novembro 28, 2018

Writing a code of conduct: A simple method

Writing a code of conduct:A simple method


» The code of conduct is one of the key components of a compliance program and, as such, should be carefully crafted.
» Writing a code of conduct may seem like a daunting task, but it can be made easier with some method behind it.
» Starting small and developing the content in iterative steps will make the process simpler.
» Deciding early on whether you want a short or a long final document will help you know when to stop.
» “No man is an island,” and no good code of conduct is written by one person.




A compliance program can only be effective if supported by real tone and actions from top management and the organization as a whole. It is also common knowledge that a risk assessment needs to be conducted before any other activity or pillar is put in place, given that those need to be designed to mitigate the identified compliance risks.

The next step is usually drafting policies and procedures, and the code of conduct is the first document that is created. A code of conduct allows the organization to have a central overview or summary document that will serve to guide all other efforts in the design and operationalization of the compliance program. It doesn’t require too much detailing of each relevant topic, allowing the organization to set out the most relevant principles to be followed by the employees before trying to detail every single policy and procedure that make up a compliance program... (click here to continue reading)


This is my fifth article on "Compliance & Ethics Professional, a publication from SCCE", and can be read at full on this link, the other articles can be read here (on what compliance can learn from other fields of study), here (on The Read Baron and Compliance) and here (on The Simplest Possible Code of Conduct).

Copyright 2018 Compliance & Ethics Professional, a publication of the Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE)


março 25, 2015

What is the REAL role of a Compliance Officer?

This is a question I have posed to myself more than once and have also discussed with fellow professionals many times over, and while the technical answer to it is quite simple and can be easily found, it is the non-technical answer that interests me the most.
To leave the easy parts of the discussion behind the technical answer to the question is that the role of a Compliance Officer is to manage and run the Compliance Program of a company, period. And running the Compliance Program encompasses ensuring that all the necessary components, or pillars, of the program are properly designed, adequately resourced, are embedded into the routine operations, have proper oversight, have the support of top management and are understood by the whole company.
It is not the role of the Compliance Officer to be the one responsible for the compliance to all applicable laws and regulations – for that responsibility is shared with all other employees, nor to be the moral, or ethical, compass of the company. Compliance is not a cult that has a leader that is to be followed just for the sake of ‘complying’ with the expected behavior. At the end of the day, the Compliance Officer cannot, and will not, ensure that everybody follow the rules, for this is a personal decision of each and every single employee in the Company and no policy, no internal control, no system by itself will change.
Well, since I started this discussion clearly stating that I am interested in the non-technical answer let’s get to it. We all know that being a [good] Compliance Officer is not a task for those who only seek a breadwinning-nine-to-five job. Look around yourself and pick the examples of good compliance colleagues that you know, or met, and you will find a common trait to all those individuals: They usually are personally engaged to their profession and are nice people.
Being a good Compliance Officer takes more than ensuring a collection of clerical business processes (the Compliance Program) is running – this could be accomplished by anyone with basic business process methodology knowledge – it takes some level of personal commitment to doing the right thing all the time, it takes a high degree of empathy, it requires that one is free of prejudice towards others, it takes learning how to accept losing small battles in order to win the war, it takes knowing that evil will always be part of human nature, it is about planning and acting for the long-term changes and not about short-term check-the-box exercises, it also takes a great deal of collaboration with all other departments of a company (for the Compliance Officer can - and should - always find simpler and better ways of doing things). Lastly it does take a lot of building trust with all other persons, because the individuals in a company have to know that they can count on and trust the Compliance Officer when difficulties arise.
Long Story Short: I believe that being a good Compliance Officer is all about helping others finding the right tools, resources and advice in order for them to make the right choices and do the right thing (and ultimately succeed in their roles).

Does it take a lot of technical knowledge on the Compliance Officer’s side to do it well? Yes, it does.
Does it suffice to have technical knowledge? No, it doesn’t.
Do you have to be a lawyer, or an engineer, or any other specific type of professional? No, it doesn’t. As I usually say to my audience during a compliance officer formation course I co-teach: “It takes only having working brain cells to be a Compliance Officer, for it is mostly the exercise of good logic.”
To wrap it up: a good Compliance Officer is someone willing to help others!
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Original Post at Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-real-role-compliance-officer-alexandre-da-cunha-serpa-ccep-cfe
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The picture above is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

