Scene 43: Int Rundown, Part 2

After another long day of MEST work at the Celebrity Center, Amory sits, exhausted, on the bus back to HCO with her watch. She spent the last ten hours installing ductwork again, and since she is not with Adam, she did it without any help. She has not eaten anything other than cold rice and beans for weeks now, and the effects are showing.

Previously On:

Daisy recruits Riley for an ally.

Last Lines: As Daisy descends the stairs back down to the street, she quells her growing frustration with the Amory situation. There are more unknown variables than she is comfortable with, but she tries to have confidence in the fact that Riley and Adam will help further the cause of The Church.

After another long day of MEST work at the Celebrity Center, Amory sits, exhausted, on the bus back to HCO with her watch. She spent the last ten hours installing ductwork again, and since she is not with Adam, she did it without any help. She has not eaten anything other than cold rice and beans for weeks now, and the effects are showing. Her jeans would fall right off if she weren’t wearing a belt to keep the sagging fabric cinched to her waist. Her muscles are so sore that she strains at every step, and her energy level is low, making it hard to concentrate on things. Her headaches grow more intense each day.

Once they arrive at HCO, Amory automatically walks towards the cafeteria, but her watch stops her, telling her that she is scheduled for auditing this evening.

“Really?” she asks. “More tech?” The thought makes her shudder. The sooner she convinces the top brass she’s mentally stable, the sooner she can route out. But the last thing Amory wants to do is sit in a small room with Daisy and go through past traumas. She is worried that her exhaustion will impair her ability to think clearly, and that she will reveal her true intentions in desperation to get a floating needle.

After waiting in line outside the auditing rooms for about ten minutes, Amory is called into session. Daisy gives her a concerned look and says, “Are you okay? You look terrible.”

“Thanks,” she says, feeling the sting of the insult. She musters every ounce of her strength to retain her composure and fires back through a smile, “I actually feel pretty good. I’ve never felt stronger in my life.” She smiles.

Daisy is undeterred. She shuffles through her paperwork, a reminder of her position of power. “Well, let’s get this over with,” she says. “I don’t want to keep you here all night.”

The initial questions begin. Daisy asks, “Are you hungry? …”

The needle does not read.

“Good. Are you tired? …”

Daisy’s expression remains unchanged. She continues, “Good. Have you had an ARC break?”

Amory sits motionless through the questions. She is relieved that she can begin the session and advance one step closer to routing out.

Then, the real commands begin: “Recall a time when you were put in something.” The needle jumps across the chart. This was the same question that read last time. Daisy asks, “There! There! What were you thinking about just now?” Daisy is animated, her talent as an auditor shining through.

Amory’s upper lip curls and she throws a groan of disgust at Daisy’s enthusiasm. Amory would not expect otherwise, but witnessing the extent of The Church’s reach makes her sick. “Well, let’s see,” she says. She leans in closer to Daisy, her posture confrontational. “I was thinking about when my mom put me in day care.”

Daisy pushes further. “Okay, let’s go through that whole thing and examine it in detail. Remember that the tech can help you deal with that trauma.”

“Right.” Amory rolls her eyes to the ceiling and folds her arms across her chest.

Daisy knows the story—she was with her at day care. But protocol requires Daisy to force Amory to relive the trauma until there is no emotional reaction. Daisy presses Amory further, commanding, “Recall for me the exact time, place and event. Where were you, who was there?”

Amory takes a deep breath, and counts to five before exhaling. She has thought about this moment often. Before the ethics program, she walked past the day care center daily. The building is used for storage now, but the same chain-link fence covered in blue tarp is still there. As soon as thoughts about the past boiled up, she immediately tried to suppress them. It was the last thing she wanted to think about. And now Daisy is forcing her to bring those feelings into the present. Amory takes a second deep breath and begins, “Well, I was in Hollywood with my mom and my sister Riley. My mom pulled up to this building we had never been to before. Then, she left us there.” At the mention of her family, Amory diverts her eyes to the ceiling.

Daisy smiles and continues, “That must have been hard. I see there’s a lot you’re still hanging on to.”

Daisy’s words provide the ammunition Amory needs to complete the session. She puts her reactive mind aside and focuses on the facts of the event. She continues, “Yeah, she left us with our new guardian, and he was nice, but mostly the nannies watched us. I was three years old and Riley was five, so it was 1980. It was summer because I remember it being really hot.” Amory uncrosses her arms and sits back comfortably in the chair. She is in familiar territory.

“The heat stands out?” Daisy asks, surprised Amory would remember such a detail.

