a/n: this is in response to a SOSF writer's challenge. I'm not as familiar with Ironside as I am Streets, but hope that I treat both shows with the proper respect. I do not own either SOSF or Ironside, and no money is being made from this story. This is just done for entertainment and skill development. Thanks to Mounty Swiss and my other Streets pals for their encouragement.
The Pyramid Trail
Spring, 1970 - Police Headquarters
Mike Stone walked briskly down the corridor en route to the central elevator. His new partner kept pace.
"Have you met the Chief yet, Buddy boy?" Mike asked as the elevator doors opened.
"No, but I heard about him at the academy. He started on special assignments while I was still at Berkeley. Did you work with him before?"
"You mean before the shooting?" Steve Keller's question sent the older man back in time. "Yes, we both started as uniformed cops. That was after the war. I stayed on the streets and eventually moved over to Homicide. The Chief, though, his story was different. He was quickly spotted as management potential and moved up through the ranks. He's as sharp as a razor. You have to bring your "A" game when you talk to that man."
"He doesn't suffer fools, at least that's what I'd heard," Steve replied. Mike noted that his new partner appeared cautious, but not necessarily nervous about meeting the legendary Chief Robert T. Ironside.
"You got that right," Mike chuckled as they exited the elevator and headed to the Chief's office.
"Mike Stone!" Ironside greeted Mike warmly as he wheeled over to meet the detective. "It's been too long. How are you?"
Mike shook his hand. "I'm quite well. I agree, it's been too long."
"How's that pretty little girl of yours?"
"Well, that little girl is a senior in high school, Bob. Jeannie is going to be attending college in Arizona next fall."
"Time simply flies, my friend." The Chief turned his attention to the young man by Mike's side.
"Chief, I'd like to introduce my partner, Inspector Steve Keller."
"Partner?" Ironside snorted as he eyed his new acquaintance. "They get younger looking every day. How long have you been with Homicide?"
"Two months, sir." Steve figured the best approach was to be low key. He was smart enough to realize that he was clearly out of his element.
The Chief redirected his comments to Stone. "I have three young people assisting me, although yours looks like he could be their kid brother.
"I've heard about your team. Sergeant Brown is a fine officer. I remember him when he graduated from the academy maybe ten years ago."
"Yes, Ed does a good job. He's become a commendable right hand man. Officer Eve Whitfield also works for me. She was probably just before your time at the academy," Ironside said to Keller. "And I have a wonderful young man who helps me get around. His name is Mark Sanger."
"Bob, what can we do for you? Captain Olsen said that you wanted to see us," Mike asked.
The cases that Ironside and his team worked were typically mutually exclusive of what the other detectives handled. Often these cases were specially assigned by the Mayor or the Commissioner. Rarely had there been an opportunity for Ironside and Stone to work together since the Special Assignment Team was created three years earlier.
"I'll cut to the chase, Mike. We believe that one of our State Senators is using funds from a fraud scheme to pump up his political coffers. He's about to run for State Attorney General and this is the means he has to pay for a dirty campaign."
"A corrupt politician. Okay, so what kind of fraud?" Mike asked.
"It's a simple concept. The Senator holds a dinner at his home for a few select prospects. His brother and another colleague come in with an investment deal. They have a prospectus and financial records to support the transaction. It's an attractive deal and the guests invest."
"I don't think I've heard anything illegal so far. What's the catch?"
"It's a scam. The prospectus and supporting financial documents are worthless. The cash that's invested goes to pay the earlier investors a dividend. That's how the original investors know that they are getting some return."
"A Ponzi scheme." Steve interjected.
"A what?" Mike asked.
"A Ponzi scheme. It's named after an immigrant swindler who bilked people out of millions before the Depression. See, you give me $100 as an investment and I promise you a quick return. Then I get $100 from the next guy and I give you $10, keeping $90 for myself. You're happy because you've earned a quick 10% dividend, and I'm sitting with $190. I do that often enough, I become a rich man. It doesn't catch up with me until enough people try cashing their certificate. That could be years. A Ponzi scheme is an illegal pyramid scheme."
Mike couldn't help but show a little pride. In the short time they had worked together, he was amazed at the knowledge the young man had obstensibly at his fingertips. It seemed like it covered just about any topic.
Ironside, too, was pleased. "Well, I'm glad you have a mind for this, young man. Rudy said you'd be right for the job. I'd like for you to go undercover to one of these dinners."
"Hold on, Bob. Why him?" Mike asked.
"I need to get someone on the inside. Typically, these investors are educated couples who are just starting to make money, but don't have much financial savvy. My plan is to send your Keller in with my Eve. They would pose as a young couple who have recently entered into some wealth. We'll have them invest in the scheme and trace it from there."
"Why not have Brown do it?" Mike was concerned that his young partner was not ready for such a high profile case.
"Ed was my first choice, of course. The problem is that this 'colleague' the Senator and his brother are working with did some time a few years back. Sergeant Brown was one of the arresting officers, so he's already known. Ed will be their contact on the outside."
Mike nodded his head as he looked over to his partner. He knew Steve was bright and could pull off being someone who had money. Still, the older detective felt a need to be protective of the young man. "Okay, Chief. You got it, but let me observe."
Steve issued a slight, nearly unreadable smirk. While others might have protested, Steve was happy to have Mike watching from the sidelines. They had established a critical trust early on and having him there would be like having a coach providing guidance.
"Fine. Let me introduce you to Eve…."