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Literature / The Red Vixen Adventures

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Rolas would like you to know he is wearing shorts.

The Red Vixen Adventures are a series of sci-fi romance novellas by Royce Day that invoke traditional Age of Sail romances, in space, with anthropomorphic fox aliens as the main characters. Tying the novellas together is a pirate who calls herself the Red Vixen, and her relationship to members of the noble House of Darktail.

The current novellas include:

  • Captive of the Red Vixen: Rolas captured by the titular vixen.
  • Shadow of the Red Vixen: Rolas' sister Lady Sallivera Darktail goes on holiday, saddled with a bodyguard, Alinadar, in the pay of her family's enemy.
  • Shadow of Her Sins: Alinadar must face the consequences of her crimes, and the discovery that she has surviving family.
  • Shadow of Doubt: Sallivera and Alinadar must face the disapproval of their families while facing down a new enemy.
  • The Red Vixen At Sea: When Rolas and Melanie try to reconcile their marriage in the face of Melanie's criminal past, Rolas is critically injured as a storm shipwrecks them on a strange and dangerous island.
  • I Fought the Claw and the Claw Won: Taking place in parallel to the second half of "Captive", though containing spoilers to "Shadow". Marturari Greycoat is just an average foxen mercenary pilot earning a living escorting freighters through deep space, until that brings him between the Red Vixen and her savage rival Bloody Margo.
  • Stuck in the Middle with You Three years after the evens of I Fought the Claw... Ali returns with her new wife Sallivera to find Marty still stuck where she'd left him indentured to Madame Habebti. She and Marty engage in some Teeth-Clenched Teamwork to take down a criminal conspiracy.
  • The Visitors' Rolas discovers the true story behind First Contact between foxen and humanity, and the secrets his ancestor the first Lord Darktail kept hidden.


  • Adrenaline Makeover: Salli gets one when she sets out to rescue her own bodyguard after they're attacked by space pirates.
  • Aerith and Bob: Foxen names include Rolas, Sallivera, Alinadar, and Melanie.
  • Air Vent Escape: Attempted by Rolas in "Captive", but he finds a note from the Red Vixen and a trap waiting at the grille above the lifeboats. Greycoat in "Claw" also tries it with slightly more success, but comes out in Ali's cabin.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Averted in Shadow of the Red Vixen, where Salli and Ali are visiting Earth and rely on most of the locals and signage being bilingual in Galactic Basic.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Notably the Red Vixen is much more attracted to Rolas than vice-versa. Until he starts dating her true identity.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Done in the worst possible way with Alinadar, with the prologue of Shadow of Doubt introducing her at age eight, just before she's forced to murder her first victims in service to Bloody Margo.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Salli is good at this.
    • Shadow of Her Sins
    Salli: "Who hurt you?"
    Margo: "What do you mean?"
    Salli: "Who made you so terrified that the only way you could make yourself feel safe was to make sure everyone else was frightened of you?"
    • Shadow of Doubt, when confronting her parents about forgiving Ali for her crimes.
    "What would be enough?"
  • Arranged Marriage: Salli's marriage to Viscount Highglider. Initially she was perfectly fine with the idea of marrying a countess' heir. It wasn't until after the marriage that she found out her husband's true nature.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Salli combines this with an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech when she's finally rescued by Melanie.
    Salli: One, for interfering in my damned vacation. Two for playing Meddling Auntie with my personal life. Three, for making Rolas wear that ridiculous outfit...
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Foxen typically don't wear shoes, as noted in Shadow of the Red Vixen when Salli visits South Dakota in winter and has to wear "foot protectors" that she finds highly uncomfortable.
  • Bookends:
    • The first and last stories in the Complete Red Vixen Adventures end with Melanie and Rolas laughing as they step outside Darktail Manor for a walk.
    • The first prequel novella set before First Contact ends with Lord Rolas the First being rescued by Mother Country paratroopers. More darkly, the last prequel story The Visitors ends with paratroopers invading Rolas' holiday manor to try and capture the escaped human explorers.
  • Brains and Bondage: The Red Vixen likes her men in collars and Lady Melanie keeps Rolas Chained to a Bed during their honeymoon.
