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Of all The Doctor’s companions, Mila is unquestionably the longest-serving- despite the fact that The Doctor spent five lifetimes without being aware of her presence, as well as the most mysterious. Originally a victim of Dalek research into various viruses that the Daleks had discovered at multiple locations across time and space, Mila was the test subject of a virus that could turn any other patient into a duplicate of the original host, the Daleks’ intentions being to develop a virus that could turn everyone infected with it into a Dalek. Having failed to develop a Dalek version of the virus, they managed to perfect its development by using Mila as a test subject, but when attempts to transfer the virus into a Dalek simply resulted in the deaths of all Daleks infected with the virus, the Daleks bombarded Mila with all kinds of radiation. This ‘treatment’ resulted in Mila being shifted into another dimension that rendered her invisible and intangible to all other life forms around her, while also apparently rendering her functionally immortal given that she survived for centuries in the TARDIS without anyone knowing of her existence or any apparent means of gaining sustenance.
The radiation having destroyed her memory of her past life apart from her name, Mila escaped in a Dalek time ship that had been sent to track The Doctor (Most likely during “The Chase”), subsequently escaping the Daleks to hide in the TARDIS, where she remained for several centuries. Although The Doctor was never aware of her presence, various companions came and went while Mila remained in the ship, watching The Doctor throughout his first five regenerations – the available evidence suggests that she rarely left the TARDIS, most likely out of fear that she would become separated from The Doctor and be left behind when he departed, growing ever more desperate to become his true companion. This chance eventually came when Charley Pollard – the future companion of the Doctor, who had unintentionally rescued her from the events which would have resulted in her death and taken her as his companion until they were separated during a fight with the Cybermen (“The Girl Who Never Was”) – was picked up by the Sixth Doctor when he responded to her distress call, Charley having been trying and failing to make contact with ‘her’ Doctor. Apparently aware of the potential temporal paradoxes caused by Charley’s existence – including her survival of the events that should have killed her and her currently travelling with a younger version of the Doctorshe’d originally met, the TARDIS ‘refused’ to protect Charley from Mila’s viruses the way it had protected The Doctor’s previous companions, allowing Mila to take on Charley’s physical appearance – while ‘shifting’ Charley out of phase with reality like Mila had been, and thus giving Mila the chance to travel with The Doctor.
The extent to which Mila could be considered a true companion is somewhat ambiguous, given that her relationship with The Doctor could be regarded as more of an obsession than a genuine friendship. Although she often talked about her admiration of him, having read Dalek reports of their previous encounters with him and subsequently witnessing many of his adventures while hiding in the TARDIS, Mila’s willingness to condemn Charley to her fate as an intangible ‘ghost’ simply so that she could travel with The Doctor herself demonstrated a selfishness that The Doctor himself would never condone. Her fundamentally selfish attitude was further reflected in her dealings with Gomori, a Draconian fisherman whom ‘Charley’ had befriended while The Doctor attended the funeral rites of his old friend the Fifteenth Emperor of Draconia (“Paper Cuts”), despite the fact that his time with them would only be brief, she actively discouraged Gomori from joining them in the TARDIS, for no other apparent reason than that she wanted The Doctor all to herself. This obsession was further demonstrated when Mila refused to allow The Doctor to sacrifice himself to destroy Amethyst station to stop the Daleks gaining access to the viruses simply because she didn’t want to lose him, as well as her later attempt to claim that the original Charley was a clone created by the mysterious Viyrans to stop the truth about her being exposed, thinking only about what would benefit her without giving any thought to the wider concerns involved in the current situation (Without The Doctor to control the explosion the viruses stored on Amethyst were scattered across the universe, and the belief that the Viyrans were creating clones triggered a riot among the already-temperamental humans).
Despite the lies surrounding Mila’s relationship with The Doctor, she nevertheless appeared to bond very well with The Doctor over the course of their time together, apparently sharing several unrecorded adventures with The Doctor between “Paper Cuts” and their next recorded appearance in”Blue Forgotten Planet”, including a visit to the holiday planet Grallista Social. Finally arriving on Earth after various detours to other worlds – The Doctor’s target date was the 1930s, but given that the TARDIS’s systems were disrupted by interference it’s unclear whether he achieved this goal or arrived at another point in history, The Doctor and ‘Charley’ discovered that all humanity had degenerated to a feral mentality as a result of the Viyrans’ attempts to eliminate a virus that existed in the form of a single particle in the bodies of every human on Earth (Despite the fact that there was only a one in five billion chance that the virus would manifest, and even then the virus would only activate seven hundred millennia in the future)… as well as being reunited with the real Charley Pollard – who had been discovered and treated by the Viyrans on Amethyst, subsequently working for them to provide assistance in tracking the viruses when required in exchange for their aid in helping her find The Doctor, who finally told The Doctor the truth about her past and her time with his future self.
Although the two Charleys – now genetically indistinguishable from each other – initially found themselves unable to agree about anything, when The Doctor ordered them to depart the TARDIS while he used a temporal sphere powered by the Viyran dissemination device to take the entire human population of Earth back in time after discovering that the virus could be erased when exposed to chronal energy generated during time travel – the Viyran technology allowing him to use the TARDIS to turn time on Earth back to the moment before the Viyrans detected the virus and thus undoing the damage they had done, they began to form a tentative bond when Mila reminded Charley that her sociopathic tendencies were the result of her time being tortured by the Daleks, Mila subsequently offering Charley an attempt at comfort when Charley admitted that the future Doctor she originally travelled with had died before she encountered the Sixth Doctor. Unfortunately, this tentative potential friendship was cut short when Mila sacrificed herself to disable the Viyran disseminator, currently channelling so much power that it would be lethal to touch it, but knowing that it had to be deactivated in order to stop the TARDIS dragging Earth so far back in time that mankind’s evolution would be erased.
Recognising that she had to depart from The Doctor’s company in order to protect the Web of Time – as well as fulfilling the Viyrans’ primary rule of erasing the memories of all who had contact with the viruses to prevent knowledge of them being revealed to the rest of the universe, Charley convinced The Doctor to allow the Viyrans to alter his memories of their time together, telling him that he had to forget about his time with her so that he would be unaware that his ‘death’ was approaching him when he met her for the ‘first’ time in his eighth incarnation (In reality The Doctor had simply entered a healing coma after falling victim to a Cyberman implant that was used to control him, the implant leaving his memories of the last few hours too confused for him to remember precisely what had happened to Charley after the HADS took the TARDIS away from a disintegrating ship (“The Girl Who Never Was”). As a result, the Viyrans edited the Sixth Doctor’s memories of his time with Charley to replace her name and face with Mila’s true appearance, including a non-Viyran-related departure in which Mila simply left The Doctor to make her own life on the grounds that travelling with him had begun to feel more like running away from life rather than having a true life of her own. As a result, Mila got her wish of being a true companion to The Doctor – even if The Doctor would never learn the full extent of her time with him, while Charley was able to preserve the timeline.