setembro 11, 2013

The Illusion of Control

chance
chance is the ruler of all
we all love to think we are in control
we all love to think our decisions actually matter
newsflash! they dont matter
how many good, smart, capable people have made good choices but are not in a good situation?
how many lame, stupid, useless people have made lousy choices and are in a good situation?
the illusion of control....
we all live in "a brave new world", only with broader/ overlapping casts 
alphas ranging from alpha to gamma, but a cast nonetheless
ah! the great examples: Jobs, Gates.... 
outliers!!! statistically expected cases
no great decision would have made Jobs the Jobs we all know had he not been given to adoption
no great Gates would exist if he had been born a few years before or after
control? an illusion
chance! a fact.... a sequential never ending combination of facts
simply chaos and the butterfly effect in action
and we still pat ourselves on the back
and think so highly of our decisions
silly us
silly self centered us

junho 11, 2013

Um Ciclo Que Se Fecha

Ele ficou lá. Sentado, com os olhos marejados e um olhar cansado. Como pedira a todos os outros presentes, restava agora apenas ele naquele campo verdejante. Essa era a última coisa que ele poderia fazer por ela. Esperar e ver o último grão de terra ser despejado em sua sepultura. Não havia nenhuma ilusão em sua mente, ele sabia não haver uma vida após a morte e que ela já não mais existia. Mas ele fazia aquilo para ele mesmo. Para sua própria paz ficou ele ali sentado por horas a fio. A única coisa que passava por sua mente eram as lembranças daqueles últimos dois meses.

Estavam eles no meio do oceano Pacífico, em seu veleiro, como por muitas vezes já o haviam feito. A tempestade se aproximava, mas a eles não preocupava, pois não seria sua primeira tempestade. Fizeram todos os arranjos necessários; prenderam todos os itens soltos; baixaram e amarraram todas as velas e fecharam todas as escotilhas. A tempestade chegou como chegam todas as tempestades. Vento, chuva, raios, trovões. Mas em um piscar de olhos o que era uma tempestade havia se transformado em um furacão e tudo em seu mundo começou a ser destruído. Sua única lembrança clara se refere a seu reconhecimento, e aceitação, de que aqueles seriam seus momentos finais caso não tomasse alguma ação imediata.  Ele tomou a decisão de que precisavam sair do veleiro se quisessem sobreviver. E assim o fizeram. Vestiram seus trajes de sobrevivência, carregaram o bote salva-vidas com os kits de primeiros socorros e de sobrevivência e conseguiram sair do barco antes que esse se partisse e se encaminhasse ao fundo do oceano. Ele nunca entendeu como conseguiram sobreviver a um furacão com ventos e ondas fortes o suficiente para rachar o casco do seu veleiro. Mas eles sobreviveram.

Eles não conseguiam se lembrar como foi que caíram e se afastaram de seu bote salva-vidas. Tampouco conseguiam precisar quantas horas havia ficado a deriva na água turbulenta. A eles parecia que havia se passado, ao menos, um dia inteiro. Acabaram por chegar a uma praia em uma pequena ilha que se erguia solitária no meio do vasto oceano. Para qualquer lado que se olhava nada podia ser visto no horizonte. Sabiam que estavam vivos graças a seus trajes de sobrevivência, que os havia protegido da hipotermia e do afogamento. Ele havia machucado seu ombro esquerdo, que doía demasiadamente, e ela tinha um joelho torcido.

Após três dias vasculhando a ilha, acabaram por perceber que tinham tido sorte, pois a ilha não era dos piores locais para se estar perdido. Havia água limpa e muitas frutas conhecidas. Também puderam encontrar uma caverna que fornecia um abrigo adequado da chuva e do vento. Porém, o que lhes causava preocupação era o tempo que demoraria para serem resgatados – se o fossem – pois não haviam tido tempo para enviar nenhum sinal de emergência antes de abandonarem o veleiro. O que os tranquilizava é saber que seu filho iniciaria uma busca no dia seguinte após não receber a comunicação diária que mantinha com eles. Essa certeza permitiu que, mesmo em uma situação difícil como aquela, pudessem se manter tranquilos e até desfrutarem um pouco do tempo que tinham sozinhos. Mas para não correrem riscos desnecessários, garantiram que haveria sinais fartos de sua presença naquela ilha preparando fogueiras e grandes sinais de S.O.S. nas areias da ilha.

