A surveying crew approaches a planet. The mineralogist, Chatterton, is eager to get started while the archaeologist, Driscoll, is eager to simply explore. They touch down safely and confirm that the planet supports life, but there's no sign of dangerous animals. They step out onto a perfect unblemished landscape, and Chatterton is suspicious that it's too peaceful. He orders the captain, Forester, to be ready, and reminds the officer that his company pays the bills. As Chatterton steps onto the planet, a brief quake shakes the area, much to Driscoll's amusement. The mineralogist orders them to start drilling immediately but Forester tells him to follow procedure and explore first. As they disembark, they're unaware that someone seems to be watching them from the woods.
As Driscoll and the other officer, Koestler, explore, Chatterton notes that the grass is freshly cut and tells Forester to send an alert back. The captain informs him that the service no longer sends rescue missions because of the expense, and because they don’t want to lose two ships. As they come to a hill, Chatterton insists they begin and a breeze seemingly springs up to knock him back. Driscoll is comforted, talking of how he felt he could fly. He leaps off into the air… and hovers in the air, much to his surprise. He comes down and even Driscoll admits that he doesn't know what happened. It's as if he asked the winds to lift him and they did. Chatterton isn't interested but Forester says it's worth investigation. Driscoll suggests he try it again, but Chatterton draws a gun on him. He's lifted into the air. Driscoll talks out loud, asking something to put Chatterton down. The mineralogist is safely lowered to the ground.
The survey team continues exploring and finds a stream of pure water that tastes exactly like wine. When Chatterton tries it, he tastes vinegar. Koestler notices a bubbling stream nearby. They investigate and find a fish, perfectly cooked. As they eat, Driscoll suggests that the planet is a living creature, and its purpose is to make them happy. Chatterton insists that they're not doing any harm because there's no one there, but Driscoll is disgusted at the same attitude of environmental disregard that left much of Earth barren. Chatterton starts choking and spits up the fish, saying it's poisoned. Forester insists they eat nothing but the ship's food, but Driscoll wonders if that will be sufficient.
Chatterton goes off on his own and Driscoll goes after him into the forest. The mineralogist begins digging with an automated machine and the planet screams in anger and begins to shake. Driscoll warns the others and they head back for the ship. He finds Chatterton and tries to stop him, but Forester holds the archaeologist back. Only Driscoll can hear the screaming, but a bolt of lighting strikes down from the sky and destroys the drilling machine. Chatterton runs off and the others follow. They hear the mineralogist scream and realize something on the planet probably killed him.
That night, Driscoll admits that he's not afraid despite Chatterton's likely fate. He explains that the planet trusts them. It begins raining but nothing touches them. Driscoll suggests that they've been traveling for years, and they have no personal attachments, and they should settle down on the planet. Earth is overpopulated, polluted, and expensive, and the planet can provide them with everything they need. If they go back to Earth and tell their superiors about the planet, they'll try to overrun it. Forester suggests that they go back and log it as hostile. They hear the sound of laughter as if the planet agrees with them.
The next morning, Driscoll says they should stay and let the authorities assume they were destroyed. Forester insists on fulfilling their duty and they prepare to take off. Driscoll insists on staying. When Forester tries to order him on board, an earthquake shakes the area. Driscoll runs off before Forester can stop him. As the ship lifts off, Driscoll assures the planet that he's staying. In orbit, the crew looks down as the planet is shaken by earthquakes and volcanoes. They wonder about Driscoll, and Forester concludes the planet is giving them a warning.
In the woods, Driscoll walks out to embrace the planet and all it has to offer. Share this article with your friends