  • Broken Bird: Salli at the start of Captive. She gets better, though she still suffers from depression and panic attacks when off her meds.
  • Canon Welding:
    • A minor character in "Shadow of Her Sins" turns out to be from Gerwart, an expy of Germany from Day's earlier novella "Prisoners of War", implying that it was set in Foxen Prime's pre-spaceflight era.
    • Confirmed in “The Visitors”, where the RVA-era Rolas Darktail discovers a diary written by his ancestor, the protagonist of “POW.”
  • Can't Spit It Out: Alinadar's whole problem while working for the Red Vixen, as Marty points out.
  • Cartesian Karma: In "Shadow of her Sins" Ali is arrested for the crimes she committed as a slave, but is acquitted of most, though not all of them.
  • Chained to a Bed: Implied in the epilogue to "Captive".
    • Also implied with Marty's antics during his military service: "Drunk, disorderly, and conveniently pre-handcuffed gets you a lot of ribbing when the MP's arrive."
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In Captive Salli is mentioned reading in the dark thanks to her cybernetic eye's low light vision. In the next story it comes in very handy while she's searching for Ali in the dark and rain.
    • Halfway through Doubt a human resort company wants to lease a large plot of land on Greenholme, which Salli is reluctant to agree to. It ends up paying for Ali's regeneration.
  • Child Soldiers: Alinadar was a child "pirate" after Margo killed her family and enslaved her when she was six. At her trial the judges cite historical precedent of child soldiers and acquits her of all crimes she committed as a minor under duress. And give her a fairly light sentence (lifetime of hard labor, under her present employer and lover) for the twenty-eight counts of interstellar piracy committed as an adult.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: What happens to Alinadar (offscreen thankfully) after she's captured.
  • Collateral Angst: Rolas' twin Salli is the victim of Domestic Abuse, but the focus of Captive of the Red Vixen is on his inability to protect her.
  • Comm Links: Everyone carries "Palm Comps" which operate almost exactly like a modern smartphone, except they can also project holograms.
  • Common Tongue: Galactic Basic, a throwaway line in "Shadow of the Red Vixen" makes it clear that it's not English but that English is still spoken by humans.note  And foxen retain at least one language of their own.
  • Defusing the Tyke-Bomb: The Red Vixen attempted this with Alinadar after capturing her. The results were mixed. Ali is better socialized, but until she formed a relationship with Sallivera, she still mostly saw herself as a slave to be commanded.
  • Democracy Is Bad: In the main novels democracy is seen by foxen as a bizarre human thing, and that their feudal caste system is better because their leaders are trained for the job from birth, if nothing else. While in the distant prequel "Prisoners of War" the nation of Gerwart is a parliamentary republic and portrayed as the foxen version of Nazi Germany.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: After a failed escape attempt, Rolas is brought back to his cell and informed that his Auto-Kitchen will now only provide "Prison Loaf"
    Red Vixen: "[It] contains every bit of protein, vitamins and nutrients that a healthy adult needs for one day, and tastes like wet cardboard, or so I'm told."
    Narration: As it turned out, the Red Vixen had been wrong about the prison loaf. Comparing it to wet cardboard was really a deep insult to the disposable packaging industry.
  • Distress Ball: Alinadar and Sallivera trade it back and forth in the "Shadow" novels.
  • Distressed Dude: Rolas and Greycoat at certain points.
  • Domestic Abuse: Lady Sallivera's ex-husband, Lord Kev Highglider, who beat her for two years, eventually gouging her eye out. Thanks to his mother's influence Kev was only declared violently insane and committed to an asylum, while Salli was so traumatized that she hid herself away for years before her family found an off-world psychologist (foxen psych is very undeveloped) to help her.
  • Draconic Humanoid: The Wazagans. No wings or breathing fire, but they're large, with scales, fangs and claws.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After Countess Highglider sabotages their attempted exodus, Rolas copes by getting massively drunk, and judging by the complaints about loud noise the next day, so did the rest of the Darktail household.
  • Drinking Game: The author himself made one.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The main antagonist in Captive of the Red Vixen and Shadow of the Red Vixen is mentioned to have committed suicide off screen in the next story.