Mas o destino não lhes foi o mais gentil. Em uma tarde, ao voltar do riacho de onde coletavam água fresca – e que não ficava a mais de cinco minutos de distância – a encontrou caída na areia. Ele correu o mais rapidamente que pôde em direção a ela e pôde perceber que ela estava sofrendo uma reação alérgica grave. Ela ainda conseguiu olhá-lo nos olhos, sorrir e apertar sua mão antes de desmaiar e, alguns minutos depois, deixar a vida se esvair de seu corpo. Ele não podia acreditar naquilo que se passou. Ela não tinha nenhuma alergia conhecida. E ele não conseguia deixar de pensar no fato de que se estivessem em seu barco, ou em sua casa, ela ainda estaria viva. Por treze horas ele ficou sentado com ela em seus braços. Por treze horas ele chorou. Por treze horas ele praguejou e amaldiçoou o mundo. Por treze horas ele sentiu toda a sua impotência. Por treze horas ele não conseguiu pensar em nada que não fosse o buraco em seu coração. Após treze horas ele se levantou e começou a cavar uma sepultura para sua companheira.

E o destino novamente o traiu. Ao se levantar ele pôde ver um bote se aproximar da costa e os três homens a bordo se aproximarem dele. Em algum momento os homens lhe explicaram que haviam lido sobre o desaparecimento de um casal em alto mar e ao avistarem as bandeiras laranjas que tremulavam naquela praia – os trajes de sobrevivência haviam sido convertidos em bandeiras laranja que foram distribuídas por toda a praia – decidiram verificar. Mas nada disso importava. Sua primeira reação ao ver aqueles homens não foi a reação de uma pessoa normal. Ele não acenou, ele não sorriu, ele não correu em direção a seus salvadores. A única coisa que ele pôde fazer foi retornar em direção ao corpo de sua amada, toma-lo em seus braços e caminhar lentamente em direção à linha d’água. Ele nunca conseguiu explicar o que sentiu naquele momento. Mas era um sentimento mais doloroso que aquele que ele havia sentido treze horas antes. Como poderia ser possível ela morrer apenas horas antes de serem resgatados? Após 58 dias em uma ilha isolada. Tudo aquilo tinha que ser apenas um pesadelo. Mas ele, infelizmente, sabia que tudo aquilo era realidade. Uma realidade dolorosa e triste.

Ele decidiu que já era hora de deixar o cemitério e voltar para sua casa. Não havia nenhuma razão para que ele ali ficasse. Ela ali não estava. Ela não estava em lugar nenhum. Ela não mais existia.

Ao chegar a sua casa ele já havia tomado a decisão. Ele não tinha dúvidas de que possuía razões mais do que suficientes para cometer o suicídio. Afinal, ele perdera dois amores em sua vida. Há vinte anos sua esposa morrera durante o parto e ele, por muitos anos, criou seu filho sozinho até encontrar aquela que seria seu novo amor. E agora esse novo amor também partira. Mas seu filho ainda precisava de sua presença. Seu filho ainda era seu filho, a única pessoa viva que ele amava. Então sua decisão foi de que iria esperar até o dia em que seu ciclo de ‘pai e filho’ se encerrasse. Ele esperaria, não importando quanta dor tivesse que suportar, até seu filho se tornar um pai.

Seis anos, dois meses e três dias se passaram e lá estava ele, segurando seu neto em seus braços. O menino olhava para seu rosto e sorria. Sorria um sorriso que era o mais belo sorriso que ele já havia visto. Não era apenas beleza estética que ele via naquele sorriso, ele via também a beleza da liberdade, pois ele não precisaria esperar nem mais um dia para acabar com uma vida de sofrimentos.

Ao chegar em sua casa, separou dezenas de seus antidepressivos e ansiolíticos, colocou-os ao lado de sua cama e começou a redigir a carta de suicídio para seu filho ....

“Meu filho, meu único amor, me desculpe.

Sei que não é uma atitude corajosa acabar com a própria vida, mas entenda que eu já sofri o bastante e por mais tempo do que eu gostaria. Perder os amores de minha vida, sendo impotente para ajudá-las enquanto elas morriam em meus braços é muito doloroso para eu suportar.
Por duas vezes eu lutei para me recuperar e já estou muito cansado de toda a depressão, dos pesadelos, das doses mais e mais altas de medicamentos e da dor em meu coração. Estou cansado. Apenas isso. Cansado.

Você sempre foi a única razão para eu continuar vivendo. E agora sinto que eu posso partir. Você agora tem seu próprio filho. Você é um pai e não precisa mais de mim. O ciclo se encerrou e agora posso descansar. Novamente, me desculpe.

