Mrs. Pynchon is very upset that she couldn't stop the demolition of a historical building in Los Angeles. When historian Dr. Shepherd tells her that the building contained a time capsule, she convinces the Matheson family, owners of the property, to retrieve the capsule before starting on a new building. The Matheson turn the opening of the capsule into a press event. One item retrieved is the famous cross of Pastors. The golden cross has turned green with time and is donated to the city. Mrs. Pynchon announces that she plans to bury a new time capsule.
Billie wonders whether the cross is the original. After all, the capsule was left in the open for a while. Perhaps someone switched the real one for a fake. A metallurgist visits the paper to assure Billie that the "green" cross is the real one. Shortly afterwards she gets a message from Mrs. Pynchon, telling her to drop the story. An outraged Lou accuses Mrs. Pynchon of meddling with editorial decisions. Mrs. Pynchon denies ever having sent that particular message.
Dr. Shepherd points out that the cross contains the wrong brand. It is obviously a fake. The reporters take a closer look at the Matheson family history, discovering there is a rich side and a poor side locked in a bitter feud for years. The famed cross seems to be at the center of the feud, leading Billie to believe that the original was perhaps never entombed with the capsule.
Max Matheson, the family patriarch, lies on his death bed, clutching the cross. His nurse steals the precious artifact and hides it in the doctor's bag. When the doctor leaves the mansion a stranger steals the bag from his car.
Before it is printed, Billie checks the proofs of her article. She isn't particularly happy with the illustration of the cross because the illustrator got the brand wrong. It shouldn't be a P but something resembling a shepherd's staff. Then it hits her: Dr. Shepherd is behind all of this.
At the new time capsule's interment ceremony Mrs. Pynchon describes the different objects readers have sent in. The last object to be included is presented by Dr. Shepherd: the cross of Pastors. It belonged to the original settlers of Los Angeles and should not have been in the possession of the Matheson family.
After the ceremony Mrs. Pynchon visits a nearby church with Dr. Shepherd. To her amazement she sees the real cross hanging from a statue of the Virgin Mary. The cross in the capsule is again a fake one, meant to distract people with bad intentions.