Author: moms5thchild PM
Chief Ironside travels back to Sonoma County to help an old friend solve a series of unexplained deaths.Rated: Fiction T - English - Crime/Angst - Chapters: 4 - Words: 7,204 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 08-31-12 - Published: 07-01-12 - id: 8273763
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As I promised some of my dear friends here is another Ironside story and this time not a one shot. I thank my beta reader, darediva, for being a much better at spelling and grammar than I and helping me here. Also, I do not own nor make money from my fan fiction stories about the television show, Ironside, this is for fun. Besides, I've always liked big men, so much more to love.
Saint Mary's Hospital, Sonoma County, California
July 15, 1970
Hail Mary, full of grace the lord is with thee,
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Sister Agatha rolled her rosary through her fingers, caressing each bead with reverence and love. What had just happened? The hospital had expected 91 year old Sister Bernard would pass away during the night. Yet when morning came there she was stronger, brighter and ready to live another 10 years just to fool the doctors.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners;
Now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
She moved to the next bead and look down at the face of the nursing sister there. Sister Constance was only twenty two years old, just finished her nurse's training and yet to take her final vows, yet it was Sister Constance who passed away. And Sister Constance wasn't the first young nun to die so unexpectedly. Agatha felt deep in her heart that Sister Constance would not be the last.
"Sister, we must take her now and this time there has to be an autopsy. You'll get the results back after it's done."
"Thank you Sheriff, you have been very kind." The nun felt old beyond her years; old, useless and helpless. Three young medical sisters had died at her hospital in the last five months. Sister Agatha believed in God, miracles and the Catholic Church but she did not believe in coincidence. The deaths of these young women was not a coincidence, it was murder.
Officer Fran Belding felt like she didn't fit in. Ed Brown and Mark Sanger knew their place on the staff. They'd worked with Chief Ironside for years now and gave this office one of the highest solved rates in the San Francisco police department. Chief Ironside was gruff and sarcastic with the men, but not with her. Fran felt every time the chief looked at her he found her wanting. Beautiful, competent Officer Eve Whitfield was gone and replaced by plain, inexperienced Officer Belding.
Fran's hand hit the phone before it finished its first ring, "Chief Ironside's office. He's out right now but can I take a message. Visitors? While the chief should be back soon, he's at Commissioner Randall's office. I suppose they can wait here, so send them up."
Fran tried to tidy up the table before she checked to make sure the coffee was still drinkable. She hadn't even asked who was coming, but she hoped the Chief was expecting them because he didn't like surprises.
Robert T. Ironside was getting tired of this dog and pony show. Every time one of Dennis Randall's society sycophants had another one of their special get togethers they whined until Dennis smiled and promised the Chief would handle security. It was bad enough to when the 'small favour' might actually need his input. This one didn't. Ironside couldn't get away from the Police Commissioner fast enough.
"I hope you're ready for a miracle because Dennis expects me to tap dance around his friends," Ironside harangued his sergeant; his voice rising with each word, "his flamin' friends and their flamin' committees that want protection with my name on it instead of doing their own flamin' homework. How the flamin' hell am I supposed to work miracles for the rich and annoying and keep this city on an even keel with a staff of only three." It wasn't until he'd reached the bottom of the ramp that he saw two nuns sitting at his dinner table.
"Robert, I must confess I didn't expect this kind of a welcome," Sister Agatha said as she rose from her seat.
The Chief rolled up to the nun, not ready to stop blowing off steam. "Sister, you're the last person I expected to see sitting at my table, drinking my coffee and keeping my officer from her job," and then he shook his head and smiled as he reached for her hand. "You know I did not expect to hear your dulcet tones in my little home. What brings you all the way here?"
"Believe me when I say it isn't for your coffee, Robert, but I have something I must talk to you about; something that can't wait." Sister Agatha turned to her companion, "Sister Joseph, perhaps Sergeant Brown can show you around the building. You can think of it as a social justice lesson."
Ed Brown looked at the young nun and then at his boss and then at Sister Agatha hoping someone would say ha ha; just a joke. His boss simply nodded while the older nun smiled her knowing smile.
