art by Seth Alan Bareiss
by Samantha Murray
He wore her heart on his sleeve.
It was where he kept all of his trophies. Stitched on to the ceremonial garment that proclaimed him Gar-rag the Victor. He had seven now; seven life organs from seven species from seven planets. Seven was lucky, he knew that too, and he held himself with more than his usual pride.
Let those who watched envy him.
He had warmed to her planet; it reminded him of his own home, something about the openness. He had undergone the change to appear as one of her species, of course; the form was lighter and less cumbersome than the last few he had assumed.
He put out his call through their finicky language and sent it out over their communication channels. He showed an image of himself. Many of them responded. He had heard some call it the Battle of the Sexes, and the thing that he had been best at, since he had spawned, was battle.
Then he found the perfect one.