Now Before We Begin The Next Episode…

Now before we begin the next episode…

This is a bit of conjecture on my part because I was having fun with visuals which means I ignored Dillon’s continuity a bit when mixing the mess together…

…so any resemblance to characters already wandering in Dillon’s universe are purely coincidental…

…and kinda sorta intentional as you’re about to see…

Also parts 4, 5, and 6 were in various stages of production before the muse took a nap. They’ll appear as completed. But thanks for allowing me to indulge myself and then be a public exhibitionist gluing words together for a story that doesn’t exist…

…yet.

To be continued….

And now, episode three of Derrick Ferguson‘s DILLON AND THE MASK OF AMIRI EZANA, already in progress…

The gambling room exploded into chaos.

Dillon and Xuanzhuan Siwang crashed through the doors from the deck in a tangle of limbs. The little man still held on to his massive bagua dao, and Dillon was doing his best to keep it out of play by shifting his weight so his left arm pinned down Siwang’s sword hand. Dillon’s right kept busy by delivering three sharp rabbit punches that collided with the side of Siwang’s head enough to rock him. Dillon was a little startled that his blows didn’t have a greater effect. He once decked a sailor who was twice the size in a bar in Casablanca with two blows of similar force – Siwang just looked mildly annoyed. Dillon felt the little man squirm away from under him, he was trying adjust himself to regain his advantage when he felt something graze his chest before his chin caught a blow so hard that his teeth slammed together with an audible clack.

The crowd didn’t need much more incentive than that, the room became a madhouse of screaming and panicked patrons crowding the exits in their frenzy to get out of the path of giant sword as it arced up into Siwang’s left hand. Dillon’s floundering around had temporarily numbed his favored arm. Unlike their earlier encounters though, it was obvious to Dillon that Siwang wasn’t expecting him to be on board this particular gambling ship, especially one in waters off the African coast so very far from the shores of Xonira. As Dillon sidestepped a heavyset woman in a shimmering sequin gown who wore so much perfume it made his eyes water, he saw Siwang’s glare taking in the room.

“I am not here for you, dead man,” Siwang said coldly. “If you try to hinder me, your death will occur far more painfully than the one I’ve consigned you to.”

Dillon’s eyes flared their molten gold fury back, “Look, are we gonna fight or are you gonna haiku me to death?”

They were both looking for an opening when a door opened from behind Dillon and the dapper man who owned the vessel cum fight club stormed into the room.

“Trevor, what the hell is going on?!”

Dillon didn’t have a chance to respond to his host who until now, assumed that the man calling himself “Trevor St. Simon” was just a guy trying to work his passage off after being caught as a stowaway after they left Xonira last week. Siwang’s expression changed with the entrance of the new arrival.

“He is here,” Siwang said calmly. “STRIKE!”

And the gambling room exploded into chaos yet again as men stormed in from the galley and from below decks. Dillon counted six, maybe seven some carrying guns, some carrying deadly looking blades much like the one Siwang just shifted over to his right hand. From the grin on his face, Dillon didn’t bother to wait, he was already in motion and airborne, tackling his host hard enough that the momentum pushed them both behind the the marble bar that he knew was reinforced with a steel core for situations like this. Siwang’s Azure Dragon brothers also performed on instinct, cutting lose with a hail of bullets.

“Trevor, what the hell —“

“Not Trevor”, Dillon said pulling his back up gun from the ankle holster he wore, “my name is Dillon.”

“Trev- wait, did you say ‘Dillon’?”

“Yep.” Dillon popped up from behind the bar, let lose three shots, then dropped down in time to miss the next volley of bullets twanging off the imported marble which seemed to be protesting the indignity.

“Dillon the wanted terrorist Dillon?”

“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” Dillon popped up again got off another four shots and was rewarded with two men dropping as he dropped down to reload.

“So wait a minute, these guys are here trying to capture you?!”

“Nope.” Another volley cut into the bar. Dillon had managed to reload, but once he emptied this clip, things got dicey. “I think they’re out to get you.”

“For what?” Dillon caught the exasperated surprise from his companion.

“You tell me, man,” Dillon replied, “I’m a stranger here, myself.”

Dillon popped up, got off four more rounds and dropped at least one more man. He also noted the knives were at the ready. As he dropped down he heard his companion hiss, “Aw, HELL, no!”

