the noise which had followed on Newhall, the shrieks of a dying engine as warped turbine blades destroyed one another. Maybe the low rpm had kept them from deforming. If they'd come to an equilibrium, would he throw them off by simply cutting power? Data spilled over his comp screen, his diagnostic programs doing their job. Amber, amber, amber flashed the left pod's tell-tales, though not, thankfully, bleeding into the red.
But lao tien ye, what had just gone through his engine?
The comm clicked after an eons long moment, and Zoe's voice - oh, God, sweet relief! - came back to him. "Not now, Wash."
His thumb mashed down on the reply button, his mouth opening. But then her tone sank in; clipped, impatient, annoyed, like he was butting in where he was neither needed nor wanted. He lifted his thumb, slumping back in his chair, mouth snapping shut. Wasn't the first time he'd ever heard that tone. He knew better than to press. He took a couple deep breaths, then switched comm back to the engine room.
"Just sit tight, Kaylee. Looks like everything is okay outside," Wash relayed, hoping he wasn't lying, but pretty sure that if Mal had just been vaporized into a cloud of blood mingled with tiny fragments of flesh and bone that Zoe would have sounded something other than irritated. And maybe he was just over-reacting. He did do that sometimes. Maybe some random container or crate had just been accidentally kicked into the pod's air intake. Didn't have to be something alive going through it to make that sound. He thought.
But if it had been just a crate, why didn't Zoe just say so? And why did she sound so pissed? What had he been interrupting? Something with their prisoners, with Niska's men. Because that's who Mal and Zoe had down there with them, working to cut some kind of a deal. A sick, icy dread congealed in his stomach, but he refused to give his thoughts free rein, curbing them fiercely. Perching on the edge of his chair, eyes locked on the screen running the readings for the pods, he listened intently to the turbines' drone, alert for any change in pitch. Hoping he wouldn't hear that horrible sound repeated.
He jumped when the comm clicked on again, the captain inquiring brusquely, "Hey, Wash. We good to go?"
He stared, blinking, at the speaker for a moment, then grabbed the handset. In tones that sounded stiff to his own ears, he replied, "Uh. No. Got some amber tell-tales up here. I, ah, need to power down to check them out."
"Well, see to it, will ya?" Mal ordered peevishly. "Need to get gone. I'll be visitin' Simon if anything 'portant comes up."
Wash pressed the handset, cool and smooth, hard against his upper lip, restraining himself to a murmured, "Yes, sir." Although he was pretty sure Mal wasn't there to hear, pretty sure he'd simply thumbed off the bay comm and walked away. He switched over to the engine room. "Kaylee."
Her response was near instantaneous; she must have been hovering right next to the comm. "Yeah, Wash?"
"Gonna go check see what might be giving us those ambers. Let's get her powered down. Easy, real easy."
They did, and Serenity went down smooth, without a wobble, without a turbine blade spinning off true and wiping out its neighbors. And those their neighbors, and on and devastatingly on. Wash muttered a blessing upon all the heads of those responsible for her sturdy, forgiving design.
"Okay, Kaylee. You stay on deck. I might need you to fire her up, or feed me some diagnostics."
"Yeah, Mal's in a hurry to leave. It'll be quicker if we're not both running in and out, between the pod and the controls." A lame excuse, but if his suspicions were right about what went into the engine, it wasn't anything Kaylee needed to see. Hell, it wasn't anything he needed to see.
"Okay, Wash. Let me know what's what as soon as ya can." The comm's tinniness couldn't hide the worry in her voice.
He pulled a portable comm unit and a flashlight from the storage locker, tucking them away in thigh pockets, then headed aft. He made himself move quickly, clattering down the steps into the cargo bay, pushing himself into a trot toward their open doors. Needing to know what had happened, still he was reluctant to have his fears confirmed. As he reached the top of the ramp, he spotted Zoe standing at its base, looking off toward the left pod. She swung to face him as he descended, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Kaylee?" she asked.
He searched her face as he replied, "Told her I needed her in the engine room."
Features set, giving him nothing, she nodded, then turned away, heading toward the left pod. He hesitated a moment, then followed, jogging a bit to catch up.
"What went in?" He tried to keep his tone cool, professional.
"Niska's man. Crow."
Not surprised, still his gut clenched, and he forced out through tight lips, "How?"
