Well everyone, it took a few months but it has happened. ZAT:Immortal has been proofread and is finally marked as: COMPLETE! The story is done, that is it, no more ZAT:Immortal… So this isn't a chapter at all, but more of an acknowledgment and a bit of dialogue from me concerning the story and future and everything.
It's an interesting feeling when a story is completed. I wanted to take a moment here at the end just to thank everyone and talk a little bit about the story. First off there are a few of you who have been reading this story… pretty much from the beginning who have just been a huge inspiration and motivation for driving this story to completion, so in no particular order I want to thank:
Edwiddlem – I'm glad you came back to read the story even after reading it the last time it was posted all those years ago. I'm sorry that did kind of ruin a few of the twists, but I'm glad that you enjoyed it. You've been a big help even if you don't think so just in some of the extra sessions we've had to talk about story ideas back and forth. That gave me a great opportunity to refine some of the concepts with my writing, so again thank you very much, and I really hope to see more of your stories also.
Shiva the Sarcastic – I do believe you reviewed pretty much every chapter my story, again right from the beginning. I can credit you with the feedback responsible for extending some of the scenes out and adding a bit more humor to scenes where the story really needed it. Chapter 6 wouldn't even exist in this story if it wasn't for you, so thank you for all the support you provided throughout the writing process.
Prats'R'Us – It's so good to know that my British humor references were being understood by some people out there. Not many others understood the Doctor Who and Torchwood concepts I kept throwing in. Whenever you grasped them though and assured me they were good/funny, well… it gave the determination to try harder to better utilize the references in a manner easier for those who don't have a BBC station to understand.
redchinese - How I miss your reviews from back in the day. Redchinese knows how to give me a taste of my own medicine as I know I'm notorious for leaving reviews that are almost as long as the story (or chapter) I am reviewing. But the constructive advice you always left was instrumental in keeping pace with the story and just making sure that I remained consistent with my concepts. With someone like you reading I always had to make doubly sure that my science fiction babbles at least made some kind of logical sense with real world physics. I had a lot of fun keeping on my toes with that and hope you continue to do your thing across the community for a long time to come. Thanks!
Lady Venamisa – How many times were we up way too late talking about story ideas? I remember having work the next day and still batting ideas around and getting really excited over them. I certainly hope we get to keep having little brain storm sessions because that is really one the elements of story writing I find the most enjoyable is collaborating with other like minded writers. You're too awesome for me to really describe here, so once again I'll just say thank you so much for all the help and inspiration you give me.
There are so many others who kept up with the story and kept throwing feedback at me which made me feel so good each time the review came in. I set my phone to start notifying me each time I would get a review because as the work day dragged on your reviews would always give me that "silver lining" of knowing that soon enough I'd get to go home and work on these other little worlds. So reviewers like Otogii, LSSJ2 Gohan, Guardian of Nesh, AmaranthineSolis, Vegeta997, The Exodus of Genesis, , SilentDarkness101, xdevil-childx, Z-Breezy, Haku fan 1, and Sid 89 just to name a few of the reviewers who kept coming back again and again… I mean wow… I haven't even touched the anon reviewers who seemed to come back for each chapter. I can't thank you enough for the kind words and support you've given to encourage my little hobby.
So people here in the real world ask me why I bother writing fanfiction. To me it's simple, it relieves so much stress. It's my escape from the real world into a world that I can mold any way I want and then share with others to partake in this world I made. I know it can sound silly, but I think it's important.
So about this story, the ZAT series… When I was twelve years old I was going through this big "What if…" phase. And I actually had story concepts written down for about five different Dragon Ball Z Alternate Tales stories. They were all very Gohan centric, one of them involved Gohan succumbing to amnesia after the battle with Cell and being adopted by Hercule, another one was the classic "Gohan is kidnapped into space as a child" story line. The immortal Saiyan though just became this iconic story line for me. I wanted to come up with a story that did basically glorify Gohan, but also twisted the rules of DBZ out of even its own explosive system and take it several levels beyond the boundaries of even the original story.