Saiba que você é a pessoa que mais amei durante toda a minha vida. Você foi a razão para eu me manter vivo. Por você eu passaria por tudo isso novamente.

Nada nesse mundo me deu mais felicidade e prazer do que ser seu pai, e por isso parto com o sentimento de que minha vida valeu a pena mesmo com toda a dor que vivi.

A única coisa que tenho certeza após todos esses anos é que eu realmente te amo. Eu sempre te amei.
Adeus filho!”

Seu filho terminou de ler a carta sem perceber o rio de lágrimas que escorria por seu rosto. Tudo que ele pôde fazer foi voltar seu olhar para cima e perguntar, “Mas pai, eu não entendo. Você está aqui e me trouxe essa carta. Por que?”


“Eu te explico meu filho. Após escrevê-la e lê-la por incontáveis vezes, apenas uma certeza eu tive. A certeza de que se tudo o que eu havia escrito fosse verdade, eu realmente te amo. E se essa é a única certeza que tenho, então não há alternativa a não ser jogar todas aquelas pílulas no lixo e me certificar que estarei aqui para amá-lo a cada segundo da minha vida, até que chegue o dia em que ela acabe naturalmente.”


junho 06, 2013

The [new] beginning


“Elana we need that jump clearance NOW,” shouted Anthony, the commanding officer for the evacuation flight. “There is no time to waste. According to the last predictions the invaders will be swarming upon Earth in no time.”

“I know Tony, Earth air traffic control has just cleared us for the jump,” replied Elana, the navigation officer.

“What are we waiting then? Lock the wormhole coordinates and let’s get the hell outta here,” grinned Tony.
“Aye aye skip…..”

“What the hell was that Elana?” shouted Tony after a tremendous shock wave travelled through the hull of the ship.

“I don’t know Tony. Seems like we were shot.”

“Damn it. They are here. Let’s jump NOW, before we become stardust.”

“JUMPING ….”

With that said the transportation vessel prefix 3D3N of the Global Research Development Network – GRDN for short - initiated its one-second-long trip through the cautiously-calculated and artificially-produced wormhole which would take them to the Sirius-system mining colony, which was safely away from Earth - for Earth was being attacked by a humanoid race that just three days earlier was totally unknown to humans.

“What is going on Elana?” asked Tony when he realized the jump was taking a little longer than anticipated.

“I don’t know Tony. It seems that - and I hope I am wrong about it - we are off course.”

“But that is impossible Elana.”

“Yes and no Tony. Once we enter the wormhole it is indeed impossible for us to be off course. But if something interferes with its generation before we initiate the jump, then it is indeed possible the wormhole was not correctly generated and we end up in the wrong destination!”

“Damn.”

“Ok, calm down Tony. We are just out of it. Let’s try and figure out where we are.”

“What now?” asked Tony after the entire ship started to shake uncontrollably.

“I know as much as you Tony. Look, it is the environmental condition alarm of the cargo compartment. It indicates total loss of pressure, which might be the result of a hole generated by the shot we took before jumping,” noted Elana after recognizing some alarm indicators blinking on the control dashboard.

“But that means …..”

“Yes Tony. That means all of them are dead. There is nothing we can do now. Let’s try and find somewhere to land this ship before we are also dead.”

Both knew that they had failed miserably in their mission. A failure that was not to be taken lightly, for they had received one of the most important missions of their life.

Once Earth military command had realized that the recently discovered alien race was not willing to make friends with the human race there was only one course of action to be taken – complete evacuation of all relevant human assets from Earth. Tony and Elana were one out of fifty flight crews that were assembled to be piloting the GRDN vessels away from the attack. Each crew was chosen amongst the best military pilots on Earth, and they were also brilliant scientists themselves. But when compared to their ‘cargo’, they were mere average lab assistants, for each of the fifty ‘cargos’ were comprised of two-hundred of the top scientists, doctors and artists of Earth. Each of the evacuees were chosen by the Earth’s government for they were the only hope that mankind would be able to survive the annihilation that would follow the three-day-warning received from the humanoids.

Most importantly, and potentially tragic, is the fact that GRDN-3D3N was the first ship in the departing queue. And if the first ship was hit by the attack, which, apparently, started minutes before the deadline, Tony and Elana could only imagine that the other ships didn’t have a better destiny luck than theirs.

