Scene 20: Billion Year Contract

Amory and Daisy joined the rest of the students and the teachers in the lobby. They boarded the school bus and drove the couple blocks to the Cadet Org. Amory had never been allowed inside the building before and was excited to see where her sister had been living for the past two years.

Previously on:

Amory and Daisy prepare for the graduation ceremony and are given their new Cadet uniforms.

Last lines: “As she studied her picture in the mirror, her friend Daisy came up and stood next to her. The girls tried to decide if they liked the uniforms or not. Before they could, the teacher called them back to the rest of the class.”

 

Amory and Daisy joined the rest of the students and the teachers in the lobby. They boarded the school bus and drove the couple blocks to the Cadet Org. Amory had never been allowed inside the building before and was excited to see where her sister had been living for the past two years.

As the bus slowed to a stop, the teacher stood up and announced, “Okay children. Today is very important. And guess what? Your parents are going to be there to see you!”

With that announcement, the children became restless. They rarely saw their parents. Some looked out the windows, others started clapping their hands and screaming with joy as only children do. Two girls in the back started chanting in union, “My Mommy’s coming! My Mommy’s coming!”

The children saw adults filing into the building, and they stumbled over each other trying to get closer to the windows on the sidewalk side of the bus. Amory looked everywhere, but she didn’t see her mom and dad.

“There’s my mom!” Daisy shouted and pointed towards the door. “Where’s your mom?” she asked Amory.

Amory searched the crowed with fixed determination but saw no one familiar. She said, sadness oozing from her voice, “I don’t see her yet. She’s probably inside with my dad and sister.”

The teacher tried, again, to summon the attention of the children, shouting, “Okay boys and girls. We’re here. What I want you to do now is find your buddy. We are going to walk into the building in a straight line, next to your buddy, like we have been practicing in class. Does everyone understand?”

“Yes Sir!” the children answered in perfect unison.

The teacher smiled at their obedience and continued, “Now, everyone else is already in there—your parents, the Sea Org members, and the other cadets. They are all waiting for us. This is your big entrance, so be sure to walk in just like we practiced.”

The children searched for their buddies and locked hands before getting off the bus. Amory found her buddy. Daisy was happy that she saw her parents. Amory hoped she would see hers. They knew something important was about to happen, just not exactly what.

The children filed off the bus and the teacher herded them into a line, commanding, “Now reach your arm in front of you. You should just touch the back of the person in front of you with your fingertips. When I count to three, we are going to start walking down to the graduation. ONE … TWO … THREE!”

Amory held on to Daisy’s hand, the only familiar thing she could latch on to. The children had a difficult time walking in straight lines. The teacher expected this—after all, they were only five years old—so she stood next to the line, pulling wandering children back in place.

The teacher knew that she was being judged by how well the children behaved, so she desperately tried to make the children as presentable as she possibly could. And walking in a straight line was a strong indicator of obedience.

But the children were children. Amory and Daisy were so focused on holding hands that they forgot to pay attention to the kids in front of them and started veering off to the right. As they walked past the teacher, she grabbed Amory’s arm and pulled her back to the left before correcting the girls behind them, corralling them into the building.

As they entered the door, the children saw that the vast room was filled with people. Their parents were waving, some of the Sea Org members were looking at them in admiration, the older cadets were standing at attention. Everyone smiled ear to ear, pride beaming from their faces. That was who the graduation was really for—everyone except the children.

Daisy found her parents in the audience. When they saw their little girl, they waved excitedly to get her attention. She waved back, a bit embarrassed at the fuss they made.

Amory looked for her parents but still didn’t see them. Her head hung low for a moment. She then looked in the cadet section for her sister. When she saw Riley’s face smiling at her, she held her head high and smiled.

The children walked up the middle isle and filed into the empty rows of chairs at the front of the room.

The commanding office of the Cadet Org led the ceremony. He walked to the podium and welcomed everyone in the audience. He then gave a special greeting to the new cadets.

Amory had never been to a ceremony like this before, especially one for her. She watched the commanding officer’s lips move, but she could not understand the words he was saying. It was almost as if she were in a trance. There was so much clapping and moving, so many unfamiliar faces looking at her that she grew overwhelmed to the point of apathy.

Daisy leaned over to her friend and asked, “What’s he saying?”

“I don’t know,” Amory whispered, keeping her voice quiet so they would not get in trouble.

Daisy whispered back, “I don’t know either.”

“What are we supposed to do?”

“I don’t know. Nothing I guess.”

