Following the waterways through Arizona, the group successfully pilots their pterodactyl flying-machines to a plateau outside of Tucson. Father Seward, Ollie, and Rex decide to remain and watch the flying-machines while David, Ruby, and Rufina go into town to gather supplies and determine their next move.
David, Ruby, and Rufina find a hotel, bathe, and shop for supplies. Rufina is kind enough to purchase replacement garments for Father Seward. While the others continue their affairs, Rufina decides to return to the plateau to get the others.
Meanwhile, Father Seward and Rex have been waiting while Ollie tinkers with the flying-machines to determine how they function. When Rufina arrives, she gives Father Seward a suit of clothes, and then the group discusses their next move. When the prospect of selling the flying-machines arises, Ollie gets very upset, wanting to keep one for himself despite the constant upkeep required. While he thinks about things, Father Seward and Rex will travel to Tucson. Rufina will remain with Ollie.
Once David and Ruby reunite with Rex and Seward, the group continues preparations. Father Seward goes around town trying to find someone who might purchase their flying machines, while David decides to go visit the town doctor to see about his injuries.
David Hood meets the doctor — a fellow by the name of Montgomery Snead — and learns that Snead is something of an amateur adventurer. He is fascinated by adventure stories, and has a scrapbook of newspaper clippings regarding various strange events. He even determines that he has a story or two penned by David Hood.
David also manages to catch a glimpse of a story in his scrapbook containing the phrase "Garrison Wells" — he asks to see it, and learns that Garrison Wells is a place. It has currently suffered from a failing crop and resultant sandstorm which likely swallowed and destroyed the town.
While operating on Hood, Snead and Hood have a long conversation about things, and it is relatively clear that Snead is a total tinhorn whose ignorance will likely get himself killed someday. He even has a custom-made firearm that is more decorative than functional, although he seems unaware of this fact.
Hood does manage to learn that the blacksmith in the train yards may have an interest in super-science gadgetry from Sweet Water.
The only strange thing about him is that he extracts a vial of Hood's blood, although he explains that he wishes to craft a tonic from the blood of adventurers, as he feels there is something special about them. Before he leaves, David Hood steals the vial back. He then makes his way to the blacksmith, although he hears a gunshot emanate from the doctor's office — evidently a misfiring of that gaudy pistol.
Having heard the same thing, Father Seward incidentally meets David Hood at the train yards, and the two go to visit the blacksmith. A busy man, he seems annoyed at the intrusion and suspects that Hood and Seward are wasting his time, but he says that he'll offer $500 if they actually present some sort of flying machine.
Meanwhile, Rex goes to the doctor's office. Finding him amiable, they have a long discussion about adventuring.
When Hood and Seward return to the hotel, they describe their encounters in town to Ruby, who recognizes the name Snead as her brother-in-law's name (although his first name is Arthur rather than Montgomery, and he's not a doctor). She decides to get ready and pay the doctor a visit.
Ruby arrives just as Rex is leaving. As she enters, she finds the office to be empty. However, the door closes behind her and she hears a voice say, "Hello, darlin'." She turns around to see her brother-in-law standing in front of the doorway. One of his arms is covered in strange sigils, and the whole limb appears to have mutated and merged with the gaudy-looking pistol in his hand. He levels the pistol at her belly as he says, "Kill the bird in its cage."