Title: Hubbard's "Mission Earth" - the rest of the story by Robert Vaughn Young
writer@eskimo.com (Robert Vaughn Young)
Date: 23 Feb 2000 00:08:01 GMT

Battlefield Earth Movie Page is HERE {120 TERRIBLE reviews - Very funny to read though}

Saturday, February 19, 2000

L. RON HUBBARD'S MISSION EARTH: the rest of the story
by Robert Vaughn Young**

A representative of Scientology's Dept. 20 has claimed on ARS that I had
nothing to do with Hubbard's last work, "Mission Earth." I tend to ignore
their blathering of these sock puppets but I really took personal umbrage
at this one! I was Hubbard's editor and sometimes-ghost writer and I
earned THAT battle ribbon! 

I was working at Author Services, Inc. (ASI) which served as Hubbard's
"literary agency" as well as his personal representative. (For example,
ASI handled all of his personal income and bank accounts. ASI was also his
secret command line into the Church of Scientology, which is another


When Hubbard's manuscript of "Mission Earth" (or "ME" as we called it)
came in to Author Services, Inc. (ASI), it arrived as one volume, typed on
legal-sized paper and on a manual. It came in a banker's box with each
chapter in a separate file folder. And not ordinary file folders. I don't
know where they got them but they were heavy, thick and dark red. It was
pure Hubbard all the way. Image at every turn, no matter how ridiculous
you look. (Look at some of his self-portraits for photos of a man full of

The manuscript came with instructions. Hubbard said it should be cut up
into three or maybe ten sections and for us to decide and suggest. Well,
ten volumes make more money than three do so naturally we said ten. Great,
he said, and more instructions followed.


I should interject here how we communicated with Hubbard. Until 1981, he
had been operating secretly from La Quinta (code name "Rifle") and Gilman
Hot Springs, both in the Southern California desert. At the time, he had
staff around him and ways to get messages into various Scientology
organizations. But in 1981, he was on the run and hiding. (We later called
it "off doing research into the human spirit.") His wife Mary Sue and 10
other executives from Dept. 20 had stipulated to a variety of felonies
including burglaries of federal offices and were sent to jail. Hubbard had
been named a co-conspirator. And to make matters worse, he was being named
in a series of lawsuits and attempts were being made to find and serve
him. So Hubbard did the only thing a "real OT" would do. He ran and hid.

When two staff fled Gilman and their story appeared in a Riverside paper
saying Hubbard had been hiding there, the cover on the base was completely
blown. (I was called in to deal with that situation. How I handled it,
converting it to Golden Era Studios, which it is today, was told in
"Quill," the journal of the Society of Professional Journalists.) That
also meant that Hubbard no longer had his command lines into the Church of
Scientology. That's why ASI was formed.


It must be remembered that Hubbard had been denying for years that he had
anything to do with the operation of the Church of Scientology. He had
almost been indicted for the illegalities. All the government and the IRS
needed was to prove was that he was basically the "managing agent" of the
Church of Scientology. Fearing this, all of his existing command lines (by
which he had been running the organization) had to be dropped and
completely new ones secretly established. That's where ASI came in. We
were his "literary agent" but more importantly, we were his new secret
conduit into the Church of Scientology. 

But he couldn't afford to just reconnect with his staff. He was in hiding
with two aides that he had fled with, Pat and Annie Broeker. Annie took
care of the "household" matters and Pat was his personal representative
back into Scientology. (There was subsequently two other staff who worked
on the ranch where he subsequently died but they had nothing to do with
the operation of the church or ASI. They handled ranch matters.)

Even with ASI, Hubbard kept his location strictly secret. Broeker was the
go-between. He carried dispatches from Hubbard at the ranch near San Luis
Obispo to the base at Gilman and back. He would call in, say he was coming
and then show up at the gate in a dark van. Sometimes he just showed up. 


That's how the manuscript came in. It was taken to Gilman and then brought
to ASI by Miscavige, along with other "traffic," as we called it. 

We were quite excited about the arrival of the book. Hubbard had been
telling us about it for awhile and a new book from Hubbard was a major

I was stunned at its size. I forget what the word count estimate was but
he said it was something like 1.2 million words and there was no reason to
doubt him. 

