Starfang Launch Day

And it’s a space opera so we can make rocket jokes! Now count with me 5.4..3..2..1..Blastoff! 

Is a clan captain going to sacrifice everything for her clan? Tasked to kill Yeung Leung by her parents, powerful rival clan leader of the Amber Eyes, Captain Francesca Min Yue sets out across the galaxy to hunt her prey, only to be thrown into a web of political intrigue spreading across the stars. Is Yeung Leung collaborating with the reptilian shishini and playing a bigger game with the galaxy as a price? Is Francesca’s clan at stake? Welcome to Starfang: Rise of the Clan, where merchants and starship captains are also wolves.

“Wolves should not be in space, but here we were, a clan of wolves and merchants. Instead of the preserved forests of New Earth and Noah’s Ark, we were in ships of steel and armor, reading data scans and commanding officers on the bridge. Wolves within the uniform of merchants and mercenaries, human seeming, claws and teeth sheathed.”

– Captain Francesca Ming Yue, of the warship Starfang.

Welcome to Starfang, a space opera with werewolves, politics and intrigue.


Joyce Chng is a Singaporean writer and we are pleased to be publishing Starfang is its full glory, complete with gorgeous cover art by Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein. Joyce also writes as J. Damask

This book was previously available as a serial on our website but we think it’s well worth getting a copy for your shelves. 

Starfang Chapter 12

So here we are at the conclusion of our superb web serial. Joyce’s novel ‘Heart of Fire’ will be out soon with Fox Spirit Books and if you’d like to see StarFang available as a novel please let us know. You can tweet @FoxSpiritBooks or use our contact page on the website. We are also keeping the giveaway open until the end of August, send us your fan art to be in with a chance of a copy of Heart of Fire in paperback. – Aunty Fox


Chapter Twelve

I spent a month recovering in Noah’s Ark. Of course, I was reprimanded by Mother and Father. I let my quarry get away. What happened to the blood feud? Why wasn’t I chasing him? They were shocked by the news of my craz addiction. Father wanted to pull me off-duty, but I fought and argued with him. I lost Mariette. I wanted revenge. It was more than clan honor now –  it was truly blood feud now. Yeung Leung had effectively drugged and killed Mariette, in spirit and in body. He had her blood – and countless others – on his hands. He had killed kin. My hatred for him burned like a white star.

Dr Myint and his colleagues worked on my right arm and hand. Some flesh was restored, but my right arm was

now crooked and unable to move. Even turning now was agony. My body was broken. Looking at my arm made my heart lurch. It was never easy, trying to reconcile t the shrunken arm with its former healthy version. With luck, Dr Myint reassured me, the arm would regain some tone.

In the midst of all this, Yeung Ma and her brother were kept in the clan prison for high-level criminals. They were given adequate food and water.

Lien was surprisingly welcomed by my clan, given her feral status and an Amber Eyes-Pariah child. She played with my younger cousins and cousins’ children, Mog play-bowing and happy to have play mates. Yet I caught Mother’s glance a few times, that calculating gleam in her eyes. She had something in mind and I didn’t like the taste of it.

Help her, the message had said. Help her.

When the month was over, I was ready for the hunt. The hunt for Yeung Leung.

Starfang slipped out of dock, like a silent predator.



Chapter 11

Our fantastic web serial is almost over. Go back to the beginning and read it all.


Chapter Eleven

I held the rose agate pendant so tightly in my grip that the contours pressed hard into my flesh. They were taking her away from me. She was screaming my name. Telling me not to save her. 

And somewhere, Lien was crying. Lien, the feral child on board Starfang. Her large eyes swam with glistening tears. 

I started awake, my heart pounding so hard it was painful. The ship was thrumming with a rhythm that immediately informed me that it was pushing its engine drive. It was moving hard, in one direction. Was it being pursued?

The dream hollowed me out. I cleaned up with a sense of grimness heavy in my limbs. The food was late again. I sipped the water, feeling the clawing demands of the hunger. Hurried footsteps halted in front of my door and a tray slid in, rattling loudly. There was only two slices of bread this time. As I paused to retrieve the tray, the footsteps pounded away with an urgency I found intriguing. S’sahrak was late too. S’sahrak was never late.

