Crouched in the bushes around the old bridge that had been chosen as the meeting place, the old man wondered at the irony of this situation; once again, he'd found a world that had begun its existence as an Earth colony, only for it to lose most records of its origin and now believe that it was the original Earth instead of the colony it was in reality.
Of course, the reasons for this colony's assumption were more straightforward than the events that had led to the Matrix planet coming to that conclusion; this world had been terraformed to resemble Earth by people with too much time on their hands and a strong sense of nostalgia, but it had been in such a distant part of the galaxy that they lost contact with the rest of humanity when the Empire collapsed and nobody had managed to reach it yet.
Historical records were comparatively sketchy around these events, which had made it harder for him to determine where to act, but that also made it easier for him to do something here; since few people knew the specifics of events on this planet, he had more leeway to change the finer details so long as the broader picture stayed intact. It had taken time for him to identify the right moment for him to step in so that he could make the maximum impact with the minimal amount of involvement- the Time War was making the Web of Time more unstable than usual, but the Daleks would certainly notice if his TARDIS stayed in one place for too long- but he felt that it was worth the risk.
So long as he didn't stay too long and give the Daleks a reason to this part of history, everything should be fine…
After waiting by the bridge that was destined to be the sight of the imminent conference, he smiled slightly as he saw the two young women approaching the middle of the bridge; this attempt at a peaceful negotiation hadn't worked out at the time, but he had to admire the 100's effort to at least try and come to some kind of resolution even if it hadn't succeeded. As he heard Clarke Griffin introduce herself to the woman history identified as Anya, he carefully manoeuvred around the riverbank on the side that Clarke had come from, his eyes scanning his surroundings as his ears listened to the conversation between the two women. The conversation started off about as he'd expected from the records, with Clarke arguing for peace while Anya attributed it to nothing more than the 100 having started a war they didn't know how to end, but the beginning wasn't important; what was important was that they have the chance to reach the conclusion they didn't reach the first time around.
At least Clarke was being honest when she started explaining that they had believed that this planet was uninhabited; most of the Ark's initial mistakes were the result of them being unable to let go of the idea that they would have been re-colonising Earth, rather than just moving back down to live with everyone else. If they just had time to assure the various 'Grounder' tribes that they had never intended violence when they came to Earth, and Anya could accept that they'd only acted in self-defence after that initial mistake, this could still work out…
"Lincoln said there are more of you coming down, warriors," Anya said, the old man only just able to hear her words as he slowly advanced along the riverbank.
"The guard, yes, but also farmers, doctors, engineers," Clarke replied, clearly wanting Anya to focus on issues besides the potential for further conflict. "We can help each other but not if we're at war."
"Can you promise that these new arrivals won't attack us, that they'll respect the terms you and I agree on?" Anya asked, her arms folded as she looked contemplatively at Clarke.
"I promise I will do everything I can to convince them to honor the terms that we set," Clarke replied, demonstrating a sincerity that the old man had to admire; in the days before the War, he had a feeling he would have enjoyed the opportunity to show Clarke more of the wider universe…
The old man heard Anya ask questions about why she should agree to an alliance that could be broken as soon as the rest of the Ark came down, but even though Clarke replied by warning Anya about the weapons their people had to unleash, things hadn't degenerated into open conflict yet; he still had time to prevent these negotiations from completely falling apart…
As he continued walking along the edge of the river, it didn't take long for him to see the small group that had taken it upon themselves to act as 'security' for Clarke's attempted delegation; two young men in black and one darker-skinned woman in a red leather jacket, with the thinner man aiming a gun at the trees on the other side of the river.
"…is bad," he heard the man aiming the gun say.
"What the hell are you talking about?" the other young man asked.
"There's Grounders in the trees," the man aiming the gun said, urgently scanning his surroundings.
"What?" the woman asked.
"Where?" the other boy asked, as they both raised their guns to study the area with their targeting scopes.
"Are you sure?" the woman asked after a few seconds' assessment.
"I don't see anything," the other man confirmed.
"They're gonna-!" the young man began to say as he walked forward.
"No," the old man said, stepping out from the trees and grabbing the gun with one hand as he placed the forefinger and middle finger of his other hand on the young man's forehead, knocking him to the ground before he could pull the trigger or say anything else.
