I’m starting with a quick reminder: this is not Earth. Or Sol. Or Alpha Centauri. Or really anywhere remotely close to human society. (Even though, yes, the characters in this setting have very human names.)
For this setting, the planet is known formally as VS5993. Why? Because another species (the Anacondri’i) catalogued it as part of their (former) quest to map the known galaxy. When Ekzers developed the technology to make it to space, the world government swiftly swept in and banned it. A lot of that technology was confiscated, but Ekzers tend to find a way around that.
When inhabitants of this planet finally reached outer space, it was through the dedicated lifework of an Ekzer named Dick Gordon. And, in a very Ekzer way (defiantly) he splattered his name all over his invention: The Gordon Shuttle. This young space shuttle rocketed into space and profoundly broke the light barrier (a bit too close to the planet in a way that inadvertently terrified onlookers). Once the three crewmembers were able to return to normal space, they found that they’d exhausted all their fuel.
This was not an oversight. Dick Gordon was so convinced that friendly life existed beyond their planet that, when he realized they couldn’t carry enough fuel to escape the atmosphere, jump to lightspeed, and safely land, he decided to test it anyways. The result? Three very hungry crewmembers were found by a small merchant vessel of Anacondri-i who did try to establish formal relations.
The Ekzers had to eventually explain that they weren’t official representatives, but they successfully got a ride home. Albeit, a confusing one. (The Anacondri’I will soon have their own post in the Interconnected Multiverse section on the Extras page).
When the Anacondri’i ship made a discreet landfall, the few eyewitnesses effectively had their cozy worldview and cultural sensibilities shattered. The world government plowed through bureaucratic hell, technically established formal relations, and opted to keep the generic assigned name. Their aim at the time was to return to normalcy as soon as possible so that they could forget the giant alien snake-like beings trying to induct them into established intergalactic norms.
Since the inhabitants of VS5993 are a developed species, and, for the most part, leave everyone else alone, they are peacefully allowed their own territory (their planet and tiny solar system). For information on intergalactic relations, see [Territories Around Sol].
Due to a misunderstanding, all inhabitants from this planet tend to be called Ekzers by other species (sometimes pronounced Essers). Due to their language, the people of this planet do overall still call themselves human. If this doesn’t make sense, see [Interconnected Multiverse].
On occasion, Gordon’s Shuttle will still operate and take people into space. His descendants have fixed the fuel capacity, and now have several routes to nearby space stations.
(PS – maybe I’ve read too much Gordon R Dickson :))