Suddenly, the children in the first row sprang to their feet. The teacher stood in the isle, directing them up to the podium.

Amory was in the second row, so she knew that her turn was next. She studied what the other children were doing so that when her turn came she would know what to do.

Once the children got to the podium, they climbed up on a step stool and wrote their name on a piece of paper. Then, as they walked away, the commanding officer gave them a piece of paper rolled and tied with a ribbon. Another teacher stood at the isle, directing the children back to their seats once they had their certificates. The children obediently followed the commands, walking up to the podium, signing the document, and returning to their seats.

Amory grew more confident once she saw what was happening. She was very good at writing her name, so she wasn’t nervous.

The children in her row followed the procession. As each child in front of her signed the paper, Amory shuffled one step closer. Daisy, who was now behind her, began poking Amory in the back. Amory turned around to swat her arm away while Daisy quietly giggled.

The teacher saw the interaction and put another boy in between the two girls, not wanting to look bad in front of all the Church members. And she had to keep the line moving. There were still many children who needed to sign the contract.

Finally, it was Amory’s turn. She carefully climbed up the stepstool and cradled the large pen in her tiny hand. The border of the page the children were signing was decorated as an antique scroll, making it look like an official document from long ago. Sea horses, Amory’s favorite animal, adorned each side of the page. She immediately liked it, whatever it was. There were some words at the top, words she did not understand, and then blank lines for the children to sign.

If Amory could have read, she would have seen that the paper said:

 

Sea Organization

Religious Commitment

I DO HEARBY AGREE to the religious commitment of membership in the Sea Organization, and dedicate myself to the goal shared by Sea Org members, which is to bring about spiritual freedom of all beings through the application of LRH’s technology.

Being of sound mind, I do fully realize and agree to abide by the purpose shared by Sea Org members which is to get ETHICS IN on this PLANET AND THE UNIVERSE and fully and without reservation, subscribe to Sea Org discipline, mores, and conditions and pledge to abide by them.

THEREFORE, I COMMIT MYSELF TO THE SEA ORGANIZATION FOR THE NEXT BILLION YEARS.

 

The lines underneath the text were filled with her classmates’ signatures. She found the first blank line, about a quarter of the way down the page. She put the tip of the pen to the page and began carefully crafting each letter. A-M-O

The teacher interrupted her and whispered, “Come on Amory, all of your classmates must sign too.”

She felt rushed and flustered all of a sudden, the eyes of the entire audience staring at her back and waiting for her to finish. She couldn’t regain her concentration, so she scratched out the last two letters. R-Y.

The teacher took her hand and dragged her off the podium.

She tried to resist her teacher’s pull, straining her neck back towards the paper, trying to quietly protest. But it was too late. It didn’t matter what she wanted. Before she had time to mutter a single word, the commanding officer handed her a rolled piece of paper tied with a ribbon and ushered her off the stage.

She followed the other children back to their row and took her seat. She had grown bored with the graduation and was ready to go play.

Daisy sat down beside her and asked, “When is this over?”

“I don’t know,” Amory huffed. “I want to go play.”

“Me too.” The two girls sat with their arms folded across their chests.

Once all of the new cadets had signed the paper, the commanding officer began to speak again. Amory had a hard time concentrating because Daisy kept pinching her in the arm. He looked directly at the new cadets and announced: “This contract symbolizes your commitment to The Church, which each of you already made many years ago. Each of you is now, officially, a cadet of the Sea Org.”

His words, somehow, seemed familiar to Amory. They were not the exact words her mother used, but it seemed like she had heard them before. She just couldn’t remember where or when.

“May you carry on and begin the important work you will do on this planet! … We return!”

The audience roared into applause. First, the older children stood, and then the rest of the audience followed suit. Each child blindly followed the person in front of her, retracing the steps of her entrance. The parents were waving to their children, and Amory could not understand why their eyes were filled with tears.

She wondered why her mom and dad weren’t in the audience. She looked down at her feet and decided that she didn’t like her new black canvas shoes. She liked her old shoes better, the white ones her mother gave her.

Scenes from the Next:

Daisy reports on Amory’s sec-check to her commanding officers.

Scene 19: New Uniform

As the teacher, always one of the nannies, entered the room, she saw the typical chaos that was the day care center. The children were running around the room like wild hooligans.

Previously On:

Amory finished her sec-check and was labeled an “Enemy.” Her auditor and long-time friend Daisy turned out to have an agenda of her own.

Last lines: “In front of her, Amory sees a solitary piece of paper and pen. Someone must have read her doubt formula, listened to the sec-check, and decided she’s a known enemy of the group. At least this formula is simple. There is only one step: Find out who you really are.

