Scene 46: OSA

Within the hour, Lucas and Amory sit in the busy lobby of OSA, waiting to be reprimanded for their incompetence. Amory fears they will be thrown in the RPF, and she needs to avoid that outcome if she ever wants to make it out of the Sea Org.

Previously On:

Amory meets her new partner in the ethics project.

Last Lines: “I know more than you think,” he says. “I know The Church, so I know you.” Lucas sits down against the wall, protecting himself from the icy rain pelting the concrete.

Within the hour, Lucas and Amory sit in the busy lobby of OSA, waiting to be reprimanded for their incompetence. Amory fears they will be thrown in the RPF, and she needs to avoid that outcome if she ever wants to make it out of the Sea Org.

The two wait quietly, their shoulders lightly touching due to the close chairs which they cannot move. Amory situates herself against the arm rest opposite of Lucas, trying to move as far away from him as possible. Lucas rests with his head back, staring up at the ceiling, and Amory rapidly taps her foot on the ground and twists the dirty gray scarf around her arm. She has a difficult time confining herself to the small chair while anticipating the inevitable. She tries to hide her face from the people passing them, but the effort is unnecessary since no one acknowledges the downstats as they come and go from their important work.

After they wait for twenty minutes, Tracy walks out to meet them. In the middle of the crowded hallway, she shouts, “You idiots! You are both pieces of shit who can’t do anything right! I heard that you two almost burned down the Celebrity Center. If either of you so much as coughs without authorization, I’m immediately throwing you in the RPF. Now get out of my face.”

Images of Erika flash in Amory’s mind as she listens to the familiar lecture, and old feelings of guilt and shame resurface in her body. The confidence she has been building drains from her instantly, and she sinks lower into her chair.  Every eye in the room is trained on them. She clutches her upper arms with her hands and stares at the ground. Each second seems to defy physics and last hours as Tracy’s words painfully reach their target.

After Tracey leaves, Amory follows Lucas’ lead and rolls out of her chair. They obediently run of the office as quickly as they can.

Once they are outside the department and slow back down, Amory sees that, somehow, Lucas is still smiling. Confused, she asks him, “What are you so happy about? Didn’t you hear with Tracy just said?” Lucas is a complete mystery to Amory, his words and actions outside her realm of comprehension.

“Of course I heard. Everyone heard,” he says indifferently.

Amory stops. “Don’t you care?” she asks, her brow wrinkling in bewilderment. Her tone is no longer angry but curious. She is perplexed by this strange creature, like a gruesome accident she can’t help but stop and watch.

“No, I don’t,” he says with a quick wink. He grabs her shoulders from behind and gently shakes the rigidity from her body. “Maybe you should loosen up a bit. Then you wouldn’t care either.”

For the first time today, Amory smiles. “Maybe you’re right,” she says under her breath. His touch no longer disgusts her, and she welcomes the warm contact. She leans back against his hands, and the pair walks side by side back to their bus.

Scenes from the Next:

It is Sea Org Day, Amory’s favorite day of the year. But this year, things are different.

Scene 45: New Ally

About two months into her ethics program, Amory lies shivering on her cot while a fierce El Niño storm rages outside. Fifty mile-per-hour winds, barrage her window throughout the night, savagely knocking the glass and screaming with the force of the dead.

Previously On:

Amory can’t tell if she’s hallucinating or if someone is taking pictures of her.

Last Lines: She can’t tell if she is delirious or if he was really snapping pictures of her. The stress of the past months must be clouding her rationality.  Amory can’t shake the thought from her mind as she tries to steal some rest before starting the cycle all over again. If only she weren’t so tired.

About two months into her ethics program, Amory lies shivering on her cot while a fierce El Niño storm rages outside. Fifty mile-per-hour winds, barrage her window throughout the night, savagely knocking the glass and screaming with the force of the dead. Freezing rain leaks through the frame and pools on the cold concrete floor under Amory’s cot, gradually trickling up the legs and soaking the fabric. Amory struggles to cover her body with her single, threadbare blanket, but her feet stick out of the end and rely on socks filled with holes to keep them warm.

Her fingers and toes are purple when her watch pounds on the door to wake her.c

“Some storm outside!” he shouts through the closed metal.