"Come this way, sister," Ed stretched out his hand to lead his charge on a makeshift tour, "what would you like to see first?"
"Could we start with the holding cells, I haven't seen them from the outside looking in since before Selma, Alabama."
Brown did a double take as he opened the office door, "you're going to have to explain that one to me some time. We'll start there and work our way up."
The Chief glared at his old nurse. "Now that the children are gone, just what in blue blazes do you want from me, Sister?"
Sister Agatha just rolled her eyes and resumed her seat, "Right now, I have only suspicions, which is why I've come to speak to you." She reached down and pulled out a battered briefcase that had been tucked under the table. "I want you to look at these files."
The Chief reached across and tried to wrest the files from Sister Agatha's hand; but she held on tight. "If this is just the imaginings of an old woman I want to know as quickly as possible. If its not, I have many young women I need to protect and I will protect them."
"Sister, I'd do anything for you, your boss is a whole lot more powerful than mine."
Ed Brown had to step up his pace to keep up with the young nun. She was wearing one of the new, short habits and a pair of heavy walking shoes yet Sister Joseph sped ahead. It didn't help that she bypassed the elevator and took the stairs.
"Have you always been a police officer, Sergeant Brown?" She smiled as she opened the stairway door.
"I was in the Marines." Oh Lord, Ed knew he already sounded breathy. "I served in Viet Nam and Germany."
Sister Joseph flashed Ed an envious smile. "Oh, I've never been further north than Chicago or further south than Tijuana. I used to dream of about travelling around the world." She started running down the stairs. "You know, a slow boat to China, the road to Morocco, Roman holiday."
"Well," Ed puffed, "you've gone to the movies."
"Where do you think my old dreams came from?"
"What are your new dreams," Ed shot back.
"I'm working on those. So, on which floor are the holding cells?"
Brown and Sister Joseph had finally finished their tour of the basement with its intake and holding cells when they turned the corner to find Fran Belding waiting for them.
"The chief wants to know what's keeping you. I quote it doesn't take that long to tour the whole damn building unquote."
"All it's my fault," the young nun said, "I'm usually on the other side of the bars. It's very interesting to see how 'the pigs' do their job." She giggled at the astonished faces in front of her. "My parents and I marched in Selma and helped register Negro voters in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. Believe me when I say I've been behind bars before. Well, if we have to get upstairs quickly I guess we'd better take the elevator this time."
Fran smiled as the young sister walked past her and then looked at Ed and rolled her eyes. Brown pretended to wipe the sweat from his brow but quickstepped to catch up with Sister Joseph.
"Are you coming, Officer," the young nun called from inside the elevator.
"Yes, I'm coming, wait for me," now Fran double stepped so she wouldn't be left behind.
"Well, here come the happy wanderers," the Chief called over his shoulder, "what took you so long?"
"Sister Athletica decided to take the stairs," Ed puffed dramatically and winked at the young nun.
Sister Agatha scowled, "you must be terribly out of shape if you can't keep up with Sister Joseph. She's just getting over a badly sprained ankle. Robert, you had better keep track of your wheelchair before some else tries to take it away."
Ironside scowled at his sergeant; even as a joke he could not imagine Ed trapped the way he was in his chair. As he turned back to Sister Agatha the Chef rapped on the files on the table, "You leave these with me; I want a few colleagues to check them out."
The older nun rose and looked down at her most memorable patient. "Just keep it under wraps, mister big shot police man. I have a reputation in Sonoma for handling my own problems."
"So why did you come here?"
"I am handling this problem by handing it to you." Sister Agatha smiled at Chief Ironside. "I hope you are a better consultant than you are a cribbage player."
"Anything for you, Boss," Ironside smiled and pushed himself back as Sister Agatha joined Sister Joseph and left.
"Sister Agatha's quite a character," Fran said as she started to clean off the table. "Where did you ever meet her?"
"Sonoma," was the Chief's short reply as he rolled over to his desk, "Ed, I want three copies of everything in this file. Fran, get Commissioner Randall for me; I will not have time to oversee security for the Fine Arts Museum benefit. God himself has delivered me from that duty."