Writer that he was, he knew there had to be an editor for the work. ASI
found a professional sci fi writer (I forget his name right now - not
Algis) who started to read it. Meanwhile, Hubbard wanted an introduction
written for the book. The book was satire, he said, and he wanted it to be
known as that so he wanted an introduction on the subject of satire and I
was to write it. 


Choosing me wasn't that unusual. I had already ghosted two interviews for
him and he liked my style. The first was a written interview of him for
the book "Dream Makers II" and the interview in the Rocky Mountain News.
They were sent to him and he highly approved of them. In the RMN
interview, he did change one paragraph, about the writing of a novel that
I had to guess at. Otherwise, he loved it. Plus I was the one who always
wrote the greetings from him that was read at events. So I had his style
down pretty good and he liked it. 

He wanted the introduction to be "scholarly" - with a bibliography - with
the idea that it would be used and cited in schools. Okay, I figured. I
had several years of post-graduate work so I knew that style. It just had
to be blended into his style of writing. 

The research was fun. I learned a lot about satire and it was especially
challenging to write a "scholarly" piece in his style, with a few of his
characteristic bon mots. When it was finished, I sent it up and it came
back with his hearty approval but with one suggested change. He wanted a
change in the last line about enjoying this bowl of fruit, which referred
back to one of the original meanings of satire that I had put in the


Meanwhile, the prospective editor finished reading the manuscript and was
willing to take on the job but he made a fatal mistake. He wanted to know
if there were any parts Hubbard really liked so he (the editor) would make
sure they weren't cut out. Someone else naively sent the comment to
Hubbard via dispatch. We had never dealt with Hubbard in these matters but
we got a fast education. 

Hubbard went through the roof! (Can't blame him, really. That's hardly the
way to approach a writer! But approaching Hubbard that way was as deadly
as it came.) How dare anyone say that, he wrote. Get rid of the bum! And
then Hubbard went into this spiel about how his works hardly ever needed
editing. Oh, yeah, he said, there was one time when he had to add
something like (this is from memory), "'Hiss,' said the villain" at which
point the editor was happy and that was about the only time he had to be
edited so beware of anyone who says he needs editing. Gawd, I thought, I
pity the editor with THAT sort of advice! 

Meanwhile, Hubbard wasn't aware of it but I already knew quite the
contrary. I had spent considerable time reading carbon copies of his
fiction stories (most to "Astounding SF") and letters between him and the
editor. Hubbard had had a LOT of editing and even got some rejections.
That's life in the freelance world, but not in the one Hubbard wanted
people to believe. His story that his stuff was so well written that it
hardly ever (except for the "hiss") needed editing was just another of his
image-building tall tales. 

But I said nothing, not even to Miscavige. You learn quickly to not
counter Hubbard, even if you have the proof he is wrong, especially if it
is in his own words. 


And then Hubbard suggested me. He said I could do the editing instead of
that other flake and send it to him for approval. I was honored by being
so named but I was no fiction editor. I was a writer! But Hubbard had
decided to go with his personal staff. After all, we were loyal, dedicated
and followed orders. He had nearly lost control of the manuscript and now
he had it back. So I wasn't being asked. I was being told. I accepted the
honor and gulped, remembering what had happened to the last one.

When Hubbard agreed that ME should be cut up into 10 books, he said we
needed to find the best break point for each one. His only suggestion on
it was to find the best "cliff hanger" and end it there. I was to then
suggest titles for each volume. He gave an example. The start of the book
was the planning for the invasion of Earth so it might be "Planner's Plan"
or "Invader's Plan." 

Oh, gawd, I thought, I'm doomed! (Eventually, I was right. - laugh) I felt
like someone being asked to cut the Hope diamond while riding in a jeep
across the African terrain. One slip and I was dead. And after seeing his
rant about how he never needs editing and seeing the MS, I could see this
was NOT going to be easy. I would have to fight and claw and argue for
each word and given the size of the MS, this was a nightmare. 


I struggled through the manuscripts. I wasn't a sci-fi fan to begin with
and as much as I had been excited at the arrival of the book, I was soon
getting dulled by it. Coming from the man who had founded Scientology, I
had thought it might offer more insights or philosophy. After all, the man
had all this insight into the world, reality and the universe and had
cracked OT 3, so certainly it would have these wonderful moments for us to
find. But there was nothing. It was a rambling story that went on and on
and on. Oh well, I thought. Maybe I'll find them when I read it again.
Meanwhile, I made notes to remind myself of the various plots because I
needed to suggest titles.