Why Gohan? Quite frankly… Goku doesn't strike me as an interesting character… I'm gonna be slammed as a DBZ blasphemer for this, but to me… he's too damn perfect! He's innocent, noble, naïve, strong, practically indomitable, and pure to a fault. To me Gohan just had so much more character depth. He was the son of this incredible hero of a man, but had his own set of strengths and weaknesses. The storyline acknowledged Gohan as having unfathomable potential and he is very intelligent. I believe a matured Gohan should have been more resourceful than his father and also a better speaker diplomat. His weakness was his lack of control. Events that got him angry caused him to snap and do things he'd later regret. He also should have been more susceptible to temptations of different levels and take action slightly slower than Goku to give him time to think over and gauge all of the possible outcomes. I am convinced that corporate pressure put on the series after hitting mainstream is what caused a lot of the major changes in the show. I mean… Gohan becomes Saiyaman… and Goku, who never would have hurt a fly if he didn't have to; never tries to talk his enemies into changing their ways again after the cell games. Somehow Goku retains his innocence… but has no issues with blowing bad guys to kingdom come? I don't understand how a change like that can happen. I can see the opposite, someone who blows their opponents away retaining some innocence and starts trying to turn all the bad guys into good guys… but how someone who has always tried to make their enemies see the fault in their ways just stop… I'm getting off track, but I think that makes the point.
ZAT in a sense was inspired by the notion to balance the story back out after the point I felt it fell apart in the original show. I mean that on a mental and emotional balance… not power balance… or whatever… anyway, the inspiration for the story came from a lot of different prime sources. As I mentioned in the notes throughout the story, I've always wanted to write original fiction. As such I research the oddest thing to get a grasp at better science fiction descriptions. Wikipedia has a great article on fourth dimensional hyper cubes by the way. A lot of my concepts for alternate parallel dimensions and fourth dimension traversing come from a mix of watching too much Doctor Who and staying up late reading thesis papers by math students who may or may not be entirely sane. Hence the whole void and space between infinite realms theory.
I did get a lot of ideas from many other sources. I like to use references, but to me they have to have a purpose. One of my favorites was throwing in the Master Sword reference when the Realis was first introduced. To me that gave the Realis a bit more epic appeal. As far as characters go, I wanted to keep the universe kind of knit tight with Akira Toriyama based characters. This is the reason why the direct character crossovers came from Chrono Tirgger, Good ol' Gato, and Blue Dragon, Shu. Those are both awesome RPGs, and the Blue Dragon anime isn't half bad. I'm such a geek I was kind of wondering if anyone would get the reference to chapter 21's title "Northern Crater". Basically… The Northern Crater is where all the black cloaked clones are headed to in Final Fantasy VII for the "Reunion". Heh… bad I know…
One of the things I love about writing is… well the way I normally write is I come up with a loose outline where I basically take notes down of where I'm starting, a few key major points along the way, and where I want to end up. From there, things just happen. It gets excited when I can be just as surprised by what's happening in the story as someone who's reading it. I recommend that technique to other writers: just let something happen, don't try and stop it. That method led to the two chapters inside Buu's body which turned out rather funny. The world never would have been introduced to antibuudies if it wasn't for that.
So at this point I'm sure plenty of people are probably wondering, "What's next?" By no means does completion of ZAT:Immortal signify the end of the ZAT series. I still have a lot of ideas in store for the continuation of ZAT. Some of you who read the story years ago probably remember the sequel that started but was never completed… well it is on! If everything goes to plan then, without giving too much away, the current sub series "ZAT: Serius Prime" will build up to the next big ZAT saga. I also have plans for at least two other sub stories for ZAT, and an outline is also already done for a third ZAT saga after the next one. So as long as everything goes well… ZAT should end up consisting of at least six stories.
A problem does exist…
That problem is I have so many story ideas… I've gotta take a break on ZAT to work on a few other things for a while. I'm sure a few of them aren't exactly the cup of tea for most ZAT readers, however I do have a different DBZ story in the works unrelated to ZAT which I'm hoping the Gohan fans will enjoy.
So please keep an eye out for updates to ZAT: Serius Prime, I promise to have a few of our favorite characters make some special guest appearances! And I hope anyone with an open mind who maybe enjoys some of the more controversial stories might also peek in at some of the other projects I'll be working on.
Thanks a lot for helping me get this far! Please keep in touch my friends!
'Till next time!