  • Easy Amnesia: Rolas suffers from this after a blow to the back of the head during a boating accident, erasing his knowledge of his marriage to Melanie and Salli's marriage to her abusive husband. Its treated slightly realistically in that he regains his memories after a couple of days.
  • Erotic Dream: In "Captive of the Red Vixen" Rolas has a dream of being Bound and Gagged by the Red Vixen and his current girlfriend, Lady Melanie, who are holding leashes tied to his manhood and tugging it towards them. Also about as explicit as it gets in the series.
  • Eternal Prohibition: Tobacco is banned entirely in human and foxen space, to the point of being extinct on Earth/Human Prime.
  • Eye Scream: Happens to Salli twice. Once in her back story as the climax of her husband's abuse, the next in Shadow of Her Sins when Margo pulls out its cybernetic replacement just for the hell of it.
  • Fake Arm Disarm: Salli brushes off the loss of her prosthetic eye in Shadow of Her Sins with "the second time the novelty wears off."
  • Fantastic Caste System: Foxen are divided into Nobles, Commoners, and Military. Though it seems that everyone is required to serve some time in the military regardless of caste.
  • Fantastic Drug: Combat drugs, amphetamines that reduce pain and make one feel invulnerable and are commonly used by soldiers, usually highly addictive with serious long-term side effects. One particularly illegal one is called Redline.
  • Female Gaze: Any description of Rolas will inevitably mention how firm his muscles are, and he's frequently the subject of a Shirtless Scene.
  • Female Groin Invincibility: Averted. When Ali is teaching Sallivera self-defense, and they discover that a knee to the groin is still pretty painful for them.
  • Feudal Future: Foxen society, though the highest level of government appears to be a Council of Countesses and the only noble titles listed below Countess are Viscount(ess) and Lord/Lady.
  • First Contact: The plot of The Visitors revolves around Rolas' Identical Grandfather discovering that humans have arrived on the Foxen homeworld and have been captured and imprisoned.
  • Fox Folk: Foxen, an alien race that resemble humanoid foxes.
  • Framing Device: The prologue and epilogue of The Visitors has one with Rolas and Melanie talking to a human anthropology student. The rest of the book consists of the first Lord Rolas' diary and letters to his wife.
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: All of the foxen characters wear clothes, despite having full coats of fur.
  • Furry Fandom: Um, yeah...
  • Gayngst: Most averted. Ali angsts a little mostly because she's attracted to Salli and the latter is mostly straight, but she's comfortable with her orientation.
  • Gilded Cage: Rolas' cell on the Scarlet Claw resembles a luxury cruise ship cabin, with entertainment center, Auto-Kitchen, weights and treadmill.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Male version with Rolas.
  • Green Aesop: Minor one in the prequel Prisoners of War, set during Foxen Prime's Steampunk pre-spaceflight period. The protagonists' home nation uses alcohol fueled steam engines for power, and are disturbed to find their Gerwart captors use coal.
    • And excerpts from an upcoming interquel about First Contact with humanity indicates that global warming caused some diplomatic issues when the foxen found out.
  • Groin Attack: When teaching her to fight Alinadar tells Lady Sallivera that a knee to the groin is one of the more effective moves to use on males. Then Salli tries it on Ali and it turns out to be pretty effective on females too.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Alinadar did not like her service to Bloody Margo but she was practically attached to The Red Vixen, who was much kinder. And leads Melanie to believe that she needs a "mistress", so she sets her up with Sallivera when she plans to retire from piracy.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Ali in her backstory. Not that she had to turn very far.
  • Hiding in a Hijab: Used by Marty and Ali, when they're trying to move unobserved on a space station.
  • Honor Before Reason: Why Lu arrested his sister Ali after searching for her for twenty years.
  • Hostage Video: Rolas makes one to his parents when first kidnapped by the Red Vixen.
  • Humanity Is Insane: The foxen opinion of humans, and humans do have a higher reported rate of mental illness than foxen. However this means that the foxen are ill-equipped to handle those of their kind who do go crazy.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: In "Shadow of the Red Vixen" Salli has to go through a superluminal transit clinging to the hull of a ship in a spacesuit. At first the jumble of semi-theoretical mathematics is terrifying, but after a few hours it gets boring.