She tries to bring life back to her frozen body by bending her knees and wiggling her fingers and toes. Once she is confident her legs will support her weight, she stands to get dressed. She pulls her jeans to her waist, but the denim folds over itself as she cinches her belt tight enough to keep it in place. Her t-shirt, now a size too large, hangs loosely on her body and disguises the strong muscles that have formed on her arms, shoulders, and back. She easily ties the dirty gray scarf to her upper left arm, expertly looing the fabric with her right hand and teeth.

Moments later she looks for Garret, her watch for the day, in the hall, but he has disappeared. She searches for him and sees him down the hall a few rooms. She’s grown accustomed to someone always being there, so the change seems odd.

He sees her looking around, and says, “You’ve got a friend now.”

“Friend?” she asks, surprised at the word.

Garrett meanders back to Amory’s room, confidently pulling his sagging pants back up to his waist. He continues, “They don’t think you’re going to try and kill yourself again, so you and Lucas will be sharing a watch from now on.”

Amory curls her upper lip at the name. Lucas is the last person she wants to spend her days with. “As long as he doesn’t get in my way,” she says, “we’ll be fine.”

The three of them ride the bus to the Celebrity Center in silence, Amory refusing to acknowledge Lucas. When they reach their destination, she speeds ahead of him, charging forth into the blustering storm.

Lucas runs to catch up to her, calling to her back, “Are you just going to ignore me all day?”

Amory keeps walking, disregarding his question. As they enter the building, she finally asks him, “Why are you here?” She knows he was a downstat months ago, but she hasn’t heard any gossip since she’s been in the ethics program.

“I’m routing out,” he says. “Can’t handle this place anymore.” He wipes the water from the lenses of his glasses, and tucks a wet, stray curl behind his ear.

Amory folds her arms across her chest and snips, “Don’t think we’re friends just because we’re sharing a watch.” She turns her back and walks away. The last person she wants to associate with is Lucas. Other than rumors, all Amory knows about him is that he’s from Denmark, his mom is a commanding officer in the Flag liaison office, and he’s in CMO like she is. She is not excited about being so close to a perpetual downstat, someone who could easily delay her progress.

At the Celebrity Center, Garret finds the foreman and checks them in. The project for the day is running electrical lines. They are installing boxes in the ceiling for overhead lighting. Amory has become pretty good at this kind of work and feels confident about her skills. Lucas walks upstairs so that he can catch the wires she feeds up to him. Amory cuts a small hole in the drywall next to the electrical outlet and fishes the line up the open cavity behind the wall. She aims straight for Lucas, whose boyish face she sees smiling down at her. He reaches down for it, but his hands keep missing the target. Amory says, “Here, let’s try this again,” trying to hide her annoyance. “I’m going to feed this right up to you. All you need to do is catch it.”

He says, “I know, I know. I’ll catch it this time. Don’t worry.” There is something calm in his demeanor. He acts as if he has all the time in the world to complete the task.

Amory is not used to working with people like this. “Ok, here goes.” She fishes the wire back up to him, this time more slowly. She wants him to see it, follow it with his eyes before he tries to grab it. “Got it?” she asks.

He reaches down, but fails. “Oh, missed again. But we were close that time. Let’s try again.”

His voice makes Amory’s skin crawl. Amory waits, impatiently tapping her foot.

Lucas stops to wipe the dirt and sweat off his glasses. When he’s finished, he says, “Maybe I can see better now.”

“Try to get it right this time,” she barks. “I don’t want to be working on this wire all day.” Under normal circumstances, Amory would need to file a knowledge report against Lucas for his behavior. He keeps making errors, thus slowing the progress of the project.

Finally, he catches the wire, and attaches it to the overhead light before descending the ladder. As his feet hit the floor, Amory and Lucas hear the crackle of heat and see sparks overhead. The electrical box erupts in blue and yellow flames that dance across the ceiling in an improvised performance of destruction and quickly run down the inside cavity of the wall, leaving a trail of black.

Amory screams, “Fire!” and Lucas freezes in place. Garrett runs to get a fire extinguisher. Everyone in the building drops what they’re doing and stares at Amory and Lucas.

