History and specifics
In the 7700s B.C., the Yerba were like cavemen when their planet was colonized by Herculese. Yerba welcomed the new arrivals and began to worship them, leading to their becoming subjugated as a slave race. A unified revolt led to Herculese slaughtering the adult population and instituting the surgical removal of the vocal cords of all Yerba children shortly after birth, which served to erase their cultural heritage and identity as a sentient species.
In subsequent millennia, Yerba were treated as domesticated animals. Throat surgeries came to be regarded as a merciful way to save infants from choking on themselves. Caged in zoos, Yerba were assigned undesirable tasks and hard labor. A few groups lived independently in scattered pack tribes, able to communicate with sign language. They dressed in animal skins and cooked meat in fires. Though they could not speak, they could sing freedom songs.
In the 23rd century, one Yerba, Germal, retained her vocal cords because she was raised secretly in a cave. She grew up to become an inspirational leader who rallied for Yerba equality and freedom. By this time, the Yerba had learned how to use tools such as cudgels and knives.
By 2266, increasing Yerba attacks prompted the Herculese to transmit a distress call, which brought the Federation starship USS Enterprise to Hercula. When Emperor Lidoro ordered the genocide of the Yerba, Germal retaliated with a declaration of war against the Herculese. James T. Kirk was arrested as a Yerba sympathizer, and soon presided over the marriage of Germal and Jivi. Their public suicide inspired Yerba emancipation and the end of the war. Governorship of the planet was to be shared between Lidoro and an elected Yerba, and the throat surgeries were permanently discontinued. (TOS comic: "The Animal People")
- Germal's mother