Hershey St. John, otherwise known as Hershey the Cat, is a character that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics. She was the wife of Geoffrey St. John, as well as a cat that is black, but white on her face and torso, and she has short hair and light green eyes. She wears blue ascot (now red), formerly red vest and golden bracelets. She is 19 years old and dislikes water and being wet. She is a decent fighter and is good at using computers. She is a servant for King Acorn. While Hershey was forgiven by everyone for her accidental role in the near death of Princess Sally, the guilt from the ordeal still bothers her and she has never forgiven Drago for using her, especially since she thought that he did love her. Currently, she's a member of King Acorn's Secret Service as Geoffrey recruited her for the job. Her smarts and agility make her valuable in a fight. According to Geoffrey, Hershey was presumed killed in a mission in Soumerca by the Dark Egg Legion.
Manipulated by Drago
Hershey was originally a pawn in a scheme to kill Sally Acorn when her boyfriend at that point, Drago Wolf, tricked her into wearing a Sonic the Hedgehog disguise. However, the mask contained eyepieces that caused the wearer to see Snively Kintobor in place of anyone else. This led to Hershey cutting a rope Sally was hanging from, thinking that Snively was dangling from it. Later, listening to Drago musing about his future position of power guaranteed by his betrayal of Knothole to Dr. Ivo Robotnik, Hershey learned the awful truth. Horrified by her actions, Hershey had a sobbing breakdown, only for her guilt to become rage as she went after Drago. Attacking him and knocking him unconscious, she then told Sonic what she had been duped into, apologizing profusely for her mistakes. She was not charged for her role in Sally's near-death, and soon began eyeing Geoffrey St. John. (StH: #47, #48, #49, #50)
Member of the Secret Service
Hershey was soon given work helping to organize the reconstruction of Mobotropolis after the city was retaken following Robotnik's demise. She was soon approached by Geoffrey, whom she had become friends with, and became the third recruit in the new Royal Secret Service. Together with fellow operatives Valdez, Wombat Stu, Heavy, and Bomb, she underwent training for her new assignment under Geoffrey's supervision. Part of that training involved extreme endurance tests, and Hershey found herself forced to learn how to swim. Though the training was grueling, she soon improved, working with her new teammates on exercise after exercise. Finally, they learned the primary reason for their being organized: to learn the fate of Queen Alicia Acorn and the unit that had been escorting her when it had been shot down by Overlanders-a unit led by Geoffrey's father Ian St. John. (StH: #62, #63, #64)
Accompanying the group to Angel Island, Hershey was as surprised as the others to find the entire landmass caught in a blizzard. Braving the debilitating weather, they managed to reach the House of Acorn's compound on the island, and found it being tended by Colonel Sommersby, an old colleague of Geoffrey's father, and his wife. They then encountered someone that King Max hadn't mentioned in their mission briefing: Elias Acorn, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Acorn. As they accompanied Elias to Haven, headquarters of the Brotherhood of Guardians, the group found themselves caught in a torrential rainstorm and resulting flood. Rescued by the Guardian Locke, the group was then treated to the story of Elias' and Alicia's survival, as well as the deaths of all hands aboard their ship except for Sommersby. Arriving in Haven, they ended up meeting Knuckles the Echidna in his pursuit of Moritori Rex, who had long been impersonating Brotherhood member Tobor. Following Moritori's escape, the team were led to the comatose Queen Alicia, whom they then took home with them to Mobotropolis. (KtE: #19, #20, #21)
