“Has anyone seen Oxyotl?” “He’s over there!” “Hello!” said the chameleon, jovially, hanging from the barracks roof by his tail. “You’re late for the summons,” snapped an older skink from the doorway. “Get out in line this instant or its terradon guano for you from now til the Great Plan is achieved.” Oxyotl scurried out into the pristine glare of the sun. The massed ranks of Pahuax had been assembled before the steps of the great temple. He gasped at the serried splendour of reptilian might, before gathering his wits and slinking as stealthily as he could into his allotted position - second rank of a small cohort of chameleons, third file from the left. Out before him, in the distance over the heads of scores of fellow soldiers, he could see - and feel, in the trembling flagstones - the enormous strides of a carnosaur, while the oldblood on its back barked the roll call. Name after name was called - a ritual lasting for hours and designed to instil discipline in the vital art of patience. It would be a long time before they even reached his battalion, let alone his cohort. “Miss anything?” he whispered surreptitiously to his companions, keeping his body perfectly still so that superiors wouldn’t notice any movement. “The summons came late. The higher ups seem nervous. They say it’s going to be war this time.” His comrade on his right had also mastered the art of motionless whispering. “War? There hasn’t been war in centuries. I wonder which enemy of the Plan we shall face.” There was a silence, and Oxyotl risked a momentary glance to his right. His fellow chameleon looked genuinely troubled, nervously glancing back. “I don’t think it’s anything we’ve faced before. I’ve heard rumours. Something seems...not right.” “I’m sure it’s nothing we can’t han-” “Oxy. I overheard Chief Taroq talking to Priest Loratl. They used the word ‘catastrophe’.” The chameleons pondered this in silence, looking at their feet. Lost in his thoughts, Oxyotl hadn’t noticed time pass until he heard the guttural shout of the name-taker right in front of him. “Report, newspawn!” it roared. “Or does the high and mighty Oxyotl have something else he’d rather be doing?!” --- Sixty-three centuries later, Oxyotl blinked and looked around. Instead of fellow lizardmen as far as the eye could see, there was only jungle. To his knowledge, he was the only sentient creature for hundreds of miles. He sniffed the air. Ah yes. The only sentient creature but one. There was something he’d rather be doing.