“Get the foreman!” Amory shouts.

Garrett runs to the flames, extinguisher in hand. He opens the value and douses the fire in carbon dioxide. “Someone kill the circuit breaker!” He shouts, his voice shaking with anger.

Amory watches in disbelief as the chemicals smother the flames. Everything she has been building has been destroyed. She turns to Lucas and yells at him, “You did this! This is all your fault!” Before he can reply, she storms through the exit, and finds a path around the building that she walks as a track, the wind and rain howling in her face. She counts one hundred and six steps on her first lap.

As she begins her second lap, Lucas runs outside, trying to catch up to her. She ignores his pleas of “Wait! Amory, wait!” and she continues to speed around the jobsite, shielding herself from the storm with her arm.

After four laps, she stops in front of Lucas, who is sitting on a low wall next to the building exit. From a few feet away, Amory yells at him, “What have you done? We’re both screwed now!”

“This is not my fault,” Lucas responds calmly. “Everything in that building is suspect. There hasn’t been one inspection by the city, not one.”

“If you weren’t here,” Amory’s anger builds with each word, “that fire would have never happened!” Her reprimand is cut short by the foreman walking towards them, Garrett in tow.

“What the hell happened in there?” He yells at them.

Amory points at Lucas, and says defensively, “It was him. Lucas did it.”

“I don’t care which one of you did it. Both of you report immediately to OSA.” He heads back to the building, and yells over his shoulder, “And you can forget about lunch and dinner today!”

Amory’s thin hands shake. OSA is Daisy’s office, the last place she wants to be. She takes a deep breath and holds it in while closing her eyes, an act which typically calms her down. However, today, she is in no mood to be composed. She decides to let herself feel the full impact of her fury. She explodes at Lucas, “Why do you have to ruin my life? You’re a piece of shit downstat who can’t even wire an outlet! What is wrong with you?” When she is finished yelling, her hands rattle at her sides.

In a voice hardly louder than a whisper, he says, “Nothing is wrong with me.” He remains as calm as he was when the day began. “You’re the one who has no clue how to treat people. But I guess that’s not your fault,” he says with true sincerity.

Amory bristles and continues to pace around the room. She counts nineteen, twenty steps, the familiar ritual doing little to calm her rage. She does not understand what he said, even as she replays his words in her mind. Her confusion only makes her anger grow, and she shouts, a little softer this time, “You don’t know anything about me.” Amory wipes her wet hair from her eyes. Her clothes are soaked from the downpour, but she doesn’t seem to notice.

“I know more than you think,” he says. “I know The Church, so I know you.” Lucas sits down against the wall, protecting himself from the icy rain pelting the concrete.

Scenes from the Next:

Amory and Lucas receive their punishment at OSA.

Scene 31: Int Rundown

Sitting at her cubicle in OSA, Daisy taps her gilded pen on the desk. “Don’t worry, sir.” she responds. “I know how to handle this one. I’ve known Amory for a long time.”

Previously On:

The top brass review Amory’s files and determine her condition to be Out-Int.

Last Lines: Dave hurries out of the office. The senior officer picks up the phone and makes one final call to the person who will handle Amory’s case.

 

Daisy.

“The Amory Baldwin case. She must leave quickly and quietly … Out-Int … We’ll give her the Int Rundown… Just as LRH developed it … Trust in the tech … Tell her it’s so that she’s in the best possible condition before she leaves … But remember—quickly and quietly. We have orders from above that she needs to be gone, fast. We don’t want another mishap like Lisa McPherson.”

Daisy understands why the top brass are being careful. Suicide cases are problematic. They are bad publicity for The Church, and The Church does everything to avoid bad publicity. It hurts business, and they can’t have that. Fewer people buying auditing sessions, books, and lessons. Or even worse. Protesters outside the buildings drawing attention to illegal labor practices. The Church is still cleaning up the McPherson case. And that costs money—less money coming in and more money going out. And people still picket their buildings.

Sitting at her cubicle in OSA, Daisy taps her gilded pen on the desk. “Don’t worry, sir.” she responds. “I know how to handle this one. I’ve known Amory for a long time.” Daisy is happy she has been chosen as Amory’s auditor. All of those years of being in her shadow are finally over. Now Daisy has the power. She must protect The Church, even if the enemy is a loyal comrade.