She stares blankly into space and thinks to herself, That is exactly what I plan to do.”

Before

As the teacher, always one of the nannies, entered the room, she saw the typical chaos that was the day care center. The children were running around the room like wild hooligans. These were the older children of the day care, the five year olds, and most of them had been there for a few years already, much like Amory. One boy had taken off all of his clothes and was running around naked, a girl had pulled all of the books off the shelf, another boy had gotten into the finger paints and decorated his body and a wall. In other words, they were being typical children when an adult wasn’t paying attention.

The teacher ignored the chaos she had grown accustomed to and clapped her hands loudly to alert the children to her presence. She collected herself and spoke in an overly positive tone, “Okay everyone, time to sit in our circle! Listen up. I have something very important to talk to you about.”

The children slowly stopped what they were doing. She brought the aspiring finger-paint artist into the group and helped the naked boy find his pants. She pulled the girl away from the books.

Amory and her best friend Daisy joined the group, and the teacher tried to pull the kids into a shape that resembled a circle. Once everyone was seated, she continued, “Today is the special day we’ve been talking about. Today is your graduation.”

One of the children blurted out, “Sir?”

“Yes, Tommy?” she asked.

“What does grag-u-ation mean again?” he asked, trying to pronounce the unfamiliar word as best he could.

The teacher explained with strained patience, “That is a great question Tommy. Like we talked about yesterday, a graduation is when you finish one stage of something and move onto another stage. Today, all of you are graduating from being a toddler and will become a cadet! This is your next step, just like all of the children who became cadets before you.” She studied all of the children’s faces, hoping for some glimmer of recognition.

Because of her sister, Amory knew about cadets. She had been waiting for this day because she wanted to leave the day care and be with her sister again. Cadets also had jobs, and Amory was excited to get her first post. Her sister was an ethics officer, and that was the best job anyone could have. Amory could see that everyone looked up to Riley because of her position. Amory wanted to be important like that. She wanted to matter.

The teacher held up some clothing she brought with her and continued, “From now on, you are going to be wearing these uniforms here. When everyone has one, I want you to go back to your rooms and change your clothes. You need to wear these uniforms to the graduation today.”

She distributed the cadet uniforms to the children, and they all went to their rooms and changed from their civilian clothes into the dark blue shorts, black canvas shoes, white sailor hats, and light blue shirts with a large “CADET” written across the front.

Amory changed her clothes and stared at her reflection in the mirror. Even though she had seen the older children wear these uniforms, the material felt strange to her, like it didn’t really fit. She adjusted where the shorts sat on her hips, she tugged on the collar of the shirt, but no matter how much she squirmed and adjusted, she couldn’t get the clothes to feel right.

As she studied her picture in the mirror, her friend Daisy came up and stood next to her. The girls tried to decide if they liked the uniforms or not. Before they could, the teacher called them back to the rest of the class.

Scenes from the Next:

With Daisy and the other children, Amory is officially indoctrinated into the Cadet Org.

 

Scene 18: Enemy

The ethics officer enters the room to find Amory’s head resting on the table. “Time to leave,” he instructs.

She stands up slowly, thinking they are going back to her dorm.

Previously on:

Amory is exhausted by the end of her security check, during which she leans that Daisy is not her ally.

Last lines: “Amory releases the cans and carefully places them on the table. Her hands tremble even after she releases the familiar objects. She takes a deep breath and exhales everything down to the bottom pit of her stomach. She knows she’s lucky, though, and realizes she got off easy. No one screamed in her face or physically assaulted her. While it seems like it took a long time, she guesses it has only been a few hours. It could have been much worse. She feels like she has won this round, if only by a fraction.”

 

The ethics officer enters the room to find Amory’s head resting on the table. “Time to leave,” he instructs.

She stands up slowly, thinking they are going back to her dorm. She has no idea what will happen to her in the next few days, but she knows she won’t be back on post. The top brass will decide what happens. Until then, she assumes she can rest.

Her illusions are shattered when he leads her back to the same small room in which she wrote the Doubt formula. “Why are we here? I thought …”

“You need to write another conditions formula. This time the Enemy formula.”

Amory releases a gasp of horror that tastes of fear. The ethics officer leaves, and once she is alone in the room, Amory cannot hold back two tears that trickle down her cheeks. She is in uncharted territory and completely ignorant about what the eventual outcome will be. She has heard rumors of Enemies but never known one herself. She sits at the desk, unable to comprehend what is happening. In front of her, Amory sees a solitary piece of paper and pen. Someone must have read her doubt formula, listened to the sec-check, and decided she’s a known enemy of the group. At least this formula is simple. There is only one step: Find out who you really are.