I managed to find what I felt were good break points for the volumes. The
first volume was conveniently the largest, ending when the mission left
for Earth. The word/page count on the remaining nine was pretty similar,
although one was going to be considerably shorter than all the others. (I
think it was #4 or 5.) But I had no choice. To move the break to balance
word count would have lost a good "cliff hanger" which was his main
criteria for the breaks, to get people to buy the next book. (There's
certainly nothing wrong with that tactic, if you think about it BEFORE you
write the book.) 

His only attempt to blend or connect the ten books was writing a note that
we were to put in each one that said it was part of a series so buy the
others ones and read them first. 


Working out the titles was a bitch. Hubbard was from the old pulp school
of fiction. He liked short, terse and sometimes hack titles so there
couldn't be anything esoteric. Plus Hubbard had suggested some titles. I
picked "The Invader's Plan" and names for the others and the whole package
went back to Hubbard for approval. Since the novel was so long, I included
a little synopsis of each volume to show how the title fit. 

I was nervous as hell while waiting. I remembered the fate of the last
"editor" who had made a suggestion. I had visions of Hubbard going through
the roof again and my being sent to the RPF or back to Dept. 20 from
whence I came.  

The response came back maybe a week later. To my relief (and I think
everyone's) he was delighted with the book divisions and all of the titles
except for one that he renamed "Villany Victorious." I had to admit it was
a better title than I had suggested. It also made me think of his "hiss"
remark earlier. Hubbard had grown up in the Golden Age of Villains. 

The best part was that we were under way so I started editing. 


It was decided the best way to do it was that I would edit a photocopy of
the MS in standard blue pencil. On the back of each page - which would be
the left facing page when it was turned and faced down - there would be an
explanation of each editing change for the page on the right. These were
typed out on a word processor and then cut and pasted to the immediate
left of the blue pencil change. So if there was a suggested change at the
top of the page, it showed in blue pencil. Then the write-up was pasted
immediately to the left, explaining it. That way, Hubbard could look at
the change and look to the left and see why it was suggested.

Everything was to be explained. Everything. After all, he never needed
editing.  So even a typographical error had a strip of paper to the left
that said "Typo." If there was an inconsistency, e.g. (hypothetically), a
distance was given as 10 miles on page 75 and 100 miles on page 77, I had
to decide which was best and then make the suggested change with an
explanation for which one I selected.

Hubbard's approval of the first volume was a great relief. It also gave us
the approval of the procedure so now it was green light all the way. 


Book 2 was a bitch. It opens in the southern US and Hubbard was trying to
imitate southern accents and so the spellings of words tried to catch the
twang and drawl of a Southern accent. Not only did I not know the Southern
accent that well but also there really weren't any standard spellings. I
did my best to see if anyone had written a "dictionary of Southern drawl"
but there was none. About the only thing everyone agreed on was "y'all"
for the Southern version of "you all." Plus Hubbard's spellings were
inconsistent. Sometimes the drawl was there. Sometimes it wasn't. 

One day when Miscavige asked me how it was going, I tried to explain the
problem I was having with the Southern drawls. He was typically
unsympathetic. In his view, Hubbard knew how to write Southern drawls, so
what was my problem. When I pointed out that there were inconsistencies in
the spellings, he hit the roof. I realized it was a serious mistake. No
one points out Hubbard makes mistakes so I mumbled something about typos
and he left while I sank into the chair, trying to figure how to work this
out and survive. 

Those chapters were a mess of blue pencil but there was no way to get
around it. The text couldn't read "y'all" in one sentence by a character
and "you all" in the next or "gonna" vs. "going to." I somehow worked out
some system and submitted it. As expected, I caught hell for it. The
problem was that they were taking the hard line that Hubbard knew what he
was doing and my view was that I was the editor trying to help the writer
appear as good as possible. The two attitudes were in conflict and I found
myself trying to explain the whole business of editing. Somehow it was
worked out. I survived and the volume went up. It came back approved with
no changes. 


Somewhere along the line, ASI made some "publisher's proofs" of the first
few volumes to send out for pre-publication reviews. They were more like
raw copies in cheap binding.