I pushed myself into nangun drills, ignoring the biting pangs in my stomach and in my veins. I kept the visions of April, my Pack-crew and Lien before me, goading myself on. Somewhere, they lived and that mattered.

Would they accept me, an addict to craz?

The ship suddenly shook significantly to knock me off my feet. I rolled onto my haunches, using my hands as traction. I was too experienced, too ship-wise, to know that was a strike on the ship’s flank, possibly starboard. When I carefully got up, another strike rattled the ship, a warning blow this time. Two ships seemed to be firing their cannons at it.

The door slammed open and S’sahrak stepped in. Immaculate and precise the shishini was, I sensed it was disturbed and harried.

“Please come with me,” S’sahrak said. Its rosettes were vivid brown now. I noticed the pistol hanging by its left side. It was an assault-type weapon used by many clans.

Two black-armored guards backed S’sahrak, carrying heavier weapons. They meant business, right down to their visored faces. I also smelled wolf off them. So, I was indeed on a clan ship. I inclined my head and walked out obediently. I couldn’t stare down the wolf guards – they must be trained to ignore the instinctual reactions when it came to more dominant clan members. I reined in my urge to escape – wait, Francesca, wait. Not now, not now.

Continue reading “Chapter 11”

Starfang Chapter 10

Chapter Ten

I woke up from a dream where April sat before me, our chess set laid open, and the peepul tree rustled in the afternoon breeze. There was brewed jasmine tea on the marble table. Her eyes were intense, looking straight into me, while she pushed her Queen in front of my chess piece.

Her lips parted, whispered Love You. Something the real April wouldn’t do.

Yet, in the dream, I cherished those words. Held them to my chest, to my heart. They were my talisman, holding the demons at bay.

The drab surroundings greeted me. I sat up. Another day. S’sahrak would be arriving in twenty minutes for its “daily interrogation activities”. S’sahrak was punctual to a fault.

I tore into the bread, feeling the hollow and biting hunger inside me. The bread was laced with the drug. So was the water. Yet I ate and drunk. I needed to have energy to face S’sahrak. Somewhere in my head, I imagined copious amounts of Mother’s herbal tonics, dishes of delicious food, my favorite trotters in ginger and vinegar. Real things to sustain me, to keep me from falling. I wanted to fight the addiction.


“Consider this,” S’sahrak said, flexing its claws. I focused on the glistening half-moon talons, fascinated by their obsidian sheen.  “Consider this, your situation. Ever wondered why you were here.”

“You are an agent of Yeung Leung, my enemy,” I said calmly.

S’sahrak tilted its head. “As you wish.”

“You are not an agent then?” I pushed on.

The shishini did not answer. Instead, it began to pace around the table, tracing a definite pattern. “We of the claw are not confined by such restrictive parameters. Agent? Enemy? What are those words? They restrict us.”

“Now you are a philosopher,” I muttered.

Shishini are philosophers,” S’sahrak said without missing a beat, its tail swinging a rhythm as it continued its pacing. “Like what is male or female, but restrictive and confining identifiers. We choose to be male or female or none, when we are ready to move on. You are restricted by your female-ness, but you choose to desire-to-mate with your first officer, have you not?”

Ice drenched my back. “How did you know?”

“I am an agent of Yeung Leung, am I not?”

“You speak in circles.”

“Life, my captain, is a circle.”

“Is it?” I admitted that S’sahrak’s pacing was hypnotic. The rosette patterns blurred with every circuit around the interrogation table. I rubbed my eyes, trying to clear a nascent headache.

“Your bond with your first officer might be a liability, my captain.”

“I am not your captain,” I grit my teeth. They are going to go after her! April, no! I began to smile grimly, a wolf smile. No, April won’t let herself be caught that easily. April would hunt them down. April would destroy them.

“I see,” S’sahrak nodded slowly, as if it was contemplating a piece of outlandish artwork.  “Then why do you persist to be female?”

“Stop,” I said dangerously. “You are being oblique.”

“Am I not?”

