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For its Earth Two equivalent, see S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator (Earth Two).
"In the year 2020, you and your wife, Tess Morgan, successfully launched a particle accelerator that changed the course of history."
Eobard Thawne to Harrison Wells[src]

The S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, nicknamed The Pipeline, is a device that was created by S.T.A.R. Labs. Following its destruction, it was eventually used as a prison to house numerous meta-humans that it had created. Eobard Thawne also used it as a backup hideout.

History

Original timeline

In the original timeline, Harrison Wells and Tess Morgan launched successfully the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator in 2020 (in which Barry Allen gained access to Speed Force and becomes The Flash). However, because Eobard killed Wells and Tess in 2000, these events have been changed to the current.

Current timeline

The Explosion

On the night of December 21, 2013 the particle accelerator was activated by S.T.A.R. Labs to power all of Central City with clean energy, and to further the advancement of the science and medicine; however, when they turned it on, something went horribly wrong, and the particle accelerator exploded, sending a huge shock-wave into the clouds and through the entire city. It also created a lightning storm above the Central City Police Department, electrocuting Barry Allen[1] and sending him in to a coma. This incident caused him to get the ability of superspeed.[2][3] The incident also supposedly caused the loss of lives of seventeen people and injured countless more.[3]

S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator exploding

The particle accelerator's explosion, sending a shock-wave in to the clouds and through the city.

Becoming the makeshift prison

Team Flash reevaluating the particle accelerator, repurposing it into a makeshift prison.

Repurposing the accelerator

Eventually, after Barry Allen's team concluded that they couldn't keep killing meta-humans, they realized that the cavities in the particle accelerator's core chamber could contain the meta-humans' powers, and converted it into a makeshift meta-human prison. Each cavity uses a 8.3 tesla super conducting electromagnet on its barrier which makes the seal 100,000 times stronger than Earth's magnetic field, which means that it can hold meta-humans with super strength, although a Time Wraith was shown to be strong enough to nearly shatter the glass door of one of the cells.[4][5]

The Pipeline

The Pipeline entrance

The Pipeline's entrance.

After The Flash defeated Kyle Nimbus, he was imprisoned in the Pipeline and became its first inmate.[4]

Tony Woodward was imprisoned after being defeated by Barry as well.[6] He was released by Dr. Wells shortly after his initial imprisonment to combat Farooq Gibran when he broke into S.T.A.R. Labs to find Wells. Gibran killed Woodward, but after Gibran himself was killed, his corpse was put into a cell, where Wells extracted some of his blood to find out how he took Barry's powers.[7]

After making his presence known in Central City, Roy Bivolo was defeated by the combined forces of The Flash and The Arrow and imprisoned in the Pipeline as well.[8]

Hartley Rathaway was briefly imprisoned here before breaking out. [9] As an apology for allowing Hartley to escape, Cisco specially modified Shawna Baez's cell with mirrored glass to prevent her from teleporting out.[10] However, after Barry changed the timeline, Hartley never escaped the Pipeline, and instead became an ally to Team Flash after they hid inside his cell to prevent a Time Wraith from getting to them.[5]

After he traveled back in time to stop Mark Mardon's tidal wave from destroying Central City, Barry used his knowledge of future events to find Mardon and imprison him in the Pipeline before he could do any real damage.[11]

Jake Simmons was incarcerated here after his defeat by the Atom.[12]

After impersonating many people and causing terror in Central City, Hannibal Bates was defeated by Barry and imprisoned in the Pipeline.[13] However, he was freed by Eobard in exchange for impersonating him in order to set up Barry Allen's team, knowing he'd be killed. Following his kidnapping of Eddie Thawne, Eobard took him to a secret lair he'd set up underneath the Pipeline.[14]

Eobard later had Grodd release a mind-controlled Wade Eiling on Central City. After Barry defeated him, the general went into a vegetative state and was locked up in the particle accelerator. However, after Grodd was defeated, the team released Eiling. That evening, Eobard left his lair underneath the accelerator and entered the Pipeline, turning it on with the "key" he had created in his lair.[15]

Eobard's future power source

Cisco finding Eobard's "future power source" within the Pipeline, unable to analyze how to safely turn it off, due to its futuristic nature.

Reactivation

The team soon realized that Thawne had slowly been rebuilding the Pipeline and hiding underneath it. He left his hideout, freeing Peek-a-Boo from her cell as he did so. The team managed to recapture Shawna and after they put her back in her cell, they also found Eddie. When they took him back up to the Cortex, they realized that Thawne was going to turn on the Pipeline again.[16]

Barry Allen's team monitoring meta-humans in their cells

Barry's team monitoring meta-humans in their cells.

The team debated what to do with the imprisoned metas, as Barry didn't want to let them die when the Pipeline was reactivated. They decided to move the metas to Lian Yu and bring them to Ferris Air in a truck modified to block out their powers. Barry negotiated with Leonard Snart and his sister Lisa Snart to provide protection, and the two agreed. The team sedated the metas by spraying knockout gas into their cells, and placed them in a Ramon Shipping truck.[16]

The metas awoke and began squabbling, with Mark Mardon in particular picking a fight with Kyle Nimbus. However the Snarts sabotaged the truck, and the metas escaped, with Mardon striking down the plane meant to take the metas to Lian Yu with a lightning bolt. In the ensuing battle, the metas battled with The Flash and his team; Simmons was seemingly killed when being shot by Leonard's Cold Gun, Nimbus and Shawna fled the scene, while Leonard recruited Mardon and Bivolo to the Rogues.[16]