“Look Tony, we have a planet ahead of us. Let’s land there and see what it is. We don’t have time to assess options now,” spoke Elana with her finger pointing to a round Earth-like planet to the starboard of the ship.

“You are right. Let’s land before this whole piece of junk falls apart. Setting up manual landing program.”

“Analyzing atmosphere for the reentry path calculation,” responded Elana in a very professional manner, until she changed her look and just noted, “Weird!”

“What Elana? Don’t gimme more bad news just now!”

“Not at all Tony. This is far from bad news. In fact the atmosphere of this planet is too similar to Earth’s own atmosphere on composition and density.”

“How come Elana? We have mapped over ten thousands planets outside of our solar system and none come close to resembling Earth’s atmosphere,” reminded Tony.

“I know Tony, That is the reason for the use of the word ‘weird’,” sarcastically replied Elana. “But now is not the time to wonder about this, let’s land this thing,” complemented her while plotting the reentry descending path.

Reentry was smooth and they had enough time to find a suitable landing spot. They chose a long and wide beach surrounded by plains filled with vegetation and close to a river delta. They did not comment on the fact that there was abundant water on the planet, for they had more important things to think about, but that fact did not pass unnoticed to either of them.

“Engine is off Elana. Let’s suit up, leave the cabin and check the ship conditions.”

“Wait a minute Tony. I don’t think we need to suit up at all.”

“Why not?”

“Again Tony, the atmosphere is way too close to Earth’s. Even more, I dare say it is exactly the same as Earth’s. And to make things weirder, take a look at the G-gauge,” ordered a very surprised Elana.

“No way!”

“Way!”

“It just can not be Elana.”

“Well, it is just what the gauge is showing. I am not making anything up.”

“I know. But that is not possible. Too many coincidences are never ‘coincidences’.”

“Well, it is always possible that the blast we took did some damage to our ship’s instruments,” noted Elana, “I say we do suit up, go out there and check the atmosphere with the portable instruments, for they would not have been affected by the blast. And we can also try some walking and jumping around ourselves so we can gauge by ourselves if this 1G reading is accurate. What do you say?”

“I don’t have a better idea myself. Let’s get moving. Take the blasters just in case.”

And so they suited up on their environmental independent gear, took their manual instruments and blasters and headed to the outside of the ship.

The first thing they noticed when stepping out of the ship was the gigantic hole that was cut through the cargo compartment and the remaining frozen dead bodies inside of it. They both made a mental note they had to get rid of those bodies as soon as they figured out where they were and how safe it was.

Their portable instruments readings agreed fully with the ship’s instruments’ and they got rid of the cumbersome gear. Also, there was not the slightest doubt they were on a 1G environment too, since walking, moving, jumping and all other physical movements were as natural as if they were on Earth.

For some one hour they were silent, looking intently at their surroundings, experimenting the touch and feel of every little grain of sand, small plant, the water … everything felt so familiar that they couldn’t understand what had happened. After the quiet hour passed they realized it was getting dark and they needed to go back to the ship to spend the night in a safe place. A night they had no clue as to how long it would last.

Tony and Elana were acquaintances from the military compound but they had never really talked to each other for longer than two minutes and knew very little of each other. So, that first part of the night was spent on a friendly conversation among two people who would really need to become closer if they wanted to find out what had happened to them.

Anthony David Matthews was a 35 year-old pilot, born up north and had a degree on physics. He had always wanted to fly space ships and that was the first thing he learned in his life. Once he was of age, 16, he joined the military school and chose physics as his minor so to make sure he would be able to be in the forefront of spaceship development when he got too old to fly the ships himself.

Elana Winter Eckhart was born East in what had once been known as Europe. She was 10 years younger than Tony and was a geologist and a first class navigator. Her reasons for joining the military were less related to the military life itself, and more related to the possibilities she would have of travelling a lot and getting to know many different places without any cost. At least that is what she had thought, for the military life was a lot harder than she had anticipated. But she was a strong woman and made sure she would not complain.

Both were very beautiful specimens of the humankind and for whatever reasons they chose not to get married and have kids, as it was the norm for all those who were of age – 20 year-old to be more precise. They had chosen the bachelor life, which could have its downsides, as being always the ones that didn’t have kids to boast about, or those who didn’t get invited to most of the social gatherings – for those were boring family reunions in most cases, but the upsides of the bachelor living style always seemed to be way too good to disregard – they actually couldn’t understand why the vast majority of people would give up the travelling, the studying and the freedom to choose his or her own place to live (married couples would not be allowed to move to different cities for that would remove the population balances). In any manner, they were young and beautiful and brave, which allowed them to rest that night as If they were in their own quarters on Earth.

