Disclaimer: The story and characters of Doc Martin belong to Buffalo Pictures. This work of fan-fiction is for personal amusement only and no infringement of any kind is intended: actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea

Chapter 1: Citoyen de Tendre

I AM NOT A MAN POSSESSED, like so many others, with an infatuation for electronic gadgetry and frivolous contrivances. There is no rectitude in so-called technology for technology's sake. Whereas I've studied Medicine, I can never abide a surgeon or a doctor who would employ such gadgetry as a sort of crutch for their indolence or as a pretence for their professional shortcomings. Theirs should be the greatest aspirations in the healing arts of paramount skills and knowledge by which to endeavour to fulfill their solemn duties for the preservation of life and the diminishment of suffering.

I have no quarrel with the advances of modern medicine that derive from modern technology, but rather the impression that it can ever be trusted as a substitute for proficiency and intellect. When it comes to technology that merits genuine admiration, I would attest by virtue of my surgical career, that there's no match for the fit, feel, and balance of an unassuming solidly-crafted stainless steel surgical instrument. In that solidness there is a sense of trust; trust within the hand of the surgeon and therefore emblematic of the trustworthiness in that surgeon's very hands. A professional who would suffer a flimsy tool or an inferior instrument concedes the title and relinquishes his trustworthiness and garners from me nothing but disdain.

The trust embodied in a truly fine timepiece shares the same provenance. There is nothing but pure integrity in a timepiece assembled of intricate yet solid clockworks made in the finest British tradition and crafted of materials of the utmost quality. This integrity reveals itself in the exquisite pirouettes of a compensated balance wheel eliciting a graceful glissade of an ingenious escapement mechanism actuating a choreography of delicately meshed precision gears set amongst precious jeweled bearings. Only the Divine Clockmaker Himself can truly appreciate the magnificence of such wondrous inner workings.

Tinkering with and restoring antique clocks, or horology as it is more properly known, has been my avocation since I was a schoolboy. It's a quiet, and I daresay even a relaxing, activity that allows me to focus my thoughts and attentions on the table before me laid out with the faulty, failing, and hitherto neglected mechanisms opened and exposed to my close examination. In exchange for their redemption they offer me the challenge and means to hone my dexterity, patience, and diagnostic skills. From an early age this practice imbued me with the capacity for intense concentration and exactness that would later serve me as an esteemed surgeon in the Ellingham family tradition.

That assiduous focus has endowed to me the interpretation in the murmurings of clocks for the slightest sounds of syncopation, or irregularities in the traces of their circumscribing hands, or the revealing reverberations from the pendulum's prosodic swing, or even the awry aroma of abraded metal with the presence or absence of lubricant. I thus learned to fully apply my senses to every detail and every part of my awareness to ascertain what makes them work and, as is more often the case, what doesn't and then to set about to repair and restore them to working order. An advantage of that focus is a measure of solace from the capricious, contradictory, and incommodious matters of this world, albeit temporarily. It is this diligence to diagnostics that has bestowed upon me my great purpose in life- be it devoted to clocks or devoted to people.

"Silence..." I mutter this unconsciously and listen again intently; stillness except for the subliminal tick-tock rhythm from what had been my penultimate project (a Wallingford reproduction) now adorning the kitchen wall at my left.

It has always, however, proven to be a far greater mystery to understand people and what precisely it is that makes them 'tick'. I recall from an early age already fervently trying everything to understand my paradoxical parents and my enigmatic schoolmates. No power of observation proved sufficient to explain them in the same way as it did to clocks. As I grew up I devoted myself to understanding their analogous constituent parts and all their complex internal mechanisms, alas to no avail. All grown up I became a master at taking them apart and meticulously putting them back together, yet my attempts to understand people have always proved futile.

The surgery is presently bathed in darkness inside and out, save for the one kitchen light, and sitting here by myself my thoughts seemingly dart from one technical elaboration to another. That is (I expect) on account of the current PCT initiative. Members throughout Cornwall are being induced to upgrade their mobiles to the latest technology of what the rubbish-talking salesmen everywhere insist on calling smartphones. My initial reaction to this idea was to ponder how a smartphone could possibly help me in my Port Wenn surgery when it was quite difficult enough to find a receptionist smart enough to simply answer a plain-old stupid one! Bear in mind that these are the same devices rumoured to unduly fascinate both common morons and singular imbeciles alike with inane games and vulgar noises in imitation of bodily functions. Hence my well-founded misgivings that this initiative might be tantamount to the same sort of nonsense I've feverishly railed against: frivolous reliance on mindless electronic contrivances.

Notwithstanding my reservations, the PCT persisted and even Chris Parsons himself made a personal entreaty to convince me of the initiative's merits. His most persuasive argument (admittedly) was that the adoption of new smartphone mobiles by GPs like myself, would make the patient records more readily available, particularly during home visits and emergencies. He also advised me that it would make it possible to access and view various medical images including tomography on the very same mobile devices as well as from remote farms and most expanses of the moor (the same capabilities will extend to the upgraded computers in the surgery once they too have been configured).

Of course Chris made the usual prosaic appeals of improvements from electronic records to efficiency, centralization, security and as Chris put it, "their- ahem, waterproof qualities." I even listened in stony-silence as he ventured the hyperbolic argument that the device could very well, "broaden one's ability to communicate in the 21st century, Mart!" Only by virtue of our long acquaintance, I nonetheless heard him out and reminded him of my wide renown for both calm reason and consonant nature and went on to further assure him that the matter would garner my due consideration.

