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So, in my world I have a species of insectoid aliens called the Vosian. The Vosian are insectoid like (except they have lungs more like mammals and a closed-circulatory system).

These Vosians, like all species, have pilots to fly Star Fighters during battles in space. Here’s something I was thinking of though: how would a Vosian protect their antenna during missions. Humans need helmets, and I was wondering what ways an insectoid species could protect their antenna?

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  • $\begingroup$ are there antennae mobile? $\endgroup$
    – zackit
    Mar 5 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ @zackit: They’re like IRL ant antenna. They can move, but only only rigidly. $\endgroup$
    – DT Cooper
    Mar 5 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ okay, so why don't they simply fold them down onto their head and wear a helmet with a small indent that makes space for the antennae? $\endgroup$
    – zackit
    Mar 5 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @zackit: That would be a great answer to write $\endgroup$
    – DT Cooper
    Mar 5 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ human pilots don't really need helmets, they need the features that connect to the helmet. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Mar 5 at 19:28
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Protective gel

Vosians use a protective gel that nourishes their feelers as well as keeps it protected. Could be plant based (like aloe vera but with special effect for Vosians) or other animal/insect based.

The antennas regenerate

Vosians can afford to loose a few antennas, as they have the ability to regrow them (could involve temporary rest etc). They are more like human hairs than human organs.

Vosians wrap them around their body on dangerous journeys

Basically convert the antenna to ponytails etc and wrap around their neck/equivalent part, using their front legs for the purpose. During the duration, Vosians rely more on the other senses.

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Flexible fittings. First, understand the Vosians have endured a harsh world, where their exoskeleton is the only thing that stands between them and ultraviolet flares, razor flies, and countless tussles for dominance. If those antennae came off easily, they would all be missing. And this armor, being strong enough to resist tearing, can resist an atmosphere of pressure.

However, the vacuum is a far more insidious threat. Antennae need to detect odor, which is to say, hidden beneath gaps in this solid armor are openings to a fluid layer that would readily boil away into space.

The Vosians cannot maneuver around with their antennae in hard, inflexible coverings, and they cannot do without the coverings. Crude clunky joints were attempted, with poor results, until researchers recalled the eastern continent's long-suppressed Ritual of Initiation.

When bean paste is mixed with the latex of a certain tree and permitted to cure, it takes on a unique flexible, waterproof quality. Juveniles were required to contemplate their faith and purpose on a three day journey to the Land of the Dead, simulated by coating them with this substance to block eyes, antennae and other sense receptors. The substance is easy to remove using the digestive enzymes of the Bean Climber Beetle.

Where they emerge from the helmet and at each joint thereafter, the antennae are coated in bean paste. But unlike in the ritual, the exoskeleton of each segment is left untouched. (In modern times a light swabbing of tung oil imported from Earth has been added for the segmental exoskeleton - unsaturated fats exposed to oxygen help to reduce water loss through the exoskeleton, but they are not easily harvested on the Vorlan homeworld) The resulting "rubberized" antennae feel very strange and take getting used to, but they can still detect vibrations in critical components, allowing the status of systems to be checked directly.

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