Next dawn brought with it a new pieces of information that would only add to their already puzzled faces. First they realized the night had lasted about twelve hours, then they noticed the sun was moving apparently from East to West, which made them go back to their survival kits and grab their compasses. They were only half surprised when they realized the magnetic orientation of this planet’s magnetic field was similar to Earth’s.

“Elana, is it only me or this planet does look exactly like Earth?”

“Well Tony, I am asking myself this very question for the last hours. But I have checked all communication channels and I get nothing on the radio. So, it is possible, yet unlikely, that we just happened to find a planet that is a copy of Earth somewhere out in space. But I believe we have something a little more important and urgent to do just now. Those corpses will start to rotten too quickly under this sun. We need to do something about them as soon as possible.”

“I know. And I have been thinking about it, for we need to make sure we both remove them from here and also salvage as much as possible of the ship for our use,” replied Tony while grabbing the toolboxes from the ship’s maintenance bay.

“What do you propose Tony?”

“Well, first of all I don’t think it is viable for us to carry those 150 plus corpses around. Since the ship is still functioning I believe we could do the following: first we blast a hole into the sand with our plasma cannons, then we remove the center panels part of the lower hull of the cargo bay, fly the ship atop the hole and we dump the corpses into the hole. What do you say?”

“Sounds like a smart idea. But what if we attract attentions from whoever is the owner of this planet?”

“Good point. I had not thought about it. You are right!” recognized Tony, “but at the same time, we cannot afford getting rid of the whole cargo compartment. It can be used as shelter I we need.”

“True indeed! So, I think we better get going with digging and pushing corpses manually then,” grinned Elana, “and double time soldier, we have no time to waste!”

So they spent the next two days digging and burying corpses while keeping an eye on the horizon, on the communication instruments and on the movements and sounds from the vegetation line. They barely noticed anything other than some bird-like creatures flying high on the sky. They were lucky also for there were plenty of supplies – food and water - to last for weeks.

“Done! This was the last of the poor souls,” said Tony while sitting on a sand mount with his whole body covered on sweat, “what now Elana?”

“I say we rest Tony. It seems this is a reasonably safe place and we are drained. We won’t achieve anything if we don’t allow our bodies and minds to rest a bit before thinking about next steps.”

“Agree.”

Then they slept for the next thirteen hours and were awakened by a huge tropical storm that crashed down upon the ship.

“Tony, we do need to try and find out where we are. We cannot stay put waiting for anything to happen.”

“True. We need to get back the control over this situation. What do you suggest we do?”

“Well, first of all I would like to test the environment in more details. Like checking the water, the plants, some of those insects and all else we could put our hands to,” spoke a very serious Elana.

“Seems adequate. On my side I would really love to fly a bit and look around. None of the radars has picked up anything that appeared too large or to be moving, so I believe we are in a reasonably safe place and we can risk flying a bit to gather some more information. What do you think?”

“I think it is reasonable. And if need be, we do have the ships weapons still in good shape. Also, the reactor is intact and will provide us with power for a veeeery long time.”

“So, let’s get to it right now.”

They spent the next two weeks like two very focused scientists, making observations, annotations, discussing possibilities, scenarios and theories. Every single piece of information they collected led them to that unbelievable discovery.

“Elana, I don’t think we can avoid it anymore. We have to accept it and live with it,” said Tony while looking to the horizon and holding his knees by the bonfire, “it is the only explanation and it makes complete sense.”

“I know Tony, but how is it possible? We had everything properly mapped!”

“You said that yourself Elana, once we enter the wormhole we will never be off-course, but if anything goes wrong with the wormhole generation before we get inside of it, we are doomed to be ‘god-knows-where’, and we have checked the navigation system and we both agree it is damaged beyond repair.”

“I KNOW TONY! I KNOW!” cried Elana, “but this is too surreal to be acceptable. An error in the generation of the wormhole could send us to one of the infinite possibilities of space-time coordinates, and we would always be able to go back right away in case we ended up in the wrong place or time, if only our navigation system was intact. But it is statistically impossible for us to have ended up exactly back on Earth. I mean, back on 50,000-year-ago-Earth. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!”

“Elana, it is as possible as any other destination, and you know it!”

