Paid for by patrons
The Correction (Episode 1)
1 / Prologue July 5, 1776 Nathan Hart glanced over his shoulder as the crackle of gunfire in the distance reached his ears, shattering the eerie early evening silence of the verdant Pennsylvania wooded hillside. Unlike the other riders who had been sent out from John Dunlap’s print shop in Philadelphia, Nathan wasn’t carrying a copy of the Declaration of Independence. He was carrying another document — a document that precious few even knew existed. Nathan himself had been sworn to secrecy before being given the satchel which contained a small box holding the freshly printed broadside. Some of the signers of the Declaration didn’t even know about the document. Nathan’s task was to get the document safely to Boston Harbor — to the house of Daniel McHenry who would place it under lock and key for safekeeping. Unfortunately, the quickest route to McHenry’s place would take Nathan into heavily Tory territory, which was why he was concerned about the gunfire. If he was captured by the Tories they would most certainly turn him over to the Redcoats. Nathan knew the Tories weren’t all bad. But, the Tories were loyal to the throne of England which made it exceedingly dangerous for a patriot like him to be riding through their territory, at night, carrying the only copy of a newly printed document which Dunlap had dubbed, “The Correction.” The sound of gunfire crashing through the trees made Nathan’s shoulder muscles tighten. He squeezed the reins in his hands and made sure the satchel tucked beneath his saddlebag was secure. He couldn’t fail in his mission. He had to reach Boston Harbor with the secret document intact. 2 Present Day Nehemiah Dunn’s Hummer bounced wildly as he drove through the snowstorm. The weather report for the Boston area had said there would be near whiteout conditions. Ordinarily, Nehemiah wouldn’t have taken such a risk — he was a cautious soul — but, he would do anything for his dad. Even if that meant responding to a cryptic message from his sister, Melanie, whom he hadn’t communicated with in years. Dear Nehemiah, Come to Tongass for Dad’s sake. He says it’s important. And then there had been today’s date. That was the first part of the message. And that was all Nehemiah had needed to ask his boss, Chief Cullen, for a leave so he could drive up the coast from Trenton, N.J., to Tongass — the family’s seaside residence tucked away on the Massachusetts coast. His twelve-year-old son, Cody, jumped at the chance to go along. His sixteen-year-old daughter, Tanya, gave him a skeptical eyebrow raise and a firm “no.” So, it was just the two of them. Nehemiah driving. Cody in the passenger’s seat staring out at the swirling, white nothingness around them. If it hadn’t been for the GPS in the Hummer, Nehemiah would have been lost a long time ago. But following the computer’s directions and his own inner sense of direction, he steadily made his way up the trail that ran parallel to the coast. The wind was calmer on the Eastern side, and they were able to see the road — if you could call it that — a bit better. More accurately, it was a long, crooked, rut-filled trail. “Are we almost there now?” said Cody leaning forward and looking through the windshield. “Almost,” Nehemiah said. He hoped he was right. He tried to remember the last time he had driven up to Tongass. It was before his wife had died, leaving him to raise their two children alone; before Melanie had been selected as Secretary of the Navy; before major cities across the United States had been gripped by protests and upheaval; before Nehemiah had found himself in the middle of a snowstorm on his way to see his ailing father, Eli. Finally, they had arrived. Nehemiah pulled the handwritten note that Melanie had sent him out of his jacket pocket, unfolded it and read the second half again. Dear Nehemiah, Come to Tongass for Dad’s sake. He says it’s important. The nation is in need of The Correction. Mel 3 Boston University history professor, Henry McAllen, stared at the gun which Senator Rory Phillips’ bodyguard had pointed directly at his temple. “Tell me everything you know now,” Senator Phillips demanded for the fourth time as he paced the floor of the library basement. “I told you everything already,” Professor McAllen said. He wheezed because of his cold. The frigid weather had been taking a toll lately. “Yes, but you’re hiding something,” Senator Phillips insisted. “I am not,” said McAllen. “Everything I know — all of my research on this matter — is included in the manuscript.” “And where is the manuscript?” “It’s in my office.” McAllen grabbed hold of a rusty iron shelf and tried to pull himself upright, but the bodyguard shoved him back onto the cold concrete. “I don’t know anything more than what I have written. I am getting ready to send it to the publisher today.” “Then, why did you meet with the President in private last weekend?” Senator Phillips said. “He wanted to talk about my historical research,” McAllen said, wheezing again. “About this document called The Correction, I presume,” said the senator. The professor nodded. “Yes, that, among other things.” Senator Phillips paced the floor silently for a few moments. Then he stopped and stooped in front of Professor McAllen. “Tell you what,” he said. “We’ll just tie you up and leave you down here in this cold basement for a little while. Then we’ll come back for you soon. Maybe, then you’ll consider telling us the truth.” Senator Phillips and his bodyguard left. Professor McAllen never returned from the basement. But that didn’t matter to him. He had done well. He had kept the secret about The Correction safe.