Author's Note and Farewell.

As I said in my last chapter, this is my final story for fanfiction dot net. Parting is such sweet sorrow indeed, and I'll miss the fun of sharing the products of my imagination with others in this great big cyber-sandbox.

But it has to be this way. You see, for me writing fanfiction has now become a case of diminishing returns. I greatly like to educate people, give them an exciting ride with my words and paragraphs-but I also greatly enjoy that dopamine rush I get whenever I see a review after a chapter has been posted, the stroke to the ego, the acknowledgement that my efforts were looked at and someone took pleasure in them, the idea that I pushed on cyberspace by uploading well-researched, time-consuming, mentally straining work...and cyberspace pushed back.

Unfortunately, things have gotten to a point now where in my opinion, the amount of effort I put into fics simply jusisn't the paltry amount of responses I get...literally often just one or two per chapter. And as a person with a very sharp intellect, a high I.Q., yes, I'll admit that I most appreciate reviews which go into some detail about the chapter. They act as a sort of substitute for the intelligent conversations that I so love to have with others, but frustratingly, don't often get the chance to partake in in my current living circumstances. I don't want to come across as snobbish, mind you. Just a simple complete sentence about what a reader did/didn't like about a chapter-or even if it was worth their time-already counts as a treasure in itself to me.

And speaking of time...

Writing fanfiction, and the quest for new praises in the review box, soon became an addiction for me when I first began. And, as addictions so often do, it has taken a lot of precious time and energy out of my life that I really should've been spending doing other, more immediate things. In four months, I will be turning thirty-three, the same age as Henry Wu, and the thought is making me have a third-life crisis...mostly having to do with the fact that I HAVE NO FUCKING LIFE AT ALL! And this damn site has played no small part in bringing me down that road. Only lately have I been snapping out of it. Turns out, I can enjoy the company of actual people sharing my breathing space just as well as those of people in my cyberspace. I can also have equally mentally satisfying and stimulating conversations with my fellow human beings face-to-face, in the same room, as I can over PMs and through reviews.

I don't know if it's too late for me to have a complete, fulfilling life like so many of my classmates and family members are living. But I do know I won't have my own place to call home, a wife of my own, a job I enjoy, if I keep pissing my time away writing fics for this site. I've got to cut it loose. Just like with any harmful addiction.

Last but certainly not least, when I began writing stories for this site, besides enjoying the experience of playing with characters from works of fiction I deeply like and getting reviews for my troubles...well, I also did it to educate my readers. This was particularly true when it came to the joys of science, and of the magnificent, sometimes savage, but always awesome and NEVER boring natural world and its creatures that were such a huge part of my life growing up in a semi-rural Minnesota home in the mid and late 1980's. I thought I'd make a difference somehow, do my part to halt a horrific, heartbreaking "extinction spasm," that our planet hasn't seen for 65 million years, keep the glass from tipping irreversibly over.

What an utter fucking idiot I was to believe that. I don't think I need to comment too much on the ghastly symbolism of how the modern avatar of our sick, fucked-up, omnicidal civilization seems to be a zombie. A zombie, for Christ's sake! And believe me, it's fitting. We're all the living dead, folks. Many just don't know/won't accept it yet. That's not hyperbole either. And if any baby boomers are reading this...your generation owes mine, and every living thing on this earth that you were supposed to hold in trust for your descendants a gigantic apology. And even then, don't you dare trick yourself into thinking that will EVER be enough.

Switching tack here, I'm truly sorry to be saying goodbye to all my followers, fans, and yes, even some friends I've made on this site. Once more, I want to assure everyone that I'm by no means washing my hands of this site completely, and will keep making my presence known through reviews, PMs, and so on.

But I need to do this to move on with my long-delayed development as a functioning adult, and because the returns don't justify the labor. Keep writing for me, folks. Be seeing you around. :)

Your fellow writer, Nathan Hofstad.