From the Tikal Chamber of Commerce’s “Welcome to Tikal” guidebook:
“In spring, visitors to Tikal can participate in the Festival of Ah Mun, the god of maize. The pageantry of this all-important Mayan festival will draw you deeper into our culture. Our people are friendly and are willing to indulge tourists up to a point. The point is one of sacrilege.
More than one festival has nearly been ruined by a well meaning, but misguided individual, who mistakenly tries to stop the ritual sacrifice of a criminal or slave. The Maya do not take this lightly, and it is quite possible that you’ll end up as the next sacrifice.
However, watching is also not an option. Mayan religious practices are an interactive ritual. Hallucinogenic drugs, balche, an intoxicating drink made from honey and the bark of the balche tree, ololiuqui seeds, and other herbs and plant extracts will be… given to you. It will be expected that you take them, so do so, just keep your detox packs handy for afterwards, because you’re going on a little trip. Smokers are warned to stay away from Mayan cigars, as the nicotine level in them is enough to induce hallucinations.
As pointed out, the climax of the festival will be the sacrifice of a criminal or slave, as well as a blood offering of the current ruling monarch of Tikal, 9 Jaguar. The human sacrifice is performed in the traditional method, with obsidian daggers with the sacrifice bound prostrate on the altar.
When 9 Jaguar gives his sacrifice, do not be alarmed if several Maya around spontaneously shed blood from themselves too, either by piercing their genitals with knives or needles, or running a barbed cord through their tongues. If you decide to join in, please use the sterile needles in your kit, provided for this eventuality.”
June made her way through the market at the edge of the ceremonial district of Tikal, looking for her partner in crime. “Damn, damn,” she swore, looking at her wrist com, “Where is Alan!” She tapped her com and said in a harsh whisper, “Alan, were are you?! I’m in the market like you asked.”
The subdermal node at the base of her ear activated. “Oi, I’m here! Where are you?”
She looked about and then described her location, “I’m by a rug merchant. He has blue feathers on his awning.” She looked across the lane teeming with tourists and locals. “Kittycorner to it is a basket seller with a large woven monkey on his roof.”
“Ah! I see that,” replied Alan inside her head, “I’ll be there inna mo!”
Soon, the multi-colored capixay wearing young man was trotting up to June. “Hello my dear!” he said with a too wide smile on his face, “Are we ready to get dangerous?”
Realizing that Alan had taken some of the locals’ ololiuqui, she grabbed him by the ear and pulled him into a space between two stalls. “Be quiet you fool! My cousin’s life depends on us being clear headed! We only have a few days before he’s executed at the festival of Ah Mun! So take your detox pill!”
Alan gave her a giggle, pulled his detox pack out and popped a pill. He then promptly regretted that, as he threw up whatever he had had in his stomach. “Bugger! I hate that stuff. I’ll be alright in a mo June.”
“You better be!” she hissed at him, “What have you found out?”
So, what did Alan find out? Why is June’s cousin up for sacrifice by the Mayans? How do they plan to escape?