"But sir, it's Christmas," Cam said when General Landry called them in from their vacations to tell them that he had a mission for them.
"I'm aware of that son," said Landry, "but these people could be important allies and they have invited us to their annual feast and you're going to go."
"Well why doesn't Teal'c have to go?" Cam whined.
"Teal'c has prior obligations with the Jaffa council."
"And I didn't have prior obligations?" Cameron mumbled.
"Are you going sir?" asked Sam.
"No, I have dinner with my daughter," he said innocently, reminding them that they had been pulled away from their families for this. "Oh come now, I'm sure you will have a wonderful time, they seem quite nice, and I'm sure you'll get along great."
Cam grumbled under his breath, but didn't say anything out loud.
"Merry Christmas," Landry added, leaving them to stew in their own frustration.
"This is ridiculous," Cam mumbled, sitting down in the mess next to Daniel.
"I don't know, it might be fun," said the archaeologist.
"Jackson what do you normally do for Christmas?" Cam asked.
Sam looked up from her food to give Cam a look, but it was too late, the question was already out there.
Daniel shrugged. "Not much."
"Exactly. I however was back home with my folks, enjoying some good ole down home cookin'. How about you Sam?"
She glared at him, but answered. "I was spending some time with Mark and the kids."
"See, that's what you're supposed to be doing at Christmas, not going off to some other planet for some ritual feast."
"Isn't that a part of Christmas though?" asked Daniel.
"Wouldn't you say that a Christmas dinner is a 'ritual feast'? Look at it this way, it's still Christmas, and you're kind of with family."
Cameron glared at Daniel but didn't have a response, which made Sam laugh even harder. Cam looked around at the others at the table and then he, too, laughed.
"All right Jackson, I'll give that one to you."
Daniel smiled. "And like I said, it might be fun."
"Ok, this does look like fun," said Cam when they entered the village. There were brightly colored decorations all over, and the townsfolk were dressed in eye-wrenching garments, that for the women left nothing up to imagination.
Sam hit Cameron playfully on the arm. "Behave yourself," she said.
He grinned innocently. "What? I was just thinking of sharing some Christmas spirit."
"I bet you were," Daniel said with a smile, but he too was checking out the local color.
"All right boys, keep it in your pants," Sam said with a laugh. "We're here on official business, no coming away with wives." The last part she directed at Daniel.
"Hey," he said, but he was still smiling.
The villagers seemed to notice they had arrived, they began dancing around the team and singing.
"Hello strangers," said a particularly brightly dressed man as he stepped forward to greet them. "We have long awaited your arrival. You come for the feast of Rahnar?"
SG1 nodded. "I guess so," said Daniel.
"The feast of Rahnar is a holy day amongst my people, the day we celebrate when our lord and god was made flesh."
"Well look at that Cam," said Sam. "You just might get your Christmas dinner after all."
Cam smiled; an action which made the man freeze, and turn to him in wonder.
"You," the man whispered almost reverently. "You are strong and wise, and have a handsomeness to rival our lord's."
Cam looked rather pleased with himself.
"A touch of the god," the man murmured.
"A touch of the god," the crowd echoed.
Cam was looking more and more smug; Daniel and Sam exchanged a worried look.
"You have come for Rahnar?" the man asked again, but this time directed only at Cam.
Cam nodded. "Yeah, I love Rahnar," he said enthusiastically.
"You are to be our guest of honor? You will perform the rite of Gatmahd?"
Cameron looked around uneasily. "Sure."
They crowd breathed a collective sigh and then several scantily clad women stepped forward and pulled him along, draping brightly colored sashes around his shoulders.
He looked back at Sam and Daniel with a stupid grin on his face. "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas…" he half sang before turning back to the ladies leading him along.
"This isn't going to end well, I can feel it," said Sam.
"We have a problem," said Daniel as he came into the small room he and Sam were sharing. The two of them had been shaken off at the local inn, two of them to a room that seemed like it could barely fit one, while Mitchell was living it up in a small mansion up the hill.
"I was doing some poking around in their library and I think I found out what Rahnar means."
"Well we were right; it's a kind of ritual feast…just not necessarily the kind of ritual we were hoping for. The Gatmahd is the main course."
"And that is?"
Daniel took a deep breath. "A human sacrifice."
Sam just stared at him dumbstruck, her mouth hanging open.
"See, not good."
Sam finally found her voice. "You're saying that Cameron is their ritual sacrifice?"
Daniel nodded. "It appears from what I read that every year they pick one outsider who resembles their god, treat him well for three days and then kill him and…eat him, in the name of their lord. This is somehow meant to pay honor to their god, and they see it as a great honor for the victim."
"Cam doesn't know yet?"
Daniel shook his head. "I tried to get in there to see him, but they wouldn't let me. I can only come before his presence when the 'god-touched' says so. It's just a load of crap to keep us from telling the truth."
"What are we going to do?"
Daniel shrugged. "We can't very well barge in there and shoot up the place. Despite their annual cannibalism we could use them as allies. I've found out that they have some truly miraculous medical advancements for one. We're talking curing cancer type advancements."
"Is that really worth Cam's life?"
"I'm not saying that, I'm just saying we shouldn't piss these people off when we can use their help."
Sam sighed. "You're right, I'm sorry. Perhaps we should go back to Earth and see what the General thinks. What do you say?"
Daniel shrugged again. "Seems like the best course of action right now. We're not getting anywhere near that mansion until after Rahnar."
"And then there won't really be a point will there?"