She stopped, and he jerked to a halt next to her, just a few steps from the pod. He kept his eyes locked on hers as she replied, "Captain shoved him, got caught up in the draw."
"Shoved. But. But it was an accident, right? That he went into the engine."
She simply looked at him, gaze steady.
"We need to get gone, Wash. Do your job, do it quick." She turned briskly away and strode off, heading for the ramp. He gaped after her, appalled. His job? It was his job to cope with the mess Mal had made of a man? And what was he to do with Zoe? The shutters had just come crashing down between them. He'd been here before, fitting himself around her thorny defense of Mal's actions. Many a time. He dragged his eyes from Zoe, no doubt on her way to some vitally important first-matey chore, and turned them reluctantly to the pod.
Yes, he guessed it really was his job. If it had been an actual bird, or a flock of them, going through his engine, rather than some guy named after one, it'd be him checking the damage. Clearing away the snarge, the mangled remains of whatever had intersected with his craft. 'Course, if it had been just a bird, Kaylee'd be here with him. But he really didn't want her here now.
He stepped closer to the pod, pulling his flashlight from his pocket, and flicking it on, pointed it into the jet's maw. Eyeballing it, everything looked shiny, nothing obviously out of place in the first few meters the beam could reach. But then, hell, the blades bunched together into the center, and there was the compressor and all the workings behind it. So, the damage, unless it was really serious, wouldn't be obvious to a quick visual inspection. However, there was something, a discoloration, a taint on the metal the further back he looked and a funny... organic odor that just didn't belong.
Heart beating hard, he circled around to the rear of the pod. The odor grew stronger, heavier, a warm bloody scent, mixed with a smell he associated with having his teeth drilled, friction heated bone. And other things, unfamiliar but even less pleasant. The white pool of light from his flashlight slid on ahead of him, throwing out long, stark shadows behind the rocks scattered about the rough canyon floor. Then the light snagged on a darker patch in the pale gray, something almost black, glistening with wet red highlights, spreading in a widening fan across the ground, and hazing up in a large circular stain on the canyon wall 40 meters away.
He stepped swiftly to one side, away from the pod, further from the cloying smell, flicking off the flashlight, and in the sudden dark bent, fists on thighs, to vomit up his dinner. He fought hard against the loss of control, making the spasms worse, but managing to subdue his outraged stomach after a few wrenching heaves. He straighted, and fished his handkerchief from his pocket to mop his eyes and blow his nose before turning the flashlight back on. Grateful he'd been alone when he'd lost it, he stepped back toward the engine pod, jaws clamped, casting his beam into its exhaust. He noted again the discoloration, darker here, that he'd seen in the intake. As before, he could see nothing, with the naked eye, that seemed damaged or displaced. But the stain on the metal indicated that there was clearly... stuff that did not belong in the engine in there. Maybe bits less yielding than flesh, bone, and leather; metal belt buckles, steel boot toes, whatever.
He turned back to cargo bay doors, needing to get to Kaylee, to work out how to clean out any potentially crippling traces of Crow. He had ideas, but he wanted her input. And his insulted guts lurched, yet again, at the thought of having to fill her in on the situation. He couldn't just flat out lie to her. First, he was simply a rotten liar. Second, she needed to know the particulars of a problem in order to help fix it. But. Kayle loved her captain. Would she love him quite as much if she knew he was tossing people into Serenity's engine pods? How would she feel about her baby being used that way? So, he half-lied, letting his own upset show to conceal the fact he was telling only part of the story.
"That Crow fella?" Kaylee stared up at him, brown eyes wide and wounded looking.
"It- it was his knee, Kaylee," he stammered, "where he'd been shot. It gave out and, and he stumbled and just... got sucked in." He ran both hands through his hair before finishing lamely, "Accidents happen."
"I know, Wash. Machinery, engines. Folks is always gettin' banged up, fingers pinched and the like, 'round engines. But munched up and killed?" Tears pooled in her eyes, then spilled as she reached out to stroke the frame of the engine room's hatch. "My poor girl."
He put a comforting arm around her shoulders, and after a few moments, she drew in a huge breath, swiping both eyes with her sleeve, then put an arm around his waist. Heads bowed, voices soft, they quickly shared what they knew, and what their options were.