She stares blankly into space and thinks to herself, That is exactly what I plan to do.

 

Scenes from the Next:

The story flashes back to Amory’s childhood, at the Day Care center, when the children were preparing for their transition from the Day Care to the Cadet Org

 

Scene 17: Security Check, Part II

The questions never seem to end. Daisy drones on and on, filling the vast emptiness of the tiny room.

Previously on:

Amory begins her security check with Daisy as her auditor. As she listens to the questions and relives past experiences, she begins to hear the prompts for what they really are.

Last lines: “Amory wonders how her life came to this, why she even took the pills in the first place. For the first time, she feels the depth of her depression, a feeling she has been denying for years. Her head throbs and her chest clenches. But instead of letting the feeling incapacitate her, she listens to the questions, to Daisy’s voice, with new ears.”

The questions never seem to end. Daisy drones on and on, filling the vast emptiness of the tiny room. “Have you ever been a mutineer? Have you ever had anything to do with pornography? Have you ever committed arson? Have you ever been a drug addict? Have you ever made anyone into a drug addict? Have you ever peddled dope? Have you ever PDH’d anyone? Have you had any dealings with stolen goods? Have you ever divulged government secrets for pay or political reasons? Do you have a police record? Have you ever raped anyone or been raped? Have you ever been involved in an abortion? Have you ever committed adultery? Have you ever committed bigamy? Have you ever practiced homosexuality? Have you ever practiced or assisted intercourse between women? Have you ever had intercourse with a member of your family? Have you ever been sexually unfaithful? Have you ever practiced sex with animals? Have you ever publicly exhibited yourself sexually? Have you ever hidden to watch sexual practices? Have you ever practiced sodomy? Have you ever consistently made a practice of sex with a member of your own sex? Have you ever slept with a member of another race or another color?”

The questions make Amory’s stomach turn. Her intense focus is beginning to drain the energy from her body. She lets her mind wander. As she listens, she wonders about LRH himself, as a man. Not the mythic figure he is in The Church, but a real person. For the first time, she has her own questions. Who was he, before Scientology existed? What was he like as a child? Based on the questions, Amory thinks he sounds like a pervert. Why all these strange questions about sex with animals? And why did he care so much about homosexuality? Why is that even bad?

Daisy’s voice is Amory’s only connection to reality. It continues, “Have you ever committed culpable homicide? Have you ever committed a justifiable crime? Have you ever bombed anything? Have you ever murdered anyone? Have you ever hidden a body? Have you ever attempted suicide? … Oh! Oh! There! What were you thinking about then?”

Amory blinks her eyes and looks up. She is listening so intently to the questions that, for a moment, she forgets what she is doing. She recalls that last questions asked, suicide. She looks Daisy square in the eyes and responds, “That’s why I’m here. I tried to kill myself by taking pills.” She wants whoever is watching them through the camera to see her confidence.

Daisy asks, a bit more softly, “When did this happen?”

For a moment, Amory thinks she hears a note of compassion in her friend’s voice. But she pushes that thought aside and discusses this question as rationally as she explained her supposed cannibalism, not a note off key. “Last night, before I went to bed.” Admitting what she did makes it feel more real. As she hears her voice, she struggles to contain the wellspring of feeling behind her words.

“Where did it happen?”

Amory thinks she hears the real Daisy, her friend who has been with her through everything. She continues, “In my apartment. Well, in the bathroom, actually. In the same building we both lived in when we were kids.” Amory imagines that she is talking to Daisy instead of the auditor sitting across from her, that she is not holding metal cans, nor that every word she says is being recorded.

“How did it happen? Recall the exact moment.”

Daisy’s voice reflects an exact adherence to the official auditor protocol. Amory closes her eyes and continues, being careful not to reveal anything that could come back to haunt her, “Well, it’s a bit foggy. I was in the bathroom and there was a bottle of pills, just left there. It was kinda weird, like they were left there just for me. Honestly, I didn’t really think about it too much. I just took them … I was tired. I needed a break.” When she opens her eyes, though, she cannot deny where they are and what is happening.

Daisy scribbles furiously with her pen. She looks up and shoots Amory a sharp look. She has no concern for her friend’s mental health or happiness. Only the greater good. Daisy continues, “Committing suicide is an egregious crime, nearly the worst. It makes The Church look bad if it becomes public news.”