I felt the wolf grow larger inside me, heard the growling in my throat. With iron will, I caged it back. “What do you want, S’sahrak? Irritate your prisoner?”

“Isn’t that my goal, my captain?” S’sahrak clicked its claw-tips together. Tink-tink-tink.

I stared directly at the shishini clawleader, staring straight into its pupil-less eyes. I felt as if I was looking into pools of oil.  Was S’sahrak male, female or none?

“I do not want to play games,” I said finally. “But if you want to play games, so will I.”

“As you wish.” A gentle incline of the saurian head. “You have to realize this is already a game. I am your captor. You are my prisoner. There is a relationship here I can exploit.”

Shishini play games. Mind games. They play them like puzzle games. Stay focused, Francesca. Do not lose it.

“Then how do I address you?” I sat down, the very picture of an obedient prisoner. Even a day-old pup would sniff out the pretense.

“Call me clawleader or S’sahrak,” the shishini said, settling down in front of me. Now we were face to face. “At the moment, I am none. I am rar.”

I nodded, wondering at the terms.

“Now shall we begin?”

Continue reading “Starfang Chapter 10”

StarFang Chapter 9

Chapter Nine

A black wolf bounded towards me, running low, tail held high. I looked at my own body. I was weak, human-limbed, human-bodies. Pale of skin, weak, not-wolf.

I was standing in the no-place of the afterlife. Darkness, pierced by the occasional cold stare of stars.

“Aunt Gertrude?” I whispered as the black wolf moved closer, its amber eyes glistening brighter than suns.

Far from home, my grand-niece, the black wolf said.

“I am in a lot of trouble,” I replied. “Where am I?”

Afterlife, dream place, I don’t know, child. Whatever it is, I wish you the best of luck and strength. You need it. You have enemies who hound you, hate you.

My knees chose to become jelly then. I sank down, shivering. I was face to face with the wolf. I could see tears in her eyes. I wrapped my arms around the wolf, drawing strength and comfort. Her fur was warm, as if she had rested in the sun; I could smell the sun and a hint of herbs. And home, the forest, family. Everything I was far from.

“Please help me, Aunt Gertrude.”

I have strayed too far. I want to help you… but, my child, this is your trouble. You have the strength to deal with it. Best Yeung Leung. Best him.

“Yes, I will best him.”

The black wolf began to fade away, becoming lighter and lighter until the shape became transparent. The darkness around me grew stronger, shrouding me tighter. I began struggling.

“Aunt Gertrude!”

Best Yeung Leung.

Continue reading “StarFang Chapter 9”

StarFang Chapter 8

Chapter Eight

Accord Station was like any other dock I had visited: grey, functional and sterile. It had its pleasure and entertainment section of course, but the station’s circumference was dedicated to ship gantries and grapplers, numbered slots for the various ships that came to dock, refuel and re-stock. It hung-spun in space, beside the asteroid belt ringing the water planet Lucidia, a neutral dock, silent and majestic when seen on approach.  In the center of the circumference were Station control,  entertainment joints and the habitat section for the station workers and guests.

Station control didn’t bat an eyelid when five warships appeared at the borders, four escorting an enemy vessel. Calm instructions were given to us, our docking slots provided for our convenience. I was mentally calculating the bill for this re-stock and re-fuel, with half a mind to make the Amber Eyes pay half of it.

News would already be circulating on the station: four Black Talons ships escorting an Amber Eyes cruiser, do not get involved, do not get involved, stay down.

“Any other ships docked?” I drank in the sight of Accord, glad somewhat for a short breather.

“One shishini ship,” Mariette reported. “R’rrakak. Merchant ship dealing in ores.”

“Go on,” I flexed my hands, clenching them into fists.

“Two other merchant ships. Didn’t say where they are from. Merchants. Verity and The Joke.”


“Mixed. Station control claims that they are neutral. Clan-less.”

“I see.” Starfang was on automatic dock now, the machines and sensors taking over the procedure. “I will be at my headroom.”


Continue reading “StarFang Chapter 8”

Chapter 7 : Starfang

Chapter Seven

The first few hours were tense, scanning the area for any more drone ships. I spent a frantic hour reading tactical readouts and reports, and approving the current ammunition count. We were too far from any friendly dock.

