PROLOGUE And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? -- William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming" As soon as she felt Cliff Nadaner's mind, Nova knew that she could destroy her family's murderer with but a thought. She'd spent days working her way through the humid jungles of the smallest of the ten continents of Tyrador VIII.Funny how I tried so hard to avoid this planet's twin, and now I wind up here,she had thought when the drop-pod left her smack in the middle of the densest part of the jungle -- before the rebels had a chance to lock onto the tiny pod, or so her superiors on the ship in high orbit insisted. The eighth planet in orbit of Tyrador was locked in a gravitational dance with the ninth planet, similar to that of a regular planet and a moon, but both worlds were of sufficient size to sustain life. They also both had absurd extremes of climate, thanks to their proximity to each other -- if Nova were to travel only a few kilometers south, farther from Tyrador VIII's equator, the temperature would lower thirty degrees, the humidity would all but disappear, and she'd need to adjust her suit's temperature control in the other direction. For now, though, the formfitting white-with-navy-blue-trim suit -- issued by Director Bick at the Ghost Academy when her training period had come to an end -- was set to keep her cool, which it did, up to a point. The suit covered every inch of her flesh save her head. The circuitry woven throughout the suit's fabric might interfere with Nova's telepathy, and since her telepathy was pretty much the entire reason why she was training to become a Ghost, it wouldn't do to interfere withthat.This suit wasn't quite the complete model she would be using when she finished this final assignment and officially became a Ghost -- for one thing, the circuitry that allowed the suit to go into stealth mode had yet to be installed. Once that happened, Nova would be able to move about virtually undetected -- certainly invisible to plain sight and most passive scans. But she wasn't ready for that yet. First she had to accomplish this mission. The suit's design meant that sweat dripped into her eyes and plastered the bangs of her blond hair to her forehead. The ponytail she kept the rest of her hair in tugged on her skull like a heavy damp rope hanging off the back of her head.At least the rest of my body is comfortable. The suit's stealth mode would probably have been redundant in this jungle in any case. The flora of Tyrador VIII was so thick, and the humid air so hazy, she only knew what was a meter in front of her from the sensor display on the suit's wrist unit. Intelligence Section had told her that Cliff Nadaner was headquartered somewhere in the jungle on this planet. They weren't completely sure where -- Nova had already learned that the first half of IS's designation was a misnomer -- but they had intercepted several communiques that their cryptographers insisted used the code tagged for Nadaner. In the waning days of the Confederacy, Nadaner was one of many agitators who spoke out against the Old Families and the Council and the Confederacy in general. He was far from the only one who did so. The most successful, of course, was the leader of the Sons of Korhal, Arcturus Mengsk -- in fact, he was so successful that he actually did overthrow the Con-federacy of Man and replaced it with the Terran Dominion, of which he was now the emperor and supreme leader. Nadaner did somewhat more poorly in the field of achieving political change, though he was very skilled at causing trouble and killing people. Days of plowing through the jungle had revealed nothing. All Nova was picking up was random background radiation, plus signals from the various satellites in orbit of the planet, holographic signals from various wild animals that scientists hDeCandido, Keith R. A. is the author of 'Starcraft Ghost Nova ', published 2006 under ISBN 9780743471343 and ISBN 0743471342.