Dillon wasn’t expecting what happened next. The man next to him smacked a panel and an old fashioned tommy gun slid out from a concealed panel. His host caught it smoothly cocked it and came up blasting. The Dragons who were behind the remaining gunmen started to scramble, the gunmen were trying to sight, and return fire while running. The tommy, was too busy redefining the meaning of spitting lead to be concerned. When his host dropped back behind the bar, he looked at Dillon who seemed to have a question, but wasn’t quite sure how to phrase it. the smaller man reached across to another panel and slammed it open. He leaned in grabbed a smooth black case and opened it.

“Okay,” he yelled over the counter. “If anyone’s still left out there breathing and in a fighting mood, I’m not having it. You’ve obviously gotten the rest of the crew out the way, so here’s how this goes: I’m armed, I’m pissed I’m gonna have to close this room off for the rest the damn voyage plus renovate when we put in which is going to cost me time and money, and I just got my uzis out of cold storage. I don’t give a rat’s ass why you’re here, but if you’re not out when I come up, I’m sending everyone home in some of the best goddamned Tupperware money can buy.”

They heard some grunting and movement that sounded like bodies being dragged away.

“I see, I now have two dead men to contend with.” Dillon sighed. Siwang was still among the living.

“Whatever, punk,” Dillon’s companion roared. “Just get the hell off my boat before I have to get rowdy. You ain’t ready to see that kind of ugly, son.”

More dragging came to their ears along with the opening and closing of doors.

From farther away than the last time he spoke, Siwang said, “This is not over.”

“Oh it’s over,” Dillon’s companion yelled back. “Our next conversation starts with a bullet in your behind as our ice breaker. Now get to gettin’!”

They heard the sound of the door opening and closing a final time. Both men sat behind the bar an extra minute listening to bits of marble giving up the effort to hang on to the whole.

“So,” Dillon’s host said absently.

“So,” Dillon replied.

“They say you killed a lot of good people back in Xonira.”

Dillon sighed and shook his head. “Wasn’t me.”

“The little dude with the giant butterknife?”

“Yep.”

“Figured.”

Dillon leaned around the bar. “No one’s waiting to kill us.”

“Day’s looking up.”

“Yep.”

“Well, I don’t know about you, but as soon as I check on the crew —“

Dillon raised a finger. “Down in the hold. I stumbled on them when you sent me downstairs for more champagne. My good friend “Whirling Death” turned up before I could get them loose.”

“Ah,” his host reached for his hat which he had put on a shelf under the bar earlier. He plopped the gray fedora on his head and rose. “I guess I’ll go straight to the having a drink portion of the rescue then.” He sorted through the mess that was once an impressive array of spirits, grimaced, and reached under the counter. “Well, I guess it really is your lucky day, Mr. Dillon. It’s Demerara.”

“Works for me.” Dillon rose and looked at the open case. He laughed and shook his head.

“What?”

“Nothing, man. Pour.” Dillon watched as his host gave up a generous portion of the bottle, Dillon could afford to nurse his favorite rum for a moment. “I think I figured out why the Azure Dragons were so hot to do whatever they planned to do to you.”

Dillon’s host took a sip of his drink and tipped back the fedora. “Do tell.”

“You’re linked to Khusra royalty aren’t you?”

Dillon’s companion burst out laughing, “Man, no! I’ve enjoyed a quiet life of exile from there for the last few decades. If I’m connected to anything, it’s a bunch of folks still mad that I’m running a literal floating crap game and own my own island with a casino resort that’ll put any house on Star Island or Vegas to shame.”

Dillon frowned. The man before him had a history of being evasive, but he let it lie. “What about what’s in the case here?”

His host smiled realizing why Dillon laughed a few minutes ago. he dipped his hand into the case and took out a gray duster overcoat. He slid into it easily, and checked himself in the one mirrored pane that remained intact.

“Well if I was going to die today, I was going to look my best.”

“You told the man you had uzis.”

“I did.”

“What under the coat?” Dillon looked back at the case but didn’t see anything obvious in its construction to presume there were a pair of uzis hidden away.

“Nope.” Dillon’s companion walked over to a spot in the middle of the room. He reached over the roulette table and flipped a hidden switch. A drawer sprung out and Dillon could see the familiar squat shape of two uzis and enough ammo to hold off a few dozen men if necessary.

“So you’re saying…”

“They were under our friends out here,” Dillon’s host said. “Good thing we weren’t in the billiard room, I’ve got two old school bazooka launchers behind the cue rack.”

“So you bluffed them.”

“I’m a gambler, Mr. Dillon. Now, let’s get the crew out of the hold and the passengers back to Fortune’s Cove and then try to figure out why the Azure Dragons are looking to eliminate the wrong man, not to mention the wrong generation of Fortune McCall.”

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