That evening, Thawne returned to S.T.A.R. Labs, but was "defeated" by the combined efforts of Barry, The Arrow, and Firestorm, and placed in a cell in the Pipeline, all only because he let himself lose because he wanted back into the Pipeline.[16]

Eobard was placed inside the Pipeline. Barry often visited Eobard to get answers about his mother's death, and Eobard told him that he could go back in time to save his mother. Eobard explained that his plan required using the particle accelerator, explaining that Barry would have to run at Mach-2 speed through the accelerator and collide with a hydrogen particle. Doing so would allow Barry to travel back in time and create a wormhole through which Eobard could return to his own time. Cisco later visited Thawne in his cell, and Thawne explained to him that he was a meta. Eventually the plan came to fruition and Barry ran at the speed required, making the jump and opening the wormhole. Eobard attempted to return to his own time in the Time Sphere, but a strange helmet came through the portal, followed by Barry, who destroyed the Sphere. Barry and Thawne fought, but Eddie Thawne shot himself and died, also erasing Eobard from existence. The portal closed but then re-emerged above Central City. After the portal closed, Team Flash stopped using the accelerator. [17]

Reuse as a prison

After Iron Heights Prison opened a meta-human wing, Team Flash no longer used the accelerator as a prison. However, after Barry and Firestorm defeated Henry Hewitt he was incarcerated in the Pipeline until he agreed to keep quiet about what he'd seen and done.[18]

Following Barry's defeat of Dr. Light, she was incarcerated in the Pipeline to be used as bait to lure Zoom to Earth Two.[19] However, Dr. Light subsequently made herself invisible and escaped the Pipeline, likely due to fear for her own safety from Zoom. [20]

Russell Glosson was defeated by the Flash and was incarcerated in the Pipeline so that the team could use his powers to potentially find a way to slow down and stop Zoom. Afterwards, however, Harry Wells injected Glosson with a drill-like device to obtain a sample of his brain tissue, killing him. [21]

When a younger version of the Reverse-Flash arrived in 2016, Barry managed to overpower him and imprison him in the Pipeline. While imprisoned, Barry learns why Thawne hates him so much enough to kill his mother, and Cisco gloats that his powers were what led to his imprisonment. However, Thawne's capture resulted in a rupture in the timeline that threatened to kill Cisco, so the team was forced to help Reverse-Flash return to the future. Both speedsters raced around the Pipeline in parallel until a wormhole opened up for Thawne to pass through.[22]

After the team found out that Harry was secretly working to steal Barry's speed for Zoom, Joe West angrily threw him into a cell to prevent himself from killing Harry. However, the team decided to release him and head to Earth Two to rescue his daughter, Jesse. [23]

When Trajectory raided S.T.A.R. Labs to obtain more Velocity-9, she threw Barry into a cell to prevent him from interfering with her plans. Once she obtained the drug and escaped, Cisco released Barry to chase her. [24]

Following the revelation of Zoom's identity, Barry decides to travel back in time to his first encounter with Hartley Rathaway to learn the Speed Force equation from Eobard Thawne, and raced around the Pipeline until he created a wormhole. However, his objective became complicated when he arrived earlier than expected and a Time Wraith pursued him. After acquiring what he needed from Thawne, Barry raced around the Pipeline to return to his time, but the Time Wraith attempted to catch him. Thankfully, his younger self is able to stall the Wraith long enough for future Barry to escape.[25]

Second particle accelerator explosion

After Barry surrendered his speed to Zoom, Harry suggested creating another particle accelerator explosion to restore his speed.[26] Having studied Eobard's data from the first explosion, Harry was confident that he could contain the dark matter explosion to S.T.A.R. Labs. Though hesitant, Barry only consented when Zoom began a reign of terror on Earth One. Recreating the circumstances, Harry injected Barry with the chemicals from his lab, while Cisco used the Wizard's Wand to create a lightning storm. When Barry was struck by lightning, he was transported into the Speed Force, while the dark matter flooded through the hallways of the building, hitting Jesse Quick and Wally West, who had left the protection of the Time Vault.[27]

Another Prison

After the team were able to stop Zoom's metahuman army, a few of the metahumans were taken to the Pipeline rather than sent to Iron Heights; as one of these prisoners was Black Siren, the double of the team's deceased ally Laurel Lance, it is likely that the other prisoners confined in this manner were also those who had doubles on Earth-One.

Post-Flashpoint

In 2016, the Pipeline was used by Barry to help train Jesse Quick in the use of her powers. While performing a leap, Jesse accidentally tripped as her foot hit the catwalk and tumbled uncontrollably before getting her feet back on solid ground, and exited the Pipeline.

As part of his quest to seek revenge against Oliver Queen and the rest of Team Arrow, the vigilante known as Prometheus broke into S.T.A.R. Labs and freed Black Siren from her cell without anyone noticing.

Known victims of particle accelerator's 1st explosion

Known Victims of particle accelerator's 2nd explosion

Known inmates

Current inmates

Former inmates


Deceased inmates

Non-Canon inmates

Appearances

Arrow

Season 2

Season 3

Season 5


The Flash

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4


Supergirl

Season 1

Chronicles of Cisco

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Season 2

Comics

The Flash: Season Zero


Behind the scenes

  • The entrance to the particle accelerator's core chamber is marked as Entrance 52,[4] a reference to DC's ongoing use of the number 52.
  • The design on the particle accelerator's door looks similar to Firestorm's logo from the DC comics.
  • In Eobard Thawne's timeline-of-origin, the particle accelerator opened in the year 2020 and its launch was successful.
  • The accelerator shown is a cyclotron.

References