Three weeks after the volcano’s eruption the crew of the ship, now labeled the Last Hope, finished repairing the outer hull and the damages done by the storm and the volcano’s eruption. With Ivanna’s help the ship was more easily repaired, for the crew found that Ivanna’s Force abilities could lift heavy objects much better than others could, and she could use the Force to hold things in place that normal hands could not touch. And so it was that only a month later the ship was ready for flight, and all aboard hoped that not only would it have enough power to fly but also that Tso would not fail them on their journey.

Of the journey they had made and the meeting of Ivanna Geldar and the others reported everything except that they had decided to keep everything hidden from the mercenaries. At first the crew was distraught by the news that they could have had equipment to help them, but after they saw how much Ivanna aided the in the repairs they spoke no more word of complaint.

For the entire time after the eruption and blizzard no more snows came to the area leaving the entire place rather rocky and ash covered. In fact it was this ash that was the worst hindrance to them. It got into everything, and any time they needed to clean anything off the water would be covered in dirt almost instantly. Often they would have to travel far away to refill their water supplies in places where snow still covered the surface, but this was nothing compared to the harsh conditions they had face previous to the Great Thaw, which was the name Nyarchagga had given to the disaster.

At last, on the day they were preparing to leave, Ivanna and Satchal stood upon the rocky ledge that Tso had landed the ship on and stared across the rocky countryside at the now dormant volcano. “You wanted to speak with me?” Satchal asked the Jedi Knight as he approached.

Ivanna turned to look at him, and once again he was caught off guard by the intensity in her eyes and the beauty that was wrapped around her. “I understand that you are without a Jedi Master, and that, like me, your master was slain by a Dark Jedi.”

Satchal nodded but said nothing. “We have much in common; you and I. I believe that the Force has brought us together for a common cause. Although it seems that little training is required I see that there are some things that you yet need assistance in. As a Jedi Knight I am authorized to take you on as a Padawan to complete your training. Will you accept my offer?”

Satchal felt a strange sense of closure in that moment. It was as if his former hatred and anger over the loss of Master Lo was washing away as a new light shone brightly down upon him. The clouds of the Dark Side had indeed parted from his vision, and he could see the sun beyond. “I would be more than happy to be your Padawan,” Satchal replied, but even as he said it he paused in thought. “But what of Brin’tac? The council has forbidden him training, and yet the Force is with him. Will you not train him?”

“Perhaps,” she replied with some thought. “But I would not go against the Council’s decision until I am sure it is wise to do so. I do not know Brin’tac well, and although I do not know you either I feel a connection with you and a sense that this is the right course to take. Brin’tac’s future is uncertain. I see darkness clouding it yet, and although darkness clouds all of our futures his seems darkest of all. I know that you care for him deeply, but I cannot train him yet. That time may or may not ever come, but in the meantime we will be there to help him and guide him as best we can.”

Satchal nodded and turned his gaze back off toward the volcano. He sighed deeply in relief. It was is he had made his way back home after a long journey. He had a master again; and a really good looking one at that. Things were looking better, and his hopes were rising.

Near the ship Brin’tac and Geldar smiled as they watched the scene. “Jealous?” asked Geldar as he glanced at the Bothan.

“Not really,” said Brin’tac. “I’m glad he has a master again, and I think it will be good for him.”

“I think he likes her a little too much,” said Geldar, his grin turning smug.

Brin’tac laughed. “Probably, but I don’t think you are exactly above such longings for her either. She is rather beautiful even to me.”

Geldar smirked. “She is beautiful, but there is something about her that I don’t like. There’s more to beauty than the outward appearance.”

Brin’tac nodded. “Beauty is only skin deep. I’ve sensed it too. She seems a bit…well…”

“Bland,” put in another voice, and both turned to see Tarrsk standing behind them with a grin on his face as well. “She’s as colorful and warm as Hoth.”

Brin’tac laughed again. “Those weren’t exactly the words I was looking for, but they’ll do.”

“Gariss says the ship is ready and we’d better get inside,” Tarrsk reported, changing the subject.

“Good,” said Geldar. “I’ll go tell them. Why don’t you all get inside?” And without another word they parted ways for the moment while Geldar informed Ivanna and Satchal about the departure.

Only thirty minutes later Tso sat in the cockpit his eyes staring at the controls with a bit of fear and trepidation. In came Geldar, Ivanna, and Satchal to help ease his tension. Of them all Geldar had always been Tso’s closest companion, and he felt more comfort that he was there than anyone else.

“Don’t worry,” said Geldar. “The Force is with you. You will do fine.”

Tso nodded. “I hope so.”

“Just look at what you’ve done so far,” Ivanna commented. “If it hadn’t been for your quick thinking we’d have all died out here searching for the ship. Also, if it hadn’t been for you we probably wouldn’t have the energy to get off planet. Be a bit more confident in your skills, Tso Guihu. You are a great pilot, and it is you who will lead us to safety this day. You are our champion and savior in our hour of need.”

Then Geldar leaned over him and whispered, “In other words, ‘Let’s get off this frozen plane of hell and go find that worthless six-fingered freak who calls himself a Dark Side Jedi!’”

Then inspired by Geldar’s words Tso flicked the communications panel on and announced they were departing. Then flipping more switches he fired up the engines and kicked on the thrusters. Within a few moments the ship lifted off the rock ledge it had been resting on and shot off towards space.

The End

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