In the end it only took them a few minutes to decide what to do and to do it. They simply burned it out. He braced Serenity with her artificial gravity, and then, as Kaylee carefully monitored the fusion power plant, he routed a blast of plasma-heated air through the pod with the turbine blades folded back in their ramjet mode. Everything, organic or not, was incinerated, blown out the back as exhaust. A plus, as far as Wash was concerned, was the blast cremated the mess plastered on the canyon floor and wall. He found himself hoping, that if there were a God, that It was more merciful than the creatures It had supposedly made in Its Own image. If only for his own sake.
Then, fingers figuratively crossed, they delicately ran Serenity through her usual take-off routine. She responded like the sweet, willing creature she was, as Wash and Kaylee called back and forth to one another over the comm, exchanging information and projections. Left pod turbine blades point seven microns off true. Not crippling, although wearing, long term. Something Wash and Kaylee could probably tinker back to zero percent on their own, given some down time, and if not, something he could easily compensate for on lift off and set down. Might make a difference if they had to make a run in atmo, when every kilo of thrust counted.
Safely on the other side of the exosphere, Wash shifted them from the jets to the pulse drive, laying down their course, but not yet shifting to autopilot. Hand set lightly on the yoke, he let the hum of Serenity's life run through his fingers as his eyes roamed over the stark purity of the star pierced Black.
"Wash?" Kaylee's voice sounded relaxed, easy, and he imagined she'd allowed herself to get caught up in the calming thrum of the ship's drive. Just like he'd been soothed by the view out his window.
"Hey, Kaylee," he drawled.
"I'm plumb tuckered out, Wash. Gonna climb inta my hammock. So I'll be here if ya need me."
"We're good, Kaylee. Sleep tight. See ya in the morning."
He settled Serenity into autopilot, then slumped back in his chair. Done now. All the practical, all the necessary work to keep Serenity healthy, to keep them all flying. Done. He could feel his reactions hovering just over his shoulder, waiting for him to let them free.
But then Zoe stepped on the bridge, and things got uncomfortable. Very, very uncomfortable. Because he knew his visceral response to Crow's murder was more complicated than just about the very practical concerns of something big and solid going through one of his jets. He trusted Zoe... up to a very certain, finite point. And that point was Mal. Which hurt him and which he resented. And which was very hard to keep from resenting Zoe about. Because he knew, already, which side of the argument she would come down on. And it wasn't his.
He looked into her impassive face and something in him snapped, and he stood, a fury so intense boiling up in him that it strangled his words in his throat. Was convenient, this long into their marriage, that all he had to do was look at her, and she could read everything he had to say right off his face.
"You were just followin' orders, Wash."
He glared at her, not even trying to keep his disgust from twisting his mouth. Did she really think he was going to be able to wrap his brain around that kind of hypocrisy?
She had the grace to look apologetic, and said, tone more appeasing, "You didn't know what he had in mind."
That spurred him to speak, and he bit out, "No, I didn't know. That's just it. How can I trust him now? He gives me an order, I comply, and I end up being party to murder."
Her eyes hardened again, and she replied coldly, "It wasn't murder. It was self-defense."
"Self- What!?" he squawked, stepping toward her, then away again, hands flapping, excruciatingly agitated. "The last time I saw that guy, he had a pulverized knee joint and his hands tied behind his back! Was there a miraculous healing, a miraculous escape?" He found his fingers in his hair, twisting. "'Cause I'm not seeing it, I'm not getting any kinda scenario, where Mal needs to defend himself by tossing this guy into my engine!"
"Long term, Wash. The captain was thinking long term. That guy was gonna make hunting us down and taking us out as a holy mission. And, he was refusing to take Niska's payment back, to square us up with him."
"Maybe a better long term self-defense would be to stay away from Niska-type people in the first place," he snapped. "To go for jobs a little less on the shady side."
"We go where the money is, Wash."
"No. We don't. We go where Mal can most piss the Alliance off, but still stay in the sky. And that last bit's iffy."
Her eyelids flickered slightly at that, but she returned mildly, "Knew what kinda jobs we took before you signed on."
"I didn't know-" He swallowed hard. "I didn't know I was signing on to clean a man out of my engine pod. A man shoved in there on purpose."
"Captain does what he has to to keep his crew safe, Wash. Including you."
That staggered him. "I don't- I don't want that-"
She cut him off, and said emphatically, but without heat, "We don't wear these guns 'cuz they're pretty, husband. Bullet to the head, trip through an engine. Dead is dead. Suggest you wrap your thoughts around that." She gave him a look, one that shot straight through his eyeballs to the back of his skull, then left him, furious and unsatisfied.
