The NOVA faction color is sky blue.
NOVA is well known among moderately high ranking officials in almost every faction, Protoss and Terran alike due to their efficiency and success rate. But even more so, they are well known to other mercenary teams, such as ECLIPSE and HELIX.
The Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance was formed by Cerberus shortly before the events the first Great War. Originally designed in theory as a covert strike-force that could take out the entire Confederacy chain of command in one fell swoop all across the Koprulu Sector at once, as well as defend the chain of Cerberus command.
As the military's first large all telepath orbital preemptive strike force they were to be highly respected and well equipped. Slowly the members were selected through a process of elimenation setting high ranking ghosts against eachother in dummie matches, (Usually red vs Blue) and the members with the highest total score over the course of several matches were recruited. However, when the members were recruited, trained, and prepared to wipe out the entire Confederacy command for good, the Zerg attacked Cerberus. The Commanders of NOVA decided this was NOVA's time to shine and give them a real challenge, and sent them straight to the Zerg homeworld of Zerus to wipe out the problem quickly and swiftly.
All 500 NOVA operatives were sent to Zerus with little to no information on what they were fighting. The NOVA operatives were poorly trained in combatting the Zerg, (As was the entirety Cerberus at this point.) However, When NOVA arrived on the Zerg Homeworld they found it nearly barren. After running out of supplies and shooting up a few Zerg here and there all 500 operatives returned to their ships, not even 50 of them even having to fire a weapon.
After Cerberus chewed out NOVA's Commanders over the gross misapplication of valuable resources, the project was officially disbanded and all members were assigned to other units. The NOVA Commanders, far from satisfied with Cerberus's decisions withheld the information of their reassignment and informed the NOVA members that the transports ships sent to reassign them were undercover Confederates and had NOVA wipe them out. The NOVA members quite effectively massacred the unsuspecting Marines.
NOVA then had several operatives sneak into Cerberus capital and steal many secret projects, again, telling the NOVA members that they were fighting Confederates. A single member of NOVA was killed in the operation and Cerberus identified him and put the puzzle together. They knew another attempt to peacefully disband the organization that had now gone AWOL would end badly for them and that to confront NOVA directly in an all out conflict was not a good idea either.
So, Cerberus faked an apology and reinstated NOVA as an active unit while pretending to be oblivious to the fact of the murdered Marines sent reassign them. But when NOVA was given their mission, Cerberuscameand had a man breif every operative in NOVA individually. They were told to keep their assignments to themselves and not tell other members. In truth, Cerberus had one half of NOVA assigned to defend a factory, and the other half assigned to attack it. When they were deployed Cerberus had their TacComs jammed and the best of the best operatives of NOVA killed each other at the battle of Versalite, both thinking they were fighting the Confederates. About halfway through the battle NOVA started to realize they were fighting each other.
283 members were killed in the battle. Unorganized and battle torn many left, realizing Cerberus had betrayed them. Some returned to Cerberus and demanded answers, but stood no chance alone and were executed. About half of the remaining 200 left for the nearby Confederate army in hopes of deserting to the other side. the 100 operatives left after that stayed, burned their dead comrades and waited for Cerberus to come back. when Cerberus did come back to check on the carnage the remaining loyal 100 NOVA members ruthlessly slaughtered the troops and stole their transport. They retuirned to NOVA headquarters only to see that it had been completely destroyed in their absence.
Many more at this point went AWOL or left to join the Confederacy. And of the thirty left ten more went crawling back to Cerberus and asked for forgiveness and a new post. Eight of them were exocuted and the other two imprisoned. The remaining 20 at NOVA headquarters split up into two groups. The first group headed to Protoss territorry while the remaining ten split into four groups and left. Nearly all of the remaining groups became independant mercenary organizations over the course of the Brood War.