“I KNOW I KNOW. I JUST CAN’T BELIEVE WE ARE STUCK HERE. Forever …” said Elana while falling into an uncontrollable sobbing.

Tony knew better than trying to argument statistics or any other scientific principle with her at that moment. She was desperate. He was desperate. They knew they were stuck there. Forever. Doomed to be alone on a 50,000 years younger Earth. He hold her in his arms and there they spent their next night, tightly holding each other. No words were spoken. No ideas were conceived. There they stood, realizing they were to be alone in a very unfamiliar Earth.

Days passed. Weeks passed. Months passed and they were now accepting their situation of hostages on an unknown place. They filled their days with studying their environment and building what one could name as a ‘villa’.

Time went by and they started to be more and more certain that they were alone. Their reconnaissance flights took them thousands of miles from their original landing point – which they chose as ‘home’ – just to show them that apart from insects, mammals, small reptiles and birds, they were the only other living animals around.

Their villa became a very beautiful place. One could even assume they were living on a Tropical Island Resort, for they were able to build really beautiful and useful housing, furniture and other minor luxury and comfort items, for they had both the knowledge and the tools to help them. Food and water was no problem and with their survival kits, and their cutting edge (future Earth’s) medicines and healing devices, they were fairly safe on the health side too.

After some one year they had already ‘finished’ their villa and they chose to build a very opulent main gate to it – they could not explain why they had built fences and gates when they felt safer than they had ever felt in their lives, but that seems to be a human thing to feel safer when one is surrounded by strongholds.  They finished the main gate about the same week they found out Elana was pregnant. For it comes as no surprise to anyone that two good looking humans alone in a tropical paradise will end up in love. ESPECIALLY when those are the only two humans around.

The gate was beautifully crafted out of wood and held atop of it one of the side panels of their ship, where the prefix of the ship was beautifully painted in large grey lettering “GRDN-3D3N”.

To make the occasion even more important, Tony surprised Elana and gifted her a very beautiful crib he crafted out of palm leaves – which he learned to woven pretty well during the past year -- to which he added two wooden panels, one to which side, both portraying a beautifully carved heart. In one of the hearts he left a space to add the baby boy’s name – once they agreed on it, for he wanted to name the boy Abel while Elana insisted on Cain – inside the other heart he carved his and Elana’s initials like any teenage couple in love would do on Earth:

ADM
&
EWE









setembro 24, 2012

The Closing of a Cycle


The closing of a cycle

He sat there with weary eyes and a sullen face. He was the last person in that field and had asked everybody else to leave him there alone. That was the last thing he could do for her, wait and see the last grain of dirty be placed on top of her grave. He knew she was already gone, that there was no afterlife and whatever he was doing; he was doing it for himself. But sitting there and remembering those crazy last two months was all he could do.

They were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on their sailboat, as many times before. The storm would come but they knew what to do for it would not be their first storm. So they setup everything as it should be, stored all lose items, lowered all sails, closed all hatches. The storm came as any storm would wind, rain, thunderbolts, noise but quickly enough it progressed into a hurricane and everything started to collapse. His only memories were acknowledging the fact that that seemed to be their last storm and trying to make sure they would be able to leave the boat with enough to survive the storm. So they did, they got their protective suits, the first aid kit and the survival kit and were able to leave the boat before it capsized and sank - to this day he still can't believe they had been able to survive a hurricane with winds and waves that were able to crack his boat hull, but they did.

How many hours they spent in the water they he didn’t know, but it seemed like thirty hours or more. He couldn't remember how was it that they had lost their raft and everything inside it. Eventually they washed ashore in a small island, an island standing alone in the ocean, nothing to be seen for miles. They were alive for their suits were able to keep them from drowning and suffering hypothermia. He had hurt his left shoulder and that ached a lot. She had a swollen knee.

The island was not a bad place as they found out after the first three days. There was plenty of fresh water and fruits available and they could find shelter in a shallow cave that was well protected from the rain and wind. But they were concerned with how long it would take for them to be rescued for they had not been able to send an emergency signal before everything happened. But they knew that his son would start to look for them the next day after missing their routine communication and it allowed them to be tranquil and they took the wait as a little vacation break. Of course they made sure they could be found with some fire, smoke and visual signals.