We were stunned by the harsh reviews that came back. A couple of people
commented that it looked like someone had merely taking a larger work and
cut it up into smaller books, which is exactly what we had done. If you
picked up Book 2, it just picks up in the middle of the story. We hadn't
thought about how the books would look or read in this regard. The only
thing that Hubbard had said to include with each volume was a note that
read something like, "This volume is one of 10. Read the others!" which
was more of a marketing ploy than anything else. 

Of course, we didn't tell Hubbard about the bad reviews. Such things were
kept from him. Meanwhile, Miscavige was in a rage so he threw the problem
at me to solve. We can't publish the books this way, he said, so figure
out what to do. 

I was dismayed but he was right. If someone grabbed Book 7, they wouldn't
have the foggiest idea what was happening. Each book started in the middle
of the on-going story. But they were cut that way because we hadn't had
any other instructions and we weren't professional fiction editors.
(Besides, Hubbard never needed editing, except for that "hiss…") 


After giving it some thought, I had an idea. "ME" started with an intro by
a robo-translator followed by a note from the censor and then there is an
intro by the narrator who says he is in prison and he is going to tell the
story (a "confession") of how it all happened in the hopes that the
authorities are lenient.

Okay, I figured, what if we replicate these three points in each book.
What if each one started with a new note by the robo-translator, a new
denial by the censor and then a new intro by the guy in prison. Each book
would appear as if the narrator had completed his confession to that
point, sent it to the prison authorities and they said, okay, continue, so
he did. Each time he started a new volume, he would have to bring the
reader up to date as to what had happened and this would lead into the
next chapter. So let's say Book ended with Chapter 25. Book 2 would start
with Chapter 26, preceded by the new introduction, allowing the reader to
move smoothly into Chapter 26. All that would be needed would be intros
from each person, for each volume. 

Sounded great to me! All we had to do was get Hubbard to write the new


I drew up the idea and proposed it to Miscavige what we would propose to
Hubbard, He hated the idea. We're not going to tell Hubbard that ME is
incomplete and ask him to write MORE! Get another idea. 

I didn't like it but I suggested Plan B. I would do the writing and submit
them to Hubbard for his approval, as I had done for the Rocky Mtn. News
and "Dream Makers II." It means 27 new intros, 3 for each of the remaining
9 volumes, Miscavige said. Could I do different ones for the
robo-translator and censor for each one, he asked. Yes, I said. 

Miscavige was very edgy about the idea. Suggesting text-editing changes
for someone that never needed editing was dangerous enough. Now we are
into ghosting. And we all remembered the last editor. We could still smell
the allegorical stench of his head on the pike. But more bad reviews would
be worse. 


So Miscavige agreed that we'd propose it to Hubbard. The trick was how we
suggested this to Hubbard. It couldn't be critical. (Hubbard couldn't take
any criticism.)  It had to be positive. So it was put in terms of
marketing and sales, a favorite Hubbard button. 

The proposal that was made to Hubbard made it sound as if we had come up
with a great marketing plan. Plus we had to work around his little note in
the books to read the others. He had thought it would prompt people to
read the books in order, as if someone would read it and go, "Oh, okay"
and put the book down and buy Volume 1. 

But we couldn't tell him that it really wouldn't work. That would be
criticism. It would be saying, "Your buy-the-other-books idea doesn't
work." You don't say that to Hubbard. You do it by stroking him, was what
I learned. And if you put it in terms of making more money… 


My proposal to Hubbard took days to work out with Miscavige. (Nothing went
to Hubbard without his approval of every word.). Finally he said okay. 

It basically said, "Your idea of putting the note into the books is
brilliant and we will definitely make sure that is done. [That was needed
to let him know we knew about his other idea.] But [brown nose alert] your
popularity has provoked such heavy sales that [here comes a tricky part]
there is a possibility that they would be out of stock of an earlier
volume. [Now quickly cover your ass.] We will make sure that everyone is
stocked immediate but should your popularity run ahead of us [nice move]
we have an idea how to make each book stand on its own to keep sales and
income moving [hit that money button!]." It then went into the spiel about
the new intros for each book.

