A spaceship gets trapped in an interstellar cloud. It can’t get out the cloud contains too many contaminants for its fusion-based ramscoop to handle and it doesn’t have enough energy to get out of the cloud without using the ramscoop. A schoolteacher on board deduces the ship’s problem and has to offer his solution in a round-about way to avoid insulting the crew’s Fusionist.
This is one of the rare Asimov stories I originally read in situ. While I wouldn’t rank it as high as some of Asimov’s other material, it’s a relatively solid story from the 1970’s. The situation is interesting and solution novel. The characters are a bit weak and tend to remind one of other characters in Asimov stories particularly, for some reason, the third part of The Gods Themselves; but it’s still a reasonably good story, and easily the second-best item in Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, just behind “Light Verse.”