The senior officer hesitates for a moment, remembering who Amory is. He knows her, her sister, and her mother of course. “Yes … she has been a productive Sea Org member for years now. See if you can get her to stay … if not quickly and quietly.” If Amory had typical stats, nothing extraordinary, she would be excommunicated immediately. But she is a top producer, so they may try and get her to stay. He will give her a second chance, if possible. If it’s in the best interest of The Church. Remove threats by any means possible, but keep those who can be re-indoctrinated.

“Yes Sir.” Daisy hangs up the phone with a newfound sense of confidence. She did Amory’s sec-check, but now she is officially her auditor and will take her through the entire Int Rundown. This will be great for her reputation if she is successful and a critical mission for the greater good. She resolves to push Amory out as quickly as possible. By any means possible. Daisy gazes out the window and surveys the valley she wishes to command.

Daisy’s cubicle springs to life. Orders from above always get people moving. This is not the time to mess up. The top brass will be watching and taking note.

Daisy opens a desk drawer and removes Amory’s file sitting right on top. Before she submitted the sec-check notes to her superior, she made a copy to keep for herself. She is happy she had the foresight to keep vital evidence against her friend. As she scans the papers, she thinks about how she can collect more documentation to build her case. She has an idea.

Daisy summons Adam, and he appears before her minutes later. “Sir?” Adam asks.

“I understand you’ve been serving as one of Amory Baldwin’s ethics officers?” Her words sound like a question although she is not asking anything.

“Yes Sir.”

Daisy tries to read Adam in order to detect anything other than complete loyalty to the cause. “I have orders from above that this case must be handled delicately, with discretion.” She cannot determine his reaction, so she continues, “You do understand what I mean, don’t you?”

He stands stoic, revealing nothing. “Of course, Sir,” he replies.

Eager to validate his loyalty, Daisy is satisfied. “Okay good,” she says. “Then I can trust that you will keep me apprised of any information I should be privy to?” She lifts her pen to her mouth and holds the tip lightly between her teeth.

“Of course, Sir,” he says, avoiding her gesture.

Daisy believes that he is on her side. She stands up and circles behind him, brushing his stiff shoulders with a light touch. Just to be sure, she whispers in his ear, “I’ll make it worth your while.”

He turns his head and looks her directly in the eyes, their lips mere centimeters apart.

Daisy saunters back to her desk, dismissing him with a curt, “That will be all.”

As he steps away, she calls to him, “And Adam. Don’t disappoint me.”

He pauses to acknowledge her thinly-veiled threat, and then returns to his post.

Once alone, Daisy returns to the file she is building on Amory and considers other possibilities. Having Amory’s ethics officer reporting to her will help, but she needs other sources as well. One name immediately pops into her head—Riley. And with Riley in the RPF, Daisy can make her an offer that will be difficult to refuse.

Scenes from the Next:

Amory resumes work at the Celebrity Center with Adam.

Scene 21: Comm Evs

The Comm Ev gives her hope in the process established by The Church. As she walks down the hallway, she forces herself to think rationally and decide on a plan of action. She will need to collect any evidence she can if justice will prevail. Those who show disloyalty, or selfish tendencies, must be punished. By any means possible.

Previously On:

Five-year-old Amory signs the billion year contract.

Last lines: “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.”

When Daisy leaves the security check dungeon, her eyes squint as they adjust to the blinding natural light. She hurries directly to her superior’s office to hand deliver her sacred notes. She knows that there is enough evidence to have Amory thrown in the RPF, and she hopes that the top brass concur with her conclusion.

Daisy finds the office of the ranking officer in OSA and knocks on her door.

“Good evening, Sir,” Daisy says as she enters. “I have the notes for Amory Baldwin’s security check.” Daisy smiles as the officer takes her notes and carefully reviews them. She stands silently at attention while her superior reads the evidence.

After a few minutes, the officer asks Daisy, “And what is your conclusion?”

“Sir, if I may speak freely?” The officer nods in the affirmative. Daisy continues, “It is clear that Amory is a liability to the group. Her loyal is in question, and she has become a suppressive person.” Her unwavering conviction to The Church runs far deeper than any personal loyalty.