"What the-?" the other young man said, looking at the new arrival in shock.
"Itchy trigger fingers are never a good thing to have at a peace conference," the old man said, as he turned to stare at the two youngsters, narrowing his eyes as he stared at them. "You're going to keep watch, but do nothing unless the other side fires first… and help this young fellow back to his feet."
As the young man and young woman blinked uncertainly while processing his 'instructions', the old man turned around and walked back up into the forest, satisfied that he had done his part in that regard at least.
The telepathic 'pulse' and verbal hypnosis were both tricks he'd been more comfortable with in his seventh incarnation, but he just needed to put Jasper down for a few moments and distract the other two for the same amount of time, and he had the advantage that he'd been preparing to do this since he'd arrived here; just because it wasn't as effortless for him as it had been for his predecessor didn't mean it was impossible. When he regained consciousness, Jasper would have a slight headache, but he'd just assume that he'd stumbled over a loose rock or something, and the other two would have no conscious recollection that anything else had happened.
With that issue settled, he turned his attention back to the conversation, cursing slightly as he heard Anya's continued suspicion of Clarke's argument. Clarke's desire for peace might be genuine, but right now the 'Grounders' had far more experience at seeing strangers as enemies rather than potential allies, and when he thought about it, the Ark residents didn't have anything concrete to offer the natives at this point…
In other words, if this was going to work out, he was going to have to take a more active role than he'd originally hoped.
Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the small thought crystal he'd acquired from Fitz's room while he was going through the TARDIS after he and Trix had left to make a new life for themselves, just in case his old friend had left anything behind that was particularly important or sentimental. Fitz's ability to use it would have been limited given his lack of telepathic ability, but so long as he was careful about it, the crystal should be enough for him to give each party just the right nudge…
Share something, he projected towards Anya. Give her something…
"We have many problems right now," Anya said, unaware of his subtle prompt as she glared at Clarke. "I cannot afford to deal with more-"
"Exactly; you have enemies already, but I don't want to be your enemy," Clarke said, looking urgently at Anya. "We're all going to have trouble when the rest of our people come down, with our technology and your numbers. Our people have all kinds of technology and experience that we would be willing to share with you, and your people have your own experience of this world; we need your help to survive, and we'd be willing to offer you our help in dealing with your enemies."
Anya stood in silence for a short while as she looked at Clarke, but from what the old man could see from his position, she seemed to be giving Clarke's words serious thought…
"We never intended to start a war when we came here," Clarke continued, looking desperately at Anya. "Please… if you have other enemies, give us a chance to help you try and find peace."
After staring thoughtfully at Clarke for a few moments, Anya smiled.
"Your argument is… compelling," she said, nodding at the younger woman in understanding. "I shall… consider your offer."
"Thank you," Clarke said, nodding back at Anya in obvious relief.
"Do not be too eager to thank me; I must consult with the Commander before a final decision can be reached," Anya said, looking solemnly at Clarke, before her expression shifted into a slight smile. "But for what it is worth… I believe that your desire for peace is genuine."
"Just… do what you can," Clarke replied, giving Anya a broader smile in return. "Thank you for trusting me."
Nodding in satisfaction at his work, the old man turned around and headed back into the trees around the river, taking care to adopt a very meandering path during his return to the TARDIS; he'd only been needed here to give everyone the appropriate nudge.
Hopefully, with peace achieved, none of the 'Grounder' tribe would try to use John Murphy to mount a viral attack like they had in the original course of events, while the new alliance should make it easier for the two sides to find some other way of dealing with the issue of Mount Weather's plans to ensure their own survival over everything else.
Even if he still didn't like war, he had to acknowledge that bonding over a common enemy was far from the worst reason to form an alliance with someone that he'd ever encountered in his travels...
AN 4: For those who want to know, Fitz and Trix were companions of the Eighth Doctor- the War Doctor's immediate predecessor- in the BBC novels published between 1997 and 2005; Fitz joined the Doctor in 'The Taint' and was with him almost continuously until the end of the series, while Trix first met the Doctor in the novel 'Time Zero' and officially started travelling with him from the novel 'Timeless' until 'The Gallifrey Chronicles', when she left the TARDIS with Fitz.