The Fifth Traveller
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While The Doctor has often had to deal with enemies who had initially presented themselves as allies, and also even had to face arguments with some of his companions over moral matters, Jospa was a different matter, as he was an enemy who actually managed to convince the TARDIS crew that he was a companion even though they had never actually travelled with him.
Exactly when Jospa joined the crew was not explicitly made welcome but they had met him on the planet Vervidis after freeing the local slaves and triggering a revolution against the native rulers and their efforts to claim the TARDIS to carry out their plans of conquest. Jospa introduced himself as an Infiltrator First Class, and he was clearly able to manipulate the travellers’ memories to make himself fit in with relative ease, but it was unclear if this was a natural ability of his people or the result of a biological graft of some kind. Regardless of the source of his abilities, Jospa was able to ‘insert’ himself into the minds of the TARDIS crew so that they would remember him as having accompanied them on their visits to Byzantium (“Byzantium!”), Vortis (“The Web Planet”) and China (“The Eleventh Tiger”), after meeting him in the Undercity of 30th century Earth shortly after Vicki joined the crew (“The Rescue”), when he picked The Doctor’s pocket to take the TARDIS key and helped them regain the lost TARDIS. His telepathy allowed him to access memories and desires, but there is no sign that he was able to simply read the current thoughts of those around him, and he noted that he was unable to access The Doctor’s knowledge of how to operate the TARDIS.
Having joined them in retreating into the TARDIS after the crew had freed the slaves of the Vervidis soldiers, Jospa had presented the TARDIS crew with a component of the Vervidic’s organic technology, which he claimed to have taken from a power plant during a recent rescue. The Doctor speculated that he could use the adaptive nature of this technology to improve his control of the TARDIS, but in reality Jospa planned to use it to take control of the ship for himself, allowing him to take the TARDIS back to Vervidis so that his people could use it for themselves. Fortunately, this plan was interrupted when the TARDIS arrived on a jungle planet, The Doctor preferring to explore before conducting any work and Jospa unable to exert the necessary influence to make The Doctor link the circuit to the ship before he’d taken a look around.
However, the planet was soon revealed to have a very unique structure, with its geology being mostly sulphuric, its water partially acidic, and the local populationessentially four-armed sentient apes known as the Arunde, who lived in trees and feared the darkness. At the time the TARDIS arrived, the Arunde were ruled by the telepathic link of the Matriar, who served as a spiritual leader advising on matters such as where to hunt and maintained a telepathic link to her people by removing the ‘seeing stones’ they were born with and stringing them into a necklace that would let her link to their minds, but Sharna, the latest Matriar, was still too young to control her powers after the abrupt death of her mother. The TARDIS crew were subsequently split into three groups, with Vicki and Barbara Wright lost in the forest after a local bird nearly carried Vicki away because her jacket smelled like the fruit it ate (Vicki believed that she had seen a Vervidic soldier and fell into a pile of rotten fruit in a panic), while The Doctor was swept away by a river when an Arunde hunting party attacked him, leaving Ian Chesterton and Jospa to search for him on their own. During his time alone, The Doctor gained a vital clue about what was happening on this planet when he discovered the nest of the previous Matriar, which had fallen to the ground after it was deliberately cut down, but he didn’t realise the importance of this discovery at first.
Returning to the TARDIS to recuperate, Vicki and Barbara placed the Vervidic control circuit on the console in a moment of idle conversation, but it immediately tried to latch on to the ship, triggering a telepathic plea for help from the TARDIS that was even detected by Sharna. The women were able to remove it from the console with The Doctor’s help when he returned to the ship, but the resulting psychic shock temporarily erased Jospa completely from Barbara and Vicki’s memories, unable to recall even their genuine interaction with him, although The Doctor still remembered him. The Doctor took the two women out to find Jospa and Ian, but when Jospa returned to help them drive off an angry Arunde, he actually erased Ian from their memories while reinforcing his own presence, encouraging them to leave the planet even after Jospa had left Ian trapped in a bog.