He could have slept in his chair. Had done it before, when they were fighting, and would no doubt do it again. But it made the point better when she was pissed, too. And she wasn't. She was cool and practical, deep into her soldier rationality. She'd just shrug, and leave him alone to cool off. And he wasn't just angry. Something had been stripped away inside him, had been made naked, with a rawness that he winced away from touching, from examining too closely. He wasn't ready to be alone with it, not quite yet. So he clambered down into his own bunk, a little earlier than he usually would, and found it empty. He did his teeth, stripped, dimmed the lights, and slid between their sheets, worn to a perfect, buttery softness. Curling on his side, he hauled the covers up to his ear. And found he couldn't relax, waiting for the sound of Zoe triggering open their bunk's hatch.
He couldn't forget her hands on him earlier that day, the promises they'd made for the time when they were finally alone together. The two of them had had angry sex before, though usually they would be a lot less angry with one another by the time they were done. But she wasn't angry. Only he was. So while he was having angry sex, she be having, oh, patient sex, or maybe, even worse, condescending sex. He didn't think his pride was up for dealing with that disparity.
So when she followed him down, as she undressed, brushed her teeth, and climbed in next to him, he lay still, knowing he didn't fool her into thinking he was asleep. Her hand on his thigh left him stalwart, quiet and nonreactive. But then her lips pressed against his nape, followed by the warm, wet tip of her tongue, tasting him. She sighed, her breath upon his skin sending shivers down his spine. Even before her hand slid from his thigh up to his hip, tugging gently, he knew he'd lost. He rolled onto his back, silently cursing his weakness. Her fingers coiled around his wrist, tucking his hand between her legs, and he simply couldn't deny her. He'd never been able to, had never wanted to deny her any pleasure she asked of him.
She came up on her elbow to kiss him, and he turned his face away as he pushed her onto her back. Nuzzling down to her breasts, he used, oh so gently, only his lips and tongue and never any teeth, because he was still angry, very angry, and needed to be so very, very careful as to how he touched her.
After, face buried in the crook of her neck, his heart rate returning to normal as her hands stroked up and down his back, he felt curiously empty, spent. The spiky presence of his fury had evaporated, been burnt out, leaving behind a hollow clarity. He sighed, lifting his head to press his lips against Zoe's collarbone.
"Y' okay, Wash?" she murmured
"Yeah." He kept his face averted, nibbling a caressing line of kisses along her shoulder. Shame prickled him, a chagrin that one good rut could melt away his righteous anger at being made an accessory to cold-blooded murder. 'Cause, no mistake, that's what it was. Tossing a bound, crippled-up prisoner into a jet engine to be ground into bloody goo was on a whole different scale of wrong than returning fire when fired upon, never mind Zoe's talk of self-defense. Or even running a mule into a fella shooting at his wife, which, truth be told, could have ended with Wash being an upfront killer, too.
She was right. He had known, from the very beginning, that Serenity flew a course that regularly slithered over the line into unlawful. He'd known that the gun strapped to Zoe's hip wasn't just a wicked fashion statement. That it had seen practical use, and would again in the future. And that, honestly, was part of what drew him to her, got something real primal going hot and heavy in his psyche.
They were all crooks, criminals. He was a criminal. He'd known that. Accepted it. Even joked on the straight about it before now. But somehow he'd seen his level of involvement limited to the larceny. Not to the violence. The death. But it was all one thing. Zoe, Mal, Jayne might pull the trigger. Might twist the knife or give the shove into a jet's intake. But he kept them safe, slipped them, tricksy, tricksy, away, to shoot, twist, shove again. So he was equally guilty of each and every crime. And to stay on this ship, to stay with Zoe, he'd continue to steal them away. That, and more.
Stories had followed humanity from Earth-That-Was, including the story of the man who'd sold his soul to the Devil to win the love of a woman. Wash's fabulist imagination easily stuck him, Zoe, and Mal into the appropriate roles. And he smiled, mouth pressed against his wife's flesh, amused by his own pretentiousness.
Zoe set her hands on either side of his face, lifting his head so he had to look her in the eye. Seeing his grin, she slanted a brow at him, studying him quizzically, then asked softly, "What's goin' on in that head of yours?"
