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Nathalie's picture

The iDo-30 Pact

By Nathalie in Teleport Us

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The iDo-30 Pact incident is a mandatory read if you are prepping for the Committer Entrance Exam or the Advanced Committing Squad Training. Please make sure to read and agree to the University's Rules and Policy before starting. Your DNA and iris scan will be locked to this document once you proceed reading and you will become the sole bearer of responsibility for this document’s protection.



klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon February 19, 2013 - 10:22am

To paraphrase ABBA, iDo, iDo iDo iDoooo!

You went out on a limb with making the formatting a part of the story. But boy did it pay off. Great read! Did I hear a trace of the Fact Core in iDo? 

Loved the story, Portal reference or no. 

The only part I had some difficulty with was how the housewife became a wanted criminal in the end. It would have worked equally well, I think, if she just got whisked away to some sinister involontary therapy or something. It seemed like a big step for her to make that transition, a step that might ave merited a story of its own. 

Hugely enjoyable.

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France February 19, 2013 - 10:39am

wow thanks klahol, means a lot! i was a bit terrified posting my story this morning and you're the first person I don't know to read it \o/

No reference to Fact Core I'm afraid (I don't know the reference myself :s)

Your point about Cleo becoming a wanted criminal is very interesting because in the second draft, I actually made her break down and collapse, but afterwards I came back to my first choice because I like the idea of her fighting for an ideal and what it implies about the way things evolved.

But I definitely tried to crank a lot of stuff in there, I built a lot of the universe in my head and wanted to share as much as I could. (maybe too much!)

Thanks again for taking the time to read it!

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon February 19, 2013 - 10:49am

Let me introduce the Fact Core, one of my favorite Sci-Fi character so all time. Courtesy of Aperture Science, Inc.

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France February 19, 2013 - 11:02am

awesome, love it! Thanks for sharing.(Also glad I didn't know about it before it does feel similar.)

I've had this obsession with "robotic butlers" for many years. In my head he has a british accent. 

GG_Silverman's picture
GG_Silverman from Seattle February 21, 2013 - 1:05pm

Conceptually brilliant, strong voice, enjoyable read. Thumbs up!

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France February 22, 2013 - 2:28am

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

jsejean's picture
jsejean February 21, 2013 - 8:47pm

I could nearly touch the characters and feel the emotions going on in the room. And I had a suspicious look at my Mac after the reading... tx for the ride.

Bloomingtor's picture
Bloomingtor February 22, 2013 - 4:28am

It's incredibly graphic, visual, and consistent. I think it's Victor Hugo who one said "The format is what you see when the substance comes back to the surface". And clearly, the format you chose serves the substance, and a great one by the way! That's coming from someone whose attention span is as thin as the one of a fish, and who's not into science-fiction. Write more so I can read more! Best of luck!

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France February 22, 2013 - 10:54am

Thank you so much! So glad you liked it and enjoyed the universe.

Feather Ives's picture
Feather Ives February 23, 2013 - 9:35pm

I loved it. It would be nice to see iDo/Nigel slip and be casual with Cleo before it is revealed they are a couple. Enjoyable read, Nathalie. You crossed my mind today, so I searched for your FB page and stumbled upon your post. Happy I did.

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France February 24, 2013 - 11:07am

Thanks Feather, means a lot especially coming from you! And i'm glad we get to be in touch through this occasion :)) There is a lot I have in mind and I'd like to exploit. Let's see! 

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. March 2, 2013 - 10:10am

A somewhat unconventional style, but very well written. You at once gave us reasons to feel sorry for George and to see him as the aggressor. The bit about Nigel ignoring George's aneurysm was classic, It gives the iDo a sinister bent and sets the machine up as a jealous lover.

Excellent work!

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 3, 2013 - 12:29pm

Thanks ariane, for taking the time to read and commenting! I wanted to develop the idea that both Nigel and George ended up being possessive and jealous, but couldn't in this version. (maybe for the best!)

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. March 3, 2013 - 1:09pm

I think you conveyed that idea through their actions extremely well. Why else would the machine neglect mentioning the George's condition? Why else would George modify his wife's mental health reports? I think you have the balance dead on there. About the only thing you could add is detail. ;)

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 4, 2013 - 2:58pm

That's a really good note, thanks! 

Btw i have downloaded yours more than a week ago but still hadn't had the proper time to give it the focus and time it deserves. Should get better in few days, planning to!

Anne Jacquelin's picture
Anne Jacquelin March 3, 2013 - 8:36am

Efficace, percutant, cruel et détaché à la fois...

Keep Going !


Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 3, 2013 - 12:33pm

Thanks Anne!! So glad you enjoyed it (and touched you read it) :))

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 3, 2013 - 12:33pm

Thanks Anne!! So glad you enjoyed it (and touched you read it) :))

Ethan Cooper's picture
Ethan Cooper from Longview, TX is reading The Kill Room, Heart-Shaped Box, Dr. Sleep March 6, 2013 - 5:56pm

Nice formatting! Certainly a break from the norm, but it served the story you wanted to tell--and that's the best reason to do it.

I really enjoyed this story once I slogged through pages 1-4 . I'm a sucker for tech-gone-amuck stories, and yours is a classic example. It's well done. The transcript is clearly the most engaging part of your narrative, and the story would have pretty much worked if that had been all you'd given us. That said, I appreciated everything you gave us, and I have no problems with how you chose to present the story.

Awesome work. Keep this up!


Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 7, 2013 - 12:00pm

Thanks Ethan, really appreciate the feedback and you taking the time to read it! It's interesting because I had friends not being very receptive to the transcript (I suspect because I need to really work on dialogs!!) so I'm glad to know you enjoyed it and felt it could stand alone. I have a soft spot for the first part Documents 1 but I know it's a tough read, which is why I'm very very happy when someone sticks and still enjoys it! Thanks again!