Amory knows this already. She thinks about Lisa McPherson and the frenzy her death caused amongst the top brass. All she can say is, “I know.”

Daisy continues, “Then you must also know that your actions are unacceptable and must be dealt with immediately. We cannot give our critics ammunition to attack us.”

“I know.” The only response she can give is the propaganda she knows they want to hear. Unless she wants to face further punishment, she must lie to hide her personal truth. She continues, “I feel horrible about what I did, and I’m here to repent. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get my stats back up and rejoin the group.”

Daisy is satisfied that her friend knows her place and says, “As long as we’re clear on that point.” Daisy looks down at the e-meter screen and says, “Okay, your needle’s floating.” She continues crafting the record of Amory’s reality.

Daisy continues with the questions: “Have you ever kidnapped anyone? Have you ever done any illicit diamond buying? Have you ever acted as an informer? Have you ever betrayed anyone for money? Have you ever betrayed a trust? Have you ever betrayed an employer’s trust? Have you ever speculated with somebody else’s funds? Have you ever knowingly implicated an innocent person? Have you ever withheld a communication concerning a crime or misdemeanor committed by another? Have you ever threatened anyone with a firearm? Have you ever been in illegal possession of firearms? Are my questions embarrassing? Have you ever been paid for giving evidence? Have you ever acted as an informer? Have you ever injured somebody’s reputation by knowingly spreading lies? Have you ever injured somebody by spading tales you knew were true? Have you ever destroyed something belonging to someone else? Have you ever plotted to destroy a member of your family? Have you ever had a member of your family in an insane asylum? Have you ever been pronounced insane? Have you ever been a spy for an organization? Have you ever looted any place? Have you ever stolen from the armed forces? Have you ever conspired with anyone? Have you ever had anything to do with Communism or been a Communist? Have you practiced fraud? Have you ever been a newspaper reporter? Are you hiding anything? Have you ever had intercourse after placing another under alcohol or drugs? Have you ever used hypnotism to procure sex or money? Do you collect sexual objects? Have you ever ill-treated children? Have you ever practiced sex with children? Have you ever practiced masturbation? … Oh! Oh! There! What were you thinking about then?”

Amory is embarrassed, but not surprised, that the e-meter is reading on this question. “Yes. I have masturbated,” she admits.

“When?”  Daisy does not look up, keeping her eyes focused on the e-meter screen.

Discussions of masturbation, or “sexual deviance” as it is considered, are commonplace in auditing sessions. Before Amory’s suicide attempt, masturbation was the only crime she ever committed, so it repeatedly came up in auditing, her guilt giving her away. But even though Amory has explained this sin, at great length, to many different auditors, her face grows red in embarrassment. She continues, “The first time, I was thirteen.”

“Where?” Daisy asks.

“It first happened at the Ranch, but I was sent to Flag for rehabilitation after it came up in session.” The Church’s headquarters, known as Flag, is located in Clearwater, Florida. In the 1970s, The Church targeted that city for its land base. At the time, the mayor called it “the occupation of Clearwater.” Like many Sea Org members, Amory has spent time at Flag.

Daisy knows that this topic is a good way to add incriminating information to Amory’s file, so she digs for more detailed information, asking, “Were there more times?”

“Yes. Maybe five or so?” Amory fidgets in her seat and looks around the room, trying to remember the specifics of inconsequential acts that happened years ago.

“Or so?” Daisy looks up and forces Amory to make eye contact. The corners of her lips lift into a grimace.

Amory confronts Daisy with confidence to show she thinks this topic is meaninglessness. She responds, “Yes, five. But I’ve already discussed each instance many times and been through the tech.” Amory is losing patience. She is appalled by the ridiculous nature of the conversation and questions how an innocent act of masturbation when she was essentially a child relates in any way to clearing the planet. She hopes that this sec-check will end soon, before she says something she will regret. She is starting to wonder what Daisy keeps writing furiously in her notepad.

Daisy does not respond to the insinuation and continues with the questions: “Okay, your needle’s floating. Have you ever taken money for giving anyone sexual intercourse? Have you ever sexually coerced a servant? Do you have any bastards? Are you withholding anything? Have you ever had any connection with a brothel? Have you ever coerced anyone into giving you sex? Have you had anything to do with a baby farm? Have you ever killed or crippled animals for pleasure? Have you ever crippled a person? Have you ever been a spy for the police? Have you ever pretended a disability? Are you afraid of the police? Have you ever committed a misdemeanor? Have you ever committed a felony? Have you ever committed a capital offense? Have you ever done anything you are afraid the police may find out? Have you ever falsified the books in any firm you worked for? Have you ever criminally avoided taxes? Have you ever counterfeited money? Have you ever fraudulently altered or issued certificates or documents? Have you ever obtained money under false pretenses? Have you ever done anything your mother would be ashamed to find out? How could you help yourself generally? What represents yourself? How could you help your family? What represents your family? How do you feel about sex? What represents (the Org (others (a group to you? How could you help (the Org? (others? (a group? How could you help mankind? Have you ever controlled people? How do you feel about being controlled?”

