Universal Space Corporate Military
The Universal Space Corporate Military (USCM for short) was a Human organization intended to "spread the force and influence of humanity beyond Earth". In sharp contrast to the Terrene Protectorate, the USCM sought profit through weapons development and military acquisition of resources. Its ruthlessness led it to founding numerous penal colonies where insubordinate members would be stationed, with the threat of planetary imprisonment meant to keep the rest of their personnel in line. These Penal Colonies also appear to have been made to fulfil the USCM's desire to colonize the galaxy for Humanity's sake as well.
After multiple years of financial losses, record numbers of insubordination incidents and defections, plus an understaffing issue with penal colony security forces, the USCM entered into a bioweapon development deal with the Miniknog (known as “Project Parasprite”) in the hopes this would turn their futures around. However, the Miniknog had determined the USCM to be both unstable and dangerous, and used the project to destroy the USCM from within.
The USCM lives on after a fashion: most of its penal colonies still stand, now run by the inmates, and derelicts of their ships litter the spacelanes. It is said that many of the Human Bandits found throughout the universe are former USCM soldiers as well, using old ships and scavenged tech to take an even more direct route to personal profit than the USCM did.
Though the USCM itself is disbanded by the time of the game's events, the player will encounter its remnants, and every encounter will be a fight (except one).
Any planet capable of having random surface-level dungeons has a chance to have a USCM Penal Colony, a series of huge gray-stone buildings that have been taken over by the inmates. Even if the player stays at ground-level, the building's design enables inmates on upper floors a good view below, and they will give chase the instant the player is in line-of-sight.
Space Encounters in high-threat star systems have a chance of containing a derelict USCM ship, crawling with Triplods and Parasprites. There is only a roughly 1.7% chance of finding this derelict in an Encounter, which is the same chance for all Encounter destinations. But it is also the only place the player can obtain a specific Lore book, a Parasprite (and its trophy), and several decor items to scan, so completionists will want to explore a lot of Encounters to find it.
The current hostile ships throughout space are implied to be manned by former USCM soldiers who have turned to space piracy. Presumably, the planetary Human bandit camps are similarly full of ex-USCM goons.
Human USCM members can be summoned as a Tenant by decorating a room with enough properly-tagged items. These are currently the only non-hostile USCM "characters" in the game.
|Name||Type||Required Object Types (Boxes)||Rent Chances||Rent Timeframe|
|Bunker Supervisor||Villager||Humanbunker (24)||Villager||15 to 30 minutes|
|Convict||Villager||Humanprison (24)||Villager||15 to 30 minutes|
USCM-themed decor items fall under two different object Tags. Use these to give your builds that Human paramilitary feel.
Beta Differences & Development
The role of the USCM during the game's Beta stages started as a bit ill-defined, and changed considerably late in development.
Originally the "United Systems Colonial Marines", its exact nature was not made terribly clear even in the Lore books directly about it, which largely focused on the service's responses to the attack on Earth (before it was decided that Earth would be annihilated in the story). It was presented in Lore simply as a Human military force, and fairly neutrally (if a bit isolationist) at that, which was something of a stark contrast to its actual in-game presence as being rather hostile. All in all they seemed to be largely nothing more than a reference to the USCM of Aliens fame.
The Bunkers -and the Lore attached to them- were phased out of the game with the "Rampaging Koala" update, which similarly revamped vast swaths of the game and set the stage for its "1.0" release. The Penal Colonies remained in-game as hostile dungeons, largely unchanged. But why they existed in-universe was left something of a mystery through most of Starbound's first year of full release, a mystery made deeper by slight changes to the USCM Sign descriptor dropping the meaning of the initialism.