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) March 8, 2013 - 1:49am

A very different story from the rest, turning it into this kind of report was inventive and worked well.  The only issue with this transcript style is that you lose the ability to describe surroundings, but given it occurred in a static location, that's not a big problem here.  I loved the little touches - the footnotes etc. 

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 8, 2013 - 7:57am

Thanks Adam, and so glad you read the footnotes! You have a point about description, that was a hard cut to make. I could only fit the Wall Paper background in a way that didn't feel too pushy to me, but you're not the first to mention this so I guess it is missing to the story's benefit.

dufrescm's picture
dufrescm from Wisconsin is reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep March 25, 2013 - 7:43am

Nathalie - 

Wow, what a fun read! At first, I thought the "legalese" formatting would make it a dry read, but it was thoroughly engrossing. I noticed a few grammar errors, and a few places where some wording could be changed for greater impact, but nothing major. Great work!


Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 27, 2013 - 8:51am

Thanks Christa! Really glad you enjoyed it. Sorry for the mistakes, I tried to minimize the damages, but ldflkjfej they always survive!  :)) I noticed others put their work on word files so readers could put notes, maybe that's what I'll do next time. For this story, the formatting had to be exactly the way I wanted it to be. 

Thanks again for taking the time to read and leave a comment! 


Wendy Hammer's picture
Wendy Hammer from Indiana is reading One Night in Sixes March 25, 2013 - 12:17pm

This was awesome!  I loved it.  The amount of care you took is impressive.  I love the format.  It is clever, immersive, and more than just a gimmick.  It really tells me a lot about this world and this story.  You have absolutely nailed that style. My favorite details were just small things like the "links" and the titles.  Proustian Trans was brilliant. 

The story that is revealed is fun as well. I liked the character drama, but the tension and change in the world as a whole worked too. 

Can you tell I'm a fan of the story? I hope so. 

I have no real criticism beyond the small things that have been noted before, and not many of those. 

I don't know how I missed this before (aside from being scatterbrained).  I'm so glad you mentioned it in the Discussion! 


Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 27, 2013 - 8:58am

Wow, thanks Wendy! Coming from the AffirmNation's author, that's quite a compliment :)

So glad you picked on the "links" and the Proustian Trans, these are all the stuff I had a lot of fun with. (and the bibliography at the end)

Now I need to work on descriptions! 

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations April 22, 2013 - 7:33am

Hi Nathalie,

Congrats on winning a author review - and I'm also playing catchup on any I didn't get to read!

As others have noted, yours is an interesting and entertaining take especially in formatting it as educational material, but I'd crank that up a little, pepper it more with legalese, (contingent on, say instead of "should a commited couple") while also making sure the conditions "logically follow". So, for a minor example, I'd leave out :

Should a foreign DNA enter in contact with it, you will be responsible for your actions.

Which is a little confusing. Is it meant to be "Their" actions? And having already warned the user they have sole responsibility for the docs protection, does this add to that?

Similarly, I'd watch out for giving the age of the kids, because that sets the whole thing into a static moment, you tell us (usefully) they were born within the first 5 years, you could leave it at that, or give their birth years?

These are minor points, which suggest a little tightening will pay dividends. Slightly larger issues, are why this ID30 pact was "the last"? (Given it "went wrong" but went wrong 20 odd years after it started?) and why George suggests Estaban (or who he works for) has made money out of George and Cleo's Id30 pact? I feel I'm not quite getting the full dynamic. 

Also, I'd be careful with Estaban's voice. His report doesn't seem to reflect the importance of it - the fact he makes it to proove his innocence, say. It's tricky, as you don't want to release too much advance knowledge. It kind of depends on how a "live thoughts recording" works, I think. It either has to be totally in the moment, (which it isn't, when he is justifying not turning on the ID30 voice, for example, it feels like the sort of explanation that you give after the fact, to justify what was in fact a snap decision) or if not you should just make it the report he makes after the incident, perhaps with references back to basic biometrics (his defensive state). If thoughts can be machine recorded, you start to wonder why everyone doesn't have this, and it's a pretty big shift in technology!)

Overall, the use of references, further readings, and style make this a highly enjoyable piece, but to make it really sing, the body of the story could perhaps be a little firmer, a little more streamlined, as it's hard to get a true sense of empathy where you don't 100% understand how the story is being told...

Good stuff, though, and tax rates etc are a nice slight dystopia where feelings can have direct economic impact!


Adam Christopher's picture
Adam Christopher May 6, 2013 - 7:39am


Well, I loved that. It was creepy, and funny, and brilliant. The format was perfect, and with short form fiction you can really experiment with style, and here it worked well. I loved the way it started out quite serious (or at least I thought it did, with the government meddling with relationships in an extremely invasive way), and then came the twist that Cleo was in love with the software. Terrific. The use of footnotes was great, and I liked the code - the idea that Cleo is now a freedom fighter of sorts was hilarious.

In terms how how it met the challenge criteria:

1. Explore a utopian/dystopian theme - it did... in fact, it was a little of both, which I thought was pretty clever.

2. Feature a technology that's scientifically plausible - felt like it to me.

3. Feature a non-human character - absolutely, and a brilliant creation at that. Nigel!

If this story had appeared in a professional anthology, I would have been pleasantly surprised. With the unusual format and style, it is hard to judge on basic writing technique, as this is not standard prose at all, but what was there was all solid.

Excellent. Well done. I'm at a loss to make any constructive criticisms.

-- Adam