Richard S. Shaver
Paradise Planet by Richard S. Shaver - It was a nice little world; everything about it reminded Steve of Earth—except for the people. They looked as human—as steel could make them!...
It was a queer looking planet. As his ship approached it, Steve Donay could see slowly rising and twisting coils of strange smoke, brown and silver and gold, like great snakes or the tenuous flesh of some creature of the air. He hated to think of setting down on that world of surface fires. But what else was there to do? He was at the end of his supplies, there wasn't fuel enough to look further. Maybe not enough to land safely. But he had to take a chance.
As he burst down through the coiling layers of strange smoke, the world beneath was amazingly beautiful. Wild, maybe, no—those were planted trees, those fields of grass were too regularly curved, too well laid out. He smiled. That brown stuff, he should have recognized it. It was weather control particles. He'd read about it somewhere. Magnetized particles. When you turned on the field, they gathered, shut out unwanted light. When you reversed, to negative field projection, they caused rain to condense. When you wanted the sun, they were swept aside by another repellent field ... he should have recognized them. This was luck, a really civilized world.
He swept lower, his jets thrumming softly, reassuringly. Still perking, he could pick a good landing spot. There, beyond that huge tree group. And what trees they were. That meant an old culture, a good one. The temples crowning the hills, the peaceful meadows curving between, the lazy river—he caught his breath! This was a world, some place, indeed!
He set the little ship down near the great trees, and tested the air. It was normal, as he expected.