Messages from the Sector 41B governors were starting to pour in. Most of them openly denied involvement with Yeung Leung, with the usual effusive offers of assistance and help. I read the messages with a growing lump of cold fear and rage in my stomach. They were hiding something. Fools. Liars. Cowards.

They were just trying to protect themselves and their families. It was a vicious cycle.

With a sigh that came straight from inside, I shut down the comm. Screen. We would be short of allies in the sector.


Remain vigilant.

Do not rattle the grass. You might startle the snake.

The message blinked at me. Father’s imprint. I could just hear his solemn voice behind the words. He had also used a hanzi proverb, one which he liked to drill into my head when I was younger. I wasn’t exactly the best student when it came to proverbs. I was above average for tactics. A lot of hanzi proverbs were used in tactic class, including the ancient Art of War manual. I listened, jotted them down dutifully, and promptly forgot about them. Actual combat was different from words.

It was going to be a mind game.


Continue reading “Chapter 7 : Starfang”

Chapter Six

And we return to our serial StarFang – Aunty Fox


Chapter Six

I only met April when we were ten. It was the year when our clan defeated the Amber Eyes and held a big celebration to honor this victory. It was also held during the Mid-Autumn Festival; the event was very grand with the entire clan and sub-clans gathering on Noah’s Ark. Clan duties had kept my aunt, April’s mother, away for a long time – and the celebration was the only time she could attend. She wasn’t a ship captain, but a planetary governor, overseeing the agricultural growth and exports of food. April was the only cousin I didn’t get to see during every Spring Festival.

Dressed in a sky blue gipao, I fidgeted and tugged at the horrible fabric which was making my skin itch. I was standing dutifully beside Father and Mother while they toasted the assembled guests, relatives and allies with expensive wine. The hunt would be later. I glanced around, feeling bored; the green forest was calling out to me. At the same time, I felt awkward and uncomfortable, all gangly limbs and a body which had started to rebel against me. I hated the idea of growing up. The stupid gipao was attenuating every curve, every bulge.

I caught the eye of another girl, about my age, dressed in a red gipao and looking as uncomfortable as I was. The red shimmered under the light of multiple lanterns hung in the guest hall like a contained fire.  She had huge eyes and curly black hair. But what drew my attention to her was her smile. It lit up the hall. I was suddenly consciousness of my hair, tied in a neat ponytail… and I wanted to tear out the stupid hair-band and run screaming away to the forest

She smiled back and my world froze. I had never seen her before.

During the banquet, she came over, the strange new girl. She stretched out a hand in greeting.

“I am April Yue,” she said. Up close, she was pretty. “You must be my cousin, Ming Yue.”

This girl was my cousin. I tentatively grabbed that hand in return. She felt warm.

“Ma told me about you, said that there would be a girl about my age at the banquet,” April smiled. “Have you eaten already?”

I stared at the half-finished bowl of longevity noodles, my appetite gone. My parents were talking to their guests, going around each table, wine glasses in hand. I wasn’t part of their celebration.

“I am not hungry,” I said.

“Interestingly enough, so am I,” April shrugged. “You going for the hunt?”

“I can’t… turn yet,” I confessed, feeling my cheeks redden with heat. April pulled my hand and we slipped out of the banquet hall, which was loud with conversation, into the central courtyard with its lotus leaves and flowers. I often hid here, on normal days, to feed the koi fish that dwelled beneath the lotus leaves. As we ran along the corridor, the koi swirled in flame-colored patterns of red and orange, eager for their daily feed of fish food.

“I can’t either,” April said. “I can only do the eye-color changing thing.” She concentrated, inhaling slowly. Her eyes became gold with black rings. “But everyone can do that and turning is not a competition.” The gold faded back to brown.

A long howl interrupted our conversation. It was the signal for the hunt.

We didn’t take part in the hunt until we reached fourteen, the age where most youth experienced their first turning. By then, we had spent so much time together, my aunt having sent April to study at the school before entering the academy.