“Yeah, I guess because the room felt really stuffy. I liked our guardian. He was nice. Later, when the other kids were mean to me or Riley, we would run to his office and hide under his desk. He never cared if we did that.” Amory trails on, lost in childhood images that she can never fully neutralize.

“Yeah, I remember Miles. You two were lucky to have him as your guardian,” Daisy says. “Your needle’s not floating. Was there an earlier, similar situation where you had a break in reality?” Her question is piercing, reminding Amory to be careful.

Amory can’t leave until her needle is floating. But she begins to feel indifferent about the e-meter and the marker that dances across the screen.

Amory closes her eyes, giving herself a moment to think. She doesn’t know what to do anymore. She’s starting to wonder if having relationships with her family and friends is worth the effort. She feels so tired. Her head rocks in a small circle, like a baby soothing itself.

She opens her eyes and sees where she is. She can’t muster up the strength to just walk out, so she says, “Yeah, you know, in 1860 … I was an assistant for a magician, and you know what … he locked me in a box as part of a trick. He started to saw the box in half. He wasn’t supposed to cut me, but the trick went really wrong. He ended up cutting me in half and I died.”

“So, you were put in a box?” Daisy is skeptical. She believes in past life experiences, of course, but she has also used the strategy of making up stories to end sessions. When she sees Amory’s eyes look up and to the right, she thinks Amory is lying, and she will not let her succeed in deceiving The Church. Daisy persists, “Describe the moment in detail.”

Amory continues, “Yeah … just my head, hands and feet were sticking out of it.”

Daisy doesn’t care what the needle says, so she doesn’t even look. She won’t let Amory win that easily. She says, “Your needle’s not floating. Was there an earlier, similar situation you were put in something?”

Amory feels stronger. She begins to have fun with her charade. “Let me think … yeah, in 1580 I was locked in the Tower of London.”

“What did you do?”

Maybe Daisy does believe her—Amory can no longer tell. She is too wrapped up in her own story. She remembers a book she read once years ago and says, “Let me see … I was the wrong religion. There was a big revolution, and I was a Catholic who was loyal to the old king. So they locked me up in the Tower. They didn’t give me anything to eat, so I starved to death. It was a horrible way to go.”

“Your needle’s not floating. Was there an earlier, similar time you were put in something?” For Daisy, the truth is the tech, the process that controls everything. Good and bad is not rigidly defined—the only thing that matters is the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics. She follows the exact process detailed in LRH’s directive and won’t allow herself to make any mistakes. Daisy will make Amory lie to discover the truth.

The session goes on for hours. Daisy keeps her there through the night, determined to take the tech as far as it will go. She goes through all of the commands, following up with even the slightest reading.

“Your needle’s not floating. Was there an earlier, similar time?” Her words echo in Amory’s ears, like a constant refrain that will never cease. “Your needle’s not floating. Was there an earlier, similar time?”

She makes Amory spin stories for hours. Amory is so delirious by the end that her words have turned to gibberish.

“Your needle’s not floating. Was there an earlier, similar time?”

Amory’s body slouches in her chair, and it takes every ounce of her strength to remain upright. But Daisy looks as if she could keep going for days.

“Your needle’s not floating. Was there an earlier, similar time?”

As the sun begins to ascend the horizon, Daisy says, “Thank you, your needle is floating.” With that, Daisy stands up and leaves the room without another word.

Scenes from the Next:

Amory meets a new stranger.

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 8: New Home

Once inside, they were greeted warmly by a woman who sat behind a small desk across from the front door as if she were guarding it. Only, the young blonde with a smile plastered across her face looked nothing like a security force.

Once inside, they were greeted warmly by a woman who sat behind a small desk across from the front door as if she were guarding it. Only, the young blonde with a smile plastered across her face looked nothing like a security force. The carpet crept up from the flood and covered the benches lining the walls. Small windows were positioned just under the ceiling, making the space feel even tinier than it actually was. The air inside was artificially cold, despite the summer heat outside.

Upon hearing the cheery voice of the receptionist, Amory’s mother contorted her face into a smile, collected her breath, and molded her back into an upright position. With a positive intonation, she told the young woman that they were there to see Miles.

Amory quickly forgot the incident on the sidewalk and buried herself in her mother’s skirt, a desperate attempt to hide from whatever was happening. She peeked out from the folds of cloth when she heard heavy footsteps in the hallway.