  • Identical Grandfather: Lord Rolas Darktail the First, who stars in a couple of novellas set prior to the Red Vixen series in Foxen Prime's pre-spaceflight era. Just as dark furred, amber eyed, and romantically moody as his modern counterpart.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: In "Shadow of her Sins" Bloody Margo makes Alinadar gouge out Lady Sallivera's natural eye to prove that she's sincere about wanting to come back to her crew. Instead Ali stalls long enough for her brother to line up a shot at Margo.
  • Impoverished Patrician: House Darktail thanks to Countess Highglider sabotaging their infrastructure out of petty revenge. Part of the reason Rolas was captaining their freighter himself, and why his family couldn't pay the ransom.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Mild example in Shadow of her Sins. Lu manages to shoot Bloody Margo with a stun rifle, hanging upside down from a hole cut in the roof of an auditorium.
  • Incompatible Orientation: This is Ali's whole problem while working for the Red Vixen and later Salli. Fortunately the latter decides If It's You, It's Okay.
  • Indentured Servitude: Indentured servants are mentioned multiple times, and Alinadar is sentenced to hard labor for her crimes, albeit doing the same job she was doing at the time of her arrest.
  • Interfaith Smoothie: Worship among foxen revolves around the Mother Goddess, which takes aspects of both Paganism (centered around a female deity with a dosing of Green Aesop) and Abrahamic monotheism.
  • Institutional Apparel:
    • Rolas initially gets the orange jumpsuit during his imprisonment, before his captor decides to start playing dress-up.
    • The captive humans in The Visitors also get orange jumpsuits, and have their shoes confiscated to keep them from running away too quickly.
  • Invisibility Cloak: "Spoofer" cloaks and stealth suits appear a couple of times in the series, offering invisibility to regular and infra-red vision.
  • Inter-Class Romance: Salli and Ali. A Viscountess and a former pirate of unknown turns out to be Military caste.
  • It's Raining Men: At the climax of the prequel novella Prisoners of War Mother Country special forces soldiers come to the rescue using the recently developed technique of High Altitude Low Opening parajumps from airships.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Marty points out to Alinadar that trying to help the pirates who captured him doesn't make much sense.
  • Karma Houdini: The fact that the Red Vixen is responsible for the death of one the crew of the Sallivera is pretty much dropped after she's seen expressing remorse over it as Melanie.
    • To a lesser extent the Highgliders, Kev is simply committed for disfiguring Salli's face while his mother loses her lands and is committed too, but considers that a victory since it reunites her with her son. They even have enough money to post a bounty on Salli in "Shadow of the Red Vixen" but it's later mentioned that they hung themselves after that failed.
  • Kick the Dog: Bloody Margo, almost committing it literally when she kicks Salli while the latter is already bound to a chair.
  • The Kindnapper: After the Red Vixen captures Ali, she makes her a slave to help Ali adjust to working with a less psychotic crew. Slightly subverted in that she offered to try and find Ali's surviving family, but Ali refused the offer.
  • Lampshade Hanging: After Salli tricks Ali's attacker into a confession set up like a classic drawing room Dénouement, a police officer accuses her of channeling "...her inner Matron Marmalade."
  • Lizard Folk: Wazagans, one of the more widespread species along with humans.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The foxen live in the same universe as humanity, and some even date and have relations with each other, though they aren't inter-fertile.
  • Longevity Treatment: Nanotechnological cellular regeneration effectively brings a patient back to their early twenties but the cost takes up a significant chunk of a domain's GDP.
  • Long-Lost Relative: In "Shadow of Her Sins" Alinadar meets her long-lost older brother, Commander Lu Blacksailor from the Allied Worlds Patrol. Their relationship doesn't stop him from arresting her when he finds out she was a pirate, but he does put in a good word for her.
  • Love-Obstructing Parents: Salli's mother towards Ali in Shadow of Doubt, though her husband is a bit more accepting of their daughter's girlfriend.
  • Love Triangle: In The Red Vixen at Sea Melanie discovers that Rolas has a pair of lovers in his youth, one male, the other female. Both of them loved Rolas, but didn't love each other, so when he suggested they both marry him they turn him down flat.
