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StarCraft: Ghost: Nova is a StarCraft universe novel, authored by Keith R. A. DeCandido that serves as a prequel to StarCraft: Ghost and introduces main character Nova and her backstory. It was released in November, 2006. It was delayed from its original release date of April, 2006 in order to be released alongside StarCraft: Ghost[1] but the game was indefinitely postponed.[2]

Keith R. A. Decandido has stated that about half of Nova's backstory was material he created for the novel.[3]

The novel covers the events of Nova's early life; most of the story takes place during StarCraft Episode I but some parts extend to the StarCraft: Ghost storyline.


Four years after the end of the Brood War, Emperor Arcturus Mengsk has rebuilt much of the Terran Dominion and consolidated a new military force despite an ever-present alien threat. Within this boiling cauldron of strife and subversion, a young woman known only as Nova shows the potential to become Mengsk's most lethal and promising "Ghost" operative. Utilizing a combination of pure physical aptitude, innate psychic power, and advanced technology, Nova can strike anywhere with the utmost stealth. Like a phantom in the shadows, she exists only as a myth to the enemies of the Terran Dominion.

Yet Nova wasn't born a killer. She was once a privileged child of one of the Old Families of the Terran Confederacy, but her life changed forever when a rebel militia murdered her family. In her grief, Nova unleashed her devastating psychic powers, killing hundreds in a single, terrible moment. Now, on the run through the slums of Tarsonis, she is unable to trust anyone. Pursued by a special agent tasked with hunting down rogue telepaths, Nova must come to terms with both her burgeoning powers and her guilt – before they consume her and destroy everything in her path....


The prologue begins two-and-a-half years after the fall of the Terran Confederacy. Nova is a ghost in training, and as part of her graduation exercise, she must kill Cliff Nadaner, the terrorist who ordered the attack on her family. Nova was “celebrating” her 18th birthday during the exercise, and she recalled her birthday party from three years ago…

The Party[]

Constantino Terra, scion of the Old Families, wanted to focus on his daughter's party at his skyscraper, but it was spoiled for him by two pieces of news; the first was a Sons of Korhal attack on his hoverbike plant – obviously an inside job – and the second was the destruction of the Mar Sara colony by the protoss. Terra decided to evacuate Nova from Tarsonis, after the party.

Constantino's daughter, November Annabella “Nova” Terra, was psychic, a secret kept even from her. Her empathic abilities expanded at the party, however, enabling her to read the mind of a suitor.

Listening to a false Universe News Network broadcast, Constantino explained to his wife that he would send Nova to Tyrador IX for safety reasons – his family wasn't safe from the Sons of Korhal or the aliens – over the objections of Nova and some of his servants.

The Strike[]

Nova was set to leave Tarsonis when she “felt” her parents being attacked. Rushing from the puddle-jumper, she returned to her skyscraper, where she witnessed several terrorists, some of whom were family servants, executing her parents and brother. The lead rebel pointed his gun at her…

Former Tarsonis Police Force detective Malcolm Kelerchian was now a Wrangler in the Confederate Ghost Program, sent to the Terra skyscraper as a powerful psychic had killed many people there. Examining the evidence, he concluded that Nova Terra herself had unleashed the psychic power unwittingly after seeing close family friend Edward Peters murdering her family. His boss, Ghost Program Director Ilsa Killiany, took him off the murder case and ordered him to find Nova... she would make an excellent addition to the Ghost Program. He sought help from a police officer, Larry Fonseca.

Nova revealed her psychic abilities fending off an assault, which resulted in her being kidnapped by Markus Ralian, the right-hand man to the Gutter's crime lord, Fagin. Nova refused to serve Fagin as a mind-reader and telepathic assassin, so he threw her out and plotted to make her starve. Nova decided she would rather die than serve him... but after several days she couldn't take it anymore, and set out in search of food. During her wanderings, Nova saw a UNN report on the attack on her family. Her sister, Clara, survived, but stated several lies such as the death of Nova. Fagin oversaw this display and, realizing that Nova's family was too powerful to ransom her, dispatched his top hitman, the Pitcher, to kill her. Meanwhile, he acquired a psi-screen to protect himself from powerful telepaths... a good move, as Nova easily killed the Pitcher.

Nova sought out Fagin himself, but Fagin had prepared too well; his psi-screen could mentally torture her, and he would (and did) murder children to break her. He succeeded; Nova became his servant.

An End to Madness[]

Six months later, Killiany was very upset that Kelerchian still hadn't located Nova. She ordered him to work with Major Esmerelda Ndoci, possibly a psychopath, and her Annihilators. Ndoci's regular methods wouldn't suit the mission because Nova was a class A target; she could not be harmed for any reason. Kelerchian then received information from Larry Fonseca, who believed he knew where Nova was... and also berated Kelerchian for forgetting basic detective techniques.

Meanwhile Fagin had worn his psi-screen for six months and it was driving him insane, weakening his criminal empire. Markus Ralian researched the device and discovered the limitation (the recommended wearing time was not to exceed seven hours), but when he tried to get Fagin to remove it, he was confronted by Malcolm Kelerchian. Fagin refused to deal reasonably with Kelerchian, but was distracted enough that Nova could use Ralian to kill Fagin. Nova was surprisingly gratified to learn that Ghosts were routinely mind-wiped after training… this would remove the troubling memories of the deaths of her family and people she had killed.

