In this prequel to Tin Star, we meet Heckleck, the Hort alien who befriends Tula Bane on the space station Yertina Feray in her fight for survival. In his modest beginnings, Heckleck is raised to understand that breeding and propagating his own kind is the sole reason for living. When he is called upon to settle on a new planet, he meets the daughter of a politician, Goglu, with whom he falls helplessly in love, and is determined to win over. But nothing is easy in love and space exploration, and when his plans become thwarted, he must find a new way of life.
This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Connie Hsu.