  • Luke Nounverber: The majority of Foxen names are like this, including Rolas Darktail (a pun on "dark tale" given his family's tragic background), Ali Waterfarmer, Lu Blacksailor, and Kev Highglider.
  • Lover and Beloved: Mild example between Salli and Ali. The age difference is only five or six years, and they're both consenting adults. The real gap is in education and life experience, with Ali being a mere Commoner (and a convicted criminal to boot) while Salli is a Countess' heir.
  • Made a Slave: Alinadar after she kidnapped by the pirates who killed her family, and then remained one even after she was captured/rescued by the Red Vixen.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Skirted with Alinadar and Sallivera. Salli is very feminine, rarely wearing anything except a dress. However while Ali is her bodyguard, she's usually dressed in a blouse and skirt, even if she's also wearing a gunbelt.
  • Matriarchy: Noble inheritance in Foxen society is matrilineal, though there's nothing stopping males from obtaining titles. And one of the short excerpts on the author's LiveJournal indicates that in the military Noble caste vixens can start as officers while males have to work their way up.
  • Meat Puppet: Rolas ends up one after being taken over briefly by an Ardalian in The Red Vixen at Sea. Once he's rescued it's treated exactly as if he'd been mind raped.
  • Medication Tampering: In Shadow of Doubt someone spikes Alinadar's medication with cleaning solvent. It causes massive damage to her veins and starts to reach her heart before the paramedics manage to stop it. Even then she needs cellular rejuvenation therapy to survive.
  • Monumental Damage: The leftmost face (Washington?) on Mt. Rushmore is stated to have worn away, inverted by the Crazy Horse Memorial which has been completed.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Ironically used in The Visitors. The monster in this case is Captain Alesha Jackson, a human trapped on the Foxen Homeworld when her exploration mission's shuttle crashed. When the soldiers chasing her see her cradling her newborn child, they flatly refuse to attack her.
  • Multicultural Alien Planet: Foxen Prime is divided among several nations, the largest and sole spacefaring power being the Mother Country, a feudal confederation ruled by a council of Countesses. The second largest is Gerwart, a parliamentary republic that is generally portrayed as a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Germany.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Occasionally used depending on who's point of view the scene is focusing on. When Rolas and the Red Vixen encounter one of her enemies, she's noted as using "A short, very human, curse word." Scenes from Alinadar's perspective just have latter vixen letting out a simple "Fuck".
  • Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters: The Red Vixen's crew only use stunners when boarding, only take the cargo and sometimes the captain for ransom, and leave the ship intact enough to call for help. And even when she starts on her vendetta against House Highglider she allows crews to escape in lifeboats before blowing their ship up. Her rival Bloody Margo, as her name suggests, is far more brutal.
  • Never Found the Body: What keeps Lu searching for Ali, after the rest of their family was murdered.
  • Never Suicide: In Doubt Sallivera's mother voices suspicion that Countess Highglider and her son really hung themselves, and all but accuses Ali of arranging it.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Slightly averted. Greenholme's atmosphere is shown to be perfectly fine for foxen, but it's noted at a dinner in The Red Vixen at Sea that the salad comes from native plants that have been tested to make sure they're safe to digest. It becomes a more urgent issue when Rolas and Melanie are shipwrecked on an island, and risk starvation because they don't know what plants or animals they can eat.
  • No Medication for Me: Inverted for Sallivera, who shows a drastic improvement when she starts on anti-anxiety meds.
  • Non-Action Guy: Lord Rolas the First in The Visitors. Justified in that he was in sixties at that point, so he has to rely on his more Guile Hero skills.
  • No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: Averted. In Shadow of the Red Vixen Ali mentions enjoying lousy movies, and supplementary material details Foxen comedy shows, which take inspiration from classic Commedia dell'Arte. In Doubt she's seen watching a cheesy Kaiju film with foxen actors in rubber suits and human actors with forehead prosthetics, and mentions that the Earth equivalents often have foxen actors with dyed fur and fake fangs and strange camera angles as the aliens. It's so ridiculous that Salli starts riffing the movie.
