In an electronically controlled future where medicine is forbidden, Travis, 17, finds an antique medic kit and soon after gains possession of some old medical school ""vidcubes."" Out of compassion, he helps a sick man, whereupon the ingrate locks him up and forces him to participate in a black-market practice--Travis seems to have rapidly assimilated the whole medical school course, with no need for an internship. (""The week went by. Studying hard, Travis mastered the biochemistry of drugs."") Travis gets into helping people, but he wants out; kidnappers are after his orphaned, younger friend Iron, who needs help getting back to his home planet of Nueva Terra. By the time Travis himself takes off illicitly for Nueva Terra, where doctors are legal and welcome, he has been involved in several hairy chases, switched identities to avoid arrest, and put in time as a police cadet and on the chilling Deathwatch squad (the new alternative to healing). This life/ death issue doesn't give the strictly sci-fi action shots much ballast but it does work as glue, and the futuristic hardware interfaces neatly with the slambang plot.