However, as Ian began to drown in the bog, he experienced a brief ‘vision’ of a Vervidic warrior before Sharna travelled down to the surface, certain that the TARDIS crew were not the threat after she had sensed the TARDIS’s telepathic call for help and now determined to help both her people and the strangers. While Jospa tried to encourage his ‘fellow companions’ to leave the planet while accusing the Arunde of the memory lapses, Sharna spoke with Ian in a telepathic illusion of his local pub in 1963, not getting a full picture of Ian’s history but seeing enough to be sure that he was not a threat. Despite Jospa’s efforts to enforce his mental control of the other three, he moved ‘out of range’ when climbing into an abyss to recover the TARDIS after a group of Arunde dropped it in the belief it was responsible for their recent troubles, allowing The Doctor, Barbara and Vicki to remember Ian. As Jospa tried to reassert his control, Ian was taken to the Arunde village and spoke with Sharna about the telepathic link she shared with her people, but became caught up in an argument between Sharna and Gark, her former mate who felt that the role of Matriar had become tyrannical rather than benevolent guidance.
As Gark set himself up in opposition to Sharna, reclaiming his seeing stone to separate himself from the Matriar’s ‘control’, Vicki was left puzzled after another strange appearance by a Vervidic soldier and Jospa suddenly mentioning a private story about Vicki’s mother that she was sure she would never have told anyone else. However, her confusion changed to fear when Jospa ‘suggested’ that The Doctor and Barbara leave Vicki with him, erasing their memories of Vicki and Ian so that they would leave Vicki alone with him. Now alone, Jospa’s control finally snapped as he confronted Vicki, venting about how he had been unable to exert his control over her as she had no clear desire for him to manipulate, simply wanting the family she had found in the TARDIS unlike The Doctor’s desire to control the TARDIS or Ian and Barbara’s longing to get home. In the course of the conversation, he also revealed that the Vervidis warriors Vicki and Ian had seen earlier was their subconscious attempting to manifest a warning of what had happened to them, but he decided to end the problem she posed to his plans by stabbing her with a poisoned branch.
Fortunately, as The Doctor, Barbara and Jospa were attacked by an Arunde force led by Gark, Ian and the Matriar were able to rescue Vicki and give her an antidote for the branch’s poison, allowing her to tell Ian the truth about Jospa. As The Doctor, Barbara and Jospa fled up a hill, exploiting the Arundes’ physiology as it left them ill-suited to just walking, Jospa was forced to exert his influence over the Arunde to make them stop their pursuit, but this cost him his ability to influence The Doctor and Barbara, allowing The Doctor to realise Jospa’s deception and remind Barbara of the truth. Jospa attempted to use this turn of events to his advantage by taking control of the Arunde via their existing psychic connection to each other, claiming that he would help them escape the ‘tyranny’ of the Matriar if they would help him gain control of the TARDIS.
Although Jospa was able to beat the four genuine TARDIS travellers to the ship, he soon realised that Vicki had taken the Vervidis control circuit earlier, but they were forced into a stand-off when Jospa’s Arunde victims captured The Doctor and Barbara. Sharna attempted to regain her link to her people by using her new link to the TARDIS to amplify her powers, but Jospa threw her control by revealing that Gark had killed the previous Matriar in the belief that he was sparing Sharna of the role, leaving her shaken and doubting herself once again. Jospa attempted to bargain with Vicki and Ian for the control unit in exchange for The Doctor and Barbara, but although The Doctor and Barbara escaped using the seeing stones The Doctor had found by the body of the previous Matriar as a distraction, Vicki had already gone to the TARDIS to put her own plan into action. Vicki attempted to gain the upper hand by triggering another psychic shock by putting the Vervidis circuit on the TARDIS console again, driving the Arunde away so that Sharna could regain her link to them while the rest of the TARDIS crew returned to the ship.
Confronting Jospa, The Doctor taunted him with the idea that his ‘fake’ background of life in the slums was actually based on reality, suggesting that he had been a poor orphan on the Vervidis homeworld as well as in the history he created for them. Refusing to acknowledge The Doctor’s argument, Jospa attempted to trap The Doctor in a telepathic illusion, offering him the chance to see Susan again or travel home in exchange for giving Jospa the TARDIS so that the Vervidic could use it in their campaign of conquest, but Sharna entered the telepathic conversation and helped The Doctor throw off Jospa’s influence. As the control circuit began to shrivel as it was caught in the telepathic conflict, the abrupt end of the struggle caused Jospa’s death as he was attacked by the telepathic force of the full Arunde people, once again united under Sharna but sharing communication rather than the Matriar taking full control. As Sharna took her place in her people once again, she ordered Gark to leave her as she could never forgive him for his role in her mother’s death, while the TARDIS crew ‘buried’ Jospa’s body in one of the quagmires on the planet, Ian musing that he could hope that Jospa would rest in peace even if everything they remembered about him had been fake and their longer-term memories of him would be lost apart from everything that had happened on Vervidis.