As her body slouches in the chair, Amory focuses, again, on the questions. She finds it interesting that LHR could jump from helping mankind—the intention of The Church—to the questions about control so quickly. She realizes that the two topics must have been linked for him. She is finding it harder and harder to concentrate on the ludicrious questions. She knows they were not written specifically for her, but it still feels strange. She is also seeing patterns—a fascination with sex, legal issues, politics, honesty. She closes her eyes and lets Daisy’s voice lull her into a waking sleep.

Daisy’s words rattle on. “What is Communism? Do you feel Communism has some good points? Have you ever been a member of the Communist Party or any associated group? Have you ever been a member of any group with similar ideals as the Communist Party? Do you know any Communists personally? Have you ever injured Dianetics or Scientology? Have you committed any overts on a Scientology Organization? Have you wronged anyone in a Scientology Organization? Have you ever stolen anything from a Scientology Organization? Do you have anything in your possession that you shouldn’t have? Do you have any overts on L. Ron Hubbard? Have you ever had any unkind thoughts about L. Ron Hubbard? Do you have any overts on Mary Sue Hubbard? Have you done bad things to leaders in Scientology or Scientology orgs? Have you withheld anything from executives in Scientology? Have you sought to get any staff member dismissed? Have you knowingly planned not to do your job? Have you ever had any unkind thoughts about Mary Sue Hubbard? Have you ever injured any Scientologist? Have you ever had any unkind thoughts about Scientologists? Have you ever betrayed Scientology? Do you know of any secret plans against Scientology? Do you plan to steal a Scientology Organization? Have you ever taken money to injure Scientology? Do you deserve to be helped by Scientology? Have you ever used Dianetics or Scientology to force sex upon anyone? Have you ever falsified a claim for money to be repaid to you or to be paid you? Do you know of any plans to injure a Scientology Organization? Do you know of any plans to injure a Scientologist? Are you upset about this Security Check? What question in this check shouldn’t I ask you again?”

Again? NO! she thinks. It could happen. She knows of sec-checks lasting over twenty-four hours, or for eight hours a day for weeks on end. They can go on and on, asking the same questions over and over again—waiting, forcing a person to break and reveal a sin they have not even committed just to make it stop.

The weight of Amory’s own exhaustion hangs on her. It takes all of her energy to keep her fingers wrapped around the cans. She has no idea how long she has been in this room with no windows, completely isolated from the outside world. She does not know if it is day or night and can’t remember the last time she ate.

Daisy’s words are sounding indistinguishable from each other and they ramble on, echoing the incessant hum of the fluorescent lights. She asks: “Have you withheld from answering anything because it might injure someone? What unkind thoughts have you thought while I have been doing this check? Have any of your answers here been designed to injure another? Are you upset about this Security Check?”

The e-meter does not read, and the needle is floating. Daisy says, “Thank you very much. That concludes this security check.” Daisy puts the cap back on her pen and closes the folder, caressing her notes as if they are made of gold. She has put the undisputable truth of the situation down on paper. Daisy sends the final message, “Thank you Amory.”

Before she leaves the room, Daisy smiles at Amory, trying to reassure her that everything will be okay, but Amory knows that she cannot trust Daisy. That she cannot trust anyone.

And just like that, it ends.

Amory releases the cans and carefully places them on the table. Her hands tremble even after she releases the familiar objects. She takes a deep breath and exhales everything down to the bottom pit of her stomach. She knows she’s lucky, though, and realizes she got off easy. No one screamed in her face or physically assaulted her. While it seems like it took a long time, she guesses it has only been a few hours. It could have been much worse. She feels like she has won this round, if only by a fraction.

Scenes from the Next:

Amory must write another conditions formula, as she has dropped down another level of existence.

 

Scene 16: Security Check, Part I

Amory sits with her back to the door of the interrogation room when she hears footsteps behind her. Her nerves calm when she sees Daisy take the seat across from her, and she relaxes into the chair. At least she has an ally conducting her sec-check.