The Secret Service were later in attendance after Sonic returned from his hunt for the evil wizard Ixis Naugus, and as Elias was introduced to the people of Mobotropolis. Hershey and her teammates were then called upon to rescue Nate Morgan, King Max's honorary uncle and honored member of the Court of Acorn, from the clutches of a group of escaped criminals led by Snively. Engaging the villains with the aid of stowaways Sonic and Elias, Hershey found herself face-to-face with Drago once again as her allies fought the Fearsome Foursome, Sleuth Dog, Warlord Kodos, Uma Arachnis, and Nack the Weasel. Not long afterwards, she and the other members of the Secret Service were on rescue duty as Mobotropolis fell under the assault of Doctor Eggman, an alternate version of Robotnik who had come to replace his counterpart after eliminating his own Sonic. Hershey and her friends helped a number of civilians escape to Knothole, but in the process lost one of their own: Valdez disappeared during the fighting and was later found out to have been captured by Eggman, who Roboticized him and reprogrammed him as a lieutenant. (StH: #68, #70, #75)
It was Hershey herself who learned this by sneaking back into Robotropolis and infiltrating Eggman's headquarters. After distracting Eggman with an explosive, she hacked into his computer system and learned the awful truth. Escaping, she rejoined Geoffrey, but not without leaving behind an explosive attached to Eggman's computer in retribution for Valdez. (SSS: #11)
She was also present in Knothole when Sonic was knighted, and later as he and Geoffrey shook hands to signal an end to their rivalry. Together with the rest of her team, she also joined in King Max's foolhardy assault on Robotropolis to rescue a then captured Prince Elias, fighting a team of Shadowbots to give Sonic time to save the prince. Hershey and her group were successful, but Max wound up paralyzed from the waist down as a result of injuries sustained in the fight. (StH: #78, #88)
On guard duty at the Royal Reliquary of Castle Acorn following the disastrous mission, Hershey noticed a breeze as Sonic sped in at top speed and "borrowed" the Sword of Acorns in hopes of using it to free his Uncle Chuck from Eggman's control. She was the first to notice the Sword's absence, and together with Geoffrey reported the theft to King Max. When Geoffrey learned that Sonic had determined to take the Sword, Geoffrey interrogated Mina Mongoose regarding the matter, and Hershey succeeded by using deception where he had employed brute force. Geoffrey was overjoyed at her discovery of Sonic's involvement, stating that he could kiss her, which made Hershey wonder why he wouldn't. Hershey then aided the Secret Service in capturing Sonic, only to have him break free and then be pardoned by Elias. She was then called upon to investigate Sonic after he discreetly brought an unconscious and poisoned Warlord Kodos to Knothole. (StH: #89, #90, #92, #93, #96)
She then joined the group in infiltrating Robotropolis yet again in search of the Sword of Acorns, only to be captured by Shadowbots along with a disguised Sonic. Liberated by Heavy and Bomb, who had been taken away earlier and claimed to have escaped, they then fled the city. Upon returning to Knothole, they attended a ceremony where the entire House of Acorn-Max, Alicia, Elias, and Sally-appeared before their people for the first time, before going to interrogate Warlord Kodos. Unfortunately, he quickly made his escape, and went on a rampage before being stopped by Sally. (StH: #97)
The entire Secret Service was then temporarily incapacitated by nanites injected into their bloodstreams during their imprisonment in Robotropolis; debilitated by pain, Hershey and the others could do nothing to stop a reprogrammed Heavy and Bomb in their attempt to assassinate the royal family. Following months of treatment, Hershey and the others were purged of the microscopic intruders. Upon their release from special cleansing chambers, Hershey questioned Geoffrey regarding his melancholy attitude over the situation. The Skunk revealed that he blamed himself for what had happened to his team, and thus had decided not to return to active duty. Hershey quickly changed his mind by telling him that she knew him to be a hero, and that it was that very quality that had made her fall in love with him. The two shared a tender kiss, and then volunteered for their next big mission: locating the missing Prince Elias, who had imposed exile on himself following his botched attempt at taking over from his disabled father. (StH: #102, #118)