But fate is not an easy fellow. On one afternoon as he returned from the creek with some fresh water, which had taken him only four minutes to fetch, he found her laying on the ground with the clear signals of a severe allergic reaction. He ran as fast as he could towards her and got to her while she was still alive. She was still able to look him in the eyes and hold his hands before she passed out and eventually died. He couldn't believe it, for she had no known allergies, and also for he knew that if they were in their home, or even in their boat, she would still be alive. He sat there holding her in his arms for the next thirteen hours. For thirteen hours he cried. For thirteen hours he cursed life. For thirteen hours he felt impotent. For thirteen hours he couldn't think of anything else than the hole in his heart. Eventually he got to his feet and started to dig a grave for her.

And fate again played with him. A raft came to the shore of the island and three men came to him. He eventually learned they had read about the disappearing of the couple and when they saw the orange suits hanging as flags on the makeshift poles on the beach they thought they should take a look. But that he only was able to understand some days later, for his initial reaction to seeing his rescue party was not that of normal people. He didn't wave his arms, he didn't smile, and he didn't run towards the men. All he could do was to go back to her body, take her in his arms and walk as slowly as he could towards the ocean. He couldn't explain what he felt on that moment, but it was a feeling that was worse than the one he had felt thirteen hours before. How could it be that she died hours before they were rescued? After 58 days in an isolated island. That had to be a bad nightmare. But he, unfortunately, knew it was not. That was a sad and wicked reality.

He decided it was time to leave the cemetery and go back home, there was no reason for him to stay there, she was not there, she was nowhere, and she was no more.

Eventually he got home and the decision was made, he had all reason to suicide for he had lost two loves already. Twenty years ago his wife died during labor and he raised his son alone for many years until he found his new love. And now that love was also gone. Both died in his arms and he couldn’t cope with that pain again. But he would not suicide, not right away. His son still needed him; his son was still his son, the only living person he loved. So his decision was he would only suicide when that father-son cycle was over. He would wait, no matter how much pain he would have to bear, until his son became a father himself.

Six years, two months and three days were gone and he was there, holding his grandson in his arms, the little boy looked at him and smiled, and that smile was the most beautiful smile he had ever seen. Not only beautiful, but also freeing, he didn’t have to wait a day longer; his suffering would end tonight.

He got home, separated all his antidepressants and anxiety pills, placed them by his bed and started to write a suicide letter to his son.....

“My son, my only love, I am sorry.
I know it is not a brave action to take your own life, but you have to understand that I have suffered enough. Losing the loves of your life, watching them die in your arms, being unable to help is too much for a person to bear.

I have fought through it twice and am tired of all the depression, the nightmares, the increasing doses of drugs, the pain in the heart. I am just too tired. You were the only reason for me to continue, and now I feel I can move on. You are a father yourself and you don’t need me anymore. The cycle is closed and I can now rest.

Again, I am sorry.

Know you are the one person I loved most during my life, you were the reason I kept going. I would do it all over again if it were for you. There is nothing is this world that gave me more joy, happiness and the feeling that life was worth all the pain that comes with it.

The one thing I know for sure after all these year is that I truly love you, have always loved.

Goodbye son!”

His son finished the letter and didn’t even noticed the river of tears that were flowing in his face at the moment, all he could do was to look up and ask, “But father, I don’t understand, you are here, you brought me your suicide note. Why?”

“I will tell you why my son. After I wrote it and read it all over again, there was only one thing I knew for sure, and that thing is that the letter was true, I LOVE YOU. And it being true I couldn’t do anything other than throwing all those pills in the trash and making sure I will love you every second of my life until the day comes that I die naturally.”

julho 25, 2012

My first book

Dear reader,

I am just proud to announce the publishing of my very first book "CAELUM - Computer Aided Eternal Life Ultimate Machine", a sci-fi short story which tells the story of how the recurring dreams of a boy may prevent the end of mankind on a technology controlled world. When eternal life is sought by mankind the results might be too dangerous.  

It is available on Amazon for 1.99$, to check the English version of the book click here
See the cover below....
_______________________________________________________

Cara leitora,

Fico feliz em anunciar a publicação de meu primeiro livro  "CAELUM - Computer Aided Eternal Life Ultimate Machine", uma estória de ficação científica que conta como os sonhos recorrentes de um menino podem ajudar a salvar a humanidade da destruição em um mundo controlado pela tecnologia. Quando se busca pela vida eterna os resultados podem ser desastrosos.

O livro está disponível na Amazon por US$1,99 e para dar uma olhada na versão em português do livro basta clicar aqui.
Veja a capa abaixo....