Within moments, she saw Miles enter the lobby. He was very tall and thin, and had a blond mustache that curled into perfect circles at the end. Amory had never seen a man who looked like this before, and when she heard his British accent he seemed even more exotic. “Why look at these two little angels,” he said as he kneeled in front of the girls. All Amory could see was his smile which stretched across his entire head and seemed to distort his facial features. “Welcome to the day care! We are very excited to have you. I’m sure you will make lots of new friends! If you’re really good, one day you will be just like your Mommy.”

Even after Riley reached out and shook his hand, Amory would not release her grasp on her mother’s skirt.

The two adults left Amory and Riley in the lobby, alone, as they retreated to Miles’ office to discuss grown-up issues. Their mother instructed them to wait for her on the bench.

A wave of panic flooded Amory’s body. Riley sat down on the bench and waited for her mother as ordered. Amory stood motionless for a moment before her face pained in sadness, her eyes flooded with tears, and she took a deep breath only to release a long and sustained scream that echoed through the hallway Miles and her mother disappeared down. Her mother did not turn back, but fixed her gaze straight ahead, unaffected by her daughter’s cries.

When their mother returned about fifteen minutes later, she grabbed both of the girls in her arms and kissed them on their foreheads. She collected herself and chose the perfect tone to deliver the news to the girls. “I may not see you two for a while,” she said. “I have important work to do clearing the planet. Work you girls will do someday soon. Miles is your new guardian. He is a very good person and will take good care of you. Remember that your father and I love you. We are very proud of you.” She kissed each girl again. “I’m going to leave now.”

She stood up and walked out of the door.

Amory reached toward her mother, her signal that she wanted to be held and comforted. When her mother did not satisfy her demand, she screamed, “But Mommy! I wanna go with you!”

The front door slammed shut.

The barricade stopped just short of Amory’s fingertips as she continued to reach unsuccessfully for her mother. “Mommy! Don’t leave me!” Amory yelled as she pounded on the cold metal.

Amory raced to the window and pressed her face to the glass as her cries echoed around the room and tears rolled down her cheeks. With her eyes fixed on the road, she watched her mother drive away. She studied the car, trying to remember where it went so she could retrace her steps one day and go back home. But the car turned a corner and disappeared from sight.

Miles clapped his hands to get the girls’ attention and distract them from what had just happened. “Come on Amory, I want to introduce you to all your new friends.” He needed to get the girls adjusted to their new home as quickly as possible, no use dwelling on negative thoughts.

Amory stood starring out the window onto an empty street. Miles tried to grab her hand, but she recoiled in fear of the stranger. He persisted, knowing that the girls were now his responsibility. He said, “Come on angel, we have important work to do. Let’s show you around your new home.”

Again, he tried to pull her away from the window, but Amory protested with complete silence and resistance. She was too confused to do anything else. Her mother was her anchor, the one person who had consistently cared for her. She had never been away from her mother for more than a couple hours. Now, she said she was leaving, and Amory could not comprehend what that meant. She sat frozen, staring at the road.

Noticing her sister and wanting to help, Riley walked up to her, and said, “Don’t worry. Mom will be back. She’s not going to leave us. Let’s go see what this place is like. It may be really fun.”

Amory did not hear her sister and would not leave the bench where her mother told her to wait. She was too fearful to leave the lobby—scared of this foreign place, scared of these strange new people, scared that her mother would not find her if she left. Amory watched as her sister followed Miles down the dark hallway to their bedroom.

When they disappeared from sight, she turned her head back to the road, searching for their mother’s car. Her eyes grew heavy from crying, but she resisted the urge to close them with all of her remaining energy.

A while later, Riley returned to the lobby to check on Amory. She was in exactly the same place. “I set up our room.” Riley tried to get her attention. “Do you want to see your new bed? I gave you the good one, by the window.”

Amory looked at her sister, refusing to acknowledge what Riley already knew. “I don’t need a bed,” Amory said meekly. “Mom is going to come back and get us. She didn’t leave us.”

Riley didn’t know what to say. Somehow, she understood that Amory was wrong, that their mother was not coming back, but she could not make those thoughts real by voicing them out loud. She sat down next to Amory and encircled her in her arms, her best attempt at comforting her little sister.

After about five minutes, Riley wandered off to explore their new home. Amory drew her legs close to her chest, protecting herself from the cold.

By dinner, Amory’s little body was curled in a ball on the bench when Miles came to check on her. She was still staring out the window waiting for her mother’s car to return. He sat down next to her and with concern in his voice said, “Honey, you can’t just sit in the lobby and cry all day.”

Amory looked up, rubbing her eyes. She wanted to be good and obey Miles as her mother instructed so that she would return for them. But she was too exhausted from defeat to leave her current place.

