Awkwardly, Techie tugged at the hem of her skirt and fidgeted in her seat. The back of the Frohike was roomy enough to allow her to fidget all she liked without so much as brushing the Captain's very obviously pregnant belly and she was taking full advantage of the ancient Volkswagen's size. Jonathan watched her squirming in the rearview mirror and took a little too much pleasure in it.
"Techie, relax." Captain reached out to pat her friends' hand comfortingly. "You have nothing to worry about."
"I'm not nervous." Techie jerked away from the Captain's touch automatically.
"I didn't say you were. Like Al said, how bad could it be?"
"Has Mel Brooks taught you nothing? Don't ask that." Techie's distress was obvious. "Don't ever ask that. I'm wearing a dress. If that isn't a portent of doom, I don't know what is. God, I think I'm going to throw up."
Al shifted in her seat so she could look back at the edgy henchgirl behind her. "Everything will be fine. You're smart and pretty."
Techie just cast her eyes to one side and crossed her arms over her chest. "Meh."
"She's right," the Captain agreed. "Even Squishy thinks so. Squishy, tell her she's smart and pretty."
Jonathan didn't respond.
"Squishy," the Captain ground out from between clenched teeth. "Tell her she's smart and pretty."
"Would you guys just stop it?" Techie snapped. "No amount of flattery is going to make me calm down, so just let it go, okay? I'm going to meet my father for the very first time. My mafia connected father. No matter what you say, this is not going to go well."
The Captain fixed Techie with the steely mom-look she'd secretly been practicing in the bathroom mirror since she'd found out she was pregnant. "Techie, really, what's the worst thing that could happen? Honestly?"
As though she had been rehearsing the list inside her head, Techie let loose a roll of possible scenarios. "In order from least to most horrible: There could be an earthquake. We could get food poisoning from eating bad clams. The cops could raid the place. Batman could show up to arrest any number of my family members. Batman could show up to arrest us. Squishy could accidentally gas the place. Squishy could intentionally gas the place. The Joker could crash the party. Everyone within a five mile radius could die!"
"None of that is going to…well, okay, those are definite possibilities," Al replied honestly. "We do live in Gotham, after all."
"But the odds are pretty…" The Captain made a face. "Well, no, the odds are pretty high for some of those. But we most likely won't…get food poisoning?"
"Wow, we suck at reassurance," Al muttered in awe.
Techie buried her face in her hands. The Captain reached out and awkwardly rubbed her shoulder. "Hey, hey, it's okay. Really."
Techie made a squeaky, wheezy noise. "But…what if…"
"What if what?"
"What if he doesn't like me?"
"Smegface." The Captain exhaled noisily, trying not to laugh. "He'll like you."
"Are you sure?"
"He's your dad."
"That doesn't mean anything."
"If he doesn't like you of his own volition, we'll make him like you," Al supplied helpfully. "We'll strap him down and do that Clockwork Orange thing to him. You know, with the eyes and the negative stimuli?"
Techie parted her fingers and looked at her friends. "You'd do that for me?"
"Of course we would." Al pegged her thumb in Jonathan's direction. "He'd probably even help with that part."
"You guys are the greatest." The Captain and Al beamed at her. "But I'm still pretty sure I'm going to throw up."
"Huh, she does look a little green…"
"Jonathan, maybe you'd better pull over."