April gave me a rose agate pebble with smooth edges when I turned thirteen. It fit in the center of my palm. She said that she found it while she scoured the beach. She loved beaches. I loved her for that. When we were twelve, we realized our relationship was different. We were cousins, but we felt something stronger than that. Young as we were, we couldn’t describe how we felt.

I had the pebble made into a pendant. I didn’t wear it though. Instead I kept it in the main drawer of my desk on board the ship, to remind myself of what was real and tangible.

Continue reading “Chapter Six”

Chapter 5: StarFang

Welcome back to our StarFang serial. We have our first bit of fan art, a picture of Francesca, drawn by Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein. 😉 ( Wonderful job Rhiannon, thank you! – Aunty Fox


Chapter Five

Help me.

I mulled over the words during my shift, while the data and scans chirped and blinked around me. Nothing else happened after we had captured the cargo box. The space in Sector 41B was so serene, so tranquil. The purge on Neo-Samarkand was still ongoing, according to Governor Seeto’s updates.  It had also become a small scale civil war on-planet, each gang family acting out their petty differences by shedding their enemies’ blood.

The little girl slept, watched over by the medical staff.

A little girl didn’t belong on a warship.

Help me.

Should I place her somewhere, on a neutral planet, safe from harm? No. The moment I retrieved the cargo box, she was my responsibility. A Black Talon would not abandon a child, even if she was not blood kin. Starfang’s crew was all related – my Pack-crew consisted of my cousins, first or second. April was the daughter of my mother’s younger sister. Ju Fan and Mariette were my second cousins. The little girl wasn’t blood; I was aware of the tensions she triggered when she came on board.

Help me.

Was the message written by her mother? Her father?

Later, when I was off-shift, I worked out my frustrations in the ship’s gym with Nangun drills. In the confines of the ship, I suddenly ached for the forests, the green trees, and the blessedly openness of the open sky.

“Can I join you?” April said at the doorway. “I sure needed some exercise.”

“Go ahead,” I grinned. “Grab your weapon of choice.”

“You know about ship rules: no sparring, except with a referee,” she said, grappling another pole from the rack. She hefted it in her hand, testing its weight.

“Of course, I do. I was the one who came up with the rule.”

April went through her favorite wushu form: beigun, Northern Staff. Her movements were dazzling, she beautiful and wonderfully alive. I slipped in, joining her. Our dance became a dance of opposites, of two different styles and schools. Halfway through, April began laughing.

“You know,” she said as we passed each other, “I qualified for inter-clan competitions. I was that ready. Sifu said no, and that made me so mad with him.”

“He said that? How come you didn’t tell me that?”

“You were always too busy with something else. As far as I could remember, you were extremely active at the academy.”

We passed again, our bodies close, almost touching.

“Sifu’s standards are always too demanding,” I said, knowing that April could hear.

“That’s why he’s Sifu,” her slim form danced in. We were face to face, our lips almost touching. April pulled back, chuckling nervously, her face sad.

“Clan rules,” she stated simply, erecting that invisible, tangible wall.

“I know,” I said.

We were washing up when the comm-screen on the side-panel chimed. It was Sick Bay.

“I will be down in about a few minutes,” I rubbed my wet hair with a dry towel.


Continue reading “Chapter 5: StarFang”

Chapter 4

The story of Starfang continues…

Chapter Four


I spent a long hour placating and explaining matters to Governor Seeto. In the end, we worked out a budget for hive repairs and loss of lives; Clan Black Talons would foot half of the bill. In return, Seeto would conduct a purge of the hives of any Pariah activity and provide squads of enforcers for the purge duties. As for the craz trade, Seeto refused to budge. It was far too lucrative for him.

Didn’t Mother mention humans were involved? Bah. Humans and their addictions. Clans and their addictions. Horrible.

Switching off the comm-screen took some effort. My body craved energy. I fixed myself a cup of carbohydrate-rich soup and downed it in two gulps. I rubbed my face, my back twitching. Were my actions shameful?  I had to obey my father and carry out the assignment. And it was blood feud… which ate up lives like a glutton with food.

I hated the fact that I had to stand between right and wrong, white and black. All my tours of duty had been straight forward. Not this one. 

I would sleep with the screams of the dying and injured tonight.


Continue reading “Chapter 4”