"The Animal People"
  Issue Number 32

Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alberto Giolitti
Stardate: 19:26.11
Issue Date: August 1975
Cover Price: 25 cents

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Cover Blurb:
   THE ANIMAL PEOPLE - They lived like beasts but rebelled like men!


Synopsis
   The Enterprise responds to a distress call from the planet Hercula, and a landing party beams down to the surface. Emperor Lidoro tells Captain Kirk that beasts, known as "Yerbas" have become mad and are fashioning weapons to threaten the population of the planet. The Emperor takes the landing party to a zoo, in order to see some of the Yerbas. They appear to be human! Lidoro explains that some freak of nature has made them look intelligent - but that they are still only animals. While the crew watches, two of the Yerbas attack each other viciously, and a guard separates them with a stun gun. Spock is curious why such advanced looking creatures would behave so violently. Lidoro tells him that packs of wild Yerbas are killing the livestock, and even the citizens! Kirk says that he must wait for orders from H.Q. before giving military assistance.

   Later that night, Spock sneaks out of his palace quarters to learn more about the Yerbas. A guard hears him, and demands that he return to his room for his own safety. "No one is permitted on the streets after sundown!" He says. Spock pretends to go back to his room, but then sneaks past the guard and makes his way to the Yerba cage at the zoo. He sees them caring for an older member of the group, and suspects that they might be intelligent. When he comes for a closer look, the Yerbas club him on the head and escape from the cage.

   Spock is made a prisoner, and is taken deep into mountainous country outside the city limits to a guerilla camp. There he is introduced to the leader of the Yerbas, Germal. (A lovely young red-headed woman wearing a green outfit and a golden crown.) He learns that Germal is the only Yerba capable of speech.

   Back in the city, the landing party receives approval from Starfleet command to use force to put down the "animal" uprisings. Kirk asks Lidoro why his son Jivi does not want to lead the attack. Lidoro explains that Jivi was taken in by the Yerbas as a boy when he was lost, and was released unharmed. Ever since that day, he has refused to fight them. Kirk goes with Colonel Mynota to oversee the conquest of the Yerbas.

   In the Yerba encampment, Germal explains to Spock that her people do not want violence, but only to be free from enslavement. She agrees to go with Spock to speak to the Emperor in order to show him that the Yerbas are intelligent. At that moment, the camp is attacked by a fighter craft from the city. Many Yerbas are killed. Germal takes Spock hostage, and they flee with the surviving Yerbas into the mountains. As they climb, Spock tricks Germal into coming near. He knocks her out, and escapes from the Yerbas - carrying Germal on his back.

   Colonel Mynota sees Mr. Spock and Germal. He orders his men to fire, but Kirk stops him just in time. Germal is taken before the Emperor. He is unimpressed at the Yerba's ability to speak, and says "if they could sing grand opera - they would still be animals!" The Emperor's son Jivi walks into the room. He identifies Germal as the Yerba who had saved his life when he was ten! Enraged, the Emperor orders Germal to record a message in sign language ordering her people to surrender. She refuses, vowing to die first.

   The Emperor has Germal taken away to a cell. As she is removed, Kirk sees a look pass between her and Jivi - a look of true love! He and the rest of the landing party leave the palace and walk through the city. They pass a building with a huge line of Yerba women and children in front of it. A guard explains that every Yerba must have throat surgery within the first ten days of life. "Otherwise, they would strangle!" the guard says. "Very inferior animals!" Spock realizes that the surgery is designed to prevent the Yerbas from speaking. "Gentlemen! There is a terrible form of genocide here!" He says. "An entire people robbed of the memory of it's own development! Made to believe they are animals!"

   The Enterprise crew returns to the palace to find that Germal has repented, and will record the message of surrender to her people. As she begins the message, the Emperor asks Colonel Mynota what she is saying. He assures the Emperor that it is safe. At dusk, a squad of aircraft lay down a "square cloud of floating, reflective material" in the sky near the Yerba encampment. Another ship then plays the sign language message that Germal has recorded. The Emperor has been tricked! Germal's message to her people was not one of surrender, but of war! The Yerbas attack town after town ferociously.

   The Emperor confronts the Colonel. Mynota claims again that the message was for peace, but Spock accuses him of letting a call to arms go out, so that he could kill all the Yerbas. The Emperor orders all Yerbas exterminated. Jivi refuses to assist the slaughter, and tells his father that his truth is "built on a foundation of lies - and slavery!" Kirk agrees, and withdraws all support for the campaign against the Yerbas. Emperor Lidoro orders Jivi and the Enterprise crew be taken prisoner. They are imprisoned deep beneath the palace.

   Kirk suggests that Jivi and Germal get married in order to stop the bloodshed. They are surprised at his idea, but agree. Kirk utters the words "By the powers vested in me by the Federated Planets as Starship Chief Executive, I pronounce you man and wife!", and the ceremony is complete.

   Jivi sends an appeal to the Emperor, and the prisoners are brought forth in order to share the news. "The thing you have done forces my hand!" says the Emperor. Lidoro ushers them into the "Room of the Sacred Truth" and reads from the Scroll of Truth "Which no emperor has ever handed on before his death!"

   The scroll says that Hercula is not his people's native world. 10,000 years ago they had migrated from their dying planet, and made slaves of the inhabitants. The Yerbas had resisted, and been wiped out - except for the children, who underwent surgery to remove their speech and memory. As the Emperor is reading, Colonel Mynota breaks into the room and places the Emperor under arrest for "divulging the sacred scrolls to unworthy ones." He takes the scrolls and prepares to burn them, but Kirk hits him with a straight right hand and knocks him down.

   Jivi and Germal slip away in the commotion. As the war on the surface rages on, the two begin broadcasting a message to the entire world from the Tomb of the Great Ones. "You have been told that Yerbas are animals - to be enslaved!" Jivi says. Germal repeats the message in sign language for her people as well. "We joined together to save both our people! This morning we were married. Five minutes ago - we drank the milk of the nua thorn! In a few seconds we shall be..." The last word is unspoken, but as the two bodies slump backward, the meaning is clear.

   The Yerbas and Herculas throw away their weapons and pledge peace to one another. The Emperor agrees to share his throne with a leader elected by the Yerbas. He shows the Enterprise crew two things before they leave. The first is a statue of Jivi and Germal at the highest point of the planet - to remind his people of the cost of peace. The second is a newborn Yerba child with it's speech center intact, the terrible operations having been banned forever. "Atta' way boy!" Says Scotty to the crying child, "Keep on yelling as loud as you can! They paid a heavy price for your voice!"

(Summary by Mark Lookabaugh)

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