The Ellesant were a civilization that lived on the third planet in an unexplored (as of the 2260s decade) star system in a sector located beyond Starbase 25, somewhere in the galaxy's Alpha or Beta Quadrant. In the last year of his five-year mission onboard the USS Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk discovered the Ellesant's home system.
As of the year 2269, their homeworld had a global population of three and a half billion. They were pre-warp but had interplanetary travel, settling on one of their homeworld's three moons as well as the fourth planet in their system.
When the Enterprise crew scanned the system, they noticed a massive asteroid on a collision course with the fourth world and its 100,000 inhabitants. The impact would lay waste to the world, killing off the population. The Ellesant knew the asteroid was coming and tried to destroy it as well as evacuate the world, but both efforts failed to prevent the upcoming deaths of the colonists.
Ignoring the Prime Directive, Kirk ordered his crew to fire the ship's phasers and photon torpedos to destroy the asteroid. He saw no moral reason to allow so many to die when they could be saved. Unable to hide from detection by the Ellesant, Kirk had to decide whether or not to establish contact, in which he chose contact. (TOS novel: Allegiance in Exile)
- The outcome of this contact is unknown.