“What action do you recommend?”

“I think the RPF is appropriate in this case. It will give her a chance to prove her dedication to the group.” As she waits for her commanding officer to consider the information, Daisy remembers her time at the Ranch with Amory. They were as close as friends can be, perhaps closer since neither of them had a family, other than in name. The dorms they lived in, known as the Motel, housed sixteen girls in four rooms and bathrooms.  Amory and Daisy were always in the same room. One night when the other girls were asleep, Daisy and Amory wanted to test the myth that putting someone’s finger in warm water makes her wet her bed. They chose the new girl, Jackie, as their victim. It worked, and they laughed about it for weeks.

But Daisy also remembers bitterly the jobs they had and still feels raw about it. Daisy’s post was health officer. It was her responsibility to make sure that all of the cadets took their Cal-Mag pills so that they would not get sick. She distributed them every day in little plastic cups to all of the children. It was a good post, but Amory was the commanding officer at the Ranch. Her stat was to get people to graduate into the Sea Org. Amory monitored the progress all of the cadets made in their schooling. If they were lagging behind, she had to get them to work harder. No one was surprised that Amory got that post. After all, her sister had been commanding officer before her. Amory and Riley were quite the pair—they were the pretty girls, when all the other girls seemed to be going through the early-adolescent awkward phase, who always did everything right. They never seemed to be in trouble, probably because they always followed the rules and were completely dedicated to their posts. Perfect Scientology children. And they were rewarded for it by being quickly promoted to the top posts. Obedience was always rewarded. It was no secret why they were given jobs as “enforcers.” They were good at following rules, so the logic was that they could get the others to follow the rules as well. But Daisy wanted the post of commanding officer. She was in line to get it, and she thought she would. Her stats were almost as high as Amory’s. But not quite. She was never good enough. When she heard that Amory got the post, her heart broke. Everything she worked for was shattered. Amory was CO and she was health officer, something that would always haunt her.

After minutes of contemplation, the commanding officer finally speaks up. “I’m going to recommend the ethics project for Amory.”

“Sir? There is plenty of evidence …” Daisy questions.

“That will be all,” the officer cuts her off and dismisses her. Surprisingly, the top brass has decided to show Amory mercy.

“Yes, Sir.” Daisy is shocked into silence. She has seen many people sent to the RPF for far less egregious crimes than a suicide attempt. She controls her instinct to punch the door, and instead she calmly exits the office. Daisy thought that she had finally beat Amory, that her perfect friend was shown to be incompetent and subversive. But all of her illusions are shattered with one simple phrase. She cringes as the words “ethics project” repeat in her mind.

“Oh, wait … There is one final thing,” the officer adds as Daisy is about to exit.

Daisy’s ears enliven, and she halts immediately.

“I will be convening a Comm Ev for Amory. I expect you to compile any evidence you find and present it to the group.” A Committee of Evidence, or Comm Ev, is Scientology’s equivalent of a criminal or civil trial. No jury of peers. No defense attorneys. Just the accused up against a group of superiors. She continues, “You have until the first meeting to develop your case.”

The Comm Ev gives her hope in the process established by The Church. As she walks down the hallway, she forces herself to think rationally and decide on a plan of action. She will need to collect any evidence she can if justice will prevail. Those who show disloyalty, or selfish tendencies, must be punished. By any means possible.

Scenes from the Next:

Amory is taken to her new home.

Scene 10: First Attempt

The first time Amory attempted to leave The Church was about a year after her mother dropped her off at the day care. Amory knew what her mom told her—she could leave if she wanted to.

The first time Amory attempted to leave The Church was about a year after her mother dropped her off at the day care. Amory knew what her mom told her—she could leave if she wanted to. One day, Riley and Amory decided to tell a nanny that they were going to leave and live with their grandmother. She would want them and wouldn’t abandon them. The girls found one of the nannies, and told her the truth.

The nanny didn’t understand at first. She asked them how long they wanted to be gone. When her question was met with blank faces, she finally understood. They didn’t want to be gone for an hour or a day. They wanted to leave, leave. The nanny hurried off and returned moments later with Miles.