After blankly staring at him for a moment, she stood up and walked to the hallway, just outside the lobby. She sat down and wrapped her arms around the front of her legs, buried her face in her knees, and began to cry again. “I want my mommy!” she shouted.

The nannies and other adults passed the scared little girl, and even though they practically tripped over her in the narrow space, none of them said anything or tried to help her. She sat there motionless for hours, refusing to accept the reality of what happened earlier.

Finally, at around eleven o’clock that night, Miles returned to check on her. She had fallen asleep. He picked her up, carried her to the room she shared with Riley, and laid her down on her cot. The cot that was now her bed.

 

Scene 7: Los Angeles

Amory and Riley sat quietly in the backseat as the rusted yellow station wagon pulled to the curb and the brakes screeched to a halt. Their mother killed the engine, and the car released a long groan of exhaustion. “Okay girls, we’re here,” she exclaimed through a thick smile.

Before

Amory and Riley sat quietly in the backseat as the rusted yellow station wagon pulled to the curb and the brakes screeched to a halt. Their mother killed the engine, and the car released a long groan of exhaustion. “Okay girls, we’re here,” she exclaimed through a thick smile.

Amory heaved a sigh of relief. They had been traveling all day, and the three year old hated these kinds of journeys. First the airplane ride from Florida to Los Angeles, and then the drive from the airport to Hollywood.

Amory stared out the window the entire way, noticing everything pass by in a blur. White, puffy clouds and limitless sky melted into street after street of buildings faded by the sun and cracked by time. The car sped through stoplights and around corners while Amory tried to focus on anything familiar. But she found nothing. The road just seemed to stretch forever forward, towards infinity, a collage of images that flooded her impressionable mind. All she saw was a road crowded with honking cars and people speeding down the street and buildings that grew taller and taller the further they drove, a road she would not travel down again for many years.

Once the car was still, Amory saw that just beyond the sidewalk was a chain link fence covered with a royal blue tarp, which achieved the desired effect of completely blocking the view of the Scientology day care center hidden inside. Amory’s imagination conjured the worst.

“Now remember girls,” her mother snapped her back to reality, “You chose this life. You were born my daughters for a reason. We have already been living together for many lifetimes. And we will continue to live together always. You chose this life, and you can leave whenever you want.” She climbed out of the car and quickly slammed the door shut.

“But Mommy!” Amory shouted. “I don’t want to get out of the car!” Her face scrunched up in agony as if she had just sucked all the juice out of a lemon.

Her mother opened her door and helped her unbuckle the seat belt, the touch a reassuring stroke that everything would be okay. “Come on now. We’ve been waiting for this a long time.”

Following her mother’s lead, Amory tried to slide off the seat, but her sweaty skin was glued to the cracked vinyl. As she peeled herself from the car, a loud ripping sound confronted her ears.

Through a crack in the blue tarp, she saw a building that looked like an impenetrable fortress. Weeds lined the short walkway, and the concrete looked hard and dark and cold to the young girl.

A pulse of fear shot through her body. Images from her story books—of wicked girls being locked in towers guarded by dragons, of dark castles hidden in forests, of wolves—flooded her young mind. She froze in her tracks.

Amory’s mother grabbed her hand and tried to pull her forward, but the small arm went limp and became unresponsive to the insistent tug. Trying to convince Amory to move, her mother told her, “You’re really going to like it here. You are going to learn so much, and you are going to become such good people. You are the luckiest little girls. And just remember, you can leave whenever you want.”

But the words did not reassure the frightened child. “But Mommy!” she protested, “I don’t want to go in there!” Amory sat down on the curb, facing away from the building, and folded her arms across her chest in defiance.

Her mother was undeterred. Frustrated with attempts at rationalization, she grabbed Amory by the hand and dragged her like a rag doll up the five concrete steps to the front door. Riley, Amory’s five-year-old sister, jogged dutifully behind, not wanting to further upset their mother. She opened the solid metal door and held it ajar with her body. Riley ran inside.

Amory was unable to cross the threshold of the building. Still holding the small hand, her mother tried to pull her in. Amory wrestled free from her grip and grabbed each side of the door frame with her fingers, an expanse that seemed much greater than her arms could reach but somehow they did. “I don’t want to!” she screamed. “You can’t make me!”

As her mother peeled Amory’s fingers from the wall, she whispered in her ear, in a voice more terrifying than a building could ever be, “You will do as I say and you will not embarrass me in front of these people.”

With tears running down her cheeks and her chest heaving with sobs, Amory surrendered to the authority of her mother, who carried her into the building.