"The usual," he replied, grinning even wider, then smacking a kiss down on her lips. "Love you, Zoe."
"Love you, too, husband." There was a certain wariness to her tone, and he snickered, rolling onto his back, pulling her up onto his chest.
"Again, please," he whispered into her ear. "Please. Take me again."
Next morning, as the bunk light brightened with ship's dawn, Wash crawled out a tangle of wife-warmed bedding, and took himself to the bridge. Course and ship systems' check out of the way, he plucked the stegosaurus off the helm, and leaned back in his chair, setting his feet on the edge of his console. Absently pinching one of the dinosaur's spinal plates, Wash contemplated his next important task.
As a means of intimidation, quickness and effectiveness aside, tossing a guy into one of Serenity's jets could prove highly costly, risking both their home and their livelihood. Putting an engine pod back together would be expensive, possibly beyond their resources. Someone needed to make that clear to Mal, and it looked like he was that lucky guy. Wouldn't be Zoe. He couldn't even count on her to back him up. If she'd had objections to the captain's negotiating techniques she would have let him know as soon as she understood what he was about. Besides, this was Wash's area of expertise, not hers, and fell into the realm of his shipboard duties. Kaylee had the expertise, but Wash would be damned before he called upon her to use it in this particular instance. He just didn't have it in him, whatever it was – balls, integrity, sheer meanness – to tell her that her captain had deliberately murdered a man by means of her beloved ship. And no one else on Serenity had the expertise, all the relevant information, and the responsibility to make Mal see reason.
So, when Mal stepped onto his bridge, adjusting his suspenders on his shoulders, Wash swung his feet off the helm, swiveling his chair to face him head on. Mal stopped short, and the wary look that flitted across his face could have been Wash's imagination. 'Cause now his brows were lifting, while that arrogant, charming smirk quirked up one side of his mouth.
"Somethin' on your mind, Wash?" he drawled as he tucked his thumbs in the waistband of his pants.
Wash nodded, and stated crisply, "The design specs of a jet engine and a garbage disposal are not at all compatible, Captain. If you like, I can call up both on the Cortex, so you can compare." He reached out to tap the screen with the dino's nose.
"Shen me?" Clearly Wash had zigged when Mal had expected him to zag. He was giving him that look, the measuring look, the one assessing just how feng le his pilot really was. However, Wash now had his captain's full on attention, which wasn't always a given. Because unless it had something to do with actually steering this boat, Mal didn't take him much into account. How very not included Wash had been in this whole caper's decision-making processes underscored that.
"Essentially, a garbage disposal provides negligible lift," Wash went on, lightly patting the stegosaurus against his palm. "A jet engine used as one risks the possibility of its blades being thrown off true and into one another, resulting in a cascading failure. Resulting in a damaged engine which provides about as much lift as said garbage disposal."
Mal blinked at him, then slowly nodded his understanding. "Didn't know that. Keep it in mind, for the future."
Piloting responsibilities out of the way, Wash decided to push it a bit, to venture into the tricky territory of intra-crew relationships. "Told Kaylee that it was an accident, that he- that Crow tripped. Fell into the intake. She's pretty upset. You know, that her girl killed someone."
Mal grunted, his gaze flicking away from Wash then back, as he crossed his arms tight across his chest. "Won't happen again."
Wash abruptly realized that Mal himself wasn't completely at ease with how things had turned out. With the manner of Crow's death. That maybe, deep down, he found it as grotesque as Wash did. But, just as Zoe'd said, his imperative to protect his people pushed him into this extreme choice. Maybe Wash could help him carry that weight, let him know that he, at least, didn't need to be sheltered quite as much as Mal thought. If at all.
"Thank you, Mal." He locked eyes with his captain. "Also, in the future, if it's my fingers on the switch, I'd like to be part of the decision to flip it on."
Mal studied him a moment, then grunted, shrugging one shoulder. "Gonna go get breakfast," he declared, pivoting and taking off toward the stairs. "See ya there."
Wash grimaced. No resolution on that particular issue then. He rose, settling the stegosaurus into a serious tête-à-tête with the T. Rex before heading down to the galley. Still. Was okay. He had plenty of time to convince Mal he could handle any situation the man led him into. Wasn't like he was going anywhere. He'd made his choice.
A.N. - "Snarge" actually is one of the words used for the remains of a bird which strikes an aircraft.