“What’s this I hear about you girls wanting to leave?” Miles asked them, surprised by the request. Amory and Riley were always so good and did everything they were asked. What had they done wrong? Where would they go? He thought that it must be a mistake, a passing phase the girls were going through. They couldn’t really want to leave The Church. He remained calm and tried to steer the girls back to their usual, obedient, selves.

The girls responded, “Our mom told us we can go if we want. We want to go now.”

“Well, why don’t you sleep on it tonight? We can talk about this again tomorrow.” Miles led the girls back to their rooms. It was before dinnertime, but he thought it was best to leave them in their rooms, alone, tonight. He didn’t want them talking to the other children in the state that they were in. They may encourage suppressive thoughts or actions in the others, and he couldn’t have that.

 

The next morning, as the girls were finishing breakfast, Miles pulled them into his office. He told them that someone was there to talk to them.

Amory and Riley followed Miles without hesitation. His office was always a safe place for them. They were lucky that Miles was their guardian. Whenever they would tease or taunt one of the other children, they could just run into Miles’ office and hide under his desk. The other children were not allowed to do that because he wasn’t their guardian. But Amory and Riley could. They were protected from anything in there.

As soon as they were seated, the biggest man they had ever seen entered the office. He seemed to fill the entire doorway as he walked through it. “Girls, this is James,” Miles told them. “He is from OSA. He wants to speak with you for a few minutes.” With that, Miles left the room. The girls stared in awe of this enormous man as he walked around the desk and took a seat in Miles’ chair.

“We heard that you would like to leave The Church,” he said, staring at them coldly. “That’s fine. But before you do, we’re going to need you to make a list of your overts and withholds against The Church so we know why. People only want to leave when they’ve done something bad.” He looked up and saw the girls sitting in confusion. He clarified, “These are the kinds of things that would be an overt—stealing change from your parents, killing cockroaches, those kinds of things.”

Amory stared at the blank page awaiting her list. She knew that an overt meant that you did something wrong. She searched and searched her brain, trying to think of all the evil things she had done, but she was having a hard time. She always tried to be good and do what Miles and the nannies told her to do.

“I stole some change from my parents,” Amory offered.

“When?” Riley asked. “When was the last time you even saw Mom and Dad?” She had a point. The girls had not seen either of their parents since their mother left them at the day care a year ago.

“I don’t know,” Amory responded, hanging her head.

“Ok, good … thank you.” In his notes, James wrote: Stole change from parents. He asked, “What else? Did you ever kill a cockroach?”

The girls thought about all of the cockroaches that crawled around the day care. They tried to kill them all the time. They even made a game of it with the other children. Riley piped up, “Of course I’ve killed cockroaches.”

“Me too! They’re everywhere!” Amory added. “Why is that bad?” she asked.

“Ok, good. That’s two.” James added to his list. “What else?”

Amory paused, trying to think of other things, but her mind was blank. She just stared at him in confusion.

James would not accept that as an answer. He persisted, “You must have more. You want to leave. You must have done something wrong.”

The girls insisted that they hadn’t done anything else wrong. Still, he was not satisfied. “Well, you have to come up with something.”

James pushed the paper over to the girls and stood up from his chair. Amory stared down at it. Her two overts were listed, just one big mess of indistinguishable letters. She didn’t know what any of it meant.

If she wanted to go, she must have done something wrong. James kept saying that there was no other reason. She also knew that from Miles and the nannies and everyone else in her life. But she had no idea what she had done. She always tried to be good so that her mother would come back and get her. It didn’t make sense to Amory. She wanted to leave because she just didn’t like being there, away from her family. But that wasn’t acceptable. They had taken her reasons away and left her with two overts, one of which she did not even commit.

“Well? What else have you done?” He said, now hovering behind them. His massive figure cast a dark shadow over the girls and caused them to tremble.

The girls protested, but he would not listen. “Well, then, you shouldn’t want to leave,” he insisted.

The girls had no choice but to give up since they could not answer his questions. “Okay, I want to stay,” Riley submitted.

Amory followed her sister’s lead. “Yeah, I’m good now.”

“Okay, you don’t have to write anymore.” James collected the paper and left the office.