"There they are." Sam said, leading Mike and Laci into the food court. Danny and Tucker were at a table, eating cheese fries.
"Hey, Sam!" Danny waved her over. Sam, Mike, and Laci walked towards them, and Sam sat down.
"Hey." Sam greeted her friends.
Danny glanced at Mike and Laci, "Adjusting okay?"
Laci shifted uncomfortably and Mike just smiled.
"Well, we need to get them some clothes." Sam said.
'Umm… Is there a bathroom around?" laci asked.
"Oh! Yeah! Right down there." Sam pointed, "We'll wait for you here."
"Thank you." Laci ran off. Once around the corner she looked around, finally finding the store she'd seen on the way in. A large help wanted sign was in the window. She walked in.
The man standing behind the counter looked up, "Can I help you?"
"You have a help wanted sign." Laci said, "Is there any chance you would hire me?"
"Any experience with computers?" he asked, looking the girl over. It was a computer repair store, after all.
"None professionally." Laci answered, "But I've been fixing them my whole life."
"Nice try. Sorry, kid, I need someone who knows what they're doing." He said, turning back to the computer he was repairing. Laci didn't move, and he didn't notice.
The computer was giving him problems, as evidenced by the fact that he didn't seem to have a clue how to fix it. Finally Laci grumbled and walked over, taking the tools from him.
"Hey, kid! What are you doing?!" the guy asked, shocked.
Laci ignored him and started looking at the computer. "Here. The pins in this cable are bent." She handed it to him, "Get me a new one."
The man, surprised, grabbed one from the table. Laci took it, replaced the cable, and slipped the cover back on, hitting the power button. It turned right on. She turned to the man, "Do you need more proof?"
The man stood there, sheepish. "When can you start?"
"Laci's been gone awhile." Sam muttered, "Maybe I should go look for her."
"Nope, I'm fine." Laci ran over, "Sorrry, I got a little lost."
"Okay, ready to get going?" Sam stood up, "I was thinking Danny and Tucker would take Mike and I'd take you."
Laci smiled, "Sure." She fingered the cash the man, Jimmy, had given her for fixing the computer, and split it in half without looking at it. As Danny, Sam, and Tucker made plans on where they were going to meet up later, Laci slipped half of it into Mike's hand, murmering, "Pay for your own clothes."
Mike didn't react, used to Laci and her sneaky ways. The group split up and headed off to different stores to get them new clothes.
"Ooh…" Laci muttered, pulling a pink tank off the hanger. Sam shuddered. "What?" Laci asked.
"Pink." Sam said, "Ugh."
Laci rolled her eyes, "Yeah, yeah. Pink looks good on me."
Sam shrugged and followed Laci towards another rack where she picked up a dark blue tank top. She put the pink one back and grabbed the skinny jeans she'd picked up before, heading towards the changing room. Sam sat down on a bench outside and waited for her.
When Laci came out, Sam nodded, "You look great."
"Thanks." Laci said, "My old boots match too." She grinned, "Just lemme change back and then I'm done." She vanished into the changing room. Sam frowned.
"Only one outfit?" she asked.
"Trust me." Laci said.
When she got out, the two of them headed for the cashier. Laci handed the clothes over and before Sam could pay, Laci handed the woman some money. Sam stared, surprised, and Laci grabbed her bad.
"I helped someone and they paid me." Laci said, explaining, "I have a job now."
"I told you you didn't have to-"
"Too late." Laci winked, 'I'm sorry, Sam, but you've been so nice- I have to pay you back somehow."
"So, does Mike have a job all the sudden now too?" Sam asked, crossing her arms.
"Mike's a lazy bum." Laci said, ":He doesn't think like I do."
"Ah." Sam said, confused and frowning.
Laci smiled at her.
"Mike, what are you doing?" Danny asked.
'Paying." Mike handed money to the cashier, who smiled at him and gave him the change for the clothes he'd bough, as well as the bag that held them.
"But I thought you didn't have any money." Danny said.
"Laci gave me some." Mike shrugged as they headed out of the store.
"And where did SHE get it?" Danny asked.
"Not sure." Mike said, "She doesn't tell me these things."
"Yeah, you're just my squadron leader. No explanations needed." Laci said as she and Sam walked towards them. Danny glanced at Sam, but Sam just shrugged, having given up trying to understand.
"It's getting late." Danny changed the subject, glancing at his watch.
"We have school tomorrow, too…" Sam frowned, "You two and are going to have to stay at the house or something."
Laci glanced at the store she worked in, "I've got work. I don't think my boss will mind Mike hanging around."
"Okay, we'll come to the mall after school, then." Sam said, "Do you two know how to get here?"
"We'll figure it out." Laci said, "Come on, let's get back."
Late that night, Mike and Laci sat in Laci's room. Laci was curled up on the bed and Mike was sitting in a chair, neither speaking. Laci turned her PDA over in her hand, again and again. It wasn't working- they'd checked. The power core had been drained completely on the trip back in time. It would need to be charged to get the system running again.
Laci knew how to charge a power core, but she didn't have access to any of the machine parts needed to make a charger. She wasn't even sure some of the stuff she needed existed yet.
"So this is before the infection. Before the Paranormals." Mike muttered.
Laci just nodded.
"If we had E-Tech we'd already be out of here." Mike groaned.
Laci sighed, "Well, we don't. We either have to make due until he appears or figure out our own way back."
Mike nodded. Silence fell again.
Finally Laci spoke up, "Go to bed, Mike. We'll talk tomorrow."
Mike nodded again, "Alright. See you." Mike left the room and Laci climbed under the covers of her bed, quickly falling asleep.
Don't hurt me! I wrote this MONTHS ago, and I forgot about it completely! But it's here now, so yay?
Umm… Not much to say. The Paranormals are the focus of the second book of this series, and E-Tech is one of them. That's about it.