You never know what you have until it's gone.
Those words currently rang true for Jack Winston. He had never thought himself to be reliant on technology, as much as he enjoyed it. If an electromagnetic pulse were to take electricity and its blessings away, he could cope. There were other ways to pass the time, something he knew all too well from growing up in a pre-Internet era.
And yet the loss of one item had him dazed and confused. The teleportation device that had found its way into his life about a year before was nowhere to be found. He had grown so accustomed to traveling anywhere on a whim, in the blink of an eye, that being rendered unable to do so had thrown him for a loop. His life revolved around it, was made easier because of it. Why else would have he bought a farmhouse outside of the city and filled it with animals? Being able to teleport back and forth made it possible to care for his animals and have a life. Without it, that proved difficult, if not impossible.
Once his initial theories of the dog burying it or the goat eating it had been disproven, he grew concerned. A search of his home told him the device was not the only reminder of his other self that had disappeared. The red and black jumpsuit, the super cool katanas – it was all gone. He would later realize that the enhancements that had befallen him had been revoked as well. For so long, he had thought of his situation as a curse, but the absence of the things he had grown so used to made him realize that it wasn't a curse at all.
He didn't understand why it was happening, but wasn't that a common pattern with these things? Nothing ever made sense, and he had long since learned to deal with the fact his life was a pool of chaos. His other self was mentally unstable, something that was bleeding into him. Nothing fazed him like it would a normal person. He had been through more in two years than most would see in a lifetime and was still able to wake up in the morning with a smile on his face.
In that first day before he realized things were much worse than he knew, he wondered if things were returning to how they had been before all of this. It seemed the logical conclusion to jump to, with the exception that he could still remember those weird tidbits about another life that he hadn't lived. Could he live a life without the bad shit happening to him once a month? Sure. Could he cope without all of the perks that had come with it? That was questionable.
When he had realized that something larger was at play, he was almost relieved, which was a horrible emotion to feel when finding out that one of his friends and his girlfriend's best friend had gone missing. Had it been one of them, it would have been easy to shrug off, but both was too much of a coincidence. It wouldn't have been the first time he could recall friends being abducted, even if the details of those occurrences were somewhat blurry given the passage of time. But he did feel better knowing that everything that was happening was likely part of some power play and could potentially be temporary. Their friends would be okay, and his life would return to the insane normalcy he had grown used to.
As it turned out, their friends were okay. Hurt and scarred from their experiences, but they were alive. She was okay, too, despite her reckless attempt to take on a bunch of those weirdos in blue. The thought that something could happen to her scared him more than he had expected, and seeing her bruised and bloodied had taken its toll. It was at that moment that he gained some perspective on what mattered and what didn't.
It was then that he realized maybe he could cope without enhancements and cool stuff. Those things were material and, in the long run, unimportant. The people in his life were truly irreplaceable. He couldn't replace Gabe or Drew or Roxy and knew that, now more than ever. It didn't mean he wouldn't be happy if those things came back, but it did mean that he would eventually move forward without them if that's what he needed to do. As long as his friends were in his life, the rest would sort itself out.