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The Legion of Super-Heroes Reference File

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Time Institute / Time Travel

The Time Institute at Metropolis University was the foremost place in the United Planets for the study, application and research of time-travel and time-manipulation theory. As such, it takes very high recommendations to get admitted, and there is a three-year waiting list as well. The institute was overseen by Circadia Senius, probably the best-known time theorist, under whose direction the Institute opened, who bore the title Chronarch.

The biggest bar to time-travel was the discovery, by twentieth-century time-traveller Rip Hunter , that only one method of time-travel could be used by an individual during his or her lifetime; thereafter, it would be unavailable to them. This was later discovered to be a problem related to physiology rather than physics; the second application of the same time-travel method would cause excruciating pain and physical damage to an ordinary human being; invulnerable beings, such as Superman, are known to have traveled many times using the same method. More light was later shed on the phenomenon when it was discovered that the pain was due to something known in twentieth-century scientific journals as the "Kobra-Jason Burr Complex", in which the simultaneous existence of identical nervous systems had an adverse effect on the individuals involved. (Apparently, the use of an alternate time-travel method circumvents this problem because the different method puts the traveler on a different "track" of time.) Many attempts were made to get around this difficulty, most of them involving protective force-fields, but none of them worked in the odd environment of the time stream. This dry spell came to an end when the Coluan Brainiac 5 invented a novel type of force-field that would work in the time stream, and, attaching it to working travel-devices, created the first multi-use time-travel device, the Time Bubble. With it came another invention, the Time Beacon, which helped guide time-travelers to their home time.

It was soon after this 2973 discovery that another of the Institute's scientists invented a viewer with enough power to view the beginning of time. Before they could do so, however, the Controllers intervened, sending their Darkstars to stop the experiment and telling Circadia Senius and the Legionnaires, who had been called in to stop the Darkstars, of problems that the attempt to view the beginning of time had caused in the distant past. The Chronarch agreed to not attempt the experiment again, but one of the Darkstars, feeling that his masters were hiding something from him, tried to do it with the not-yet-dismantled equipment, only to be stopped by the Legionnaires. This, though no one knew it at the time, was the beginning of Universo's criminal career (Legion of Super-Heroes (1st series) # 295). This mission brought the Legion two gifts from the Time Institute: their very own Time Bubble, and Brainiac 5, who decided to join after seeing them in action.

The next major advance in time-travel was the Time Cube, invented in 2978 by the teenaged genius Rond Vidar. Rather than the "linear" type of travel that previous inventions achieved (thus creating the problem that a person using the same device to travel twice will end up passing himself in time, causing the nervous-system problem mentioned earlier), his invention made use of a "teleportational" mode, which meant that someone could go from one point in time to another without passing through all the points in-between, circumventing the problems of previous time-travel devices. This creation of his saved the Legion on several occasions (Adventure Comics # 349), and won Vidar a scholarship to the Time Institute and later, honorary Legion membership. Rond Vidar's Time-Cube technology was appropriated by the Dominators for use in the form of a weapon that would shunt the contents of a spherically-defined area in time called a chronal howitzer. In 2994, the Dominators gave one to Roxxas, which he had used on Jo Nah (Legion of Super-Heroes (3rd series) # 10), sending him five thousand years into the past, and Brainiac 5 duplicated the device, giving one to Shrinking Violet, which she used to send Glorith to the far future in 2995 (Legion of Super-Heroes (3rd series) # 17).

Vidar's next invention was somewhat less successful, though. In 2982, he invented a machine to test his theory that time was structured in a circular form, with the end connected to the beginning, and a graduate student named Jaxon Rugarth volunteered to man its maiden voyage. Unfortunately, the strain of passing through time so many times drove Rugarth mad, and he emerged as the revenge-crazed, extremely powerful Infinite Man. Rond used the device to trap him in the time-stream once again (Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes # 233), but the creature was freed again during the time disruptions that accompanied the 2986 Crisis on Infinite Earths (Legion of Super-Heroes (2nd series) # 18). The Infinite Man has reappeared on a few occasions since then as well.

Although Circadia Senius was usually willing to let Legionnaires borrow Time Bubbles or other equipment (Legion of Super-Heroes (2nd series) # 23, 37, 50), and often asked them to do so when there was a chronological mystery to be solved (Booster Gold # 8), they had to have good reason, and on occasion, those who were on top-secret missions have had to use guile to get their hands on one (Legionnaires 3 # 2). The Institute was destroyed by the Time Trapper in early 2987, but with the help of Brainiac 5 and the Legion, it was quickly back up and running (Legion of Super-Heroes (2nd series) # 36-37). A much more permanent blow was struck in 2995; the Institute was destroyed when it was too near a spot hit by a large lunar fragment after the destruction of the moon in 2995 (Legion of Super-Heroes (3rd series) # 19).

Other members of the Time Institute are Doctor Chaseer, who, for a brief time in late 2986, nursed a crush on Brainiac 5 (Legion of Super-Heroes (2nd series) # 16, 30), Bolina, a friend of hers (Legion of Super-Heroes (2nd series) # 16), and Doctor Manning, who discovered the ruins of Rip Hunter's time-machine as left in the twentieth century by Booster Gold, with a Legion flight ring and a section of Brainiac 5's force-field belt inside (Booster Gold # 8).

Booster Gold

Michael Jon "Booster" Carter was a budding football star in the year 2460, when, in order to get money to heal a sickness that would have killed his mother, he made a deal with gamblers to fix games and fell from grace. Banned from the one profession he was suited for, he took a job as a janitor in the Space Museum, which contained memorabilia of many heroes, including the time machine of Rip Hunter, legendary Time Master and later, a Linear Man, a Legion flight ring and Brainiac 5's force-field belt. He decided that he could probably make money of being a super-hero during the hero-crazy twentieth century, so he stole the time machine, and, with the help of a security robot, Skeets, he assembled a suit to give him super-powers, which included parts of the force-field belt, took the flight ring, and made himself a heroic identity, Goldstar. He landed in the late twentieth century, knowing that later that day, history recorded an assassination attempt on the President of the United States by a shape-changing assassin.

In 2986, Doctor Manning and Circadia Senius of the Time Institute discovered the ruins of the time machine, idle since the twentieth century, with Legion-related items inside. In order to figure out how these items got into the past, Brainiac 5, Ultra Boy and Chameleon Boy went back to the day Carter landed, thinking that he was trying to assassinate the president using the Legion's futuristic equipment. When the Legionnaires attacked Carter to prevent him from attempting the assassination, he assumed they were the assassins, especially Chameleon Boy, since his information showed the assassin to be a shape-changer. Eventually, they all realized their mistakes, and cooperated in the capture of the true assassin, a man called Chiller. After Chiller was stopped, and the Legionnaires spoke to Carter and assured themselves of his good intentions, they left behind a flight ring and force-field belt in order that history be satisfied and returned to the thirtieth century. Carter, at a subsequent press conference, accidentally gave his name as "Booster Gold," and so he was known for the remainder of his super-heroic career (Booster Gold # 8-9).

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[Legion Help-File © Chaim Keller.] Original Material © 1997-2016 Adam Arnold, All Rights Reserved.