Thus following a good deal of research and study on the matter I am now, as of earlier today, the (entirely-modest) new owner of a smartphone. I made the purchase on my way back to Port Wenn and have just now spent the last couple of hours downloading, installing, and configuring the PCT programmes. It was not an easy task, mind you, the instructions were misleading sparse and buggered full of unintelligible terminology. Nonetheless I prevailed no doubt by reason of my technical prowess and surfeit patience, and I've just finished implementing that most important part of the initiative.

Most interestingly, in addition to the PCT software I've also just become aware that there are a number of other medical 'apps' (as they're known) available for the device: medical reference apps, medical transcription apps, apps to archives of medical journals, and even a growing array of apps together with peripheral instrumentation as well. These and a number of others are intended to greatly expand the device's usefulness. Considering all my investment in meticulous research on the subject, as well as having decided in advance exactly what and which model I intended to purchase, and had determined precisely how much I expected to pay, all the bloody salesman had to do at the time of the purchase was swipe my credit card to complete the transaction.

That is until (as is a common trait among chronic morons) the salesman opened his annoying mouth. This mere adolescent in an ill-fitting suit with an intellect even more challenged than his complexion, had the condescending cheek to treat me like an illiterate troglodyte simply because I had never in my life previously owned a smartphone nor had ever used one. Even now when I think about the audacity of this bilious imbecile it makes my blood boil, a most unpropitious metaphor considering my erstwhile blood issue. This idiot went on to conceive that he should apprise me of the various apps to go along with the device that he thought I might enjoy.

He went so far as to recommend- to me- a game, a ridiculous game; a game popular for preoccupying prize half-wits involving missiles of malicious fowl. Imagine the impertinence that I would wish to engage in some mindless game when my existence in this god-forsaken village is already an authentic hit-and-miss contest with Port Wenn's foul seabirds! For too long already my daily experience has been to assume the role of angry paladin playing against my avian-antagonists that hurl, not themselves, but a constant barrage of their disgusting by-products! Were this an actual game, it would be better entitled from the term for those very by-products! (which just so happens to rhyme with the word 'birds'!). God help the bloody fool!

Yet, for the briefest of moments between the salesman's effrontery and the full-scale fulmination that ensued, one particular app did manage to capture my attention. Since I was decidedly not about to give that loathsome prat any sort of satisfaction by inquiring with him about it- the idea of it has been pushed to the back of my mind ever since to percolate. Yet with my agitated state comes the niggling sense that this app amounts to help and thus constitutes another affront to my forbearance and dignity (even more so for its mawkishness). Its very contemplation questions whether I may have failed to inoculate myself against the village's latest outbreak of stupidity and inanity. Perhaps I've lost my assumed immunity or succumbed to a previously unknown strain? Perhaps this consternation accounts for the true cause of my inconstancy of thought this evening.

"Ahh..." I let a deeply somatic sigh issue into the stillness of the night and return my gaze at the clock's face.

The stark truth is that I learned long ago that I was rather better off speaking in curt monosyllables and terse retorts. It has always been for the best to restrict further discourse to harangues about health or elaborate medical evaluations or adroit Latin terminology or on occasion, all three at once: 'Caput tuum velle tuum a clunes!' I daresay that I learned to speak it so well, that for most of my life there was little more that needed to be said and little more that I had any compunction to say. To say more was to admittedly risk the unfortunately too familiar personal medical crisis of getting my foot stuck firmly in my mouth.

So then why do I find myself returning to the same question of why that shouldn't be enough? What would compel me to risk my hard-earned dignity and poise for the possibility of more than that; let alone deign to seek actual help to do what I should well be able to do on my own? What vilely officious spirit would possess me? It could only be... Oh, what was the name of that bloody damn app anyways? It had a rather silly obscure name that I'm hoping I can properly remember. I'll just do a search here for it then. Let's type in what I might possibly recall... Hmm, that looks right. Ah, there it is... Now let's select it here and...

"Hmm... "

"CyraKnowis an intelligent personal romance navigator app that uses a spoken natural language interface for personalized romantic interaction to provide the user complete fluency in the language of love. CyraKnow™ uses the world's most powerful database of the greatest romantics, poets, and lovers of all time to personalize and optimize your every romantic encounter. Voice recognition input and synthesized voice output interact to prompt and guide the user through every romantic exchange.

You begin to use CyraKnow™ by entering basic information to establish your personal profile and the profile of your beloved that CyraKnow™ uses in its romance algorithms. As you use CyraKnow™, its heuristic knowledge extends these profiles by learning individual preferences to personalize responsive prompts of what to say for maximum romantic results.

Whether you are a Don Juan or a Don Yawn or merely amongst the masses of romantically challenged, CyraKnow™ helps you to speak eloquently, passionately, and seductively with complete panache. Download and install CyraKnow™' today and tell your beloved of your deepest and most intimate feelings they long to hear spoken in the language of love."

Might I yet hope to say to Louisa all those things I have longed to tell her from the instant I first set eyes on her? Might I yet tell her all the things she undoubtedly has longed to hear me say? Or does this device and its app amount to more of the technological tosh that I despise like housekeeping robots, personal jet packs, and Star Trek-like omniscient medical scanners? The thing is, I have no need for a worthless housekeeping robot or a preposterous jet pack or an entirely redundant medical scanner. But what I do need is Louisa. If the risk is a name for myself of placing my foot in my mouth once again then I might as well aspire to devise the eponymous surgical procedure for extracting it, perchance something like 'Ellinghamplasty'. Tomorrow whilst the surgery is quiet, I shall have time enough to prepare it and just before the ideal opportunity to put it to use.

6/24/12 to be continued...

(edited 8/5/12)