    Salli: (commenting on a cub in a secure weapons facility) "Does this child have Level Seven clearance?"
  • The Nose Knows: Foxens place great importance on scent. The Red Vixen wears heavy perfume to prevent identification and Rolas recognizes Melanie as her by taste. And Commander Blacksailor recognizes Alinadar as his long-lost sister by her scent, and the fact that she has living relatives finally breaks through to Ali when he gives her a toy that belonged to his sister which is still saturated with her scent due to being sealed in a plastic bag for twenty years.
  • Nudity Equals Honesty:
    • At the climax of Shadow of Her Sins, Ali is forced to strip naked and confess to Salli that she murdered children as Bloody Margo's child soldier.
    • To a less fraught extent, Noble Caste foxen often strip naked while conducting public ceremonies, to demonstrate their honesty and piety to the lower castes.
  • Nuke 'em: Alinadar's suggestion when they spot an encampment of survivor's from Bloody Margo's base in "Shadow of Her Sins". She's dead serious.
  • Oh, My Gods!: The most common swears are "By the Mother Goddess!" and "Cold and Dark" (a reference to the Foxen concept of afterlife.)
  • One Head Taller: Salli to Ali
  • Pirate Girl: The Red Vixen, naturally, and her far more brutal rival Bloody Margo.
  • Powered Armor: Used by the Red Vixen's boarders, part of how they're confident enough to only fire stunners.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Ali. Her first thought when offered the option of nuking a group of her former pirate comrades is to use it immediately.
    • She also sees nothing wrong with stunning Salli, even though protecting the noblevixen was her job, to keep Salli from objecting when Ali had to break cover to distract a group of pirates.
  • Precision F-Strike: Ali lets loose with "Frell, frag, fuck!" when she's stopped from running into a potential free fire zone to rescue Lady Salli.
  • Private Military Contractors: Marturari Greycoat from "I Fought the Claw...", a mercenary Space Fighter pilot who was hired to guard House Highglider's freighters, which got him in the middle of the Red Vixen and Bloody Margo's feud.
  • Property of Love: Played straight, skirted and subverted. Ali wants this in her relationship with the Red Vixen, who thinks she can arrange that between Ali and Salli. Whereupon Salli puts her footpad down, allowing Ali time to get her head together so they can enter a more equal relationship.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Towards the end of The Red Vixen at Sea Ali has a brief conversation in Arabic with one of her former shipmates, which is untranslated since we see it from Melanie's POV.
    Ali: "Fahda? Hal ha'athihi entee?" note 
    Fahdah: "Ali-kat? Ha qudd jun'nunt. Fa-entee mutawafia! Fa'alun ana fee jaheem, Fa-entee laa tastahequee an takunee huna, yaa Ali!" note 
    Ali: "Laa ya Fahda, bull ana a'aysha was entee aydunn. Nahnu huna le inquathek.” note 
    Fahdah: "Eth'habee min huna! Hu'naka wahush! Qudd iktashafat Ma'argo ka'in Al-Ardalian! Wa hiya taqtull a'adah'ihaa lahu in lam yaqumoo bi awaa'mirihaa!" note 
  • Recruited from the Gutter: How Ali was recruited by the Red Vixen.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Most Foxen nobles spend their time administering their holdings and dealing with the concerns of Commoners in their domain.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Invoked in Shadow of Doubt while Salli and Ali are watching a Kaiju movie.
    Salli: "Who are those humans in the silver jumpsuits with the prosthetic foreheads?"
  • Running Gag:
    • Marty's demands for a pair of pants. He never gets them.
    • Whenever she's referred to by her full title, it's always "The Red Vixen, Scourge of the Spaceways(tm)" with the trademark.
  • Safe, Sane, and Consensual: Specifically referenced by Rolas in The Red Vixen at Sea, after a bondage game on his sailboat ends with him being knocked unconscious and thrown overboard in a storm.
    "Somehow we both seem to have forgotten the Safe part. Quite possibly the Sane bit as well."
  • Scars are Forever: Played with. Salli can hide the white fur that grows over her scars, but eventually chooses not to.
  • Secondary Character Title: The series as a whole and half the individual titles refer to the Red Vixen, a character with very little actual screen time except as her Secret Identity Lady Melanie, and the story isn’t told from her perspective until “The Red Vixen at Sea”.