Amory sits with her back to the door of the interrogation room when she hears footsteps behind her. Her nerves calm when she sees Daisy take the seat across from her, and she relaxes into the chair. At least she has an ally conducting her sec-check.

Both young women feel the gaze of the camera directed at them from the top corner of the room, the watching eye they will never escape. Daisy greets her old friend with a short, “Hello.”

Amory’s eyes plead with Daisy, silently begging her old friend to show mercy through the upcoming line of questioning.

Daisy reminds Amory, “Remember that the purpose of this sec-check is to help you. We want you to remember your full commitment to The Church, and this will help you reveal all of your overts and withholds so you can get past them.” Amory knows the purpose as well as Daisy does, but her words reinforce that she is the one in control.

Daisy opens the file on Amory and reviews the copious notes she has made in preparation for this moment. While Amory was writing her conditions formula, Daisy used every minute to compile the evidence against her friend. She pulls a gilded pen out of her pocket and carefully places it on top of a blank notepad, the place for her to record Amory’s responses, which will be submitted to Amory’s Com Evs trial. Daisy scans the paperwork with detailed instructions for handling Amory. She instructs her to pick up the cans of the e-meter. Tapping her pen on the table, she says from memory:

“We are about to begin a Security Check. We are not moralists. We are able to change people. We are not here to condemn them. While we cannot guarantee you that matters revealed in this check will be held forever secret, we can promise you faithfully that no part of nor any answer you make here will be given to the police or state. No Scientologist will ever bear witness against you in Court by reason of answers to this Security Check. This Security Check is exclusively for Scientology purposes. The only way you can fail this Security Check is to refuse to take the test, to fail to answer its questions truthfully, or if you are here knowingly to injure Scientology. The only penalty attached to failure of this check is processing or our refusal to employ you or issue you a certificate, and this will only happen if we find that you trying knowingly to injure Scientology. You can pass this test by (1) agreeing to take it, (2) answering each question truthfully and (3) by not being a member of a subversive group seeking to injure Scientology.”

Amory feels claustrophobic in the tiny room. As her lungs constrict, she reminds herself to breathe. In, out. In, out. Daisy sees Amory’s labored breathing, and mouths to her quietly, “You will get through this.” Amory sees the message, and it gives her the strength to draw her breath down to the pit of her stomach and release the tension that has been building all morning.

Daisy begins with the test questions: “The first questions are null questions to determine your reaction pattern … Are you sitting on a chair? Are you on the moon? Are all cats black? Am I an ostrich? Is this Earth? Have you ever drunk water? Are you holding up a tree? Am I an elephant? Are you a table? Is this a Security Check?”

Amory tries to push her fear of the situation out of her mind as she listens to the questions. If she wants to pass the test, in a relatively short time, she can’t let her emotional reaction to anything cause the e-meter to pick up readings. She draws a breath in her lung, holds it in, and then exhales. In, out. Push the emotions out. She feels her body relax. The e-meter does not get a read for any of the initial questions. The real questions begin.

Daisy begins the litany of thinly-veiled accusations in her calmly assured tone, with which Amory is deeply familiar. “Have you ever lived or worked under an assumed name? Have you given me your right name? Are you here for a different purpose than you say? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever done any shoplifting? Have you ever forged a signature, cheque, or document? Have you ever blackmailed anybody? Have you ever been blackmailed?”

Amory has had sec-checks before, but this is the first time she is doing one because she has done something wrong. Listening to Daisy’s words, she cannot help but feel like a criminal. Each question feels like an allegation against her, even though the entire process is a fishing expedition meant to bring any demons to the surface. Logically, Amory knows that she is innocent of a crime against The Church, but she squirms in her seat as if she has something to hide, something they don’t already know about.

Daisy’s voice continues the barrage: “Have you ever cheated? Have you ever smuggled anything? Have you ever entered a country illegally? Have you ever been in prison?”

As she sits in the cold, metal chair, Amory intently focuses on Daisy’s words in order to relieve the tension in her chest. She thinks about each question, and they are starting to sound ridiculous to her. How could she have been in prison? She is nineteen and has lived her entire life in The Church. Why on earth would they ask her something like that?

Daisy continues, “Have you ever tried to act normal?” She sees a reading on the needle and exclaims: “Oh! Oh! There! What were you thinking about then?”

