Martian Military Awards
Mars has two sets of awards for its service personnel - one for operational commanders, and the other for acts of heroism performed in the line of duty.
The grades of award are mostly distinguished by who performs the awarding. All except for the Martian Star can also be awarded to non-Martian commanders of allied forces. They are as follows:
Obsidian Star (ObS) - for breaking a planetary blockade of a Martian world and/or rescuing 'significant' numbers of trapped military units or civilians from enemy encirclement. The award is made by the planetary authority of the world or head of the garrison, and the decoration is made from rock from the world. Although it is technically the 'lowest' of the awards for commanders, it is nevertheless often awarded more rarely than many of the others and so correspondingly prized.
Quadrant Star (QdS) - a golden star, this award may be made by the Quadrant Regional High Council and Supreme Councillor, and is theoretically granted for 'actions which significantly benefited the people of the Quadrant', although in practise it is mainly a pro-forma for the commander of any successful major military action within a Quadrant conducted in the face of 'significant' enemy resistance.
Association Star (AsnS) - also a golden star, but decorated with a golden laurel wreath, this award is made by the Martian Senate, and recognises a major military victory which has had 'very significant beneficial consequences' for the MAFC as a whole.
Martian Star (MaS) - while the Association Star recognises acts which have had the greatest benefit to the MAFC, and is theoretically the highest award, the Martian Star is in many ways regarded as the most prestigious, since it is conferred upon a commander by their own troops. It must be voted for by at least 75% of the surviving troops who fought under the command of a given commander, and, given the high standards which Martian troops expect of their officers, it is not given lightly. It is made from gold, and studded with jewels.
Awards for Bravery
Generally (apart from the Citizen's Star) these can only be awarded to Martian citizens who are members of the armed forces and who were involved in battle. Note that there is no 'Purple Heart' or 'Wound Recognition Badge'. Esteelers and Earthers may get awards just for being shot, but not Martians.
Victory Ribbon (VR) - if a commander is granted one of the above awards (apart from the Martian Star), all of the troops under his or her command receive a Victory Ribbon in recognition that the battle/campaign was a notable success for the Association, or (if the campaign overall was a failure) that it nevertheless contained heroic actions worthy of note. Operations which were ignominious failures are not rewarded
Commander's Citation (ComCit) - the equivalent of 'mentioned in dispatches', this is a small uniform patch which can be granted for any notably praiseworthy act in the line of duty, usually, though not necessarily, in combat.
Hyperlinium Star (HyS) - awarded for actions which result in the destruction or capture of an enemy starship or fortified position. The awards are made from ship's hull material and each contains a small particle of deactivated hyperlinium from the hyperspace drive core of the Solar Republic cruiser 'Mumbai', captured during the Battle of Phobos in 2882 - the first naval victory of the Martian Helix.
Stickney Star (StS) - awarded for playing a 'material part' in the destruction of an artificial intelligence.
Navy Star (NvS) - the Navy Star; a silver star with crossed katanas - is awarded for conspicuous bravery under direct enemy threat and is the standard MSN award for courage under fire 'above and beyond the call of duty'.
Citizen's Star (CiS) - this award is for conspicuous bravery in the face of any mortal danger, which leads directly to saving the lives of other Martian citizens. It can be awarded to military or civilian personnel alike, and is in fact most frequently given to members of the emergency services. A simple silver star, it is highly prized.
Martian Legion of Heroes ('Steel Helix') (MLoH) - the Legion of Heroes is more usually known as the 'Steel Helix' after the badge which signifies it. Made from iron ore and carbon extracted from Old Mars, it is the highest award for bravery that can be conferred by the MAFC, and is always awarded by the Senate. Members must have performed acts of extraordinary courage in battle under direct enemy threat which resulted in the tide of battle being turned. Living recipients (of which there are few) are exempt from all personal taxation or other requirements of the state for the rest of their life, may use the words 'Honoured Among Martians' after their name, and, when they walk into a room, everyone (including members of the Senate) must stand as a mark of respect. Their name is also carved into the Heroes' Monument, which originally stood in Plaza of the Heroes, Hellas City, Old Mars. Since it was moved in 2945 it has stood outside the Senate House in Crater City, New Mars.