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I'm trying to remember a short story from about 30 years ago. It was probably part of an anthology.

An element of the plot was that there was a species of alien which could "imprint" human beings the way a mother chicken imprints her chicks. The narrator (female) sees a human young man hanging around with one of the aliens and pulls him away, warning him that he'll end up the alien's absolute slave--willing to die to satisfy his whims. The boy is shocked and thanks her, but we see him with the alien again later, so it was either too late or it was something the boy actually wanted. To get back at her for interfering, the alien tries the same thing on the narrator's love interest, but she stopped it in time. (It visited him in the hospital--don't remember why he was in the hospital, though.)

We're also told that the aliens consider this an unspeakable perversion, so the ones who do this to humans are outcasts, more or less.

The action took place on an alien (or at least inter-species) space station. Earth had an office where the narrator worked. The boss was named Mark, and he was harsh and demanding. Mark had a human friend/paramour who was (I think) neuter for some reason. The narrator commented "I'm not sure what the two of them got up to in there, but you know it had to be sick." Since we'd already learned about the humans who got imprinted, I remember wondering what could possibly be sick compared to that.

This is not Tiptree's "And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side."

  • You might want to mention that you've asked this question elsewhere; reddit.com/r/printSF/comments/5gfzr1/… – Valorum Dec 4 '16 at 22:16
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    It was in Isaac Asimov's Greatest Stories anthology. I read it in Italian. The narrator and the Elven guy were leaders of timetraveling treasure hunters; the narrator's team was called something along the lines of "Dark Wings" (Aliscure). I'll try to dredge it up... – LSerni Dec 4 '16 at 23:37
  • Sorry. I have checked on Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories - the story doesn't seem to be there; I searched for "fox hunt", the imprinted human is revealed as such at the end of one. – LSerni Dec 5 '16 at 14:02

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