Hershel Black

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Hershel Black
Hershel by Potato-sunrise.jpg
Groups Reckoners
World Earth (Reckoners)
Featured In The Reckoners
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But there’s nothing that you or anyone else on this dying marble can offer me to get me to betray my family. Nothing. I’m theirs to the end, until I die or they die. And I ain’t going to be the one to let another one go.

—Hershel to Languish[1]

Hershel Black is a Reckoner and is a demolitions expert.[2] He is part of the group that invades the city of Lux. He has a prosthetic metal leg, which he claims is his “good leg”.[3][4]

Hershel refuses to share the story of how he lost his leg with any other Reckoners until they guess it.[3] In the end, it is Languish who correctly guesses that Hershel got trapped and cut it off himself.[1]


Appearance and Personality[edit]

Everyone said he was a born leader. Hershel was good at what he did. He was good at leaving things home that were meant to stay home. Emotions, feelings, attachments. That sort of thing. And he was good at being there in the moment as death and chaos rained down around him.

—Hershel[5]

Though he is in his forties, Hershel is still well built and muscular. He is gruff and stoic, and maintains a serious air which can conceal his sense of humor. He does not have much sympathy for people other than his close friends, and sometimes doesn’t think about the ramifications of his actions.[6] However, he does still occasionally show mercy towards his enemies.[7] He is good at reading people, and thus enjoys playing poker.[3] He likes listening to classical music, though he would never let anyone know about it.[5]

Abilities and Attributes[edit]

History[edit]

Early Life[edit]

You had a mom? I don’t know. I always figured that, you know, one day, about million years ago, a big ugly rock fell from a rock tree and broke in half, and you crawled out of it.

—Wade[8]

Not much is known about Hershel’s early life, but he used to love going to the Cameron Park Zoo with his mom and visiting all of the animals there.

In Special Forces[edit]

Hershel Black served for many years in the Special Forces. He participated in many missions during his service, including demolition jobs, extractions, and assassinations.[5]

I ain’t the religious type, but if anyone were to ask me what the pit of hell looked like, I’d tell them it was the Cameron Park Zoo.

—Hershel[8]

Hershel once had an assignment where he and his squad had to go the Cameron Park Zoo, where all the animals had been horribly mutated by an Epic named Feral. Hershel and his men had to put them down, though it was difficult.[8]

Mission in Siberia[edit]

I say Hershel is hardcore, so he deserves a hardcore leg story.

—Jax on the subject of how Hershel lost his leg.[9]

Thirteen years prior to the events at Lux, Hershel and his squad, named Delta Squadron, were given an assignment in Siberia. They were tasked with stealthily approaching a Russian satellite and hacking it, and they were dropped off a long distance away from the target. On their second night, Calamity, the bright red star in the sky, began glowing brighter than normal and pulsing. Paul Jackson, a young member of Delta Squadron, collapsed and began spasming and muttering to himself. He fell into a coma, leaving Hershel and the others unsure of what to do. Later that night Jackson awoke, and when Hershel asked him questions, he refused to answer. Jackson said he didn’t take orders from Hershel or anyone else, claiming that he was “free”. Hershel gave the order to attack the facility in the morning, disturbed by Jackson’s actions.[5]

They made their attack on the satellite the next morning, but things went wrong and the guards were alerted. Jackson revealed Epic powers, blasting the guards with yellow energy blasts. He started shooting energy blasts at the satelitte, and vaporized one of his squad mate’s arm in the process. The members of Delta Squad, horrified and afraid, threatened Jackson and leveled their guns at him. When they opened fire on him, the bullets doing no damage, Jackson killed all of Delta Squadron. All but Hershel, the only one who hadn’t opened fire. Sparing Hershel, Jackson flew off, blowing up the Russian facility with energy blasts as he went.[5]

Hershel ran, but a chunk of debris hit him in the head, knocking him out. When he awoke, everything around him had been turned to steel by Jackson’s powers. Hershel was trapped, his leg encased in steel up to his leg. Knowing he had to make it to the extraction point but completely trapped, Hershel used his belt as a tourniquet and cut off his own leg with his knife.[5] He passed out, and was later rescued by a helicopter flying over the area.[10]

Galveston[edit]

Hershel has been in the Texas Reckoners cell for a while, and is their demolitions expert. He participated in the trap in Galveston, and was assigned the task of firing rockets at Ravens as well as using explosives to crack Lux in half. When Jax disobeyed orders and improvised, Hershel piloted several drones to get him close to Wingflare and later to help him escape. Afterwards, when Briggen is injured, Hershel was the one to tend to his wounds.[11][12]

Infiltration of Lux[edit]

Hershel was part of the team that infiltrated Lux. Upon doing so, the Ravens checking them for metal were confused with what to do about his metal leg, but Paige, now a Raven lieutenant, intervened and led the Reckoners to their house. During the mission to attach the Wingflare motivator to the power grid, Hershel used explosives to carve out a five foot tunnel, the sounds masked by a coiled sonic snare.[13] He and the other Reckoners get captured at Lifeforce’s palace after Briggen betrayed them, but Jax breaks them out soon after.[14][15] During a job to retrieve their belongings from the lab, they discover Parik spying on them. Hershel struck Parik multiple times, despite what it does to the people in the tunnels.[6] When Paige didn’t want to kill him, Hershel suggested lowering him three-quarters of the way down and letting him either climb back up, or fall and die.[7]

Hershel helps with the operation to kidnap Languish, setting charges for a distraction as well as calculating how fast Jax will have to drive to get his motorcycle through the hotel window. When interrogating Languish, Hershel was rough and demanding, and Languish expressed disdain for him. Later, Languish asks about Hershel’s leg and correctly guesses how he lost it on the first try. As promised, Hershel told the story of how he lost it to Languish and the Reckoners. When Cloudbreaker summons the Frost and Ravens swarm their fortified safe house, Hershel blew a hole in the road and helped fight them off. When Jax, Paige, and Languish go into the palace to confront Lifeforce, Hershel assaults the main gate as a distraction, as well as guarding Wade as he hacks into the palace security system.[16][17]

Aftermath[edit]

After Lifeforce’s death and Lux drifted into the bay, Hershel and the others found an abandoned ice cream shop, which still contained some sherbet. After feasting on the ice cream, they took the unconscious Paige to Louisiana to see Doc Slush.[18]

Relationships[edit]

Jax[edit]

Hershel and Jax have a good friendship, largely built around the Bucket Book. They compete to see who can check off the most items in the book. They often exchange competitive banter, and they will often jokingly make fun of each other [9][19] Though Hershel is older, he prefers Jax to lead the time, as he has no interest in the position.[20][citation needed]

Wife[edit]

Hershel had a wife at some point, whose name is not known. She doesn’t like him having to leave on missions without warning. Hershel can’t tell her what he does during his missions, but she is smart enough and knows him well enough to get the general idea.[5]

Notes[edit]

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