After some searching they found him, hiding out in Feral Forest with his new wife Megan Acorn after being shot down by Dr. Eggman's forces, who were similarly in pursuit of the prince. Convincing the natives of Elias' community to fight against Eggman, the two then appealed to Elias to return with them, only for him to respond violently. Captured once again by Eggman, the pair were rescued by the arrival of Sonic and the battle ready citizens of Feral Forest. Joining the fight, they beat Eggman's robots and then were witness to Elias' decision to remain in the forest with his wife. Some time later, Hershey and Geoffrey joined the massive force of Mobians that gathered in the Southern Tundra in an effort to stop the Quantum Dial weapon set up by the Xorda, an alien race intent on wiping out Mobius. Though their brave charge was halted by the dial's defenses, they were able to buy time for Sonic to destroy the dial, seemingly killing himself in the process. Along with the Freedom Fighters and so many others, the couple were present at Sonic's funeral, unaware that the hero had in fact been transported to the other side of the galaxy. (StH: #121, #125)
Marriage and Continued Active Service
Over the year of Sonic's absence, Hershey continued to work with Geoffrey in the intensified war with Dr. Eggman, taking on a number of covert missions. Eventually, they learned of a plan by Eggman to devastate the planet with nuclear weaponry and fallout, but were captured before they could escape and inform the Kingdom of it. Breaking free, they made a break for Knothole but were captured again, and then granted one request by Eggman. Choosing to be married in their final moments, the pair had their ceremony surrounded by hostages-including the official presiding over their wedding-and Eggman's updated SWATbots. Kissing as their matrimony was sealed, the two braced for the end, only to find themselves stunned by the sudden reappearance of Sonic, who handily destroyed their captors. Happily greeting the Hedgehog, they then informed him of the dire situation, only to have him rush off before they could tell him of the more drastic changes that had come over Mobius since his departure. (StH: #130)
Hershey and Geoffrey joined the battle on board Dr. Eggman's battle ship to aid Sonic the Hedgehog in fighting Mecha and to stop the ship from launching its nuclear missiles. Hershey attempted to strike Mecha in combat but was eerily knocked away. Eventually Mecha was sent falling into a body of water, and the battle ship was sunk. Not long afterwards, the two attended Mina Mongoose's concert celebrating the latest victory and Sonic's return, and were congratulated on their marriage by the Hedgehog. Following this Hershey and Geoffrey informed Sonic that they had a new "mission": their honeymoon, and left. (StH: #133, #134)
Following Knothole's destruction, the two were relocated to New Mobotropolis, where they remained in charge of the Secret Service from their offices in the Royal Army HQ. Shortly after this, Hershey remained behind to manage things in New Mobotropolis while Geoffrey was sent on a mission with Rouge the Bat to investigate Mammoth Mogul's new casino. (StH: #175, #177, #187)
Missing in Action
Hershey had been absent for some time, and her true fate is currently unknown. According to Geoffrey, while talking to Sonic during their mission to retrieve a Chaos Emerald from the Special Zone, Hershey was undergoing an undercover mission. Later, however, while infiltrating New Mobotropolis with Naugus, Geoffrey announced to Sally that she has been "dead for a while". When Sally thought Geoffrey murdered her, he claimed that they had been on separate missions and that he had investigated when she failed to report in. He claimed that Hershey gave her life fighting in the Eggman Empire. (StH:#219, #223, #224)
During his trial, Geoffrey St. John revealed that she was sent on a mission in Soumerca. When she didn't contact him, he went to investigate, but didn't find anything, leading him to believe that she had been killed in action. (StH: 233)
Hershey was initially somewhat meek, which made her an easy target for Drago's manipulation and eventual abuse. She suffered a bit of an emotional breakdown when Drago's true nature and the reality of her actions were revealed, and was immensely mortified and shamed. Eventually her grief and desire for justice lead to her viciously attacking Drago to the point of nearly crushing his head with a large rock, only to later knock him out with a smaller thrown rock. After Sally was revealed to be alive and Drago was locked away for his crimes, Hershey's self-confidence was allowed to grow. While she grew attracted to St. John, she was still not very forward, initially waiting for him to make a move rather than announce her feelings to him. She eventually joined the Secret Service, training hard and becoming less emotionally swayed and more level-headed.