  • Secret Identity: The Red Vixen, who is really Lady Melanie.
  • Settling the Frontier: House Darktail's plan to escape Countess Highglider's petty revenge was to save up enough to buy a fleet of colony ships for themselves and their loyal sworn commoners, which was why they couldn't afford to pay Rolas' ransom in "Captive". But after the Red Vixen helps expose the Countess's crimes they get her lands and the plan is sidelined. Up until Salli claims the planet Bloody Margo was using as a secret base in the "Shadow" books and they start a colony there.
  • Sex Shifter: Ali has a cousin who is married to a "Blended", a genetically engineered foxen who can change sexes through a week-long process, named Fin; and only ever referred to by name, without pronouns, even by Fin's own kids.
  • Shameful Strip: After being stunned and captured by Bloody Margo, Salli wakes bound naked to a chair. A little bit later Ali arrives to negotiate her release, and Margo forces her to also strip naked to show she isn't concealing any weapons.
  • Shipper on Deck: Melanie does her best to hook up Salli and Ali, and even has shades of this towards Rolas when she finds out he had a boyfriend in his youth, happily watching when he and Dak kiss.
  • Shirtless Scene: Rolas while he's the Red Vixen's "Cabin Boy".
  • Shock Collar: When captured Rolas is given one that triggers if he goes through his cell's door (but not the vents) without the Red Vixen's permission, or if he gets more than five meters away from her when she takes him for a "walk." Ali is fitted with an ankle bracelet that does something similar when she's arrested.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Red Vixen's self-given title of "The Scourge of the Spaceways"(tm) is from Robert A. Heinlein's book The Rolling Stones (1952), though there it's referring to a deliberately over-the-top fictional hero, not a space pirate.
    • The plot of The Visitors is basically the same as Alan Dean Foster's novel Nor Crystal Tears. To the point that the book is dedicated to him.
    • In Shadow of Doubt Salli and Ali watch a Foxen Kaiju movie that bears a strong resemblance to Godzilla vs. Monster Zero.
  • Slave Collar: In Shadow of the Red Vixen, Alinadar wears a silver choker made of interwoven chains to symbolize her ownership by the Red Vixen.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Even though the main character's home nation uses Indentured Servitude as a criminal punishement, when it's revealed that Alinadar was the Red Vixen/Melanie's slave, it's treated as a flatly evil act that the latter has a hard time living down.
  • Sliding Scale of Animal Cast: Animals With Minor Human Characters. Humans appear in minor roles, but none of them are a main character.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: Played straight when Marty and Ali go after a tabacco smuggling ring. It's noted that tea or coffee can give a similar high without the risk of cancer.
  • Space Police: The Stellar Patrol, Lu's employer.
  • Space Pirates: Seems to rely a lot on knowing where freighters will drop out of superluminal.
  • Spy Catsuit: In a side story, Salli finds out that the Red Vixen had one made out of leather for Ali, to make her look impressive when they were out in public. It was abandoned after they figured out it was more important Ali have full freedom of movement than to look cool.
  • State Sec: The Ministry of State Security, which is the main villain in Prisoners of War and the short story "To Catch The Lightning," is basically the Waffen SS in Gerwart, the Foxen homeworld's equivalent to Nazi Germany.
  • Starfish Aliens: Ardalians resemble 150-yard diameter sea anemones whose tentacles can interface with the nervous systems of sentient beings and use them as puppets.
  • Speculative Fiction LGBT: After the first book the action switches from the straight romantic couple of Rolas and Melanie, to Rolas' sister Salli and her romance with Ali. Notably while Salli's parents object to her love of Alinadar, it's because Ali is a convicted pirate and ex-child soldier, not because of her gender. Later it's revealed that Rolas briefly had a same-sex relationship that ended badly, and that one of Ali's aunts is married to a Sex Shifter
  • Stripperiffic: The Red Vixen's outfit is usually a piece of cloth around the waist, a bikini top, and a gun belt
  • Subspace Ansible: Instant interstellar communication is available, though it's described as being extremely expensive. As most of the characters are rich Nobles, cost is never really an issue.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The plot driver of Shadow of Her Sins and Shadow of Doubt. Ali has to first face prosecution for the crimes she committed as a slave, and then Salli must deal with her mother's understandable reluctance to approve of an affair between the Heir of their noble house and a convicted criminal.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "No. No, of course not. Lady Melanie Lovejoy has nothing to do with the Red Vixen."
