So I called Linksys and after sitting on hold for 10 minutes I did the online tech support chat. The guy told me to connect the laptop directly to the modem and run a program through their site. It worked! I had a nice, strong wireless signal after I reconnected the modem to the PC. I was afraid to turn my laptop off, but I did. I'll find out later if it holds. I really hope so.
I did take advantage of the working connection to update some bookmarks and email myself my Happy Ending ficathon story. It's by no means finished, but I was very worried that it was being held hostage on my laptop.