With the proposal was the new suggested opening by the robo-translator and
the censor and a new intro-summary by the narrator. My idea was that the
books would be the manner in which the narrator was presenting his
confession in prison so Book 2 began with the narrator thanking the
authorities for accepting the first part of his confession and that he
will continue to tell the truth. That then allowed him to say something
like, "So if you'll remember…" and move into the summary of what had
happened to that point, blending right into the next chapter by Hubbard. I
thought it was brilliant. Even Miscavige liked it, but he was ready to
take the opposite view if Hubbard didn't like it. 

If waiting for his approval of the first edit made us all nervous, this
was 10 times worse. I was proposing a major change in the presentation of
the volumes as well as my ghosting 27 new intros for Hubbard.


I don't know how long it took but when Hubbard's approval came back, we
were thrilled beyond belief. Miscavige was probably as happy as I was
because a serious flap had been avoided. Plus we had the intros for Book

Now that we had a plan, the people who gave the bad reviews were quickly
contacted by another section of ASI to tell them that it had been a
horrible mistake! Egad! We just learned that somehow those other volumes
had been assembled without Hubbard's intros and here's what was left out
of Volume 2. Gee, sorry about that! 

It was just fast damage control. Hollywood and Washington, D.C., do it all
the time. Hubbard approved it so technically it was now his, even though
it was ghosted. It would carry his copyright.  We hoped it would work. My
task was to get busy on the other volumes. 

Hubbard also had a new idea. We needed to do maps for each volume to show
where the action for that volume occurred. 

Oh, great, I figured. Now we're into map-making. I'll have to check all
the locations in the text and verify them against an atlas. Someone was
found to draw the maps and it was, as expected, its own headache,
especially Book 1 that occurs on another planet. I had to go through the
text and work out distances and directions (sometimes based on travel time
of space ships - right!) to give to the mapmaker. Somehow it all worked. 


I forget what volumes had been approved when Hubbard died but I wasn't
much past Book 3, if even that far. It meant the rest had to be done
without him but we already had the format so the rest of the intros were
done without his okay. But it also allowed more liaison with Broeker. I
went to the ranch the night that Hubbard died to handle any media who
showed up. Then I stayed on and brought the editing up with me so I could
do it there.

By the time I got to Book 6 or 7, I was running out of ideas for the
robo-translator and the censor. How many ways original, new ways could the
censor say Earth doesn't exist? Or the robo-translator saying how hard he
worked to translate this into English, which doesn't officially exist. A
few times I had to stick something in to break it up, which was fun, like
talking about the speed of light and colors.

Meanwhile the push was on to get "ME" onto the best seller lists. Hubbard
expected it so ASI had to work out how to do it. 


Someone at ASI was given the task of organizing Scientologists to go out
and buy copies. He took up residence in a room in the back of Bridge
Publications where he dispensed the money for the purchases. The
Scientologists would then come back with the books - usually more than one
copy - and a receipt to pick up more money and go out again. The room was
cluttered with plastic and paper bags from bookstores all over Southern
California. There were also some from other parts of the US. Any
Scientologist who traveled was to pick up copies at airports. The books
were then recycled back into Bridge to be redistributed and bought again.
He also set up similar programs in other cities. 

The idea worked. The volumes made it onto best seller lists that we then
touted to Hubbard before he died. Of course, he was never told about the
recycling-buying scheme. As far as he knew, he was always a best selling
author. In fact, in one of his "advices" (as we called his orders), he
told this story how some company found back in 1937 or so that his name on
the cover of a magazine helped to sell them, proving that he was really
wanted. Willie Loman couldn't have told the story better. 

About the only other amusing moment I can remember is the woman who was
retyping the manuscript (for the publisher's proofs) who had to quit at
around Book 4 or 5 because of the necrophilia. She found it very
upsetting. I don't know what happened to her but no one was allowed to
find anything Hubbard wrote to be disgusting, so there were some crude
remarks about her "confront" and wondering what "hidden overts" [hidden
crimes] she had committed on Hubbard to say such things. 

She should have seen what was in his unpublished writings, especially the
ones with his drawings of penises and vulvas. 

And that, my friends, is the "rest of the story."

Robert Vaughn Young
Hubbard's widowed editor who knows 
to never reflex pronouns in his own voice,
to not use sentence fragments and
what to not close this one with. 

Organic participles professionally dangled. 
Free estimates.
Batteries not included. 

**Stacy's former husband - phrase ( c) designated cult attorney, used with
permission when said snidely