How can you retrieve diagnostic codes off of a paper clip ?
You use the paper clip or jumper wire to short the DLC and read the codes via flashing indicators in the dash. Different indicators and procedure for the EFI, DCT, i4WD, EPS, etc.
It would be beneficial for you to purchase a service manual, especially since your warranty is or about to expire. Almost 700 pages including all the information on how to read the codes and diagnose each code for the various systems (even without the MCS diagnostic machine) is all in the service manual.
If you have never done anything like this before and are not comfortable with the process, you may have to take it to those "idiots" you speak of and have them connect it to their $2500 MCS diagnostic tool.