The heroes needed an invitation to the Freedom City Valentines Gala for The Children. Knowing his family was on the board for the charity, Eric turned to his mother for help. She agreed to get him two invitations, each with a “plus one,” but only if he and a partner appeared as official representatives of the Freedom Five, and if Eric proposed to his girlfriend, Juanita Vatos. “I need grandchildren,” she exclaimed! After the recent assassination attempts by the mysterious Orion the Hunter, Eric was a little reticent, for fear that he would be putting others at risk, but he agreed.
Now this is when things get blurry so regardless of what actually happened, here’s what I have decided happened next:
After a nice evening of great music, dancing, wonderful food and drinks, Eric and Alex were called to the podium to address the attendees. Alex gave a terrific speech importance of recognizing and rewarding civic responsibility as part our daily lives, afterwards Eric used this moment to ask Juanita for her hand in marriage. She was stunned, but happily accepted. After the party, Eric, Juanita, Alex, and Elizabeth took Eric’s limousine back to the Plaza hotel. Juanita, exhausted from dancing, went up to her room to change into more comfortable shoes. A few minutes later, Eric received a text “Neutrino – if you ever wish to see Juanita alive again you had better come rescue her.”
He knew it was a trap, but he didn’t care. He ran out the front door of the building and as soon as he he felt the freezing starlit air, he activated his powers and flew up the side of building, shattering countless windows with an unintentional sonic boom, and flew through the window into his lover’s room. Suddenly heavy walls slammed down around the room, trapping him, and separating him from the very person he came to rescue. He tried to blast through the walls, but his powers didn’t seem to harm them. In fact they seemed to be absorbing his blasts. He then tried to smash through the walls by slamming at his top flight speed, thinking he would either break through the wall or shatter his own bones; instead he just lost all acceleration as he reached the wall. It was as though it absorbed the kinetic energy of the impact. He tried again, this time slamming into the floor. The result was much the same. He tried over and over again, until he noticed that his speed seemed to be diminishing. The walls weren’t just absorbing his kinetic energy, it was absorbing his powers. He also noticed that instead of his usual 12 inch height, he was almost 2 feet tall. Worried that he would continue to lose his powers, he returned to his normal form of Eric Halliday.
The walls began to glow with the image of a strange plum colored man. He began to monologue about the true origin of Neutrino’s powers. This man was an extra-terrestrial scientist, sent to perform tests on our sun. After completing 15 years of work in our solar system, he ship experienced a systems failure and crash landed on Earth at the French Swiss border. His ship needed major repairs, but earth lacked the materials needed so, disguised as a human, he manipulated humans into building the Large Hadron Collider which would allow him to re-energize his ships power core. Unfortunately, because of Eric’s meddling, instead of re-energizing his ship, it transformed Eric into Neutrino. Now he must take back that energy so that he can return to his home world. “I will have to succeed where that mercenary failed. It’s just unfortunate that the power can’t be separated from you… without killing you.”
A few moments later he threw his hands to his ears as in a pointless attempt to protect himself from the loudest sound he had ever experienced. It was the sound of Ironhide repeatedly punching the walls of the reverberating metal box. Eventually he was able to break his way through, but not before rupturing one of Eric’s eardrums. The alien escaped in his spacecraft, though still unable to escape earth’s gravity. Juanita was safe, but they both needed medical attention.
Eric could feel that his powers were slowly returning to him, but he also knew that somewhere out there, the strange alien was just waiting to try again.