Napoleon Solo and his partner Illya Kuryakin tied by their wrists, dangled above a vat of boiling tar fueled by a rather large bonfire just beneath it.
"This could be it partner mine," Solo turned his head, looking nervously at what was now several feet closer to their feet. The hooks they were hanging from were being lowered ever so slowly, making their dread build little by little.
Illya looked as this friend, suddenly spouting an unexpected bit of rhyme.
"Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder, treason, and plot,
I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes. Guy Fawkes,
Twas his intent
To blow up the King and the Parliament;
Three score barrels of powder below
Poor old England to overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring,
Hulloa boys hulloa boys, God Save the King!
A penny loaf to feed the Pope,
A farthing O' cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to rinse it down,
A faggot of sticks to burn him!
Burn him in a tub of tar,
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we'll say old Pope is dead!
Hip, hip, Hoo-r-r-ray!'' *
"That's all you have to say at a time like this...and what the hell was that all about anyway?"
"I just recalled that it is Guy Fawkes Day, and thought it ironic that we, in an attempt to blow up the satrap in Manchester, were captured and now find ourselves in the same position as Guy Fawkes."
"Illya he was killed."
"That also is not lost on me," he smiled. "Observe," he said, noting that the crane operator had set the system on automatic and left them alone to die.
Illya tapped the side of one shoe with the other and a knife blade clicked out from the front of his right shoe."
"Still haven't lost some of your Soviet habits have you." Napoleon groaned as they dropped lower towards the hot tar.
With the skill of a gymnast, Illya lifted his legs out in front of him and after grabbing hold of the chain his bonds were tied to, he managed to get himself into a pike position and cut the ropes.
Once freed, he shimmied up along the chain, swinging it towards the platform where the controls were located, and after a few tried, released himself and jumped there.
"Illya, hurry up!" Napoleon yelled as he pulled up his legs, having just dropped another six inches. He could feel the heat rising from the black, bubbling mass as he was now dangerously close to it.
The Russian, studied the control panel for a second, then hit one switch, stopping his partners descent, and breathed a sigh of relief that it was the right one.
"Raise me up please? Solo called. "It's a little hot here."
"If I push the wrong button, it could lower you," he called out, looking for an alternative method of rescue." Hang in there."
"Like I have a choice?" Napoleon groused.
Illya spotted a grappling hook and using it, snagged the chain holding his partner and pulled him to safety.
"Well the mission is a bust," Napoleon said, rubbing his wrists,"Waverly won't be happy."
"At least we are alive to tell the tale, unlike Guy Fawkes." Illya smiled.
"Ah but his legend lives on my friend."
"As do we, let us find a bar and drink a toast to him."
"A man who tried to blow up the British Parliament?"
"Napoleon, you do recall my fondness for demolitions and explosives, do you not?"
He shook his head, thinking only the Russian would focus on that." Lead on McDuff."
* traditional British rhyme