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In his 17th adventure, Tom finds himself battling something his scientific knowledge has not prepared him for: personal tragedy! Having conquered several of sci-fi's most difficult problems, he is faced with a crisis that will test his abilities nearly to the breaking point. An incredibly close person is stricken with an inoperable tumor inside his head that will kill him in months, or an operation might do it sooner. At the very least, standard medical procedures would leave him with brain damage. When Doc Simpson proposes an impossible task, Tom finds that he must rally if there is anything to do to save the man. But Doc himself refuses to consider the treatment Tom has in mind when he finds what the inventor proposes is more like a living video game that serious surgery. Is possible to convince him to let Tom-an unskilled surgeon at the very best-perform the life-saving procedure? And, can Tom rally his emotional and physical strength long enough to make the operation a success?