    So, in conclusion, there is no such thing as the Foxen Ministry of Assassination made up of highly trained ex-Military caste Special Forces members. There is no secret Eleventh Countess leading it. It is absolutely 'not' receiving material support from the League of Concerned Commoners, nor are its actions being covered up by the Commoner Media Association and its related news reporting companies.
    So stop asking.
    You'll be safer for it.
  • Tap on the Head: Played with. In The Red Vixen at Sea Rolas gets one after a boating accident results in a blow to the back of the head and an extended dunk in the ocean. When he's rescued several hours later he's suffering from hypothermia and Easy Amnesia, but is woken up by Melanie after being warmed up and receiving anti-shock medication. However, despite it being treated as a serious injury, he's up in half a day and walking around.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Salli loathes Melanie for enslaving Ali and Melanie thinks Salli is a stuck-up prig, but both of them put their feelings of animosity aside whenever Ali is in trouble.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Said almost word for word by Rolas after he arrives at Melanie's home dressed in his formal House uniform, and tells her "This isn't for you." (He's actually going to place flowers on the grave of a recently deceased crewman from his ship.)
  • There Are No Therapists: On Foxen Prime anyways, foxens are supposedly more mentally stable on average than humans so they have very little experience helping those who do develop mental illnesses, House Darktail has to import a psychologist from Earth to help Salli.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Averted. Whenever a foxen character is described as blushing, it's always the inside of their ears turning red.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Melanie's actions in "Captive" look a lot less romantic in the later stories, as she fails to convince her in-laws that enslaving Ali was the right thing to do.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Ali has her entire pelt shaved off after she's captured by Bloody Margo. And then left staked out to die of hypothermia in the cold rain.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: "I Fought the Claw and the Claw Won" starts with Greycoat about to be spaced and reflecting on how he ended up like that. In the end Melanie decides to indenture him to a brothel instead.
    • In "Shadow of the Red Vixen" Ali blasts open a docking tube connecting the airlocks of a pirate ship and the liner they were raiding. Sending everyone in the tube, or within close proximity of either airlock, into space.
  • Unishment: Ali's punishment for being convicted of space piracy is a lifetime of hard labor. Which means she'll continue on working directly under Salli like she always wanted.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Countess Highglider becomes explosively unhinged towards the end of "Captive" in the end ranting that the Council of Countesses are commoner sympathizers and how she wants her son back, in front of the entire Council, who unanimously vote to have her committed to the same asylum where her son was incarcerated.
    • In The Visitors Reggie Sharptail breaks down weeping when his soldiers come close to shooting Commander Jackson and her newborn son.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot:
    • After she's stunned twice in a row and had her artificial eye yanked out by Bloody Margo, Salli is tied to a chair where she wakes up and promptly throws up over herself.
    • Melanie likewise throws up while on Rolas' boat, though it's because she's pregnant not seasick.
    • Commander Jackson also throws up after being rescued by Old Lord Rollie in The Visitors for the same reason.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Reggie Sharptail in The Visitors, who is perfectly willing to imprison a stranded crew of human explorers, and potentially launch a foxen astronaut to their death to protect his world.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future: Rolas' ransom was to the amount of 5 million GSA credits.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Or in the Red Vixen's case colored contacts, fur dye, heavy perfume, and less clothing than her civilian alter ego.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Salli calls out Melanie and punches her in the nose after finding out she'd enslaved Alinadar in her persona as the Red Vixen.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: At one point Rolas is given the chance to stun his captor and escape. And doesn't take it, stating that he doesn't shoot vixens in the back. The Red Vixen at Sea proves he's worried about becoming like his brother-in-law.
  • Xenofiction: Written from the perspective of distinctly non-human, but relatively close, aliens.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Winter Solstice, which includes gift giving. Though there's a similar Summer Solstice as well.