Unfortunately, the Sons of Korhal chose this moment to attack Tarsonis, reaching the surface. Major Ndoci was put in charge of the op, and she ordered her Annihilators to kill everyone in Fagin's headquarters except for Nova. (There was pointedly no exception for Kelerchian.) The destructive attack caused the headquarters to literally collapse on Kelerchian and Nova. Nova rescued Kelerchian using her psychic powers, then forced Ndoci to seek medical treatment for him... otherwise Ndoci would be punished for nearly letting harm come to a class A target.

The New Nova[]

As Kelerchian healed from his injuries, he met with the Ghost Program’s new Director, Kevin Bick. He learned of the Terran Dominion and the fate of Killiany.

Watching over Nova determinedly struggling through her Ghost training, Kelerchian met with Arcturus Mengsk and verbally sparred with him. Mengsk sent him on a “final” mission.

Nova trained for two and a half years, graduating faster than any previous Ghost. Arcturus Mengsk (wearing a psi-screen) personally briefed her on her final mission; to kill Cliff Nadaner. Nova accomplished the task, after berating Nadaner for killing her family.

After her mind-wipe, Nova took part in mission against the Koprulu Liberation Front on New Sydney, where she met Major Ndoci again, but didn't recognize her. Nova's personality had undergone a significant change.

Characters in StarCraft: Ghost: Nova[]

Main Characters[]

Supporting Characters[]

Minor Characters[]

Note: These characters were only mentioned or had little to no role during the story.

Terra Family and Employees[]

Old Family Members[]

Cliff Nadaner's Terrorists[]

Terra Attackers[]
The Bitter End[]

Fagin's Crime Syndicate[]

Former Leadership[]
Major Followers[]
Gun Nuts[]

These four thugs were ordered to bring a lot of guns to Fagin's headquarters and fend off Nova.

Fagin's Harem[]
Fagin's Kids[]
Minor Followers[]

Ghost Program[]

Tarsonis Police Force[]

Confederate/Dominion Military[]


UNN Employees[]



  • The prologue appeared as a preview chapter at the end of World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred, also by Keith R. A. DeCandido.[4]
  • Keith R. A. DeCandido wrote StarCraft: Ghost: Nova at the same time Hurricane Katrina struck. The government's poor response to the disaster had an effect on the novel's theme of government indifference.[5]
  • Keith R. A. DeCandido was given a brief outline of the major events he needed to have in the novel, but was given freedom for much of the connecting details of what leads Nova to become a ghost and desire a mind wipe. In the exploration of the Gutter, Keith aimed to show what everyday life was like in a series traditionally focused on larger-than-life battles.[6]


StarCraft Ghost: Nova made relatively few errors, strictly adhering to canon.

A fake version of Michael Liberty made his Universe News Network reports via flat screen. Arcturus Mengsk, who was working with Liberty at the time the first false report was made, said that he always used holographic reports because they were much harder to fake. In StarCraft Ghost: Nova, Liberty's fake broadcasts were available in holographic format. It is possible that Mengsk underestimated Confederate technology, however. In addition, some of the fake broadcasts are nearly identical to the ones in StarCraft: Liberty's Crusade but have information removed; this impacts mildly on the well-connected Constantino Terra's thoughts and words. (For instance, Mr. Terra can't tell his mistress about the protoss, even though, according to Liberty's Cruasade, limited information about the protoss was available to everyone almost as soon as the real Michael Liberty made it to Mar Sara.) Keith R. A. DeCandido confirmed that this was an error, but speculated that Mengsk may have underestimated the technological prowess of the Old Families.[6]

The Annihilators used a "stealth transport" named a Valkyrie to assist in their raid of Fagin's headquarters. The Valkyrie was a spaceship introduced by the United Earth Directorate after the fall of the Confederacy. Keith R. A. DeCandido confirmed that the two ships classes were different ships that just happened to share the same name.[6]



  1. Medievaldragon. 2006-01-09. World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred Q&A -- Keith R.A. DeCandido Q&A. Blizzplanet. Accessed 2007-10-01.
  2. Gamespy Staff. 2006-03-24. Blizzard Postpones StarCraft: Ghost Indefinitely, GameSpy. (retrieved February 21, 2007)
  3. Medivaldragon: Blizzard recently released an intro to Nova's background. What will the book focus on?
    Keith R. A. DeCandido: The intro in that link is the main story of the game. If you click on the link that says "Nova backstory" on that page, you'll get a better idea of the plot of my book. About half of that backstory is stuff I created for the novel, in fact. Medievaldragon. 2006-01-09. World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred Q&A -- Keith R.A. DeCandido Q&A. Blizzplanet. Accessed 2007-10-01.
  4. DeCandido, Keith R. A. (January 31, 2006.) World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0743-47136-9.
  5. DeCandido, Keith R. A. 2008-05-10. more StarCraft. KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life: ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer Accessed 2008-05-10.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Inspirational Quarterly. (June 30th, 2022). Thanks Again, Keith. Accessed 2022-08-30.
  7. GUESTS: Keith R.A. DeCandido. DragonCon. Accessed 2008-04-17.
  8. Medievaldragon. 2008-05-10. Starcraft Ghost: Nova Pocket Book Sequel. Blizzplanet. Accessed 2008-05-10.
The next article in this series is StarCraft: Frontline: Weapon of War.

The next article in this series is StarCraft: Ghost Academy: Volume 1.