As with many of the mad scientists faced by The Doctor over the centuries, Milton Orestes suffered from an abundance of intellect and a significant lack of morality, creating advanced technology that turned people into living weapons with no sign that he cared about the moral consequences of his actions.
Originally a weapons dealer who ran afoul of the Shadow Proclamation due to the nature of his weapons, Orestes went on the run and eventually settled on Earth in 1890s London, establishing a new identity as a wealthy industrialist to conceal his real origin, going by the alias of ‘Orestes Milton’ because he felt it was more suited to the Victorian era. Continuing his work, Orestes focused his attention on a street carnival, concluding that some of the carnival workers had talents that he could use.
His new weapons included Silhouette, a woman who performed shadow puppets at the carnival, who was enhanced with a low-level telekinesis that allowed her to control her shadow puppets and other paper objects in any manner that she wished. Another weapon was Affinity, originally a greeter at the carnival who was skilled at winning over his audience, who became a shape-shifter who could draw on others’ memories and perceptions to shape himself to be someone they could talk to, either a variation of themselves or just someone his audience would naturally like. His third and potentially most dangerous weapon was Empath, who could manipulate emotions, inspiring Milton’s later work.
His actions attracted The Doctor’s attention when the TARDIS detected an energy spike from a post-nuclear power source in London in that era, arriving just as Madame Vastra was investigating the mysterious death of Marlowe Hapworth, found dead in a locked room and Strax was looking into the death of boxer Rick Bellamy, who had been apparently drained of his life energy. Determining that Orestes Milton was the likely source of the spike when he used various incorrect terms during a conversation that suggested he was using a translator matrix of some sort – such as using the word ‘debrief’ which only came into use in the Second World War and recognising the word ‘origami’ when it was only known in Japan so far – The Doctor soon deduced his true identity.
Learning that his actions had attracted attention, Milton had Affinity keep an eye on his enemies, such as appearing to Clara as a teacher called Oswald who reminded her of her Victorian counterpart (“The Snowmen” and “The Name of the Doctor “) or to Vastra as another Silurian. Although his efforts to spy on The Doctor failed – Affinity manifested as variations on The Doctor’s past incarnations, but the new Doctor’s current hostility and self-loathing left him unreceptive – Milton was able to lure The Doctor to his factory in time to reveal his true plan. Based on the method he used to create Empath, Milton’s plan was to harness and release London’s anger on the populationso that they would destroy themselves, his initial murders being tests of his various weapons, Bellamy had been drained by Empath and Silhouette had killed Hapworth by using pieces of paper to give him numerous papercuts. He attempted to test this weapon by releasing a fragment of the collected anger against The Doctor, but The Doctor was able to contain himself thanks to his long experience with anger, eventually purging himself of the weapon’s influence.
Although he was able to trigger the weapon, Milton’s plan was thwarted when the TARDIS crew and the gang were able to free Milton’s human weapons from his control, with his cloud of anger being negated by Empath releasing a wave of positive energy drawn from a carnival show organised by The Doctor and Strax. Milton was subsequently tricked into leaving Earth by Affinity, who posed as a senior member of the Shadow Proclamation to claim that Milton would be pardoned for his crimes if he shared his technology with them. After he had left the atmosphere only to be attacked by the Shadow Proclamation ship sent to execute him, Affinity and Silhouette sent him another message to reveal their deception, with Silhouette’s low-level telekinesis allowing her to distract Milton by attacking him with all the paper lying around his ship before he could evade the missiles. With Milton’s ship destroyed, the three weapons departed to make their own way in the world.