Hershey was briefly involved with Drago Wolf, the traitorous member of the Wolf Pack Freedom Fighter group. Though Drago's feelings were superficial at best, Hershey was apparently truly attracted to him, enough that she went along with his recommendation for her to infiltrate Robotropolis wearing the Sonic disguise that led to her unwitting part in Sally's near death (although Hershey thought it was Snively she attacked while wearing the Sonic suit, instead of Sally). After learning of Drago's ambitions, she found her feelings unfounded and tried to pull away from him, only to see the true side of his nature as he became abusive and threatening. The final blow was when he revealed how he had duped her, which caused her to break down crying, ending their romantic relationship and eventually provoking Hershey to seek justice, by viciously attacking Drago and nearly smashing his face in with a rock. (StH: #47, #48, #49, #50)
Geoffrey St. John
Hershey and Geoffrey became acquainted following Robotnik's death, striking up a friendship before she ever joined the Secret Service. Though they continued to grow closer, Geoffrey was distracted by similar-thought fading-feelings for Princess Sally. Eventually, the skunk gave up his pursuit of the princess, and he and Hershey became partners as the Secret Service's numbers continued to dwindle, until they were the only two members remaining. (StH: #63, #64, SSS: #11)
Following their recovery from Eggman's nanite infection, the two revealed their feelings for each other, officially becoming a couple and remaining a team. The following year the two got married as their final wish, while held at gunpoint by a group of Swatbots. Following their rescue by the recently returned Sonic, the two left for their honeymoon and their feelings have remained strong ever since. (StH: #118, #130, #134)
- Ian Flynn, current writer of the Archie Sonic Series, planned to reveal what really happened to Hershey, but has stated in the Segabit's Ask Ian #6 podcast that his plans for Hershey have been shelved due to circumstances beyond his control. This may be caused by the current story with what's been going on, upcoming advertisements for new Sonic Games, Sega's mandates, or the legal disputes involving the characters created by Ken Penders, of which Hershey is one.
- Recently, Ian Flynn confirmed that Hershey was meant to be the mysterious figure for Sonic the Hedgehog #237, even though he confirmed that Leeta and Lyco were the mysterious figure for that issue. This confirmed that Hershey St. John was indeed meant to be alive, and it possibly confirms that the black cat legionnaire seen in Sonic Universe #37 was Hershey as well.
- Hershey was removed from the comics for good after the dispute with Ken Penders was settled. Despite this, Ian Flynn will release information on Hershey's role in and possibly after StH #237 along with much more information on original plans in his project Lost Hedgehog Tales.
- Aleah Baker later revealed that Hershey would have seen some new designs as a part of her aborted role in the comics: a Felidae concept and an early look for the Secret Freedom Fighter uniform that employed the later utilized goggles and face masks but also included "a bodysuit-and-cropped-jacket." The color scheme seen in the actual team would also have been employed, but Hershey would have worn red as while Elias wore blue; she would also have worn her wedding ring on a necklace, keeping it concealed early on.
- Geoffrey and Hershey's romance is likely a nod to the Looney Tunes characters Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat, both couples involving a male Skunk and a black and white female Cat.
- Hershey the Cat's name may come from the very famous name-brand chocolate, Hershey's. This is due to that her mother is named Cocoa and Milton Hershey's wife is named Kitty Hershey.
- Hershey's former outfit is similar to Sally Acorn's, being just a vest, boots and basically nothing else. But unlike Sally, Hershey wears an ascot around her neck.
- Ian Flynn (25 October 2013). The Thread of general Sonic-related questions. BumbleKing Comics. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015.
- Ian Flynn. BumbleKing Comics Forum. BumbleKing Comics. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015.
- Aleah Baker (21 March 2015). Ask Lea Stuff and Things. BumbleKing Comics. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015.