Amory’s eyes widen in surprise at her friend’s excitement. Her focus is snapped back to Daisy and why they are in this tiny room. She recalls her thoughts, “Well, I’m not sure if normal is exactly the word, but when I was younger, I tried to copy my friend Jazmine and she got mad at me.” Amory sighs. This is the experience she just relived in her clay demos and prompted her epiphany that she is her own person, so it is fresh in her memory, an easy question to answer. She stares at Daisy with each word, searching her friend for answers of her own.

Daisy presses, probing Amory exactly as she has been trained to do. She demands, “When was this? Recall the exact moment.”

Amory overcomes her irritation with her friend and the questions. It will be a long session if she begins fighting back now. She answers, as objectively as possible, “I was eleven years old, but I already went through this with clay demo.”

“Well, I’m still getting a reading. Where was it?” Daisy asks. The e-meter never lies, so Daisy must have Amory talk until the needle is floating.

Amory focuses on her breathing as she explains, “It was at the Cadet Org, around the corner. I can’t remember all of the details, but I was copying her, trying to be like her. I just had the correct realization the other day.” She stops short of saying the actual insight she had. She does not want it down on paper, for anyone to see the true reason for her recent poor performance at work.

Daisy asks, her eyes still trained on the needle, “Is that all of the overt?”

“Yes,” Amory says with confidence, “like I said, this engram was cleared in clay demos.”

“Okay, the needle’s floating …” Daisy scribbles notes in her folder, carefully crafting her version of the truth. She continues with her line of questioning, “Have you ever indulged in drunkenness? Have you ever done any reckless driving? Have you ever hit and run with a car?”

Amory chuckles at these questions. She has never had access to any alcohol or driven a car. As she sits silently, she searches Daisy, waiting for any indication that her former friend realizes how ridiculous the questions are. But all she sees is an expertly-trained auditor.

Daisy’s voice rattles on. Her words are like a barrage of bombs dropped from a plane high above, blanketing an entire city in order to hit a single target. “Have you ever burglared any place? Are you guilty of anything? Have you ever embezzled money? Do you have a secret you are afraid I’ll find out?” The needle jumps back and forth across the screen, and Daisy exclaims, “Oh! Oh! There! What were you thinking about then?”

Amory heart jumps wildly in her chest. This question could be her downfall. She takes a moment to consider her response. She does feel like she has a secret—that she truly is in doubt about her place in The Church.

But she can’t admit that, not now. She settles on the obvious answer, hoping it will suffice, and answers with all of the confidence she can muster, “My only secret was taking the pills, but that isn’t a secret anymore, obviously.”

Daisy does not remove her eyes from the e-meter screen and says, “Okay, your needle’s floating.” She continues the questions: “Have you ever assaulted anyone? Have you ever practiced cannibalism?” The needle reads again, and Daisy shouts, “Oh! Oh! There! What were you thinking about then?”

Amory cannot believe the e-meter is reading on such an outrageous question. “Cannibalism?” she asks, her face revealing her true reaction.

Daisy is undeterred, convinced that the sec-check process works. She asks the required follow-up question in complete seriousness, “When was it?”

Amory thinks about what she can say without sounding completely insane. She responds, “Well … I eat meat, but that’s not cannibalism.” She knows that she must go past life on this one. She tries to remember back and back in time, but nothing comes to mind.

Daisy insists, “I’m getting a reading so you must have done it.”

Amory has experience with this kind of situation. She knows it’s better to jump straight to a past life and save the time of going through multiple different lives. That’s what they want to hear. She had a friend in the RPF who was kept there for four years because she couldn’t go past life. Amory does not want that to happen to her. She would rather just make up a story, so she says, “Umh, let me think. I’m remembering something. It is 10,000 years ago, and I see large grassy plains and small huts. I am with my tribe.”

Daisy continues to press, “Recall the exact moment.”

Amory closes her eyes in an effort to transport herself to her fictitious life. She says, “Umh … everyone is gathered in the center of the village. It is some kind of ritual, but I can’t remember exactly what. Oh, there they are, the bodies of our enemies. We eat them.” She recoils in imagined disgust.

Daisy is satisfied and responds, “Okay your needle’s floating.” She writes more notes, and then continues: “Have you ever been in jail? Have you ever told lies in Court? Have you ever been Court Martialed? Have you ever deserted from a military service? Have you ever illegally prevented conscription?”

Amory does not even know what conscription means. She searches Daisy’s face for any kind of sign, but her eyes are glued to the e-meter. Amory wonders how her life came to this, why she even took the pills in the first place. For the first time, she feels the depth of her depression, a feeling she has been denying for years. Her head throbs and her chest clenches. But instead of letting the feeling incapacitate her, she listens to the questions, to Daisy’s voice, with new ears.